The first week of training camp is in the books. While the team only practiced one time in full pads last night, a few players made impressions to head coach David Cutcliffe.
Redshirt senior tight end Braxton Deaver returned to practice following his suspension. Cutcliffe says Deaver will not take any contact until the middle of next week, meaning he will not be part of the team scrimmage on Monday. It seems Deaver has taken care of the issues keeping him from participating in team activities.
“He just had to accomplish some things that I felt like he needed to do, and he did them well,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s good in everybody’s life to overcome a little adversity occasionally.”
Elsewhere on offense, Cutcliffe noted freshman running back Shaun Wilson has not disappointed and freshman tight end Davis Koppenhaver has done really well to this point. Wilson may see more playing time in the scrimmage if redshirt senior Josh Snead is unable to play.
Cutcliffe says both Snead and redshirt junior guard Lucas Patrick have been out with concussion-like symptoms. He did not specify if they have been diagnosed with concussions, but they “took blows that shook them up.” It will be interesting to see how the running back rotation works with only three scholarship backs available (junior Shaquille Powell, redshirt freshman Joseph Ajeigbe, and Wilson).
Moving along the offensive line, redshirt sophomores Casey Blaser and Tanner Stone continue to battle for the starting right tackle spot. Cutcliffe says the two rotate by days, and Blaser gets work as the backup left tackle when he is not the first-team right tackle.
Redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Boone says the O-line did a great job of run blocking and being physical with the pads on for the first time.
“Now, it just comes down to execution,” Boone said. “More repetition and more comfort with guys in different players and guys in different positions that will help us out.”
Cutcliffe says the thing he may like most right now is how competitive practice is between the offense and the defense. So who’s making an impact on the defensive end? According to redshirt junior strike safety Jeremy Cash, look out for redshirt freshman Evrett Edwards.
“He has grown and he’s gonna be a good player for us, not only on special teams, but as a safety in the bandit position,” Cash said.
The linebacker position is clearly a strength for the Blue Devils, but they may be adding to it with a true freshman.
“Zavier Carmichael had a big time day today,” Cutcliffe said. “He’s one of those players that got better when the contact became real. That was good to see.”
With 21 days left until the season kicks off against Elon, Cutcliffe says the scrimmage Monday will be used more to look at personnel and developing good habits rather than schemes and specific plays. He thinks the effort has been outstanding and his players can’t work any harder than they are right now.