ACC: Joe Joseph

Miami spring wrap

May, 7, 2010
5/07/10
8:30
AM ET
MIAMI

2009 overall record: 9-4

2009 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense: 8, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

QB Jacory Harris, T Orlando Franklin, WR Leonard Hankerson, WR LaRon Byrd, DE Allen Bailey, LB Sean Spence, LB Colin McCarthy, P/PK Matt Bosher, CB Brandon Harris, RB Graig Cooper (injured)

Key losses

OT Jason Fox, C A.J. Trump, TE Dedrick Epps, RB Javarris James, S Randy Phillips, CB Sam Shields, LB Darryl Sharpton, DT Joe Joseph

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Cooper* (695 yards)

Passing: Harris* (3,352 yds)

Receiving: Hankerson* (801 yds)

Tackles: Sharpton (106)

Sacks: Bailey* (7)

Interceptions: Harris, Phillips, Micanor Regis* (2)

Spring answers

1. Depth at running back. The running backs had arguably the best spring of any position group and proved they’re still deep, despite the loss of James and not having Cooper, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Lamar Miller, a redshirt freshman, was tough to bring down in the open field, and had good speed. Storm Johnson, a true freshman who enrolled early, picked up the offense quickly and ran hard. Damien Berry showed the same form he had at the end of the season when he finished strong, and Mike James returned to running back from fullback.

2. Deeper at QB. What a difference a year can make. After both backup quarterbacks transferred a year ago, this position has the best depth it’s seen under coach Randy Shannon. A.J. Highsmith, Spencer Whipple and Stephen Morris all moved the ball this spring. Highsmith seemed to be the front-runner for the No. 2 job behind Jacory Harris, as he took most of the first-team reps with Harris out.

3. Defensive line shines. First-year defensive line coach Rick Petri’s group was one of the Canes’ bright spots this spring. The defensive ends go about three deep on each side. Adewale Ojomo, who missed all of last season with a broken jaw, is back, and the tackles were solid.

Fall questions

1. Wanted: tight ends. Miami only had two tight ends this spring, but the Canes will add four in the fall, including Chase Ford, a junior college transfer. Richard Gordon and Billy Sanders will finally get some competition. Gordon has the most experience and he’s a senior, but he only played in one game last year. He was granted an extra year of eligibility and should have a bigger role this season. Sanders, a redshirt freshman, was on the scout team.

2. Transition at center. Tyler Horn isn’t a rookie, but it's unclear how he'll adjust to his new role in taking over for A.J. Trump. Horn was the top option at center this spring with true freshman Shane McDermott, an early enrollee, behind him. Horn has been there for three years, and it’s his job to lose.

3. Stuck in the middle. Who will take over at middle linebacker? Miami is still working out its depth issue here. Kylan Robinson started to emerge there in the spring, and Shayon Green was another option. At the end of spring, Colin McCarthy was still at strong side and Sean Spence was at weak side, but Shannon could make some moves to get the best group of linebackers in there. That could mean McCarthy moves to the middle. In the past two years, Shannon liked to put an older player there (Glenn Cook, Darryl Sharpton), but McCarthy played the majority of the spring at his usual spot. The return of Spence and Jordan Futch from injuries should help Shannon figure out the right combination.

What to watch in the ACC this spring

February, 15, 2010
2/15/10
10:00
AM ET
Here's a breakdown of three issues facing each program heading into the spring:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Spring practice starts: March 18

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• How linebacker Mark Herzlich progresses. Herzlich, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer last May, has been going through winter conditioning with his teammates, and he plans on participating in spring drills. How quickly he regains his form will be worth watching, as he and sophomore Luke Kuechly could give the Eagles one of the most formidable linebacking corps.

• The quarterback battle. After one season, Dave Shinskie has the most experience on the roster, but he’ll get some competition from Josh Bordner and Chase Rettig, two early enrollees. There were times last season when Shinskie looked like the future of the position and there were others when he looked like any other freshman.

• Defensive linemen. For the second straight year, BC is looking for some stability up front. The Eagles have to replace left tackle Austin Giles and defensive end Jim Ramella. They return Kaleb Ramsey, Giles’ backup, and Brad Newman, Ramella’s reserve, but some young faces are likely to be seen in the rotation.

CLEMSON

Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Life without C.J. Spiller officially begins. The backs behind him had a pretty good year, so there’s no need for full panic mode. Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington actually combined for a higher yards per carry average (6.1 to 5.6 yards). Clemson will also be looking to replace Spiller’s lost kickoff return yardage. The Tigers had a 13-yard advantage in average starting field position, as their start was their own 37-yard line compared to opponents’ 24-yard line. Ellington is a candidate in the return game.

