Exams are starting up here on campus and, as is probably not surprising, my schedule is pretty swamped. I apologize for not being able to post more than I will over the next week. If anything big happens I'll make sure to get something up about it, but other than that things will be slow.
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To those of you joining me in taking exams, best of luck!
Exams are starting up here on campus and, as is probably not surprising, my schedule is pretty swamped. I apologize for not being able to post more than I will over the next week. If anything big happens I'll make sure to get something up about it, but other than that things will be slow.
Although he didn't get drafted, tight end John Tereshinski signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers today.
Tereshinki had a great career as a TE here at Wake, averaging 11.6 yards per catch over his career on 60 catches.
I had heard San Diego was interested in him and it's good to see they followed through. He certainly won't be able to complain about the weather!
A Green Bay newspaper/blog got a hold of Jeremy this afternoon and had a conversation with him, which you can read here.
With his brother in Green Bay already that sounds like a pretty good fit. Hopefully it will work well for him.
It took longer than I expected, but with the 35th pick in the sixth round and the 201st pick overall, the Indianapolis Colts drafted Steve Justice.
I'm not sure why he fell this far. ESPN had him ranked as the 2nd best center in the draft, yet four other centers were drafted ahead of him. I suppose it doesn't really matter at this point, and hopefully Indianapolis will be a good fit for Justice.
I think those will be the only Demon Deacons taken in the draft. Micah Andrews and long snapper Nick Jarvis may be undrafted free agent signees, but other than that I think we've seen what we're going to see.
Old Gold & Blog wishes all these guys the best in the NFL (even if may end up having to root against them at times).
With the first pick of the fifth round the Detroit Lions selected WR Kenny Moore.
This is really awesome news for Kenny, as this was much higher than projected for him. There is the issue of the Lions having about 20 wide receivers already on their roster, but I don't think he's going to be complaining too much. He'll just have to work hard and I know he's that kind of guy.
Big congrats to Kenny!
Now about Steve Justice...
"With the 103rd pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select....Jeremy Thompson, Defensive End, Wake Forest."
So there it is. After three rounds of anticipation (not that the first two were particularly suspenseful) the first Wake player has been taken as the third pick of the fourth round.
I'll spare you all the details about him - as Wake fans we know what an asset he was and I know everyone wishes him the best in the NFL.
The Packers website has yet to say anything about Thompson, and the they apparently have yet to talk to the press there today (they're showing the press conferences live on the website). I'll keep my eye on that and let you know of something happens.
Obviously center Steve Justice should be the next player taken, and I'm guessing it will be later in this round or maybe in the 5th.
Also, for what it's worth, I'm not too impressed with ESPN for barely mentioning Jeremy. Apparently NFLN did a little bit better, but come on ESPN.
Also... I have no idea what's happening with Steve Justice. At worst he was the second best Center in the draft, and now three others have been drafted, including two in this fourth round. I'm not worried about him getting drafted, I just can't believe teams are reaching past him.
Update - Packers Front Office on Jeremy Thompson:
"He's got good quickness, he's a night athlete. He's smooth and fluid, he can drop his weight and make good hits. Good length, really good arm length."
"They asked him to do a lot of things at Wake Forest. He drops into coverage, he plays the run really well, he's a pass rusher. They didn't let him pin his ears back like at a lot of schools and just go go go. But he's a great kid, really smart, loves football, loves the weight room."
"Mostly right end, but he would flip on occasion if needed because of an injury."
"When you see his frame - he's kind of a workout freak - he loves the weight room and he keeps his body fat pretty low. He eventually could grow into a 275/280 pound guy. I think he was 264 at his workout so he has a chance to get bigger without losing his ability."
"The one thing I really liked about him was that he stays on his feet. He's a really good athlete, he doesn't get knocked down. He's not a 300 pound set the point of attack guy, but he uses he length, he drops his weight, stays on his feet, keeps things alive that some guys can't do. He's got enough speed and range and chase when the ball's running away from him that he'll make plays on the backside, too."
"I'll be interested to see when he gets the chance to just pin his ears back more. At Wake forest I thought they asked him to do a lot of things, read and react type stuff rather than just set him out in a wide stance and let him come off the corner. I'll be excited to see that and see how he develops in camp with that. Getting more opportunities that way. His sack production I don't think was great and I think that has a lot to do with it."
"When you watch him as an athlete you don't see an limitations (from the ACL injury). You talk to the trainers and the coaches and stuff but they didn't have any problem. He loves the weight room, he's really conscientious about rehab and all that kind of stuff, and then you watch him move around and you don't see any limitations."
There you have it. The new logo for the academic side of Wake Forest, scheduled to be released next Wednesday, April 30, was found today on the official Wake Forest website somewhat hidden (but not very well) in documents for next year's freshmen.
A couple of important things to mention:
- This logo is not in any way affiliated with the branding of the athletics side of Wake Forest. It is for the academic side of things, replacing the logo that featured the university's name between black and gold bars.
- I don't take credit for being the one to find this logo. Members of the DeaconSports message board community (WakeGal was first I believe) found the logo today by clicking on the 2008-2009 Undergraduate Bulletin link on this page of the school's website. I have also heard that it was on display today at the "All Access" event in Charlotte with President Hatch, Jim Grobe, Dino Gaudio, and new Calloway Dean Steve Reinemund.
