Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake coach Dave Clawson on secondary, running backs

Comments from Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson after the Deacs finish practice No. 9 of spring camp.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Deacs completed spring practice No. 9 (of 15) Tuesday afternoon at the Doc Martin Practice Complex.

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson chatted with Demon Deacon Digest after it was all over.

On spring camp so far

Clawson: “I love it. To me, this is a blast. It’s fun. You’re seeing younger guys get better. This is how you build a program. All those kids we redshirted last year who didn’t know if it was blown up or stuffed — kids who were just trying to survive. Now they’re learning their position, learning football and making strength gains. The whole theme this spring is getting that next group of guys ready to play. Last year, in the heat of the moment when those guys had to step up — guys like Patrick Osterhage were ready, but other guys weren’t.”

On if they’re sustaining through camp as a whole so far

Clawson: “I think our energy level is good. I think our tempo is good. I think today was the cleanest practice. It wasn’t perfect. As long as guys have energy, enthusiasm and work ethic, then you’re getting better. What’s happening now is an accumulation of reps. They are starting to play faster. They’re not thinking as much and are just reacting more, which is what football is.”

On the secondary

Clawson: “I think the biggest challenge to our secondary is — we have good players — there’s just a huge leadership void. Ryan Janvion was a three-year captain. He started so many games, and was just a high-energy, vocal guy. Brad Watson was a steady, everyday presence. Especially with Cam Glenn out, everybody out here is in their first or second year at safety. Jessie Bates - this is only his second spring. Traveon Redd, Luke Masterson and De’Andre Delaney — these guys are just babes. Even at corner, Amari (Henderson), Dionte (Austin), Essang (Bassey) and Malik (Grate) — this is their first or second year. So I think they’re all talented and will be ACC-level players. Right now, we need a leader to emerge in that group. Cam Glenn could be that guy, but he’s not practicing. I think it’s young, talented, but there has to be developed a consistency in which they play.”

On Bassey

Clawson: “He’s mature beyond his years. At Florida State last year, he started, played 65 snaps and played well. In some ways, he’s played as much as any of those guys.”

On if any of the guys in the secondary stood out in the scrimmage Saturday

Clawson: “No. They all had highs and they all had lows. All of them missed tackles that became explosive plays. But they also had really nice plays on deep balls. The play Essang had on Tabari (Hines). There was a ball where Amari as a nickel came up and had a really nice play. Dionte then played a screen really well and came up and filled it. They showed glimpses of what they could be, but they also had letdowns of what they couldn’t be. That’s what happens when you’re young.”

On if he’ll get Thomas Dillon back in the spring

Clawson: “I don’t know. It’s ribs, it’s not a leg or shoulder. It’s bruised ribs. It’s one of those injuries that are more painful than long-term.”

On Cade Carney

Clawson: “Cade has become one of our leaders — one of our most vocal guys. The thing about Cade, is that he’s a great teammate. When he’s not in there, he’s generally roots for his teammates to do well. I don’t think Christian Beal has a bigger fan out here than Cade Carney. Cade is everything you want. He’s unselfish. He loves football. He’s physical. He shows up everyday and gives us a great effort. He’s a good teammate and will be a good leader for our program.”

On never taking any days off

Clawson: “No. That’s why he became our starter last year. Every day, you know what you’re going to get from him. Every day in practice. Is it perfect? No, but he never comes out here any you say, ‘you know, Cade just wasn’t with us today.’ Every day he has an attitude like he wants to be here.”

On if it’s automatic that Beal will play in the fall

Clawson: “I don’t know that it’s ever automatic. I really wanted to play Arkeem Byrd last year, then he got injured in camp and we couldn’t play him. I don’t see us getting through a year with only two backs, so right now we’re preparing Christian as if he’s going to play. If he has an injury in camp, or it’s so far away. With all those redshirts, we don’t have to make a decision until August.”

On Arkeem’s injury

Clawson: “It’s a shoulder. It might be another week or two weeks. It doesn’t need surgery. He could miss the spring game.”


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