ACC: A.J. Highsmith

The NFL draft concluded with 42 ACC players selected last weekend, and a slew more ended up signing free-agent deals in the days afterward.

Here’s a quick rundown of where the ACC’s undrafted free agents landed.

BOSTON COLLEGE
QB Chase Rettig, Green Bay Packers
OLB Kasim Edebali, New Orleans Saints
LB Steele Divitto, New York Jets
OT Ian White, San Diego Chargers
OT Matt Patchan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DB Albert Louis-Jean, Chicago Bears

CLEMSON
K Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona Cardinals
G Tyler Shatley, Jacksonville Jaguars
LB Spencer Shuey, Jacksonville Jaguars
CB Darius Robinson, Buffalo Bills

DUKE
RB Juwan Thompson, Denver Broncos
DE Kenny Anunike, Denver Broncos

FLORIDA STATE
LB Christian Jones, Chicago Bears
RB James Wilder Jr., Cincinnati Bengals
WR Kenny Shaw, Cleveland Browns
FB Chad Abram, Detroit Lions
DT Demonte McAllister, Seattle Seahawks
DT Jacobbi McDaniel, Cleveland Browns

GEORGIA TECH
DT Euclid Cummings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB Lou Young, Denver Broncos
DE Emmanuel Dieke, New York Giants

LOUISVILLE
DT Roy Philon, Pittsburgh Steelers
S Hakeem Smith, Tennessee Titans
DT Brandon Dunn, Chicago Bears
WR Damian Copeland, Jacksonville Jaguars

MIAMI
WR Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Stephen Morris, Jacksonville Jaguars
TE Asante Cleveland, San Francisco 49ers
DT Justin Renfrow, Arizona Cardinals
FB Maurice Hagens, Atlanta Falcons
S A.J. Highsmith, San Francisco 49ers
OG Jared Wheeler, Carolina Panthers
LB Jimmy Gaines, Buffalo Bills

NORTH CAROLINA
OT James Hurst, Baltimore Ravens
QB Bryn Renner, Denver Broncos

NC STATE
DE Carlos Gray, Green Bay Packers
TE Asa Watson, New England Patriots
DL Deylan Buntyn, New England Patriots

PITTSBURGH
P Matt Yoklic, Atlanta Falcons

SYRACUSE
CB Keon Lyn, Indianapolis Colts
CB Ri’Shard Anderson, Tennessee Titans
RB Jerome Smith, Atlanta Falcons

VIRGINIA
DE Jake Snyder, Minnesota Vikings

VIRGINIA TECH
DT Derrick Hopkins, Baltimore Ravens
LB Tariq Edwards, Miami Dolphins
WR D.J. Coles, Oakland Raiders
G Andrew Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DE James Gayle, Tennessee Titans

WAKE FOREST
DT Nikita Whitlock, Cincinnati Bengals
LB Justin Jackson, Detroit Lions
LB Zach Thompson, New York Jets

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 14, 2012
9/14/12
12:00
PM ET
One big game in each division this week.

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage reports

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
10:00
AM ET
Not every school in the ACC gives scrimmage reports, but for those that do, I'll gladly post the highlights. Here's a look back at what happened in the ACC this weekend, according to each school's report:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Offensive highlights: Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 6 of 10 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown -- a 15-yard pass to running back Rolandan Finch, who also had eight carries for 37 yards. Freshman Harrison Jackson led the receivers with five receptions for 50 yards.

Defensive highlights: Defensive end Brian Mihalik had two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, including a sack. Senior captain Jim Noel had the lone interception.

Special-teams highlights: Kicker Nate Freese made all three of his field-goal attempts -- 30, 35 and 25 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good start, good first series and then it tailed off,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “We got soft and had some execution issues, but in general the scrimmage gives us a good idea where we’re at right and we’ll look to improve for the next one.”

CLEMSON

Offensive highlights: Sophomore receiver Charone Peake caught three passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns -- one a six-yarder from Cole Stoudt, the other 37 yards from Morgan Roberts. (Six quarterbacks got reps.) Jaron Brown caught the other touchdown pass of the scrimmage, a 56-yarder from first-team quarterback Tajh Boyd. Sammy Watkins had two receptions for 35 yards, the first two completions on the first drive of the scrimmage from Boyd. Boyd finished 5-for-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He also had a 32-yard rushing touchdown. Rod McDowell was the top rusher with nine attempts for 46 yards. Clemson’s running backs tallied 109 yards on 22 carries on the day, nearly a 5.0 average per carry. Andre Ellington played sparingly to give the other young backs some experience.

