ACC: Kevin Barnes

Maryland spring wrap-up

May, 7, 2009
5/07/09
9:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Maryland Terrapins
2008 overall record: 8-5

2008 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters: Offense: 6, defense: 4, punter/kicker: 1

Top returners: QB Chris Turner, RB, Da'Rel Scott, OL Phil Costa, WR Torrey Smith, LB Alex Wujciak, CB Anthony Wiseman, FS Terrell Skinner, P Travis Baltz

Key losses: C Edwin Williams, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, CB Kevin Barnes, DT Jeremy Navarre, LG Jaimie Thomas, TE Dan Gronkowski, LB Dave Philistin, DE Mack Frost, LB Moise Fokou, PK Obi Egekeze

2007 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Da'Rel Scott* (1,133 yards)
Passing: Chris Turner* (2,516 yards)
Receiving:
Darrius Heyward-Bey (609 yards)
Tackles:
Alex Wujciak* (133)
Sacks:
Moise Fokou (5)
Interceptions:
Jamari McCollough* (4)

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 at California
Sept. 12 James Madison
Sept. 19 Middle Tennessee
Sept. 26 Rutgers
Oct. 3 Clemson
Oct. 10 at Wake Forest
Oct. 17 Virginia
Oct. 24 at Duke
Nov. 7 at NC State
Nov. 14 Virginia Tech
Nov. 21 at Florida State
Nov. 28 Boston College

Spring answers

1. Leader on the line. Phil Costa has been tasked with taking over at center for Edwin Williams, and although he has never played in a game at center, it was the position of least concern on the offensive line this spring. Costa proved capable of being the leader of an otherwise inexperienced group (see below).

2. New additions at linebacker. One of the concerns coming into the spring was the depth at linebacker, and the staff was pleased with the addition freshmen Darin Drakeford and Avery Murray. With Alex Wujciak and Ben Pooler out with injuries, others proved dependable, including former tight end Drew Gloster and Demetrius Hartsfield.

3. What can Don Brown do for you? Brown's new defensive scheme earned rave reviews from the players and coaching staff this spring. The corners stepped up to the challenge of the press coverage and picked off Chris Turner six times in two scrimmages.

Fall questions

1. The rest of the offensive line. The Terps lost three starters, and will have four players in new positions. Bruce Campbell is the only player returning to his old spot at left tackle. The two starting guard spots are up for grabs, as Lamar Young and Andrew Gonnella flip-flopped all spring on the left side. Justin Lewis played better toward the end at right guard.

2. Separation at receiver. There are nine who can play, and every one of them seemed to have his moment at a different time this spring. Still, nobody grabbed hold of the "go-to" guy, previously held by Darrius Heyward-Bey. The staff is still looking for consistency from this young but talented group.

3. Replacing the placekicker. The Terps still don't know who will fill the placekicking shoes of Obi Egekeze. Walk-ons Mike Barbour and Nick Wallace will continue to compete this summer, and highly touted incoming kicker Nick Ferrara will have a chance to win the job.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 28, 2009
4/28/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Because of the draft and spring games, there were too many links to get to in one day on Monday, so consider this the second chapter:

  • Tony Barnhart breaks down the NFL draft in relation to the ACC and SEC.
  • What's the criticism of Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson? That he "doesn't play hard all the time."
  • It's exactly the opposite for Wake Forest's Aaron Curry, who wanted to "punish every team in the ACC for not even coming to say 'hi'" when he was recruited -- or, more accurately, wasn't recruited.
  • Curry is part of a recruiting class that was probably the best in school history. Or, as Dennis Dodd points out, the best in "a lot of schools' history." Imagine that. Lil' ole' Wake Forest had more players drafted than Auburn, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Florida.
  • Former Maryland corner Kevin Barnes, who attended Old Mill High School in Maryland, is staying in the area yet again to continue his career. He was caught off-guard on Sunday by a phone call from Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins.
  • Also coming to the area will be Florida State's Lou Groza Award winner, Graham Gano, who was signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Ravens.
  • Clemson's players waited longer than usual to hear their names called.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 23, 2009
4/23/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It's almost Friday -- almost ... 

