Friday, October 11, 2013
ACC Friday mailblog
By Andrea Adelson
I got mail.
Brett in Miami writes: "ACC-SEC perception still skewed." One of the best articles on ESPN in a long time. I couldn't figure out why Georgia was praised for having to mount a comeback against a poor Tennessee team. Miami, on the other hand, should have won by more, still ended up winning by 15, but they were written off because they fell behind Georgia Tech early due to turnovers. Canes highlights and analysis was nowhere to be found on ESPN this weekend, but the Bulldogs' comeback was featured. Anyhow, really well-written article with great arguments and supporting facts. Thanks so much, AA.
Andrea Adelson: Thank you, Brett. Much appreciated. One point to dispute -- I was at the Georgia Tech-Miami game and my post was featured on the front of the site. But you are right, the Georgia game was given more attention across all networks and discussed way more by college football pundits across the board. I get that Georgia is ranked higher than Miami, but I do not get all the fawning over a team that has a loss and barely beat a mediocre Tennessee team. PS -- That Bulldogs defense is not very good, either.
Robert Eastmann in Raleigh, N.C., writes: AA, when is the NCAA going to let Miami know the outcome of its case? This was supposed to be out by August and we are in October. It is not fair to Miami, the ACC or college athletics to act the way the NCAA has acted in not bringing closure to this investigation. HELP???
Adelson: Honest answer: No idea. Nobody at Miami has any idea, either. I feel like a broken record when I say the time it has taken for the NCAA to hand down a decision is just plain ridiculous. This needs to be over two months ago already.
Francis Pait in Orlando, Fla., writes: Hello, I am a huge UNC fan and was wondering what your thoughts are on the job Larry Fedora is doing at UNC? I am very disappointed.
Adelson: You have every right to be disappointed. North Carolina is the most disappointing team in the ACC to this point in the season. I know it sounds simple, but this team has not found an adequate replacement for its star players from a year ago. Nobody has just stepped right in and allowed this team to keep winning. The coaches, it seems, are unable to get through to some of their players based on comments that have come out of Chapel Hill. Still, I am not hitting the panic button on Fedora yet. It has been a rough start, no question, but he also still is transitioning to his style with his players. He has won everywhere he has been, so I am going to chalk this up to a rebuilding year.
Scott in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., writes: Re: Bryn Renner getting no help in the running game. Is it the O-line? Both Romar Morris and A.J. Blue averaged 5 yards a carry a year ago. What can the Heels do to at least make a bowl?
Adelson: I asked Fedora about the struggles in the running game on the ACC call the other day, asking whether it was more on the running backs or the offensive line. He said, "I think it's a combination of both; I really do. I don't think that we've had any real consistency at all, and some of that has been game situations that, you know, either we got out of our game plan or had to adjust our game plan, and some of it is continuity up front, some of it is backs. We are continuing to work hard at it to try to make it all come together." I went back and looked at some numbers from when Fedora was at Southern Miss. His teams have never struggled to run the ball the way they have this year. I used to write about Southern Miss in my role as the non-AQ reporter at ESPN.com, and I remembered back to 2010, when the Golden Eagles had to replace four starters on the offensive line. That season, they averaged 200.9 yards on the ground. As I am sure you have seen from the bowl projections, Heather and I are not convinced UNC is a bowl team this year. Perhaps this offensive line and defense will make some strides in the second half and improve enough for the Tar Heels to sneak in. I think the No. 1 key has to be establishing the run. This offense, like most, cannot function properly without that.
Sayid Jarrah in Canton, Ga., writes: How do you think the Clemson defense is holding up?
Adelson writes: I think the defense is holding up quite well, to be honest. I know the run D did not have its best effort last week, which played a role in skewing a bunch of stats. But for the most part, I think this group is much better than it was a year ago. Clemson already has 19 sacks, leading the nation. We all figured Vic Beasley was set to have a terrific year after what we saw out of him last year and then into the spring. But what I bet the Clemson coaches are happiest about is the way the secondary has solidified itself. The Tigers have not really had to rely on a lot of freshmen back there, something they thought could be a possibility during preseason camp. Right now, Clemson ranks No. 14 in the nation in pass efficiency defense, up 48 spots from a year ago. A few other points to note -- the Tigers rank No. 5 in the nation in third-down conversion percentage defense (24.4); No. 6 in the nation in red-zone defense; tied for No. 9 in the nation in interceptions (nine total); and No. 16 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 8 fewer points than a year ago (16.6).