Although many on the message boards have been critical of the new design, I personally don't have a problem with it. I think it is a fine upgrade to the previous logo. I suppose it may evoke thoughts of the Volkswagen logo and some have said that finding an "F" in the shield is a bit difficult, but all in all I don't have any real problem with it.
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure they were looking for it to look like a "WF." Some had said it looks like some of the arches on campus, others that it looks like trees, etc. "WF" may be the first thing people think of, but there may be more to it. I'm interested to hear what Hatch has to say about it next week.
I'd be interested to hear from those who do have a problem with it (as well as those who don't) about what really bothers them about it. When I imagine someone not affiliated with Wake Forest seeing this logo I do not imagine them thinking it looks bad in any way.
That's just one man's opinion. I'd love to hear what others think, so leave a comment below.
Saturday afternoon, while many
The first ever Skip Prosser 3 on 3 Classic was the culmination of many weeks of hard work by a dedicated group of students. “It started with the on-campus organization called L.E.A.D.” said one of the event’s organizers, Matt Six. “It’s for freshman and sophomores and it basically teaches you leadership traits, and in the process you put together this proposal; some way to improve campus.”
“We identified the problem that Skip was not adequately honored and we wanted to build his legacy. Yes, he was honored at the
Wake’s director of basketball operations Walt Corbean, who played under Prosser at Xavier, opened the afternoon by saying a few words about Skip. Shortly thereafter the 27 participating teams got down to the business of playing basketball.
This year’s event raised about $500, which will be donated to the American Heat Association in memory of Coach Prosser.
The Skip Prosser Classic does not expect to be a one-and-done event. “The event has been very successful; we’ve got 27 teams,” said Six. “We hope to keep on expanding year after year. The goal is to get as many participants out here as possible. We’ve got a couple of local teams, teams from the law school and the MBA program. We want to get the whole community involved.”
The leadership of this project deserves a lot of credit for getting this event organized and making it a success. I hope to see it continue to thrive for years to come.
Approximately 4,100 of the
The scrimmage started with the first team offense against the second defense. Skinner and the offense threw the ball a lot today, a departure from the focus of last weekend’s scrimmage. On the first drive Skinner completed a pass of about 30 yards to Chip Brinkman and then threaded the needle to Mike Rinfrette who made a great catch before being tackled on the 1 yard line. The drive was capped by a one yard touchdown run from Josh Adams.
On the next series between the second offense and first defense the offense continued to control the game, with the offensive line giving Brett Hodges enough time to complete several good passes to guys like Andrew Wright and J.T. Dixon. CJ Washington had a solid drive, including a good run down to the goal line before punching it in two plays later.
In the second series for the first string offense they tried some different formations, including one that had both Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass in the backfield as well as formations that split fullback Mike Rinfrette out to a tight end-like position. Chip Brinkman scored the offense’s third consecutive touchdown on a 13 yard end around.
On the day Riley Skinner completed 15 of 18 pass attempts for 245 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brett Hodges was effective as well, completing 13 of 17 attempts for 181 yards and a TD.
Chip Brinkman and tight end Ben Wooster had big days catching the ball; Brinkman had 4 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown, while
The Deacs didn’t run the ball as much today; no running back had more than 5 carries and none gained more than 25 yards. The 25 yards belonged to Pendergrass on 3 carries, while Josh Adams, C.J. Washington, and Chip Brinkman all scored running TDs.
How did coach feel about the offensive performance?
“We got a little bit better player out of our interior,” said Coach Jim Grobe, “but certainly our skill guys made some plays – Ben and Mike and the tight ends all did some nice stuff today. It was just a good day offensively.”
Although that comment makes it sound like Coach is damning the offensive line with faint praise, they definitely showed continued improvement today and for the most part did a decent job keeping the defense off of the quarterbacks. That kind of improvement had been seen with the first string for the last week or so, but today I also noticed the second line doing a better job as well.
“Our offensive line is getting comfortable enough to where we don’t panic,” said left guard Russel Nenon. “When everyone starts blitzing we just pick it all up we just let Riley and Chip and all them do there thing.”
“The articles on the internet aren’t as harsh as they once were, so that’s a good sign obviously,” concluded Nenon, with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
There’s still one glaring hole for the Demon Deacons. After four weeks of practice they still haven’t been able to shore up the issues at long snapper. In some brief work with the punting team today almost half of the snaps weren’t on target.
“We’re still going to be looking (for a long snapper),” said Grobe “It was a little bit silly today to have the punt team out there without a punt return team on the field but I really wanted our guys to snap the ball with the crowd around them. I wanted them to go out there and have a bunch of people’s eyes on them and it was obvious today watching it that we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
“There’s nothing more glaring than that. You can be a pretty good football team but then you have two or three bad exchanges in the punt game and you’re not going to win many games. Of all the areas we’ve got right now that’s the most wide open.”
Overall Grobe was satisfied with the scrimmage. “I thought they had fun. I though it was real competitive. I liked seeing the offense make some plays. Defensively we didn’t play the ones very much; we had a lot of mix on that side. But more than anything else I don’t think we read too much in to our last scrimmage. We try to let everybody play and the thing that was pretty obvious was that our guys had some fun.”
