Rece Davis talks about ESPN GameDay coming to Wake Forest

By Gene Galin

Winston-Salem, NC – ESPN College GameDay is in town for Wake Forest’s season opener against No. 1 Clemson. The show will air on ESPN and is set to start at 9 a.m. on September 12 live from Truist Field. This marks the first time in program history the Demon Deacons will host College GameDay

On Friday afternoon, ESPN GameDay host Rece Davis met with local media via a teleconference call.

I managed to get in a couple of questions.

What things do you think the ACC has done right to start this season?

Rece Davis: They’ve given themselves time. You know, they chose not to give themselves quite as much time as the SEC. And that’s fine, because they’ve been able to get things started effectively, it seems to me, anyway. I’m pretty familiar with a lot of their protocols both in both in my role and because my son’s an ACC student athlete.

So I know, I’ve got a pretty good insight and how they’re handling things and think they’ve handled it quite well. I think that the testing protocol and their efforts to try to make sure that their athletes stay mindful of the precautions they need to take when they’re out on campus. Probably the opportunities in a lot of places, if not all, or most places to do their classes online. Not the preferred thing for men and women in this age to do. They would prefer to be in the classroom and be social and all of that. But it’s a another example of a sacrifice they’re making.

I think the ACC has been very wise, I think they’ve been patient. John Swofford is a really good leader in that regard. And I think they’ve been able to enhance their testing protocol as opportunities have become available to do the very best they can. To make sure that there’s not anyone who’s infected who is participating; either, they’re a player or coach, or essential game personnel or anything like that. I think they’ve done a very solid job in that regard.

What’s your take on Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence #WeWantToPlay push on social media?

Rece Davis: Trevor’s been a remarkable leader in a variety of areas in the off-season. Whether it’s social justice or making the players voice heard about that issue about wanting to play.

This is a big business. It just is. And players are important and they have a right to have their voices heard. It doesn’t mean they get to make all the decisions because they are men, but they’re still young men. And it’s incumbent on the more experienced people to help them make wise decisions. But when they voice the judgment that they’ve made, that they can play safely and they don’t feel at risk. And all of their teammates have been given the option if they don’t feel that way to opt out, and to wait to play at another time. I think that should be taken into consideration.

I think that Trevor has done a very, very good job in being a leader. He’s been forceful. He’s been committed, but he’s also been wise. He hasn’t just reacted for reaction sake. He hasn’t been irrational in any way and screaming “We have to play. It’s not fair.” He has calmly lead and stated his case. I think it speaks volumes. Not only about his status in the game, but probably more importantly it says a lot about the type of type of man he is.

Other topics from media members included –

What have you and your crew gotten to learn about this group of Demon Deacons? Any helpful hints on who the guest picker will be tomorrow?

Rece Davis: I think Wake Forest people will be very pleased with who the guest picker will be. He can be rightly termed a Demon Deacon hero. So I don’t know Dave green decor and is trying to find a mate guests here. But first of all, I think Wake Forest people will be excited about guest picker.

As far as the players, I think, one of the things and talking to Dave a little while ago, is that, most of the people who touched the ball, skill positions have to be replaced. But, you know, Sam’s played a lot. And, you know, I think that even you know, as coach said, it’s not the way you dried up to throw them into the fire and then have them step back, but in some ways, it may benefit them in the long run. I think that some young players that they’re that they’re excited about and the net difference makers on defense, Boogie bash is legit, you know, and potentially, he could be a guy who not only is going to be a prominent guy in the NFL draft, but could, that could help Wake Forest because they I think they really from what we’ve been able to gather as much success as weight has had in recent years.

Obviously, they haven’t had that level of success against Clemson, or any success last last two years. Why do you think Clemson scored 16 touchdowns and wake at six first downs. And you know, that’s something I think that Wake Forest wants to prove that they’re that that’s not who they are. And so they’ll have that opportunity on on Saturday night, the season that, you know, I got a firsthand look at how you don’t always know what teams are going to react and I’m got immense respect for kidney mount to Lobo. I think he’s one of the finest coaches in the country. And, you know, because of the constraints that he felt were necessary, due to protections against COVID. His team wasn’t ready to play Monday night, and he admitted that. So I think there are and I’m not suggesting that Clemson would be that way or that way for us to be that way. I’m just saying that because of some of the fits and starts that have been caused in the offseason and practice schedules being disrupted. For you know, for across the country. You don’t know what you’re going to get. And just because the last two games have been 115 to six doesn’t mean it’s going to Saturday night and I think the Wake Forest players really are eager to prove that that’s not who they are and that they’re on a higher level than that.

