Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Wake Forest radio announcer Tommy Elrod fired for giving game prep docs to Wake opponents since 2014

15 Comments

Wake Forest radio announcer and former Wake Forest football player Tommy Elrod had been supplying game prep information to opponents since 2014, a Wake Forest investigation concluded. The investigation started after it had become suspicious of Louisville allegedly gaining an advantage at halftime of a game between the two ACC schools late in the regular season. The cause for alarm was a result of Wake Forest discovering Louisville had left behind some documents from Wake Forest’s game prep materials that were left behind at Louisville’s stadium. But who would have known the source of the infiltration would be an inside job like this?

A statement from Wake Forest says the investigation was not limited to the questionable game against Louisville and came to the following conclusions:

  • Based on emails, text messages and phone records, Tommy Elrod, a radio announcer for Wake Forest football games, provided or attempted to provide confidential and proprietary game preparations on multiple occasions, starting in 2014.
  • No members of the Wake Forest athletic department, football staff or players were involved in any way in these actions.

“I have known Tommy Elrod since his days as a player on our football team,” a statement from Wake Forest Director of Athletics Ron Wellman said via email. “I’m deeply disappointed that he would act against Wake Forest, our football team and our fans in such a harmful manner by compromising confidential game preparation information.”

“I am extremely disappointed that our confidential and proprietary game preparation was compromised,” Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson said in a statement. “It’s incomprehensible that a former Wake Forest student-athlete, graduate-assistant, full-time football coach, and current radio analyst for the school, would betray his alma mater. We allowed him to have full access to our players, team functions, film room, and practices. He violated our trust which negatively impacted our entire program. I am glad we have taken steps to ensure it will not happen in the future.”

Elrod played for Wake Forest from 1993 through 1997. He later joined the coaching staff as a graduate assistant under former head coach Jim Grobe. He remained on the staff in various positions for the next 11 seasons but was not kept on the staff by Clawson when he was hired by the university. Elrod moved on to do radio for IMG Radio Network in 2014 to cover Wake Forest football. He has now been terminated from that position, and Wake Forest has now banned him from the entire athletics program and its facilities.

CFT 2015 Preseason Preview: ACC Predictions

9 Comments

The ACC is starting to gain some confidence as a conference based on success in recent seasons. Florida State won a BCS title and Clemson defeated Ohio State in the Orange Bowl two postseasons ago. Last year the Seminoles were invited to the College Football Playoff and Georgia Tech topped the SEC’s Cinderella team from Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl, and Clemson smacked Oklahoma up and down the field in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The ACC will work the numbers to their liking to prove they are among the elite power conferences right now, but the numbers can just as easily tell a different story as well. Regardless, things look to be lining up for a fun season in the ACC with Clemson a preseason favorite of many, Florida State likely to remain in the hunt and Louisville proving to be a tough out. And then there is the ACC Coastal Division, where mediocrity across the division makes for another wide-open division race this fall.

Let’s put my money where my mouth is and go on the record with some predictions for the ACC this season. Feel free to hold me accountable at the end of the season when these surely go wrong.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

1. Florida State (Last year: 13-1, lost to Oregon in College Football Playoff semifinal)
Florida State has entered the stage of program development where it is appropriate to suggest the program is reloading, rather than rebuilding. The Florida State offense returns just three starters from last year’s squad, but it does add Notre Dame transfer quarterback Everett Golson. With Dalvin Cook recently being found not guilty of battery charges, he should remain a featured asset in Florida State’s offense . Getting at Louisville in Tallahassee will be key, but the road game at Clemson could prove difficult. I have Florida State, Clemson and Louisville all ending the season with identical division records and splitting game sin the three-way head-to-head. This one comes down to the 27th ACC division tiebreaker, which may end up in Florida State’s favor when all is said and done.

2. Clemson (Last year: 10-3, beat Oklahoma in Russell Athletic Bowl)
The Clemson Tigers are returning perhaps the top quarterback in the conference with Deshaun Watson. Many are already pegging him as a strong Heisman Trophy contender, and having one of the top wide receiving units in the ACC will certainly help his case. The offensive line returns just two starters from last season though, and the entire offense has just four returning starters. The defense is in even more of a shaky ground with a pair of starters back in 2015. But place some trust in Brent Venables to have the defense up to speed enough to work things out along the way. An early Thursday night game at Louisville could be tricky, and the final game of the regular season at South Carolina is rarely easy. But Clemson gets Florida State at home in Week 10, by which most of Clemson’s concerns could very well have been put to rest.

