Posted on: August 15, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:53 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As part of our ACC Preview, Adam Aizer, J. Darin Darst, and I sat down to take a look at the season ahead in the league. The ACC is a league with a lot of individual talent, but few teams that really stand out on the national level. We discuss the possible shift of power from the Coastal Division to the Atlantic Division, as well as the chances of Florida State reclaiming the conference. I throw an obnoxious amount of support behind Miami as a sleeper, and we run through Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and make our pick for the ACC Championship Game.
Subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on iTunes
If you are having trouble seeing the player, you can download the MP3 HERE
Posted on: August 15, 2011 7:55 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As part of CBSSports.com's season preview, we offer this blogger's selections for the Preseason All-ACC Team.
EJ Manuel, Jr., Florida State - Manuel has been handed the keys to arguably one of the best Seminole teams in nearly a decade, and the first-year starter has already had several opportunities to grow comfortable with the 57 returning letterman. Manuel was impressive filling in for the injured Christian Ponder in the ACC Championship Game (44-33 loss to Virginia Tech) and the Chick Fil-A Bowl (26-17 victory over South Carolina), and completed 67.3 percent of his passes as a two-year reserve. Manuel also has the ability to burn defenses with his feet, making him especially dangerous in the red zone.
Also watch for: Expect another big year from Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien, though it will be hard to replicate last year's numbers without Torrey Smith. Also the competition between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris at Miami could elevate the game of the to-be-named starter.
Montel Harris, Sr., Boston College - Harris was the ACC's leading rusher in 2010 (1,243 yards) despite missing the final two and half games of the season. If Harris can stay healthy, he should have a chance to chase down the ACC career rushing record. Currently, Harris sits 15th and needs just 1,003 yards (approx. 80-85 yards/game) to become the conference's all-time leading rusher.
Lamar Miller, Soph., Miami - Storm Johnson's departure has left the Hurricanes rushing attack primarily in the hands of Miller and junior Mike James. There have been nothing but good reports on the duo, with Miller in particular drawing praise from teammate Sean Spence. "Lamar is one of the fastest backs in the ACC and the nation," Spence said. Miller's ranking nationally is debatable, but he should be one of the most impressive backs in the conference.
Also watch for: Florida State's trio of Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas, and Ty Jones combined for 1,862 yards and 17 TDs in 2010 and all return. Clemson will likely be giving Andre Ellington (5.8 ypc in 2010) more touches in Chad Morris' up-tempo system, and Roddy Jones will try to be the sixth straight Yellow Jacket to rush for 1,300 yards or more in a season.
Conner Vernon, Sr., Duke - In 2010 Vernon led the ACC in receptions per game, and should see similar production this season with Sean Renfree much more comfortable under center. Despite a rocky start, the Blue Devils passing game began clicking in the second half of the season. Along with teammate Donovan Varner, Vernon is a big reason optimism is on the rise in Durham.
Dwight Jones, Sr., North Carolina - An All-ACC Honorable Mention selection in 2010, the 6-foot-4 Jones will quickly be a go-to target for new starting quarterback Bryn Renner. Jones is a threat as a possession receiver, but also has shown the ability to make a big play after the catch. Against Virginia in Charlottesville, Jones turned a short slant into an 81 yard touchdown on his way to a 198 yard outing. Jones is looking to continue the momentum from the second half of last season into his final year with the Tar Heels.
Also watch for:Questions with new quarterbacks makes selecting wide receivers difficult, but there is no reason believe that Virginia Tech wide receiver Jarrett Boykin and Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins won't be able to shine with a new signal caller. Virginia's Kris Burd is another sleeper to watch at this position.
C Tyler Horn, Sr., Miami - Horn has taken on a leadership role with this unit and this team since Al Golden's arrival. The redshirt senior was one of the many players selected by Golden and the staff to spend practices as coaches, and has become a mentor to to touted DL Anthony Chickillo. Golden has complimented his efforts, and it looks like he will hold off redshirt freshman Shane McDermott after a fierce battle for the starting spot.
OG Brandon Washington, Jr., Miami - A 1st Team All-ACC pick in 2010, Washington is arguably the most talented piece of the Hurricanes front line. Washington has been moved around because of injuries, but has never failed to deliver regardless of position. Whoever wins the Jacory Harris/Stephen Morris battle will be happy to be playing behind Washington.
