ACC: Austin Pasztor

Virginia spring wrap

May, 8, 2012
2011 overall record: 8-5
2011 conference record: 5-3 (T-2nd, Coastal)
Returning starters: Offense: 7; defense: 4; kicker/punter: 0

Top returners
WR Tim Smith, LT Oday Aboushi, RT Morgan Moses, RG Luke Bowanko, TE Colter Phillips, QB Michael Rocco, RB Perry Jones, DE Jake Snyder, OLB LaRoy Reynolds, MLB Steve Greer, CB Demetrious Nicholson

Key losses
WR Kris Burd, G Austin Pasztor, C Anthony Mihota, FB Max Milien, DT Matt Conrath, DT Nick Jenkins, DE Cam Johnson, OLB Aaron Taliferro, CB Chase Minnifield, SS Rodney McLeod, FS Corey Mosley

Spring answers

1. Ground game should be fine. Three starters are back on the offensive line, and Perry Jones, Kevin Parks and Clifton Richardson will all be lining up in the backfield again following a campaign that saw the trio combine for 1,990 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns.

2. Rocco steps up. Michael Rocco beat out three competitors to win the starting quarterback job in 2011. The process has been a whole lot easier this spring, and the junior will look to build off a strong debut season that featured a 60 percent completion rate. Returning starter Tim Smith will likely be Rocco's top target following the departure of Kris Burd.

3. Jake McGee ready to fill tight end role. A converted quarterback, McGee stood out in the spring game, hauling in a pair of passes for 81 yards. He has said that he wants to be the next Heath Miller. Boosting a unit that combined for just 20 catches last season would be a nice start.

Fall questions

1. What to do with Phillip Sims? The former Alabama quarterback announced his transfer to Virginia after the spring season. It remains to be seen whether he will even be eligible for the 2012 season. If he is, however, he could make things interesting if Rocco underperforms this fall.

2. Where will the secondary help come from? Demetrious Nicholson returns at corner after a strong freshman campaign, but the unit loses more than 90 career starts from the other three starters, led by corner Chase Minnifield. Virginia's offense threw for more than 400 yards in the spring game against the re-tooling secondary, which has a long way to go after spring.

3. Can the line get enough pressure to help the secondary? Cam Johnson and two other starters are gone from last year. The Cavaliers gave up 81 points over their final two games of 2011 and lose seven starters. Junior end Jake Snyder is the only returning starter up front.
As mentioned in lunch links, Clemson announced the signings of undrafted lineman Landon Walker (Cincinnati Bengals) and punter Dawson Zimmerman (Atlanta Falcons). And a couple of generous readers have passed along a few more signings from ACC schools.

Virginia Tech guard Blake DeChristopher signed with the Cardinals, and Hokies defensive back Cris Hill signed with the Bills.

Big thanks to Matt from Alexandria, Va., Ben in Blacksburg, Va., and Lynn in Blacksburg, Va., for the head's up.

The updated, working list is below. Feel free to pass along any oversights.

CB Donnie Fletcher: New York Jets

DE Kourtnei Brown: San Francisco 49ers
FB Chad Diehl: Baltimore Ravens
OL Antoine McClain: Baltimore Ravens
DT Rennie Moore: Houston Texans
OT Landon Walker: Cincinnati Bengals
P Dawson Zimmerman: Atlanta Falcons

S Matt Daniels: St. Louis Rams

WR Bert Reed: Cleveland Browns
S Terrence Parks: Kansas City Chiefs
P Shawn Powell: Buffalo Bills

CB Cameron Chism: Indianapolis Colts
RB Davin Meggett: Houston Texans

WR LaRon Byrd: Arizona Cardinals
OL Joel Figueroa: Miami Dolphins (rookie camp tryout)
TE Chase Ford: Philadelphia Eagles
DL Marcus Forston: New England Patriots
LB Jordan Futch: Tampa Bay Bucaneers
G Harland Gunn: Dallas Cowboys
QB Jacory Harris: Miami Dolphins (rookie camp tryout)
C Tyler Horn: Atlanta Falcons
S JoJo Nicolas: New York Giants
DL Adewale Ojomo: New York Giants
DT Micanor Regis: Atlanta Falcons

