WFU Practice Report: August 11th

The rain cleared off in time to allow for a dry practice Tuesday night in Winston-Salem. Tuesday's practice was spirited as the Demon Deacons continue to prepare for their opener with the Baylor Bears. The following is DeaconSports' report from Tuesday's practice.

During Tuesday's practice, the turf was a little slick but no one seemed to be affected too much. Instead, the players were focused and you could tell the players were ready to start hitting. This was the last practice in shells before they don the pads Wednesday afternoon at 3:15. Both the drills and the 11-on-11 sets were very spirited. There's still a lot of effort and excitement present as the Deacons prepare for the 2009 season.

Although most of the team was healthy and in action, several players were unable to play on Tuesday. Michael Campanaro, J.T. Dixon, D. J. Jones and Quan Rucker did not participate.

On field goals and kickoffs, Shane Popham continued to display the most accuracy. Cline Beam crushed the ball when he hit it right, but didn't always make solid contact. Jimmy Newman displayed a little more consistency tonight and showed his strong leg several times.

In the kick return game, a few players took turns bringing it back. Alex Frye, Chris Givens and Devon Brown all got a few shots, as did C.J. Washington. Most of the time was spent on technique and the return scheme, so it was difficult to tell if any of the returners had an edge over the other.

During defensive drills, Kevin Smith continued to show a lot of speed. The defensive line as a whole had a good night going up against the offensive line in line drills. As for linebackers, Mike Olson looked especially quick to the ball, chasing down a couple of sweeps. In the backfield, Brandon Ghee displayed his usual steady technique and Duran Lowe looked especially solid.

In offensive drills, Chris Givens continues to display nice hands by snagging a few including one very nice catch around his shoe tops. Terence Davis had a case of the drops for awhile, as did Marshall Williams. But both bounced back quickly. Marshall seemed to be one of the more impressive blockers when the wide receivers and defensive backs went one on one.

Freshman quarterback Brendan Cross displayed more of his calm, steady hand during the passing drills. Ted Stachitas seemed much more on target tonight as well, although his passes still seemed to lack a lot of zip at this time. Ryan McManus also displayed some nice touch. Skylar Jones made a couple of nice deep ball tosses that were right on the money.

During 11-on-11, the offense seemed to run the ball a little better tonight compared to Monday night. Josh Adams looked especially quick. Also, a few orbit sweeps (or variations thereof) were spotted. The running game seemed to be the emphasis tonight along with some short passing. Skylar Jones looked good on some underneath passes and sprinted out wide for a big gain.

Frank Souza came into practice this August with a big and nasty rep. Tonight he met a genuine Wake Forest "Big & Nasty". On one sweep play, Jeff Griffin and Souza got tangled up, as Jeff continued to push Frank down the field about 10 yards after the play was over. It ended with Jeff driving Frank to the ground and destroying a trashcan on the sideline. No incident at all, just good, hard play. Both went about their business after that. You can tell these guys are ready to hit. Even though they only wore shells tonight, things were noticeably physical.

Practice continues on Wednesday and then things heat up for two-a-days on Thursday.

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