• Kyle Parker’s batting average. No, really. How well Parker does this spring with the baseball team will help determine whether he remains Clemson’s quarterback or turns to the MLB draft. He didn’t have a great 2009 season, but he was still the fastest player to 25 home runs in school history. It remains to be seen this spring if he’ll become a high enough draft choice to give up college football.

• Secondary shuffling. It seems like eons ago since Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor weren’t the Tigers’ starting corners, as Butler started 40 straight games and Chancellor started 42. Butler finished his career second in school history in interception return yards. Now it’s time for a new duo. Will Marcus Gilchrist move to corner, which he’s capable of doing? Might Rashard Hall move to safety with DeAndre McDaniel?

DUKE

Spring practice starts: Feb. 14

Spring game: March 27

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Somebody has to take over for the graduated Thaddeus Lewis, but his backup – Sean Renfree – will miss the spring with a torn ACL. Redshirt freshman Sean Schroeder should be heavily in the mix to be the starter, pending Renfree’s recovery.

• Defensive line makeover. It’s wide open. Charlie Hatcher is entrenched at nose guard, but it’s really anyone’s game. The staff might move redshirt senior Wesley Oglesby, who played the majority of his career at defensive end, inside. Other options are defensive tackle Sydney Sarmiento, a redshirt freshman, and Curtis Hazelton, who played sparingly last season.

• Johnny Williams’ move from wide receiver to cornerback. He had 31 catches in 2009 – the fourth-best on the team. Now they need his help in the defensive backfield. Duke will lose starter Leon Wright and his 10 career interceptions, and the pass defense, which allowed 215.75 yards per game, could use a boost.

FLORIDA STATE

Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Christian Ponder’s return from shoulder surgery. Ponder is expected to practice this spring, though it could be on a limited basis, at least early. He’s ahead of schedule, but the coaches won’t subject him to any risks now. Yes, E.J. Manuel is talented and played well at the end of the season, but make no mistake – Ponder is FSU’s starter and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.

• The defense under first-year coordinator Mark Stoops. His secondary, in particular, will be interesting to watch, as will how quickly he can help the front seven generate a pass rush and plug the middle. Stoops has been a secondary coach, and the Noles lost three starters there. The fourth, Ochuko Jenije, could be pushed to retain his job.

• New faces, new opportunities. In addition to the fab freshmen who are coming in, FSU has a handful of unfamiliar players already on the roster who played sparingly or not at all. We'll see how they fit in this spring. RS-So DT Anthony McCloud and RS-So RB Debrale Smiley are both junior college transfers and former teammates. Physically, freshman linebacker Jeff Luc is already a man, but how quickly can he mature on the field? Two young wide receivers worth watching are Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead.

GEORGIA TECH

Spring practice starts: March 29

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The defensive transformation. The Jackets will switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 under first-year coordinator Al Groh. In addition to learning the new scheme, the staff has to figure out who goes where. Linebackers might play defensive end and vice versa, safeties might play outside linebacker. It’s anyone’s guess as to how this team lines up in the spring.

• The replacements. From Georgia Tech’s coaching staff to the new faces who will be tasked with filling in for the Fab Four -- Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett and Demaryius Thomas -- the Jackets will need some “Hello My Name Is” tags this spring.

• The offensive line. Three offensive linemen redshirted who could start, and Georgia Tech might need them to, especially if guard Joseph Gilbert decides to transfer to pursue his MBA. The Jackets lose two starters on the offensive line, and Gilbert, who graduates this spring, would be a third if he leaves. Center Sean Bedford and tackle Austin Barrick return as seniors.

MARYLAND

Spring practice starts: March 23

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. Chris Turner has graduated, leaving Jamarr Robinson the top option going into the spring, but he has limited experience. The staff liked what he did when Turner was injured, but Danny O’Brien, Miami (Ohio) transfer Clay Belton and C.J. Brown will all be given an opportunity. Look for O’Brien to start the spring at No. 2 on the depth chart.

• Cornerback: Cameron Chism is the only returning starter in the secondary, but right now the staff has fewer concerns about the safeties. Maryland will have to find some bodies at corner, and Dexter McDougle, who redshirted as a true freshman last year, is one option. Michael Carter and Trenton Hughes, who was the third corner last year, are also among a handful of candidates.

• The offensive line. Losing Bruce Campbell to the NFL hurt, but the Terps also lost starter Phil Costa. Justin Gilbert, a redshirt sophomore, could inherit Campbell’s job. And there’s always Mr. Versatility -- Paul Pinegar. He has helped the Terps at both tackle spots and left guard, and this spring he’ll likely be given a shot at center.