Wake Forest’s sideline reporter Dave Goren wanted to know about process and preparation. He asked Rece to take him from last week’s game to the point when the light goes on Saturday morning.

Rece Davis: Okay, a little bit different this week because immediately after, after that show, I went home, grabbed my bag and went to Annapolis to call BYU and Navy so a little bit different.

But typically in a normal week, we start talking about the following week show bow out of the show goes off the air at 12. I’ll use last week. Typically if we went off at one or when we go off at 12 about five after 12. We start talking about the next week. And then those discussions will start to intensify and by you know by Sunday night or Monday morning, I’ve reviewed To show and send out, you know, some notes that I think are important. A few other people do that as well. And we look back at it and then try to see where we can get better things that maybe we could have done differently things that we did well that we want to build on, on not unlike looking at game tape, I guess. And then you kind of put it behind you and you start crafting ideas for the following week. We don’t want to be so scripted early in the week and so rigid that we don’t react to things that are happening immediately because I mean, information flows quickly these days. And if we just regurgitate what is said in a Monday coaches news conference, then we’re really serving our audience well, so we want to be as insightful and as up to date as we can we want to tell great stories. And it’s a process with a I get asked all the time, how many hours I don’t know how to judge that because it’s more of a lifestyle. I mean, the producer Jim guy, arrow, coordinate producer, Gallagher in our constant communication Chris Khalifa Kirk and I are are in constant communication about sort of grasping the direction shown obviously desert David have a great input in there as well. And but you know I would say that in terms of crafting the direction of the show Jim and drew and I for the big big input from Kirk and Chris Blake in our you know really we talk about constantly revising I can look at right now and just tell you Jim takes care of the rundown you’ll pardon me for I don’t know if I open the screen but let me get the run. I just got from Jim guy arrow who is our producer, Wake Forest rundown version seven. So and of those of those rundowns meaning the order we don’t do teleprompter there’s not a script you know for the show. There isn’t run down subject matter times. spin on things like that started this morning on version four. And already here it is, you know, mid afternoon and we’re on version seven, probably go to air if I had to guess if history serves with version nine. And you know, Jim and I just before I started talking to you, we spent probably another 45 minutes on the phone, just moving some segments around to make them feel better. And we deleted something that we talked about doing all week, we said, You know what, no, no, that this is going to fit put this time there. And we and we move a segment out of the show. So those those conversations and decisions and reactions to what happened are kind of a constant process more so than you know, just saying well, I put in, you know, 50 hours of preparation or 60 or 40 or 12, or whatever it is, you know, it’s sort of more of a lifestyle for the season.

I’ve been told that Lee isn’t going to be on location. And if that is the case, how do you best try to put him in the best positions to continue being Lee Corso without him being sitting right next to you guys?

Rece Davis: It’s impossible to stop LC from being Lee Corso. So that’s probably the best thing we have going for us is that force of the personality will be coming through the screen, even if it is from it in front of his pool in beautiful downtown Orlando where we got a great airport sweetheart. It’s old school inside college got the joke, I guess.

You love having him there because he plays off the crowd so well. And obviously, we’re not at this point in the season, not having crowds. But he brings such an energy and excitement and genuine enthusiasm to do our show every week. And he’s learned to use the Zoom and he’s on there with us. And we were talking about things. And he’s telling us what he wants to say and what he wants to say it.

And he likes to know the order of who’s talking when. He wants to know, okay, you know, Kirk, David, Dez. Me, Okay, got it, you know, and he likes, he’s ready to go. And we don’t always go with an order, but sometimes on some subjects coach wants to know. So he gets his order and he figures out what he wants to say? And he’s selling it. So he’ll always be able to bring personality. And well, the delays are not perfect, but fairly minimal. So we have a pretty good real time reaction to what he says. And I think that it was pretty good. Last week, when we were in a ton of different locations. I think it’d be better when we’re just dealing this week. We’re just dealing with the four of us on the set and then LC being at home. But he does have a tiger and a deacon head in Orlando. We’ll have to wait and see but we’re not giving. I’ll tell you this. I’m not going to tell you exactly how it’s going to be executed. But I will tell you that we are not. We are, hey, the pandemic might have forced Notre Dame into a conference but it’s not going to stop us from doing the LC head here at the end so you’re you can be you can be safe about that.