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Tag:Dabo Swinney
Posted on: May 31, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 4:14 pm
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 70-61

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun. Enjoy.

70. AGENT X, compliance disaster in-waiting, Potentially Everywhere. He's out there right now. Lurking. Ready to provide student-athletes with extra benefits at a moment's notice. "He" is Agent X, the person keeping compliance officers and athletic directors up at night. 2010 saw Agent X burst on the scene as infractions cases at USC, North Carolina and Auburn dominated the headlines. X could be a number of people, from a runner looking to steer kids to a school to an agent hoping to sign players when they eventually head to the NFL to an uncle looking to make a quick buck of the football talents of a kid.

From high school 7-on-7 tournaments to college campuses, the NCAA has taken notice of Agent X as well. They were out in the spring trying to learn more about runners' methods and a few of the major players. Compliance seminars have talked about ways to spot the tell-tale signs. USC, who was impacted by shady third parties as much as any school, hosted a summit designed to come up with way to combat the problem. Agent X is still out there though--and highly liable to pop up in a headline or two sometime, somewhere over the next few months. -- BF

69. DABO SWINNEY. head coach, Clemson.
One of the reasons Swinney was promoted to head coach after Tommy Bowden's mid-season exit in 2008 was his reputation as a stellar recruiter. We saw those skills in action this past February, as the Tigers brought in multiple huge late commitments on Signing Day--enough to bring their class rank all the way up into the Top 10. It always takes a few seasons for a new coach to make the program his own, and this upcoming season could be a pivotal one for Swinney. After 2010's 6-7 record, Swinney swiftly made changes on the coaching staff, most notably bringing in Tulsa offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Morris' fast-paced productive offense hopefully will alter last season's offensive struggles, but much of that will also depend on first-year starting quarterback Tajh Boyd.

The greatest challenge for Swinney in the upcoming season (or two) will be the personnel decisions with so much highly-rated talent coming into Death Valley. With so many players from the ACC being selected in the NFL Draft, the conference has come under fire in recent years for not being able to make the most of their talent while in school. Fans have drooled over Swinney's last two classes, and there will not be an acceptable excuse for another losing season. Swinney was fast to act after 2010 finished, now his decisions will either pay off or crash and burn. At 41, Swinney has a long career ahead of him in college football, but his length of time at Clemson could depend on how the next two to three seasons play out. -- CP

68. JARED CRICK, defensive tackle, Nebraska. It's pretty much impossible to win in a physical conference like the Big Ten without superior line play, so Jared Crick's decision to come back to Nebraska for his senior season bodes very well for the Huskers ... and very poorly for their opponents. Crick, a 6'6", 285-pound beast from Cozad, NE, was second in the Big 12 in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss--both ridiculous numbers for a defensive tackle. He's going to be drawing constant double-teams this season as a result, so look for his teammates up front to have even more opportunities to make plays than usual.

Of course, it's impossible to be a standout defensive tackle at Nebraska and not invite comparisons to Ndamukong Suh, Crick's former teammate. Both are terrifyingly powerful and athletic, and while Crick's production hasn't met Suh's level yet, Suh's junior stats (19 TFL, 7.5 sacks) are only marginally better than Crick's (14.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks). Crick may not meet Suh's senior-year level of performance this season, but that's really only another way of saying he probably won't be a Heisman finalist. Probably. He's a mortal lock for preseason first-team All-Big Ten, at least, and where he goes from there is up to him. -- AJ

67. CASEY PACHALL, quarterback, TCU. There was supposed to be a long, drawn-out battle to replace TCU's departiing quarterback and leader, Andy Dalton. After a few weeks of spring ball however, it was clear that the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Pachall would be the Horned Frogs signal-caller this season. With a strong arm and the ability to move around the pocket, the redshirt sophomore has more physical tools than Dalton did when he became the starter.

