Winston-Salem, NC - Aside from Patrick Thompson's 44-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Terry followed by Chad Hedlund's PAT were the only points of the game as the offense failed to muster much success against a stingy defense in Wake Forest's first intra-squad scrimmage this spring.
Right guard Frank Souza, who is the only returning starter on the offensive line healthy to participate in spring practice, was joined up front by Whit Barnes at center, Ty Hayworth at left guard, Dylan Intemann at left tackle and Will Smith at right tackle. Barnes dislocated his finger near the end of the scrimmage.
To make things increasingly difficult the offense is incorporating the option into its scheme, and it was clear the quarterbacks and running backs are have room to grow in terms of comfort and execution. Misreads, botched handoffs and pitches were commonplace.
However, Wake has the talent and the right kind of quarterbacks to run this offense well if the offensive line can develop and get healthy.
Kevin Sousa's skill-set specifically appears to be well suited for the option, especially out of the pistol or some sort of shotgun spread formation, while Tanner Price has some experience with it dating back to his freshman year. Tyler Cameron, who is a true dual-threat quarterback, has been sidelined until this spring, leaving much to be seen from him.
Patrick Thompson led all rushers with eight carries for 27 yards, as the defense stymied the offense's efforts on the ground. The offense was held to a meager 89 yards rushing.
Brandon Chubb led the way with 11 tackles (two solo, nine assits), while Britt Cherry, Desmond Floyd, Johnny Garcia and Justin Jackson each made six tackles.
The defense was equally impressive against the pass, holding the offense to 121 yards on 12-23 attempts.
Kevin Johnson came up with the highlight of the day defensively when he intercepted Price, and made a 15-yard return.
With Michael Campanaro out for the spring this is a great opportunity for another wide receiver to emerge as a reliable target to alleviate pressure from him. The Demon Deacons are still looking for someone step up.
They are going to need more from Terry, but success in Wake's aerial attack hinges significantly on what kind of protection the offensive line is providing. That group leaves much to be desired, but the potential is there along with incoming talent.
Post-scrimmage Q-&-A's …
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe
What were your general observations from the scrimmage? "Well, it's was the best day the defense has had since we've been in spring ball. I thought our defense showed up with a little bit of an attitude. Honestly the offense has gotten a little bit of the defense the first few practices and I thought today the defense bowed their neck a little bit."
"That was fun to see some young guys making plays today. I don't know that anybody stood out in particular. I thought K.J. [Johnson] made some really nice plays, but I thought overall just the energy of the defense was fun to see."
"I told Lobo this morning I expected the offense to be a little ragged. The last practice we had was Tuesday, and what we're doing execution is so important. We even screwed up lining up in some formations today. The layoff certainly wasn't good for the execution of the offense, but I thought the fun thing for me was to see the defense start having some success, and I thought they had a really good day."
Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price
Tanner, in terms of the scrimmage you all weren't as sharp as you'd like at times. Where do you think you guys are at in the learning curve? "I think we're starting to get it. The first scrimmage is always kind of like this for the offense."
"The defense usually has the upper hand, so we've been doing some really good things in practice and we've had a lot of explosive plays. I think we're starting to get it, but we definitely still have a lot of room to improve."
Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson
That interception you had a great read on the ball. Could you sort of break that down and what you saw? "We were playing cover three and I saw the play-action and I was reading the quarterback. My guy ran a post and then I saw the safety take it, so I knew I could come off and I knew there would be someone coming in my zone and the Will [linebacker] came and I just tried to make a play on the ball."