Deacs Wrap Up Spring Football

The Wake Forest football team wrapped up spring practice with a final scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Groves Stadium.

The sun stayed out and the dark clouds held off as around 2,500 fans came out to watch the gridiron Deacs in action. After running some passing drills and punting and kicking plays, the offenses and defenses scrimmaged against each other for just over an hour. There was no score kept.

"It was sloppy, which is typical in a spring game," said head coach Jim Grobe, who will enter his third season with the Deacon program this fall. "Offensively it was hard for us to sustain drives because we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. It is very important that we get stronger, plus we need to get much better in August."

"We've got talent, we just need maturity. We have a lot of young guys who haven't played in front of a bunch of people yet. We are just going to have to get them some experience."

Deacon fans line up for chicken and barbeque plates before the scrimmage.

Sophomore quarterback Cory Randolph led the first-team offense, completing 8-of-20 passes for 68 yards. The first-team unit was the only offensive group to find the endzone. On the first drive of the scrimmage, sophomore Chris Davis capped the 65-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Later in the scrimmage, Randolph hung on to the ball off a bobbled snap and managed a one-yard sneak into the endzone.

"I've found out how to handle the pressure, and I know how hard I have to work to maintain my job," Randolph said of his performance this spring. "I think I still have a lot to work on. I put pressure on myself to be consistent."

Redshirt-freshman QB Zac Taylor ran the second-team offense, finishing the day 5-of-11 in the air for 55 yards, including a long toss of 16 yards to senior Anthony Young. The leading receiver on the day, Young finished with three catches for 40 yards. Redshirt-freshman Nate Morton, who moved from quarterback to receiver this spring, also had three receptions for 31 yards.

Another player who switched positions this spring, Dominic Anderson, emerged as the leading rusher on Saturday with 12 carries for 49 yards. Anderson, a sophomore, played strong safety last fall. Another pair of sophomores, Cornelius Birgs and Chris Barclay, finished with eight carries each for 42 and 39 yards, respectively. Randolph finished as WFU's fourth-leading rusher with 21 yards on four carries. Redshirt-freshman speedster Willie Idlette showed potential as a rusher and receiver, gaining 10 yards on two carries and catching one pass (4 yards).

The Deacs warm up in their position groups before the scrimmage.

"Cory Randolph, Zac Taylor and Willie Idlette really stood out today," Grobe said. "We have a lot of bright spots from our redshirt freshman group that sat out last year."

The Deacons' youthfulness was also a prevalent theme on the other side of the ball. Four Deacs finished the day tied with a team-high seven tackles, including senior Dion Williams, junior Brad White, and a pair of redshirt freshmen defensive backs, James Adams and Patrick Ghee. Redshirt freshman cornerback Riley Swanson totaled six assisted tackles.

White, the team's top tackler in 2002, also had one tackle-for-loss (-2 yards), an assisted sack and one forced fumble in addition to his seven stops. The Deacons' top two defensive units also recorded one interception each, as senior linebacker Kellen Brantley picked off a Taylor pass and sophomore Jason Pratt scooped up a Randolph toss with a clear field to the endzone, returning it 44 yards.

"Our defense dominated today, but the defense is dominating in the spring game every year," Grobe said. "We let the defense do whatever they want, so it is sort of a dial-a-down defense. They are doing so many things. It makes it hard on the offense."

Wake Forest returns 39 letterwinners and 12 starters (three offense, seven defense, two specialists) from a team that went 7-6 in 2002 and won the Seattle Bowl. The 2003 campaign opens with a road trip to Boston College on August 30, with the home opener a week later (Sept. 6) versus NC State.

Individual Statistics
Rushing (Att-Gain-Lost-Net-TD-Long)
23 D. Anderson 12-49-0-49-0-13
2 Birgs 8-42-0-42-0-6
28 Barclay 8-39-0-39-0-8
17 Randolph 4-21-0-21-1-9
6 Sykes 9-18-2-16-0-6
29 Burney 3-14-0-14-0-10
82 Idlette 2-10-0-10-0-6
49 McWhite 1-9-0-9-0-9
87 Davis 2-2-0-2-1-2
18 Larson 3-1-12-(-11)-0-1

Passing (Att-Comp-Int-Yards-TD-Long-Sacks)
17 Randolph 20-8-1-68-0-17-1
10 Taylor 11-5-1-55-0-16-1
18 Larson 3-0-0-0-0-0-2

Receiving (No-Yards-TD-Long)
13 Young 3-40-0-16
18 Morton 3-31-0-15
80 J. Anderson 2-23-0-17
2 Birgs 1-12-0-12
87 Davis 2-9-0-9
82 Idlette 1-4-0-4
83 Callahan 1-4-0-4

Field Goals
37 Wisnosky 1-1 (45 yards)

Defense (Solo-Ast-Total)
45 White 2-5-7, TFL, 1/2 Sack, FF
34 D. Williams 2-5-7, Sack
30 Ghee 2-5-7
46 Adams 2-5-7
7 Swanson 0-6-6
42 Argrow 2-3-5, Sack
51 Easley 0-5-5
3 McGruder 2-2-4, FR, PBU
54 Brantley 1-3-4, INT
52 Stukes 1-3-4, Sack
22 Gattis 2-2-4
25 Q. Williams 0-4-4

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