The redshirt year is important as it allowed Pachall to learn for a year behind Dalton and then receive some game action as the backup last season. Pachall has just nine career pass attempts -- which has to give you pause if you're a TCU fan -- but head coach Gary Patterson has raved about his performance as much as the typically understated coach can. It will be tough to fill Dalton's shoes after he won 42 games, but TCU believes Pachall will be able to fill them admirably as the school transitions from the Mountain West to the Big East. -- BF

66. 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11,  day of remembrance. The second Saturday of the 2011 season won't be just another college football Saturday. It will be the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Every generation has that one moment in their history they remember for the rest of their lives -- the Kennedy assassination, John Lennon's death, the Challenger explosion -- and while the players on the field this fall were anywhere between the ages of 8 and 13 on that day, they no doubt remember exactly where they were when they first found out about the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

Much like in 2001, when sports like football and baseball helped restore a sense of normalcy to life in this country, this day's college football will help show how the United States has healed. Obviously much has changed since then, but on this particular Saturday, when we take the time to remember that tragic day and mourn all the lives that were lost, we'll also be able to turn on our televisions and watch a game -- together -- that was played long before 9/11 and will be played for a long time after. -- TF

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65. BRYCE BROWN, running back, Kansas State. Bryce Brown is a name that has been known to college football fans for a few years now, even if he hasn't spent much time on the football field. The nation's No. 1 prospect out of high school in 2009, Brown spent a season in Tennessee before asking to leave and eventually making his way home to Kansas State, where he sat out the 2010 season. Now Brown will find himself in a feature role in Manhattan and will likely be a deciding factor in whether or not Kansas State returns to a bowl game in 2010.

While Daniel Thomas left some big shoes to fill, the Wildcats offense is one that should suit Brown. Bill Snyder loves to run the football and Brown will get plenty of chances to show the Big 12 why he was such a highly rated recruit out of high school. If he can live up to the stars that were attached to his name, Brown could be the difference between another seven-win season in Manhattan or a New Year's Day bowl. -- TF

64. ZACH COLLAROS, quarterback, Cincinnati. When Collaros was the backup quarterback behind Tony Pike, Bearcats fans got to see glimpses of a talented gun-slinger who they believed could continue the success they had experienced under Brian Kelly. And when Collaros finally got the starting job for himself in 2010 under first-year coach Butch Jones, he put together a 2,902-yard, 26-touchdown campaign--good enough to lead the Big East in both categories. Unfortunately for Collaros and Jones, those numbers will not be what is remembered from last season. Instead, Bearcats fans are still on edge from the 4-8 campaign that led to the program's first bowlless season since 2005.

But Collaros shoulders just as much of the blame for last season's struggles as anyone else on the roster. In addition to leading the conference in touchdowns, he also led the conference in interceptions. There was a lot of attention on the struggles of the Bearcats' defense (which allowed 28 points per game), but as the senior starting quarterback of this team the responsibility for Cincinnati's return to the top of the conference will fall on Collaros. He'll have the talent around him to put up big numbers once again (top receiver D.J. Woods returns, and former Tennessee commit Kenbrell Thompkins is now eligible), but a restless fan base will only care about the numbers in the win column in 2011. -- CP

63. STEVE KRAGTHORPE, offensive coordinator, LSU. The mind still boggles: in 2009, just two years removed from a national title and with an attack featuring multiple blue-chip recruits and future draft picks, the Bayou Bengal offense finished dead last in the SEC in total offense. Last. 12th. Sub-Vanderbilt. With his job (quite understandably) on the line, now ex-LSU coordinator Gary Crowton led a revival last year that took the team's total offense ranking in-conference all the way up to ... 11th.

