ACC: Chan Gailey

ACC's lunchtime links

January, 27, 2011
There's still time for recruits to change their minds ...

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 27, 2010
If you've got the need to read ...

  • You've probably heard -- four NC State football players are facing misdemeanor charges after police found some drug paraphernalia in their apartment this past weekend.
  • There were plenty of excuses for former wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to let his life get off track. Instead, he's going to be a millionaire.
  • Former Virginia Tech offensive lineman Ed Wang made history when he was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
  • Former Georgia Tech offensive lineman Cord Howard has been reunited with his former coach, Chan Gailey of the Buffalo Bills.
  • Maryland has recruited a "manimal" at offensive tackle.
  • As BC's quarterback competition continues through the summer, don't count outMike Marscovetra.
  • Good news for FSU fans: the defense is getting better.
  • Former FSU tight end Caz Piurowski is hoping for a shotwith the Bucs.

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 24, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Boston College is still stung by its loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game, but this year's group of seniors are still capable of something special.

UNC coach Butch Davis is apparently earning his $2 million salary, as increases in attendance and ticket sales have led to a big payoff for the program.

NC State coach Tom O'Brien enters the Bowl on a six-game bowl winning streak. "He's a bowl coach," says linebacker Nate Irving.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson finished fourth in the national Coach of the Year voting. In case you missed this story earlier, Johnson has really toned down bowl practices from the way his predecessor, Chan Gailey, used to run things:

"Bowl practices here used to be hell," defensive tackle Darryl Richard said. "It was like going to camp again."

Cal running back Jahvid Best is keeping Miami linebacker Sean Spence awake at night.

Al Groh still has one position he needs to fill, a defensive line coach.

UNC's Davis, Georgia Tech's Johnson ahead of schedule

November, 5, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

 Joe Robbins/Getty Images
 Under Butch Davis, the Tar Heels are bowl eligible for the first time since 2004.

North Carolina linebacker Mark Paschal can still remember the first team meeting coach Butch Davis walked into two years ago when he took the job.

"I saw the whole meeting room sit up in their seats when he walked in," said Paschal, who was a rising junior at the time. "That kind of hit home. He brings a presence into a meeting and every room he walks into."

There was a similar feeling at Georgia Tech when Paul Johnson arrived last December.

"Coach Johnson, once he got here, he changed the atmosphere on campus," B-back Jonathan Dwyer said. "Everybody is behind him. We're behind him as well. He's a great man. Off the field, he's a jokester. We always have fun with him. On the field he's real serious. He's all about business. He loves to win and we're trying to win those games for him."

In a short amount of time, both Davis and Johnson have made their teams contenders for the Coastal Division title. Davis, in just his second season, is bowl eligible, as is Johnson, who implemented a new offense, a new defense and had to overcome an abundance of youth and injuries in his first season. North Carolina and Georgia Tech are ranked No. 19 and No. 20, respectively, in this week's BCS standings. The two well-respected coaches will face each other on Saturday, and both need the win to stay in the division race. Coincidentally, both teams have losses to Virginia and Virginia Tech.

"No. 1, they're both good coaches, and No. 2 they both came in there with a plan," said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, whose Hokies were picked to win the division this season. "They knew what they wanted to do. It's certainly good. Right now, you look at this ACC race and there are a lot of teams that have a chance. That's good for the league. I've said many times, you look at this league and look at the coaches, there are some really good coaches in this league."

With Florida State and Miami no longer the dominant programs they once were, and the league race being as wide open as many coaches in it have seen, the ACC is looking for an identity. Entering this season, it was Clemson, but those expectations crashed quickly. Saturday's game could foreshadow two of the stronger programs in the league's future.

"We're both young teams," Dwyer said. "We're very up and coming. The outcome of this game is going to show how competitive this game is going to be for four or five more years to come because there are good recruiting classes. It's going to be more good games against them year after year."

Paschal, a native of Charlotte, has been waiting for a turnaround at Carolina. His father, Doug, played at UNC from 1976-79. His mother, Jeanne, is also a Carolina grad. But Paschal hasn't been part of a winning season until now.

"I've had Carolina in my blood since I can remember," Paschal said. "It's so exciting to be a part of something like this, turn the corner. I've struggled, the team has struggled the past couple of years here since I've been here. To be a senior, looking back on the things we've had to endure, it's nice to see things starting to pan out for us."

Last year, the Tar Heels won four games, but six of their eight losses were by a touchdown or less. The players attribute taking the next step this season to Davis. They are bowl eligible for the first time since 2004, and they've done it despite losing both their starting quarterback and top playmaker to injuries.

"Coach Davis is a meticulous guy who works hard," said defensive tackle Marvin Austin. "The team is basically a reflection of your head coach. That just shows you the type of work that he's putting in and the assistant coaches and the coaching staff he has assembled. The sky's the limit. We can be as good as we want to be."

Davis said there are several important steps when building a program, including hiring the right assistants.

