Wake QB's Dad: Did Leaks Put My Son in Danger?

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The father of Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford said he can't help but wonder if his son suffered injuries as a direct result of opposing teams allegedly getting inside information from former Wake Forest assistant coach-turned-broadcaster Tommy Elrod.

"It's just insane," Robert Wolford told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday. "It did put John potentially in danger of getting hurt. He's not a big quarterback, and there's no question he's been battered all three years there."

Wolford, who is listed at 6-1 and 200 pounds on the school's roster, has been sacked 98 times in three seasons at Wake Forest, according to ESPN.com statistics.

He was sacked seven times and suffered a shoulder injury Nov. 12 in a 44-12 defeat against Louisville, which this week acknowledged receiving information from Elrod before its game against Wake Forest.

"The thing that enters your mind is whether there were situations where defenses knew what routes (Wake Forest receivers) were going to run and that put him at risk because it took longer for the play to develop and for receivers to get open," Robert Wolford said.

Tom Jurich, Louisville's athletics director, said the coaching staff received information about a few of Wake Forest's plays. But he said none of the plays was run during the game and indicated the school gained no competitive advantage from the information.

Robert Wolford took issue with Jurich's statement.

"For them to sort of minimize it like they did is sort of like rubbing salt in the wound," he said.

Robert Wolford also cited a Wake Forest play he said was designed for his son to pass the ball to a tight end, a play that was foiled when three Louisville defenders were covering the tight end.

"It was obvious they knew what was going to happen," Robert Wolford said. "So Louisville I don't think has been completely honest about it."

John Wolford, Wake Forest's third-year starting quarterback, said he does not yet know how much opposing teams benefited from information they received from Elrod, a former Demon Deacons assistant who was an analyst on the school's broadcast team when the alleged leaks took place. Elrod was fired after a Wake Forest investigation that was released Tuesday.

"What I don't want to do, and I wouldn't want getting out, is I'm blaming the sacks I took or the losses we had completely on this," John Wolford told USA TODAY Sports. "To attribute it all to this would be unfair. Especially when we don't know the extent to how many teams got it."

John Wolford said he has been too busy studying for final exams to think much about past games or spend time watching film to try to determine what transpired.

"At this point it's behind us," he said, "so going back and doing that wouldn't do much."

John Wolford said part of what made the findings of Wake Forest's investigation so surprising is Elrod was the Wake Forest coach who offered Wolford a scholarship in 2013, when he was playing high school football in Jacksonville. Elrod was the quarterbacks coach at the time but lost his job shortly thereafter when Jim Grobe resigned as head coach.

Elrod joined the Wake Forest broadcast team, and Wolford said they said hello when they saw each other on campus or on the team plane.

"I honestly was shocked," John Wolford said. "In my interaction with him and my interaction with other players -- some of the older guys that have played underneath him -- I just didn't expect it. From all my interactions, he seemed like a good guy."

Although John Wolford said he has put the matter behind him, his father has not.

"I'd like to find out what ultimately prompted Elrod to do this," Robert Wolford said. "It's just bizarre. Absolutely bizarre."

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December 16, 2016


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