Dave Clawson discusses how Wake Forest will handle national spotlight in Sports Center interview
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson was interviewed on SportsCenter Thursday afternoon following his team’s 8-0 start to the season.
This is largely unchartered territory for the Demon Deacons, who came in at No. 9 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings that were revealed on Tuesday.
Despite the No. 9 ranking being the best in program history, it could be argued Wake Forest deserves to be higher. Four one-loss teams and the AAC’s Cincinnati are all ranked above the Demon Deacons going into this weekend.
In a SportsCenter interview on Thursday afternoon, Clawson remained diplomatic and said he isn’t concerned with how the program is perceived nationally with four games remaining in the season.
“You really can’t worry about what the perception is,” Clawson said. “We’re in this position because we’re playing well. Our players are very focused and very locked in. This all becomes a good problem when you get ranked and there’s a little bit more of a target on your chest. Again, we just need to control the controlables. And that’s our preparation, our effort, our focus and so far we’ve done a great job of that.”
Clawson also brought up Wake Forest’s struggles in 2019 after the Demon Deacons made the top 25 in the AP Poll. They started 5-0 and got as high as No. 19 in the poll before losses to Louisville, Virginia Tech and Clemson derailed their season. Wake Forest ended the year with an 8-5 record.
I think we talked about [the rankings] too much [in 2019] and I don’t know if we prepared and kept our focus the same,” Clawson added. “And I think we have so many players on our team from ’19 that we want to handle it better and we don’t want those things to happen again … We’re in a way better place in 2021 because of what we learned in 2019.”
It’s worth noting Clawson was more critical of the rankings process on his show that aired Wednesday night.
Wake Forest will have a chance to move to 9-0 on Saturday vs. North Carolina. Kickoff is at 12:00 p.m. ET.