Boston College offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill has been around the game so long he can't remember if it's his 46th or 47th season, but in all that time, he's never dealt with so many untested quarterbacks like he has this spring. 

It's not often sports reporters cover an athlete for the duration of their careers, but I've been following cornerback Kevin Barnes since he was in high school at Old Mill and I was a preps reporter for the Washington Post. Now, the kid who laid out the gut-wrenching hit on Cal's Jahvid Best (literally) is the Terps' second-best shot at being drafted on Saturday.

Miami just hasn't been the same since it joined the ACC, and tonight will be a reminder of how good it once was. Miami plans on inducting a few of its athletes into its Hall of Fame -- that is, if they believe the woman who told them they're in.

NC State coach Tom O'Brien told Wolfpack fans he knows his program has to "live up to the expectations." No doubt they're higher in his third season.

Here are 10 questions for Virginia's football team, and Al Groh and his quarterbacks give the answers.

ACC's unheralded NFL draft picks

April, 21, 2009
4/21/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With the NFL draft scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday, much attention will be paid to the ACC's highest round picks like linebacker Aaron Curry. Over the past three years, the ACC has seen more of its players taken in the first round (25) than any other league, as well as more of its players drafted (115) than any other conference.

Just because a player isn't drafted in the first three rounds, though, doesn't mean he isn't destined for a successful NFL career, and this year the ACC has plenty of such players. There are several who are borderline third- and fourth-round picks, but even more who are relative unknowns capable of making names for themselves at the next level.

Don't forget about Miami's little used linebacker, Spencer Adkins, who has been getting a fair share of attention from scouts lately. He was used in a lot of third down situations as a pass-rusher. Aside from Bruce Johnson, he is the Canes' top prospect. North Carolina tight end Richard Quinn is ascending the draft boards quickly. He could conceivably be a third-rounder.

Here are three players who aren't expected to be drafted in the first three rounds, but will still be quality players in the NFL:

1. Victor "Macho" Harris, CB, Virginia Tech -- A potential late third-round, early fourth-round pick, Harris is a hard-hitter with exceptional ball skills. He reads blocks well and is a scoring threat, especially in the open field.

2. Anthony Hill, TE, NC State -- He doesn't drop many balls, he stays tough in traffic, and is efficient getting into his routes. He's a strong blocker who would have been much more productive had his career not been marred by injuries.

3. Aaron Kelly, WR, Clemson -- He uses his height to his advantage for jump balls, can create separation and be a threat for yards after catch. He is an average blocker, but was underutilized in Clemson's offense last year.

Other potentially late ACC picks worth keeping an eye on:

ACC's lunchtime links

March, 13, 2009
3/13/09
12:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Some are old, some are new, all are borrowed, none Carolina blue ... 

If BC holds its NFL pro day and no one is around to report on it, did it really happen? It did at Maryland ...

Maryland linebacker Moise Fokou took a long, hard road to a potential career in the NFL. Darrius Heyward-Bey is the one who has stolen the spotlight in College Park, though. The Ravens will visit him on March 23 and bring quarterback Joe Flacco to throw to him. Coach Ralph Friedgen thinks former cornerback Kevin Barnes also has a good shot at being drafted.

The backup quarterback competition at Miami won't be too fun for Canes fans to watch develop if Cannon Smith and Taylor Cook keep fumbling the snaps. Here is a further breakdown from Miami Herald blogger Manny Navarro. Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun Sentinel saw the same.

In case you missed it, my colleague Bruce Feldman raised the question "What's wrong with FSU football?" earlier this week. According to his answers, plenty.

Not every recruit gets an offer just because they visit, and Denzel McCoy learned that after he went to Clemson last weekend.