CB Charles Brown: Baltimore Ravens
C Cam Holland: Kansas City Chiefs
WR Dwight Jones: Houston Texans
S Matt Merletti: Indianapolis Colts
DT Tydreke Powell: Minnesota Vikings

TE George Bryan: Dallas Cowboys
FB Taylor Gentry: Kansas City Chiefs

CB Chase Minnifield: Washington Redskins
OG Austin Pasztor: Minnesota Vikings
S Rodney McLeod: St. Louis Rams
DT Matt Conrath: St. Louis Rams

WR Jarrett Boykin: Jacksonville Jaguars
OT Jaymes Brooks: Green Bay Packers
G Blake DeChristopher: Arizona Cardinals
CB Cris Hill: Buffalo Bills
S Eddie Whitley: Dallas Cowboys

TE Cameron Ford: Green Bay Packers
S Cyhl Quarles: Baltimore Ravens
Thirty-one players from ACC schools were drafted this past weekend, but many more signed free-agent deals with NFL teams in the aftermath of the draft.

The following is a list of ACC players, by school, who have signed undrafted free agent deals with NFL teams. It was compiled largely from, along with official releases from NFL teams and ACC schools. Georgia Tech is the only ACC school currently without an undrafted free-agent signing.

By all means, feel free to let me know if I have overlooked anyone.

CB Donnie Fletcher - New York Jets

DE Kourtnel Brown - San Francisco 49ers
FB Chad Diehl - Baltimore Ravens
OL Antoine McClain - Baltimore Ravens
DT Rennie Moore - Houston Texans

S Matt Daniels - St. Louis Rams

WR Bert Reed - Cleveland Browns
S Terrence Parks - Kansas City Chiefs
P Shawn Powell - Buffalo Bills

CB Cameron Chism - Indianapolis Colts
RB Davin Meggett - Houston Texans

WR LaRon Byrd - Arizona Cardinals
TE Chase Ford - Philadelphia Eagles
DL Marcus Forston - New England Patriots
LB Jordan Futch - Tampa Bay Bucaneers
G Harland Gunn - Dallas Cowboys
C Tyler Horn - Atlanta Falcons
S JoJo Nicolas - New York Giants
DL Adewale Ojomo - New York Giants
DT Micanor Regis - Atlanta Falcons

CB Charles Brown - Baltimore Ravens
C Cam Holland - Kansas City Chiefs
WR Dwight Jones - Houston Texans
S Matt Merletti - Indianapolis Colts
DT Tydreke Powell - Minnesota Vikings

TE George Bryan - Dallas Cowboys
FB Taylor Gentry - Kansas City Chiefs

CB Chase MinnifieldWashington Redskins
OG Austin Pasztor - Minnesota Vikings
S Rodney McLeod – St. Louis Rams
DT Matt Conrath – St. Louis Rams

WR Jarrett Boykin - Jacksonville Jaguars
OT Jaymes Brooks - Green Bay Packers
S Eddie Whitley - Dallas Cowboys

TE Cameron Ford - Green Bay Packers
S Chyl Quarles - Baltimore Ravens

The Hurricanes also announced that quarterback Jacory Harris and offensive lineman Joel Figueroa have both been invited to rookie camp tryouts with the Miami Dolphins.'s ACC all-conference team

December, 9, 2011
Editor’s Note: Tune into the “AT&T ESPN All America Team Show” on Saturday (ABC, 1:30 p.m. ET) to see who ESPN’s writers and experts selected. is announcing its all-conference teams today, and there was only one change here from the all-conference ACC team that the members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Associated voted on in late November. Offensively, the biggest toss-up was Wake Forest receiver Chris Givens vs. UNC’s Dwight Jones, but Givens did more with fewer catches. Defensively, it was difficult. I can understand why Virginia Tech and Florida State coaches and players felt slighted, but in the end, there were better individual performances elsewhere. Here’s a look at’s All-ACC team:

ACSMA announces all-conference team

November, 28, 2011
The 2011 All-ACC football team, as voted on by 45 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, was released on Monday. A first-team vote was worth two points and second-team vote one. Unanimous selections are marked with an asterisk. Disclaimer: I did not vote for this team. The only all-conference team I participate in is the one I compile for, which hasn't been released yet. Here is the team as voted on by the members of ACSMA:



QB-Tajh Boyd, Clemson (71)