OG Jonathan Cooper, Jr., North Carolina - Cooper believes that this offensive line unit is the best North Carolina has had since he arrived in Chapel Hill. What the junior guard did not mention is that he is probably one of the critical pieces in their success. Cooper can play either guard or center, and will be looked to as one of the leaders in the trenches.
OT Blake DeChristopher, Sr., Virginia Tech - Missing training camp because of a strained left pectoral shouldn't slow down DeChristopher too much this fall. He has been a three-year starter and All-ACC pick in 2010. A crucial piece to protecting new quarterback Logan Thomas.
OT Andrew Datko, Sr., Florida State - The 6-foot-6, 321 pound tackle is determined to make his senior year count, playing his last season alongside David Spurlock and Zebrie Sanders. Datko is considered the most talented of the group, and will be needed to be productive and keep EJ Manuel on his feet and healthy.
Also watch for:You could argue that Clemson center Dalton Freeman and Georgia Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi both belong on this list, and a strong case could be made for Virginia Tech guard Jaymes Brookes. One to watch this season is JUCO transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug at Florida State. If the 307-pound guard lives up to expectations it could make an already talented Seminole offense even better.
George Bryan, Sr., N.C. State - Bryan earned 1st Team All-ACC honors after pulling in 35 catches for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2010. The big target could see a lot of action this fall, as the most experienced receiver for new starting quarterback Mike Glennon. When Glennon sees pressure from opposing defenses, you can bet he'll be looking for No. 84 underneath.
Also watch for:The conference is a little thin at tight end, but Clemson's Dwayne Allen and Virginia's Colter Phillips are two players to keep an eye on. Virginia Tech tight end Chris Drager is making the move back to offense after playing DE in 2010, though his primary task may be focused more on run/pass blocking.
DE Brandon Jenkins, Jr., Florida State - Jenkins is a relentless pass rusher who leads a talented unit in Tallahassee that made of habit of bringing down quarterbacks in 2010. Jenkins finished sixth in the nation with 13.5 sacks, and the return of eight defensive starters should help him follow up 2010 with another impressive campaign this fall.
DE Quinton Coples, Sr., North Carolina - After causing havoc at DT last season (10.0 sacks ranked him third in the conference behind Da'Quan Bowers and Brandon Jenkins), Coples will move to defensive end in 2011. Teams won't be surprised by Coples this year, but North Carolina's depth and talent on the defensive line will make it difficult to scheme specifically against the All-ACC senior.
DT Tydreke Powell, Sr., North Carolina - Expectations are high for Powell, who was one of the few defenders to start all 13 games in 2010. Powell has the body of a run stopper, but said in the offseason he has focused on moving faster and becoming more of a pass rusher. If he adds that aspect to his game it will make that talented unit a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.
DT Marcus Forston, Jr., Miami - Forston has returned from a knee injury ahead of schedule, and could end up having a big impact on the field for the Hurricanes this season. Golden has been high on Forston since camp started, and if he can stay healthy the standout defensive lineman could finally deliver the type of season many have waited for from the top-ranked recruit.
Also watch for: Clemson will once again will have a strong defensive line with Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson, and Maryland's Joe Vellano was a 2nd Team All-ACC selection a year ago.
Luke Kuechly, Jr., Boston College - Kuechly might not only be the best linebacker in the ACC, but possibly the best in the nation. The unanimous All-American selection in 2010 is currently the NCAA active leader in tackles per game, averaging 13.1 tackles across his 26 career starts. There is no reason to think that "Boy Wonder," as they call him, will do anything other continue dominating on the defensive side of the ball.
Sean Spence, Sr., Miami - After a 2nd Team All-ACC selection in 2010, Spence has returned as the "clear-cut leader" on defense. Fellow linebacker Jimmy Gaines went so far as to call Spence "Mr. Miami." He is one three Hurricanes on the Nagurski Award Watch List, given to the nation's top defensive player. From making plays in coverage to getting stops behind the line of scrimmage (16.0 tackles for loss in 2010), Spence can have an impact all over the field for Miami.
Kenny Tate, Sr., Maryland - Maryland finished fourth nationally in turnover margin last season, with some of the credit going to Tate - who led the ACC in forced fumbles. Tate makes the move from free safety to linebacker this season, and can be found on most individual award watch lists for defenders.
Also watch for: Florida State weakside linebacker Nigel Bradham is expected to have a big season, and Virginia Tech's Bruce Taylor was a second team All-ACC pick in 2010.