Defensive highlights: Xavier Brewer had seven tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. Kellen Jones, a transfer from Oklahoma who is not eligible this season, added six tackles, including two for loss, while Jonathan Meeks had five tackles. Tig Willard had three tackles and one of his two pass deflections led to an interception.

Special-teams highlights: Spencer Benton made a 55-yard field goal. Chandler Catanzaro made three of his four attempts, from 36, 39 and 41 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good first scrimmage,” said coach Dabo Swinney. “We made some mistakes, but they are correctable. I thought the defense played well. We saw a lot of activity around the ball. Xavier Brewer had a good scrimmage, as did Lateek Townsend. He was involved in three sacks and that was big.

“We have made good progress this first week. There is still much to do, but I like the attitude of this team. They come to work. They go about their business.”

MIAMI

Offensive highlights: Mike James rushed for a team-high 137 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns, including a 51-yard burst down the sideline. Duke Johnson had 49 yards on nine carries and four touchdowns -- three rushing and one receiving. He took a screen pass from Stephen Morris 37 yards for a score.

Morris and Ryan Williams showed good footwork to elude pressure in the pocket and scramble for yards when needed. Morris completed 24 of 36 passes for 193 yards with four touchdowns, with one interception. Williams threw for 121 yards and three scores on 12-of-17 passing.

Johnson led all receivers with 44 yards. Malcolm Lewis caught three passes for 42 yards, while Kendal Thompkins hauled in a team-best five catches for 22 yards.

Defensive highlights: A.J. Highsmith had a team-high nine tackles, while Tyrone Cornileus, Tracy Howard and Ramon Buchanan all recorded seven tackles apiece. Anthony Chickillo, JaWand Blue and Cornileus each recorded a sack.

Quotable: “We’ve been saying it all camp: Mike [James] looks quicker,” coach Al Golden said. “He has always been strong but now he looks healthy.

“[Duke Johnson] found [the end zone] a couple of times today. He has a low center of gravity and a knack for diving and finding the end zone.”

Opening camp: Miami

August, 2, 2012
8/02/12
4:00
PM ET
As ACC teams begin to start practicing again, Andrea Adelson and I will have a quick preview of each team to get you caught up on the basics. Next up to open camp …

School: Miami

Start date: Friday

Projected finish at ACC media days: Fifth in the Coastal Division

Biggest storyline: More questions than answers. For the second consecutive year, Miami coach Al Golden is preparing for the season opener with an NCAA investigation looming over the program. The difference this year is that his name has now been attached. A Yahoo! Sports story questioned whether Golden had knowledge of recruiting violations within his program. Golden has stood behind his record of compliance, but said he has no idea when the program might get some closure on the issue. As if the NCAA investigation weren’t enough, Miami has plenty of questions on the field to answer, too. The Canes need to replace their leading rusher from a year ago, starting quarterback, two leading receivers and three starters on the offensive line.

Biggest position battle: Quarterback. With 12 starters gone from 2011, there will be competitions all over the field this month for the Canes, but none will garner more attention than at quarterback. Stephen Morris, who missed spring drills with a back injury, will try to hold off former Memphis transfer and good friend Ryan Williams. Morris has the edge in experience in offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch’s system, as he started four games as a freshman in 2010 and one last year, the season opener against Maryland. Williams, who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules, had a good spring. As a true freshman in 2010, he started 10 games at Memphis and earned the starting job over former Miami quarterback Cannon Smith.

Who needs to step up: Safety A.J. Highsmith. With the dismissal of Ray-Ray Armstrong from the team, Highsmith is likely the next man up. The redshirt junior moved to safety last year after spending his first two seasons as a backup quarterback. Highsmith, the son of former Cane Alonzo Highsmith, finished 2011 with 12 tackles in 11 games.

Opening camp

Friday mailblog

July, 20, 2012
7/20/12
9:00
AM ET
Leaving on Saturday for Greensboro, N.C. I'll check the mail before I go ...