RB-David Wilson, Virginia Tech (90)*

RB-Giovani Bernard, North Carolina (66)

WR-Sammy Watkins, Clemson (86)

WR-Chris Givens, Wake Forest (69)

OT-Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech (86)

OT-Zebrie Sanders, Florida State (46)

OG-Austin Pasztor, Virginia (49)

OG-Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (45)

C-Dalton Freeman, Clemson (44)

TE-Dwayne Allen, Clemson (78)

K-Dustin Hopkins, Florida State (75)

Spec.- T.J. Graham, NC State (45)


DE-Andre Branch, Clemson (79)

DE-Quinton Coples, North Carolina (64)

DT-Joe Vellano, Maryland (68)

DT-Matt Conrath, Virginia (55)

LB-Luke Kuechly, Boston College (90)*

LB-Sean Spence, Miami (82)

LB-Zach Brown, North Carolina (48)

CB-David Amerson, NC State (86)

CB-Chase Minnifield, Virginia (47)

S-Matt Daniels, Duke (80)

S-Josh Bush, Wake Forest (41)

P-Shawn Powell, Florida State (85)



QB-Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (49)

WR-Dwight Jones, North Carolina (58)

WR-Conner Vernon, Duke (34)

RB-Lamar Miller, Miami (62)

RB-Andre Ellington, Clemson (26)

OT-Oday Aboushi, Virginia (43)

OT-James Hurst, North Carolina (30)

OG-Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech (35)

OG-Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (31)

OG-Joe Looney, Wake Forest (31)

C-Tyler Horn, Miami (32)

TE-George Bryan, NC State (29)

K-Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson (37)

Spec.-Sammy Watkins, Clemson (33)


DE-Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (51)

DE-James Gayle, Virginia Tech (25)

DT-Brandon Thompson, Clemson (43)

DT-Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest (30)

LB-Terrell Manning, NC State (44)

LB-Julian Burnett, Georgia Tech (34)

LB-Steve Greer, Virginia (23)

CB-Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (36)

CB-Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (34)

S-Eddie Whitley, Virginia Tech (33)

S-Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State (23)

P-Alex King, Duke (22)

ACC helmet stickers: Week 11

November, 13, 2011
Here are your top five performers for Week 11:

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas: He played an outstanding game in the Hokies' 37-26 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday night. Thomas threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. He completed 7 of 13 passes for 209 yards and ran for another 70 yards. He also completed 75 percent of his third-down passes.

Florida State's special teams: Greg Reid scored on an 83-yard punt return, and Dustin Hopkins kicked three field goals to help lift the Noles over rival Miami, 23-19. Hopkins accounted for the only points in the third quarter with a 21-yard field goal, and his 38-yarder to start the fourth quarter put FSU up 23-7.

BC linebacker Luke Kuechly: He finished with 18 tackles in the 14-10 win over NC State, extending his streak of double-digit tackles to 32 consecutive games, the longest such streak in FBS. In the third quarter, Kuechly became the fifth player in ACC history to record 500 or more career tackles. He now has 509, fourth-best on the conference record list.

Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro: His game-winning, 43-yard field goal as time expired assured Clemson of a 31-28 win over Wake Forest and its second appearance in the ACC title game in three seasons. It was the first time since 2007 that Clemson had won on a last-second field goal. It was also the first time since 1948 -- when the stat started being tracked -- that Clemson won at home on a last-second field goal.

Virginia's offensive line: The Cavaliers have now gone three consecutive games without giving up a sack and the line paved the way for Kevin Parks and Perry Jones in the 31-21 win over Duke. It was the tenth game in a row that the offensive line has had the same five starters -- guards Austin Pasztor and Luke Bowanko, tackles Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses and center Anthony Mihot . The last time the same five players started an entire season on the offensive line at UVa was 2004.

Week 11: Did you know?

November, 11, 2011
Thanks as always to the sports information directors throughout the league for this week’s package of notes:

ACC: With Virginia Tech RB David Wilson, North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard, and Miami RB Lamar Miller leading the way, the ACC could set a league record for the most 100-yard rushing games in a single season in its history. Heading into Saturday, ACC runners have reached or surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing on 47 occasions led by Wilson (9), Bernard (6) and Miller (6). The league mark of 55 100-yard rushing games was set last year. What makes this year’s total even more impressive is the fact that Boston College’s Montel Harris, who personally has 22 career 100-yard games, has contributed just one to the total this season due to an injury which has forced him to miss almost the entire 2011 season.