I agree with Coach about the scrimmage, but I don’t agree with him about having the spring game at the practice facility. “I like the environment,” said Grobe. “I like being over at the practice field letting the fans be at ground level with our players. It’s a little more up close and personal and I think that’s one thing that attracts some of the people out here. They get a chance to be a little closer to our team.”
Although I understand where he’s coming from, I don’t like that it’s much harder for people to really see what’s happening on that field. I’m sure some fans like being able to have their kids run around and things like that, but for people who really want to see the football it isn’t really a great environment for that many people.. It wouldn’t be too difficult to let everyone down onto the field at BB&T afterwards if that’s what they wanted to do. I hope they move it back there next year but Coach makes it sound like he doesn’t want to do that.
Nonetheless, the day was still a success and I think Deacon fans will be in for a special season.
As I’m sure everyone knows by now, tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 the Demon Deacons will take part in the annual Spring Game, an intrasquad scrimmage between the offense and defense taking place at the on campus practice field.
Coach Grobe’s stated goal for the scrimmage is “to let the kids have fun. I want to let them play a little bit; let them run around a bit. Let the fans see our guys. I think our fans are going to be excited to see the talent level we’ve got right now. Hopefully have a good healthy scrimmage and have everyone at the end walk off with a smile on their face. More than anything else, have fun.”
That’s not to say the scrimmage won’t be looked at by the coaches, but they also won’t be using it for any major decision making. “We’ll look at it as a staff, but we’re really not looking at it as a way to make or not make the team or anything like that,” said Grobe. “We’re just trying to let the guys compete and have a little fun.”
Grobe cautioned that if you want to see your favorite veterans play you’d better get there early. “It doesn’t take a smart person to figure out Aaron Curry can play, Alphonso can play, Stanley Arnoux can play, Boo Robinson can play. You can go right down the list; we’ve got a ton of guys who we know can play, so we don’t need to have those guys out there for two hours on Saturday. We’ll try to let the young guys have more reps than the old guys.”
Although the team has tried to come up with scoring systems in the past that allow both the offense and defense to score points in various ways, there will be no such format this year. Grobe has said these guys are competitive enough as-is and that they don’t need to be pushed any more in that direction. I guess I can understand that from his perspective, but I know that as a fan I’d rather see something competitive with a winner and a loser. Nonetheless, it should be a fun afternoon and I hope to see many of you there.
Some have asked about whether or not there will be rosters available at the scrimmage, and I’m guessing there may be a few but definitely not a couple thousand of them. Therefore, I’ve scanned the roster so that you can print it off for yourself at home and bring it with you.
You might be a bit curious about what the heck is going on in this video, and I’m here to tell you that it’s exactly what it looks like. When I showed up to practice today at about 4:55, the offensive line was busy being directed by Coach Lobo in a game of Duck Duck Goose.
When I got the chance to talk to coach after practice, I of course had to ask him about it. “The bottom line in our football program is competition,” said Grobe, “so we try to compete as much as we can.”
Even Duck Duck Goose, Coach? “Yea! That’s the key! If you do that you’ve got a chance!” responded Grobe with a laugh.
It was great to see the team have some fun today, but don’t worry, the next hour and 45 minutes was nothing but football. “I felt pretty good today. I thought our defense was cranking up and it’s tough sledding for our offense right now. The defense is pretty aggressive and I though they kind of won the day today. It’s fun to watch (this team). They like to compete; we did inside drill today, we did goal line, some red zone stuff, some red zone throws as well as some out in the field throws, had a couple of team periods. Just really trying to have fun and let the guys go play football.”
I agree with coach, it was good day and a good way to end the regular spring practices. There was certainly some fun to be had (see above as well as this picture of the D-Line racing each other around circles – loser does up-downs), but the practice was also very productive.
The defense looked strong all practice long, consistently making plays that needed to be made. The offense had a couple of highlight reel plays, though, including a great one-handed catch in the back of the endzone by senior WR Andrew Wright and a 60 yard touchdown pass from Riley Skinner to Chip Brinkman.
The team also continued to work extensively on special teams. Swank looked very strong kicking field goals and pretty good on punts as well. Alphonso Smith also made a great block on a field goal attempt late in practice.
It was a strong finish to the week as the team looks forward to Saturday’s spring game. I hope to see many of you there!
I don't know why Wednesdays consistently fill up in ways I don't expect, causing me to miss practice, but they do.
Since I saw absolutely nothing of practice, I'll just have to refer you to this article from the official site.
I'll be back out there tomorrow and you can look for a full writeup tomorrow evening.
Per an official release from the athletic department this evening, Wake will take on the Indiana Hoosiers at home in the 2008 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The game is scheduled for Wednesday, December 3, 2008, with tipoff time still to be determined.
Last season Wake traveled to Iowa and defeated the Hawkeyes in the Deacs only appearance of the season on the ESPN networks.
Although the Hoosier basketball program is still reeling from last year's debacle with Kelvin Sampson, I think this is still an exciting match-up for Wake. Indiana has a great basketball tradition, and to bring them to Winston for a nationally televised game sounds pretty good to me. Hopefully it will serve as a coming out party for AT&T and the rest of the 2008-2009 team.
There are four other games being played that night, including:
North Carolina vs. Michigan State (Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.)
