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Deacons begin preseason football practice

Posted Friday, August 5, 2005

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Two-hour session kicks off 2005 season

Practice No. 1:
Winston-Salem, NC - Wake Forest’s 2005 campaign officially got underway Thursday night with a two-hour session under the lights at the team’s on-campus practice facility. Anticipation for the first practice of football season at Wake Forest was high as players were chatting and tossing the ball on the field almost 40 minutes before the session actually began at 8:15. The excitement of the players and the coaches was matched by the curiosity of the spectators, about 75 on-lookers, and the media, six media outlets who were on hand.

Thursday leads off five straight practice of non-contact drills. The team broke off into position groups, working on technique and the installation of the offense and defense. Cory Randolph, who started eight games at quarterback last year and is listed as the back-up this year, spent some time at wide receiver on Thursday. During the team’s 7-on-7, Randolph caught a pass from projected starter Benjamin Mauk.

Randolph also got some reps at quarterback and completed long bomb up the right sideline to Chris Davis, dropping the pass between a pair of defenders and the sideline.

Quoting Head Coach Jim Grobe:

On practicing at night:
“We would take them out in the heat right now, but we’ve got summer school. We’ve got five days left of summer school. The kids go to school in the morning and in the afternoon so the night is the only time we can work with them right now. We’ll get them enough hot weather to get them ready to go.”

On the team chemistry:
“We’ve sensed there is a lot more cohesiveness. This is a football team that likes each other. There aren’t a lot of egos. The old guys like the young guys and that makes it fun.”

On keeping the players focused on practice rather than looking ahead to games:
“More than anything else, the competition keeps them focused. All of our guys that are penciled in as starters, generally, have somebody right on their heels who wants their job.”

On the goals for the first week:
“The first week is all installation. We’re trying to go back and put in all the things we worked on during the spring. We’ve added a couple wrinkles, we’ve thrown a lot of things out. Now, we’re just trying to get them mentally ready to go for when the pads come on and for when we scrimmage a little bit.”

On the backfield situation:
“As you guys know, I really, really like Micah Andrews. I think Micah is a quality back. De’Angelo Bryant can be that way, if he stays healthy. De’Angelo has a lot of ability, but he’s been banged up his whole career. If we keep that guy healthy, with De’Angelo and Micah, we’ve got two quality backs. Certainly, we want to get Chris Barclay back in the mix as soon as we can, but I think we’ve got some guys who can play at tailback.”

On the sideline:
True freshman running back L.J. Flintall was the only Deacon unable to participate in Thursday’s non-contact practice. He is sidelined with a fractured toe and will be out for at least 2-3 weeks. James Adams and Damon McWhite, both of whom missed the entire 2004 season and the spring with serious knee injuries, returned to the field Thursday night. Chip Brinkman, Nate Morton and Mike Simmons, who missed the spring, all participated in the season’s first practice.

Upcoming Practice Schedule:
Practice continues Friday and Saturday on the campus fields with 7:45 p.m. scheduled start times. Just as they do during the regular season, the Deacons will not practice on Sundays.

Friday, August 5: 7:45-10:15
Saturday, August 6: 7:45-10:15
Sunday, August 7: Off

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Deacons begin preseason football practice
WFU head football coach Jim Grobe.
photo by Gene Galin
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