Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is coming off a Heisman Trophy-winning season, but some don’t see his skills translating to the NFL.
Earlier this year when Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel was at Sports Illustrated, he wrote a story about the pro prospects of Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (the eventual No. 12 selection of the Houston Texans). In that story, one anonymous ACC coach said Watson had a way better chance of succeeding as a pro than Jackson.
“We played [Watson] and Lamar Jackson, and Jackson has no shot at playing quarterback in the NFL. None,” the coach said. “He can’t make the throws and can’t read coverages. He’s not going to have a chance.”
Jackson heard about that quote and told reporters at Louisville’s media day last week he thought he knew the coach’s identity.
“Yeah, I heard Wake Forest. I heard [it was] the Wake Forest coach,” Jackson said per The Courier-Journal, possibly referencing Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson. “But we won, so I don’t really care.”
The Demon Deacons played Louisville and Clemson in consecutive weeks in 2016 (four other teams — Boston College, Florida State, NC State and Syracuse — also played both teams) so Clawson, or an assistant, could certainly be a possibility. But Clawson says it wasn’t him. Wake Forest even made sure to reach out to Louisville to assure them it was not Clawson.
“This is what’s called fake news,” Clawson said Monday after practice.
Wake Forest officials reached out to to UL Sunday to assure them that Clawson was not responsible for those comments, nor did he believe them to be an accurate representation of Jackson’s ability.
“I never said those things. I have great respect for Lamar Jackson as a football player,” Clawson said. “I think he is one of the elite players not only in the ACC, but in the country. I respect the way he plays the quarterback position, and those comments in no way reflect the respect I have for him. I would never say that.”
This exchange comes on the heels of the bizarre “WakeyLeaks” scandal from last season. If you forgot about that whole thing, Wake Forest radio announcer Tommy Elrod was fired for giving opponents information from the Wake gameplan before games. The Nov. 12 game against Louisville brought the ordeal to Wake Forest’s (and the public’s) attention after “materials left behind by Louisville … that showed the Cardinals were prepared for plays the Demon Deacons had not run before” were discovered.
Louisville later suspended assistant Lonnie Galloway for accepting the gameplan information from Elrod. Louisville said head coach Bobby Petrino didn’t know about Galloway’s communication with Elrod.
“Among the communication were a few plays that were sent and then shared with our defensive staff. None of the special plays were run during the course of the game. Our defense regularly prepares for similar formations every week in their normal game plan,” Louisville AD Tom Jurich said. “Any other information that may have been discussed was nothing that our staff had not already seen while studying Wake Forest in their preparations for the game and the material was not given any further attention.”
It was later revealed that several other teams also received information from Elrod.
So this back-and-forth should ramp up the stakes for the Oct. 28 game between the Cardinals and Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem, huh?
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