GREENSBORO, N.C. — First-year Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson spoke with reporters on Day 2 of the ACC Kickoff. Here are a few nuggets we learned about the Demon Deacons today.
•Clawson said his offense will be no-huddle, but it’s more of a pro-style offense than the spread looks that typically come to mind when you hear no-huddle. He added that having a pro-style offense gives him flexibility to match the personnel on his team. For instance, Wake Forest is thin at the receiver position this year, so the Deacons will run more jumbo sets with tight ends and fullbacks. In the future, he would implement more spread formations if he has the wide receivers to pull it off.
•Clawson said the offense is also flexible in controlling tempo – either by going fast or slow. How quickly the Deacons try to snap the ball depends on the sort of firepower the offense has. Reading the writing on the wall, it appears that Wake Forest will move slowly this season and try to control possession.
•Wake Forest lost some of its most productive offensive players in school history in quarterback Tanner Price, wide receiver Michael Campanaro and running back Josh Harris. With their graduations, the Deacons have holes to fill at every single offensive skill position. Heading into fall, Clawson still doesn’t know who those replacements will be. He said with the exception of the defensive secondary, almost every job is still open for competition.
•Last year, Wake Forest’s team GPA was the highest it’s been since the school started keeping track in 1999. Clawson said there’s not a single player who is academically ineligible entering the summer.
•One of the biggest challenges Clawson has faced is figuring out how to place the Deacons’ outside linebackers in his new 4-2-5 defense. Wake Forest ran a 3-4 defense under Jim Grobe, where the two outside linebackers served primarily as stand-up ends and blitzers. Now, those players are either too small to play on the line or poor fits as co-middle linebackers. Hunter Williams and Lance Virgile are among those players most affected by this change.
•Clawson, who takes over at Wake Forest after coaching Bowling Green for the past five seasons, had a comical reaction to the news that the Power 5 conferences are moving toward autonomy. “Now that I’m here, I’m for it,” he said. “Last year, I was against it. That’s called pocket book voting.”
•Clawson said he’s a firm believer that athletes should get a stipend for spending money. “They should see some of that. I think a stipend is step one,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s a coach in college football who doesn’t feel that the players should get some sort of stipend.”