Joanna writes: What are the chances that Dabo suspends Watkins for the Auburn game?

HD: The latest comments from Dabo Swinney are that Sammy Watkins "will sit, it's just a matter of how long." I'm sure he'll get asked about it again at media days, but it sounds like Watkins could see the field at some point against Auburn.


Alex in Douglasville, GA. writes: Hi Heather,What kind of message do you think Dabo sends if he only suspends Sammy for a quarter or two? I am a huge Tiger fan and would hate to see "The Deuce" gone for longer, but realistically should he at least suspend him for a game?

HD: Well, it's hard to say from the outside. Has he done everything Swinney and law enforcement officers have asked of him? Has he been apologetic? Was it his first offense? Has Swinney had Watkins running bleachers at 5 a.m., or taking an extra study hall, or doing other things we might not know about to atone for his mistake? It's been a long time since the incident occured on May 4. That's plenty of time to pay some dues. So it's very possible a quarter or a half might be appropriate.


Michael Goetschius in Sergeant Bluff/IA writes: I'm a big Canes fan., How will this situation with Ray ray Armstrong effect the canes this year. they were sighted as having one of the best safty squads this year

HD: Yeah, the duo of Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque was billed to be one of the best in the country, but that never materialized and now it never will. It's a waste of talent if you ask me. Instead, the Canes will turn to A.J. Highsmith, who made the switch from backup quarterback to safety last year. He was No. 2 on the depth chart this spring behind Armstrong. The Canes also have junior Kacy Rodgers and senior Andrew Swasey, and they recruited seven defensive backs in the 2012 class. This is not a team that can afford to lose any more starters.


steven in miami writes: Heather, Appreciate all you do insofar as reporting and analysis. This question comes from a while ago and since I havent seen anything written lately I thought I would ask you: What is status of ACC, Orange Bowl and Notre Dame partnership....has anything moved forward. And would the ACC take Notre Dame's other sports if there was not a plan in place for football to join league in next 3-5 years.

HD: Thanks. No news, Steven, other than confirmation that the ACC has had discussions with Notre Dame about the possibility of an Orange Bowl partnership. I'm not sure how much interest the ACC would have in Notre Dame's other sports, but I'm sure the commissioner will get plenty of Notre Dame questions on Sunday at the ACC football kickoff. I'll give you any updates from there, so check back on Sunday evening.


Newtondt in Birmingham, AL writes: Heather,Any thoughts on potential B1G/ACC football matchup that is being debated over on the B1G blog? With ACC going to 9 league games (probably a mistake), I just don't see this happening. You?

HD: I wrote about this a little bit on Thursday, and basically said the ACC and Big Ten need to find a way to work it out. You're right: Georgia Tech, FSU and Clemson would probably have the biggest hang-ups about it with the nine-game schedule because of their built-in SEC rivals. I don't blame them. But if the leagues worked out some sort of rotation where they didn't have to do it every season, or only the Atlantic one year and the Coastal the next or something ... I think it would be well worth it for the fans and the conferences. I also think that if both leagues were seriously considering a scheduling partnership, it would be worth the ACC's time to go back and rethink the nine-game schedule. Maybe just scrap that in favor of a partnership with the Big Ten?


Paul Andrew in Angier,NC writes: I applaud you for continuing to point out the depth of the scandal at UNC. Why do you think so many in the media and the NCAA continue to ignore the academic fraud that has been documented? The academic fraud is far more serious than a player taking money from an agent. Why is the media so quiet on the school and Butch Davis not wanting his cell phone records released?

HD: I can't believe what has happened at Carolina. I can't believe the imaginary classes and the academic fraud and the laundry list of violations at a place that used to have such a shiny academic reputation. A big reason I don't think it's getting a lot of attention, though, is because the NCAA doesn't seem too interested in it. The bigger question is why isn't the NCAA interested anymore? Well, maybe because it's hard to prove that athletes were the target of these classes? I have no idea, but if the NCAA were nosing around, I don't doubt the media would suddenly become more interested. Right now it seems more academic than athletic. That doesn't mean that perception is correct.
Miami released yet another spring depth chart heading into this past weekend. That's the third since a month ago, when coach Al Golden released a depth chart to spring practice.