Michigan at Maryland
Florida State at Northwestern
Penn State at Georgia Tech
UNC vs. Michigan State is obviously still the biggest of the five games, but I think Wake/Indiana should be the second. This would lead me to believe that the game will either be a 7:30ish tip on ESPN2, or if they decide to show a doubleheader on ESPN it could fall on either side of the UNC game.
Either way, I'm quite satisfied with this outcome for the challenge and am looking forward to a great early season game in the Joel.
On the recent performance of the offensive line (specifically Saturday):
"I thought we got a little better push up front with the offensive line. I think we’re just more consistent; we’re not making as many mistakes. We had too many dumb penalties; that’s something we’ve really got to take care of. I was pleased with the competitiveness of our scrimmage.
Now that we’ve got the weight down on some of these guys I just like the looks of that group. We’ve got the potential to be better up front than we were last year. I know that we lost some veteran guys but I think this might be the most athletic offensive line we’ve had in a long time. We have little more flexibility and a chance to pull people a little bit more and man block a little bit more than we have in the past. Now we’re more athletic and we’ve got the potential to just go one on one with some people up front.
We haven’t had a backup center step up yet. We really need Ryan Britt or Chance Raines to step up. Right now if something happened to Trey Bailey we’d probably have to move Russel Nenon back over to center and I don’t want to do that so I want one of those young centers to come on and step up.
Joe Looney has done some really good stuff. I really like that kid right now and I think with this summer to lift and be here and then an August under his belt that’s a guy who has a chance to help us as a freshman. We’d like to see Boomer Peterson be a guy, and Gage Crewes is another one. One of those two guys I’d like to see step up and be that other guard we’re looking for."
On the goals for the last week of Spring Practice:
"We’re probably going to add a few things here and there just to play with. In the spring we tinker with stuff because we don’t have to play anybody so if it doesn’t work we don’t have to panic about it. I think our emphasis even more now, you’ll probably see fewer reps from the old guys and more reps from the young guys. Just keep trying to get young guys more experience. The only experience they’re going to have when we got to Baylor is what we give them now and in August so we want to make sure to give them as much as possible."
I'm looking forward to this last week of work. I should be able to attend Wednesday and Thursday practices in their entirety and of course Saturday's game. As always, full reports will follow ASAP.
I'm on a bit of a tight schedule tonight and don't have time to do a full writeup right now, but I'll share a few quick notes from the brief time I spent out at practice today and a couple of Grobe quotes. Hopefully late tonight I can transcribe more of what Grobe said at practice today and get that up, too.
- WR Casey Hill, who looked like he seriously injured his right knee in Saturday's scrimmage, is in a walking boot with only a high ankle sprain and will be healthy in 2-3 weeks. Great news for him.
- It was a beautiful afternoon out there and from what I can tell the sunny but cool temperatures are exactly what the guys like to practice in. In the drills I saw everybody seemed to be working hard. I saw Dennis Godfry working hard and getting high praise in some drills (sentiments echoed by Coach Grobe) and I was also impressed by the WR corps who were making some good moves on the corners in route running drills.
I was involved in a conversation on the Scout.com message boards over the weekend regarding the current state of our depth at running back. I figured I might as well get the right information straight from the horses mouth, so I asked coach about it:
"Right now C.J. is our third tailback. He’s doing some good things but he’s not a very big guy and I think he’s got a sore shoulder right now and so for him he’s got plenty of ability but durability is going to be the key. Any time you have a player with that kind of speed you feel like you’ve got to get him on the field somehow. We’re excited about his potential but the key for him is – at his size can he be a durable guy?"
Would Grobe consider moving someone like Y'lou back to running back?
"Yea, no doubt about it if we needed to do that. We did it with Kenny Moore a couple of years ago and if there’s any one reason we won an ACC championship it was because we had Kenny at tailback so we wouldn’t be opposed to that. But we’ve got Lovell Jackson coming in in next year’s class. We’ve got some other players that we’ve kind of penciled in as DBs and wideouts but they played running back in high school What we’d really like though is to have a healthy Josh Adams and a healthy Brandon Pendergrass."
Good to hear. Check back late tonight or tomorrow morning for more of Grobe's quotes form practice.
The fall of 2007 was an exciting time for
Four months later the team is not idling basking in the glory of that accomplishment. Since the middle of March the soccer team has been participating in its own version of spring practice, and in their case it even includes a seven game exhibition schedule against other teams. After Friday night’s 1-1 tie with
“Spring is extended time for preseason,” said Coach Vidovich. “We’re fortunate that we’re one of the sports that has that opportunity to play during the spring. You don’t have your seniors around; you’re trying to find your new leadership, looking for people to step up; trying to find replacements for those players that left and just keep everybody developing. Fill the holes, find those pieces, find the leadership, and just develop everybody.”
So who is stepping up? “The team is stepping up as a whole,” said Vidovich. “The team is developing and working very hard, getting stronger, and their speed of play is quite good. Leadership-wise it takes awhile. Sam Cronin obviously was captain last year so he’s in an immediate situation where he’s a leader, but now he has to assume a different role because before he was with Julian Valentin. But all the upper classman - Marcus Tracy, Mike Lahoud, Jamie Franks - all those guys are doing their part.”
