ACC: Ausar Walcott
The name Ausar Walcott, though, might not be as familiar to those outside Charlottesville. That could change this fall, as Walcott has played his way into the same company as Johnson this summer, according to defensive line coach Jeff Hanson.
Much like Johnson, Walcott was a linebacker who made the move to defensive end. Walcott started seven games last year and missed the Virginia Tech game and the Chick-fil-A Bowl with an injury. Hanson said Walcott has had a great summer camp. With Walcott’s improvement, the defensive end position has gotten deeper for the Hoos.
“He is the same kind of edge guy that Cam Johnson was, that’s why we put him outside,” Hanson said. “He’s got that speed and quickness coming off the edge. … We think he’s made tremendous progress this summer. This spring he was a little hesitant as far as what to do and now this summer he’s come back and picked up the scheme real well. He’s picked up the position real well and we’re excited about him.”
- Coach Mike London’s mantra regarding his highly touted recruiting class has been “they came here to play.” So expect several true freshmen to play this fall. London threw Demetrious Nicholson right into the mix with the first team this month, and he has a good chance to start opposite Chase Minnifield at cornerback. In the past, there have always been one or two impressive freshmen at Virginia, but this month, there have been about nine or 10 whose talent could be an immediate help to the team’s depth.
- The return of receiver Tim Smith from injury has really helped the offense offset the loss of production from Dontrelle Inman. Smith’s speed and sure hands will help whomever is named the team’s starting quarterback. All of the receivers as a group are not only healthier, but haven’t dropped as many balls this summer. It’s now a matter of getting some of the younger players to run the right routes.
- Many have wondered how the team is going to replace Keith Payne, as Virginia returns only three rushing touchdowns from a year ago, including one from the kicker. Running back Perry Jones has looked stronger and faster and has shown he can explode through holes. Kevin Parks, although undersized, has been efficient in some goal-line situations, and the staff has liked what it has seen from fullback Max Milien.
- Defensively, the Hoos have been visibly more comfortable now that they’re entering their second season in the 4-3 system.
- London hasn’t named a starting quarterback, but Michael Rocco has been getting most of the first-team reps. The bigger question might be whether London uses true freshman David Watford. If he thinks Watford can help them win, he’ll play. In the most recent scrimmage, Rocco got most of the first-team snaps and always played behind the first-team offensive line. Watford, though, was the second quarterback in, and he showed a lot of athleticism and brings another dimension. London is just looking for a quarterback who can manage the game -- not win it alone.
- Ausar Walcott was reinstated to the team at the bottom of the depth chart at defensive end, but he has since moved back to linebacker. As a player with starting experience, he’ll no doubt help the depth as a backup.
- The NCAA will consider making an exception to its four-year statute of limitations for Miami, which means its investigation could go as far back as 2002.
- Here's a great Q&A with Billy Corben, the filmmaker who directed the “ESPN 30 for 30” documentary “The U.”
- Jimbo Fisher's heart is with his son, but his mind is with the team.
- Several true freshmen at Virginia have put themselves in position for immediate playing time.
- North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams has an interesting story to tell.
- Some news and notes for you out of Chapel Hill.
- Here are five questions facing Virginia Tech heading into this season.
- The practice habits of Georgia Tech B-back David Sims have lit a fire under his teammates.
- Wake Forest running back Josh Harris has a chance to be special, but he's got to stay healthy and durable, and he's working on both.
- Virginia Tech's top five receivers from a year ago are back. Will they all get enough touches this fall to stay happy?
- Virginia coach Mike London wanted to make sure Ausar Walcott knew what it felt like to be uncomfortable.
- NC State's Markus Kuhn and J.R. Sweezy could be mistaken for brothers, but there are plenty of differences between them.
2. Florida State: The Noles had to replace two starters, including Kendall Smith, the team’s second-leading tackler, last season, and Mister Alexander, but the upcoming talent could be even better. Nigel Bradham led the team with 98 tackles and five pass breakups last season, and Christian Jones, Jeff Luc, Telvin Smith and Vince Williams will also be competing for playing time.
3. Miami: Sean Spence, who has 30 career starts, should be one of the best in the country, and Ramon Buchanon, another senior, also returns. The Canes have five other linebackers with experience in Kelvin Cain, who started seven games, Jordan Futch, who had a great spring and will see the field, Tyrone Cornelius, Shayon Green and C.J. Holton.
4. North Carolina: Kevin Reddick, who led the Tar Heels with 74 tackles last season, returns for his third season as starter. Zach Brown is also a returning starter with game-changing capabilities, and there is plenty of depth with Dion Guy, Darius Lipford, Ebele Okakpu and Herman Davidson. Junior college transfer Fabby Desir could also have an impact.
5. NC State: Audie Cole and Terrell Manning have combined for 39 career starts, and Cole fared well this spring moving to the middle to replace Nate Irving. With the return of Sterling Lucas, Dwayne Maddox and Colby Jackson, there is plenty of experience, but not quite as much depth as some other programs.