3. Louisville (Last year: 9-4, lost to Georgia in Belk Bowl)
Another team that has a bunch of starters to replace, Louisville returns just seven starters from last season’s team. And things could very well get off to a bumpy start with Auburn in the season opener and Clemson just a couple of weeks later. But I think they manage to split those games, winning the important ACC Atlantic Division match-up on Thursday night in Week 3. The addition of defensive end Devonte Fields should be a really good addition to the defensive line. Louisville’s defense should be very good, and perhaps one of the best in the ACC, but the secondary will have to step up and make some plays if Louisville is going to make the kind of noise I expect from them this season.

4. Boston College (Last year: 7-6, lost to Penn State in Pinstripe Bowl)
Boston College is going to be one of those teams that gives opponents a tough game, but ultimately will not have enough offense to make the Eagles any serious threat in the ACC. The defense can hold its own, but Steve Addazio has just three returning starters this season. None of them are on the offensive line. I suspect Boston College will try trusting the running game with Jon Hilliman capable of going for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Things may very well improve at Boston College as the season progresses, but there is a brutal stretch that includes back-to-back road games at Clemson and Louisville and that is followed by a home game against Virginia Tech. Playing Notre Dame in Fenway Park late in the year should be interesting as well. Boston College should have what it takes to go bowling, and a return trip to the Pinstripe Bowl may not be unlikely.

5. North Carolina State (Last year: 8-5, beat UCF in St. Petersburg Bowl)
North Carolina State is a team many people think is capable of making some noise in the ACC this season, and they very well could. The reason is the Wolfpack return seven starters on offense and seven more on defense. If experience is the key, no team in the ACC Atlantic Division has more of it heading into the 2015 season. There is not one thing NC State does exceptionally well, but they are pretty well-rounded in all areas of the game. Jacoby Brisset is back to start at quarterback, after helping the team improve dramatically last season. Now we will see if he is capable of taking NC State to the next step forward. The Wolfpack should get off to a good start with a favorable schedule, but I’m seeing some bumps in the road once they get into ACC play. NC State gets Louisville and Clemson at home, which is good and easily a recipe for potential upset alerts. I still will go with the favorites for now.

6. Syracuse (Last year: 3-9)
It looks to be a long season at Syracuse. The move to the ACC has not shown much improvement in the recruiting game under Scott Shafer, who could very well be coaching for his job this season. Syracuse could get off to a quick 3-0 start this season, but even that might be difficult. Then LSU comes to the dome in Week 4. Syracuse will get a bye after the big game with the LSU Tigers, and a road trip to USF comes after that, but then ACC play resumes and Syracuse’s next win may not come until 2016 at that point.

7. Wake Forest (Last year: 3-9)
If you thought Syracuse had it rough, take a look at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will be a young team in 2015, giving head coach Dave Clawson some more expected growing pains this fall. Wake Forest could get off to a 2-1 start with wins over Elon and Army (losing to Syracuse), but it will be a long stretch of demoralization after that. If Wake Forest manages to get to four wins to improve on last season’s win total, that should be considered a solid victory for Clawson and company.

COASTAL DIVISION

1. Virginia Tech (Last year: 7-6, beat Cincinnati in Military Bowl – they also beat Ohio State, in case you forgot)
Virginia Tech has the best defense in the ACC this season, and that should be enough to push the Hokies ahead fo the rest of the seemingly always up-for-grabs Coastal Division. The biggest question for Virginia Tech is whether or not the offense can avoid giving it away. Having Marshawn Williams back and healthy at running back should help. I look for the Hokies to give Ohio State a respectable fight in the Labor Day season opener, bu the Buckeyes leave with revenge after last season’s meeting in Columbus. From there, things look good for Virginia Tech with no Clemson, Florida State or Louisville on the schedule. Pittsburgh and UNC are both at home too. The schedule and defense should come in handy this season in Blacksburg.

