CRAWFORD | Wake's Clawson elaborates on game-plan information fo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Wake's Clawson elaborates on game-plan information found at Louisville

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Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson. AP photo. Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson. AP photo.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In an interview with ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike Friday morning, Wake Forest University football coach Dave Clawson gave his first public description of his staff's discovery of compromised game-plan materials inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium before the Demon Deacons' game against Louisville on Nov. 12.

Clawson said the information was found on cards that were "just laying on our sideline" when the equipment staff arrived a day prior to the game to set up the visiting locker room.

The equipment manager, Clawson said, didn't think much of it, and sat the cards aside until the next day, when he handed them to Wake Forest's offensive coordinator and told him where they'd been found. Clawson said the equipment manager told the coach he didn't think they were any big deal, just a lot of plays Wake Forest runs normally. But it turned out to be more than that.

"Our coordinator flipped through it and there was very, very detailed information there," Clawson said. "Formations that we had never run, alignments, even some of it was even some empty sets that we had never run before, but some of it was even sets we had run but we had flipped personnel. Louisville is an excellent football team, and it was a game that we felt, in order to score points, we had to have some wrinkles in. And all of those wrinkles were right in front of us."

An hour before game time, Clawson said his staff scrapped those wrinkles and wound up running more traditional sets.

"At that point, we knew we had been compromised," he said. "And as a result, a lot of those things we had prepared, we couldn’t run, because we knew they had it."

Wake Forest led the game for three quarters, before Louisville broke the game open late for a 44-12 victory.

In the locker room following the loss, Clawson said his players wanted some answers.

"After the game, our players were upset," he said. "They wanted to know why did we work on all these things and not, why did we practice them all week and not use them? They felt we had not given them the best opportunity to win the game. So we had a team meeting and told them something was compromised, we’re not sure how."

Clawson said the school began an extensive investigation which at first centered around the possibility that the coaches' computers had been hacked. He said that he wasn't happy when word of the investigation got out.

"We did not want that out. We did not want that leaked, because that compromised our own investigation of trying to find out what had happened and how it happened," he said.

In a statement issued after the Wake Forest investigation became public, Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said, "I have no knowledge of the situation. We take a lot of pride in the way we operate our program. As I've stated already this season, my coaching philosophy has always been to play the game with sportsmanship."

On Wednesday, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said that offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway, who has been friends with the Wake Forest radio analyst and former assistant coach who leaked the game plan information, Tommy Elrod, since 2007, got some information from Elrod during game week, but that "none of the special plays were run during the course of the game" and that "our defense regularly prepares for similar formations every week."

Clawson said he wasn't interested in talking about Louisville or any other program.

"Our goal in this wasn’t to implicate other people," he said. "From the second this happened, I viewed this as a Wake Forest problem, that we had somebody that had intimate knowledge of our program, detailed knowledge of our game plans, that was sharing that information. We had to stop that from happening. How other people handled this information is their business, and they’ve bot to make decisions based on what they feel is appropriate or not appropriate."

Clawson acknowledged that coaches are always looking for an edge. But he said he'd never heard of a situation like this one, with a guy who was inside the program, a former assistant coach and player at the school who was at practice, in video sessions, team meetings and other events, peddling detailed information to opponents.

"This type of level of betrayal I’ve never seen before," he said. "It’s hard to imagine somebody on the inside — there’s third-party stuff that happens frequently. If team A played Team B and now Team A is going to play Team C and Team C has a friend on Team B, I think it’s normal for those things to help. But to have somebody on the inside of a program that should be invested in the success of that program giving information to somebody that they’re playing, is just, again, unheard of."

One thing Clawson did reject is the notion that if he didn't run the plays in question, the opponents didn't use the information.

"Whether they used them or not, the fact that they had information, stuff we prepared and really weren’t able to use because we knew they had it, whether we used it or not it is immaterial," he said. "The fact that we knew that they had it, we couldn’t use it. So why are we going to run a play, that’s a unique play, that we know the team has already prepared for?"

Elrod was subsequently removed from his position as Wake Forest radio analyst and resigned his job with Verger Capital Management, a company Wake Forest spun off from its endowment investment office in 2014.

A Louisville source has told WDRB News that Jurich continues to examine this situation as more information becomes available to him.

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