A.J. Highsmith, who was the No. 1 strong safety when the previous depth chart was released a week earlier, is now listed as an "or" with Vaughn Telemaque. Gionni Paul and Tyrone Cornileus also have an "or" between them at one outside linebacker spot, as do Brandon McGee and Thomas Finnie at cornerback.

Sean Harvey has vaulted to the No. 1 fullback spot because of injuries.

The depth chart can be viewed in its entirety here.

Also worth noting is that quarterback Stephen Morris took reps in drills for the first time this spring, during the Hurricanes' 12th spring practice Thursday. Recovering from back surgery, Morris did not wear pads.
Four former Miami football players were among the eight athletes inducted Thursday into the school's sports Hall of Fame.

Ray Bellamy, Ed Reed, Bryant McKinnie and Rich Mercier were all enshrined, and Reed and McKinnie now join Ravens teammate Ray Lewis as Miami Hall of Famers on the same roster.

Getting in with a current teammate was all the more special for McKinnie. From the Sun-Sentinel's Steve Gorten:
"Winning the [2001] national championship with Ed, 10 years later joining the same [NFL] team and then we're both entering the Hall of Fame at the same time...I wasn't expecting when I first got here to the University of Miami to be able to walk away and actually be inducted into the Hall of Fame," McKinnie said. "Winning a national championship was a big enough deal for me, but then to have this honor to add to it makes it even better."

As for this year's team, the Hurricanes will hold their second spring scrimmage Friday night, in Fort Myers. The team released a new depth chart prior to it, which can be found here.

A.J. Highsmith is the most noticeable of the first-teamers, as he is now ahead of Vaughn Telemaque and Andrew Swasey at strong safety.

Miami QB competition far from over

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
4:00
PM ET
Miami quarterback Stephen Morris kinda sorta won the starting job by default this month -- not that he doesn’t deserve to start the season opener against Maryland on Monday night.

Still, consider Miami’s quarterback competition far from over.

[+] EnlargeStephen Morris
Andrew Shurtleff/US PresswireStephen Morris will get the start for Miami Monday night against Maryland.
“We have two or three practices during the bye week there,” said coach Al Golden, whose team won’t play again until the Sept. 17 matchup against Ohio State. “We'll let them compete. Again, the competition was really close, obviously got skewed towards the stretch. It looked like one was going to be ineligible. We didn't know if he was going to be reinstated. That competition abruptly ended. We'll continue it after this game.”

Golden said the competition was literally dead-even when the eligibility of quarterback Jacory Harris came into question.

“We hadn't even had the second scrimmage and news started breaking and Jacory's name was mentioned,” Golden said. “At that point we basically had to abort the competition, if you will, and make sure that Stephen was ready. Stephen was certainly up to the challenge. … I think the bottom line was that Stephen really came on strong last four or five practices, certainly the last scrimmage, then really we turned the reins over to him last week and early this morning once the news came down.”

The good news for Miami is that Morris has been preparing all summer as if he were the starter, and he could have very well won the job on his own in spite of the NCAA investigation. The bigger concern for the Hurricanes at the position is the depth. Harris isn’t even traveling with the team, so Spencer Whipple is the next man up, followed by A.J. Highsmith, if anything happens to Morris.

Whipple has completed 6 of 12 career passes for 54 yards and two interceptions.

“Whip is steady. He's smart. A coach's son. Really bright,” Golden said. “He carries it over to the game. He's the kind of guy who, even though he doesn't get as many reps during the preseason, he's been getting a lot of reps over the last five or six practices. He can operate the offense despite not getting the reps because he knows it so well. He is a quick learner, and he is smart.”

Morris started the final four games of the 2010 season, and actually led the team with a 125.01 efficiency rating and 206.7 yards per game. Regardless of how well he fares against Maryland, though, he will have to win the job again in order to start against Ohio State.
This morning we looked at the main recruiting needs for the Atlantic Division. Here are the priorities for each team in the Coastal Division:

DUKE

Offensive line: The Blue Devils will have to replace one starter in center Bryan Morgan, and it’s still a relatively young group, but with several redshirt sophomores on the roster, the staff wants to load up two grades behind them to fully stock the position for the future.

Defensive line: This has always been Duke’s deficiency, which means it will always be a priority to catch up and build depth. The Blue Devils will have to replace two starters in Wesley Oglesby and Patrick Egboh. Noseguard Charlie Hatcher will be a redshirt senior.

