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Clawson previews Wake Spring Game

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson previews the Spring Game Saturday.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — With depth issues at a few positions, it’ll be offense versus defense Saturday at the Wake Forest football annual Spring Game.

Wake coach Dave Clawson covered that and many other topics after practice earlier this week.

On not having a draft for the spring game

Clawson: “We’re too thin. We’re too thin on the offensive line. We’re too thin at corner, receiver and defensive line. We couldn’t do two whole teams. I like having two teams, and it’s a reward for the players to have a draft. But they understand. For most of the scrimmages, we’ve been at three corners. We don’t have 10 offensive linemen. We knew we were going to have this issue this spring. Even though we had a small senior class, we had a good amount of the redshirt juniors not come back. That made us thin in the spring. We’ll be good in the fall. We have a big freshman group coming in. We’re a little thin, and we have some guys injured from the season. The only disadvantage of the bowl is that is slows down the healing by a month.”

On Calvin Pace and Fred Robbins serving as coaches

Clawson: “We have O vs. D, we have Jets vs. Giants. We have every dynamic working. It’s an internal Wake Forest civil war.”

On scorekeeping

Clawson: “It will be some unique scorekeeping, but I don’t know it yet. I’ll come up with something nobody can understand (laughs). The key to the system is that nobody understands it. At the end, it’ll be some score that doesn’t resemble a football score.”

On if it feels like they’re coming to the end of spring camp

Clawson: “We’re lucky and stayed very healthy for the first two weeks. Now, it’s taken its toll a little bit. Not season-enders, but you don’t want to double-up somebody’s reps who don’t need it. Are we going to give Duke Ejiofor double reps? You want to get in productive work, but don’t want to work against yourself.”

On the offensive line

Clawson: “I think we’re improved. It’s all relative. We don’t have Josh Banks and Duke (Ejiofor) playing a lot, but I do think our offensive line is playing better. I really believe when we got here, there was a huge talent gap between our offense and defense. I don’t think that gap is there as much now. It’s a much more balanced team now.”

On the competition on the offensive line

Clawson: “We’re still trying to figure out 4, 5, 6 and 7. That’s a mix of (Patrick) Osterhage, who is playing really well right now — if we played tomorrow, he’d probably be starting. Is (Jake) Benzinger, A’Lique Terry or Nate Gilliam? Those guys are all in the mix, and that’s good. I think 1, 2 and 3 are Ryan (Anderson), Phil (Haynes) and Justin (Herron) in some order, and now that battle is four-through-seven. Ryan is so smart. To have someone who can play both tackle and center is hard. He can play all five positions.”

On the offense needing to improve next season

Clawson: “I want to see us get better on offense next season, but I also want a good defense. What do you want me to say? I’m not going to concede that we won’t be as good on defense. If we get some guys back and healthy. Duke takes the next step, and Jaboree (Williams) — we have some good players on defense. We lost some starters, but we have some good guys coming back. Do I think we’ll be better on offense? Absolutely. This is the first time we won’t be young on offense. This will be the first time we won’t be playing a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. Those guys are all growing up together.”

On Zeek Rodney

Clawson: “The plan is he’s coming back. He should be in summer school, unless something unforeseen happens.”


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