MIAMI

Spring practice starts: Feb. 23

Spring game: March 27 (tentative)

What to watch:

• Tight end/offensive line: Jimmy Graham is gone, and the Canes don’t return any tight ends with any experience other than Richard Gordon, who was injured the majority of last season. Miami signed four tight ends in this recruiting class, but none of them were early enrollees. Miami has to replace three starters up front, including both tackles and the center.

• How the two young quarterbacks perform: The health of Jacory Harris was precious last year, as he had nobody behind him with any experience after the transfers of Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. The depth has improved a bit with A.J. Highsmith, who played sparingly last year, and Stephen Morris, one of the early enrollees.

• Upgrade on the d-line? Progress up front began with the hire of Rick Petri as defensive line coach, and it’s up to Petri to help the Canes become better pass rushers. Miami will depend upon its two mainstays -- Allen Bailey and Josh Holmes. The right end position was a group effort last year, and Miami has to replace Joe Joseph and Eric Moncur.

NORTH CAROLINA

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback T.J. Yates. It’s his job to lose, and the coaching staff still has confidence in him, but Bryn Renner is waiting in the wings, and Braden Hanson will also be given an opportunity. The staff is looking for the offense to improve its passing efficiency and cut down on turnovers.

• The offensive line. It was a patchwork effort in 2009, thanks to injuries and inexperience, and will be a major key in how much UNC improves offensively this year. The Heels have to replace two starters, and Jonathan Cooper is likely to move from guard to center, and right guard Alan Pelc will miss spring drills while recovering from shoulder surgery.

• Defensive line tweaks. There aren’t many questions on a defense that should be one of the best in the country, but somebody has to replace Cam Thomas and defensive end E.J. Wilson. Tydreke Powell is the frontrunner to take over at defensive tackle and Quinton Coples at defensive end. Both were backups last year at their respective positions.

NC STATE

Spring practice starts: March 9

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• Backup quarterback Mike Glennon. Russell Wilson is the starter, but he’s going to be playing baseball all spring. Keep an eye on his backup to see if Glennon can make it any more of a competition in Wilson’s absence.

• Chris Ward at punter. No, it’s not usually, the highlight of the spring, but in this case, it’s necessary. Ward is it -- he’s their only option right now, and it’s a position the Pack struggled with last year. Ward was expected to be the starter last season, but he was inconsistent. He’s definitely got the talent to be the guy.

• The recovery of linebacker Nate Irving. After being severely injured in a one-car crash last summer, Irving is hopeful he can go through spring drills. He has been lifting with the team and running with the sports medicine staff, but it’s still uncertain how limited his contact will be.

VIRGINIA

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Marc Verica is the only one with any experience, and first-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor hasn’t been in Charlottesville long enough to evaluate any of the candidates. That’s what the spring is for, and true freshman Michael Strauss is the lone incoming quarterback on campus, so he’ll have a head start on the playbook. Of the four quarterbacks Virginia signed in this year’s class, Strauss is the only one listed as a true quarterback. The Cavs also have Ross Metheny, who redshirted last year, and Riko Smalls, who redshirted in ‘08 and was No. 2 on the depth chart when Verica was out with a concussion.

• Coaching transition. First-year coach Mike London has hired almost an entirely new staff, and they’ll bring changes in philosophy and scheme. London has said he wants to get the defense back to the traditional 4-3, and revert to the tradition of featuring the tight ends, offensive linemen and running backs.

• Running back. The Cavs will have the help up front, but they need to replace their four leading rushers in Mikell Simpson, Rashawn Jackson, Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell. The staff will look at true freshman Kevin Parks, but also have Torrey Mack and Dominique Wallace, who had just seemed to be coming on at Southern Miss when he was injured and missed the rest of the season.

VIRGINIA TECH

Spring practice starts: March 31

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• Revamped defensive line. The Hokies have to replace three of four starters up front. The only defensive ends with significant playing time are Chris Drager, who the staff wanted to move back to tight end, and Steven Friday. Redshirt freshmen will be given a chance – Duan Perez-Means, Tyrel Wilson, James Gayle and J.R. Collins – but they’ve never played. Isaiah Hamlette is the only other end who’s played and that was a skinny minute. At defensive tackle, Antoine Hopkins will be the frontrunner to replace Cordarrow Thompson.

• Darren Evans’ comeback. Evans, the team’s leading rusher in 2008, is working his way back from a season-ending ACL injury, and one of the biggest questions in Blacksburg is how the staff will divide the carries in such a talented backfield that includes Ryan Williams. With two returning 1,000-yard rushers, will David Wilson decide to redshirt? The spring will help him in that decision.

