ACC: Greg Paulus

Video: Big men on campus

August, 20, 2009
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ESPN.com's Pat Forde talks about Syracuse naming Greg Paulus its starting QB and Bobby Bowden's comparisons of Tim Tebow and Charlie Ward.

UNC loses two players: Tate to play baseball

August, 12, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Donavan Tate, an incoming freshman from Cartersville, Ga., has left North Carolina's football training camp to consider an offer to play baseball with the San Diego Padres, the school announced Wednesday. Tate was the No. 3 overall pick in this year's Major League Baseball draft, so his decision isn't exactly a surprise.

Tate arrived in Chapel Hill last Saturday and attended quarterback meetings and three days of practice before leaving Wednesday morning. In addition, offensive lineman Kevin Bryant, a redshirt sophomore from Lauderdale Lake, Fla., has decided not to return to the team. Bryant played sparingly, so I don't think the coaching staff will lose too much sleep over his departure, but the offensive line is a unit that simply needs some bodies and depth right now, so any loss will be felt in that aspect.

At quarterback, UNC still has T.J. Yates, Mike Paulus, Braden Hanson (a redshirt freshman), Bryn Renner (a true freshman), and A.J. Blue, who has practiced at quarterback and running back this summer. Obviously they would've liked Tate to honor his commitment, but it's not like the cupboard is bare at quarterback.

Duke's Paulus to Syracuse

May, 14, 2009
5/14/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As expected, former Duke guard Greg Paulus is heading to Syracuse. He said he's been working hard to get into football shape, but hasn't been promised anything in regards to playing time. Regardless of whether or not he ever gets on the field, Paulus is already a hometown favorite in the area, so the decision made sense.

Paulus has moved out of the ACC blogosphere, but Miami's Jimmy Graham has moved in. And who knows, maybe down the road Boston College will have a similar addition, but I'm told that's something that won't be done anytime soon.

What we learned this spring in the ACC

May, 7, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There were all kinds of story lines this spring, from trouble in Tallahassee to ACC commissioner John Swofford representing the BCS in Congress. New coordinators were introduced, and new players stepped into the spotlight.

There was a particular buzz around the new offenses at Miami and Virginia, and Don Brown's defense earned rave reviews at Maryland as did Kevin Steele's at Clemson. Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams stole the show as far as newcomers go.

Only two players -- Florida State's E.J. Manuel and Wake Forest's Brandon Ghee -- were injured on the first day of practice and missed the whole spring. Other than that, there weren't any major injuries or catastrophes.

There were plenty of things we could take away from the spring in analyzing how the ACC will fare this fall.

Here's a look at a few things we learned in the ACC this spring:

1. This conference can run. Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State ... the list goes on. The question now is how these coaching staffs will split the carries. Some teams welcomed former leading rushers back from injuries, like NC State's Toney Baker and Duke's Re'quan Boyette. It seems like every team in the ACC has a legitimate difference maker at running back, and it should be a strength of the league this fall, especially considering ...

2. Veteran receivers are at a premium. UNC and Virginia got hit the hardest by graduation and the NFL, but Maryland also lost Darrius Heyward-Bey, Wake Forest lost D.J. Boldin, and Florida State should be holding open tryouts. Young receivers were scrambling to establish themselves all over the ACC this spring. There's talent at the position, it just hasn't been tested anywhere but Miami.

3. Offensive improvement up front. Boston College, Florida State, Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest are among several teams with at least four starters returning on the offensive line. Virginia Tech's struggles on offense can be traced in part to a lack of athleticism up front, and that appears to have changed. Experience throughout the league should help ease the transition for some skill players and rookie backup quarterbacks.

4. There is improvement from the ground up. And it starts in the Coastal Division with Virginia and Duke. The Blue Devils had nowhere to go but up, and the pressure was on Al Groh to raise the bar after missing the postseason last year. NC State's progress should make the Atlantic Division race interesting. If you thought last year was a wild ride in the ACC, '09 should be even more unpredictable.

5. It's OK to follow your dreams. Former basketball player Greg Paulus was offered a tryout as a receiver with Duke's football team, and Miami forward Jimmy Graham was offered a tryout as a tight end with the Hurricanes, which he accepted. It will be interesting to see how both of their stories end, and whether or not switching sports in the final year of eligibility becomes a more popular trend.

