ACC: Anthony Castonzo

Summer summary: Boston College

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
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The summer is almost over. Next week is game week, when the teams will shift their focus to their Week 1 opponents, if they haven't already. The goal of this series is to quickly catch you up on what has happened at each ACC school during summer camp, a quick-hit recap of the main storylines and most notable injuries. We'll go in alphabetical order, starting with Boston College:
  • There has been significant change on offense. There is an excitement around first-year offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers, and for the first time in three years, the Eagles know who their starting quarterback will be for the season opener -- Chase Rettig. In the first two scrimmages, the offense dominated the defense, and that doesn't happen at BC. In the two years prior to this year, BC's offense had never scored a touchdown in a scrimmage. Linebacker Luke Kuechly made it a point heading into the third scrimmage to make sure his teammates knew that scrimmage would be about the D, but the main storyline out of Chestnut Hill this month has been the offense.
  • Running back Montel Harris underwent another arthroscopic knee surgery last week, and will miss three to four weeks, and then his backup, Andre Williams, sprained his ankle in Sunday's scrimmage. Still, the staff is confident in the depth and talent at the position, and Williams was walking around today and looked fine, according to a school spokesman, who added that Williams said it wasn't too swollen.
  • The depth on the offensive line remains a question. There have been a few nagging injuries, but John Wetzel has taken over for Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, and the staff has been pleased with his progress. Mark Spinney has been working with the first team at left guard, and redshirt freshman Andy Gallik has been taking most of the first-team reps at center.
  • Defensively, the Eagles are still looking for who will emerge as their starter at strongside linebacker, and Steele Divitto appears to be the frontrunner, but Nick Clancy had a good scrimmage.
  • True freshman defensive end Mehdi Abdesmad has played well enough that he likely will see some meaningful snaps this fall.
  • One lingering concern is the No. 2 quarterback position. If Rettig is injured, Josh Bordner is the likely backup, but he has been slowed by some back problems.
Ranking offensive linemen is not easy. But hey, either is being an offensive lineman. Here are your best "big uglies."

1. North Carolina: Three starters and one part-time starter return from last year’s team, and this line could be the biggest and best since Butch Davis was hired. Guard Jonathan Cooper (22 starts), center Cam Holland (20) and tackle James Hurst (12) have combined for 54 career starts. Travis Bond has four starts and is the leading candidate to take over at the other guard position.

2. Miami: The Canes return nine of their top 10 offensive linemen including four starters from last year, and Joel Figueroa was granted a sixth season of eligibility. Even with the coaching change, the Canes should be strong up front. Center Tyler Horn is a veteran, Brandon Washington is a difference-maker, and there’s enough competition that Seantrel Henderson spent most of the spring as a backup.

3. Clemson: First-year offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has four returning starters to work with in Landon Walker, Antoine McClain, Dalton Freeman and David Smith. They also have top reserve Mason Cloy, who has 19 career starts and has played in 38 games. There is plenty of depth for a dependable rotation.

4. Virginia Tech: All four returnees started every game last year, and there is enough depth that the Hokies should be able to rotate the most players up front they ever have. It’s a veteran group led by Blake DeChristopher, Andrew Lanier, Jaymes Brooks and Greg Nosal.

5. Florida State: Despite the losses of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon, there’s experience up front. This fall, the starting lineup will consist of tackle Andrew Datko, left guard Bryan Stork or David Spurlock, center Jacob Fahrenkrug, right guard Spurlock or Stork, right tackle Zebrie Sanders. Just how good they’ll be remains to be seen as the majority of them were out with injuries this past spring.

6. NC State: The Pack lost Jake Vermiglio and will be without injured left guard Andrew Wallace for about half of the season, but Zach Allen, Camden Wentz and R.J. Mattes are returning starters. There’s also a lot of talent waiting to emerge with young players like Duran Christophe, Rob Crisp, Tyson Chandler, Torian Box and Andy Jomantas.

7. Virginia: Four players return with a combined 64 career starts in Anthony Mihota, Austin Pasztor, Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses, who started the final seven games of the season as a true freshman. Pasztor is in his fourth season as a starter and has 32 career starts.

8. Boston College: Despite the losses of Anthony Castonzo, Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham, the Eagles are almost settled up front, it’s the experience behind the starters that’s reason for concern. The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen. Mark Spinney returns at center, the projected starting guards are Nathan Richman and Ian White, who started three games as a freshman, and the tackles are Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel.

