Wake Forest begins Clawson's 2nd year against Elon
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest hopes it has a better grasp of Dave Clawson's system in Year 2.
The Demon Deacons want to show what they've learned Thursday night when they face Elon in their opener.
''Everyone's had the spring to kind of develop into a better player and use the better techniques we have,'' senior lineman and team captain Dylann Intemann said. ''The offense has kind of meshed together, and the offensive line, the quarterbacks, the receivers, the running backs - everyone's gotten better in their position, which has just increased our level on the offense. It's going up and up.''
The Demon Deacons are looking to improve on a 3-9 finish last season that included a 1-7 record in Atlantic Coast Conference play in their first year under Clawson.
''Even when we were going into (last) season, we were still trying to grasp the system and kind of just wrangle that,'' Intemann said.
Like Wake Forest, Elon wants to move on from a dismal first season under a new coach.
The Phoenix went 1-11 in their first year under Rich Skrosky - and their first year since moving to the Colonial Athletic Association from the Southern Conference.
They enter 0-7 against Bowl Subdivision opponents since moving to Division I in 1999, losing to ACC schools in each of the last three years, and are opening on the road against an FBS school for the seventh straight year.
''I think they're trying to do at Elon what we're trying to do at Wake Forest, which is build the program back up to where it was,'' Clawson said. ''They've recruited well and they're extremely well-coached.''
Some things to know about the Elon-Wake Forest game:
THE SERIES: The schools are separated by about 50 miles but this marks just their second meeting since 1939. Wake Forest is 9-0-1 in the series, won the most recent meeting 35-7 in 2009 and has held Elon scoreless seven times. That includes a scoreless tie in 1927.
COACHING CONNECTIONS: Wake Forest offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero was on Pete Lembo's staff at Elon in 2006 and '07. Clawson says he's known Skrosky since Clawson was on the staffs at Albany and Buffalo in the late 1980s and early 1990s and Skrosky was at Ramapo College in New Jersey.
YOUNG DEACONS: Wake Forest has one of the youngest rosters in the country, with only five players in their fifth season in the program. The Demon Deacons have nine freshmen and 10 more redshirt freshmen on their depth chart, including three at running back. Two redshirt freshmen are listed as starters on the offensive line.
KINAL'S KICKS: The Demon Deacons hope they won't have to use their most experienced player very often. Punter Alex Kinal is their only player who has started more than 28 games, and he enters his senior season already owning the school's career records for punts and punting yards. He averages 41.3 yards per punt and has never had one blocked.
PHOENIX TIDBITS: Elon returns seven starters on each side of the ball, including key DB Chris Blair, but will start either a freshman or a redshirt freshman at quarterback. Skrosky has not announced whether redshirt freshman Connor Christiansen or first-year freshman Daniel Thompson will start against the Demon Deacons.