WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Deacs enjoyed another high-energy practice Tuesday afternoon at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex, rebounding off their first two-a-day of fall camp.
The staff got creative with the final conditioning drill, sending the squad indoor to McCreary Field House, where they went through three stations of unorthodox work.
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson spoke with the media at the conclusion of fall practice no. 12.
On what he saw
Clawson: “Again, it’s one of those hot days in camp, and we’re not wilting. Guys are working through it, getting good practices and good repetitions. We’re seeing a lot of things we need to see. So far, I’m really impressed with our team’s ability to push through camp. I know the wall is closing in on them, but they’re not letting it overtake them. They’re pushing through it really well.”
On the final conditioning drill
Clawson: “We have two-and-a-half fields. Part of it was just the way we set up conditioning, it’s hard to set that up while practicing. So our strength staff can set all this stuff up while we were out there, so it wouldn’t take five minutes. It’s more for logistics. I think our thing was that we needed to condition, but we didn’t necessarily want to wear out their legs. So we wanted to come up with creative ways to condition and get their heart rate going without running them, which is why we did this.”
On Julian Jackson getting a lot of 2nd team reps
Clawson: “Julian is going to be a valuable guy on special teams. He has a knack for rushing the passer. Part of camp is who can stay healthy. With Duke (Ejiofor) down, we’re a little short at (defensive) end, so Julian is getting reps. He’ll play in some packages for us, and he’s fighting his way into the two-deep.”
On who else is making a step to become playable
Clawson: “Position by position, I’d say Essang Bassey at corner. I think Jessie Bates continues to flash every day at safety. I think at linebacker Justin Strnad and Nate Mays have made really good steps. At defensive end Willie Yarbary is playing at a better level than he ever has. I think yesterday Chris Stewart had a good practice. At tight end, Devin Pike is playing at a level where he can play more this year than last. I don’t know that we felt we could sub for Cam (Serigne) last year. And I’ll tell you what, Jack Freudenthal has had a nice camp. He really has. I think the wide receiver position — we have six or seven guys that can play. It allows us to stay healthy and give us depth. I think Nate Gilliam is a guy that has come on too. Matt Colburn has had a good camp. Those are guys that maybe wouldn’t have been in your two-deep at the end of spring that we’re saying — either they were in the two-deep, but it was truly a 2 and not in the mix, or guys that have worked their way on the two-deep.”
On Matt Colburn moving better the last few practices
Clawson: “Part of that is he had an injury where he couldn’t practice. Sometimes in camp when you get an injury and can’t practice, you have fresh legs. He missed four or five practices and those other guys are getting every single rep. Inevitably they get wore down a little bit and Matt has fresh legs. Sometimes it helps.”
On getting Devin Pike back on the practice field
Clawson: “It was good. We were just overloading Jack (Freudenthal) with reps. With Cam (Serigne) and Duke (Ejiofor) and Cam Glenn, we’re just trying to make sure when they come back that they’re close to 100 percent and there’s no risk of a re-injury. We’re being very cautious with them, because in our mind those are guys that we know can play. They know the offense, know the defense and it gives us time to develop the two-deep.”
On easing Cam Glenn back today
Clawson: “Individual. First can they do indy, then can they do skelly before you put them in team? It’s a progression.”
On how the team bounced back from the two-a-day
Clawson: “Again, it’s hot out there. The one thing with turf is that the heat kind of bounces back, that’s why you guys are in here on couches drinking Pina Coladas and we’re on the turf.”
On Josh Banks response to suspension at the end of last season
Clawson: “I think the measure is how is he doing now. He’s doing well, but the hope with him is that he will sustain it. He flashes, and I’d say Tylor Harris flashed. I think he’s a guy that if he’s the same player day-in and day-out and the same preparation level week-in and week-out, I think he can be an all conference player. I really do. Sometimes with players like that they say potential means you haven’t done anything yet. In his case, he has done some things, but where his ability can get him and where he’s played at, there’s a gap. We’re pushing to close that gap.”