WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson greeted 104 football players at 6 am Thursday at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex as the Demon Deacons hit the field for the first time in preparation for the Sept. 3 season-opener with Elon at BB&T Field.
The Deacons practiced in helmets and jerseys until 8:30 am on Thursday and concluded the spirited workout with a series of 40 yard conditioning sprints. The NCAA requires that teams spend at least two practice sessions in “acclimatization” mode, meaning helmets, jerseys and shorts. The team will graduate to shells, adding shoulder pads, for Saturday’s and Sunday’s practices before putting on full gear on Monday.
“It’s year two, so players understand the flow,” said Clawson following practice. “You jump into things a lot quicker in year two than in year one. We’re stronger, we have more depth and we’re more athletic. We’re anxious to get out here. It’s practice one — we have a lot of work to do, but we’re looking forward to getting after it.
“It was smoother in the spring than a year ago,” Clawson continued. “Our guys know what to expect. They know what training camp entails. They know the tempo in practice. It’s night and day from a year ago, but that’s normal. There’s more of a comfort level and guys know the expectations.”
While most of the practice involved concentrated work among the position groups, the offense did run some plays from scrimmage against the defense in a “touch” situation.
Thursday marked the final day of class for Wake Forest’s Summer II session and the players will have final exams on Friday and Saturday. The Demon Deacons will practice Friday night at 7 pm and again on Saturday night at 7 pm. Both practices will be at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex. Sunday, Wake Forest will hold a split squad with veterans in one session, freshmen in another, and a third session that features the entire team. Sunday’s practice begins at 1 pm.