2. North Carolina (Last year: 6-7, lost to Rutgers in Quick Lane Bowl)
No offense in the ACC returns as many starters this season than the North Carolina Tar Heels. A total of 10 starters are back for UNC, including a healthy Marquise Williams at quarterback, but how much will he have to carry the offense this season? In addition to being the leading passer, Williams is also UNC’s leading returning rusher from a year ago (788 yards, 13 touchdowns). I’d like to see others take some of the pressure off Williams to do everything if UNC is going to make a serious run to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. Looking at the schedule, I see real potential for a possible 7-0 start, but I also see the possibility of a rough finish to the season. That would seem to be the opposite of what happened last season after UNC closed on a hot streak to overcome a dismal start to the season.

3. Pittsburgh (Last year: 6-7, lost to Houston in Armed Forces Bowl)
I seem to have said this the past couple of years and I will do so once more; Why not Pitt? Pat Narduzzi takes over the Pittsburgh program and that should help lock things down on defense, with seven returning starters. The former Michigan State defensive coordinator also inherits some of the top offensive players in the ACC with wide receiver Tyler Boyd and running back James Conner, but it will be up to quarterback Chad Voytik to keep things moving consistently for the Panthers. If the Panthers can get off to better than a 2-2 start (as I predict), they could make a run in the wide open division.

4. Miami (Last year: 6-7, lost to South Carolina in Independence Bowl)
Another year, another season of wondering if this could possibly be the year Miami finally plays in the ACC Championship Game. They have yet to do so since leaving the Big East to provide the ACC with more football balance, and it looks as though this could be another season that sees early promise and hype ultimately fizzle out in an up-and-down second half of the season. They have the quarterback in Brad Kaaya, but do they have the ability to pull it together everywhere else? I have Miami getting out to a nice little 4-0 start before visiting Florida State in Week 6. From there it should be on-off-on-off for the Hurricanes. That could put head coach Al Golden on as hot a seat as possible at the end of the season.

5. Georgia Tech (Last year: 11-3, beat Mississippi State in Orange Bowl)
The formula for Georgia Tech’s success never seems to change, although the effectiveness of it seems to have mixed results. Paul Johnson‘s offensive style picked up 11 wins last season and gave Florida State one of many close calls last season in the ACC Championship Game. Playing in this wide open division, you can easily make a case for Georgia Tech to make a return trip to Charlotte at the end of the season, and a steady defense helps support that argument. I just think there are some tough battles ahead this season with a road trip to Notre Dame followed by ACC contests against Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Pittsburgh and Florida State all in a row. That can be a tough stretch for the Yellow Jackets, as could the final two games of the season, at Miami and home against Georgia. Georgia Tech will still be a decent team, but they may skate on thin ice en route to the postseason.

6. Virginia (Last year: 5-7)
Virginia has had a rough stretch under Mike London, and this might be the final straw for the head coach if things do not show potential moving forward. Unfortunately for London, there may not be much progress shown with a three-win season. Yet, I have them somehow managing to avoid last place and staying ahead of Duke? Strange, I admit, but I think Virginia manages to win a pair of home games in ACC play, against Syracuse and Duke, and that is good enough to sneak just ahead of the Blue Devils in the standings. It may not, however, be enough to assure London a job in Charlottesville next season. Early games against UCLA, Notre Dame and Boise State (and William & Mary) might be rough to watch at times.

7. Duke (Last year: 9-4, lost to Arizona State in Sun Bowl)
Do not be fooled by a last-place finish in the ACC Coastal. As you no doubt have learned by now, I view this division as a wide-open race, and I still predict Duke will be bowl-eligible this year. That will be because Duke has a very favorable schedule this season with likely wins in non-conference play and no Clemson, Florida State or Louisville on the conference schedule. Yet I still see Duke struggling to find much consistency in conference play. David Cutcliffe has done a remarkable job in Durham, but this year’s team may be lacking in enough playmakers outside of safety Jeremy Cash to find enough wins to make a run at the division.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Florida State over Virginia Tech
After coming out on top of a clouded three-team tie in the ACC Atlantic Division, Florida State once again manages to win the ACC championship game for a fourth straight season. As will be the story all season, the Hokies defense keeps them in the game but the offense simply will not have enough firepower to get by a team with as much talent as Florida State. But will this Florida State team have done enough to convince the College Football Playoff selection committee it deserves a second straight invite to the postseason party?

