The Wake Forest football team held a 2 hour practice on Thursday evening at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex. Blogger So Dear was there to take in the action. What stood out?
I should start by saying that this was the first practice I’ve seen since 2014. I began graduate school in Nashville last fall, but returned to Winston to summer for an internship, but my schedule has not allowed me to see any of the first several practices.
- I was impressed with both John Wolford and Kendall Hinton. The quarterback play seemed much higher than it was a year ago. I thought both had improved arm strength, and both had much quicker releases than they did last season. A lot fewer batted balls than a year ago. I just recall one that Josh Banks had, and that was an impressive defensive play.
- The offense definitely seems to be opening up, and I expect to more of the vertical passing attack this year. Also a good mix of screen passes and zone reads.
- Alex Bachman is good route runner and very sure-handed. He made a number of good plays over the middle, and he will probably be the starting S receiver in the offense.
- Cameron Glenn and Amari Henderson were still out with hamstring injuries, but were dressed and participating in some sideline drills. Duke Ejiofor was out for a similar reason.
- Still injuries on the defensive side of the ball, but here is what I saw as the starting defense:
- Defensive Line: Josh Banks, Wendell Dunn, Willie Yarbary, and Rashawn Shaw. Duke Ejiofor should replace Shaw when he returns.
- Linebacker/Rover: Marquel Lee, Jaboree Williams, and Demetrius Kemp.
- Secondary: Brad Watson, Dionte Austin, Ryan Janvion, and Jessie Bates.
- Tyler Bell, Isaiah Robinson, and Arkeem Byrd remain sidelined with injuries.
- Rushing game didn’t stand out, but more difficult to do when players aren’t in full pads. I believe that Cade Carney will start from day one.
- Chuck Wade is very fast, and caught a screen pass, made several miss, and then took it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown.
- True freshman Greg Dortch made a number of impressive plays this evening. He also lined up to return punts and kicks. He may not play this year, but that will only be due to depth at the position. He is a shifty player who has had a good camp.
- Mike Weaver was very impressive on kickoffs. Adam Centers didn’t get the ball as deep, but he is still recovering from injury.
- Tabari Hines, Greg Dortch, Jessie Bates, and Steven Claude were the primary kick/punt returners.
- Scotty Washington made a few impressive grabs, but also had a bad drop. He has excellent size.
- I thought the defensive line definitely got the better end of the offensive line this evening. I don’t know how much of that was the defensive line just playing very well, or if it was a poor effort from the offensive line. Again, they weren’t in full pads tonight, so that probably impacts the physicality of the offensive line.
- Overall, the team is far more physical and athletic than it was two years ago, and also last season. I was definitely impressed by the team speed on defense, and at the skill positions. The team is definitely going to be much faster this year, and that should translate to improved pass coverage, better pursuit to stop the run game, and making more players miss in space.
That’s all I got. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to answer. I was also able to interview Coach Clawson after practice and will later be able to share that transcript.