• The evolution of Tyrod Taylor. He’s going to be a senior, and with so many questions on defense heading into the season, the offense will be leading the way. This should be a breakout year for Taylor, who by now should have mastered the offense and should consistently be a passing threat to compliment his running abilities.

WAKE FOREST

Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. It’s the most glaring hole the Deacs have to fill this spring, as they’re tasked with replacing the winningest quarterback in school history, Riley Skinner, and his backup, Ryan McManus. Redshirt sophomores Ted Stachitas and Skylar Jones, and sophomore Brendan Cross, will compete with rookie Tanner Price for the top spot.

• Offensive line. The Deacs will take a huge hit here, as seven players in the two-deep depth chart were redshirt seniors, including all four tackles. Three starters have to be replaced.

• The interior defensive line. Nose guard Boo Robinson and John Russell have graduated, and Russell’s backup, Michael Lockett, was also a redshirt senior. The Deacs are in good shape at the ends, but will need some help inside.
Tags:

Boston College Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, North Carolina Tar Heels, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Coastal Division, Atlantic Division, Miami Hurricanes, Wesley Oglesby, Russell Wilson, Darren Evans, Christian Ponder, Ochuko Jenije, Chris Drager, Cam Thomas, Demaryius THomas, Justin Gilbert, Isaiah Hamlette, Marc Verica, Rashawn Jackson, A.J. Highsmith, Boo Robinson, Torrey Mack, Trenton Hughes, Quinton Coples, Chris turner, Phil Costa, Cannon Smith, Jamarr Robinson, Mike Glennon, Tyrod Taylor, David Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Cameron Chism, Jamie Harper, CHris Chancellor, Michael Carter, Ryan McManus, Joseph Gilbert, Brad Newman, Antoine Hopkins, Sean Renfree, Dave Shinskie, Cordarrow Thompson, Richard Gordon, Mikell Simpson, Austin Barrick, Johnny Williams, Morgan Burnett, E.J. Wilson, Paul Pinegar, Tydreke Powell, Bryn Renner, Jacory Harris, Riley Skinner, Joe Joseph, Skylar Jones, Derrick Morgan, T.J. Yates, Braden Hanson, Sean Bedford, Jonathan Dwyer, C.J. Brown, John Russell, Jameel Sewell, Allen Bailey, Mike London, Nate Irving, Rodney Smith, Marcus Gilchrist, Mark Herzlich, Taylor Cook, Willie Haulstead, Andre Ellington, Josh Holmes, Thaddeus Lewis, E.J. Manuel, Leon Wright, Crezdon Butler, Ryan Williams, C.J. Spiller, Kaleb Ramsey, James Gayle, Eric Moncur, Jonathan Cooper, Bruce Campbell, Ted Stachitas, Jim Ramella, Danny O'Brien, Luke Kuechly, Sean Schroeder, Tyrel Wilson, Dominique Wallace, Austin Giles, Mark Stoops, Brendan Cross, Stephen Morris, Rick Petri, Bill Lazor, Chase Rettig, Michael Strauss, Tanner Price, Anthony McCloud, Debrale Smiley, Josh Bordner, Kyle Paker, Rahsard Hall, DeAndrew McDaniel, Charlie Hatcher, Sydney Sarmiento, Chris Hazelton, Clay Belton, Dexter McDougle, Chris Ward, Ross Metheny, Roko Smalls, Kevin Parks, Duan Perez-Means, J.R. Collins, Michael Lockett

Q&A with Miami coach Randy Shannon

December, 22, 2009
12/22/09
1:53
PM ET
Miami coach Randy Shannon is too busy recruiting to take any time off, but he managed to spare a few minutes to look back on the 2009 season as well as look ahead to the Champs Sports Bowl against Wisconsin. Here are the highlights of our recent conversation:

You had a good year, but I know you don’t like to lose any games. What was your take on the steps the program took forward this year?

Randy Shannon: I thought we made giant steps, giant strides from where we started at the beginning of the season. We got banged-up with injuries. Those guys really responded and kept playing, and the games that we did lose -- besides the Virginia Tech game -- I thought we had a chance to win. They kept playing hard. Defensively, we finished up strong the last four of the season, as far as stats-wise, they did a great job of finishing up strong, and then also offensively, we could be a very explosive team. As time went on, Jacory [Harris] learned a lot throughout the season, and his last couple games of the season really played well.

Tell me more about what you guys started to do defensively down the stretch.