9. Maryland: It’s been an injury-prone group the past two seasons and that didn’t change this past spring. Left tackle Justin Gilbert, one of the top linemen on the team, reinjured the same knee he had ACL surgery on and will be out until October. R.J. Dill was also injured this spring, though he played in the spring game, and Justin Lewis was rehabbing from offseason surgery. Pete White also missed practices, so the group needs to solidify the two-deep roster.

10. Georgia Tech: The Jackets return three starters in guard Omoregie Uzzi, guard Will Jackson and tackle Phil Smith. Sophomore Jay Finch played extensively last season and Ray Beno and Nick McRae were key reserves. Redshirt freshmen Catlin Alford and Morgan Bailey could also work their way into the rotation. Uzzi will be the leader of the line, but they were outplayed by the defense this spring.

11. Wake Forest: Four starters are back, but the Deacs will sorely miss the experience and leadership of former center Russell Nenon. Garrick Williams started the final three games of 2010 -- two at guard and one at center, but he struggled with the snaps towards the end of spring and isn’t where the staff needs him to be yet.

12. Duke: The Blue Devils should take another step forward this season under offensive line coach Matt Luke, and they need to -- Duke’s running game was last in the ACC last year and 104th in the country. Brian Moore replaces a three-year starter at center, but given his experience at right guard the past two seasons, it should be a smooth transition. That will leave a hole, though, at the right guard position, where Laken Tomlinson and John Coleman are the top candidates.

Proving ground: Atlantic Division

May, 31, 2011
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Boston College running back Montel Harris could potentially break a 33-year old ACC record if he stays healthy this fall. He’s got nothing to prove. BC’s offensive line? Now that’s a different story. There are plenty of veterans returning in the ACC, but there are also plenty of players, coaches and position groups with something to prove this fall. Here’s a look at who in the Atlantic Division has the most to prove this fall, ranked from most to least. The Coastal Division will be up next.

1. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: He can’t afford a second straight losing season, and he’s trying to avoid a third straight loss to rival South Carolina. He made a dramatic shift in offensive philosophy and that hire will have to pay dividends sooner than later.

2. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon: Former quarterback Russell Wilson set a high standard, and coach Tom O’Brien hasn’t helped matters much by comparing Glennon to former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. The expectation is for Glennon to continue the success of last year’s nine-win season in his first season as full-time starter. No pressure.

3. Maryland coach Randy Edsall: He was hired to replace the ACC’s 2010 Coach of the Year. He was hired to make Maryland a consistent Top 25 program. And he was hired to rejuvenate a dispassionate fan base and fill the seats. So yeah, he’s got something to prove.

4. Boston College’s offensive line: The Eagles have to replace three starters on the line, including Anthony Castonzo, who finished his career with a league-high 54 starts. The staff liked the progress the group made this past spring, but it’s not sold on the starting lineup. John Wetzel was listed as Castonzo’s replacement on the post-spring depth chart, but the position is still up for grabs.

5. Wake Forest center Garrick Williams: He is the undisputed heir to former center Russell Nenon, a four-year starter who started every game in his final three seasons. Williams isn’t an established player and struggled to snap the ball at the end of spring practices. He still needs to show significant improvement this summer to earn the staff’s confidence. He started three of the final four games of the 2010 season, and played a different position each time.

6. Florida State’s offensive line: It’s the one true question the Seminoles have heading into the season, as they’ve got to replace mainstays Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon up front. There were too many injuries this spring to get a good read on how the group will look without them, and it was also difficult to test the defensive line with rookie backups. Why are they last on the list? Offensive line coach Rick Trickett.

Hope and concern: Boston College

May, 26, 2011
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Every team has reason for hope, and of course, every team has some questions that are reasons for concern. We’ll start a series today taking a look at the high and low facing each program, starting with Boston College.

Biggest reason for hope: The hire of offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers.

It might have been the best offseason hire in the ACC, as it should help the Eagles where they needed it most -- at quarterback. Boston College has struggled to find a dependable quarterback, but Chase Rettig showed a lot of promise as a true freshman last year. Rettig should flourish under Rogers' guidance and show significant improvement in his second season as a starter. Not only is Rogers well-respected among his ACC peers, but he’s also got plenty of talent returning to work with. The Eagles return their leading rusher, passer and receiver from a year ago. They enter the fall confident in every starting position on offense, and 10 of the 13 receivers who caught a pass last season return.

Biggest reason for concern: Inexperience up front.