Pro Days update

March, 12, 2009
3/12/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Boston College will have its NFL Pro Day today, and obviously B.J. Raji, Ron Brace and Ryan Purvis will be among the seniors of note there. (They'll also be among the ACC's biggest shoes to fill in '09). Not all schools release their pro day highlights, but if they do, they'll be posted.

Maryland had its Pro Day on Wednesday, and it was reflective of just how many seniors the Terps will have to replace this year. Maryland lost more starters (13) from last year's roster than anyone else in the ACC.

About 40 representatives from 25 NFL teams were on campus yesterday. Twenty of the 24 players auditioning were starters, and Kevin Barnes, Moise Fokou, Dan Gronkowski, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jaimie Thomas and Edwin Williams had already been to the NFL combine in Indy.

Heyward-Bey and Gronkowski were among the most impressive players at their positions at the NFL combine. Heyward-Bey ran a time of 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, the top time among wide receivers, while Gronkowski had the third-best performance (26 reps) among tight ends in the bench press and the second-best mark (11.72) in the 60-yard shuttle. They only participated in individual drills on Wednesday.

Here were the highlights from Wednesday in College Park:

  • Receiver Isaiah Williams posted the top time in the 40-yard dash (4.38) and 60-yard shuttle (11.10). He also had the third-best time (4.24) in the 20-yard shuttle and matched Barnes for the top vertical jump (41 inches).
  • Running back Rashad Henry had the top time (4.11) in the 20-yard shuttle and defensive back Jeff Allen posted the second-fastest time (4.17).
  • Barnes posted a time of 4.44 in the 40, while Henry clocked a 4.53 and had a 36-inch vertical leap.
  • Jeremy Navarre was the strongest, with 36 reps on the bench press. Defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi had 34.

2009 schedule analysis: Maryland

February, 16, 2009
2/16/09
2:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

MARYLAND

Nonconference schedule
Combined 2008 record: 34-18
FCS teams: 1
BCS teams: 2
Bowl teams: 2
Sept. 5 at California
Sept. 12 James Madison
Sept. 19 Middle Tennessee
Sept. 26 Rutgers

Analysis: Maryland quarterback Chris Turner, a native of California, said he'll have at least 40 friends and family members in attendance for the season opener, so expect him to play well. Kevin Barnes has graduated, so he won't be around to lay a lunch-losing hit on Jahvid Best this season. Considering Cal will want to avenge last year's loss in College Park, the Terps will probably experience a game similar to what Miami saw in the Emerald Bowl. As for Middle Tennessee, well, that's not going to happen again, especially in Byrd Stadium. The Terps will be catching Rutgers early as they make the transition to life without quarterback Mike Teel. James Madison won 12 games last year and was one win away from playing for the FCS national title. It could be a trap game, but Duke beat JMU 31-7 last year. This should be a 3-1 team heading into the ACC schedule, but a 4-0 start wouldn't be surprising.

ACC schedule
Oct. 3 Clemson
Oct. 10 at Wake Forest
Oct. 17 Virginia
Oct. 24 at Duke
Oct. 31 OPEN
Nov. 7 at NC State
Nov. 14 Virginia Tech
Nov. 21 at Florida State
Nov. 28 Boston College

Analysis: The Terps don't have to travel to Blacksburg or Death Valley, and they don't have to play Miami, Georgia Tech or North Carolina. Not a bad deal. But they do have to face three Atlantic Division opponents on the road, and there is a good chance November trips to Florida State and NC State will be against two programs in contention to win the division. The Virginia Tech game could be interesting because of how Maryland was embarrassed in Lane Stadium last year. It'll be a bona-fide Under Armour commercial heading into that game, but more importantly, Maryland will need a conference road win in November.