RS: The thing that got us, the beginning of the season, we were lights-out on defense, besides Florida State. Georgia Tech we did a great job, Oklahoma did a great job, and then we started getting these injuries. We lost Ray Ray Armstrong at one point in time, we lost Joe Joseph, Jordan Futch, he was out, that hurt us big time with everything we were doing on special teams. And then we lost Sean Spence, and the defensive line was a rotation. When you keep losing defensive linemen and you’re trying to plug guys in, there’s no continuity. But I think the continuity came around the last four games of the season, it really started coming around. Third down we were getting off the field, maybe 65, 70 percent of the time, and it really started to show. They started to feel each other out a lot more towards the end.

How much easier did it make your job that you didn’t have to play as many freshmen this year?

RS: Well, it was easier, but we still played freshmen. We played Olivier Vernon, a true freshman, Mike James, a tailback we had to move to fullback, Curtis Porter, Ray Ray Armstrong. We’re getting there, but it seems like a freshman always has to come in and step up because the depth is not where we need it to be yet. As soon as we can get our depth situation fixed, then I think it will be a lot easier for us.

Is that something you were able to help address with this year’s recruiting class?

RS: That’s what we’re doing now; we’re trying to build depth on the football team and get it going. We’re starting to fill some spots, get some guys in the weight room and sign some guys in January, which is big for us.

Did you guys get any JUCO players?

RS: We're recruiting one: Chase Ford, a tight end.

Stay tuned, Part II coming up.

ACC's lunchtime links

October, 14, 2009
10/14/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

  • Death Valley is the one stadium in the Atlantic Division where Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe has yet to win. It's no wonder the Deacs aren't taking Clemson lightly this week, despite the Tigers' 2-3 start.
  • Maryland quarterback Chris Turner is making good use of his legs these days, and he doesn't have much choice in the matter.
  • Things have gotten pretty serious in Blacksburg this week, but it can never get too tense with Sergio Render around.
  • A heated conversation between Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Billy Napier has been blown way out of proportion, which is why you never read anything about it here. To me, the bigger issue is Swinney's involvement in the play calling, and why the Tigers' offense hasn't shown improvement.
  • FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews has a short fuse these days.
  • Miami defensive tackle Joe Joseph is finally worthy of wearing his "Playmaker 2008" T-shirt. Better late than never, right?
  • Virginia's turnaround began in the locker room before the Indiana game. Can they keep it up?
  • UNC receiver Erik Highsmith is yet another example of how those stars don't mean a thing.
  • NC State coach Tom O'Brien made a promise to his buddy Frank Spaziani about 20 years ago and he kept it, hiring him at BC. Now they'll be on opposing sides with the game overriding any emotions.
  • Georgia and Georgia Tech will not play in the Dome in 2011.

About that discipline ...

October, 3, 2009
10/03/09
10:38
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


MIAMI -- The reason I even mentioned discipline in the last post is because Miami has been killing itself with penalties tonight. No Sooner did I mention that then Joe Joseph was called for a 15-yard penalty for taking out Oklahoma's kicker. It aided Oklahoma on its scoring drive, and the Sooners just closed the gap to 21-17. So far Miami has nine penalties for 95 yards. That's more yards than they have rushing so far.

Momentum shift in Miami: Canes lead 14-10

October, 3, 2009
10/03/09
10:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


MIAMI -- The Canes came out of the locker room playing inspired football. Brandon Harris forced a fumble when he sacked Landry Jones, Joe Joseph recovered it, and Miami had the ball on the Sooners' 11-yard line. The Canes scored one play later. Finally, there was a turnover that went in the Canes favor. It was important for Miami to come out fast, and for the first time tonight, the Canes have the lead.

In a game as low scoring like this, it will be those kinds of plays that make the difference -- just as Jacory Harris' interception did in the first half. In a low-scoring game, all it takes is a special teams miscue or one great play to change the game, and that's what Miami just did.

Just remember, Miami came out of the locker room fired up at Virginia Tech, too, and it didn't last long.

Miami's lineup changes

October, 3, 2009
10/03/09
8:01
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

MIAMI -- A few quick lineup notes for you for positions that were in question:

DEFENSE

LE -- Marcus Robinson

LT -- Joe Joseph

RT -- Josh Holmes

RE -- Andrew Smith

SLB -- Jordan Futch

RCB -- Sam Shields

SS -- Jared Campbell

FS -- Vaughn Telemaque

OFFENSE

Joel Figueroa will start over Harland Gunn at right guard.

Fullback Patrick Hill is out, so it's up to Graig Cooper and Javarris James.