BOSTON COLLEGE: In BC’s 38-7 home loss to Florida State, a season-high 10 players were sidelined with injuries. In addition to the five players who have suffered season-ending injuries – WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee), DB C.J. Jones (knee), DL Connor Wujciak (shoulder), RB Montel Harris (knee) and DL Kaleb Ramsey (foot) – five veterans have suffered various recent injuries. They include senior OL Nate Richman, redshirt freshman RB Tahj Kimble, sophomore LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, junior DB Jim Noel and sophomore RB Andre Williams.

CLEMSON: The Tigers have defeated Wake Forest 23 of the past 25 meetings in Death Valley and have not lost to Wake Forest at home since 1998. Clemson has a 6-0 record at home this year and an average victory of 41-25. A win Saturday would also give Clemson a 7-0 record at home this year, the program’s first perfect home season since 1990 when Clemson was 6-0 in Death Valley.

DUKE: Duke has played five one-possession games (decided by eight points or less) this season with an average margin of difference of 2.40 points. The five games are tied for the third most in the nation. Duke’s 2.40 average is the sixth lowest nationally among schools that have played at least three one-possession games, with Buffalo ranking first at 1.67 average points in three games.

FLORIDA STATE: In 2011, 15 true freshmen have played, tied for the seventh-most among all FBS teams. The ‘Noles have played 11 redshirt freshmen for a total of 26 freshmen played. That number is tied for third among FBS schools, trailing only Clemson and Indiana, with 29 each. Five FSU true freshmen–-C Austin Barron, RB Devonta Freeman, WR Rashad Greene, OT Bobby Hart, and TE Nick O’Leary – have made starts, along with redshirt freshman QB Clint Trickett. FSU played 12 true freshmen in 2010 and 12 redshirt freshmen for a whopping 40 freshmen who have played to this point over the past two seasons.

GEORGIA TECH: The Jackets have allowed a 100-yard rusher in a game five times this season (all five have been ACC opponents). David Wilson’s rushing total (175 yards) was the most by a Tech opponent since 2009.

MARYLAND: WR Quintin McCree had his second career 100-yard receiving game with 117 yards against Virginia. It was also McCree’s second 100-yard effort in his last three games. WR Kerry Boykins also had the first of his career with 101 yards in Saturday’s Virginia game. McCree and Boykins are just the second Maryland duo in the past 16 years to post 100 receiving yards in the same game. Danny Oquendo (111) and Torrey Smith (115) both went over 100 receiving yards against Boston College on Nov. 29, 2008. Prior to that, the feat hadn’t occurred since 1995.

MIAMI: With his 202-yard performance against Duke on Nov. 5, Jacory Harris remains in second place in Miami’s records book with 8,097 career passing yards, surpassing Gino Torretta and trailing only Ken Dorsey (9,565).

NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina has never had a 1,000-yard runner and 1,000-yard receiver in the same season. Last week at NC State, Bernard became the 15th player in UNC history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the first since Jonathan Linton in 1997. Heading into the Virginia Tech game, senior wide receiver Dwight Jones, who has 913 receiving yards, needs 87 yards to become just the second player in UNC history with 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

NC STATE: Tom O’Brien has won 42 games in BC’s Alumni Stadium, but is looking for his first win there as a visitor.

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers enter Saturday’s game at Duke tied for third in the ACC in total offense at 427.7 yards per game. UVa is tied for 13th nationally with just eight sacks allowed this season (312 pass attempts). OG Austin Pasztor along with OT Oday Aboushi, OG Luke Bowanko, C Anthony Mihota and OT Morgan Moses have started all nine games this season. The only other ACC teams to start the same offensive line this year are NC State and Virginia Tech. The last time the same five players started an entire season on the offensive line at UVa was 2004. Coincidentally, that was the last time UVa averaged more rushing yards (242.8) per game than this year (190.1).

