Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Deacs plugging holes early after losing Zeek Rodney, Zack Wary

The Deacs will find out just how deep they are defensively after losing defensive lineman Zeek Rodney and linebacker Zack Wary before the 2016 has even started.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — I’m not much for coffee, and my body usually does better with more than four hours sleep.

But that’s what I got Thursday night, as the alarm clock went off a little after 4 a.m. Friday, with Wake Forest set to begin fall camp bright and early at 6 a.m. at the Doc Martin Football Practice Facility.

Then I stayed up all day and produced a ton of content, awaking at 5 a.m. Saturday to start all over again. 

Simply stated — though I love what I do, I’m missing some ZZZZs.

But then again, so are the Deacs.

With the news to start camp Friday that Zack Wary would be medically disqualified from playing football, the Deacs were now down two potential starters on the defensive side of the ball.

It was announced last month that Zeek Rodney, a 12-game starter on the defensive line last season, was taking a leave of absence in 2016 and would return for the Deacs next year.

Zack and Zeek? The Deacs will be missing ZZZZs too.

“Zack was probably No. 4 inside (linebacker) for us. Going into it, we were thinking Marquel (Lee), Grant (Dawson), Jaboree (Williams), then Zack were going to be the four guys inside,” Clawson said Friday about the loss of Wary. “The impact on the team is that it gives Justin Strnad a chance to enter the two-deep. We’re also going to make Jacquez Williams a BUCK linebacker and give him a chance to play.”

The staff has had more time to ponder the loss of Rodney.

“Willie Yarbary and Chris Stewart have come on. We have Banksy (Josh Banks) healthy, and Shelldon Lewinson come back,” Clawson said Saturday at Wake Media Day. “Would we love to have Zeek back? Yes. I always say on defense that you’d love to have a pair and a spare. That you have two high-level players and a third guy that’s capable of getting reps. In a lot of positions you can say now that there’s a pair and a spare, and now we’re trying to develop a fourth.”

Clawson said that right now, the Deacs have four at tackle that he considers playable.  

“We’re trying to get a fifth. At defensive end we have Duke Ejiofor, Wendell Dunn, Chris Calhoun, Paris Black, Rashawn Shaw. A lot of those places we weren’t even a pair and a spare, and now we have five guys coming back eligible for playing time,” he said. “You’d love to have five guys, but if you can stay healthy, you can get through the season if you have three. When I say three, I mean three corners, three safeties, three inside linebackers, three tackles, three ends and we’d love to have two rovers.”

Though I might struggle later tonight making it through a couple episodes of the latest Netflix original series, “Stranger Things,” generally speaking I can make it just fine without the ZZZZs.

The bigger question is if the Deacs have the depth at linebacker and defensive tackle to not miss their ZZZZs.


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