The first scrimmage-like action of spring football practices at Wake Forest looked like, well, the first one of the season, as Coach Dave Clawson put it.
“I think the first time you go live, I mean, there was some sloppiness. We had some alignment issues on offense, some false starts, we didn’t tackle real well on defense, and that’s a first scrimmage,” Clawson said Friday evening. “We tried to stay up a lot and stay healthy because of how thin we are, and the first time you go out there and you play tackle football, it looks like the first time you’re playing tackle football.”
There were a few areas, though, that looked sharp for the Deacons. One of them was the one that matters most.
Quarterbacks Jamie Newman and Sam Hartman continue to split first-team snaps and continue to look sharp. Friday marked the eighth practice of the spring for the Deacons, and it’d be fair to say that neither quarterback has blinked in what figures to be the beginning of a marathon-like buildup to which one starts the season opener against Utah State.
The only touchdown of the 15-minute scrimmage portion to Friday’s action was a bullet-pass over the middle from Newman to converted slot receiver Kendall Hinton, which he turned into a 32-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
“They’re both, I think, clearly a level ahead of where they were in camp and the season last year. I mean, to me, they’re both playing better now than they had at any point last year,” Clawson said. “So that’s really exciting and really good for our football team.”
Newman will be a redshirt junior when the season begins, and Hartman a sophomore. The former is the one who led the Deacons to three wins in their final four games, culminating in being awarded the Birmingham Bowl MVP, and the latter is the one who passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games.
If the first half of spring practice is any indication, there won’t be a wrong decision to be made on the last Friday night of August.
For the rest of the spring, and in the summer, and in fall camp, the important thing for Wake Forest’s quarterbacks is the football equivalent of rinse, repeat.
“Keep reppin’ them, keep reppin’ them. I mean, just run the offense,” Clawson said. “And now, instead of working the meshes with Matt Colburn and Cade Carney, you’ve gotta work them with Courtney McKinney and Christian Beal(-Smith) and DeAndre’ Delaney. So, every year you’re installing the offense. But there’s always that timing piece … for guys who have never played together. And those are those hidden inches and hidden yards that win those football games.”