VIRGINIA TECH: The two rushing touchdowns by quarterback Logan Thomas against Georgia Tech gave him eight for the season, tying the single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a Tech quarterback. In 1999, Michael Vick rushed for eight touchdowns (he had another in the Sugar Bowl, but the NCAA didn’t count bowl statistics then). Thomas finished with 70 yards rushing,

WAKE FOREST: Wake Forest had come away with points on 11 straight trips to the red zone over four games heading into the Notre Dame game. Wake scored touchdowns on each of its first two trips to the red zone against Notre Dame and held a 17-10 halftime lead. But Wake’s string of 13 consecutive scoring trips came to a close when the Deacons failed on both red zone visits in the second half. The drives ended with a Brandon Pendergrass fumble at the Notre Dame nine-yard line and a missed field goal by PK Jimmy Newman.

ACC's players of the week

November, 7, 2011
Here are the ACC's Players of the Week, as announced and written by the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.:

OFFENSIVE BACK – Jacory Harris, Miami, Sr., QB, 6-4, 195, Miami, Fla.

Harris threw three touchdowns in Saturday’s 49-14 win over Duke. Harris orchestrated scoring plays on the first four possessions of the game for the Canes. The signal-caller was 14-of-20 (70%) for 202 yards and passed for three scores. Harris became the second Miami quarterback to pass for 8,000 or more yards in his career. Harris entered the game with 7,895 passing yards and collected 202 against Duke to end with 8,097 yards. With his three touchdown passes, Harris moved into a fourth-place tie in ACC history with 68 career touchdown passes.

RECEIVER – Kris Burd, Virginia, Sr., WR, 6-1, 200, Matoaca, Va.

Kris Burd caught nine passes for 112 yards in Virginia's 31-13 win at Maryland. It was the seventh 100-yard receiving day of his career. The nine receptions were a season high and the 112-yard performance was his second best game this season.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Austin Pasztor, Virginia, Sr., OG, 6-7, 305, Langton, Ontario

The senior offensive guard was nearly flawless in Virginia's 31-13 victory at Maryland. Pasztor played 83 plays and graded out at 93 percent. He had six knockdown blocks as the Cavaliers rushed for 220 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and threw for 307 yards while rolling up a season-high 527 yards. Pasztor and the Cavalier line did not allow a sack as quarterback Michael Rocco attempted 36 passes. It marked the second straight game the unit has not allowed a sack.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tyler Horn, Miami, Sr., OL, 6-4, 305, Memphis, Tenn.

Tyler Horn helped lead the Miami offense to 467 yards of total offense in a 49-14 win over Duke. The senior center directed an offensive line that did not allow a sack and saw quarterback Jacory Harris pass for three touchdowns and 202 yards. The Canes put up another 265 on the ground, including four scores. With the work of the line, running back Lamar Miller gained 147 yards to go over 1,000 for the season.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Anthony McCloud, Florida State, Jr., NG, 6-2, 311, Thomasville, Ga.

McCloud posted a season-high five tackles (4 solos, 1 assist) from his nose guard position as the Seminoles held BC to 94 yards on 39 carries. Florida State ranks third in the nation in rushing defense. McCloud registered a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, dropping Boston College tailback Rolandan Finch for a six-yard loss on the second drive of the game. FSU recovered at the BC 2 and jumped out to a 7-0 lead it never relinquished. In addition to stuffing the run, McCloud’s ability to push the pocket contributed to FSU limiting BC to 207 total yards.

LINEBACKER – Terrell Manning, NC State, Jr., LB, 6-3, 233, Laurinburg, N.C.

Manning had a huge game for the Wolfpack, which shut out UNC for the first time in 51 years. Manning, a junior form Laurinburg, N.C., played 59 snaps and had 11 total tackles, a sack for 12 yards, three pass breakups and three quarterback knockdowns. Manning had three stops on third down and one stop on fourth down, all in the game’s final 20 minutes.

DEFENSIVE BACK – Rodney McLeod, Virginia, Sr., S, 5-11, 180, Oxon Hill, Md.

The Cavalier defensive back had three interceptions (all in the second half in an 18-minute span) in Virginia's 31-13 victory at Maryland. McLeod's first pick came at the Virginia 27-yard yard line after Maryland had driven to the UVa-30 with the Cavaliers holding a 21-13 advantage. UVa went on to score a TD following the turnover. Both of McLeod's fourth-quarter interceptions came on fourth-down plays, one at the VA 23-yard line and the other at the VA-4 yard line. McLeod also led the Cavaliers in tackles with seven. He becomes the first ACC player this season to record three interceptions. McLeod becomes the first Cavalier to intercept three passes in a game since Anthony Poindexter (current assistant coach) against NC State in 1996. He becomes the fourth BCS player this season to record three interceptions in a single game.