Greg Paulus world tour T-shirt

April, 30, 2009
4/30/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

One more thing.

In case you missed it, check out the Greg Paulus world tour T-shirt on Page 2. Warning: This content may be inappropriate for Florida State fans.

The ACC's unexpected spring moments

April, 29, 2009
4/29/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There are some things you just can't predict. Here are a few unexpected moments and story lines -- in order of biggest surprise to the least -- that happened this spring in the ACC:

1. Duke guard Greg Paulus is offered a tryout at receiver by Duke coach David Cutcliffe. Paulus turns it down to play quarterback at another FBS school. Huh?

2. FSU president T.K. Wetherell calls Samford some "dips---" school. Who woulda thunkit?

3. UNC quarterback T.J. Yates gets injured again, especially by a Frisbee at the team picnic. What are the odds?

4. Ralph Friedgen loses almost 80 pounds.

5. Georgia Tech temporarily adds 350+ pound actor Quenton Aaron to its roster this spring.

6. Bryce Brown to Tennessee in mid-March, Robert Marve likely to Purdue in the near future.

7. The transfer of Wake Forest backup quarterback Brett Hodges. Not even Riley Skinner saw that one coming.

8. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker dominates the spring game and then a baseball game against Miami.

9. Another FSU receiver gets suspended. Considering the trend, not much of a surprise.

10. Personally ... Hitching a golf cart ride to a rainy Tar Heels' practice with Butch Davis, spending my 30th birthday with the Wake Forest staff, and working out at 5:30 a.m. with Billy Napier and his wife at the Clemson Gold's Gym. (It was the only time to talk to her in person about Clemson's new OC).

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 22, 2009
4/22/09
12:40
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

First, let's check in on two would-be transfer quarterbacks. Former Miami signal-caller Robert Marve's latest stop was Nebraska, and Duke guard Greg Paulus is checking out Syracuse

Summer camp is supposed to be a time when players get excited about the fall, but for Maryland running back Morgan Green, it's usually "a jinx."

Former FSU linebacker/defensive back Kenny Ingram is hoping the NFL draft experts are wrong, or at least to prove them that way.

Sports Illustrated has since retracted its story on B.J. Raji testing positive for drugs, but the Boston Herald still wonders if Raji is a burden.

When it comes to his status with the NFL, former UNC receiver Hakeem Nicks is "clueless."

And a leftover for you ...

Georgia Tech found some answers this spring -- a few leaders were among them.

Duke's Cutcliffe talks expectations, Paulus, recruiting

April, 22, 2009
4/22/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Duke coach David Cutcliffe made a difference in his first season, winning four games in 2008. While that might sound like a disastrous season for many, the Blue Devils won as many games last season as they had in the four previous seasons combined. Still, it wasn't good enough for Cutcliffe, who thought they were capable of winning more. He discusses that and more in our interview this week:

 
  Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
  While his program showed signs of improvement in 2008, David Cutcliffe knows there is still work to be done.

Ok, let's go ahead and get this one out of the way. Can Greg Paulus really throw the football well enough to be a college quarterback?

David Cutcliffe: Greg can throw the ball. I haven't seen him throw it in person, but I saw him on high school tape, and he threw the ball a lot and effectively. My dealings with him, I kind of started that. I actually called Mike Krzyzewski first, just to say, 'Hey, I'm going to call Greg.' I wouldn't do it without telling Mike first. We had six practices left, and he could play a little receiver. It would be very difficult for him to start for us at quarterback. He just decided if it wasn't pure quarterback he wasn't interested in it, so we'll see what happens, but you don't bet against a competitor. Ever. He is definitely a fierce competitor.

Do you have a pretty good relationship over there with Coach K? Or do you guys not really see each other much?

DC: Absolutely, great. I'm one of his biggest fans. I have watched him practice, I love to hear him teach, I love conversations with him because he is the epitome of a coach. He's always teaching. I just think he's a master, I really do. I enjoy everything he does with his program.

About your program, what is the biggest change you've seen since you took over?

DC: People starting to believe we can win at Duke, most importantly our players, but not unimportantly our fans. Our fans, we're creating a little expectation. People say you're crazy, well I don't think so. I don't know if you'd call it revitalizing, because it basically had gone dead. Part of beginning a program is to make people believe we can win at Duke.