Cornerback: Duke only loses one starter, cornerback Chris Rwabukamba, but it’s another position that has been weak and needs better athletes.

GEORGIA TECH

Offensive line: The early departure of Nick Claytor to the NFL didn’t help the depth, but there were still several young players who gained valuable experience and others who redshirted to help the depth. While no true freshman is likely to make an immediate impact, the staff is still looking to build the numbers up front.

Linebacker/defensive line: The Jackets need to find more athletes who are suited for Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme. Fast athletes who are versatile enough to play a hybrid role, with the ability to move in space, will be a priority in this class.

MIAMI

Quarterback: With Jacory Harris being a senior, A.J. Highsmith moving to defense, and Spencer Whipple struggling in what little time he has played, the position needs a boost. It didn’t help that Teddy Bridgewater reneged on his commitment.

Linebacker: This is a position former coach Randy Shannon had put an emphasis on building, and there are young players and depth, but it was also a veteran group in the 2010 two-deep, with mainly juniors and seniors.

Wide receiver: The upperclassmen did all of the work in 2010, with Leonard Hankerson leading the way. Travis Benjamin, Aldarius Johnson and Laron Byrd will all be seniors. An influx of young talent is needed.

Defensive end: The staff is looking to improve the depth here, get stronger up front, and build upon the success from 2010. Marcus Robinson, Adewale Ojomo, and Micanor Regis will all be seniors.

NORTH CAROLINA

Tailback: Injuries depleted this group in 2010, and Anthony Elzy, Johnny White and Shaun Draughn were both seniors. Ryan Houston was able to redshirt and will return as a fifth-year senior, but the Tar Heels need more dependable runners and a foundation for the future.

Defensive line: The Tar Heels have to prepare for some departures, especially on the interior, where all four players on the two-deep roster in 2010 were juniors.

Secondary: UNC will have to replace three starters in the secondary this spring, and three backups this year were juniors. Because of the NCAA investigation, this is a group in which backups had to develop quickly, so there are some experienced younger players, but the group still needs to reload.

Tight end: The loss of Zach Pianalto and his backup, Ed Barham, leaves the position thin.

VIRGINIA

Offensive line: With starting right guard B.J. Cabbell gone, starting center Anthony Mihota a senior, and starting left guard Austin Pasztor a senior, the staff has to prepare for some departures. Morgan Moses and Oday Aboushi are talented young players, but the rotation needs more of them.

Defensive line: End Zane Parr’s decision to leave early for the NFL draft hurt the position’s depth, and the Cavs will also have to replace John-Kevin Dolce at tackle. Three other players in the two-deep will be rising seniors, and with Virginia switching back to a 4-3 defense under Mike London, the Cavs have to rebuild up front.

Secondary: Cornerback is of particular concern, as Chase Minnifield will be a senior, and starter Mike Parker will graduate.

VIRGINIA TECH

Running back: The early departures of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans to the NFL left David Wilson as the only tailback with any significant experience. Overall, the Hokies have four tailbacks on their current roster.

Defensive line: The Hokies will have to replace redshirt senior starters Steven Friday and John Graves, and starting left end Chris Drager will be a redshirt senior this year.

Wide receiver/tight end: Starters Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale will be seniors, and tight end Andre Smith will graduate.

Secondary: Half the players on the two-deep roster against Stanford were either juniors or seniors, and the Hokies will have to replace rover Davon Morgan and cornerback Rashad Carmichael.

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 20, 2010
12/20/10
12:30
PM ET
Have you ever seen "The Ref?" No? Try it. Until then, here's a break from the "holiday" quotes for those who need one:

"That doesn't make any sense! Who wants to live in a world where dogs eat each other? Doggy-dog world is a beautiful world filled with little poh-pees." -- Gloria (If you don't know what show that's from, you're really, really missing out. Kind of like if you're not following @ESPN_ACC).
If ever there was a time for Maryland to beat Miami -- on the road, no less -- this would be it.

The Terps are hot, Miami is not.

