Five Takeaways From WSSU’s Spring Game

Winston-Salem State quarterback Rudy Johnson eludes defenders during Saturday’s scrimmage. (Steven J. Gaither photo)

Winston-Salem State held its final spring scrimmage on Saturday at Glenn High School. The last time most fans saw the team, it was an opening round playoff win against Slippery Rock.

The two hour scrimmage revealed a couple of things.

1. The line is the weak link on the offense. Alfy Hill, Casey Davenport and pretty much every other able-bodied pass rusher was able to get penetration pretty much at will. WSSU does have a talented defensive front, with several Division I transfers, however if you are an offensive coach, that doesn’t make you feel better.

2. WSSU’s receiving corp is big, fast and good. Seven of 12 receivers listed on the spring game roster are at least six-feet tall. They routinely beat defensive backs deep, especially on seven-on-seven drills without a pass rush. Chase Powell, the reigning CIAA Rookie of The Year seemed to have picked up right where he left off, catching the ball with ease.

3. Rashaun Williams will be a tough player to cover this season. He caught just ten passes in seven games in his first season at WSSU, but he looked like All-Conference material on Saturday, routinely beating defensive backs with his muscular 6’3, 202 lb frame. He will definitely be a player to watch this season.

4. The Rams have two pretty good quarterbacks. More on this in another post.

5. Hill might be ready for a leadership role. Besides being an absolute headache for any Division II line to block, the former Alabama recruit seems to have his head on straight. After a missed assignment, one of the defensive backs went back and forth with a coach about what his responsibilty was on the route. Hill didn’t appreciate what he appeared to see as a lack of respect for the coach’s authority and he nearly got into an altercation with the player.

It wasn’t a textbook “leadership moment,” but it did give the impression that he has bought into what the coaches are telling him. When a player as talented as Hill buys into the system, it’s hard for less talented guys to try to buck against what’s best for the team.

Other notes: There was plenty to take in Saturday afternoon in addition to the scrimmage. Former WSSU defensive end and current St. Louis Ram William Hayes stopped by to check in on the team. Hayes is currently the only WSSU alum in the NFL. But that could soon be changing…

Also in attendance was Carlos Fields, Jr. the two-time CIAA Defensive Player of the Year and NFL prospect. Fields’ name has been thrown around a lot by NFL scouts as of late, especially since he ran that 4.47 40 Yard Dash at Wake Forest’s Pro Day. He’s already worked out for scouts from teams like Tampa Bay and New England, and has been invited to work out for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks later this week.

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