Pouring in Blacksburg

September, 26, 2009
9/26/09
3:05
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


BLACKSBURG, Va. -- There seem to be more towels on the field right now as the players warm up as there are footballs. It's pouring here. There aren't many people in the stands at all right now, and those who are are blobs of ponchos. Everyone is soaked.

Demetrius Taylor is getting his first career start today for the Hokies at defensive tackle, and Stephan Virgil is back, but we won't know until they line up if he'll be at boundary or field corner.

For Miami, Aldarius Johnson, Andrew Smith and Marcus Forston didn't make the trip, and they were all on the injury report. Here's how the Canes' starting defensive line will look: LE Steven Wesley, LT Allen Bailey, RT Joe Joseph, RE Olivier Vernon.

Obviously it doesn't help to have two injured starters missing on the defensive line, but I still think the Canes will hold their own. The only other lineup change is DeMarcus Van Dyke will start at corner over Sam Shields.

Weekend rewinds: Scrimmage wrap-ups

August, 24, 2009
8/24/09
10:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich Here's a recap of the scrimmages that happened this weekend, with the help of the sports information directors, and the local newspapers that covered them: BOSTON COLLEGE As if things couldn't get worse for coach Frank Spaziani's quarterback situation in his first year, leading candidate Dave Shinskie was injured in Sunday's scrimmage. It might be a bruised rib. Here's how the rest of the team fared without him: All four quarterbacks played and redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle went 8-for-16 for 84 yards. Junior Codi Boek threw for 74 yards on a 6-for-12 day while freshmen Michael Marscovetra and Shinskie both had three completions. Junior Jordon McMichael and sophomore Colin Larmond Jr. both had three receptions for 18 and 33 yards, respectively. Sophomore Montel Harris was the leading rusher with 46 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown. Senior Steve Aponavicius went 2-for-4 in his field goal attempts, hitting from 42 yards both times. A 44-yard attempt went awry following a bad snap and his 37-yard try was blocked by sophomore Isaac Johnson. Redshirt freshman Alexander DiSanzo shined on defense with seven tackles, a forced a fumble and an interception. Senior Roderick Rollins and freshman Luke Kuechly both had a team-high nine tackles. DUKE Quarterbacks Thaddeus Lewis, Sean Renfree and Sean Schroeder combined to complete 25 of 39 passes for 240 yards. Renfree threw for a team-high 93 yards by hitting on 11 of 18 throws while Lewis was 7-of-12 for 86 yards. Freshman running back Desmond Scott led all receivers with six catches for 39 yards while rookie wideout Conner Vernon had three grabs for 42 yards. Redshirt sophomore running back Cameron Jones picked up a scrimmage-best 49 yards on just three rushing attempts. Defensively, sophomore safety Matt Daniels caused and recovered one fumble while redshirt sophomore cornerback Colin Jones registered one interception. Junior kicker Will Snyderwine booted a 27-yard field goal and successfully converted his lone PAT attempt. FLORIDA STATE Quarterback Christian Ponder had another good day, but with no interceptions, did the defense? Ponder wasn't thrilled with the results and said it might have been because guys were too eager to end their two-a-days. Jimbo Fisher said overall it was far too inconsistent. To read the Noles' entire practice report, click here. MARYLAND The Terps' scrimmage was a mixture of good and bad, and it was the latter that kept coach Ralph Friedgen going. There was one player, though, who made a name for himself in Friedgen's book -- redshirt freshman running back Gary Douglas. Douglas rushed 17 times for a scrimmage-high 122 yards, including four runs of 15 or more yards. He didn't score a touchdown but almost single-handedly led the offense down the field for a score on one drive, accounting for 72 of the 80 yards. Quarterback Chris Turner completed 13 of 20 passes for 113 yards. Backup Jamarr Robinson didn't fare quite as well as he had in previous scrimmages, hitting on just 5 of 14 passes for 59 yards, though he did direct two scoring drives. Mike Barbour looked sharp early, capping off two drives with field goals. The redshirt freshman, who had a leg up on the No. 1 place-kicker job, hit from 30 and 36 yards out. "Barbour started off pretty good, and then he missed his last three," Friedge
n said. "He kind of looked like he had solidified the job and then he opens it up again." Defensive back Eric Franklin, a true freshman, made a scrimmage-best eight tackles and picked off Turner on the sixth possession. MIAMI The Canes wrapped up their final two-a-day of fall camp on Sunday, and coach Randy Shannon said everything -- that's right, everything -- is still up for grabs. Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post had a couple of notes for you off Sunday's practice. Morning Practice Highlights -- (pads) Joe Joseph and Marcus Robinson each had a sack in 11-on-11 drills. Randy Phillips (INT, pass break-up) and DeMarcus Van Dyke (two pass break-ups) stood out in the secondary. Lee Chambers and Damien Berry each broke off a couple runs of 15+ yards. Javarris James caught several passes in both 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 sessions Afternoon Practice Highlights -- (shells) Sam Shields (red zone), Chavez Grant (7-on-7) and C.J. Holton (11-on-11) all recorded interceptions. Grant returned his for a touchdown while Holton caught his off a tipped pass. A.J. Highsmith connected with Tommy Streeter (11-on-11) and LaRon Byrd (7-on-7) for significant yardage. Damien Berry took a short pass in the flat from Taylor Cook for a long gain. Other highlights include a near interception by Randy Phillips, a pass break-up by Ramon Buchanan and a sack by Micanor Regis. Red zone touchdowns included Jacory Harris to Richard Gordon and Taylor Cook to Jimmy Graham. VIRGINIA TECH So ... add Ryan Williams to the list of VT running backs who are banged up. Williams sprained his ankle, and Josh Oglesby has "the worst infection" coach Billy Hite has ever seen on a foot. Also, the coaches want to redshirt Logan Thomas, and Kenny Lewis Jr.'s recovery has been delayed. Not a lot of happy news coming out of Blacksburg these days. To read Virginia Tech's entire scrimmage report, click here. Tyrod Taylor completed 8 of 11 passes for 78 yards. Xavier Boyce led all receivers with two catches for 47 yards. Freshman running back Tony Gregory rushed 18 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns. Williams rushed just five times for 22 yards before spraining his ankle and sitting out the rest of the scrimmage. He did score on a 4-yard run and he returned several punts. Matt Waldron was 4-for-4 on his field goal attempts. (31, 32, 43, 30) Defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson led the defense with seven tackles, four for a loss, and one sack.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 12

