There’s only one statistic that Jamie Newman cares about.
Never mind that Wake Forest’s redshirt junior quarterback leads the ACC in total yards per game (356.7) and passing efficiency (168.0). Never mind that Newman is responsible for 22 touchdowns in his seven career starts — trailing only Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger and LSU’s Joe Burrow in that span.
No, the statistic Newman cares about is within those seven career starts.
“Naw, I don’t look at stats. The only important stat is wins. Wins or losses, that’s all that matters to me,” Newman said.
So yes, Newman is aware the Deacons have won six of the seven games, including the past five, that he’s started — a stretch he’ll look to extend with Saturday’s game against visiting Elon at BB&T Field.
“I mean definitely, that’s a great accomplishment, which is also a testament to the guys around me, too,” Newman said of his win-loss record.
This start to Newman’s career is the third-best start to a Wake Forest quarterback’s career. In 2006, Riley Skinner won eight of his first nine starts; in 1979, Jay Venuto won seven of his first eight starts.
Matching Venuto’s start to his Deacons career seems to be well within grasp, as Wake Forest is a four-touchdown favorite against Elon, per Action Network. The Phoenix isn’t a team to be overlooked — there are multiple examples of FCS teams upending FBS teams every year — but it’s a game in which Wake Forest shouldn’t have to worry about things going down to the wire.
At the helm for the Deacons will be Newman, furthering his development as one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC.
“He’s always had the ability to run and scramble, he’s always had a strong arm, he’s always been big and physical, but what he’s done now is he’s worked so hard at his craft,” Coach Dave Clawson said. “He’s taken these physical skills that he has, that (offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Warren) Ruggiero has done a great job developing, and now he’s becoming really good at playing the quarterback position.
“What we ask our quarterback to do isn’t easy; it took John Wolford a while. And Jamie is playing the position extremely well mentally.”
Newman’s physical measurements are easy to hone in on and attribute his success to. Quarterbacks who are 6-4, 230 pounds with agility, and an arm to move the ball downfield on throws and fit passes into tight windows don’t exactly grow on trees.
But Clawson made a point about an aspect of Newman’s game that doesn’t receive as much attention — or credit.
“The characteristic of him that doesn’t get mentioned enough is how smart he is,” Clawson said. “And how well he’s managed two-minute drives for us. And awareness of the first down and when to take a sack and when to scramble and when to throw it away.
“I think that part of his game is what’s really developed and grown.”
The positive part for Newman, and for the Deacons, is that with more and more experience, that part of Newman’s game will continue to develop and grow.