NCF Nation: Chad Hedlund

Wake Forest season preview

August, 21, 2014

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Previewing the 2014 season for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons:

Key returners: WR Tyree Harris, LB Brandon Chubb, SS Ryan Janvion, CB Kevin Johnson, CB Merrill Noel, P Alexander Kinal, K Chad Hedlund

Key losses: QB Tanner Price, RB Josh Harris, WR Michael Campanaro, DT Nikita Whitlock, LB Mike Olson

Instant impact newcomer: First-year coach Dave Clawson hopes the biggest impact comes from freshman John Wolford, who was recently named the Demon Deacons’ starting quarterback. Wolford had a solid offer sheet coming out of high school, as Mississippi State and Penn State both recruited the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Jacksonville, Florida, native. Clawson ideally won’t have to ask too much of his quarterback, but he will need to find a viable running back to ease the pressure off Wolford.

[+] EnlargeKevin Johnson
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonWake Forest will rely on its veteran players this season, including senior cornerback Kevin Johnson.
Most important 2014 games: Aug. 28 at Louisiana-Monroe, Nov. 15 at NC State, Nov. 29 at Duke

Projected win percentage: 30 percent

Over/under Vegas odds:

Best-case scenario for 2014: Clawson knows he has a serious rebuilding project at Wake Forest, and he will not be judged on how the Demon Deacons fare in his inaugural season. There is an opportunity for a few early wins before conference play begins, though. The opener against Louisiana-Monroe won’t be easy, as the Warhawks have been a solid Sun Belt team of late. But Wake Forest also plays Gardner-Webb and Army in the nonconference. If Wake can get to three wins and Wolford shows promise, this will be a good first season for Clawson.

Worst-case scenario: No one would be shocked if the Demon Deacons did not pick up a single win, which would mean they had an ugly loss to Gardner-Webb. Even if Wake Forest goes winless, Clawson is playing for the future. If Wolford doesn’t progress throughout the season, that could be the biggest setback to Wake’s future.

They said it: “We will try and redshirt players, but if a freshman gives us the best chance to win, we’re going to play him. It’s not fair to the juniors and the seniors in the program to make a decision based on what’s best five years from now. He gives us the best chance to win, so we will now prepare him as our starting quarterback.” -- Clawson

ACC helmet stickers: Week 8

October, 21, 2012
Here are your top five performers from Week 8:

Duke: The Blue Devils are going bowling for the first time since 1994. They did it with an improbable 33-30 come-from-behind win against rival North Carolina, the program's first win against North Carolina since 2003. It was also Duke's first home victory in the series since 1998. Sean Renfree threw the game-winning touchdown on fourth down with 13 seconds remaining. It was a wild game with a fantastic finish, and will keep Duke relevant beyond October for the first time in almost two decades. Duke is leading the Coastal Division standings.

Wake Forest kicker Chad Hedlund: In a game that lacked offense, Hedlund was the Deacs' top scorer. The redshirt freshman attempted and made his first career field goal at the end of the first half, giving the Deacons a 10-7 lead. The kick was 22 yards. He then made his second field goal, a 44-yarder, on the opening drive of the second half. Hedlund made a third field goal, a 24-yarder, with 4:15 to play in the third. That is the first three field goal game for the Deacons since Jimmy Newman made three fields in the 2011 season opener at Syracuse.

Clemson free safety Jonathan Meeks: He had two interceptions in the second quarter of the Tigers' 38-17 win over Virginia Tech, including one he returned 74 yards for a touchdown. It was the first interception return for a touchdown since last season when Kourtnei Brown took one 20 yards against North Carolina, and it was the longest return by a Clemson player since 2006. Meeks also became the first Clemson player to have two interceptions in a game since 2009 when DeAndre McDaniel had two interceptions against Miami.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson: Give the man some credit. He fired his defensive coordinator, moved his defensive assistants around, and dominated Boston College in a 37-17 win on Saturday. Talk about a productive bye week. The Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak, finished with 563 yards and held the ball for more than 43 minutes.

Florida State running back Devonta Freeman. Chris Thompson had carried the bulk of the rushing load for the Seminoles this season, so when he got hurt early against Miami, Florida State was forced to turn to a familiar face. Freeman delivered, running for 70 yards and two decisive fourth-quarter touchdowns in the 33-20 victory. After going three straight weeks with no carries while trying to overcome a family tragedy, he has now delivered back-to-back 70-yard games. He was the big difference late against Miami.