November, 16, 2008
11/16/08
11:37
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here are the top performers for Week 12:

Miami's defensive line. The Hurricanes had a season-high seven sacks in the Canes' 16-14 win against Virginia Tech. Defensive end Marcus Robinson had three, right tackle Marcus Forston and left tackle Joe Joseph each got one, and defensive end Allen Bailey made one on a critical fourth-down stop of Tyrod Taylor with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Maryland's offensive line. The Terps showed dramatic improvement since their loss to Virginia Tech, and it opened things up in both the running and passing game for a 17-15 win over UNC. They paved the way for a 195-yard rushing performance one week after finishing with minus-12 against the Hokies.

Boston College defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani. It's time to give this man some credit. He figured out a way to stop Florida State's running game, which was averaging 205.2 yards, and held them to 73 yards on the ground in the Eagles' 27-17 win over FSU. BC leads the nation with 21 interceptions, including 10 in the past three games. And the defense or special teams has scored in five straight games. The Eagles forced FSU quarterback Christian Ponder into one of his worst performances of the season.

NC State quarterback Russell Wilson. He accounted for all three of the Pack's touchdowns in a 21-17 upset of Wake Forest and also rushed for a team-high 69 yards. He threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns. In his past six games, Wilson has 12 passing touchdowns and no interceptions.

Clemson running back C.J. Spiller. He had 10 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, and seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers' 31-7 win over Duke. Spiller's 83-yard touchdown catch and 24-yard scoring run put the Tigers one win closer to a bowl game.

Three questions for Miami

August, 2, 2008
8/02/08
1:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

1. Will a freshman quarterback be able to carry Miami back to a bowl?

The Hurricanes have no choice in the matter. Regardless of who the job falls to -- Robert Marve, Jacory Harris or Cannon Smith -- none of them have ever thrown a pass in a collegiate game. Taylor Cook fell behind because he wasn't there this spring and won't be getting as many reps at camp. If Javarris James and Graig Cooper develop into one of the better rushing tandems in the league -- as they have the potential to do -- it would help take some pressure off a rookie signal caller.

2. How much of an effect will injuries have on the defensive line?

A significant one. Defensive end Allen Bailey is questionable for the season opener against Charleston Southern because of a pectoral injury, Eric Moncur has struggled to stay healthy, and Courtney Harris will miss the season with an Achilles injury. Unless I missed it, there is no depth chart in the media guide, nor a season outlook, so it's pretty difficult to tell who's going where. (There is far more on the past in there than there is about this season.) Hurricanes fans have good reason to be excited about freshman Marcus Forston. He'll be competing with senior left tackle Antonio Dixon, Joe Joseph and Dwayne Hendricks for the tackle spots.