CB Jayron Hosley, Jr., Virginia Tech - All-ACC and All-American in 2010, Hosley is arguably the most talented secondary player in the league. Hosley might not see as much action now that he's not playing opposite Rock Carmichael, but his impact will still be felt.
CB Xavier Rhodes, Soph., Florida State - Rhodes broke out a season ago, combining with teammate Greg Reid for 33 defended passes. His efforts earned him a Freshman All-American nod and 2nd Team All-ACC. The Seminoles' secondary is a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, and Rhodes is a big reason why.
S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Jr., Miami - There is a lot of hype around Armstrong, who is coming off a 2nd Team All-ACC season in 2010. He picked off three passes and is the second-leading returning tackler for the Hurrcanes, trailing only Sean Spence. Armstrong is also on the watch list for the Nagurski Award.
S Eddie Whitley, Sr., Virginia Tech - Whitley is the second-leading tackler back for the Hokies, and will be an important part of trying to turn around a defense that statistically did not live up to Bud Foster's recent standards. The Hokies have depth problems in the secondary, and Whitley should get plenty of chances to make plays as the only senior slated to start.
Also watch for: Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield could be set to have a big year, as could N.C. State's Earl Wolff. Sleeper pick for a big season is Duke's Matt Daniels..
K Dustin Hopkins, Jr., Florida State
P Dawson Zimmerman, Sr., Cemsoni
KR/PR David Wilson, Jr., Virginia Tech
Also watch for: Duke placekicker Will Snyderwine was the media's selection for Preseason All-ACC, and Greg Reid has a chance to cause some damage returning kicks for Florida State.
As always, let us know what you the think about the selections in the comment section below. Also be sure to click on over to the Conference Preview for more coverage on the ACC
Tags: ACC, All-ACC Team, Andre Branch, Andre Ellington, Andrew Datko, Blake DeChristopher, Boston College, Brandon Jenkins, Brandon Thompson, Brandon Washington, Bruce Taylor, Bryn Renner, CBSSports.com All-ACC Team, Chase Minnifield, Chip Patterson, Chris Drager, Chris Thompson, Clemson, Colter Phillips, Conner Vernon, Dalton Freeman, Danny O'Brien, David Wilson, Dawson Zimmerman, DeAndre Hopkins, Duke, Dustin Hopkins, Dwayne Allen, Dwight Jones, Earl Wolff, Eddie Whitley, EJ Manuel, Florida State, George Bryan, Georgia Tech, Greg Reid, Jacob Fahrenkrug, Jarrett Boykin, Jayron Hosley, Jermaine Thomas, Joe Vellano, Jonathan Cooper, Kenny Tate, Kris Burd, Lamar Miller, Luke Kuechly, Marcus Forston, Maryland, Matt Daniels, Miami, Mike Glennon, Montel Harris, N.C. State, Nigel Bradham, North Carolina, Omoregie Uzzi, Preseason All-ACC Team, Preseason All-Conference Team, Quinton Coples, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Roddy Jones, Sean Spence, Ty Jones, Tydreke Powell, Tyler Horn, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Will Snyderwine, Xavier Rhodes
Posted on: August 9, 2011 9:42 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The Watch List season has mostly wound down, but on Tuesday one more individual award announced their watch list for the 2011 season. The Ted Hendricks Award is given annually to the defensive end of the year. Ted Hendricks was a defensive end at Miami, where he was college football's first three-time first-team All-American.
Last season's winner was Clemson defensive end Da'quan Bowers, who led the nation with 15.0 sacks. Other notable recent winners include Brian Orakpo (Texas, 2008), LaMarr Woodley (Michigan, 2006), and Elvis Dumervil, (Louisville, 2005).
Clemson's Andre Branch will try to follow in Bowers' footsteps, while West Virginia's Bruce Irvin and Troy's Jonathan Massaquoi will be trying to repeat impressive 2010 campaigns.
Here is the full watch list for the 2011 season. Players may be added or deleted from the list based on performance until the final watch list is issued in November. The winner will be announced on Dec. 7.
Who is your pick to win? Feel like anyone got left out? Let us know in the comment section below.