SPECIALIST – Wil Baumann, NC State, Fr., P, 6-4, 185, Wilmington, N.C.

The Wolfpack’s freshman punter was invaluable in the victory over the Tar Heels. Baumann, from Wilmington, N.C., punted seven times for an average of 37.9 yards. He had five punts inside the UNC 20-yard line, four of which were downed at or inside the 10 (two downed at the 10, two at the 7). North Carolina’s average starting field position on its 13 possessions was its own 21.

ROOKIE – Nick O’Leary, Florida State, Fr., TE, 6-4, 240, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The true freshman led the Seminoles with a career-high 87 receiving yards on three receptions, which also matched his previous single-game best. O’Leary’s 58-yard reception of an EJ Manuel pass set up Florida State’s third score, good for a 21-0 lead against Boston College. It was the longest reception by an FSU tight end since Lonnie Johnson’s 78-yard catch in 1993. O’Leary also had a 23-yard reception which set up FSU’s final touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter.
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.

ACC's 2011 veterans

June, 13, 2011
After looking at this list, ACC fans should have a better appreciation for the lengthy, healthy career of former Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo, who graduated after a league-high 54 career starts. These are the ACC's old guys, the veterans in the conference who enter 2011 with the most starting experience. Virginia Tech, Florida State and Virginia have two players each. Here's a look at the ACC's top 10 veterans for 2011:

1. Danny Coale, Virginia Tech, WR, 40
2. Roddy Jones, Georgia Tech, RB, 39
3. Montel Harris, Boston College, RB, 37
Zebrie Sanders, Florida State, T, 37
Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, T, 37
6. Andrew Datko, Florida State, T, 36
Kyle Hill, Duke, T, 36
8. Landon Walker, Clemson, T, 35
9. Matt Conrath, Virginia, DT, 33
10. Austin Pasztor, Virginia, G, 32

Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech have a veteran edge at one other very important position group: the offensive line. It's the second straight season that the Seminoles lead the ACC in the number of returning career starts on the offensive line. Though the Seminoles have only three returning starters, this trio -- Zebrie Sanders (37), Andrew Datko (36) and David Spurlock (28) -- combined for 101 starts.

Thanks to information provided by the ACC, here's a look at which ACC schools return the most experience up front:

Virginia spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
2010 overall record: 4-8

2010 conference record: 1-7

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 9, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

WR Kris Burd, OT Morgan Moses, G Austin Pasztor, TB Perry Jones, DT Matt Conrath, DT Nick Jenkins, DE Cam Johnson, CB Chase Minnifield, SS Rodney McLeod, LB Steve Greer

Key losses

WR Dontrelle Inman, QB Marc Verica, DE Zane Parr, RB Keith Payne, LB Darnell Carter

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Payne (749 yards)

Passing: Verica (2,799 yds)

Receiving: Burd* (799 yds)

Tackles: LaRoy Reynolds* (66)

Sacks: Cam Johnson* (6.5)

Interceptions: Minnifield* (6)

Spring answers

1. Good move for Gooch. Miles Gooch made the move from quarterback to receiver this spring, and because of the numerous injuries to the wideouts, he got significant reps. Whether that translates into game snaps remains to be seen, but with a crowded competition at quarterback, his odds are better at receiver.

2. No move for Mathis. Jeremiah Mathis moved from defensive end to tight end last year, and he stayed there this spring. Coach Mike London has said Mathis has a huge upside on the offensive side of the ball. Mathis caught three passes in 10 games last year, but that number could increase this fall with the departure of Joe Torchia.

3. Another step forward on defense. With nine starters returning in the second season in the 4-3 scheme, the Cavaliers showed improvement this spring. London said the defense is well ahead of where it was this time a year ago because of the transition and coaching change.

Fall questions

1. Who’s the quarterback? Michael Rocco, Ross Metheny, Michael Strauss and true freshman David Watford will continue their competition in summer camp, as none of them separated themselves this spring. While it’s limited, Metheny and Rocco have the most experience, but that hasn’t guaranteed them anything, according to London.