"You need other ambassadors, guys meeting with players, recruiting players, talking to players, carrying the same messages, the same rallies and battle cries every single week about what defines us as a football program," Davis said. "Certainly the quicker the faster the players you inherit buy into the new ways that you're doing things, that certainly gives you a chance to expedite it and then obviously recruiting every year ... you're always having to bring new players in and they've got to assimilate into the program. The willingness of our players to do what it takes, to put you in a position to win is extraordinarily important."

 Kelly Kline/Icon SMI
 Many observers were skeptical that Paul Johnson's triple-option offense would work in the ACC.

Johnson got some help from his seniors in making sure everyone was on the same page.

Georgia Tech defensive tackle Darryl Richard said the seniors knew the talent they had on the roster, and "either you were going to be with us or you need to get the hell out."

"When coach Johnson first came in, he said it's a small difference between good and great," Richard said. "We really thought we were able to be a great team."

They were expected to be great, though. Not this season.

Georgia Tech was picked to finish fourth in the Coastal Division, and much of that can be attributed to the skepticism some had about whether Johnson's triple-option offense would work in a BCS conference. Lost in the hoopla about his offense was the fact he also hired a new defensive coordinator.

"Paul Johnson has done a great job," Davis said. "He's gone in and ... to go in there and totally, dramatically change schematically from Chan Gailey's offense to the offense he believes in that he runs, and have the success that they're doing, that is an outstanding coaching job."

Johnson attributed his immediate success to his players.

"Our kids have bought into what we're trying to ask them to do," Johnson said. "They've fought and played hard. We've won a lot of close games. ... They've just continued to believe and play hard, and when you play hard, sometimes good things happen."

ACC by the numbers

October, 1, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Every Wednesday, the ACC office puts out some neat notes. Here are a few numbers I plucked out for you:

0:  Number of rushing touchdowns FSU's defense has allowed this season.

2: Number of wins needed by the Wake Forest seniors to become the winningest class in school history. The 2007 class currently holds that title with a four-year record of 28-21. This year's group is 27-15 since the 2005 season.

4: Number of straight ranked opponents Maryland has beaten dating to last season.

4: Number of NC State coaches who graduated from Boston College and played for the Eagles.

4: September wins for the Hokies, who went 4-0 last month.

9: Number of Georgia Tech touchdown plays of 20 yards or more this season. Last year, in Chan Gailey's pro-style offense, the Yellow Jackets had a total of 11 touchdown plays of 20 yards or more.

21: Number of career sacks for UVA linebacker Clint Sintim. It's the most of any current linebacker in the country.

ACC lunchtime links: Clemson's Spence taking the blame

October, 1, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here's some news from around the league for you to chew on over lunch:

Outlook for ACC coaches is good

August, 6, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

 AP Photo/Chris Gardner
 Tommy Bowden's new contract would take him through 2014.

If Clemson somehow manages to trip over itself en route to the program's best chance at the ACC title since 1991, there's a very good chance Tigers fans will feel like tossing themselves down the Hill in frustration instead of running down it like a champ.

But odds are Tommy Bowden, regardless of what happens, will still be king of it because of his latest contract extension.

The hot seat is the one that has finally been removed in the ACC's game of musical coaching chairs, and stability has replaced turnover -- at least for 2008.

The turmoil came in 2006 when North Carolina coach John Bunting was fired before the season was over, Miami's Larry Coker was fired at the end, Tom O'Brien left Boston College and Jeff Jagodzinski replaced him. Last season, Georgia Tech fired Chan Gailey.

Some coaches will be scrutinized more than others this season -- including both Bowdens -- but not to the point where they should have to worry about finding a "For Sale" sign in their front yards. It's not like a contract extension equals guaranteed job security, but Tommy Bowden has come right out and said the bull's-eye is on his players this year, not him. And it would have to be an absolute miserable season for Bobby Bowden to leave after this year, and there is too much talent on his roster for that.

There is margin for error at Miami, where Randy Shannon is still trying to build the program his way and with his players, but another season with just two conference wins won't fly for long at the U.

Just having David Cutcliffe in Durham is an improvement, and any reasonable person would give him at least four years to make a difference there.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has had three losing seasons in the past four years, but he's also been to bowl games five times in seven seasons and raised the expectations of the program. Part of the recent slump can be attributed to Friedgen assuming the dual role of offensive coordinator and head coach the past two seasons, which turned out to be too much last year. Prior to that, the play-calling was too conservative under former coordinator Charlie Taaffe. The Terps should see improvement with James Franklin calling the plays this year.

The only other coach who might not be getting any love letters from fans this year would be Virginia's Al Groh. Some were questioning the length of his stay in Charlottesville just a week ago when two more of his players got into trouble. But Groh, the ACC's 2007 Coach of the Year, is coming off a 9-4 season and has a defense that should win him a few more this year.

Who has the most to lose this season? Clemson fans, not their coach.