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 3, 2009
2/03/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The official invitation list for the NFL scouting combine is out, and there are plenty of ACC players who will participate in the four-day job interview in Indianapolis from Feb. 18-24. Just because a player didn't make the list doesn't mean he won't be drafted, but here are the ACC players by school who were invited to the combine:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Kevin Akins, cornerback/linebacker

Ron Brace, defensive tackle

B.J. Raji, defensive tackle

CLEMSON

Chris Clemons, safety

James Davis, running back

Michael Hamlin, safety

Cullen Harper, quarterback

Aaron Kelly, receiver

Dorell Scott, defensive tackle

FLORIDA STATE

Everette Brown, defensive end

Graham Gano, punter/placekicker

GEORGIA TECH

Andrew Gardner, offensive tackle

Michael Johnson, defensive end

Darryl Richard, defensive tackle

Vance Walker, defensive tackle

Jahi Word-Daniels, cornerback

MARYLAND

Kevin Barnes, cornerback

Moise Fokou, outside linebacker

Dan Gronkowski, tight end

Darrius Heyward-Bey, wide receiver

Jaimie Thomas, offensive guard

Edwin Williams, center

MIAMI

Bruce Johnson, cornerback

NORTH CAROLINA

Brooks Foster, wide receiver

Hakeem Nicks, wide recevier

Richard Quinn, tight end

Garrett Reynolds, offensive tackle

Brandon Tate, wide receiver

NC STATE

Andre Brown, running back

Anthony Hill, tight end

VIRGINIA

Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle

Kevin Ogletree, wide receiver

Cedric Peerman, tailback

John Phillips, tight end

Clint Sintim, linebacker

VIRGINIA TECH

Victor "Macho" Harris, cornerback

Orion Martin, defensive end

WAKE FOREST

Stanley Arnoux, linebacker

Aaron Curry, linebacker

Alphonso Smith, cornerback

Sam Swank, punter/placekicker

Chip Vaughn, safety

Maryland recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The Terps rebounded from their disappointing finish in the regular season with an impressive win over Nevada in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, and a bowl win never hurts recruiting.

The Terps' main focus was to stock up on linebackers, especially with the departure of Rick Costa, Moise Fokou and Dave Philistin. Maryland will have to replace three seniors on its offensive line, and that was the staff's second priority. The Terps are still shopping in that department, but have a good start with three commitments in Pete DeSouza (Hyattsville, Md.), Bennett Fulper (Gretna, Va.) and Ryan Schlieper (Wexford, Pa.).

With backup quarterback Josh Portis transferring and Jordan Steffy graduating, the Terps also had to fill a void there. Chris Turner is a veteran with a winning record, but his backup, Jamarr Robinson, is a redshirt freshman who hasn't thrown a pass yet. Maryland is expecting two commitments at the position in C.J. Brown (Cranberry, Pa.), and Danny O'Brien (Kernersville, N.C.).

The Terps are always looking for defensive linemen and defensive backs. Kevin Barnes is the biggest name in the defensive backfield who will have to be replaced. The defensive line will also lose a lot of depth in Jeremy Navarre, Mack Frost, Dean Muhtadi, and Olugbemi Otulaja. De'Onte Arnett, a highly regarded defensive end from Forestville, Md., is an early entry who might contribute immediately.

Maryland will need a kicker to replace Obi Egekeze, and they've got a commitment from Nick Ferrara of St. Anthony's in New York.

The most glaring departure on offense was star receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who decided to leave early for the NFL draft, but the Terps have several talented, young receivers who emerged this season. That position will be more of a focus for the class of 2010.

What to watch in the ACC: Week 9

October, 24, 2008
10/24/08
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

1. Miami's quarterbacks -- C'mon, tired subject or not, you know you want to see who plays more -- starter Robert Marve or his backup, Jacory Harris. Marve has struggled in the past two games while Harris scored five touchdowns off the bench against Duke.

2. The struggling offenses -- Can Wake Forest and Virginia Tech muster up enough yardage to win against two of the ACC's stingiest defenses? Whoever gets the better performance from their offensive lines and wide receivers has the best chance to win in the Sunshine State.