(Read full post)

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 21, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Around the ACC we go ...

Former Wake Forest backup quarterback Brett Hodges will transfer to UCF and is eligible to compete for the starting job immediately. How? By using the same NCAA transfer rule Duke guard Greg Paulus will have to use if he wants to be an FBS quarterback, too. 

At Virginia Tech, Marcus Davis might not have been ready to be the No. 2 quarterback, but quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain thinks Davis is a more talented athlete than Ju-Ju Clayton.

Here are five questions Maryland still needs to answer on defense.

Bobby Bowden's spring tour has begun, and Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel has the play-by-play.

And two leftovers for you ...

Thanks to one reader for providing this link on Monday: Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen wasn't shy about his feelings regarding the NCAA sanctions FSU is facing. Friedgen's take? Bowden should vacate the wins.

How much could fans tell about Virginia's new spread offense from its spring game? Not much, and that was exactly how coach Al Groh wanted it.

Friday Mailblog

April, 17, 2009
4/17/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

You asked, I answered:

Michael in Fort Myers writes: HD im a miami fan im curious to see how you think miami will do against oklahoma.Theres alot of hype about the sooners being a national title contender this year but they have lost all of there O-line that protects bradford. If miami can break threw that line and pressure bradford do u think miami could have a good chance at the upset? Also what is wrong with travis benjamin? i havent heard anything about him this spring and im wondering if hes going to be ready for the fall.

Heather Dinich: Actually, there are four new faces on the Sooners' o-line. Getting pressure on Bradford is obviously part of it, Michael, but don't underestimate Oklahoma's defense. If Miami fans want a quick Oklahoma 101 from their spring practices, check out my colleague Tim Griffin's blog post. I think Miami is going to play like it did against Florida last year -- better than people thought, but not quite good enough. Of course, a lot of it also depends on what kind of momentum -- or lack thereof -- they have going into that game. As for Travis Benjamin, he ran track this spring and was hampered a bit by injury, but he's fine now.


Brandon in Charlotte writes: HD - Just wanted to let you know that the UNC staff has been at Florida the last few days watching there practices.

Heather Dinich: Thanks, Brandon, I confirmed this, and was told it was a productive visit.


Kyle in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Heather, True or False, will the ACC (and the rest of the country for that matter) be ready for GT's new option offense after seeing it for a year? As an FSU fan, I know that we were completely dumbfounded on defense trying to follow all that motion. But now that there is film on the Jackets and teams can better prepare, do you think they will struggle to repeat there wins of a season ago? Love the blog, read everyday. Thanks.

Heather Dinich: I'll let Paul Johnson answer that question for you, since I asked him a few weeks ago.

"Not really," Johnson said. "They'll probably get better ideas maybe or whatever, but we're going to get better doing it, too. It's a tradeoff. We were in a league at Georgia Southern, we won the league all five years. I didn't see a change a lot from Year 1 to Year 2. At Navy we played a lot of the same teams. Some teams played us better than others. The teams with the best players seem to have the best ideas. I don't worry about that. If that was the case, when Navy and Air Force played, it would always be 0-0."


Marsh writes: Heather, what do you think of the quarter back race at Duke? The new freshmen is supposedly looking pretty good in spring practice, any chance of him taking thad's place?

Heather Dinich: Well, there really isn't a quarterback race at Duke, Marsh. Not between Thaddeus Lewis and Greg Paulus, and not between Lewis and Sean Renfree, although you're right -- the staff likes what they see from Renfree. (If that's who you're talking about, but he's a sophomore). Lewis is easily one of the top three quarterbacks in the ACC, and he's a senior. He's not going anywhere.


Andrew in Baltimore writes: What will the Terps do with their running back situation having Scott, Adams, Porzel, and a very underrated Maggett?

Heather Dinich: I don't think it will be much different than it was a year ago, with Da'Rel Scott being the No. 1 guy, and a toss-up between Davin Meggett and Morgan Green, who are like 2a and 2b this spring. The other guys aren't even on campus yet, and they probably won't figure in yet, likely redshirt guys.


Jess in Winston-Salem writes: I know it's a Yahoo story, and he didn't play for Virginia Tech, Clemson, or FSU, but it'd be great if you gave some love to Aaron Curry for this move.

