WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — It's just the fourth day of practice and the pads have yet to be worn, but injuries are already beginning to rear their ugly head.
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson goes through those not participating Monday, and also takes an early look ahead at which true freshmen have a chance to see the field in 2016 in this post-practice interview.
On what he's seeing so far
Clawson: "I think we're getting good work. I think there's a more consistent tempo to our practice. I think the intensity level is better and more consistent. I just think it's better football. We have more good players. They look different. We have a long ways to go, but we're certainly working from a better base than we ever have before in my time here."
On Cam Serigne saying it's some of the most physical practices he's seen here at Wake
Clawson: "It sounds different, doesn't it? It sounds different. There's more of a firmness to things than we've had. I just think there's a competitive level to it where guys have to bring their best every day. We have depth that we can sustain that with the second unit. Not at every position, but at most positions. When you look at our first and second team wideouts, there's very little difference to me. At some positions on defense, we feel the same way. The amount of quality work we're getting and the amount of guys playing snaps with the second group that I think will be playing in games — there's just more of those guys."
On if things change even more Tuesday with the first day in pads
Clawson: "Some, but not a lot. To me, we'll do a couple of tackling things tomorrow, but I think we practice physical when we have the shoulder pads on. We'll do a couple drills where we go to the ground, but I think now you play football — it doesn't make it less physical."
On people who missed action today in practice
Clawson: "(Cam) Glenn is probably short-term. (Amari) Henderson might be a little longer. It's hamstring, but with those there are differnt grades with it. They think he might be a little bit longer than Cam. (Duke) Ejiofor had a hamstring too. It'll be a couple days. Those are just muscle strains."
On how many true freshmen he believes will see the field in 2016
Clawson: "Let's go through it. I would guess right now Jamie Newman would not play and none of the offensive linemen would play. I think Cade Carney and Greg Dortch will both have chances to play. I think Brandon Chapman will have a chance to play. I think on defense, Sulaimon Kamara will have a chance to play. I think one of those defensive ends between Boogie (Basham), Zander (Zimmer) and Emmanuel (Walker) — whoever progresses the fastest could get a chance to play. Jacquez Williams could have a chance to play because of (Zack) Wary being out. I would say Essang Bassey has a chance to play and one of the safeties, either Traveon Redd, Luke Masterson or (DeAndre) Delaney. And them (Dom) Maggio. So, I'd put the over/under at probably nine. I would think it would be right around nine as the over/under. We put them in three categories. They're going to play, they're going to redshirt, or they're on red alert. The safeties might be red alert. If Ryan Janvion, Jessie Bates, Josh Okonye and Cam Glenn all are healthy, you probably redshirt the safeties. If you lose on of them, you need to get one of those guys going in special teams and be a backup. Maybe Greg Dortch is a red alert, but maybe if he keeps making the plays he's making, you have no choice. We'll make that decision about 10 days before the game, but I'd say the over/under is more like eight. I'm saying those nine kids could, but hopefully one or two of them we're able to redshirt. But if you have injuries, it's probably nine. Dom Maggio averaged 53 yards per punt yesterday."
On Phil Haynes missing today
Clawson: "Phil got dinged up yesterday in practice."
On if that's long term or short term
Clawson: "I'll let you know in probably two days. With all those injuries, there's a return to play protocol. It's basically three steps. They have to be symptom free, they have to be able to handle exertion work, and they've got to be able to handle light contact. It's a very strict process."
On the progression of Kyle Kearns
Clawson: "He's a lot better than he was in the spring. He can go out there and run a play and run the offense now, which he couldn't do in the spring. In the spring, if he was suppossed to be looking left, he would be looking right. He can go out now and function in the offense. He can throw the ball, now. He can throw it. It's like all of guys who were redshirt freshmen last year going through spring — they're better now and at a different level. That's normal. It should be. Now if they're not, there's a problem. To me the interesting ones are the mid-year guys. Sometimes the mid-year guys — like that touch of spring really gets them going. Some of them still act like true freshman. I would say Cade Carney he seems now more like a redshirt freshman than a true freshman. Then there's another player we have, and I won't say his name, you would think he just showed up and he's been here since January."
On who is the fastest player on the team
Clawson: "I think it's probably Tabari (Hines) or Steven Claude. The group that's in there would be (Jalen) Latter, Claude, Tabari Hines, Chucky Wade, Amari Henderson when he's healthy, Cam Glenn and Johnny Armstrong. Those guys are all in that high 4.4, low 4.5 range on a good day with a nice wind, might crank out a low 4.4 (40 time). The reason I know that is we now have over 30 players that run a 4.6 or better, which is almost three times as much (as when he took over the program). That doesn't include the freshmen. Those are just the returners. So that doesn't include Greg Dortch or DeAndre Delaney, Essang Bassey — guys we know can run that too."
On Dortch needing to contribute in special teams to play this season
Clawson: "That's where Chucky Wade being able to play all three positions is so valuable. So we want to play six receivers this year. So if Greg is in the top six, even though he would be a slot, we have flexibility because Chuck knows every position."