Tags: ACC, Arkansas, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Defensive End of the Year, Defensive End of the Year Award, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Kansas State, Marshall, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Non-BCS, North Carolina, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Penn State, Pittsburgh, San Diego, SEC, SMU, South Carolina, Southern Miss, TCU, Ted Hendricks, Ted Hendricks Award, Ted Hendricks Award Watch List, Texas, Troy, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, USC, Virginia, West Virginia
Posted on: August 3, 2011 10:46 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy spoke with TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte at Big East Media Day this week in regards to the program's future, particularly in the Big East. Del Conte spoke about head coach Gary Patterson's opportunity to "create his own shadow" and the $105 million expansion and renovation to Amon Carter Stadium. The stadium construction is expected to be done in time for the 2012 season, which will kick off against Grambling Sept. 8.
Here's how the Horned Frogs first season in the Big East is shaping up:
Seems pointless to try and predict how this schedule will look for the Horned Frogs seeing as we are still a season away, but we can do it anyway.
Connecticut, Rutgers, and Syracuse were picked 6,7, and 8 in the 2011 preseason media poll, so I find it difficult to foresee either of those teams quickly becoming big-time threats before 2012. Pittsburgh could certainly present a challenge, though much of the defense that is expected to dominate in 2011 will have graduated. I expect opportunity to host the rest of the possible Big East title contenders in a rowdy new stadium will benefit the Horned Frogs in their initial season as a league member.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 1:38 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
On Monday the media at the ACC Football Kickoff voted for the Preseason All-ACC team. The veteran group is made up entirely of juniors and seniors, and is led by Boston College's Preseason Player of the Year Montel Harris. Harris, along with Eagle teammate Luke Kuechly and N.C. State tight end George Bryan all earned preseason and end of the year all-conference honors in 2010. Kuechly was also named a unanimous first-team All-American heading into the 2011 season.
Here is the full rundown of the 2011 ACC Preseason Team:
Pos. Name (Votes) Ht Wt Class Hometown
WR Conner Vernon, Duke (20) 6-2 195 Junior Miami, Fla.
WR Dwight Jones, North Carolina (26) 6-4 225 Senior Burlington, N.C.
TE George Bryan, NC State (40) 6-5 265 Senior Castle Hayne, N.C.
T Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech (30) 6-5 312 Senior Midlothian, Va.
T Andrew Datko, Florida State (29) 6-6 321 Senior Weston, Fla.
G Brandon Washington, Miami (28) 6-4 320 Senior Miami, Fla.
G Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (21) 6-3 300 Junior Lithonia, Ga.
C Tyler Horn, Miami (18) 6-4 305 Senior Memphis, Tenn.
QB EJ Manuel, Florida State (23) 6-5 245 Junior Virginia Beach, Va.
RB Montel Harris, Boston College (49) 5-10 200 Senior Jacksonville, Fla.
RB Andre Ellington, Clemson (19) 5-10 190 Junior Moncks Corner, S.C.
Pos. Name (Votes) Ht Wt Class Hometown
DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (44) 6-3 265 Junior Tallahassee, Fla.
DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina (38) 6-6 285 Senior Kinston, N.C.
DT Tydreke Powell, North Carolina (21) 6-3 310 Senior Ahoskie, N.C.
DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson (21) 6-2 310 Senior Thomasville, Ga.
LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College (49) 6-3 235 Junior Cincinnati, Ohio
LB Sean Spence, Miami (35) 6-0 224 Senior Miami, Fla.
LB Kenny Tate, Maryland (23) 6-4 220 Senior Forestville, Md.
CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia (38) 6-0 185 Senior Lexington, Ky..
CB Jayron Hosely, Virginia Tech (32) 5-10 170 Junior Delray Beach, Fla.
S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami (36) 6-4 215 Junior Sanford, Fla.
S Eddie Whitley, Virginia Tech (17) 6-1 187 Senior Charlotte, N.C.
Pos. Name (Votes) Ht Wt Class Hometown
PK Will Snyderwine, Duke (18) 5-11 190 Senior Potomac, Md..
P Dawson Zimmerman, Clemson (21) 6-0 205 Senior Lawrenceville, Ga..
SP Greg Reid, Florida State (22) 5-8 186 Junior Valdosta, Ga.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 10:53 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
The "Watch" Watch continues on as the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club have released the first watch list for the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
The award is given annually to the nation's best defensive player, as selected by FWAA All-America Committee members. Players can be added or deleted from the watch list at any time throughout the season, a player not on the list can work his way on by being name Defensive Player of the Week by the FWAA.
Check out the full watch list below. Any snubs? Who's your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.
Tags: ACC, Akron, Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Bronko Nagurski, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Defensive Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Year, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kent State, Kentucky, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, San Diego State, SEC, SMU, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Temple, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Troy, UCF, UCLA, USC, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
Posted on: April 26, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 3:04 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
With all six spring games completed, we wrap up spring practice in the ACC Coastal Division.