Exit Crowton. And enter Kragthorpe, who arrives on the job with as tricky -- and as pressure-packed -- an assignment as any new assistant in the country. He must streamline Crowton's overstuffed playbook. He must finally produce some consistency out of quarterback Jordan Jefferson, or make the highly-combustible transition to JUCO transfer Zach Mettenberger. He must overhaul a two-minute offense that in recent years has given Chinese fire drills a bad name. In short, he must make the LSU offense something much, much closer to what the LSU offense ought to be ... and if he does, the Tigers' terrifyingly athletic defense should be capable of doing the rest on the road to Atlanta. -- JH

62. BYU'S TELEVISION CONTRACT, independence-driving document, BYU. Why did the Cougars make the unprecedented decision to go football-independent in the era of the superconference? Because whether it's in Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine, there's one thing you'll be able to do in both cities next year: watch BYU. That's the promise of the school's new-found independence and a Mountain West-free media contract that allows unprecedented access to BYU sports across the country. Nearly 140 events will air in high definition on ESPN or the school's own channel BYUtv. The rest will be available online as well as iPads, Xboxes and cellphones.

It's a new era for the school that is one of the few with a true national following. Every football game will be televised and the Cougars will see more exposure than they ever had in the MWC There's still work to be done as school officials responsible look to expand the reach of BYUtv but the promise of Cougar fans being able to finally watch their team without hunting around TV Guide is near. You might have heard about "TV everywhere," but be prepared for BYU everywhere with the new contract. -- BF

61. DENARD ROBINSON, quarterback, Michigan. Denard Robinson hardly needs an introduction. The man known by millions of fans as "Shoelace" set college football afire last year, leading the Big Ten in rushing yardage and rolling up a ridiculous 4,272 yards of total offense--good enough for second in the nation (only Bryant Moniz of pass-wacky Hawaii outpaced him). Robinson's one-man show was a delight to watch, but therein lies the problem: football is not a sport for one-man shows, especially when that man is just 193 pounds. Robinson got dinged up multiple times last season, enough to take him out of some games early, and that hammering's not going to stop any time soon.

Enter, then, incoming head coach Brady Hoke, who quickly named Robinson his starting quarterback but now must find a way to keep Robinson healthy for the span of the season. A tandem with Tate Forcier worked well at times last year, but Forcier has transferred after academic and personal issues. Devin Gardner is still around, but is he good enough to reliably spell Robinson for a few series every week? If not, Robinson's likely going to spend a lot more time in the pocket, and Atlanta Falcons fans who remember Jim Mora Jr.'s experiments in turning Michael Vick into a pocket passer probably have hair standing up on the back of their necks at the thought. No, nobody likes to see the fastest man on the field get the football only to stand still. But nobody likes to see the fastest man on the field get rocked 20 times a game and struggle to get back up, either, and that's the quandary Michigan faces in 2011. -- AJ

The 100 will return here to Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, and 80-71. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.



Posted on: May 20, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: May 20, 2011 11:24 am
 

Tyler Gabbert visiting Louisville

By Brett McMurphy
CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Former Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert is visiting Louisville today, sources told CBSSports.com

Out of Parkway West High School, Gabbert initially committed to Nebraska where he was recruited by Huskers offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. Gabbert later de-committed and signed with Missouri.

Watson is now the quarterbacks coach at Louisville.

Other schools that Gabbert reportedly is interested in include Iowa, Clemson, Wake Forest and Arizona.

Gabbert left Missouri because he wanted an opportunity to compete for a starting position, his father Chuck told reporters. Gabbert was beaten out for Missouri’s starting position by James Franklin.

Gabbert’s older brother, Blaine, was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by Jacksonville.

Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Clemson season ticket sales still on the decline

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

How much do college football fans really care about recruiting?

The answer is supposed to be "a freaking ton," but the evidence at Clemson suggests it's still a much bigger deal for a team's diehards than their rank-and-file supporters. Dabo Swinney's Tigers pulled in one of the nation's best and most surprising classes this past Signing Day, but per the Charleston Post and Courier that excitement has yet to transfer to the box office:
Football season ticket sales are down six percent from this point last year at Clemson, according to associate athletic director Katie Hill.

The decline is traced to a number of factors including effects from the recession, the slow economic recovery and perhaps fans' dissatisfaction following the program's first losing season in 12 years.

