Before Coach Dave Clawson delivered harsh words about his Wake Forest football team after Saturday’s 63-3 loss to Clemson, he appeared to be delivering harsh words to referees near the Deacons’ sideline in the first half.
Asked to elaborate on what in particular was bothering him so much, Clawson declined to get specific during the ACC coaches’ teleconference this week — though he did say he talked with the ACC’s supervisor of football officials, Dennis Hennigan.
“It was an issue that I addressed with the supervisor of officials on Monday, and he agreed with my perspective on it,” Clawson said, “and there was a situation in the game that wasn’t handled the way it should have been.”
While Clawson declined to name the situation, it is presumed that the issue was Clemson’s band playing while the Deacons’ offense was trying to communicate before snaps. Several times on ESPN’s broadcast of the game, Clawson was shown yelling at officials, and a few of those times he was gesturing toward the area of the stands where Clemson’s band was performing.
Hennigan wasn’t available for comment, and the ACC also declined to go into specifics of what his conversation with Clawson was about.
Because Wake Forest’s offense operates as such a fast rate, pre-snap communication is of the utmost importance. While examining the reasons for a 60-point blowout obviously goes far beyond the Deacons’ ability to communicate effectively on offense, it was a situation during the competitive portion of the game that clearly concerned Clawson.
Wake Forest (3-3, 0-2 ACC) trailed 28-0 at the end of the first half and was limited to 77 total yards. The Deacons finished with a season-low 249 yards of offense, the lowest total since the last time Wake Forest played a home game against Clemson — 198 yards in a 35-13 loss on Nov. 19, 2016.
“I knew it, and it was allowed to keep happening, and eventually it got fixed but not the way it should have or when it should have,” Clawson said. “You know, so again, that was — I wasn’t happy with it. I expressed that the whole first quarter.
“It eventually got fixed, but it was not — it wasn’t handled the way it should have been procedurally from their end … I had a good talk with Dennis Hennigan, and he agreed, so we’re moving forward.”