Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Deacs progressing as spring camp rolls on

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson catches us up on spring camp.

FIve of the allowed 15 practices are in the books for Wake Forest spring camp, with the Deacs going three times last week following having the previous week off for Spring Break.

Demon Deacon Digest chatted with Wake coach Dave Clawson Tuesday afternoon, as the Deacs spiral toward the first scrimmage of camp Saturday.

On how the team responded coming off Spring Break

Clawson: “I think there was a little lag, probably more mentally than physically. When you get out of that football mode, they had that week away. They weren’t lifting, running or watching film. That first practice probably wasn’t as sharp as we would like, but I felt they responded with a good Thursday and Friday workout. I feel like we got good work in.”

On what he’s seeing so far from Arkeem Byrd and Christian Beal in camp

Clawson: “They’re fast and quick. They’re different types of backs. They are fast, quick and elusive in the hole. We have to continue to develop those guys, but I think — it’s always a big it — but if we can stay healthy, I think running back will go from in four years time from one of the weakest positions in the program to one the strongest.”

On what he means by them being different type of backs

Clawson: “We have Cade (Carney), who is a big, physical back who can run people over and has good speed. Then we have Matt Colburn, who is a shifty, change-of-direction, make-you-miss guy. Then Arkeem and Christian have some speed, those guys. They’re not maybe as big, but they’re very shifty and quick. Those guys have that extra gear when they get into space.”

On if the team as a whole is continuing to make strides in speed and strength numbers

Clawson: “It’s a little early to tell. You’re going against yourself. I thought we were a little faster last year, but I don’t know if that showed up in terms of more explosive plays. I don’t know if we had the explosive plays we expected at wide receiver. I think we were much more consistent. We made more first downs. We certainly controlled the ball at times and ran the ball better. The next step is to score more points. The way we’ll score more points is to make more explosive plays. I’ve been saying that for years, but this is the year that has to come to fruition.

“There were more times last year our offensive line blocked a play for two yards, and we got four or five yards. Now we have to get some home runs. I don’t know that we got many home runs last year, and some of the ones we did get were fluky home runs. Kind of like John Wolford’s scramble at Virginia? I’d like to see us him a zone play and gash it for 60 yards. I still don’t know if we’ve made those sort of plays.”

On if any redshirt freshman have stood out so far in camp

Clawson: “Right now, I’d say at tight end Thomas Cole has had a solid start. (Brandon) Chapman is improving. (Greg) Dortch has done some really good things. It’s nice to have Arkeem Byrd healthy. The young guys on the offensive line are getting better. On defense, Bookie Basham has stood out. Luke Masterson has been solid. Those are all guys who will help us.”

On safety being an important spot to gain depth

Clawson: “Cam (Glenn) is not practicing, and we’ve lost Ryan Janvion. That’s a really important position for us.”

On Cortez Lewis

Clawson: “He had shoulder surgery. We think it will be three-and-a-half to four-month rehab. He’ll miss the spring and we should have him good to go for the start of camp. This is a similar procedure that he had done of his other shoulder after his freshman year.”

On the skills that he considers most important to run his systems at quarterback

Clawson: “Number one, it’s making good decisions with the football and not turning it over — being accurate in the passing game. It’s also providing athleticism to where we can run with the football, buy time in the pocket and not take sacks. To play quarterback, you have to eliminate negatives, and that’s eliminating turnovers and sacks. Then making the positive, by being accurate in passing and moving the ball down the field.”

On what he’s looking for this week in camp

Clawson: “It’s really three things, though not specific to this week but just to spring football in general. You want to get in good, productive work. You want to get guys playing fast and understanding the schemes. Two, you want to stay healthy. Number three is you want to see young players develop. This is a continuation of what we’re doing.”

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