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March 27, 2009

Spring football: W2W4

With two days of practice under their belts this week, Spring has come to Wake Forest football. Spring football is an exciting time for avid followers of the team, and Deacons Illustrated will be here to cover it every step of the way.

Practices start out light, with the first few happening in helmets only. Most work is done in individual position groups, with (hopefully) no contact. Over the next week the team will add more and more pads, eventually beginning to scrimmage in full pads.

Although an official schedule has not been made available, practices generally happen on weekdays around 5:00, with a Saturday practice or scrimmage in the morning. The official Spring Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 18.

With real games a little more than five months away, the spring is when the team can focus on building depth, giving younger guys experience, and working on perfecting their own schemes. Without any opponents to prepare for, every effort can be dedicated to making the Deacs the best team they can possibly be.

Several positions are going to be closely scrutinized in the coming weeks. With Brett Hodges choosing to graduate rather than return for a fifth year of football, the second string quarterback position is up for grabs. A firm decision may or may not be made by the coaches this spring, but it is likely to come down to redshirt sophomore Skylar Jones and redshirt freshman Ted Stachitas. Stay tuned for analysis of both players and their chances of landing the position.

With Chip Brinkman and D.J. Boldin graduating, several wide receiver positions are up for grabs as well. Junior Jordan Williams, redshirt junior Marshall Williams, and redshirt sophomore Devon "Y'lou" Brown are the likely top three candidates, but redshirt freshmen Terence Davis and Chris Givens will also be in the mix for considerable playing time.
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Things will look a lot different on the defensive side of the ball next season, and all of those changes will begin to shake out on the practice fields this spring. The Deacs will be looking to replace starters at almost every position, and many of the position battles seem wide open at this point. Look for plenty of defensive analysis as things move forward.

Of course, there will be plenty to report on every other position, the coaches, and the team philosophy. Already it looks like Wake is focusing on an I-formation offense rather than the spread they implemented last season.

Unfortunately it only took one day of practice for the Deacs to sustain a couple of injuries. Redshirt senior cornerback Brandon Ghee collided with redshirt sophomore corner Josh Bush, sustaining an injury to his MCL while Bush ended up with a concussion. Ghee will be out for the duration of the spring, while Bush should be able to return in a week or so. The good news is there will be plenty of reps for other young corners this spring, and Ghee will easily be back to full strength by August.

Get ready for an exciting few weeks, and check back with Deacons Illustrated regularly for all the updates you need from spring practices and scrimmages.


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