Wake Forest's Dave Clawson Previews Saturday's Game

Brett Friedlander

Earlier this week, Wake Forest football coach Dave Clawson met with his team's media to discuss Saturday's matchup with NC State at Carter-Finley Stadium. 

Here is what he had to say:

"“We have our first road game in the Covid era. The preparations in how we’re going to travel, wearing masks, how we eat at the hotel — every week it’s a different puzzle. So we’re working all those details out. Playing NC State is always a big deal for us. 

"Right now, it’s tied for the third-longest consecutive rivalry in the country. Two games that are ahead of us right now have a chance of not being played, so when the year is over, this might be the longest-played consecutive rivalry. This game has been played since 1910, so it was played through World War I, the pandemic of 1918, World War II and now the pandemic of 2020. 

"The Big Four is very important to us. Last year, we were fortunate enough to have all those games at home. Now the script flips and we get to play all those games on the road. This is the first of three Big Four games as we head to Carter Finley Stadium, and it’s very important to us.

“I expect NC State to be a very improved football team. They probably got hit as hard with injuries as anybody in the country last year. Dave (Doeren) always does a great job and always has his team prepared. Offensively, they have 10 starters back and the 11th guy was a guy who was injured last year and has played a lot of football. 

"They have four starters back on the offensive line, plus have a grad student back as their fifth guy. They have all their top quarterbacks, including their starter. They have their top three-or-four running backs, their top two-or-three tight ends, and their top four-of-five receivers. 

"They have a new offensive coordinator (Tim Beck), so when the schedule came out, we were really glad that they had a game before playing us. That way we could see what they’re doing and would know what to prepare for. This is a tough prep, given the newness of the coordinator and the offensive staff.

“On defense, coach (Tony) Gibson runs a very unique system. He has his three-down system. Now he’s the sole coordinator and I’m sure there are aspects on what they do that will be different this year. 

"Even though they graduated a lot more on defense, they still have a lot of production back. (Payton) Wilson, (Isaiah) Moore and (Tanner) Ingle are all very productive tacklers for them. So even though they only have four-or-five starters back, they've got over half their tackles back. We expect this to be a very hard-fought, competitive game and we’re looking forward to staying in the ACC and kicking off the Big Four.”

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