Dave Clawson and the view from Winston-Salem

It’s all still fresh in Dave Clawson’s mind.

The Wake Forest coach is ignoring the score of Indiana’s 31-24 win in Winston-Salem last September, a final margin narrowed by a couple Demon Deacon scoring drives in the final six minutes.

For Clawson, the lasting memory of that soggy afternoon last year is of an Indiana team that controlled the line of scrimmage, never trailed and at one point built a 21-point lead in an Atlantic Coast Conference venue.

“Last year, the score looked closer than the game really was,” Clawson said. “… It was a little bit misleading. They took it to us pretty good a year ago.”

Indeed, Indiana put together a decent pass rush with six sacks and began that game with three consecutive three-and-outs. The Hoosiers also used a late interception return from Tony Fields to secure their final points.

Tegray Scales and Marcus Olvier teamed for a strong performance against Wake, too. They combined for 16 tackles and three sacks — two of which belonged to Scales.

“I really like their linebackers,” Clawson said. “They are very active, very physical and are good in the secondary.”

Wake Forest’s front seven has been a strength of its team through the Demon Deacons’ 3-0 start. The Deacons have recorded 10 sacks in the first three games after having posted 20 sacks in 12 games last season.

But Clawson also recognizes that his defense hasn’t seen an offensive line like Indiana’s.

“It is a very challenging game for us for a lot of reasons,” Clawson said. “No. 1, the style of offense they run, the tempo. They have some legitimate, big time offensive linemen. The guard, (Dan) Feeney, might be the best O-lineman we see all year. He’s a first-team All-American and will probably be making quite a bit of money a year from now. Just overall, their offensive line … The right guard and right tackle (Dimitric Camiel) are probably All-Big Ten caliber players. It is a position they appear not to rebuild, they reload.”

Wake Forest held FCS opponent Delaware to only 94 yards of offense and eight first downs last weekend. Deacons defensive end Duke Ejiofor has at least a half-sack in each of the team’s first three games, including three against Duke two weeks ago.

Now, the Deacons see their trip to Bloomington as an opportunity to see how strong, exactly, their defense might be.

With last year’s loss to the Hoosiers still fresh on the mind.

“Indiana’s O-line is probably, if not (one of), the most physical line we play all year,” junior linebacker Grant Dawson said. “I know their right guard and their right tackle are probably future NFL guys and so it is something we’re looking forward to. It’s a challenge for us and we’re excited about it. It’s a measure to see how good we are. … This week we’re excited about it because it’s a great measure to see how good we really are on defense.”

One comment

  1. I hope IU’s OL gets back to the physical play they had last year. It will make a difference if Feeney is back or not. The OL will need to be physical with WF DL again this year. The OL also has to tighten up and not allow sacks which means Cronk or Bailey needs to do much better with the edge rush. With Feeney out, the OL was giving up pressure in the middle of the OL. I am sure with the bye week coach Frey will have the pass blocking much better along with being more physical in the run game.

    With all the trouble on 3rd down I hope to see our two big backs in the backfield to run the ball or blocking. It might be time to have Natee at QB, on short yardage plays, which would create an extra blocker for him to pick up the 1st down. Newton deserves to be runner on short yardage and see how he does. When picking up less than 25% of 3rd down plays something new has to happen. I also would like to see Lagow run the ball on the read option especially in short yardage plays.

    This game against WF could tax the Hoosiers but if they come out aggressively on offense and defense then we could get WF sitting back on their heels. It is time for the offense to become more explosive again and for the defense to keep getting take – aways scoring off of them. Put the foot to the metal and don’t let up so we can see how good the 2016 Hoosiers can be this year.

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