ACC: Joe Birdson
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
CLEMSON -- Clemson's usually mild-mannered offensive coordinator, Rob Spence, has been getting in the players' faces this week and getting creative with the playbook. The Tigers are known for their dink-and-dunk passes, but Spence also has a chapter of trick plays he rarely uses. That might change on Thursday. This time, he might want to get James Davis and C.J. Spiller more involved in the offense, and the running game should be given a boost by the return of left tackle Chris Hairston. He played just one series against Maryland after his scooter accident, but is much closer to his old form. It's also possible Hairston could help the pass protection and give the Tigers more time for more downfield passes.
WAKE FOREST -- The Demon Deacons have been pleased with their practices this week, and have put an emphasis on two things: Bringing the pass rush on Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper, and establishing their own running game. There is an 80 percent chance of rain for Thursday's game, and that usually favors the better running team, which has been Clemson. Wake Forest is 11th in the ACC with just 84.8 rushing yards per game, despite boasting the 2007 ACC Rookie of the Year in Josh Adams. The offensive line got some work during the bye week, particularly Joe Birdsong, who was ejected in the first half against Navy. Coach Jim Grobe made sure Birdsong got some extra conditioning.
NORTH CAROLINA -- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weiss has toned down his sentiments regarding UNC running back Greg Little's decision to decommit. "Any time you're involved in recruiting, any time you're involved in recruiting, the toughest thing to do is to get a guy to leave his home state," Weiss said at his weekly press conference. "We're a national recruiting school. And at the end of the day he felt more comfortable staying home. And, hey, do I like that happening? No, but at the end of the day the kid wanted to stay home. Who can really shun a guy who wants to stay home." Little had committed to the Irish after former UNC coach John Bunting was fired mid-season, but was heavily recruited by Butch Davis and changed his mind on the final day.
VIRGINIA -- Those within the program don't want to be the ACC's version of a one-hit wonder, and are confident about their chances of beating East Carolina this weekend. They're still trying to put the win over Maryland into perspective, but know that a loss to the Pirates would negate that progress. Coach Al Groh said he is looking for consistency, but added that as good as the Cavaliers played last weekend, it still won't be good enough to beat some of the teams remaining on their schedule.
GEORGIA TECH -- Starting quarterback Josh Nesbitt returned to practice with limited contact on Tuesday after straining his hamstring in the second series against Mississippi State, but that doesn't mean there's a quarterback controversy in Atlanta. At least those within the program are downplaying it. Backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw, who played an outstanding game against Duke last week, was listed at the top of the depth chart as of Monday afternoon, but acknowledged that if Nesbitt returns, it's his job. Coach Paul Johnson said he hopes Nesbitt will be 100 percent by Saturday and would like for him to get a little bit of playing time before the Clemson game. Shaw was held out of contact drills for a precautionary reason -- Johnson said Shaw was "dinged" on his head against Duke. Basically, Gardner-Webb will provide an opportunity for everyone who can play to get reps, Nesbitt included.