Junior quarterback John Wolford has been a pivotal force in ushering in a new era of Wake Forest football along with head coach Dave Clawson.
Wolford is the first Demon Deacon to have thrown two back-to-back 300 yard games since 2009. He ranks among the Top 10 in school history with a 59.3 percent completion percentage and a 113.6 pass efficiency rating.
Furthermore, he has been named to the ACC Football All American Honors Team every year at Wake Forest, embodying both athletic and academic excellence, two factors essential to our community.
What does it mean for the Wake Forest program to be back in a bowl game for the first time since 2011?
I think it’s extremely important. Going into the season, that was one of the first goals we set out to accomplish, and I think we’ve done a good job preparing for teams week by week.
The fact that we’re at six wins is good, but I don’t think we’re satisfied there. We have to continue to work to get more wins.
Has this season been different from past seasons in terms of weekly preparation?
The team culture is a bit different. First and foremost, we have guys with more experience, and we’ve recruited guys with more talent, which helps across the board. Our preparation in general and the team culture has really changed. The older guys are showing the younger guys how to prepare each week and how much attention to detail it takes to win football games.
We talk about the process, and I think guys see it. We see it in the weight room, in the way we’re practicing and in the fall camp. As we start to play better, it builds confidence and momentum.
I think we’ve done a good job from the offseason to now buliding that.
How much does getting to a bowl mean to you personally?
It means a lot, but it means a lot more for the guys that have been here for a while.
I’m in my third year, and there’s some guys who have been here for five years, so to see that locker room after the game, to see those guys who have put in so much work finally pay off, is really great to see. We’re not satisfied, though. I don’t want to give the impression that six wins is the whole goal for the season. So it’s exciting to see, but we’re continuing to work to get better.
What has the attitude during practice this week been?
I think we’ve had a really good attitude. You can get caught in a lull after a big win or a big loss during the following week of practice, but the experience of the team has helped, and we know we have good leadership and good captains. This week has been very good; we’re confident and looking forward to playing Louisville.
How have you evolved as a player and a leader throughout your time at Wake Forest?
The quarterback position requires a lot of leadership, and I’m used to that. I’ve played a lot, and I kind of got thrown into the mix my freshman year, which gave me some experience. I know what’s going on, which helps me in terms of leadership and the knowledge of the game. I think I’ve done a good job progressing physically as well, because we have a great strength staff and a great quarterback coach who’s helped me throughout my three years.
How has Coach Clawson transformed this program throughout his three years here so far?
He has done a bunch for the program.
When you look at the amount of facilities that we’re adding, that is very beneficial in terms of attracting recruits, and we have a much better weight room and much more field space.
All that stuff is helpful physically, and he’s really changed the culture too. Across the board, we have guys that have bought in, care about football and really love it, and you’re starting to see that on the field.
What areas of the offense are working well right now, and where is there room for improvement?
I think we ran the ball really well last week, and we’re controlling the ball with our great defense.
We have to limit turnovers, which is something I didn’t do against Army. We’re an inch here from an explosive play that really helps an offense, and we have to get some big plays throwing the football.
I think we’re doing a good job, and we just have to continue to be smart with the football and continue to run it too.
How does preparation change against a strong ACC opponent like Louisville?
We know how good they are, but we try to prepare for each game the same way. Obviously, gameplans change depending on the opponent and how they want to attack you, but we’re confident in what we’re doing.
It’s not like we have to do anything drastically different, so in that regard, there isn’t a huge change.
Do you have a message for the fans after clinching the bowl game?
I appreciate the support and looking forward to seeing you guys at games.