NC State Football

Clawson: "They're Solid In All Three Phases"

November 8, 2018

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson discussed tonight's game against NC State with the media.

Opening Statement...
We're looking forward to heading to Raleigh later today and playing a very good NC State team on national television tomorrow night. Dave has really done a great job with them. They're solid in all three phases. Offensively the quarterback is just outstanding. He's accurate. He's smart. He has a great arm. The offensive line is playing at a high level. The receiver corps is one of the best ones that we've seen in our five years here.

And defensively, they're always a challenge. They defend the run extremely well. They dare you to throw it, and when you throw it, they sack you. They're a really good football team, like a lot of teams in the ACC this year.

It's definitely going to be a big challenge for us, but we look forward to it, and these in-state rivalry games are really great opportunities for us. This is, I think, the 112th meeting of NC State and Wake Forest, so we're proud to be part of a series like that.

Dave, what has Jamie Newman been able to do to improve over the last couple months while he hasn't gotten a lot of game action?
Well, I think, number one, he was very competitive to be our starter, and then he got hurt in the last scrimmage. You know, and he's just picking up the offense better. He's a big kid. He's 6'4", 235. He's athletic. He has a strong arm. And I think more than anything, it's just getting him reps and experience. He has all the physical tools, and now he's going to have a chance to go out there and start a football game and see -- show what he can do.

Obviously you don't want to see anyone hurt, but is this a great opportunity for somebody knowing they're the guy coming into this game rather than being put it in the middle of the game and you don't know what's coming?
Yeah, I think quarterbacks always like to know they can go out there and play through a mistake or two and not have to look over their shoulder. I mean, Jamie knows this is going to be his opportunity. It's his game, and he's had a good week of practice, and we're excited to see what he can do.

Dino Babers just said he wanted to thank you for visiting their injured teammate in the hospital while he's still recovering there, and I was just wondering why you decided to make that decision, and if that is something that you generally have done when there have been players hospitalized from opposing teams that are still in your area, if that's happened before for you.
Yeah, it has, and when he got hurt, our trainers knew right away that it was a very serious injury. I wanted to get over there sooner, but he was in ICU, and they wouldn't let me go in, and finally I knew we were leaving today, and they made arrangements for me to go over and see him yesterday. And what a great young man. Just a really positive attitude.

But you go down your senior year to play a football game and you're playing, and next thing you know you're in a hospital in a strange town, and your teammates and your coaches aren't there. We had a player last year that had a similar injury, and I know how tough it is. I just wanted to go over and let him know that there's people here that care about him. Even the player of ours that had that injury last year, I think, reached out to him.

It's part of football, but it's hard to ever see a young man suffer that type of injury and then not be able to be with his teammates for a couple of days.

How were his spirits when you were able to see him?
I mean, very -- he knows what's ahead of him, but I mean, Wake Baptist Hospital is a great hospital, and they did a really -- the surgeons there did a great job, so his prognosis is really good. He knows what's ahead, but I think he also knows it could have been worse. Given everything that happened, he's in a really good place, and he seemed -- he was a very mature young man, appreciative of how he was treated and the treatment he got, and just had a great attitude. I was really impressed with him.

You know, a couple guys on the Syracuse staff I've worked with before, and one of them is his coach, and we told a few stories about him, and guys like Clark Lea were at Syracuse when he was there. So there was a lot of people that we both knew, and it was a really easy visit. He's still in some pain, and I just thought his spirits were incredibly positive for what that young man has been through.

Had you ever had a coaching colleague from another team extend a similar courtesy to one of your players after they had been injured?
Well, you know, knock on wood here, I don't -- I think I've only had that happen ever once before that a player got that hurt that he had to be not be able to come back with the team. So there's not -- it's not something that happens very often, and I'm sure knowing the coaches in the ACC that if that happened to one of our players -- I mean, I have no doubt that any one of the other 13 coaches would go in there and check up on our player.

You know, I have no doubt that that would happen with the other coaches in this league.

And then just from a football perspective, you mentioned how difficult it is to run against NC State. How incumbent upon you guys is it to get some semblance of a running game maybe to take a burden off of a guy such as Jamie making that first start of the season?
Yeah, we have to be able to run it. I mean, and that has been a philosophy of Dave's ever since he's been there, that he tries to make you one-dimensional. He tries to take away the run game, and then they always do a great job of getting you in 3rd downs and having D-linemen who can rush the passer, and they've always had very creative 3rd down pressure packages to then get after you and sack you.

We have to do a really good job of staying on schedule, avoiding 3rd and longs, and if we are one-dimensional on Thursday, it's not going to end up well for us. We've got to have some balance in this football game, even though it is difficult to run the football against them.

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