Weekly Press Conference Video & Quotes: Sept. 12
Sept. 12, 2017

By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeFB)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson, linebacker Grant Dawson and running back Cade Carney met with the media Tuesday (Sept. 12) afternoon to discuss the Demon Deacons' homecoming game against Utah State on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Head Coach Dave Clawson

Opening Statement...
“I want to start today by thanking Bob McCreary and all of our donors. We had a good practice today because we have an indoor practice field. Today was a day, that a few years ago, would have been a wasted.day. We wouldn’t have been able to get in a good practice and we would have fallen behind. Now, at Wake Forest, that doesn’t happen. Thanks to all of our donors for allowing us to have a facility that we can get work done on a day like today.

“Going back to BC, it was a great win for our program. Any time in this conference that you can go on the road and beat a team that us a year ago, is a great win. Clearly, the difference in the game was the turnover margin, winning that 4-0. It was a great a job by the defense creating the turnovers, but also a good job by the offense to not have any turnovers. That has to be part of our plan to win. It is something we emphasize. Defensively, we got good pressure. There were times on defense where we didn’t have guys covered as well as we needed to, but fortunately we got pressure on the quarterback so he didn’t have time to set those feet to make those throws. Offensively, I thought we were opportunistic. We scored 21 points off of turnovers. We converted first downs. It wasn’t one of those days where we had an offensive explosion but we didn’t need to do that. We needed to short with a short field and the drive I was really proud of was the fourth quarter one where went 12 plays, 68 yards to took up 7 minutes, 46 seconds. I loved at that point how methodical we were. We are always going to play the way that gives us the best chance of winning. I thought our offense did that, our defense did that and the kicking game was OK.



“Moving ahead to Utah State, we have some familiarity with them. We played them in 2014 out in Logan and they beat us pretty good. They are a very good physical team. They are always going to be an older team. In their two-deep, they have 30 juniors and seniors. I don’t know how many of them are junior college transfers or guys that came back from their missions, but they are always an older team. Offensively, they are extremely fast-tempoed. Their quarterback, Myers, is completing 73 percent of his passes. He is accurate and has very good feet. They have a couple of really good receivers and four really good backs. They are an explosive offensive unit. They play so fast so that puts pressure on your defense. It is becoming more common in college football. Last year, when we played Syracuse, this warp-speed tempo was something that was new and unique, but this will be the fastest tempo that we have played against this year. Defensively, they are very multiple. They play a lot of players and can be in an odd front or an even front. They run a lot of blitzes and a lot of different coverages. It puts a lot of stress on your offensive line. The style of offense and the style of defense make this a very difficult prep in our first one-week prep. We had a whole camp to get ready for game one and nine days to get ready for game two. We are now on the cycle of a game every Saturday. Coach Wells has done a good job there and I think they are an improved football team. We went out there a few years ago and they kicked our butt all over the field and this will be a good test for us. It is good to be home for homecoming and hopefully we will have a good crowd.”

On the secondary’s play against Boston College:
“In the secondary, a lot of it comes down to communication. We must get everybody on the same page. We had a few plays on Saturday where we were not on the same page and some of those plays hurt us. The pass interference play that led to their touchdown was an example of where the linebackers and secondary were not on the same page. BC was a hard team to line up against because they line up in so many different formations. The one thing we tell our guys, is if you’re going to be wrong, be wrong together. If we can be on the same page, it allows us to play the next snap.”

On the team’s pass rushing ability:
“I do think our defensive personnel is improved. We still have Duke (Ejiofor). He’s tough to block one-on-one. Having Zeek (Rodney) back helps us. Wendell Dunn has really improved as a pass rusher. In some cases, coach (Jay) Sawvel had a really good blitz drawn up. There was one time that a guy was open and we had a linebacker completely unblocked that was able to pressure the quarterback before he” could set his feet and make the throw.”

On the defense:
"I don’t think it’s anything new to our defense. We’ve been good on third downs and we’ve been good in pressures. That’s football. When you get teams in passing situations, you’ve got to be able to mix things up and you’ve got to be able to get pressure with four guys. You also have to change up your blitz schemes and change who the rushers are and not let the protection get comfortable. I thought our defensive line and defensive staff did a good job of varying our looks.”

On Essang Bassey’s interception:
“On Essang Bassey’s pick six, what people maybe didn’t see was that Wendell Dunn won his pass rush and put the offensive tackle right in the lap of the quarterback, so he had to throw the ball before he was ready, which resulted in the tip and the pick.”

Redshirt senior linebacker Grant Dawson

On Utah State:
“They’re a good football team. Offensively they like to spread the field and throw the ball. They also show quite a bit of tempo so we need to have our communication on lock for every play with that kind of tempo.”

On the victory over Boston College:
“It’s always good to get an ACC win and getting that first one was really nice. Especially for how that game went for us last year, it was good for us to bounce back. Defensively to get four turnovers was wonderful.”

On the defensive effort this season:
“We’ve played really well so far but we still have a lot to improve on and we’re learning that each game each week. I am proud of how we have played the last two weeks and I’m excited to keep that performance up this Saturday.”

On the Wake Forest offense this season:
“We’re ecstatic to see our offense doing what they’re doing and I think they’re capable of doing more. At the end of the day on each side of the ball, you have to control what you can control. They’re always going to play their best game and we’re going to play ours so we have to control what we can control. But it’s great to see them put up points and have the long drives and making plays.”

On starting the season 2-0:
“It’s definitely a good thing to start the season the way we have but it’s a long season and we have a long way to go. Our ultimate goal is to win an ACC Championship so we have a lot to do to get to that goal.”

Sophomore running back Cade Carney

On the Boston College win:
“That was a big win for us going - on the road and facing a team that prides themselves on their defense. For us to be able to put up points is something I’m really proud of and it builds confidence coming in to this next week. I think all around it was a great trip. We went up there and took care of business and come in to week three really excited.”

On working with the defense:
“We’ve built a great offensive confidence, especially getting Greg Dortch involved. But we’re getting so much from the defense. They got us the ball four times last week and that’s huge for us. We’re instilling confidence as a team and really building that trust with each other, which is so exciting going into the weeks ahead.”

On converting in the red zone:
“Short yardage was an area that we struggled in last season, especially against BC. For us to take that step forward and convert on short downs and distances in the red zones and come out with touchdowns is a big emphasis this year. It’s great to be able to go to the red zone and feel like you’ll get seven points out of it instead of three. It is great though to have an All-ACC placekicker behind you that can make three points from about anywhere.”

On Greg Dortch:
“We’ve been amazed since he got here last year. He gave the defense a fit on the scout team last year so it’s something we’ve been waiting for. It feels like we’re revealing him. He’s so elusive and electric and when he gets the ball in his hands, even on punt return, we’re looking for a touchdown every time he has the ball and its exciting. It’s great for him to get that confidence, especially early in the season getting into these tough games. It’s great to see him shine like he is.”

On the offensive effort the first two games:
“We’re starting to click on both sides of the ball and a lot of that comes from feeding off the defense. Something that we’ve struggled with the past couple of years and something we feel like we’re starting to break through with is capitalizing on when we do get the ball from the defense. Starting a drive from a defensive turnover is something we need to capitalize on. That’s a place we need to improve and I think we’ve gained a lot of confidence on the offensive side of the ball.”

On Utah State:
“They’re dynamic. They’re going to bring pressure from everywhere. They’re a very fast team and they like to hide the pressure. We’re going to have to stay awake and make sure that we’re seeing all 11 guys on the field at all times. They’re a very dynamic defense as far as bringing pressure.”

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