WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Wake Forest football team completed its first intra-squad scrimmage of the spring season on Saturday, March 24 at BB&T Field.
The Demon Deacon offense looked crisp after a sluggish start, running through 80 plays and scoring two touchdowns against just one turnover in 13 drives. Wake Forest was on the turf for approximately two hours.
"It was a work day for us. This was for all intents and purposes just another practice, but we tackled the backs for a change," said head coach Jim Grobe. "I thought it was good for our receivers and our backs to get tackled and good for our defense to be able to tackle them. Pretty sloppy, some silly penalties offensively. Defensively, we let the offense go for a couple of things where we would have gone for a field goal (in a real game). But it was good to put our defense's back against the wall. One time they picked him off and 50 went the distance. I thought it was good competition and our guys enjoyed running into one another. It was a good physical practice for us."
One of the day's standouts was wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who finished the morning with 10 catches for 116 yards to lead the offense.
Quarterback Tanner Price also looked sharp after missing on seven of his first eight passes. The rising junior and incumbent starter took the reins on six offensive drives and completed 17-of-30 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown. Price's scoring drive went 72 yards on 11 plays and ended in a five yard touchdown to tight end Spencer Bishop in the south end zone.
"The offense made some plays today, which they can do anytime 10 is back there," said Grobe. "I wanted to stress the defense a little bit. They've kind of had the upper hand this spring thus far. I would have liked to have seen us run the football better. I thought Orville Reynolds had some good runs and Josh Harris had a good physical run on a fourth down play. Overall, we still have the same goal, run the ball better and continue throwing it."
The lone interception of the game for Price came when cornerback Kevin Johnson tipped the ball to Nikita Whitlock, who grabbed the ball and sprinted 87 yards for a touchdown.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Patrick Thompson also put up good numbers on two drives, completing 5-of-6 throws for 79 yards and a score. Thompson found Jordan Garside for a 12 yard touchdown after a five play drive featuring a 43-yard catch by Quan Rucker, who posted 67 yards on three catches during the practice.
Defensively, the Deacs finished with five sacks and one interception. Johnny Garcia, Hunter Williams, Jason Green, Josh Hunt and Justin Jackson all came up with sacks for the defensive unit, but Grobe felt the offensive line made strides.
"I think we've improved quite a bit from the first day of practice when we didn't look very good," said Grobe. "I thought Thursday we improved a little bit and I thought today we got a little better. It's going to take time before these guys are really comfortable. We've got guys who like to play, who like to get after it but they're just making too many mistakes right now and you can't do that up front. We just play against too many good people. You want to get to the point where when they beat us, they beat us physically and not because we didn't block the right guy."
Leading the way on the ground, Orville Reynolds finished with four carries for 32 yards and Tyler Jackson carried six times for 21 yards.
The Deacs will now have the next two days off before getting back to practice on Tuesday, March 27 at the Doc Martin Football Complex.