The soccer team is in a great position to accomplish a lot of things in the spring. Because all of the games are exhibitions, younger players and those who haven’t had much game experience get the opportunity to play full games. Multiple times this spring the Deacs have had two games in one day, as they did yesterday (Sunday).
On those two-game days “we’ll play two teams so our “second team” will get the opportunity to play a full 90 (minutes), which is a big thing for them now to have to step up and carry the game rather than just being in a substitute role,” explained Vidovich. “We’ve had a couple opportunities like that and a couple people have stepped up – Nick Courtney, Danny Wenzel, and Justin Lichtfuss.”
Defender/Midfielder Danny Wenzel is one of two 2008 recruits who have entered school this spring and are already practicing with the team. Wenzel has been getting playing time with the first team, while the second early enrollee and fellow D/M Chris Estridge has been playing more with the second team. (There’s a good write-up on all seven recruits on the official website here).
So what about next fall? Coach Vidovich is certainly excited: “I think it’s going to be a great year to be part of the program. There’s just tremendous seniority where guys have gone to a final 16, a final four, the national championship. These guys have been through a lot, so now to have them share their experiences with the freshman coming in and teach them the ropes and what’s going on should be a good situation. It will be very difficult for people to find time on the field.”
It’s great to hear that the team is having a productive spring. Fan interest seems to be remaining high for the soccer team following the championship; there were around 200 people at the game Friday night. I know I’m excited to watch this team in the fall as they try to defend their National Championship, and I plan on having Old Gold & Blog provide regular coverage of the season.
For the second time in 2008 the Demon Deacons scrimmaged on BB&T field, working for nearly two hours in the most game-like environment they’ve had yet this spring. The weather made things a little bit interesting, raining right up to the start of scrimmage and threatening with thunder throughout, but the scrimmage went off without a hitch and the Deacs were able to do exactly what they wanted to do today.
The first series of the day pitted the first string offense against a second string defense. As coach had promised would happen, the offense put a much greater emphasis on the run game and the improvement was evident. Josh Adams carried the ball on the first six plays of the day, gaining positive yards on nearly every carry and racking up more yards than he did in the whole scrimmage last Saturday (I don’t have the stats yet, so I’ll update this post with exact stats sometime this evening).
The highlight of the drive was a 20+ yard play action pass to TE Ben Wooster who had another solid day, even if he didn’t stand out quite as much as he did last Saturday. The drive, which started on its own 35, eventually stalled just inside the red zone, and Swank capped it off with a 30 yd field goal.
When the 1st team defense got a look at the 2nd string offense it looked very strong. Stanely Arnoux made a couple of big hits, and the D line dominated the line of scrimmage. The secondary did give up a couple of good pass plays, including a 40 yard pass from Hodges to Devon Brown (Y’lou), however when the offense got down inside the 10 the defense stepped up with a solid goal line stand to force another swank field goal.
For the 1st team offense’s second series Brandon Pendergrass was the running back instead of Josh Adams. Pendergrass carried the ball 4 straight times, gaining at least 5 yards on every carry on the backs of another good series from the first string offensive line. Defensively, DE Tripp Russel looked great, making three tackles for a loss, including one sack and one play where he did a great job staying home on a reverse. Riley had one great scramble on the drive in which he pump faked a throw that made DT Dennis Godfry to jump up in the air, and then darted past for a big gain. The drive ended on a busted play where Riley and Brandon weren’t on the same page, but Sam Swank drilled home a beautiful 50 yard field goal.
The rest of the scrimmage featured a mix of players the coaches wanted to get a look at, mostly second and third string guys with some starters thrown in there on occasion. Center Ryan Britt struggled to make good snaps to the quarterbacks throughout the scrimmage, while the 2nd and 3rd offensive line units struggled in general, drawing the wrath of Coach Lobo. Tristan Dorty stood out defensively, making some great plays to get in the backfield and make tackles.
Skylar Jones didn’t end up playing very much because he aggravated a hamstring on his first series and had to come out. The injury did not appear to be very serious. Junior WR Casey Hill, who caught a TD pass last weekend, got twisted up while being tackled and severely injured his right knee. He was down on the field for nearly 10 minutes and was later helped out of the stadium with an immobilizer on his right leg. We’ll hope for the best, but it didn’t look good.
D.J. Boldin has another solid performance catching the ball, the highlight being a 40 yard touchdown catch on a play action pass from Brett Hodges. “I really think D.J has had a good spring, period,” said Coach Grobe. “He’s done well in everything we’ve done – practice, scrimmage – he’s just a different guy right now. He’s matured and he’s coming into his own right now. Mentally he’s got it, he’s catching the ball well, he’s blocking well, he’s doing a nice job running with the ball after he catches it. I just hope I’m not speaking too soon but I think he’s a guy that is going to be a go-to guy for us next year. He’s still got some weight to lose. He’s got his weight down really well to this point but I think if we can get another 10 pounds of him by the time we come back in August he’ll just be a completely different guy. I’m really pleased with DJ.”
The defense looked solid all afternoon, making lots of good plays despite a few costly mistakes. The defense’s big highlight of the day was a 40-ish yard fumble return for a touchdown by DT Michael Carter.