Maryland has turned around its 2-10 2009 season and became bowl eligible with its 62-14 win over Wake Forest this past weekend. The Terps enter Saturday’s game in a tie with NC State for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Hurricanes not only lost to Virginia on the road last weekend, they also likely lost their starting quarterback, Jacory Harris, who suffered a concussion. The Canes will turn to a true freshman who was on the path to redshirting, Stephen Morris, while Maryland has a quarterback who is making his case for rookie of the year in Danny O'Brien.

[+] EnlargeDanny O'Brien
AP Photo/Nick WassDanny O'Brien has thrown seven touchdown passes in the past two games.
The Terps are still expecting the best from Miami.

"They are coming off a difficult loss, so we know that they are going to come into the game fired up,” linebacker Alex Wujciak told reporters at the team’s weekly news conference. “They have great athletes on offense from wide receiver to tight end and three good running backs. Whichever quarterback plays is going to be good and we saw that with their freshman coming in and playing well against Virginia. We have to be prepared no matter what quarterback plays."

Right now, it’s likely to be Morris, who shook off some butterflies in his first collegiate appearance against Virginia and accounted for three fourth-quarter touchdowns in the 24-19 loss. Morris had gone from fourth-string quarterback to first in a matter of minutes. Backup A.J. Highsmith was injured, and third-string quarterback Spencer Whipple threw two interceptions in six pass attempts.

“That shows a lot of promise on what we’ve done with [Morris], and how recruiting him shows what we see in him,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said. “He’s a guy that everybody thinks is a quiet guy, but around his teammates he’s happy-go-lucky, a get-after-it kind of guy. On the football field, his presence is unbelievable.”

It’s going to have to be if Miami is going to stay in the ACC race. The Hurricanes can’t afford another conference loss, even if it does come to an Atlantic Division opponent, and they still need one more win to become bowl eligible. A win would give Maryland a 7-2 record and a 4-1 start in ACC play for the first time since 2006.

Maryland and Miami have played each other just once since 1987 -- a 14-13 Maryland home win in 2006. There is more recent familiarity, though, as Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown worked with Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple at UMass.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I’m sure that there is a lot of familiarity, and that may be a good thing or it could be detrimental. I know that knowing someone so well, you can over-plan at times. But I know that they are very good friends; I think they talk with one another once a week, throughout the year, not just during football season.”

Brown’s defense has shown a lot of improvement in his second season. Maryland held Wake Forest, which was averaging 206.6 rushing yards per game, to minus-3 yards on the ground (the lowest total by an opponent in 11 years). The Terps have held each of their past four opponents under 100 rushing yards. Miami, meanwhile, has been racking up the yards but not the points. Miami is coming off its lowest scoring output of the season.

“We had 177 yards rushing, but we need points,” Shannon said. “Let’s face it: We’re running the ball well, but we need points. Like I said earlier, if we’re doing all the discipline things off the field and in the classroom, we need to take it on the field. That’s the thing that’s disappointing me -- we’re not transitioning that onto the field. Those penalties have been hurting us, hurting the drives. We get a 26-yard run, bring it back, or we get down to the 5-yard line, and bring it back. Those are things that really get you in bad situations that you don’t want to be in.”

Situations like having to beat Maryland in order to stay in the ACC race.
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris won't practice today, and Stephen Morris is likely to start on Saturday against Maryland, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Morris gave the staff reason to be confident in him when he threw three fourth-quarter touchdowns in the 24-19 loss at Virginia. Now that he has a week to prepare and knows his next opponent, Morris should be more composed, but freshmen mistakes are to be expected.

The bigger problem for Miami right now is depth. With Harris and backup A.J. Highsmith injured, Morris and Spencer Whipple are the only two healthy quarterbacks on the roster. Whipple threw two interceptions in six passes at Virginia. The offensive line needs to be at its best in protecting Morris on Saturday, and the staff will also have to simplify its offense and scale back a bit in order to make Morris comfortable and put him in positions to succeed.
Welcome, November, when seasons are made and broken. Here’s a look back at Week 9 and a look ahead at this week:

The good: Refuse-to-lose teams. Boston College, Virginia and Duke all showed some toughness and determination this past weekend, winning games few outside their programs gave them a chance to win. The Eagles won their first game since Sept. 11, Duke won for the first time since beating Elon in the season opener and Virginia knocked off its first ranked opponent since October 2008.

