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Deacons lace it up for first spring scrimmage

Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005

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Wake Forest goes head-to-head for 90 minutes

Winston-Salem, N.C. -- The Wake Forest football team held its first intrasquad scrimmage at Groves Stadium under a bright, sunny sky on Thursday afternoon.

“As you would expect for a first spring scrimmage, there were some good individual performances, but we did not look very good as a team,” fifth-year head coach Jim Grobe said. “Defensively, we looked good in spurts, but we gave up a couple long drives. Offensively, we showed flashes but we just weren’t very consistent. We didn’t block well enough to be consistent.”

Among the highlights of the afternoon were a pair of blocked kicks. On an extra point, Jonathan Abbate helped push Jeremy Thompson through the line to block the kick. Then, Riley Swanson scooped up the ball and returned it 90 yards for what would have been two points. Before he was off to the races, Swanson had to escape holder Ryan Plackemeier and out-run placekicker Sam Swank up the sideline. Swanson was ushered into the endzone by Josh Gattis and others.

Plackemeier had a punt blocked by Will Hollis. Kevin Marion pounced on the loose ball and had visions of the endzone, but with a 75-pound advantage, Plackemeier spun him to the ground.

The wide receivers were active on Thursday as Chris Davis and Kenneth Moore made deep, over-the-shoulder catches up the sideline from Ben Mauk. Willie Idlette scored a touchdown on a reverse from inside the 15 yardline.

Cory Randolph worked primarily with the first team offense against the second team defense. Mauk worked primarily with the second team offense against the first team defense. Both quarterbacks led scoring drives.

To finish the scrimmage, each were given the opportunity to execute the two-minute offense. Randolph and the first team went on a 70-yard drive capped off by a 4th-and-goal, 1-yard plunge by D’Angelo Bryant. The second team offense had its drive stall around the 30-yardline, when the first team defense caused a sack and a fumble on fourth down.

A handful of players did not participate in the scrimmage because of minor injuries including Chris Barclay and Nate Morton.

Many of the redshirt freshman made standout plays during the session including fullback Richard Belton who made a few nice catches out of the backfield. Cornerback Kevin Patterson laid a hit on an unsuspecting Marion to cause an incompletion. Linebackers Stanley Arnoux, Eric Berry, Aaron Curry and Antonio Wilson were often around the ball. Finally, placekicker Sam Swank nailed a couple of field goals.

Grobe was happy with the effort put forth by the newcomers.

“The thing I’m most pleased with is their spirit,” Grobe said. “They’re a bunch of guys that fly around. They play hard and they have fun. The thing that stood out the most to me was that it was a pretty physical day. We competed hard.”

The Deacons return 43 letterwinners from last year’s 4-7 team that was tied or leading in the fourth quarter in nine of its 11 games in 2004. The Deacons bring back nine starters on offense and six on defense.

Wake Forest will have one more scrimmage at Groves Stadium on Saturday, April 2 at 9:00 a.m. The Spring Game will be held Saturday, April 9 at 1:00 p.m. All other practices are scheduled to be held on campus. For start times, call the Wake Forest Football office at (336) 758-5633.

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