6. Georgia Tech: The Jackets return both starters in Steven Sylvester and Julian Burnett. There is no shortage of depth with Jeremy Attaochu, Quayshawn Nealey, Brandon Watts, Albert Rocker, Malcolm Munroe and Daniel Drummond.
7. Clemson: This group has a lot of potential, especially if true freshmen Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony make an immediate impact. There’s no question they’ll be given a chance, but the Tigers already have a good group with Corico Hawkins, Quandon Christian and Jonathan Willard.
8. Virginia Tech: It seems like this rotation has been in flux for a while now. The Hokies’ leading tackler returns in Bruce Taylor, Barquell Rivers had 96 tackles as a starter in 2009 but was injured last season, and there are several young players adding to the competition. Chase Williams, Tariq Edwards, Telvion Clark and Jack Tyler are only a few. Whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow will have to earn his spot back over Alonzo Tweedy, Dominique Patterson and Nick Dew.
9. Maryland: The Terps were hit hard here with the losses of Alex Wujciak (381 career tackles) and Adrian Moten (14.5 career sacks). Demetrius Hartsfield returns with 20 career starts, and there are four lettermen returning including Darin Drakeford, Isaiah Ross, David Mackall and Bradley Johnson.
10. Wake Forest: Kyle Wilber’s move to outside linebacker will give this position a boost, as he led the Deacs with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season. His backup is Gelo Orange (22 tackles). The Deacs also have Tristan Dorty, Joey Ehrmann, Mike Olsen, Scott Betros, Riley Haynes and Justin Jackson.
11. Virginia: Starters LaRoy Reynolds and Ausar Walcott both return, but neither has started more than 11 career games. Junior Steve Greer has prior starting experience but played mainly as a reserve last season. Adam Taliaferro, Conner McCartin, Tucker Windle and LoVante Battle are also in the mix for playing time.
12. Duke: Kelby Brown is the lone returning starter, but he’s a promising young player who led the nation last season as a freshman in fumbles recovered. He missed spring ball while recovering from a knee injury, but is expected to start with Tyree Glover or Kevin Rojas.
- Georgia Tech is starting to get some clarity at the B-back position.
- Catching a football is a bit different from catching a basketball, but Maryland's Cliff Tucker is showing promise.
- Clemson took another step closer to upgrading its facilities.
- Miami offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson will end the spring as a backup.
- NC State linebacker Audie Cole knows he has some big shoes to fill in the middle.
- Maryland is still trying to sort out Nigel King's NCAA Clearinghouse issues.
- UVA's Ausar Walcott is back after a suspension, but he's not at the same position.
- The memory of Mike James' late mother goes everywhere with him.
- Here's a look at what to watch in FSU's spring game.
- Virginia Tech defensive line coach Charley Wiles has an updated view of his rebuilding group.
“The players know the expectations I have for them as student-athletes both on and off the field, and as representatives of both the football program and the University,” coach Mike London said in a prepared statement. “I am disappointed in the conduct of these individuals and the fact they chose not to represent themselves in the appropriate manner. They will not participate in any team activities while suspended, but they will continue to attend all study halls and to meet their academic requirements.”
Walcott, who had moved from safety to linebacker, finished 2010 third on team with 56 tackles and started 11 of 12 games. Wallace started seven games and had 38 tackles, but played more because of injuries. Price played in two games. None of them will be able to workout or practice with the team. Walcott knows the system, so he will be missed if he's still out by the time spring ball starts. Virginia has 10 starters back on defense.
2009 conference record: 2-6
Offense: 6, defense: 6, punter/kicker 2
WR Kris Burd, QB Marc Verica, DE Matt Conrath, LB Steve Greer, CB Ras-I Dowling
WR Vic Hall, T Will Barker, C Jack Shields, QB Jameel Sewell, FB Rashawn Jackson, NG Nate Collins, CB Chris Cook, LB Denzel Burrell, TB Mikell Simpson
2009 statistical leaders (* returners)
Rushing: Jackson (461 yards)
Passing: Sewell (1,848 yds)
Receiving: Burd* (413 yds)
Tackles: Greer* (92)
Sacks: Collins (6)
Interceptions: Cook (4)
1. Johnson’s move a hit. Cam Johnson’s move from linebacker to defensive end proved beneficial, as he returned an interception 51 yards in the Cavaliers’ spring game. Johnson, who started 10 of the 12 games he played in last year, showed he can transition to playing with his hand on the ground.
2. Aboushi a boost up front. Offensive tackle Oday Aboushi could be Virginia’s next stellar lineman. He’ll only be a sophomore, but he showed this spring he can help plug up some holes in an offensive line that was rather porous last year. Aboushi played in late in the Clemson game and he held his own as a freshman last year.
3. Mending fences. First-year coach Mike London has been working the crowd and winning it over by making the staff more approachable. He held a scrimmage at Old Dominion, and had been rebuilding relationships with high school coaches and media throughout the state.
