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After weekend off Wake Forest focuses on Friday's game with Campbell

After weekend off Wake Forest focuses on Friday's game with Campbell

With an unscheduled weekend off, Wake Forest football coach Dave Clawson didn’t panic or overwork his players.

Instead, the goal was simple: “We just have got to be better,” he said.

Wake Forest was scheduled to play Notre Dame at Truist Field on Saturday, but an outbreak of COVID-19 at Notre Dame caused a postponement until December. Wake's game against Campbell was moved up to Friday, instead of Oct. 9, so that the Deacons wouldn't be off for two weekends in a row.

“From the N.C. State game (a 45-42 loss on Sept. 19) we have some problems we have to get fixed," Clawson said. "A credit to N.C. State and even though that seems like forever ago, there are some things that we obviously need to get corrected.”

The Deacons (0-2) suffered breakdown after breakdown on defense in the shootout loss. Clawson said the Wolfpack created plenty of leverage in the run game, piling up 270 rushing yards, and the Deacons were slow to adjust.

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Kenneth Walker rushed for a career-high 133 yards and scored three touchdowns in the 45-42 loss to N.C. State on Sept. 19.

The Deacons lost their opener to Clemson before losing at State.

“In the one game we couldn’t stop the pass game, and in the other game we couldn’t stop the run game,” said Clawson, whose team is 0-2 for his first time at Wake Forest. “So I don’t know how much we really know. Certainly some things need to be corrected and now we're going to play four games in the next five weeks and then we’ll have another bye week and I’m sure we’ll have a whole different set of problems when we get there. That’s the nature of football. ...

“There are a lot of things at Wake Forest that we have to get better at,” he added. “And on Friday night it will give us a chance to clean some things up.”

Campbell and COVID-19

Campbell announced Friday that it was shutting down campus, also pausing practices for its sports teams, because of an increase in COVID-19 cases on the Harnett County campus.

But Campbell did play its game at Appalachian State, a 52-21 loss on Saturday, and continues to practice this week. Campbell officials haven't responded to questions about why it is permitting the football team to practice and play but not its other teams. 

Clawson said he hadn’t heard anything that might put Friday’s game in jeopardy.

“A lot of people have called off classes throughout the country and they are still playing,” Clawson said. “And calling off classes sometimes gives them a better chance to keep playing. But every indication from Campbell is they were able to play last week, and as far as we know they are not having any issues…. It’s 2020 so I won’t feel good until the thing gets kicked off.”

The Camels will be playing their fourth straight Bowl Championship Subdivision program this fall. The Big South elected to move its conference season to the spring, so Campbell (0-3) scheduled games against Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State. The latter meant a payday of $150,000 for Campbell's athletics budget.

Injury update

Wake Forest, as of Monday, will have no players missing for COVID-19 reasons. More testing is scheduled throughout the week.

“We’re starting to get healthy,” Clawson said. “And as of today we’ve got nobody out with COVID and we hope we are saying that on Friday night and for the first time we’ve just got normal injuries.”

Clawson said that freshman running back Quinton Cooley is out for the season with an injury. Cooley played in the opener against Clemson but Clawson said he’ll need surgery to repair an undisclosed injury.

Also, defensive back Kenneth Dicks, a redshirt sophomore, could play Friday night after battling a pulled muscle.

“I think he’s making progress, and he’s close," Clawson said. "We should definitely have him for Virginia.”

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@johndellWSJ

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