According to an article by Dan Collins, last year's leading rusher Tyler Bell, and junior Isaiah Robinson are "not healthy" as Wake Forest opens camp for the football season next week.
If you rely on the words of offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero, Bell should be healthy by September 1st, when the Deacs take on the Tulane Green Wave, but he is not so sure about Robinson, who is still recovering from surgery during the off-season:
"I think he’s good to go for the first game,’’ Ruggiero said of Bell. "But just like with all those other guys, you’ve got to keep your fingers crossed and hope nothing goes wrong as they’re all coming off these injuries. "
He’s not as confident of Robinson’s return by then, which means practice will open with Arkeem Byrd, a freshman from Savannah, competing for playing time with Colburn, Rocky Reid and Cade Carney. Colburn missed spring practices with a knee injury, Reid redshirted last season as a freshman and Carney, a freshman from Davidson Day School in Advance, enrolled last January, in time to make quite an impression during spring drills.
It is definitely good news that Bell will be back to get some reps before the first game of the year, but what it immediately does is give the other four guys a legitimate chance to make a statement as to who the starter should be. Just reading between the lines a bit from what Ruggiero has said, in addition to what Dave Clawson said after spring ball, is that Cade Carney seems to be the primary guy who could take the starting job from Tyler Bell.
As has been discussed in the past, it is not necessarily who starts and gets the bulk of the carries, but rather who is playing in certain situations. There will almost certainly be a different player in on 1st and 10, than 3rd and 1, and this gives the young guys a chance to show what they can do after a summer of workouts to contribute in different ways.
This is something that is very interesting to follow as the next month goes along. I was operating under the premise that it was Bell's job to lose, and this changes the context a bit as it pertains to seeing especially Carney or Reid start and get a lot of carries.
Another interesting tidbit in the article is the mention of the quarterback battle between John Wolford and Kendall Hinton. Ruggiero told Collins that Clawson will not "be in a rush to determine a starter," and "we're not looking to decide it after one week."
I am certainly of the mindset that when you have two quarterbacks you have zero quarterbacks, so I hope this is put to bed relatively soon and a clear starter separates himself. For my perspective, I feel that Wolford is sorely underrated by Wake Forest fans, and if you give him time to throw and any semblance of a running game, then he can be a good ACC quarterback.
The legs of Hinton are certainly something to talk about, but until I see reliability in the short and intermediate throws, he is still too much of a liability in the pocket. I would love to see a few different packages for him a game that shows the opposing defense different looks (option and deep balls), and that would be an ideal usage of him moving forward.