The Wake Forest football team held its first scrimmage of spring practice on Friday morning in the McCreary Field House. What stood out?
At quarterback, head coach Dave Clawson attempted to give both John Wolford and Kendall Hinton equal reps with the first and second teams, while redshirt freshman Kyle Kearns mostly played against the third string. Wolford completed 17 of 24 passing attempts for 128 yards with 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He also ran 10 times for 28 yards and a touchdown. Hinton was not as accurate as his counterpart. Hinton completed just 15 of 27 passing attempts with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. At this point his biggest asset is his speed, and he ran 13 times for 48 yards. It could have been more, but coaches are quick to blow the whistle when quarterbacks start running so that they do not get tackled and hurt.
An encouraging sign for Wake Forest was the production of the running backs. Cade Carney led the way with 70 yards and 1 touchdown on 17 carries, but he did most of his work against lesser competition. Rocky Reid ran the ball 23 times for 68 yards and also had 4 receptions for 23 yards. Tyler Bell, however, had just six yards on five carries. Matt Colburn and Isaiah Robinson both sat out due to injury. Clawson has worked hard to add offensive linemen and running backs to bolster the team's rushing attack, which has been abysmal in recent years.
The offensive line will not have great depth, as many of the backup players will be just redshirt freshmen, but last year the starting tackles were redshirt freshmen, so one would expect improvement. Clawson has mentioned that the team looks bigger and that practices are more physical than they've been before, and these rushing statistics represent that.
At receiver, Wake Forest was without Cam Serigne,who will miss the remainder of spring practice with mono. They were also without Cortez Lewis and Tabari Hines. Redshirt freshman Steven Claude led all receivers with 63 receiving yards and a touchdown. Alex Bachman, who has been having an excellent spring, had 6 receptions for 51 yards. Bachman's emergence could be major for the Deacs this fall. He was not highly regarded as a recruit, but the coaching staff watched him at their camp and were impressed enough to offer him a scholarship. It sounds like their evaluations were solid.
On defense, Thomas Brown stood out. He consistently makes plays when he is on the field, and finished with one sack and two tackles for loss. He is competing against Demetrius Kemp for the starting rover position, and that will be a position battle that will last up until fall camp. Overall, I expect this year's defense to be faster.
Defensive stats (see @CoachMikeElko )— Deacons Illustrated (@WakeRivals) March 25, 2016
Jessie Bates 7 tackles, 1 TFL
Rashawn Shaw 7 tckl, 1 sack, 2 TFL
Thomas Brown 6, 1 sack, 2 TFL
Defensive (cont)— Deacons Illustrated (@WakeRivals) March 25, 2016
Brad Watson 6, 1 INT
Demetrius Kemp 6, 1 TFL
Amari Henderson 6
Dez Wortham 6
Pearcy, Mays, Jackson, Dawson - 5 each
Many thanks to Les Johns of Deacons Illustrated for doing a phenomenal job live tweeting the scrimmage and then providing stats. The Wake Forest athletic department also provided some statistics in their recap, but Les' were more thorough.
The spring game is scheduled to be played at BB&T Field on April 9th at 3 p.m. If you are unable to make the game, it will be broadcast on ESPN3. Hear what Coach Clawson had to say following Friday's scrimmage.