The Wake Forest Football team was back in game action (kind of) today for the first time since beating Rutgers to secure 11 wins for just the second time in school history. With a lot of veteran players returning from last year’s squad and a new defensive coordinator, obviously the expectations for this year’s team are quite high. Today gave the fans their first glimpse of the 2022 team in Wake’s first spring game since 2019.
Before I list just a few observations from this year’s spring game, keep in mind that this is just the spring game I should point out that the entire first half (when most of the starters were playing) had no tackling, making it pretty much impossible to say anything about the run game or the defense’s ability to make tackles. Most of the starters played around a half and obviously the coaching staff wasn’t trying to give anything away since the games are now televised on ACC Network, so this was basically all stuff we have seen before.
With that in mind, here are a few observations:
- The White team beat the Black team 28-10. The White team was mostly comprised of 1st and 3rd team offense and 2nd team defense, while the Black team was just the opposite, 1st and 3rd team defense and 2nd team offense (according to Wes Durham on the broadcast).
- All of the stats and drive info can be found here.
- If you missed the game but have ACC Network, it will be archived on ESPN for probably around a month. You can rewatch it here.
- The first team offense did pretty much nothing, and no one should care. Whether that was due to the defense is tbd, but we all know what the Wake Forest offense can do, so there is no reason to be concerned about that at all. The most important thing for them in this game was for no one to get hurt, so as far as I know, mission accomplished.
- The wide receiver group is in incredible hands for the foreseeable future. Redshirt freshmen Horatio Fields and Dez Williams look like they are going to be the next breakout stars for the Deacs. Fields finished with 6 catches for 76 yards while Williams caught 7 passes for 93 yards and 2 TDs. These two look very good.
- The defense looks better, though without tackling that might be deceiving. The defensive line looks as good as advertised but, again, one of the biggest problems Wake has had over the past few years has been tackling. It’s a whole lot easier to play defense if a guy is ruled down whenever someone gets near him.
- The DBs played really well and seemed to always be in the right position to—at the very least—attempt to make a play on the ball. Sophomore JJ Roberts and redshirt senior Coby Davis both came away with interceptions (even though Roberts’s was called back on an atrocious PI call). Davis was ruled down despite scoring a touchdown.
- Despite the pick six, I would give Kern the edge on being the #2 QB based on this game (of course, 1 fake game is probably worth a whole lot less to the coaching staff than what a player does in practice). Kern finished the game 7-11 for 84 yards, 1 TD, and 1 Int and just looked more comfortable commanding the offense. Griffis finished 5-14 for 53 yards.
- Redshirt Freshman Billy Edwards also looks like he could be a future starter for the Deacs. He completed 12 of his 14 attempts for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns.
I say it all the time, but what Dave Clawson has done at Wake has just been incredible to watch. I remember going to the spring game in Clawson’s first year as the head coach when Tyler Cameron and Kevin Souza were battling it out for first team QB (thankfully Wolford showed up in the summer) and it was a pretty depressing sight. I feel confident that the current team’s backups (and probably their backups) would have started on that team. The increase in talent and depth has just been insane. I don't know about you, but I can’t wait for September to roll around. Go Deacs!