Penalties were Coach Grobe’s biggest concern immediately following the scrimmage. “We had too many penalties today. Some of them were just full speed get after it penalties and stuff happens once in awhile but today we just had some silly penalties that aren’t really avoidable right now. A lot of them are by younger players who get a little bit overzealous at times and plan on the edge. We like for guys to play on the edge, they just can’t go over the edge. That’s something we’ll continue to work on and hopefully by the time we tee it up next year we’ll be ready to go.”
Like myself, Coach was also felt better about the running game today. “I thought we ran the ball better today. That was kind of a point of emphasis last week. I think Josh (Adams) and Brandon (Pendergrass) and C.J. (
Despite the frustrating penalties, Grobe’s overall impression of the day was positive. “All in all it was a good scrimmage, a real physical scrimmage, more physical than last week. It was probably good to call it off when we did because our guys were just about to get lathered up and probably could knock each other out. I thought we had a pretty good scrimmage with good plays made on both sides of the ball.”
The team knows it has plenty of things to work on before traveling to
There’s one week left of official spring work, culminating with the spring game next Saturday at 1:00. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible out there.
About a week ago I was contacted about a very cool event being put on by a group of Wake Forest students who wanted to do something to honor Coach Skip Prosser. I thought it was a great idea and a great cause, so I decided to let all of you know about it.
The Classic is a basketball tournament being held a week from tomorrow (April 19) at noon on the Collins basketball courts, an all proceeds from the event will go the American Heart Association in memory of Skip Prosser.
The 12:00 tipoff of the event is one hour before the beginning of the spring football game, so I highly encourage all of you who are coming to the game to come one hour earlier and stop by the basketball courts. The basketball team and Coach Dino Gaudio will be there for the tip, and I believe Dino will say a few words. It should be a beautiful day and a great event.
One final thing: I need to check on the possibility of doing this (it may be student-only sign ups) but if there are people interested in playing in the tournament send me an email and let me know. I'd be happy to have the blog sponsor a team or two to play.
When: Saturday, April 19th at noon (Rain Date is Sunday, April 20th at 1pm)
Where: Collins Basketball Courts
Who: ANYONE AND EVERYONE
Cost: $15 per team
Sign-ups: Outside the pit starting Thursday, April 10th until Wednesday, April 16th, or in the Intramural Office in Reynolds Gym.
Come out and support this great event, and let me know if you want to play!
There was some new news out of Atlanta yesterday concerning the future of incoming Demon Deacon Al-Farouq Aminu. This article [AJC] reports that the next step for Aminu is to have evidence presented for indictment "which could come at any time," and that it will be another 6 to 12 months before a court date is set.
Based on all that this could be a pretty long and drawn out process. If the process really does take that long then it's very hard to say how this will affect Aminu's plans here at Wake Forest. As long as he has not been convicted of anything they may very well still let him come and just play things by ear. It's possible, I suppose, that next year's entire basketball season will be over before he even has a trial. I'm very intrigued to see how this works itself out.
Also, I have heard rumors that Aminu was neither the shooter nor the driver. If true, that has to bode well for his future.
In even better news, Aminu has been named to the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team, according to this report [Times News]. It's an honor for him to be named to this team, but I what I think is even better about this is that it shows the basketball community isn't ostracizing him because of the incident. Hopefully that's an indication of how Wake may handle this, too.
It was a beautiful afternoon on the practice field today with temperatures in the high 70’s (might have even been low 80’s) and plenty of sun. Although it’s great for me watching practice, the players apparently prefer it to be cooler so that they don’t really sweat.
I missed yesterday’s practice, but it was only shoulder pads (no pants) and was a bit lighter day. Today it was back to full pads and high intensity. Things got chippy at a couple of points while scrimmaging, most notably when Alex Frye got into a small shoving match with Y’lou after a catch.
I saw two things today that were significant changes from the way practice had been running for the first couple of weeks. First, instead of only working on the punt game the team is now incorporating all aspects of special teams. “We felt like about half way through spring we’d start picking up the field goal and field goal protection, field goal block, kickoff, kickoff return, and we’re even working on our punt block and punt return stuff right now,” said Coach Grobe. “We’ve got all the kicking game going right now and we’ll work on that every day through spring.”
I saw a couple of interesting personel things going on in these special teams drills. McManus continued to snap for punts and Russel Nenon for fg/xp, but I also saw a couple other guys getting some reps as well. I may have had my numbers wrong (I was somewhat far away at the time) but it looked like Ted Randolph was getting some punt snaps and Gage Crews some with fg/xp.
The second change I saw today was that offense ran a much higher percentage of running plays than I’ve seen them run in any previous practice. This is something Coach has said he wanted to do and I’m glad he is because it’s allowing us to get a better look at what we have on the line and in the backfield. The defense continued to look very strong against the run, but I felt like the first string O-line held there own fairly well. They weren’t exactly parting the
Grobe had the following to say about increasing the focus on the run game: “We feel like the thing we need to most work on right now is running game. I think our defensive scheme is pretty good against the run so if we can get to where we have a little consistency against our defense then we’d go into the season thinking we can run and throw the football. That’s the thing we’re weakest at right now and the thing we need the most work on. It’s something we’ll look at on Saturday.”
Overall it was a pretty solid day. There were a few instances of coaches getting a bit frustrated with players and making them do up-downs, but all in all I thought it was a good practice. I'm very glad for the greater focus on the run game and I look forward to watching it develop over the next couple of weeks.
