CHARLOTTE-- Wake Forest defensive lineman Wendell Dunn and tight end Cam Serigne spoke at the ACC Kickoff about their expectations for the Deacons program in 2017 and the rebuilding job done by head coach Dave Clawson.
Q. Just what can you say about having a new defensive coordinator and learning under him, just what your takeaways have been so far?WENDELL DUNN: Having a new defense, I was kind of skeptical about it at first, but Coach Sawvel came in and made everybody extremely comfortable. He had a meeting with us and told us everything, and we've been in the new defense for some time now, and it's going pretty well. We're excited about it.
Q. You're sort of the old man on the roster these days. What have you learned throughout your time at Wake, and what's the outlook that you have going into your last year?
WENDELL DUNN: One thing I've learned was to truly trust the process. You know, Coach Clawson came in my freshman year, and he was saying that: The process, the process, the process. And I was like, come on, man, like really? But now it's unfolded like crazy for me. I preach that to the freshmen all the time, tell them, man, just trust the coaches and they'll have your best interests, and don't fight it, because the sooner you just let it happen and do what you're told and buy in, it unfolds.
Q. I think it's safe to say that in much of Coach Clawson's tenure, the defense has been ahead of the offense. The offense has gotten better a lot over the last two years. You go against these guys every day in practice. What's different about the offense that you go against now versus what you went against two years ago?
WENDELL DUNN: Our offense, their confidence has skyrocketed like crazy. I don't like it, but it's great. It's going to be great for us. We're out there, and they're confident. They're running their plays. They do what they have to do, and we go against them every day, and it's like, man, these dudes -- I'm extremely excited about our offense. I just can't wait to see them. I tell them every day, I can't wait to see y'all out there in action.
Q. I just wanted to ask you, with the way this team has made strides going to your first bowl game, you're now having guys being put on watch lists, do you sort of feel like this program has turned a corner and people are starting to recognize that this is a team in the ACC that they're going to be hearing some noise from in the future?
WENDELL DUNN: Yes, I do. And the thing about that is people doubt us a lot, you know. I don't know if you guys heard the saying little old Wake Forest, but it's a true saying. Everybody thinks that about us. When we talk about beating the top teams, people look at you like you're crazy, and the thing about us right now is we embrace that. We like to say that and for you to look crazy, because once we do it, you'll look crazy then, and it's just something that we embrace. We talk about it all the time as being -- and we take that, and that's our motivation. We want people to doubt us. We want the other teams to doubt us. We want them to think, oh, it's just Wake Forest we're playing, so when we get out there and we punch them in the mouth, and come off that field with that win, then it's like you just let little old Wake Forest do what they have to do.
Q. How frustrating is it for you when you come to something like this and all you hear from everybody is Clemson this, Clemson that or Florida State this, Florida State that?
WENDELL DUNN: It's not frustrating at all. I mean, we expect it, and it's actually motivation. It's so much motivation. It's, hey, come in and talk like we're the underdogs, and at the end of the day, it's our motivation. That's our fuel. I go back -- the players are going to be like how was it? You tell them, man, same ol'. They talk about this and they talk about that, but we know what we got to do. We grind every day, day in and day out. Even on days that's supposed to be off-days, we come in and we grind and we work hard and we keep preaching that if we keep working hard and do what we've got to do, it's going to happen.
Q. Cam, you heard your teammate touch on the offense. Is this the year that we start seeing this offense make a few more explosive plays, maybe take strides where the defense doesn't have to carry a bulk of the load this year?
CAM SERIGNE: Definitely our goal this year. I look around our offense. We're more experienced than we've ever been. We have more playmakers than we've ever had, and there's way more excitement around the guys, and I really truly have high expectations and high hopes for our offense this year.
Q. Cam, can you just speak on navigating through the two-quarterback system and what you've taken away from both of your quarterbacks so far?
CAM SERIGNE: Yeah, we have two great quarterbacks in John and Kendall, and they both bring positives to the table. So as the rest of us, we've just got to work with both of them equally and stay with them both and support them, and at the end of the day, whoever is the best man will come out on top and we'll support them 100 percent.
Q. Cam, this time next year, who are the young guys that we're going to be talking about? Who in 2017 do you think will shine?
CAM SERIGNE: You know, Cade Carney, who kind of broke out into the spotlight last year. He's going to be a horse for us again. You know, between the O-linemen we've got Ryan and Justin Herron, Phil Haynes. You've got to give love, they worked their butts off and O-linemen don't always get all the credit they deserve.As far as receivers go, you have Tabari Hines and a few others. So we have a lot of guys who are going to see their name pop up more often.
Q. Cam, Syracuse, one of the wins you guys got last year was pretty much in a hurricane against Syracuse. What do you remember from that game, and how much of a character builder was that for this program?
CAM SERIGNE: Yeah, it was definitely a wet one. A lot of rain, a lot of wind, I remember, just a battle in the trenches, a lot of run game, and it was a good fight.