Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Deacs looking for offensive balance against 'Noles

Wake is looking for a balanced offensive attack Saturday when they face the Seminoles in Tallahassee, according to Demon Deacon head coach Dave Clawson.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest (5-1, 2-1) has its first chance at becoming bowl eligible at Florida State (4-2, 1-2) Saturday, but the coaches and players will remind you quickly it’s also their only chance at going 1-0 this week.

Wake coach Dave Clawson answered questions from the media during his weekly press conference Tuesday.

On Florida State really needing the win

Clawson: “We don’t control that. We don’t control their record. They just beat Miami. They’ve had one of the toughest schedules in the country. Everybody they’ve played on offense, with the exception of the 1-AA game has a top-50 offense. South Florida is a good football team, and they beat them by 20. Ole Miss is a good football team, and they came back and won that one. They’ve played really good teams. Obviously, last week’s win was huge for them. They beat an undefeated Miami team on the road, and came back to do it.”

On getting the running game working against FSU and having a balanced offense

Clawson: “You have to block and sustain blocks. Last year, we ran the ball against them early, and then they started just playing us in man. You have to be balanced against them, because they have the ability to outnumber the box and press up to force you to throw the football. That’s where we have to be balanced. If you’re one dimensional against Florida State, they will chew you up. If you’re one dimensional in the pass, those guys in the defensive line will tee it up, get in those wide stances and just come after you. We’re going to have to run the ball. Any game we’ve played well on offense this year has been because we’ve established the run. This game will be no different. It’s on us, but you also realize that the better teams you play, the margin for error gets smaller. We’re going to have to play really well up front against these guys.”

On blocking Duke, Syracuse and IU well, but not NC State

Clawson: “Indiana had a good defense. People weren’t moving the ball on them. Are they elite? What’s elite? Statistically, Indiana was ranked ahead of where Florida State is. Now, Florida State has played Ole Miss and Louisville. . . you know what I’m saying? When we have success against someone doesn’t mean they’re not good. I think our offensive line has played well three of the last four games. We did not play at the level we’d like to at NC State, but we certainly did last week. We certainly did against Indiana. We played really well against Duke.”

On playing in the hostile environment at FSU

Clawson: “We went to NC State and that’s loud. We played at Clemson last year. That’s loud. We played at Louisville. That’s loud. Our guys have played in loud stadiums. We piped in — you heard it — the band and the fight song and all that stuff. They get so sick of it. We want them to be conditioned to it. You try to make that stuff a non-factor, so during the week you pump in crowd noise and make all the non-verbal communications happen that need to happen. So when you get to the game it becomes less of an issue. It’s something they’ve had to process. The challenge this week is who we block, who we get off blocks against, who we have to cover, who we have to separate against — they have elite talent. They really do. This is one of the reasons guys come to Wake Forest. We recruit guys that want to play in these games. We’re in a great conference and we’re in a very good division in that conference. We’ve got a handful of these game every year. We want guys that are excited about it.”

On how the Deacs came out physically from the Syracuse game

Clawson: “I think we came out in pretty good shape. We’re probably healthier than we were three weeks ago. After this week we have the bye week. Hopefully you heal up and have a chance to make a stretch run.”

On Kendall Hinton

Clawson: “If he can go, he’ll go. But right now it don’t look like he can go. Knees are different things. A lot of times with ankle or shoulder sprains, you can kind of predict it. At his position, with that injury, when it’s better, it’s better. You asked me when it happened how long it would be. Your guess is as good as mine. He’s progressing. I don’t think he’s there yet. It’s not a matter of giving him another week or two weeks off. If he could go, he would go. Right now he can’t go.”

On responding to mistakes

Clawson: “Football isn’t a perfect game, so we’re going to make mistakes. You hope the mistakes aren’t that big. A lot of time if you snap the ball over the punter’s head and they recover for a touchdown, you don’t recover. A lot of times if you fumble on the 1-yard line, you don’t recover. I don’t know if we can afford to make those types of mistakes against this team and come out winning. We’re not going to be perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. If we turn it over, we have to respond. That’s just the nature of football. Those things are going to happen. That’s part of the game.”

On John Wolford’s shoulder

Clawson: “You get into the season, and he’s been throwing a lot of balls. He had been splitting reps with Kendall, and now he’s getting all the reps. Usually on Sunday, we try to get those other guys some reps and get them ready. Kyle Kearns is one snap away from playing. But John took all the 1 reps today. He’s healthier than he was a week ago. He came out of the Syracuse game healthier than he did from the NC State game. He took a lot less hits.”


Demon Deacon Digest Top Stories