Both the offensive line and defensive line could be liabilities if young players don’t mature quickly. Three starters have to be replaced on the offensive line, including mainstay Anthony Castonzo, who had a league-high 54 starts. The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen, and the defensive line will have a new look without Damik Scafe and Brad Newman. While both sides will introduce new full-time starters, there is significant experience returning. Getting the young backups caught up quickly and confident in taking meaningful reps will be the biggest challenge.
The "spring shoes to fill" series looked at the most difficult player to replace in each program. Five of them were quarterbacks, four linemen, two receivers and one linebacker.

Boston College: Anthony Castonzo
Clemson: Da'Quan Bowers
Duke: Abraham Kromah
Florida State: Rodney Hudson
Georgia Tech: Joshua Nesbitt
Maryland: Torrey Smith
Miami: Leonard Hankerson
North Carolina: T.J. Yates
NC State: Russell Wilson
Virginia: Marc Verica
Virginia Tech: Tyrod Taylor
Wake Forest: Russell Nenon

Hudson was the most decorated offensive lineman in ACC history. Taylor was the winningest quarterback in school history. Nesbitt was the most prolific rushing quarterback in league history. Bowers was honored as the nation's top defensive player. Almost all of them were record-setters. The ACC lost some tremendous talent from 2010 rosters.

Of these 12 players, I took the liberty of narrowing the list down to five choices for the most difficult player to replace in the ACC.

Spring shoes to fill: Boston College

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
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The series concludes today with the Eagles:

Biggest shoes to fill: Offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo

In 2007, Castonzo became the first true freshman in 10 seasons to start on the offensive line at BC. Having never missed a game, he holds the school record with 54 career starts. Castonzo gave up only one sack this past season and missed seven assignments. He had 40 knockdowns and consistently graded out as the highest on the offensive line. He had only two penalties in 820 plays. He was also nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship, and will soon graduate with a degree in biochemistry. His plans to conduct cancer research are on hold, though, because he was the 22nd overall pick in the NFL draft.

Spring replacement: John Wetzel

There’s just no way to account for the loss of 54 career starts, but Wetzel had a good enough spring to earn the top spot on the post-spring depth chart. The junior played in eight games as a backup, but he hasn’t seen more time than that during his career.

Summer outlook: The position is still up for grabs. Redshirt freshman Aaron Kramer was listed as Wetzel’s backup on the post-spring depth chart.

More in this series:

  • Clemson
  • Duke
  • Florida State
  • Georgia Tech
  • Maryland
  • Miami
  • North Carolina
  • NC State
  • Virginia
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wake Forest
  • Boston College spring wrap

    May, 5, 2011
    5/05/11
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    2010 overall record: 7-6

    2010 conference record: 4-4

    Returning starters

    Offense: 7, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 2

    Top returners

    LB Luke Kuechly, P Ryan Quigley, CB Donnie Fletcher, QB Chase Rettig, TB Montel Harris, WR Bobby Swigert, WR Ifeanyi Momah, TE Chris Pantale, DE Max Holloway, DT Kaleb Ramsey

    Key losses

    LT Anthony Castonzo, LB Mark Herzlich, DT Damik Scafe, RG Thomas Claiborne, RT Rich Lapham, CB DeLeon Gause

    2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

    Rushing: Harris* (1,243 yards)

    Passing: Rettig* (1,238 yds)

    Receiving: Swigert* (504 yds)

    Tackles: Kuechly* (183)

    Sacks: Holloway* (4)

    Interceptions: Fletcher* (5)

    Spring answers

    1. Starting offensive line has been rebuilt. Mark Spinney returns at center, the projected starting guards are Nathan Richman and Ian White, who started three games as a freshman, and the tackles are Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel. It’s a veteran group of starters, which is important considering the losses of three starters, including Castonzo, who had a league-high 54 starts and is a likely first-round draft pick.

    2. The offensive depth and experience has improved. The Eagles return their leading rusher, passer and receiver from a year ago. They enter the fall set at every starting position on offense, and 10 of the 13 receivers who caught a pass last year return. Coach Frank Spaziani said everyone got better this spring, including Rettig, who was forced to play as a true freshman last year.

    3. Two spring enrollees could contribute immediately. Four-star cornerback Al Louis-Jean really turned some heads this spring as a backup to Fletcher, and was ranked the No. 9 cornerback in the nation in his recruiting class by ESPN Recruiting. True freshman Mehdi Abdesmad also had a good spring and could see playing time at defensive end behind Holloway.

    Fall questions

    1. How much better is Rettig in the new system? There’s no doubt that Rettig will be better in his second season as a starter, but how will the sophomore adjust to the new scheme under first-year coordinator Kevin Rogers? Spaziani has said that the offense won’t look dramatically different, but there is new terminology involved and there will be some wrinkles.