The bad: Miami’s quarterback situation. Starter Jacory Harris suffered a concussion in the loss to Virginia and is questionable for Saturday’s game against Maryland. Backup A.J. Highsmith is still hindered by a hand/wrist injury. Spencer Whipple threw two picks in six pass attempts. Stephen Morris had an encouraging performance, but the staff had to burn his redshirt eight games into the season to discover it.

[+] EnlargeRenfree
AP Photo/Gail BurtonSean Renfree accounted for three touchdowns in the win over Navy.
The ugly: North Carolina’s win over William & Mary. The Tribe controlled most of the game, and the Tar Heels trailed 17-7 after three quarters to former backup quarterback Mike Paulus. UNC lost the turnover battle 2-1, but converted on two key fourth downs.

The play: Trailing 24-21 on fourth-and-inches, NC State quarterback Russell Wilson rolled to his right on a play-action fake and found tight end George Bryan wide open in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown against Florida State.

The playmaker: Duke quarterback Sean Renfree. He threw for 314 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more in the Blue Devils’ 34-31 win over Navy. Even more impressive was the fact he completed 28 of 30 pass attempts, a school single-game record. He tied a school record when he completed his first 16 passes of the game.

Top three games of Week 10:

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech: Everyone in the Coastal Division should be watching this one on Thursday night, as Miami, North Carolina and the Jackets all need the Hokies to lose if anyone else is going to have a chance at the division title. It’s going to be tough for Georgia Tech’s defense, as Virginia Tech has the nation’s No. 14 scoring offense at 37 points per game.

NC State at Clemson: This game has lost some of its luster after Clemson lost to BC 16-10, and also lost its leading rusher, Andre Ellington, to a toe injury. The Wolfpack should be confident and favored in this game, but NC State has no margin for error and can’t take the trip to Death Valley lightly. It only needs to look back to the loss to East Carolina for a reminder it’s not invincible.

North Carolina at Florida State: The Tar Heels are physically bruised, while the Seminoles’ egos took a hit in their 28-24 loss to NC State. Both T.J. Yates and Christian Ponder have made costly turnovers recently, and while it’s an inter-divisional game, neither team can afford another ACC loss.
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris suffered a concussion in the second quarter of the Hurricanes’ 24-19 loss to Virginia on Saturday and is questionable for next week's game against Maryland, coach Randy Shannon said in a teleconference Sunday.

If Harris is unable to play on Saturday, Stephen Morris will start.

“Jacory’s doing fine right now,” Shannon said. “Our medical team, they’ve done a great job of evaluating and making sure that Jacory is OK. The process of when Jacory’s going to be playing will be up to our medical staff.”

Backup quarterback A.J. Highsmith couldn’t play against Virginia because of an injury to his left hand, which has been “really, really bothering him,” according to Shannon. Highsmith’s status for Saturday is also questionable.

“We’d love to have him back, but at this point in time we don’t know if he’ll be able to make it back,” Shannon said.

Third-string quarterback Spencer Whipple, son of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, entered the game but was benched after he threw two interceptions in six pass attempts. The staff decided to burn Morris’ redshirt. He completed 9 of 22 passes for 162 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“It was tough, but we were trying to win the game,” Shannon said of the decision to burn Morris’ redshirt. “A.J. has been having this hand injury that has affected him, and we played Spencer, but we felt like now was the time for Stephen Morris to get a shot. He had a little bit stronger arm and we went to him. He did some nice things in the game. It was great to see him get three touchdowns.”

Shannon said Harris is “a little sore, but he’s in a great mood.”

“We’re talking to him, and joking around with him, things like that,” Shannon said. “He’s never been through it, but right now he’s feeling great. He’s feeling great now, but you’ve got to take this slowly and don’t try and force anything back. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing all of the things we ask of you. He was in great spirits this morning.”

Jacory Harris out for the game

October, 30, 2010
10/30/10
2:04
PM ET
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris will miss the rest of the game, according to a school spokesman. There was no official diagnosis. A.J. Highsmith, who was the No. 2 quarterback, has been out with a hand/wrist injury. After Spencer Whipple threw two interceptions, the Canes started the second half with Stephen Morris and burned his redshirt in the process. Miami's quarterback situation is currently a disaster. Virginia leads the Hurricanes, 17-0.

SPONSORED HEADLINES