1. Which Verica will show this fall? The one who was pushed into duty without experience two years ago and performed well, or the one who last year struggled in mop-up duty? Verica said he avoided turnovers during every team drill this spring, but threw two interceptions in the spring game. Verica is the only player on the roster who has attempted a pass in a game.
2. Kicking competition. Last year, the kicking duties were done by committee. This year, London would like to find one player capable of PATs, field goals and kickoffs. Robert Randolph handled most of the field goal duties last year. Drew Jarrett handled the PATs at the end of the year and Chris Hinkebein did kickoffs. Hinkebein has the strongest but least accurate leg.
3. Defensive transition. How will the players adjust to their new roles in the transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme? London has moved a lot of players into positions where he’s trying to get speed on the field. LaRoy Reynolds and LoVante Battle moved from the secondary to strongside linebacker. Ausar Walcott moved from defensive back to whip linebacker, and other players -- like Conrath -- have moved from defensive end to tackle.
A few quick points:
- Three positions on defense feature co-starters, including two of the three linebacker spots. Junior Aaron Taliaferro and Steve Greer are listed as co-starters at middle linebacker, while senior Jared Detrick and sophomore Ausar Walcott are the co-starters at weak side linebacker. Junior Chase Minnifield and sophomore Devin Wallace are listed as co-starters at one cornerback spot, opposite co-captain Ras-I Dowling.
- As expected, senior Marc Verica tops the depth chart at quarterback, while Ross Metheny and Michael Strauss are listed as co-backups.
- Offensive line will continue to be a position to monitor during preseason camp, but here are the starters coming out of spring ball: left tackle Landon Bradley, left guard Austin Pasztor, center Anthony Mihota, right guard B.J. Cabbell, right tackle Oday Aboushi.
- Sophomore Perry Jones is listed as the top running back ahead of senior Keith Payne, who rejoined the team after a one-year leave of absence.
- The depth chart doesn't include specialists, but the competition at kicker will spill into the fall after a poor showing at the spring game April 10.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The weekly injury reports have all come in (some come in much later than others, which is why I wait until Friday mornings to do this). If you don't see 'em, they weren't sent. Maryland will miss Bruce Campbell again, Duke has a handful of key players who could miss the game at Kansas, including Vince Oghobaasse, Virginia is likely to be without Vic Hall, and Boston College will be without defensive tackle Damik Scafe. Not good news for any of those teams. It looks like UNC might -- might -- get Jonathan Cooper back on the offensive line. That would be a huge help.
Here are the full reports:
FB James McCluskey (Achilles) – OUT
LB Will Thompson (shoulder) – DOUBTFUL
WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee) – DOUBTFUL
LB Mike McLaughlin (Achilles) – DOUBTFUL
DT Damik Scafe (Neck/Shoulder) – DOUBTFULCLEMSON
Out for the Season
J.K. Jay, OT, back
Michael Palmer, TE, hipDUKE
RB Re'quan Boyette (ankle) -- Probable
TE Danny Parker (ankle) -- Probable
RB Jay Hollingsworth (ankle) -- Questionable
DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- Questionable
WR Conner Vernon (ankle) -- Doubtful
RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT
CB Randez James (hand) -- OUT
S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASONFLORIDA STATE
OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)
LB Aaron Gresham (knee)
DT Demonte McAllister (knee)
DT Justin Mincey (knee)
OT John Prior (knee)
LB Vince Williams (back)
RV Korey Mangum (shoulder)MARYLAND
Out for season:
Nolan Carroll (leg)
Louis Berman (leg)
Bruce Campbell (foot)
Jamari McCollough (foot)
Caleb Porzel (leg)
Joe Vellano (foot)
Tony Logan (shoulder)NORTH CAROLINA
Carl Gaskins OL Knee
Matt Merletti S Knee
Lowell Dyer C Shoulder
Dwight Jones WR Knee
Zack Pianalto TE Foot
Ryan Taylor TE Knee
Linwan Euwell LB Ankle
LeCount Fantroy CB Thigh
Jonathan Cooper OG Ankle
Devon Ramsay RB ThighNC STATE
OUT FOR SEASON
Mario Carter, TE - knee
Denzelle Good, OL - shoulder
Nate Irving, LB - leg
Colby Jackson, FB - knee
Everett Proctor, QB - shoulder
Jamelle Eugene, HB - knee
Clem Johnson, S - thigh
Jeff Rieskamp, DE - hip
Jay Smith, WR - flu
Jake Vermiglio, OT - lower leg
Javon Walker, DB - knee
Julian Williams, OG/OT - flu
Johnson will be replaced by either Brandan Bishop or Justin Byers; Williams will be replaced by Andrew Wallace.VIRGINIA
Bobby Smith (knee)
Vic Hall (hip)
Mikell Simpson (leg)
Denzel Burrell (hip)
BJ Cabbell (ankle)
Nate Collins (knee)
Matt Conrath (spine)
Chris Cook (hip)
John-Kevin Dolce (foot)
Ausar Walcott (knee)VIRGINIA TECH
Greg Boone (SC joint sprain) - probable
Stephan Virgil (knee) - questionable