    2. Will the Eagles develop depth up front? The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen: i.e. no experience. The defensive line will be young, and so will its backups. This summer will be critical for getting the linemen more reps and finding rotations the staff is comfortable with.

    3. What is this team’s offensive identity? This spring wasn’t a good indicator of what BC’s offense will look like, as star tailback Montel Harris was held out of the scrimmages for precautionary reasons, and his backup, Andre Williams, was nursing a shoulder injury. The Eagles also hope to get receiver Colin Larmond Jr. back this summer from a knee injury he sustained before last season, and BC will be under the direction of a new offensive coordinator.

    NFL draft rewind: ACC basics

    May, 2, 2011
    5/02/11
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    ACC Players Taken in the NFL Draft

    1 12 Christian Ponder, Florida State, QB Vikings
    1 14 Robert Quinn, North Carolina, DE Rams
    1 22 Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, T Colts
    2 33 Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB Patriots
    2 38 Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, RB Cardinals
    2 40 Bruce Carter, North Carolina, LB Cowboys
    2 41 Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT Redskins
    2 46 Orlando Franklin, Miami, OL Broncos
    2 50 Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson, CB Chargers
    2 51 Da’ Quan Bowers, Clemson, DE Buccaneers
    2 52 Marvin Austin, North Carolina, DT Giants
    2 55 Rodney Hudson, Florida State, C-G Chiefs
    2 58 Torrey Smith, Maryland, WR Ravens
    2 59 Greg Little, North Carolina, WR Browns
    2 60 Brandon Harris, Miami, CB Texans
    3 67 Nate Irving, NC State, LB Broncos
    3 79 Leonard Hankerson, Miami, WR Redskins
    3 81 DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami, CB Raiders
    3 86 Allen Bailey, Miami, DE Chiefs
    4 100 Da’Norris Searcy, North Carolina, S Bills
    4 109 Colin McCarthy, Miami, ILB Titans
    4 122 Chris Hairston, Clemson, T Bills
    4 127 Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech, CB Texans
    4 130 Jamie Harper, Clemson, RB Titans
    5 133 Johnny White, North Carolina, RB Bills
    5 152 T.J. Yates, North Carolina, QB Texans
    6 171 Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina, LB Cardinals
    6 173 Byron Maxwell, Clemson, DB Seahawks
    6 180 Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech, QB Ravens
    6 181 Richard Gordon, Miami, TE Raiders
    6 192 Matt Bosher, Miami, P-PK Falcons
    7 218 Ryan Taylor, North Carolina, TE Cowboys
    7 221 Da’Rel Scott, Maryland, RB Giants
    7 224 Markus White, Florida State, DE Redskins
    7 225 Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech, RB Ravens

    ACC Selections by Rounds

    First 3
    Second 12
    Third 4
    Fourth 5
    Fifth 2
    Sixth 5
    Seventh 4

    ACC Selections by Teams

    North Carolina 9
    Miami 8
    Clemson 6
    Florida State 3
    Virginia Tech 3
    Maryland 2
    Boston College 1
    Georgia Tech 1
    NC State 1
    Virginia 1

    Ponder ACC's highest draft pick in '11

    April, 29, 2011
    4/29/11
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    It what might have been the biggest surprise of the entire first round of Thursday night's NFL draft, former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder was the first player drafted from the ACC when he was chosen 12th by the Minnesota Vikings.

    Ponder, whose durability has been a question but his talent hasn't, was picked ahead of former ACC defensive ends Da'Quan Bowers and Robert Quinn, and Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo -- all of whom were projected by many to be the ACC's top draft picks this year. Instead, the ACC's string of five straight seasons with a top-10 pick was broken, and a quarterback who wasn't even a second-team all-conference selection was the first of three ACC players chosen in the first round.

    That's not a knock on Ponder -- when healthy, he is undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC, if not the best. He was my 2009 first-team all-conference quarterback. It's puzzling why Bowers' previous injury is more of a concern. In spite of it, he was still one of the best players in the country last year. Ponder would have been had he stayed healthy.

    Ponder became the highest quarterback in FSU history taken in the NFL draft as well as the first FSU player taken in the first 12 picks since linebacker Ernie Sims in 2006 by the Detroit Lions. Ponder also became the highest offensive Florida State player drafted since offensive lineman Alex Barron in 2005. Before Ponder, Gary Huff was the highest drafted FSU quarterback as the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 1973 draft.

