Timothy Valshtein/Old Gold & Black
Timothy Valshtein/Old Gold & Black

Clawson needs to stick to one quarterback

Four interceptions in the second half is going to lead to a loss, whether it’s Division I college or high school football. That’s what happened in Wake Forest’s 20-19 loss to Louisville on Oct. 30.

“When you have four turnovers in the second half, you don’t give yourself a chance against anybody,” head coach Dave Clawson said. “We threw two in the red zone in a tight area, and it was a one-point football game.”

With both quarterbacks — sophomore John Wolford and freshman Kendall Hinton struggling, the question becomes: Who should be starting?

Both played extensively in last week’s game, and throughout the season, and both have played well at different points.

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After the game, Hinton said the constant quarterback switching has not bothered him.

“I just trust in Coach Clawson’s game plan and just know that we’re going to change offenses as different quarterbacks go in different situations,” Hinton said. “I felt fine.”

Even if Clawson uses the bye week to chose one quarterback to play, each one’s relative lack of size (both are listed at 205 pounds or less) could mean they will continue to struggle with injuries.

That means the quarterback version of musical chairs could persist. For Hinton, advantage is obvious: his legs. Wolford has 74 rushing yards on the season and 70 of those yards came on his touchdown run in the season-opening 41-3 win over Elon.

Meanwhile, Hinton is effectively the team’s best running back. He leads it in carries (82), yards (316) and touchdowns (6).

Both quarterbacks, however, would have

better rushing stats if sacks were not counted as rushes in college football.

Wolford’s advantage is just as clear in statistics, though. His completion percentage is almost eight percentage points higher, his yards per attempt is nearly 2.5 yards farther and he has seven touchdowns to eight interceptions.

Hinton has three touchdowns to five interceptions.

The sophomore’s passing stats are not remarkable. Nonetheless, he has a clear advantage there statistically. That is a difficult argument to make, however, when Wolford is coming off a three-interception second half.

And on each interception, there was a lack of severe pressure. There was some, but Louisville did not hit him on

any of the three plays.

“The defense played really good, and when we got the ball we turned it over,” Wolford said. “We really should have won that game. I think we just gave it away. We just want to win.”

Then in the same game, Hinton violated one of the basic rules as a quarterback.

On third and seven with a 19-17 lead in the third quarter, Hinton darted out of the pocket to the right.

As Louisville’s defender’s closed in on him, he threw the ball across his body.

The result was predictable: an interception.

“I probably shouldn’t have thrown that, should have just thrown it out of bounds,” Hinton said. “We really set them up for better field position. I don’t want to say it’s an immature play, but it’s just something I’ve got to grow from.”

That play was both a terrible decision and throw by Hinton. Wolford’s fourth quarter interception when wide receiver K.J. Brent was in single coverage was a good a decision, but a bad throw.

“We had what we wanted,” Wolford said. “They rolled a one, so that is a play where if we get our one-on-one matchup, I’m trying to throw a jump ball. The decision was fine, but the ball was not good. Louisville’s defender made a good play. I wish we could get some throws back.”

To often there have been throws that one wants to take back.

“As quarterbacks, we’ve just got to make plays because everybody’s relying on us to put it in the end zone,” Hinton said.

The true freshman quarterback can make plays with both his arm and legs, though. While he may not pass the ball as well as Wolford does, Wake Forest at the very least has its best “running back” in the game when he plays.

And with the offensive lack having trouble blocking, it make sense to keep him in the game more often.

After all, he does give a tangible boost to the running game.

But when you watch Hinton holding onto the ball too long turn into sacks, the picture becomes muddled once again.

Both players have flashed potential, but as the old adage goes, if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.

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