Wake Forest Holds Eighth Preseason Camp Practice
Aug. 9, 2018

By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeFB)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest went through its eighth practice of preseason camp on Thursday at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex and McCreary Field House. With temperature a bit more mild than earlier in the week, the Demon Deacons were able to have a productive and spirited practice. Among the highlights was a 99-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman Christian Beal that occurred during a drill where the offense was working on difficult field position scenarios. During the same drill, the defense forced a fumble near the goal line that would have resulted in a touchdown in a game situation.

“We worked on coming out (of the end zone),” said head coach Dave Clawson following the practice. “You start a drive inside the 10 or 5-yard line. Offensively, you can never have a turnover down there because it’s usually a score. The first offense turned it over. Defensively, you can’t give up big plays and the second defense gave up a 99-yard play. Usually when (you have a score under those) extremes, they’re not for good reasons.”

Following Beal’s long run, quarterback Sam Hartman was effusive in his congratulations of tackle Je’Vionte’ Nash.

“It was a pull and we had a good down block,” said Clawson. “I’ll watch the film but the linebacker didn’t fit the play correctly. Usually when you give up big plays, you misfit something, you let the ball on the edge or the ball goes over your head. In that case, we misfit it.” Redshirt freshman kicker Zach Murphy converted a 50-yard field goal during a drill, but that wasn’t in the game plan.

 

 

“We were trying to teach the drill that will set up the return (of a missed field goal) and he nailed it,” said Clawson. “We moved it back (on the next attempt). I guess that was a good problem.” Wake Forest’s kickers impressed the head coach with their kickoffs on Thursday.

“There’s two things I like on kickoffs,” said Clawson. “Far and high. They did both of them today. They looked really good. That was encouraging.”

Clawson continues to see progress in the top two candidates for the starting quarterback position in redshirt sophomore Jamie Newman and freshman Sam Hartman.

“They’re both getting better, they’re both making progress,” said Clawson. “We’re just going to keep repping them and keep repping them. We haven’t even gotten through all the field situations or the clock situations. That’s part of being the quarterback, is how you manage those things. We’re halfway through our situational installation and part of playing quarterback is going out there in a scrimmage and then managing all those things as they occur, not as they’re scripted in a practice.”

Kendall Hinton, who has four career starts at quarterback, was not wearing the green jersey on Thursday that is symbolic of the quarterback position.

“We decided before that we wanted to get through the base install with him at quarterback and as we got into week two, start repping him a little bit at receiver, allow him to return kicks, return punts,” said Clawson. “So we are prepared to go either way with him.”

Receiver A.T. Perry, a 6-5 freshman from Lake Worth, Fla., caught Clawson’s eye on Thursday.

“He’s got a chance to help us this year,” said Clawson. “I’d say of the freshmen receivers, he’s probably the one who has shown the most. But we’re just starting the second week of camp.”

Clawson took a moment to mention a pair of freshmen linebackers who took a lot of positional reps on the field on Wednesday.

“Our two freshmen linebackers yesterday, Ryan Smenda and Jake Galli, really did a good job,” said Clawson. “We do a lot on offense, a lot of formations, motion, shifts, tempo, and those guys both did a really good job. They weren’t perfect, but they did a really good job of getting lined up.”

Clawson also noted some of the fundamental changes in his first-year front seven candidates.

“Yesterday we talked about the D-line between (Dion) Bergan, (Rondell) Bothroyd and (JaCorey) Johns, but some second level and third level guys got some time yesterday and some of them did a really nice job,” said Clawson. “Physically, what we recruited in the front seven as true freshmen is different than what we’ve had in the past. These guys are (in terms of), height, weight, speed, better than what we’ve brought in before. Whether they become the players that these other guys did, who knows. But (strength coach) Brandon Hourigan said day one, this group is certainly ahead on the D-line. JaCorey Johns looks a lot different as a true freshman than (senior defensive end) Chris Calhoun looked as a true freshman. These guys are starting at a higher point. Can they develop the way the other guys did is going to be what’s important.”

Practice nine is scheduled for Friday morning at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex. The Deacons will hold a closed scrimmage at BB&T Field on Saturday in preparation for the season opener on August 30 at Tulane.

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