Of the season tickets Clemson has already sold, Hill estimates the number is down 10-15 percent from 2007-08 levels.

"I still think the economy has got us," Hill said. "It's probably a variety of things, depending on the ticket buyer. … It can be dissatisfaction, it can be any of those reasons.

"But it's not over."
A point for the "economy" argument over the "losing season" argument, the Post and Courier notes, is that Virginia Tech has seen a similar decline this offseason despite having won the ACC championship last season.

But unlike the Tigers, the Hokies are losing several stars from that title team and had their usual good-but-not-eye-popping recruiting class. And the economy has done little to dent ticket sales at Clemson's rivals in the SEC. Down the road in Athens, for instance, it's been years since season tickets failed to sell out, and a smattering of single-game tickets for the Bulldogs' season opener against Boise State sold out quickly despite Georgia's disastrous 6-7 finish a year ago.

In short, no, the economy isn't helping. But we have to think that after 2010's 6-7 debacle, the bigger problem is an understandable lack of faith from Tiger fans in the direction of Swinney's program--faith that may take more than one excellent recruiting class to restore.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Clemson has no interest in Tyler Gabbert

Posted by Chip Patterson

In the latest episode of The Transfer, Tyler Gabbert's father informed Sporting News that Arizona, Arizona State, Clemson, Iowa, Louisville, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Arkansas State were all possible destinations for his son. Gabbert, the 6-0, 190 pound younger brother of first-round pick Blaine, was a nationally-ranked quarterback in the 2010 class but lost out on the quarterback competition at Missouri this spring.

But according to the Charleston Post and Courier, Clemson has absolutely no interest in obtaining Gabbert's services. Travis Sawchik even points out that bringing in Gabbert (a redshirt freshman heading into 2011) could end up hurting the Tigers in the recruitment of a top-ranked quarterback in the future. Head coach Dabo Swinney pulled in the No. 5 recruiting class last February according to MaxPreps.com. Throw in the arrival of high-octane coordinator Chad Morris from Tulsa, and the Tigers seem like a great landing spot for a hot young prospect looking to gain the attention of the NFL. 

Posted on: May 11, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Clemson has no interest in Tyler Gabbert

Posted by Chip Patterson

In the latest episode of The Transfer, Tyler Gabbert's father informed Sporting News that Arizona, Arizona State, Clemson, Iowa, Louisville, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Arkansas State were all possible destinations for his son. Gabbert, the 6-0, 190 pound younger brother of first-round pick Blaine, was a nationally-ranked quarterback in the 2010 class but lost out on the quarterback competition at Missouri this spring.

But according to the Charleston Post and Courier, Clemson has absolutely no interest in obtaining Gabbert's services. Travis Sawchik even points out that bringing in Gabbert (a redshirt freshman heading into 2011) could end up hurting the Tigers in the recruitment of a top-ranked quarterback in the future. Head coach Dabo Swinney pulled in the No. 5 recruiting class last February according to MaxPreps.com. Throw in the arrival of high-octane coordinator Chad Morris from Tulsa, and the Tigers seem like a great landing spot for a hot young prospect looking to gain the attention of the NFL. 

Posted on: May 10, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: May 10, 2011 5:40 pm
 

Where will Tyler Gabbert transfer?

Posted by Chip Patterson

College free agency seems to be all the rage for quarterbacks these days, with Tyler Gabbert being the latest after announcing his departure from Missouri. Gabbert, the younger brother of Blaine - recently picked 10th overall in the NFL Draft by Jacksonville, was involved in a heated quarterback battle this spring with sophomore James Franklin. At spring's end, Franklin ended up as the team's starter and Gabbert decided it was time to take his talents elsewhere.

So where will Gabbert, once a highly sought-after recruit, end up?

The initial guess for many sends Gabbert back to Lincoln, where he originally committed before switching to the Tigers. But when Chuck Gabbert, Tyler's father, spoke to Sporting News about potential destinations: Nebraska was not on the list.
Chuck Gabbert, the player’s father, said Tyler already is in contact with the following programs: Arizona, Arizona State, Clemson, Iowa, Louisville, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and Arkansas State.
When Gabbert committed to Missouri in 2009 to join Blaine, Nebraska, Iowa, Oregon, and Wake Forest were all on his final list. The dark horse in my opinion is Louisville. Quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson was the one recruiting Gabbert to Nebraska, and reportedly developed strong ties with the redshirt freshman. Now with the Cardinals, Watson can try to lure Gabbert to Louisville. With both Teddy Bridgewater and Dominique Brown waiting on the depth chart behind Will Stein, the move would take Gabbert from one quarterback competition right into another, more heated one. But with Bridgewater and Brown both showing plenty of room for improvement this spring, there could be a chance for Watson's former recruit to earn some snaps.

Clemson also appears like an interesting choice for Gabbert. The Tigers have Tajh Boyd and freshman Cole Stoudt, but neither one has wowed the staff or fans in their limited exposure. Head coach Dabo Swinney has brought in a couple of top-ranked recruiting classes, and Clemson may be a quarterback away from being ACC title contenders once again.

The only certainties at this point, according to Tyler's father, are that he is looking to stay in a BCS conference and it will not be the Big 12.  Where do you think Gabbert will land?  Log in to CBSSports.com and let us know in the comment section below

Keep it here at the Eye on College Football for more on this story as it develops.
Posted on: May 2, 2011 6:13 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 6:19 pm
 

What I learned this spring: ACC Atlantic

Posted by Chip Patterson

With all six spring games completed, we wrap up spring practice in the ACC Atlantic Division.

BOSTON COLLEGE: One of the things that became increasingly evident this spring was how much the Eagles have riding on running back Montel Harris going into the 2011 season. Harris tore his lateral meniscus in Boston College's ACC finale against Virginia and missed the rest of the season after undergoing surgery. Even missing the last game, Harris finished second in the ACC with 1,242 yards. After one carry in Boston College's spring game (which really is more of an offense-defense scrimmage), Harris was taken out for "precautionary measures."

All spring, the Eagles' foremost concern has been the health of their prized running back, as it should be. Boston College's muddled quarterback situation does not provide a whole lot of confidence in the passing game. Chase Rettig has likely emerged spring as the starter, taking significantly more reps near the end of the practice than Dave Shinskie, and Mike Marscovetra. Rettig emerged as a freshman in 2010 and finished the season as the starter. But his 6 touchdowns to 9 interceptions on the season hardly secured him the gig for 2011. But after completing 20-of-29 passes for 182 yards in the spring game, popular belief is that Rettig will be the starter in the fall. Boston College's greatest asset still is their defense, which will be highlighted once again by Kevin Pierre Louis and Luke Kuechly, who was recently got named to the Lott Trophy Watch list.

CLEMSON: With Kyle Parker off with the Colorado Rockies for good, this spring was the time for former backup Tajh Boyd to take command of this team. The obstacle he faced heading into practice was doing it with a brand new offensive coordinator. Since taking over under Todd Morris' new system Boyd has been consistent in his effort and leadership, just inconsistent on performance. In the Tigers' spring game Boyd looked out of rhythm with his receivers, completing only 8 of 24 passes for 114 yards. Head coach Dabo Swinney hopes that Boyd will be pushed by backup quarterback Cole Stoudt, but Boyd has been the man in charge of Morris' new offense - which is reportedly only about 60% installed.

The new up-tempo offense could benefit the Tigers in the ACC, particularly with the athletes they have at the skill positions. If the spring game was any measure, Clemson should see a significant increase in their play count per game. The scheme has proven to put up big numbers, but it relies about as evenly on the run game as the passing game. Luckily the Tigers are well equipped at running back. Andre Ellington returns after collecting 686 yards and 10 touchdowns in just eight games of action before suffering a season-ending toe injury. Sitting out of spring drills, Clemson fans got a good look at his backups and - what should be - a very deep running back position. Demont Buice (18 carries, 102 yards), Roderick McDowell (12 carries, 100 yards), and D.J. Howard (11 carries, 97 yards) all had strong showings in the spring game and should make for an interesting competition once camp opens in the fall. Defensively one big surprise was the emergence of Corey Crawford. The 6-5, 275-pound early enrollee has raised eyebrows all spring, and figures to already be a part of the defensive end rotation in the fall. Wearing Da'Quan Bowers' No. 93, Crawford appears to be taking the responsibility of upholding the legacy of Bowers and the late Gaines Adams.

FLORIDA STATE: Without a doubt, the Seminoles exit the spring as a favorite to repeat as Atlantic Division Champions in 2011. With the talent returning from last year's squad and the rise of junior quarterback E.J. Manuel, head coach Jimbo Fisher has Tallahassee buzzing once again about brining the ACC title home to where it started. Florida State won in the inaugural ACC title game in 2005, and the closest they have come since then was last year's 44-33 defeat to Virginia Tech.

The hype set the bar high, but spring practice posed a different set of challenges for Fisher and his staff. The Seminoles had seven starters miss practice due to injury, so the coaches used much of the spring to sort out depth issues. The offensive line is a bit of a concern for Fisher, as they have had to do some shuffling in order to fill out the line and establish some depth. The coaches were pleased with Manuel's spring as a whole, but the junior quarterback struggled in Florida State's well-attended spring game. Fisher has said that he is mostly concerned with Manuel's development as a leader at this point, and did not seem to think much of his spring game outing.

"He was frustrated but I got more out of him today because we struggled and he didn't have a good day," Fisher said following the game. "At the end of the day we had a chance to make plays and we made a few plays."

Many of the injuries were on the defensive end, but with all of those players getting back to 100% before training camp it should not play a major factor in the Seminoles' readiness for the season. If there is any "red-flag" from spring practice it would be a fear of complacency. There were several early practices that led Fisher to criticize his team's speed and toughness. Florida State cannot afford to be slow-starting in 2011 if they truly plan on competing for a National Championship. With Oklahoma visiting Tallahassee on Sept. 13, the Seminoles need to be competing in midseason form from the first day of camp. If Florida State is "going through the motions" at the beginning of the season, the Sooners will be a rude wake-up call after Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern.
 
MARYLAND:
There will be no surprises this year with sophomore quarterback Danny O'Brien. After being named the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year, O'Brien's development has not been slowed due to the coaching changes at Maryland. In fact, the new system installed by former LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has the players feeling like there could be even more passing in 2011. O'Brien took advantage of the vanilla scrimmage coverages in the spring game, completing 16 of 23 passes for 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns. New head coach Randy Edsall is very excited about the rotation of wide receivers taking shape, with Ronnie Tyler, Kevin Dorsey, and Quintin McCree all having strong springs.

With defensive coordinator Don Brown leaving to take the position at Connecticut, Maryland's defense has spent most of the spring trying to learn a new system. Edsall promoted assistant coach Todd Bradford to the position in mid-February, and the newness of the change seems to still be setting in for the players. Brown's system carried lots of blitzing packages and multiple looks, the players say Bradford's relies more on coverage responsibility. Maryland's defense is experienced, but they are still a little slow getting on the same page at this point.
 
NC STATE:
What I learned this spring is that head coach Tom O'Brien's word at N.C. State is firm and unwavering. O'Brien told Russell Wilson that if he wanted to be the starting quarterback in 2011 he needed to stay with the team instead of playing minor league baseball in the offseason. Even when Wilson, an All-ACC quarterback and 2010 Champs Sports Bowl MVP, asked O'Brien if he could return in August - O'Brien said no. So now the reigns are officially in the hands of Mike Glennon, the highly-recruited younger brother of former Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon. Glennon, a redshirt junior, checks out on paper as a strong candidate for the Wolfpack starting job. The only thing that he lacks is actual game experience. The problem is that with Wilson's departure to continue football elsewhere (as opposed to sticking with professional baseball) will have an effect on the fan base's expectations from Glennon. Glennon did not have a great outing in N.C. State's shortened spring game (inclement weather), and it will be important for his confidence to get some early wins in the fall.

