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October 26, 2012

Wake vs. Clemson: postgame Q-&-A's

Players and coaches spoke with members of the media following Wake Forest's 42-13 loss to No. 13 Clemson.

Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe

On Wake's defensive performance: "I think they caught our secondary off guard a little bit in the first half. We knew that they had really, really good players, but we don't face that very often. I didn't think our guys respected their foot-speed enough in the first half. We did a better job in the second half, but we dug such a big hole for ourselves and just made it really tough and didn't have any offensive production in the first half to speak of and that was a problem."

"We felt like going in if we didn't have a little clock time and some possessions, some first downs that it would be tough putting our defense back out there for those guys, so I think we got beat by a really good football team."

Do you think your guys just didn't respect their speed? "I don't know that we didn't respect it. I think we didn't realize how fast those guys were. They got behind us a couple of times, and I thought we had played pretty good coverage and get in a foot-race and then I thought Tajh Boyd did a nice job dropping the ball on those guys. Two or three of those passes we're close enough to maybe get an arm in and knock them down, but they're right where they need to be. It was a combination of really good receivers with a quarterback that was dropping it on them."

It was nice to get Camp back, and how do you think he looked? "I thought he looked okay. I thought we missed him a couple of times when we could've gotten it in there to him, but I thought he really played pretty good for having missed over three weeks."

"It will be nice to have him back full-speed and healthy and getting a full [week of] practice under his belt. Hopefully by the time we play BC we'll have Camp full-speed."

Did you feel like it had to be a low-scoring game for you to win? "No, what I had hoped for was turnovers. Defensively we forced three turnovers last week, and I was hopeful. Down in Death Valley last year we had our hands on a bunch of footballs and didn't come up with all of them, but we played better pass-defense last year against these guys and I was hopeful that if we were able to win the turnover the battle that might lead to a couple of short scores."

"I didn't think we could 16 points like we did at Virginia and win tonight. I thought we had to have some points on the board, but I was hopeful that our defense would be a little bit more opportunistic. We went into the game knowing that they had big-play potential, so we coached it and talked about it all week. I don't know how many big throws they had, but it was at least a handful of homerun type throws."

Wake Forest inside linebacker Riley Haynes

What happened on the five straight touchdown drives they made in the first half? What did you see there, Riley? "First off we knew that it was a great offense with great players, really dynamic receivers and a really good quarterback and I thought we got a little bit flustered after a few scores and weren't able to weather the storm at that time, but that's a credit to them. You can't give up big plays to those wide receivers, because they're going to make you pay, which is exactly what they did."

"They had a few big plays on us that kind of got us playing a little bit slower and second-guessing yourself, but you got to be able to weather the storm when the wheels start coming off. I thought we did a better job in the second half, but it was too late at that point. We gave up five straight touchdowns and we came out played pretty well early, but weren't able to slow them down for the middle of the first and second quarter."

Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock

Basically these are the same two teams that met in Death Valley last year, and you guys hung in there really, really good and a matter of fact a lot of people thought you should have won the game. What was the difference this year? "I don't know. The biggest difference we scored more points. The offense had a better game. You can't blame this solely on offense, because there was 42 points put up on us."

"The biggest difference [was] we didn't score as much and I'm not an offensive player [and] I'm not an offensive coach. I can't talk about why we didn't score or how we didn't score, but that was the biggest reason."

"Another big thing that changed this game [was] we didn't have the turnovers. [In] Death Valley we had picks and a fumble and we had good things happening. Defensively we didn't play as well, [or] win the turnover battle and offensively we didn't score as much and those two factors are big factors in winning games and those are the two biggest factors you talk about when you talk about playing a game."

Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro

How helpful are these extra couple of days? "Another week and I'll be good to go, because BC was kind of my plan I was shooting for. It wasn't until afternoon I got my cast off. They said it takes a few days to get your motion back and I got it back in like 30 minutes, so they took me back over to the Doctor's, so I got an MRI and he me the blessing and he worked on it and things like that."

"I was able to catch balls, and he was like, 'If you can catch balls then give it a go.' I was just in shock as everyone else."

How does Tanner keep from getting frustrated at least not outwardly when he's getting pounded like that? "He keeps his head up. We know that it starts up front. Those guys were going against Clemson's d-line all night. That was a good group, but he keeps his head up. He's always staying positive."

"I talked to him right after the game, and he said that we got to get back for BC, we got to get these six wins, so he's staying upbeat, but I'm sure it's frustrating. At any position, for a receiver if I were dropping balls that would be frustrating, so I'm sure he's a little frustrated back there, but everybody is in a game like this when you lose 42-13."

"We talked about some things after the game that I can't tell you about, because you'll see it next week when play Boston College. We're pretty excited for next week. We're going to bounce back."

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney

Opening statement: "Thursday is what we call a 'Team Thursday' and that was the epitome of what today was. It was a great team win, all phases. We did some good things. We talk about holding the opponent to 17 points or less and we feel like when we do that we have a great chance to win a lot of games. That's two weeks in a row we've been able to do that. But, it was a great job by the team and our staff and it was good to get a win on Thursday night. Everybody has been reminding me all week that Clemson is 1-9 on Thursday night games. So maybe we can start a new tradition now of winning those games."

On the passing game: "They gave us man coverage and some one-on-one matchups, playing some quarters and some one defense. We just took advantage of it. Early in the game we threw a ball to Sammy [Watkins] and Tajh missed it and threw the ball a little too far outside. That play set up the first touchdown. We came back and ran the come back off of that and he just broke the tackle. That's what happens when you have one guy playing one guy and you don't make the tackle. It's a big play. We came back and ran a crosser, and the safety bit down on the end cut and we had a post route which was a big play. We just made the plays that presented themselves and took advantage."


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