It was good to get back out and see a little bit of this afternoon’s football practice, particularly because most of the ugly weather that’s been hanging around since last Thursday seems to have disappeared. Unfortunately I have a pretty hectic week and wasn’t able to spend two hours out there watching the whole practice.
Still, I was able to catch up with Coach Grobe and get some thoughts from him regarding Saturday’s scrimmage and the state of the team in general at this point in spring practice. Now that he’d had time to review film from Saturday he talked more extensively about the state of the offensive line and about what may need to be done to get a better look at where they stand.
“I think protection-wise I think we’re a little bit better than we’ve been. I think our guys are doing some good things in pass protections. Had a couple breakdowns, typically when we just didn’t pick out the right guy to block. Mental mistakes hurt us a little bit but I thought when we knew who to block we did a pretty good job at times, but I think until we get a chance to get a little bit further in spring it will be hard to evaluate that offensive line.”
It definitely isn’t surprising that coach is reserving judgment on the line right now, as that is exactly what he should be doing. It’s all well in good for myself and other fans to be concerned, and coach certainly is as well, but there’s a lot of time between now and August.
I also asked if perhaps some of the line’s struggles stem from the fact that they’re facing one of the strongest defensive lines around.
“I really hope that’s the case. That’s the theory I’m floating out there right now. I’m hoping that’s the way it is. I’ve got a feeling that guys like Boo Robinson are pretty tough to block and there are going to be times where we’ve got everything drawn up just right and we’ve got hats on everybody and we’re just getting beat by good players. I think part of that’s true. I think our offensive line is a little better than I think right now because they’re going against such good people up front that once in awhile those guys are going to make plays. Good players make plays. Right now we’re putting in a lot of different plays offensively, different protections and the running game and haven’t really settled a lot on our running game. I think it’s early to tell but I do think that our defensive front has some very talented kids that can run and make plays so that at times can make your offensive line look a little bit suspect when in fact it could just be that your defensive front is pretty talented.”
I guess I probably threw him a bit of a softball there, but I too hope that we have a very impressive defensive line this season and that our offensive will only be better for having to go against them on a daily basis.
One final interesting thing coach talked about what the play calling in Saturday’s scrimmage, and really in spring practice as a whole.
“We probably through the ball too much Saturday, and the defense has a lot to do with that. In order for us to be successful we have to throw a little bit against our guys but I think a key for us next season is going to be our ability to run the football. We weren’t very consistent, but we didn’t run it a lot so it’s hard to tell. I don’t know whether it will be in the scrimmage or whether we’ll emphasize it more in practice, but I’d like to get a better look at these offensive linemen. If we don’t run the football a little bit more we won’t be able to tell.”
A couple of notes from the short time I spent out at practice: FB Rich Belton, who tore his ACL early last season, was at practice today participating in a few drills. He didn’t have pads on and definitely wasn’t participating in anything involving contact, but it was good to see him out there moving around.
I also got a look at Ryan McManus working on his long snapping. He definitely has the strength to do it (most QBs are pretty good snappers, actually) but his accuracy (and sometimes his spiral) still need some work. I know he’ll get a ridiculous number of reps between now and August and I don’t expect it to really cause any problems in the long run.
I’ll miss tomorrow practice (I have an early evening exam) but should be back out there Thursday and at Saturday’s scrimmage, so I’ll have full reports from both of those.
As most of you probably know, the lack of writing here over the weekend was caused by my being in Oklahoma for a wedding. I was definitely disappointed to miss Saturday's scrimmage at BB&T, particularly the emergence of Ben Wooster. He's looked strong in practice these last two weeks, but to hear that he continued to perform well in a game-like situation was great news.
As much as I would like it to have been otherwise, I was not surprised to hear that the running game struggled. It remains to be seen whether or not the talent is there (although I certainly think it might be) but this offensive line lacks any kind of experience. It also doesn't help them to be facing what might be one of the strongest defensive lines in the nation. There's still a lot of time between now and August 30 and those guys will get plenty of reps, but until they get a couple of games worth of work under their belts I know it will be a struggle.
I'll be back out at practices this week (starting tomorrow and running through Thursday), but I'm not sure if I'll be able to make next Saturday's scrimmage either.
On a different but still football related note, I got an email from a reader this weekend asking if I had heard anything recently about Luke Caparelli. The answer to that question was that I have not heard anything at all since the whole situation died down. Now that it's back on my mind I may see if I can find out what he's up to and what his plans are for the future.
Today should be a fun day to head out to BB&T field for today's first scrimmage of the spring. Unfortunately I'm in Oklahoma for a wedding this weekend and won't be able to see it. If anyone goes it would be great if you left a report in the comments. Have a great weekend and enjoy the basketball.
Thanks to temperatures in the low 40's and steady rainfall the Deacs shortened practice to only an hour today, finishing up by six o'clock.
It was certainly miserable out there and no one seemed to be enjoying themselves. Most individual drills were skipped in favor of light scrimmaging and drills involving the whole offense or whole defense.
Given the wet conditions I though Riley and the other quarterbacks did a decent job throwing the ball and the receivers did fine as well. We didn't get to see too much out of the running backs. I think the coaches are waiting to go full speed with full contact to really work on the running game.