Ex-Wake Forest QB Tyler Cameron on his way to FAU

Leave a comment

The Wake Forest quarterback pool is rather shallow in depth. Tyler Cameron, who was second on the Demon Deacons in passing last season, has left the program and is joining the Florida Atlantic Owls. He does so as a graduate transfer, which seems to be a rather trendy option this offseason. That will make him eligible to play at FAU this season.

“Tyler is intelligent and made use of his athletic ability to earn a degree from Wake Forest in just three years,” FAU coach Charlie Partridge said in a released statement (via Palm Beach Post). “It is that same drive that affords him the opportunity to return home and work toward a post-graduate degree. He will certainly add experience and depth in the quarterback meeting room.”

Cameron actually has two years of eligibility remaining at FAU, thanks to graduating from Wake Forest in just three years. FAU is returning three-year starter Jaquez Johnson, but Cameron will fill out some depth at the position and have time to get adjusted to his new surroundings.

The loss of Cameron also leaves Wake Forest pretty thin at quarterback. At this moment, the official team roster available on the team’s website lists just three quarterbacks; John WolfordKyle Driscoll, and Kendall Hinton. Wolford was Wake Forest’s leading passer last season, as a freshman. Wolford passed for 2,037 yards and 12 touchdowns, but was intercepted 14 times. He is the quarterback Dave Clawson will continue to mold his program around in 2015.

Not surprisingly, most ACC coaches unite against satellite camps

6 Comments

The ACC held spring meetings this week and lo and behold one of the talking points for some coaches centered on the satellite camp debate. As you might imagine, the coaches of the ACC are not exactly on board with the idea of coaches following in the footsteps of James Franklin and Jim Harbaugh. More specifically, they are not in favor of coaches like Franklin or Harbaugh making stops in their territory to work at football camps.

The NCAA allows for coaches to work at football camps beyond the typical 50-mile radius from their home campus so long as they do not advertise their involvement with such a camp, but will be taking a look at the policy and determine how to address it if needed. Penn State’s Franklin and Michigan’s Harbaugh as well as Nebraska’s Mike Riley and their respective coaching staffs are among the more notable coaches reaching out and working camps this summer, and it has not gone unnoticed by coaches from the ACC or SEC. While allowed by the NCAA, the ACC and SEC have conference-wide policies prohibiting its coaches from taking advantage of the same rules. Rather than pressure their conferences to push to release them from recruiting shackles, they would rather see the NCAA step in and slam the door to their opposition.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, in a report by Jared Shanker for ESPN.com, said it may go on in basketball, but football is different.

“We’re not all going out to Las Vegas for a showcase. [Basketball] is a different deal,” Swinney said. “I like that [in] football, right now the high school and college campus are the two places you recruit. We’re against it because, as a conference, we have our conference rule and we like it the way it is.”

Of course, as pointed out in the ESPN story, not every coach in the ACC feels the same way. One dissenter in the ACC crowd is Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson. It may be no coincidence that most of the coaches coming out in opposition of the satellite camp invasion in the south seem to come from programs that have been thriving or have achieved some level of success, while Clawson is looking for every angle he can to turn things around at Wake Forest. If you cannot get the recruits to come check out your program, why not go to them as many ways as possible?

As noted before, the ACC would like to see the NCAA step in and close the supposed loophole in the rule book, but commissioner John Swofford says the conference would be ready to change the way it views the subject if the NCAA does nothing.

Wake Forest lands transferring Gamecocks receiver K.J. Brent

1 Comment

Former South Carolina wide receiver K.J. Brent has apparently found his new football-playing home. Brent took to Twitter Sunday to announce to his followers he will be joining the Wake Forest football program in 2015.

Brent, a former three-star recruit, could have an immediate impact in the Wake offense, with head coach Dave Clawson looking for a little more speed in the passing game. Brent caught just nine passes for 11 yards and a touchdown last season with South Carolina, but he is expected to have a bigger role at Wake Forest. If nothing else, Brent will have a chance to compete for a key role on a team in drastic need of improving the passing game. Wake Forest ranked 12th in the 14-team ACC in passing offense in 2014 with 2,116 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Wake loses two of its top receivers from 2014 (E.J. Scott and Matt James), so there is a chance to slide right into a starting role if all goes well for Brent.

Brent announced his decision to leave South Carolina to pursue of a transfer in late January. Brent will be eligible to play right away this fall for Wake Forest.