August 16, 2012

Wake stumbles through first scrimmage

The offense started well, then went flat, while the defense stalled early and finished strong in Wake Forest's first scrimmage of fall camp.

"I thought the offense held their own pretty good today at times," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said. "We did some really, really good things offensively today, but five turnovers … you cannot turn the ball over like that, and that was what we were really good at last year. We didn't turn the ball over, so that's disappointing, but on the flipside to that you've got to give the defense credit for taking it away five times and that's good."

Orville Reynolds scored the first of Wake's two touchdowns on the first possession of the scrimmage with an eight-yard run, and Tanner Price connected with Sherman Ragland on a 24-yard pass. Jimmy Newman made both extra points.

Price was an efficient 10-13 for 155 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, while Brendan Cross, Kevin Sousa or Patrick Thompson never got into a rhythm passing.

After its slow start the defense quickly rebounded with Hunter Williams and Nikita Whitlock forcing fumbles, and Scott Betros intercepting a pass he returned 18 yards.

Observations …

--- Michael Campanaro was out nursing a sprained ankle. Grobe said Campanaro may be able to return to practice Monday. Ragland stepped up big-time in his absence. The redshirt freshman wide receiver from Durham, NC caught two passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Grobe on Ragland: "I hate to say too much yet, but he's been one of the bright spots so far. You wouldn't know that by as much as Lonnie's [Galloway] on those guys right now, but he's trying to be a guy."
"It's fun. He's playing hard. He's playing fast. His only thing is being consistent, because you can see he's got the ability to make big plays."

--- Josh Harris was held out of the scrimmage.

Grobe on Harris' status: "Josh Harris could have gone today, and he wanted to go. He hurt his shoulder yesterday [Wednesday, Aug. 15] in a pass-rush today, and he wanted to go today, which I liked. He really wanted to go, but we're still early in camp and there's no need to get out here and maybe hurt that shoulder a little bit worse, but I think he'll be back in practice tomorrow full-speed."

"That was one of the coach's deals. It was where I decided not to let him go, but Josh was dressed out and willing to go. In fact when he hurt his shoulder yesterday I really liked it, because he went in with Don [Steelman] with ice on his shoulder and came back out and put his pads back on and tried to finish practice. He's a different guy right now. He's trying to be durable and dependable. It's nice when you've got to grab somebody's jersey and pull them out rather than them taking themselves out."

Aside from struggling to hold on to the ball at times Tyler Jackson and DeAndre Martin showed flashes of promise, giving the offense some pounders at running back. That made for a good change of pace from the Reynolds' shiftiness.

Jackson was impressive with his hard running. Defenders often needed a second and sometimes a third effort to bring him down. He carried 12 times for 40 yards. Martin added 22 yards on six touches.

--- Tylor Harris, a true freshman defensive end from Baton Rouge, La., made three tackles. He has performed well the first two weeks of camp.

Grobe on Harris: "Tylor Harris has been very impressive. I would say on the defensive side of the ball right now he's one of the real bright spots. He's one that we're going to have to look real hard at as far as playing time."

--- Chibuikem Okoro saw action at cornerback and wide receiver. He was in on four tackles.

Grobe on Okoro: "I think it's something he'd like to try. There's so much competition at the corner position. I think he's looking to find some reps, and of course with the receivers right now with Camp hurt and yesterday Terence Davis had trouble finishing practice. We've had Brandon Terry out. Hopefully he can start doing a little bit Monday, but with all that Kenny's ran a couple of good routes and made some nice catches in practice."

"We're just trying to look at what our options might be. It's kind of a what if scenario. If Bud and K.J. end up being the starting corners do we want Kenny standing on the sideline? And then again if the receivers, if we don't get Brandon back, if we have somebody get hurt that's kind of a little bit of insurance. I don't think we really know where we're going. We're just kind of doing it right now."

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