Wake Forest football fans are eager to see the new era for the team begin.
So is new Coach Dave Clawson. Both will get their chances on Saturday at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem when the Deacons hold their spring game at 2 p.m.
Clawson took over for Jim Grobe, who resigned after last season as one of the most successful coaches in school history.
Saturday’s spring game will conclude the 15 official practices the team has had since Clawson took over for Grobe last December.
Clawson said he has been pleased with the team’s progress so far, as they have had to adjust to a new system, a new way of doing things, and an almost entirely new coaching staff.
Plenty of questions remain for the team, which is seeking to replace some key players, including quarterback Tanner Price, defensive lineman Nikita Whitlock, and wide receiver Mike Campanaro, who have all graduated.
The secondary should be a bright spot for the Deacons, bolstered by senior cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and Merrill Noel, but Clawson is still in search of a starting quarterback.
Though Tyler Cameron and Kevin Sousa have been taking the reps at quarterback during spring practice, Clawson said during Thursday’s ACC Coaches teleconference that there is no clear-cut front-runner to be named as the starter heading into next season, especially with two incoming freshmen expected to compete for the starting position come August.
“It’s a work in progress,” Clawson said. ” I don’t think we’ve had a guy take control of the position yet, but in fairness to them we’re still going through the installation part of it.They’re going to have to work very hard in the summer on their own and when they get those opportunities we’re going to need to perform at a much higher level when we get to the fall than we are right now.”
For Saturday’s game, Clawson has divided the team into the Black Team and the Gold Team. They will play four quarters with a running clock after halftime.
Cameron will start for the Gold Team, which will feature the “first team” offense and the “second team” defense. Sousa gets the nod for the Black Team, which features the “second team” offense versus the “first team’ defense.
Perhaps the player to keep an eye on is junior running back Orville Reynolds, who has bounced around as a running back and wide receiver during his career. Reynolds has looked impressive during the spring and ran led the team with 67 rushing yards and two touchdown in their most-recent intersquad scrimmage.
“We’re looking forward to Saturday,” Clawson added. “We’ve had a productive spring. We’d love to have 15 more practices, which I think is always the case as a new staff when you’re implementing new systems. Really, so far pleased with the work our young men have put in and the effort and attention they have given us. We’re laying the foundation right now and look forward to what it looks like on Saturday, and then we have a lot of work to do in the summer before we open camp.”