    Mel Kiper's take on this surprise pick:
    First of all, this is no shot at Ponder, who some personnel folks believe might be the most ready-to-play quarterback in this draft. But the Vikings looked like a team that panicked with this pick, given the context. They had no shot to trade down? Andy Dalton is still available going into the second day, and in taking Ponder, you also passed on Fairley and Quinn, a couple of guys who can help this team. Again, it's not called "Pick your favorite player." It's a draft. Order and the value of each pick are components that factor in. Should note: This doesn't mean the Vikings are done looking for solutions at quarterback. They could target one in a trade or via free agency.

    Much of the pre-draft attention went to Bowers and Quinn. Bowers, whose previous knee injury has obviously scared away some teams, is still available.

    Quinn was selected with the No. 14 overall pick by the St. Louis Rams. Quinn becomes Carolina's 19th overall first-round selection and the highest pick since defensive tackle Ryan Sims (No. 6) in 2002. He became the first UNC defensive end taken in the first round since Julius Peppers was chosen No. 2 by the Carolina Panthers in 2002.

    Castonzo was the No. 22 pick, taken by the Colts.

    Round 2 could be a big day for the ACC. Along with Bowers, former players in the latest mock draft include:

    ACC's lunchtime links

    April, 28, 2011
    4/28/11
    12:30
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    Let the draft dreams begin ...

    Mel Kiper's final mock draft

    April, 28, 2011
    4/28/11
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    Despite the NFL's labor issues, the draft will go on, and Mel Kiper took his final shot at predicting how it might unfold. If he's right -- and former UNC defensive end Robert Quinn is chosen as the No. 10 pick overall or higher -- the ACC will continue its claim of being the only conference in the country to have a top-10 pick in each of the past six years.

    The only other projected first-round picks from the ACC are former Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo, who is No. 19 on Kiper's list, and former Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, who has dropped to No. 24 because of the questions surrounding his previous knee injury. Bowers is No. 6 on Kiper's final Big Board -- one spot ahead of Quinn.

    2 former ACC players to attend NFL draft festivities

    April, 26, 2011
    4/26/11
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    U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson has ordered an end to the NFL lockout.

    The NFL announced on Monday that a record 25 players will attend the first round of the NFL draft festivities on Thursday night at Radio Music City Hall in New York City. Two of those players -- former BC linebacker Mark Herzlich and former Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams -- will represent the ACC.

    Here's the entire list:

    Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara
    UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers
    Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn
    Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb
    Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus
    Auburn DT Nick Fairley
    Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert
    Georgia receiver A.J. Green
    Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich
    Alabama running back Mark Ingram
    California defensive end Cameron Jordan
    Alabama WR Julio Jones
    Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan
    Illinois DT Corey Liuget
    Texas A&M LB Von Miller
    UCLA safety Rahim Moore
    Auburn QB Cam Newton
    LSU CB Patrick Peterson
    Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey
    Missouri DE Aldon Smith
    USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith
    Baylor DT Phil Taylor
    Baylor guard Danny Watkins
    Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt
    Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams

    The ACC has better representation in Todd McShay's latest mock draft:

    No. 11 Robert Quinn, North Carolina
    No. 17 Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
    No. 20 Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
    No. 31 Brandon Harris, Miami

    Boston College looking for leaders

    April, 21, 2011
    4/21/11
    3:30
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    When Boston College met for the first time this spring, it did so without two of the ACC's most recognizable leaders in recent years. Former linebacker Mark Herzlich, who had 41 career starts and was an inspiration to everyone because of his winning battle against cancer, and former offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo, who started a league-high 54 career games, are already missed in Chestnut Hill.

    “Replacing people, that never happens," said coach Frank Spaziani. "What happens is somebody takes over for them. They either play better than they did or they don’t play as well. It’s a team game. We obviously lost a first-round draft pick over there [on the offensive line]. We’ve lost three offensive linemen for that matter. We’re young in the line. We have to find out about our players, find out who can play."

    Equally as important as their playmaking abilities was their leadership skills, and with a void of fourth- and fifth-year seniors on the roster, Boston College is looking for some new leaders.

    "We’re going to need leadership," Spaziani said earlier Thursday on the ACC spring teleconference. "Usually the strength of your program comes in that area. This is where the potholes we’ve been trying to navigate the last few years have to be navigated through this year."

    ACC's lunchtime links

    March, 24, 2011
    3/24/11
    12:00
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    Hard to believe some teams haven't even started practicing yet ...

    ACC's lunchtime links

    March, 21, 2011
    3/21/11
    12:00
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    Monday, Monday ...

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