Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Clawson continues to focus on one-week season

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson answered a variety of questions from the media at his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Nothing is getting Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson off message.

The Deacs (5-2, 2-2) are just one win away from bowl eligibility, but Clawson is having nothing to do with it. His singular focus is for Wake to go 1-0 this week, and to do that they will have to topple Army (4-3) Saturday at BB&T Field.

Here’s the Q&A from today’s Clawson press conference.

On if you take anything away from the common opponent with Army (Duke)

Clawson: “No, because their Duke game was in a monsoon. When you watch a film of a game like that, you throw it away. Duke was doing things differently than they traditionally do because of the weather. That was a game where you just score and stay ahead. As that game wore on, it was very different. It was a tough track for both teams.”

On if there’s a goal with the team that’s talked about for making a bowl game

Clawson: “I’m not going to talk about it. Our goal is to go 1-0 every week. All those goals, if you go 1-0 enough times, they take care of themselves. We’re not talking about it. We haven’t brought it up once, and we won’t. Our goal is to go 1-0. You do that enough, then those other goals you strive to hit take care of themselves. I won’t even talk about it, and haven’t mentioned it to the team.”

On if it was mentioned before the season started

Clawson: “Yes. Before the season started. That is a realistic goal for this football team. I didn’t think it would be an easy goal, but it was realistic. It was certainly a goal that we put out there. Then I told the guys we’re not going to talk about it (anymore) because you can’t control doing that. All you can control is the next game, and the next game at that point was Tulane. At that point forward, we haven’t mentioned it.”

On if getting out to a fast start is that much more important against a ball control team like Army

Clawson: “Yeah, because they play very well with a lead. When they play with a lead, it’s hard to play catch-up. You have to value every possession. Against Syracuse, you know you’re going to have 14-16 possessions because of the way they play. If you have a three-and-out, you can recover, because you’re going to get the ball enough. With these guys, every possession and every rep becomes that much more valuable because you never know how long they’re going to have it. When they’re able to play keep away from people, and get that offense going — they’re a team that will go for it on 4th-and-1, even on their side of the field. They’re so efficient at what they do. This year, they’re so much more in sync. It looks like the third year. The quarterback, the fullback, the defense. Their opening game win over Temple was impressive. Temple is a good football team, and Army was in control of that game.”

On the Army turnovers against North Texas

Clawson: “Kind of fluky. I don’t think you can look at that game and think they’re going to recreate that. Some of the turnovers were late, when they were behind. They threw a pick-six. They’re a team that had been winning turnover margin until that game. Sometimes you get those games, but you certainly can’t count on it. You need to win the turnover battle against these guys, but I’m sure after a game like that it’s being coached into their heads as to why they lost. You can’t take seven away, but maybe if you take three away, they win that game. A lot of them were late when they were behind, throwing it. That’s why it’s so important to get a lead against these guys if you can.”

On Kendall Hinton

Clawson: “He’s been out there, making progress. We’re giving him limited reps and everyday is a new day. Friday he looked game and Sunday he didn’t look good. The more he goes, the better he goes. We had the day off Monday, and then he didn’t look good today at the start. He looked better at the end. It’s wait and see.”

On if John Wolford will start at quarterback

Clawson: “Probably, yeah. Once Kendall is 100 percent. Could we be there by Saturday? We could, but right now we’re not. We’ll take it day by day.”

On Cam Serigne

Clawson: “I think he’ll be able to go. We got him reps last Friday. We’re getting him reps at the beginning of practice, then have him with the trainer. He’s played a lot of football, so we can limit his reps and he’ll still be ready to go. We’ll try to get him some reps tomorrow. It’s good to get some of those younger guys some reps too. They haven’t played much.”

On the Army defensive scheme

Clawson: “Their defensive coordinator, Jay Bateman, does a great job. With Army, what you see isn’t what you get. They could be bringing the field back or the boundary back or the corner or the safety. Anytime they bring those, it moves the line. You have a size advantage, and anytime you have a size advantage, you’d like to come off and move them. But the people you’re moving are never sitting still. They play really smart with their personnel. They have a bunch of stout, tough, physical guys that are very quick. They are undersized, but their skills, discipline and gap integrity — they’re not just playing good defense, they’re top three in the country. I don’t think they gave up 100 yards rushing to anybody until North Texas. They were giving up 84 yards a game on the ground until the North Texas game.”

On if the team understands that this is the best Army team they will have faced

Clawson: “Yes. They do. It wasn’t like we blew these guys out the last two years. They were beating us 7-0 with five minutes left in the 3rd quarter. This is the game where John (Wolford) got hurt, Kendall (Hinton) came in and things weren’t settled. If KJ Brent doesn’t make the catch down the sidelines that leads to the first touchdown and if Cortez (Lewis) doesn’t make that great play. It’s 14-14 with two minutes left at our four-yard line. We converted a 3rd-and-12 with a scramble. Then we kicked a last-second field goal on a bad snap. Last year’s game came down to the last play, and they are a lot better. Now, I believe we’re better. They’re much better. Now the previous year, if the quarterback pitches that one option they walk in and beat us. These games have been 4th quarter nail biters the last two years. This is not a team we’ve beaten by 28 or 21. We’re very fortunate. In some ways, they outplayed us last year. All their guys are back, and they’re better. We have to play much better than we have the last two years. I think we’re capable of doing that. This is not a week you can bring your B game and expect to win.”

On Army being good defensively on 3rd down

Clawson: “When you break down their film, they force a lot of 3rd-and-longs. Then they bring a package with six guys are up and you have no clue who is coming. You’re five offensive line guys are blocking two rushers, then your running back is blocking the nose guard. It’s well thought out, and they know how to attack protections. Then the force the quarterback to throw into drop eight. Then they create a bunch of turnovers on third down. When you’re into your third year, your kids understand the offense and the defense. They’re now playing a lot of their guys that they recruited and their guys have bought in on both sides of the ball. They’re doing a heck of a job up there. This is a very good football team.”


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