2. Who will compensate for the loss of production with the departure of Keith Payne? Perry Jones, Kevin Parks and Khalek Shepherd will likely share the carries, but the latter two are redshirt freshmen with no game experience. Jones ran for 646 yards last year.

3. Roster cuts. London needs to trim the roster to meet the NCAA’s 85-scholarship limit, and he has not determined how he plans to do that yet. If Devin Wallace does not return from his suspension, that will make one less -- and one less starter on defense. London has not yet released a number on how many fifth-year seniors will be invited back. Different scenarios could transpire in the next few months to get this question answered, as some players might not qualify and will have to attend prep school.

UVA announces spring football awards

April, 4, 2011
At halftime of Virginia's annual Orange & Blue spring game on Saturday, coach Mike London announced the recipients of the team’s spring football awards:

Rock Weir Award (most improved players): Senior guard Austin Pasztor and senior strong safety Rodney McLeod. Pasztor has started all 36 games during his Virginia career and is one of five returning starters on the Cavaliers' offensive line. McLeod was fourth on the team in 2010 with 54 tackles and also had two interceptions. McLeod enters his senior season with 133 career tackles.

Z Society Dudley Award (first-year player who displays excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community): Offensive tackle Morgan Moses. The award is named after the late “Bullet” Bill Dudley, who exemplified those traits and was a two-time All-American at Virginia.

Cavalier Academic Achievement Award: Junior defensive tackle Will Hill and sophomore guard Luke Bowanko earned the award, which is given to players "who represent uncompromised excellence in his academic pursuits."

Iron Cavalier (performance and dedication in weight room): Senior wide receiver Matt Snyder. He joined the program as a walk-on and worked his way into the rotation at wide receiver the past two seasons. In 2010, he was fourth on the team with 30 catches for 393 yards.
Virginia's first spring practice of the Mike London era is in the books, and today the team issued its post-spring depth chart.

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.

Morgan double-teamed

October, 24, 2009
Posted by's Heather Dinich

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- This is the way to beat Georgia Tech's defense up front -- double-team star defensive end Derrick Morgan. When guard Austin Pasztor and tackle Will Barker helped each other out on the last possession, Morgan was contained. When Morgan went one-on-one with Barker, Barker was able to tie him up for a bit, but Morgan is good enough that he'll win more of those battles than he'll lose.

Virginia mum on quarterbacks

September, 1, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The good news for the Cavaliers is that they're in a much better position than they were at this time a year ago at quarterback, but it's a similar situation in that those outside the program -- and maybe even those in it -- don't know who the starter is going to be yet for the season opener.

Virginia has experience in Vic Hall, Jameel Sewell and Marc Verica, who are all listed as possibilities on the depth chart which was recently released. It's likely he'll use more than one, but coach Al Groh said he'll make that decision "whenever seems appropriate."

"Whenever the moment is right," Groh said. "Whenever the scales tip in one direction or the other. Probably don't feel any great urgency to do so because if we only had one of the three participating, we would feel very good whichever one it was. With three of them we feel very comfortable with the flexibility and the versatility that we have."

One unique thing about the quarterback position this year is that Hall is also listed as the punt returner. You won't find that combination at many FBS programs, but Hall has done it in the past and is more than capable of doing it again. He's averaged 8.5 yards per return over the past two seasons on 39 career returns.

Also worth noting on the depth chart for the season opener against William & Mary:
  • True freshman Oday Aboushi is listed as the backup at left tackle, a quick vote of confidence in the young player and an unusual one for Virginia up front. They did it last year, though, with Austin Pasztor, who is starting at left guard as a true sophomore this year. Pasztor didn't turn 18 until the final week of the season last year.
  • Matt Snyder, a sophomore walk-on, has made his way to the top of the depth chart at wide receiver. Now that's impressive. Snyder had a great spring, but really he came out of nowhere, and Virginia needs all the help it can get on the receiving end. The Cavaliers lost their top five pass-catchers (not just receivers) from a year ago. Groh said Snyder had an "excellent" camp and "progressed all the way through." He anticipates Snyder to be one of the leaders on special teams.
  • Defensively, not a lot has changed, and the lineup is as expected. Yes, Virginia lost an outstanding trio of linebackers, but what's unique about their situation is that they're not filling the voids with freshmen. Instead, they've got three seniors and redshirt freshman Steve Greer to help ease that transition.