Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson is going to have his eyes all over the place this week. He has a football game to prep for while he is keeping an eye on the Weather Channel. Wake Forest is preparing for Florida State while watching Hurricane Ian and its impact on Florida.
Wake Forest Is Preparing For Florida State And The Weather
The weather issue is a fluid situation. On Tuesday night, Florida State issued a written statement saying it was tracking the storm and anticipated the Wake Forest game would go off as scheduled at 3:30 pm local time on Saturday. This came just hours after the school announced it had canceled all classes for Thursday and Friday, as well as the weekend’s homecoming events.
At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Clawson made it clear that he is preparing his Demon Deacons as though there will be the game as scheduled Saturday. He said to do anything else would be to put his team at a disadvantage. But he also said his team’s safety and well-being are his top priority when looking at the looming hurricane. “You hope the ACC office makes the right decision,” Clawson said. “If they don’t, we will.” Clawson said the decision is in the hands of the conference and Florida State. If they decide the game can’t be played, there is no need for input from Wake Forest.
Wake Waits To Be Heard
If they determine the game should go on, Wake will make its own determination on the feasibility. Clawson said they need to study the viability of the charter flight into Tallahassee. There is also the condition of the hotel, and whether there is running water, electricity, and the ability to feed the players and staff to consider. “We absolutely want to play, but only if it’s safe and appropriate,” Clawson said Tuesday.
One of the things the city will presumably evaluate is the resources that go into a game. First responders like police and medics are required for the game to be hosted on campus. Depending upon the impact of the hurricane on the city, those resources may be needed elsewhere.
There was a period of time when a decision to move the game to a drier and safer location could have been made. But as we approach Wednesday afternoon, that window is quickly closing. At this point, everything points to Florida State keeping the game as is.
While Clawson and his team play the waiting game from the weather experts, and the ACC and Florida State, he has a game to prepare for.
Regrouping After A Tough Loss
The first order of business is regrouping the team mentally and emotionally after a heartbreaking loss to Clemson in double overtime last weekend. The Demon Deacons had their best chance in years to end the 14-year Clemson winning streak over Wake Forest. The post-game emotions from players ranged from hurt to anger.
Clawson stuck with his 24-hour policy. He gave his players a day to get through their emotions and analysis on what worked and did not work from Saturday, before pushing forward to what is next.
“They were gutted. The whole football team was gutted. That was a hard loss,” Clawson said. He said he would take dealing with that as opposed to players who had no emotion after investing so much of themselves in the week of preparation.
A Vastly Improved Florida State Team
The turnaround and re-focus are needed in order to face a Florida State team that at 4-0 is vastly improved over last season. “The next challenge is a very daunting one,” Clawson said referring to the Seminoles. He said Florida State coach Mike Norvell has done as good of a job as anyone in the country of blending players that he inherited when he took over the program with players from the transfer portal. “They’re playing with a different energy this year. They’re playing with a different confidence and a different sense of purpose,” Clawson said.
Florida State caught the country’s attention when they beat LSU 24-23 in week one of the season. The Seminoles are 2-0 in ACC play already having beaten Louisville and Boston College. Quarterback Jordan Travis has shot up to a 66% completion rate this season. “He can create, and he keeps his eyes down the field. With so many of their explosive plays, you don’t get him down and he keeps his eyes down the field,” Clawson noted. He favorably compared Travis to his own high-caliber quarterback, Sam Hartman.
The Wake Forest quarterback is now ninth in the country in passing efficiency at 183.7. Travis is 20th in the nation at a 169.1 rating.
Seminoles Anticipate Wake Forest Tempo
Norvell said his Seminoles played the most complete game they have played all season in their 44-14 route of Boston College last week. Florida State put up 530 yards of total offense with Travis completing passes to eight different receivers. The FSU defense held BC to only 235 yards of offense.
Norvell also acknowledged the competition level steps up significantly with Wake Forest up next. “Wake is going to play as fast as anyone that we play,” he said earlier this week. “They are going to push the tempo, so we are going to have to be on point with our communication. We are going to have to make sure we are playing with great fundamentals.”
Defensively, the Demon Deacons will be without linebacker Eldrick Robinson II. He will be out for the rest of the season with an undisclosed injury. Clawson said defensive back Brendon Harris is recovering well from his hand surgery. He could return sooner than the original six to eight-week time frame that was originally given after he was injured in the Liberty game.
Fluid Storm Situation
As of the publication of this article, Hurricane Ian has taken a path that is more southern and to the east. We got a statement from National Weather Service in Tallahassee. It read in part, “Confidence has grown that impacts for the tri-state area will be limited as Ian has tracked south.” There is still a concern for tropical storm force winds which would put power lines in potential danger. The expectation for storm surges has gone down but has not been eliminated. “Leon County is preparing for this to be a dangerous and powerful storm regardless of where it makes landfall. And as always, our operational preparedness is extensive,” said the statement released to us by Leon County Emergency Management overnight Tuesday.