Caulton Tudor

Clawson faces challenges, but Wake personnel tank isn't empy

Posted July 31, 2014

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson at the ACC Kickoff on Monday.

One of the ranking misconceptions entering this ACC football season is Jim Grobe left the personnel closet bare when he resigned at Wake Forest after the 2013 season.

If leaving behind 54 lettermen, 12 starters and an intact kicking game equates to an empty cupboard, a lot of coaches would like to have the same “problem.”

The truth is, Dave Clawson is taking over a program that’s infinitely better positioned to succeed fairly fast than was the case when Grobe arrived from Ohio after the 2000 season. That team – Jim Caldwell’s last – went 2-9 overall, 1-8 in the ACC and failed to score more than 14 points in seven games.

When Grobe’s 2001 team went 6-5 overall, 3-5 in the league and averaged 27 points per game, it was clear Wake football had elevated its ceiling far more than anyone expected.

Clawson, whose 2013 Bowling Green team went 10-3, has his challenges, of course.

Although Tyler Cameron played a few snaps in relief of Tanner Price last season, there’s virtually no quarterback experience – a situation complicated by the fact that the offensive staff apparently will give three other candidates in addition to Cameron a shot at the starting job in preseason camp.

One of the school’s all-time best pass receivers, Mike Campanaro, has to be replaced, and the entire ground game needs reconstruction.

But as junior cornerback Kevin Johnson pointed out at last week’s ACC Kickoff in Greensboro, last season’s 4-8 (2-6 ACC) team was hardly a punching bag.

“We had a lot of adversity but we never gave up on ourselves,” Johnson said.

In fact, the Deacons would have been bowl eligible with a little better execution in the final two games – a 28-21 loss to Duke (10-4 final record) and a 23-21 loss at Vanderbilt (9-4).

The ’13 season – and maybe Grobe’s future – turned on a 24-21 loss at Miami on Oct. 26. The Hurricanes, ranked 7th nationally at the time, scored with 53 seconds left to escape.

“We just weren’t the same team after that,” Grobe said when he stepped down. “But you can always look back and say ‘What if?’”

If the offense can be retooled in time, there’s no reason to believe Clawson’s first season will be the wipeout widely expected. In the ACC preseason media poll, the Deacons were such an overwhelming pick to be the league’s weakest team that it seemed odd. Not only were they picked for last place in the Atlantic Division, they received almost 200 fewer overall voting points than No. 6 pick Boston College.

On paper, the situation isn’t nearly that bleak. And the fact that Clawson, 46, arrives with a reputation for fixing offenses should help.

But first, Clawson and his staff have to sort through the league’s foggiest quarterback mix. Cameron a 6-foot-3, 200-pound redshirt sophomore, and Kevin Sousa (6-3, 200, R-Jr.) were expected to settle the starting issue in the spring. That didn’t happen, and now Clawson says true freshmen Travis Smith (6-1, 200) and John Wolford (6-1, 205) will get a look. 

Cameron, Sousa and Wolford are Floridians, and Wolford broke Tim Tebow’s state high school record for career touchdown passes with 126.

Smith, from Ithaca, Mich., also holds his career TD passing state record with 106. Clawson stopped short of calling the quarterback free-for-all disappointing, but it’s obvious he’s looking for some sort of stability as fast as possible.

“It's a battle,” he said. “As we went through spring practice, the two guys competing for it, neither of them played at a level to secure the job … it's going to start out as a four-way battle. At some point we'll get it to three, then to two, and we'll have a starting quarterback game one, but that is obviously a big question mark going into camp, and I'm more anxious to see how that plays than anyone.”

In the April 26 spring game, Sousa passed for 178 yards and completed 16 of 32 passes. Cameron completed only 9 of 26 for 83 yards.

But if the right quarterback is found, the air game should be above average at worst. Even without Campanaro, there’s a lot of talent and experience among the wide-outs, including transfer EJ Scott, who played regularly at Virginia last season. The interior line has three all-star candidates in center Cory Helms, guard Dylan Intemann (Wake Forest-Rolesville High) and tackle Tyler Hayworth.

“I was excited when I got this job,” Clawson said. “But I’m more excited now.”

3 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Doc Holliday Aug 1, 2014

    Good luck to WF & their new coach...hope it works out for the Deacons.

  • PackCityyyyy Jul 31, 2014

    Good grammar. Let me guess, you graduated from Kerliner?

  • doser Jul 31, 2014

    At least they will one league game they will beat State!

TV
  • CFB: Wisconsin vs. Penn State

    Tonight at 8:00 on FOX50

  • PGA Tour: Hero World Challenge

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Carolina at Seattle

    Tomorrow at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Oakland at Kansas City

    Thursday at 8:30 pm on WRAL-TV

Top 25
Fri, Dec 2
17
29Final
23
8
10Final
4
41
Sat, Dec 3
34Final
19
10
10
20Final
9
38
212:39
4th
16
24
1
400:00
3rd
15
16
6
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
7
3
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
23
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Dec. 1
Dallas17Final
Minnesota15
Sunday, Dec. 4
Kansas City 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Atlanta 
Miami 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Baltimore 
San Francisco 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Chicago 
Philadelphia 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Cincinnati 
Houston 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Green Bay 
Denver 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Jacksonville 
Los Angeles 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
New England 
Detroit 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
New Orleans 
Buffalo 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET21:05 GMT5:05 北京时间2:05 MST4:05 EST3:05 CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Preview
Oakland 
Washington 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Arizona 
NY Giants 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Pittsburgh 
Tampa Bay 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
San Diego 
Carolina 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
Seattle 
Monday, Dec. 5
Indianapolis 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
NY Jets 
NBA Scoreboard
Brooklyn886:13
4th Qtr
Milwaukee89
Minnesota 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Charlotte 
Boston 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Philadelphia 
Atlanta 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Toronto 
LA Lakers 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Memphis 
Chicago 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Dallas 
Denver 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Utah 
Miami 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET3:00 GMT11:00 8:00 MST10:00 EST7:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Portland 
Phoenix 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 MST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Golden State 
NHL Scoreboard
Boston2Final
Buffalo1
Carolina2Final
NY Rangers4
Chicago1Final
Philadelphia3
New Jersey5Final-OT
Nashville4
Toronto 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Vancouver 
Winnipeg 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
St. Louis 
Florida 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Ottawa 
Washington 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Tampa Bay 
Detroit 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Pittsburgh 
Columbus 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Arizona 
Dallas 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Colorado 
Anaheim 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET3:00 GMT11:00 北京时间8:00 MST10:00 EST7:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Edmonton 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre