Monday, July 25, 2011
ACC media days notebook, Day 2
By Heather Dinich
Boston College: The inconsistency of the quarterback position has been at the heart of the Eagles' recent struggles, but with the maturation of Chase Rettig and hire of Kevin Rogers, coach Frank Spaziani said they're in a much better position than when he was hired. "We're moving forward there. Certainly, we're light years ahead of where we were two years ago when I was sitting here. … Chase has separated himself a little, if you will."
Clemson: There are several positions freshmen will have a legitimate chance to earn playing time at this summer, starting with wide receiver. "We need some help there," Dabo Swinney said. He also said the team needs immediate help at linebacker, and running back Mike Bellamy will "really spice things up for us." The defensive line is another area of opportunity and possibly one in the secondary. Clemson redshirted 15 players last year and will use 12 to 13 freshmen this fall.
Duke: David Cutcliffe's three-year record with the Blue Devils is 12-24. That's not great -- but it's a heck of an upgrade from the three previous years, when the program went 2-33. "I'm not writing home to my mother about 12 wins in three years," Cutcliffe said. "But we've won six times as many games [as from 2005-07]. There's a lot to be excited about for the future. … I'm glad people talk about [Duke not playing in a bowl since 1994]. They should question it. I tell our players, 'Quit talking about it and go do it. Win more than you lose.' "
Florida State: The Seminoles are among the programs that officials of the Chik-Fil-A Kickoff Game would like to bring to Atlanta for a season opener in the future. (The game is currently booked through 2014.) When someone casually suggested to coach Jimbo Fisher that Florida-Florida State would make a nice season starter instead of the traditional season ender, Fisher was not overly opposed. He pointed out the difficulty of playing an emotional rivalry game, then -- if either team is good enough -- turning around a week later and playing with peak intensity in the league title game. Fisher also opined that the Florida State-Miami game should be anchored in a permanent spot on the season schedule, instead of being moved around. He favors the midseason slot the rivalry enjoyed in its heyday during the 1980s and '90s.
Georgia Tech: Even after 32 years of marriage, Paul Johnson still doesn't wear his wedding ring. So the absence of his 2009 ACC title game ring is hardly a surprise, even after the NCAA forced him to vacate the title. Johnson said the school hasn't decided yet if it will appeal the sanctions, but because there was no loss of scholarships he said it won't affect his program moving forward.
Maryland: The NCAA has cut 2.5 hours of practice time per week from first-year coach Randy Edsall, so he has adjusted by cutting down film time on Sundays and shortened his practice plan in anticipation of the sanctions. "It's not going to affect us," he said. "We're not going to make any excuses. We're just going to go play. I have a schedule put together for what we need to get done and what we need to comply with, we'll comply with it."
Miami: Coach Al Golden said offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson has a back injury that has been bothering him since mid-March, and defensive tackle Marcus Forston had surgery. "I don't know what the timetable on them is, but I do know they're probably not going to be full-go as we kick off camp." Golden said Henderson was 388 pounds in January, but is 341 now and has responded well to the adversity and developed maturity.
North Carolina: Coach Butch Davis said a leadership committee was formed by the players to help those within the program make good decisions. They meet every Wednesday, and Tony Dungy has been a guest speaker for them. Davis said they were going to start it a year ago, but it was tabled until this spring because of the NCAA investigation. The coaches chose the initial leaders.
NC State: Coach Tom O'Brien said the decision to release former quarterback Russell Wilson from his scholarship was probably the most scrutinized decision he's ever made as a head coach. Still, he said "we're happy with the decision. … We're confident with the team we have coming in with the decision we made, and certainly we wish Russell the best. I hope he wins a Big Ten championship. I think that would be great for him."
Virginia: Defensive end Cam Johnson has a sickle cell anemia trait, coach Mike London said, and it could be affecting his cardiovascular performance. "You can go, go hard for two or three plays and then on that fifth or sixth play be gassed," London said. The staff will closely manage how many snaps Johnson gets and rotate him after fewer plays. It's something Johnson has been aware about for a few years, London said.
Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said he's still not sure who his punter is going to be, but he's got one advantage in the uncertainty of the position:
"The only thing we know is people will not return punts against us because [if] we don't know where it's going, they don't know where it's going," he said. "There's not a chance in the world for guys to be returning punts on us. That's the only good thing I see out of it."
Wake Forest: Coach Jim Grobe said he is still looking for a go-to receiver, and based on this past spring, Michael Campanaro could be the guy. Chris Givens is one of the fastest players on the team, but has been inconsistent and needs a better work ethic. The Deacons could use as many as four receivers this fall, but Grobe said if they don't earn the playing time, "we're going to have a fullback and a tight end on the field all the time."