Everyone was pretty thankful for practice to end early (including myself) and get out of there. Had the weather been better I would have been interested to see if the energy levels were better than they had been yesterday, but because the schedule was so much different it was difficult to make that assessment.
Today's practice was another full pads practice in preparation for the first scrimmage on Saturday morning over at BB&T Field. Unfortuantely I'll be out of town for a wedding on Saturday and unable to make that scrimmage, but I'll put an open thread up so that those of you who go can leave your comments if you'd like.
Sorry for not snapping a picture today, but there wasn't really anything new to see. Actually, the Deacs went with a little bit lighter practice today, dropping back to just shells (no pants) like they did at last Saturday's practice. I believe tomorrow's practice is scheduled to be full pads again.
Because there was less contact the coaches really seemed to be using today to work heavily on technique. I paid particular attention to some of the drills the offensive and defensive lineman were doing.
The offensive linemen were working on pass blocking footwork. We've heard for awhile now that the coaches want the offensive line to be lighter and quicker this season, and clearly that's what they were working towards today. I heard Lobo say something to the effect of "we're losing weight so we can cover ground fast."
The defensive lineman were also perfecting various techniques, as I saw them working on how to engage and release from offensive linemen. Boo Robinson looked like he had a particularly good handle on the technique and coach McCartney was very complimentary of him. He was even showing some of the younger guys where they didn't quite have it right and helping them out. I liked seeing him step up to lead like that.
I felt like today's practice lacked the energy that I'd seen in the first few practices. I think the reason for this could be a combination of things; I think the excitement that comes with the first couple practices is starting to wear off, plus because there was less contact today the guys weren't quite as hyped up. I could tell the coaches were a bit frustrated by the effort level at times, particularly with the offense in some of the drills against the defense.
Although they weren't perfect, the defense looked solid all afternoon and definitely seemed to have more spark than the offense. I've consistently been impressed by the energy Aaron Curry has - definitely the most of anyone at practice. It translates to good work by him in the drills, but also fires up the rest of the team.
In the full offense vs. defense session at the end of practice the offensive line was struggling to contain the D-line's pass rush. The defense definitely seemed to have the upper hand and I really wasn't impressed with the O-line. They looked better run blocking than they did pass blocking but weren't particularly impressive in either.
Y'lou and Pendegrass looked good offensively today, and Demir Boldin also caught my eye with an impressive run after a catch.
Hopefully the guys will have a bit more energy out there tomorrow, particularly as they go back to heavier contact.
Although I'm not able to stay out here all afternoon (stupid late afternoon class) I decided to come out and enjoy a few innings of baseball today. Seeing as how it's sunny and 60 degrees I think I've made a pretty good decision.
Yesterday the Deacs dropped a game to #20 UNC-Wilmington 5-1, but today they're down to Coastal Carolina 5-3 through 3 1/2 innings. Ben Hunter had a bit of a rough start giving up three in the first but was cruising along nicely before giving up 2 in the fourth. Wake has three hits, including an RBI single from Allan Dykstra and a 2 out 2 RBI hit from Weldon Woodall.
I haven't been able to give the Diamond Deacs the kind of attention I'd like to because I play on Wake's club baseball team and we play most weekends as well. To give some credit where credit is due, the 17th ranked club Deacs took two out of three from defending club national champions UNC this past weekend.
I'll post a final score from today's game against Coastal as well as an update from today's football practice sometime tonight.
Update: Apparently things didn't go so well in the second half of the game, and the Deacs fell to Coastal Carolina 9-4.
As you can see, for the team's fourth practice of the spring everyone donned full pads. Although just about everything was done at less than full speed there was still more contact and they're definitely working up towards going full speed. Today the guys got in trouble if they hit anyone hard enough to put them on the ground (happened to a couple of receivers coming across the middle - Kevin Patterson drilled someone, I think maybe Chip Brinkman early in practice and then it happened again later, but I couldn't see who was involved).
This is a critical week for the offensive line as they're able to go full speed for the first time. I wasn't focusing on them today for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it's probably good for them to get a couple days under their belts in pads before we dive too much into that, so I'll withhold my judgment there for a day or two.
Redshirt Freshman Brandon Pendergrass definitely caught my eye today. He's been looking good throughout, but a couple of his moves today were very impressive. He's only 5'8" but weighs about 200 pounds, making him very hard to hit, and likely very hard to bring down.
One other thing to note from today - RS freshman Dennis Godfry sat out today with an injury to his hand. It isn't anything too serious and he's expected to be back this weekend.
I had the chance to talk to Coach Grobe for a couple of minutes before practice and asked him about what he wants the players to be working on here in the spring:
"We tell them all the time it's going to be hard for you to earn a job if you don't know what to do. Especially for the younger players knowing the offense, knowing the defense, being able to pick up special teams, they have to be able to do that pretty quick. More than anything in Spring practice we're looking for guys who like to compete. I like seeing guys out here who you can tell by their attitude and the way they work that they're enjoying practicing. That's what it's all about in the Spring."
"For our veterans we look for guys to not get stale. We want our guys getting better every day and that's the mark of a champion; coming out every day and finding a way to get better."
That's about it for today. Check back tomorrow and Thursday for continued reports from practice.