N.C. State lost leading rusher Mustafa Greene to injury during spring practice, but he is expected to be back in time for fall practice. Greene emerged as the answer to one of the big question marks in 2010, and he will be leaned on to help Glennon get comfortable in the starting position. This year it has been the wide receiver position that was not addressed this spring, as T.J. Graham leads a crop of wideouts that lack experience in game situations. Wolfpack fans are hoping for another Greene-type situation out of the position next fall. The linebacking corps will be strong point once again for N.C. State, led by Terrell Manning and Audi Cole. Cole moves over to Nate Irving's position of middle linebacker, and while the transition has not been easy the coaching staff seems pleased with his progress and potential heading into the new season.
 
WAKE FOREST:
We knew that Wake Forest had a long way to go to improve on last year's frustrating 3-9 season. With spring practice in the books, the Demon Deacons still are a ways away from the squad that was competing among the ACC elite a half-decade ago. Head coach Jim Grobe often mentioned how inexperience played a factor in 2010's struggles, with the Deacons having to start several freshman (especially on the defensive end) throughout the season.

"I think last year we were a soft group of freshmen, and now we're just a crusty group of sophomores,"Grobe told the Winston-Salem Journal. "I know coaches are worried about playing too many sophomores but for me, we're light years ahead of where we were last year with these guys."

Offensively, the Deacons will hope to get running back Josh Harris going behind a more experienced offensive line. The talented sophomore broke out against Virginia Tech (20 carries, 241 yards, two touchdowns) and in the season finale against Vanderbilt (18 carries, 138 yards, one touchdown). But inconsistent production during the regular season have left Wake Forest fans looking for more out of the running back from Duncanville, TX. Harris led all rushers in the spring game with 85 yards, but missed many of the workouts due to injury. If Harris can't get the ground game going there will be a lot of pressure on quarterback Tanner Price to make plays with his wide receivers, which doesn't appear very threatening at this point.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 10:05 am
 

What to expect from Clemson's offense in 2011

Posted by Chip Patterson

One of the moves made by head coach Dabo Swinney at the end of a disappointing 6-7 season was to make some changes on the coaching staff. One of his most notable hires was bringing in Tulsa offensive coordinator Chad Morris . While Clemson's offense sputtered in 2010 under Billy Napier, Morris' Golden Hurricanes finished the regular season ranked sixth nationally in points per game (41.4). But with quarterback Kyle Parker departing for the major leagues, many Tiger fans have been curious as to the new look of the offense under the direction of Morris and quarterback Tajh Boyd .

Early guesses have pinned the Tigers as a fast-paced rushing offense , based on Morris' style, personnel, and the observations from the Clemson's spring game on Saturday. Before jumping to Tulsa, Morris was coaching under Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn . In both of his years at Auburn (which includes the Cam-less 2009 campaign), Auburn has rushed more than they passed. Last season at Tulsa, Morris called 537 runs as opposed to 469 passes.

Morris has also said since his arrival that he was hoping to speed up the Clemson offense. His goal is for the Tigers to run 80 offensive plays per game in 2011, which is a significant increase from 2010's pace. Judging by the spring game numbers, both assumptions seem to be on point. The Tigers ran 69 rushing plays to 61 passing plays, and even in the scrimmage-format kept things moving with little time between downs .

A solid rushing attack will be especially beneficial for sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd. Boyd was inconsistent filling in for Parker at different points in 2010, showing some flashes of potential and a lot of room to grow. His performance in the spring game did not "wow" anyone, completing 8 of 24 passes. Boyd does add another rushing threat for opposing defenses, but he will need to improve his passing to avoid becoming one-dimensional.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com