- Timothy D. Easley/AP
The WakeyLeaks rabbit hole just keeps going deeper and deeper and now we are starting to get a better sense of which schools were involved and how the scandal impacted the Wake Forest team.
On Friday, Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson was a guest on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” and went into great detail about the scandal. Of particular interest is Clawson’s explanation for how they first found out that plays had been leaked and how much that leak impacted their team in one of their biggest games of the season.
According to Clawson, on the Friday before their game against then-sixth-ranked Louisville, equipment managers found cards on the field, but “didn’t think much of it.” However, the morning of the game, those cards were presented to the offensive coordinator.
“Our offensive coordinator flipped through it and there was very, very detailed information there,” Clawson said. “Formations we had never run. Alignments we had never run. Some of it was some empty-sets we had never run before, but some of it was even sets we had run but we had flipped personnel.”
In a statement released on Wednesday by Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, he dismissed the idea that they had gained an advantage, saying, “our defense regularly prepares for similar formations every week in their normal game plan,” and “any other information that may have been discussed was nothing that our staff had not already seen while studying Wake Forest.”
Jurich also noted that “none of the special plays were run during the course of the game.”
Clawson confirmed this, but also noted that this is what hurt his team the most. He also noted that he did not notify his players before the game, leading to some bitterness among the players afterwards.
“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. All of those wrinkles [were on those cards]. At that point, we knew we had been compromised. As a result, a lot of those things that we had prepared, we couldn’t run because we knew they had it. After the game, our players were upset. They wanted to know ‘Why did we work on all these things? Why did we practice all these things and not use them?’ They were upset. They felt that we did not give them the best opportunity to win the game.”
It was not until after the game that Clawson informed the players that something had been compromised. He explained that he did not want the news to get out because they feared it would make finding the culprit more difficult.
In addition to Louisville confirming that they received “a few plays,” Army and Virginia Tech have come forward and confirmed that Wake Forest has informed them that information may have been passed to their assistants.
Wake Forest told Sports Illustrated it had notified “all the schools identified in our investigation.” Of the remaining 13 schools that played at least one game against Wake Forest during the 2014-16 seasons, 12 have said they have not been contacted.
The one remaining school is Indiana, who is yet to confirm either way. However, they do have something in common with the three schools already confirmed to be part of the investigation – Indiana had an assistant coach on their staff in 2014 and 2015 who had previously worked with Elrod at Wake Forest.
It is unclear what other games were impacted by WakeyLeaks, if any. But it is clear that Wake Forest was hurt during the Louisville game, whether the Cardinals actually attempted to gain an advantage or not.