Les Johns

Running backs impress in balanced spring football scrimmage

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson Q&A after the Deacs first scrimmage of spring camp.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest went through the paces of their first scrimmage of spring camp Saturday morning at BB&T Field.

Running back play by Cade Carney, Matt Colburn and true freshman Christian Beal provided some of the highlights of the competition, but the defense played well throughout the contest providing a relatively balanced account for the Deacs.

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson spoke with Demon Deacon Digest after the scrimmage.

On what he thought of the scrimmage

Clawson: “I thought it was a fairly balanced scrimmage. I thought the offense got off to a good start, had some great drives. Had Cade’s (Carney) long touchdown. Then in the second half of the scrimmage, the defense tightened down a little bit. Overall, you always want balance, which we had. Like every first scrimmage in the history of college football, at times it was sloppy. We had some missed tackles on the perimeter on defense which allowed for some big plays. Offensively, just at times it was sloppy. We had some quarterback-center snaps that really threw plays off. I think we had some missed opportunities. It was the first time we were out here with officials, without the coaches out there. I’m going to give the same talk at every first scrimmage of spring. As it wore on, it got a little sloppy.”

On what he saw from Kendall Hinton at quarterback

Clawson: “I think Kendall looked like a guy who hadn’t played football in a year. Kendall’s elusive, he’s dynamic, he’s going to make plays with his feet. It just looked like he hadn’t played in a while. I think it was great for him. The speed of the game, how quickly things happen. In practice, he gets four reps, John (Wolford) gets four, everything’s controlled. You get in a scrimmage and they have to play extended plays, its taxing mentally as it is physically. That’s why we scrimmage. He get’s 8-10 plays.

“Anytime we don’t go live, Kendall is at a disadvantage. Anytime we blow the whistle and say he’s down is a tackle he may have gotten out of. We don’t go live on our quarterbacks. That’s what we do, and I know it hurts Kendall. He was out here without his knee brace. He didn’t look tentative on the knee, and that’s progress.”

On Christian Beal

Clawson: “Christian Beal did a nice job, had some nice runs. He’s picked things up quickly. We’re very excited about him. He has a lot of work to do like any guy who should be a senior in high school. But he had some nice runs.”

On if he was playing because of injuries at running back

Clawson: “We were going to play him anyway. We want to get him carries and get him going. That’s a position you can never be too deep at.”

On Beal making several people miss on a 27-yard run

Clawson: “Just the nature of being a coach, (I asked myself) who missed him? That is the step we have to take on offense. More of those explosive plays. We’ve gotten a field goal better every year. From 14 to 17 to 20 (points per game). I want to see us get a touchdown better. And the only way we’ll get a touchdown better is if our skilled guys start making explosive plays. We don’t want to be a field goal better, we want to be a touchdown better. We want to be a mid to high 20s (scoring team) and pushing 30s. At some point, have a (big) game on offense. Indiana last year was a game we won like that. Good programs, there’s a little bit of ebb and flow on which side of the ball is stronger. I hope next year we’re a much more balanced team. We lost some players on defense and have a new staff. Conversely, we have the whole offense back. There’s a comfort level in what we’re doing that we haven’t had in the past.”

On who impressed defensively

Clawson: “I think up front, Paris Black continues to develop, (along with) Boogie Basham, Sulaiman Kamara,” said Clawson. “We’ve got really good depth on the D line. We’ve got to get those guys game-ready. Not second team scrimmage-ready. We’ve got to get them game-ready. That’s our big focus this spring, developing the depth, developing the two-deep. Getting that group of players who redshirted last year, getting them ready to play 30, 40 plays per game or start a game.”

On how he will use the scrimmage to make the team better through the rest of spring camp

Clawson: “There is some great teaching here. To me, our scrimmages are the preseason games. In the NFL they go to camp and they get four or five preseason games. These are our preseason games. So there’s nothing that teaches football like game situations. Today there’s so much to learn and teach from. You hope it’s a little bit better next week and a little bit better at the spring game. Then that last Thursday in August, it all comes together.”


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