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October 29, 2014

Dave Clawson

COACH CLAWSON:  Just from the BC game, certainly extremely proud of the effort and resiliency of our football team.  We did not play well in the first half.  In the second half, really probably played our best half of offense of the year against a very good Boston College defense.
Credit to Boston College, they're a very physical football team on both sides of the line of scrimmage.  At no point in the game did we ever control the point of attack.  They made more plays than we did.  They earned a hard‑fought win.

Q.  I know you're young and have had some struggles on the offensive line, and now you have to face Clemson.  How do you prepare for what they bring, particularly up front?
COACH CLAWSON:  Yeah, it's going to be a great challenge.  We certainly felt Louisville was an excellent defense, Florida State was an excellent defense.  You look at Clemson's numbers, especially looking at the teams they've played and had to defend, it's even that much more impressive.
This is going to be a very challenging matchup, especially for our guys up front.  We're glad we have a little extra time to prepare, get our guys maybe a little bit of rest this week.
But it's going to be a challenge making first downs against these guys.

Q.  Does having the experience of having played Florida State and Louisville already help at all?
COACH CLAWSON:  Yeah, we've played some good football teams.  We've struggled against those teams.  This is an excellent front.  I mean, they're number three in the country in total defense.  They're number one in the country in third‑down defense.  They're sixth in the country in red zone defense.  There's not an aspect of their defense that they don't execute well.
Then you look at their two‑deep.  They've got eight senior starters on defense, and they've got 11 seniors in their two‑deep.  It's a veteran defense, an experienced defense, a very stout and strong defense, a dynamic defense.  Any adjective you want to pull out there to describe the defense would be appropriate for this group.
They're well‑coached, been in the same system for multiple years.  It's an impressive group personnel‑wise and scheme‑wise.

Q.  You're pretty much two‑thirds of the way through your first season at Wake Forest.  Talk about some of the real positive things that you've seen from your very, very young team, some of the players that have contributed strongly to your efforts so far.
COACH CLAWSON:  I think our guys play hard.  I think our guys play with effort.  Even when we're behind in games, which we've been a number of times this year, I see no letup.  We've found a way to battle into the fourth quarter against good teams in this league.  We're doing it with a very young roster.
We're going to play Clemson, which has 11 guys in their two‑deep that are seniors.  We've got probably six of our top 12 that are freshmen, when you include our quarterback, our offensive linemen, or two tight ends, our tailbacks.  They're learning some valuable lessons of what it takes to play football in this conference, the strength levels, the attention to details.
They don't have the benefit of taking a year and learning on the sidelines, learning from other people's mistakes.  Again, it's a rough portion for us.  But having been through this before, there will be a benefit to what we're going through that may not show up for a year or two.
We've got some good, young football players, they're learning a lot, and we'll be better for it.

Q.  You have been there before.  You've built programs wherever you've been.  Talk a little bit about that process, how that moves going forward for you.
COACH CLAWSON:  I mean, right now nobody is happy that we haven't won an ACC game.  We certainly the last month have not played our best football.
But you don't lose sight of what we're trying to build.  We're a very young football team.  We've redshirted a number of good players that we're excited about.  The numbers will get better.  The strength levels will get better.  We'll become more experienced.  All that is part of the process of getting incrementally better.
That's what you have to do.  This is where we are right now.  We know where we want to get to.  There's steps we have to take to get there.  Those steps take longer than a week.
We haven't lost sight or vision of where we want this thing to go, but we know we have a lot of work to do in a lot of different areas of our program.

Q.  You were talking about how strong the Clemson defense is.  Having looked at them on tape, having played Florida State and Louisville, how would you rank those units defensively in the league right now?
COACH CLAWSON:  They're all really, really good (laughter).  I'm not giving you any bulletin board material.  We didn't block Louisville very well, struggled to move the ball against them.  We struggled to move it against Florida State.
This defense is certainly comparable with those two.  Again, they're older.  That's one of the things I look at every week.  Every time we play a team, how many seniors and how many juniors are in the two‑deep.
Boston College has 22 seniors in their two‑deep.  A lot of those kids are graduate students.  Syracuse had 22 seniors in their two‑deep.  Clemson has 20 seniors in their two‑deep.  A lot of those guys are on the defensive side of the ball, 11 of them are in defense.
Right now we have seven seniors in our two‑deep, and we only have another seven juniors.  The challenge right now is we're going against guys that are older than us, more experienced than us, and a lot stronger.  We're going against guys that have spent three or four years in a college weight program, in college football practices, and some of our guys have never even been through a summer or a spring practice.
But to our guys' credit, they go out there and compete and go hard.  That's all you can ask them to do right now.  We are overmatched from a size, strength, experience standpoint certainly in the last three or four games that we've played.  The only thing that cures that ill is time.
In the short‑term we've got to get our guys to compete as hard as they can.  They've done that.  We've got to try to find ways as a coaching staff to help our players.  There's a cumulative effect here that has to become beneficial that our guys have been against some very good football teams this year.  Certainly Boston College was physical, Florida State, Louisville, nationally ranked teams, and now we play another one.  Fortunately we get this one at home.
The physical challenge, it is what it is.  Again, I think our guys have played good people, and that experience will certainly help us moving forward.
Not the answer you were looking for, huh (laughter)?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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