Heather Dinich: Been there, done that.


A random question from Mark in Blacksburg: Hey Heather, Welcome to Blacksburg! Hope our town is treating you right! Quick question that has been bugging me for a long time: why is Boston College the only team in Division-IA football that is sponsored by Reebok? Hope you can shed some light on this.

Heather Dinich: I didn't know that BC was the only FBS team wearing Reebok, Mark, but I can tell you that Reebok is headquartered in Canton, Mass., which might have something to do with it.


A Cane in Hooville writes: HD: I know VTHokielover has respectfully requested you make mention of the tragedy at VT tomorrow and I ask the same. We are attempting to get everyone of the "regulars" to upload the VT logo over the black ribbon tomorrow as their avatar, and I have posed the suggestion that everyone pause from commenting at 9:30 AM tomorrow as our sign of a moment of silence to remember the tragedy and those affected. Thanks HD!

Heather Dinich: Funny, Cane, but you actually answered my question. Because I was on the road this week, I wasn't monitoring the comments closely or checking in as I often do, and I missed this request. I was wondering why everyone switched their avatars. Thanks for helping everyone respectfully pay their tributes on the ACC blog.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 17, 2009
4/17/09
12:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

TGIF, ACC fans. Here are a few links to hold you over until Monday. And who knows, with so many spring games this weekend, maybe you won't have to wait that long.

Here's something worth watching if you'll be at Georgia Tech's spring game on Saturday: How often the offensive linemen can get defenders on the ground. It's something the Jackets' staff will be watching -- and counting.

Wake Forest fans can expect to see a few new faces at the Deacs' scrimmage on Saturday. Who's at the top of the depth chart depends on what day it is.

Is there anything Clemson quarterback/slugger Kyle Parker can't do? His hitting coach certainly thinks we're seeing history in the making.

There appears to be some miscommunication at Florida State. In what the Tallahassee Democrat described as a "scathing e-mail" to athletic department officials, university president T.K. Wetherell said that everyone -- including Bobby Bowden -- is subject to pay cuts and/or furloughs as a result of massive budget deficit.

"If this is unacceptable to the boosters or athletics," FSU's president wrote, "they can come see me with their resignation in hand."

And finally, if you're catching up on Greg Paulus, ESPN has you covered. Check out the potential quarterback on PTI. Of course, the NCAA won't make it easy for him to transfer.

Cutcliffe discusses Paulus

April, 15, 2009
4/15/09
1:50
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said on Wednesday's ACC teleconference that he and point guard Greg Paulus "talked extensively" about the possibility of Paulus joining the football team, but the bottom line was there was "no way" he could come out and try to play quarterback for the Blue Devils after such a long hiatus from the position.

"He's a quarterback at heart, but there was no way he was going to be able to compete and play quarterback for us," Cutcliffe said. "I think that was the deciding factor. Prior to our last six practices, I was going to try to get him out, give him a chance to work at slot receiver. He's a fierce competitor, a great young man. He's been a tremendous basketball player."

Cutcliffe said it would be too difficult for an athlete who hasn't played quarterback in a long time to jump right into a pro-style offense. It's like training for a 5K and then trying to run a marathon. Sure, you can run, but you haven't put in the time to properly train. While Paulus was undoubtedly the real deal in high school, there's no way he'd be better than current Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who is arguably one of the best in the conference right now.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 15, 2009
4/15/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Brace yourself, we're going to have to blur the lines here a little bit and talk a little ACC hoops in this here college football blog. Is Duke guard Greg Paulus the next Brett Favre? Probably not, but Paulus was throwing passes to former receiver Eron Riley in front of scouts for the Green Bay Packers. 

Duke spokesman Matt Plizga said Paulus is "exploring all his options," and that includes everything from playing hoops overseas to possibly coaching somewhere. We'll have more on this story as it develops.

Elsewhere in the ACC ...

Maryland will have one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the ACC this fall, but it won't do much good if the offensive line doesn't come together in time to let Chris Turner work some magic.

Georgia Tech is gearing up for it's "T-Day Game," which will feature the first team offenses and defenses against each other.

ACC running backs are gaining in popularity with NFL scouts.

Spring practice has ended at Florida State, but the Orlando Sentinel's blog has not. Andrew Carter breaks down the linebackers.

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