DUKE: Head coach David Cutcliffe exits his fourth spring practice with the Blue Devils with as much optimism as ever, but knows that the 2011 Blue Devils have some work to do before kicking off the season against Richmond on Sept. 3.
"A successful day," Cutcliffe said after the spring game. "But I told them this is just the beginning. In college football now, [you have] the remainder of the spring term to work on weights and conditioning. And a summer that's going to very important to a young team."
Almost two-thirds of the Blue Devils roster is made up of freshman and sophomores. While youth can easily breed optimism, there is also a realistic expectation that this group needs to put in more work on the fundamentals this summer. Duke does have the benefit of returning both pieces of their quarterback rotation from 2010. Junior Sean Renfree will remain the starting quarterback, coming off a pleasantly surprising 3,131 yard, 14 touchdown season. Sophomore Brandon Connette will continue in his role as a run-first quarterback in rotation with Renfree, but the spring has shown some improvement in Connette's passing game. Defensively, we didn't learn much about Duke this spring due to widespread injuries across the unit. If anything the injuries made a talented Blue Devils offense look spectacular at times. Duke will likely not be able to escape a similar bowl-less fate in 2011, but at least now they have the athletes on the roster to remain competitive.
GEORGIA TECH: Georgia Tech set out to improve defensively this spring and try to focus on special teams. The good news is that the Yellow Jackets defense finished spring practice looking much better than the offense. Which might actually reveal more issues with the offense than it does compliment the defensive improvement. At different times this spring, both Tevin Washington and Synjyn Days have struggled in scrimmage situations against the first-team defense. Both quarterbacks have struggled to find a rhythm, and as head coach Paul Johnson said, they have been "running for their lives" on the field.
The defense was highlighted this spring by players like defensive end Jason Peters and inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy, who entered spring practice as a backup. Nealy, a redshirt freshman, has seen time with the first-string this spring due to injuries to Julian Burnett and Daniel Drummond. He has made the most of the opportunity, capping off his spring by leading the Yellow Jackets in tackles during their annual T-Day game. Paul Johnson also wanted to increase the mistakes in the special teams after last season. Unfortunately that is not completely solved as Georgia Tech's kickers combined for misses from 28, 47, and 49 yards in the T-Day game.
MIAMI: Miami's spring has been much publicized due to the arrival of new head coach Al Golden . Therefore it should come as no surprise that we learned just as much (if not more) about Golden's vision for the Miami football program this spring than we did about the actual players on the roster. In following the Hurricanes this spring one word stands out to describe Golden's brief time at Miami: demand.
Golden demands that Miami play, practice, and think at a fast pace. He demanded that the Hurricanes get in better shape, and instituted a rigorous winter conditioning program. He demanded that players need to earn starting positions, and that is obvious with the unusually fluid final spring depth chart.
But will all these demands and the implementation of a new attitude around Miami catch on in time for the 2011 season? There are still plenty of question marks on the field, most notably the ongoing quarterback battle between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. The Hurricanes have a stable of running backs and a solid offensive line that should provide stability to the offense, and take some pressure of whichever signal-caller ends up as the starter. If nothing else, Golden has brought hype back to "The U." More than 300 former players showed up for the Hurricanes' spring game in Ft. Lauderdale, a who's who of active and retired NFL players.
Something else I learned from Miami this spring? I really need to get a Michael Irvin alarm clock.
NORTH CAROLINA: - While several former North Carolina defenders are preparing to hear their name called this weekend in the NFL draft, many of the stars from 2010's defense are still in Chapel Hill preparing for next fall. If anything, the spring showed us that the heart of of the Tar Heels' defense will be on the defensive line. The Tar Heels will be able to rotate 8-9 defensive lineman, highlighted by Quinton Coples, Jared MacAdoo, and Donte Paige-Moss. Much of the depth and added experience on the defensive line is due to the suspensions of Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn forcing players into positions unexpectedly before the season started. One of the things that makes North Carolina's line especially dangerous is the ability of several players to play multiple positions. Both Coples and MacAdoo are able to play inside or out, and that versatility can benefit a team when injuries hit during the long season. One of the biggest surprises on the already deep defensive line has been the play of junior college transfer Sylvester Williams. Williams has been building buzz since he arrived in Chapel Hill, and could end up challenging Jordan Nix for a starting defensive tackle job by next fall. North Carolina's secondary is a concern once again, making it even more important for the defensive line to put pressure on the quarterback to prevent opposing wide receivers from getting space down the field.