3. How many freshmen will actually see significant playing time at Miami this season?

It wouldn't be a surprise to see any of the guys who were there this spring make an immediate contribution -- Aldarius Johnson, Sean Spence and Arthur Brown quickly come to mind -- but coach Randy Shannon has been reserved about revealing if any of them will earn a starting job. Except, of course, for quarterback.

ACC position rankings: Defensive line

July, 17, 2008
7/17/08
6:03
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

1. Georgia Tech: This veteran defense should help take some heat off the offense while it figures itself out. Senior tackles Vance Walker and Darryl Richard, along with defensive end Michael Johnson are legitimate NFL draft picks and should have their best seasons yet under first-year coordinator Dave Wommack.

2. Clemson: Three of the four starters return, including seniors Dorell Scott and Rashaad Jackson, and junior Ricky Sapp, who had 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and 22 quarterback pressures as a sophomore when he started all 13 games. And don't forget freshman Da'Quan Bowers, who will work his way into the rotation at defensive end with Kevin Alexander as they try to fill the void left by Phillip Merling.

3. Boston College: The Eagles had the No. 1 rushing defense in 2007 (75.5 yards per game), and that was without academically ineligible B.J. Raji and injured end Alex Albright, who had 8.5 sacks despite missing the last few games with a broken left forearm. Now they're back, along with senior tackle Ron Brace.

4. Florida State: Defensive end Everette Brown is the leader of this group and could be one of the best in the ACC. He led the team in sacks last year, when he was in a part-time role, and led all linemen in tackles and tackles for loss. Benjamin Lampkin converted from linebacker to end in the Music City Bowl. Budd Thacker started eight games last season and missed four because of an injury. Paul Griffin didn't start a game last year, but had 6.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

5. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons have to replace their top end in Jeremy Thompson, and fifth-year senior Anthony Davis, his backup, will inherit the job. Matt Robinson missed 2006 with a broken kneecap and then suffered a high ankle sprain last season and missed the three games. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility and will play as a grad student. Their strength will be inside with returning starter Boo Robinson at nose guard. John Russell is simmering with potential. Ted Randolph moved from tight end to defensive tackle midseason last year.

6. Virginia Tech: Only three ends with playing experience and one tackle return. Redshirt senior Orion Martin is the only returning lineman who started every game last season. Redshirt sophomore Jason Worilds should be No. 1 at the other end spot heading into fall and Nekos Brown and Steven Friday are competing for the backup spots. Demetrius Taylor has moved inside to tackle and will compete with John Graves, Cordarrow Thompson and a few others.

7. Duke: Junior tackle Vince Oghobaase is the real deal. He had 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season. He's one of four returning starters, along with defensive ends Greg Akinbiyi and Wesley Oglesby, and defensive tackle Ayanga Okpokowuruk.

8. Miami: Hurricane fans have good reason to be excited about freshman Marcus Forston, but there's little that's certain about this line. Allen Bailey's move here from linebacker should help, but this offseason he's been slowed by a pectoral injury. Eric Moncur has struggled to stay healthy, along with Courtney Harris. Senior left tackle Antonio Dixon, Joe Joseph and Dwayne Hendricks are competing with Forston for the tackle spots.

9. North Carolina: The Tar Heels have to replace two of the league's best linemen in tackle Kentwan Balmer and end Hilee Taylor. There are plenty of options at tackle, where Aleric Mullins is a returning starter, but Taylor's absence will be felt. Darrius Massenburg broke his wrist and didn't participate this spring, Darius Powell is more of a third-down guy, and Vince Jacobs is a converted tight end.

10. Maryland: Jeremy Navarre is the veteran of this group, having started a team-high 35 games, and should move from end to tackle. Mack Frost is expected to take Navarre's end position, but he missed this spring because of knee surgery. Trey Covington has plenty of experience at the Terps' LEO position, which is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker. More is expected of nose tackle Travis Ivey, who played sparingly last year mostly in goal-line situations. Walk-on Bemi Otulaja passed him on the depth chart this spring.

11. NC State: Defensive end Willie Young and tackle Alan-Michael Cash are two certainties in an otherwise questionable line. While the move of Ted Larsen and John Bedics helped out the offensive line, it hurt the depth on defense. Markus Kuhn is a viable option at defensive end, and Antoine Holmes could help at tackle.

12. Virginia: With Chris Long and the lone answer to his departure, Jeffrey Fitzgerald, no longer on the team, the Cavaliers have a serious hole to fill, and there's not much experience at end to choose from. Alex Field played sparingly in every game and Sean Gottschalk played in nine.

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