There is an old saying, “If you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.” The Tigers need to look no further than their most recent memory from Winston-Salem for a very important lesson. In 2003, Wake Forest had put Clemson away before the game had reached halftime. A fate the Tigers are not looking to repeat.
“It was bad. It wasn’t as bad, because it didn’t take the whole game. We were out at halftime. Offensively, we played poorly, but the ball bounced the wrong way. You just say it was a freak thing and do not let it happen again,” said quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
Despite the slow start by Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons clearly have the Tigers’ attention.
“They are a good team. They are scrappy, scrappy guys. Their O-line plays hard, their D-line plays hard. They are a good team, you can’t really say much more about them. Their record does not always show it, but they will be one of the hardest fighting teams we will play. They always play us tough. We went in there last year looking to pay them back, and they stuck right with us. I expect the same this year. They are a team that has a lot of heart. We have not blown them out since I have been here, but they have blown us out,” said center Dustin Fry.
The players have also not forgotten the 12,000 Clemson fans, who made the trip to Winston-Salem two years ago. In fact, Fry says letting down the fans was the worst part of the 45-17 point defeat.
“What sticks out the most is we probably had 25,000 fans there. You look at our side and it is all orange, then they have 2 or 3,000 fans on their side. Just letting our fans down, same as Duke last year. That is the worst thing when the fans travel to see you, and they try to make it feel like home, and you get beat like it. It is embarrassing having all the people there for you, and you get killed like that,” said Fry.
Senior cornerback Tye Hill says the loss to Wake Forest was an eye opening experience.
“It was one of the biggest losses I have suffered. There was a lot of things going on after that loss. The media was saying Coach Bowden was might be fired, and after that we went on a winning streak. In a way, I thank Wake Forest because we went to the Peach Bowl that year also. I think they really opened our eyes. We came together as a team. Hopefully, this loss against Boston College will spark us as a team, and we will play well the rest of this season,” said Hill.
History also states that Wake Forest will go as far as Chris Barclay and Micah Andrews will carry them. The Deacons have posted over 500 yards rushing in the last two meetings against the Tigers. The Tigers know it will not be easy to stop the Deacons on Saturday because Barclay and Andrews sit first and second in the conference in rushing.
“It is more about discipline. What can I say the last couple of years, we have not been able to stop the run. I think we have a better scheme for that this year. I think we have been doing pretty good against the run,” said junior defensive end Gaines Adams.
“You have to be really discipline playing against that offense. You can’t read too much, because if you do they will get you everytime,” added senior defensive end Charles Bennett.