Offensively much of the focus will be on quarterback Bryn Renner, who is taking over for four-year starter T.J. Yates. Renner showed promise at times this spring, but he is still getting accustomed to his new role as leader of the offense. Thankfully he'll have Dwight Jones and Erik Highsmith to throw to, and an experienced offensive line to give him time to operate. Ryan Houston was a touchdown machine in 2009, but after redshirting last season and undergoing shoulder blade surgery this summer the depth at running back will be a concern heading into the fall.
VIRGINIA: Earlier this year, head coach Mike London made headlines by pulling in yet another unexpectedly strong class on National Signing Day. Unfortunately, these small victories will take some time before they translate into more marks in the "W" column for the Cavaliers. This spring did not answer many of the questions that existed near the end of last year's four-win season. Defensively, the Cavaliers return seven starters from a unit that finished only better than Duke and Wake Forest in both scoring and total defense. Improvement from those numbers will be necessary considering the lack of offensive firepower.
Virginia rotated through four different quarterbacks during their spring game (Michael Rocco, Ross Metheny, Michael Strauss, and David Watford), but no candidate stood out among the group. The offensive line has been porous, and the Cavaliers still lack an answer at running back as well. What did I learn about Virginia? Greener pastures may lie in their future, but unless someone steps up to make the Cavaliers a threat on offense they will have a difficult time keeping up with opponents in 2011.
VIRGINIA TECH: Not to drone on about new quarterbacks, but when a sophomore takes over for the ACC Player of the Year it is going to turn some heads. Logan Thomas has looked impressive this spring, grabbing most of the positive notes out of Blacksburg across the last several weeks. He finished spring practice as the star of the spring game, throwing for 131 yards and two touchdowns while also leading the Hokies in rushing with 46 yards on just five carries. However, Thomas' impressive performance did showcase some depth issues for the Hokies on offense. With starting running back David Wilson away with the track team, backup running backs Daniel Dyer, Josh Oglesby, and James Hopper struggled against the Hokies' defense in the spring game. Last season head coach Frank Beamer had the benefit of three NFL-caliber running backs to choose from, right now it looks like Wilson is the only competent option. The backup quarterbacks did not fair well either, with second-string Ju-Ju Clayton completing just three of his ten passes, and tossing two interceptions.
Defensively, Virginia Tech's returning talent seems charged up by the 40-12 lashing they took from Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Orange Bowl. The competition on the field has been aggressive, and defensive coordinator Bud Foster has not backed down from calling his team's performance in that game "unacceptable." Players to keep an eye on heading into the fall include linebacker Tariq Edwards and defensive end James Gayle, who was voted the spring defensive MVP. For those still curious, wide receiver Danny Coale did punt in the spring game and is still considered in the running for the job come fall.
Tags: ACC, ACC Coastal, Al Golden, Brandon Connette, Bryn Renner, Bud Foster, Butch Davis, David Cutcliffe, David Wilson, Duke, Erik Highsmith, Frank Beamer, Georgia Tech, Jacory Harris, James MacAdoo, Lamar Miller, Logan Thomas, Miami, Michael Irvin, Mike London, North Carolina, Paul Johnson, Quinton Coples, Ryan Houston, Sean Renfree, Stephen Morris, Synjyn Days, Tevin Washington, Virginia, Virginia Tech, What I Learned, What I Learned Spring Edition
Posted on: February 9, 2011 3:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The suspension of three Virginia players -- Ausar Walcott, Devin Wallace, and Mike Price -- is a mystery no longer. While head coach Mike London declined to provide any details on the players' punishment yesterday, the Harrisonburg Police dutifully stepped in to fill the gaps this afternoon, announcing that the trio was arrested on several assault charges:
The litany of charges netted Virginia 18 points in the EDSBS Fulmer Cup, which "rewards" teams for their off-season legal woes; most teams don't get to 18 points for the entire off-season, so even in the context of "other college football teams have players arrested too," this is a major embarrassment for Virginia and its athletic department.
Now, there's probably more to this story, as three football players don't just run off to a nearby campus, break into a random apartment, and beat up three strangers for fun. That's just not a thing that happens. What's extremely unlikely to come out of this is a valid excuse for the players' behavior, however, and their ability to rejoin the team is probably in serious jeopardy at the moment.