3. FSU's defense vs. Tyrod Taylor -- It's been the main focus in Tallahassee this week, stopping the Hokies' mobile quarterback. They can't afford to let him get out in space. We'll see if FSU linebacker Dekoda Watson is able to help.

4. Turnovers in Chapel Hill -- North Carolina still leads the nation in interceptions and will be happy to take advantage of another five-turnover performance, but it's the Eagles who have the best pass defense in the ACC.

5. NC State quarterback Russell Wilson vs. Maryland's depleted secondary -- This could be the difference in the game, as cornerback Kevin Barnes, the Terps' leader in the defensive backfield, is out with a shoulder injury, and Wilson is getting better every weekend.

6. Virginia's linebackers -- They've been playing well the past few weeks, but they haven't seen the offense that will be coming at them on Saturday. Limiting the Yellow Jackets' big plays will be key.

7. North Carolina's tweaked offense -- After having another week to get used to his original position since moving from running back, receiver Greg Little should feel a little more comfortable running routes.

8. Bowl eligibility -- It's a weekend where Boston College, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and North Carolina have a chance to become bowl eligible. And Duke is trying to prevent Vanderbilt from its first bowl game since 1982.

9. David Cutcliffe vs. Bobby Johnson -- Cutcliffe might be one of the ACC's hottest coaches this year, but his experience is in the SEC. He knows Vanderbilt, but can he beat the Commodores with Duke's starters instead of Tennessee's?

10. Virginia offensive lineman Eugene Monroe vs. Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson -- You want to watch two future NFL linemen have at it, this is your chance. It will be the highlight between an offensive line that has allowed just eight sacks all season -- tied for fewest in the ACC -- and a defensive line that has 20 sacks, the most in the ACC.

ACC in the Tallahassee morning

September, 18, 2008
9/18/08
7:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Good morning from the Sunshine State, where the Seminoles are confident they're going to win. (In addition to Christian Ponder, who high-fived me yesterday for my motivational o-line ranking, Preston Parker also made the declarative statement they're going to win this game).

The Seminoles know, though, that this is their first true test. There are so many veteran players on the Wake Forest defense that even a veteran can get overshadowed.

While there is plenty to write about here, don't forget about that other important divisional game.

Whomever wins the Virginia Tech-North Carolina game is going to come out looking like the early frontrunner of the Coastal Division. Don't forget about those Hurricanes, though. Randy Shannon has had his team working on turnovers this past week. The question on defense, though, is if Eric Moncur will play.

Georgia Tech got a key piece of its defense back, as Vance Walker is back from a head injury.

Speaking of getting hit ...

- The effects of Kevin Barnes' hit on Cal running back Jahvid Best are still resounding in College Park. Imagine how Best feels. Really. It's all over the Internet.

- Clemson receiver Tyler Grisham is now tied with Maryland quarterback Jordan Steffy at five concussions. Seriously. Not all bad news in Clemson, though. What was once a weakness for the Tigers is now a strength.

- Has Boston College mended its bruised ego?

- UVA has plenty to work on during its bye week.

- Duke has a bye week. And there is a story in the paper about their defensive line. Yes, things have changed in Durham. 

What we learned: Week 3

September, 14, 2008
9/14/08
1:23
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With three teams off this week -- Miami, Boston College and Wake Forest -- there weren't many questions answered and just one true surprise -- Maryland.

The Terps' upset of Cal was the lone shocker, although UNC's road win against Rutgers was also impressive. Florida State did what it was supposed to do, expectations were low for Virginia without its starting quarterback, and Clemson continued to shake the ghost of Alabama. Duke beating Navy wasn't exactly an upset if you've been paying attention, and the featured game between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech could have gone either way.

There were still a few things to be gleaned, though, from the weekend:

1. Maryland can stop the run -- The Terps had to replace six starters on defense heading into the season, and defensive coordinator Chris Cosh has faced some scrutiny during his past two seasons in College Park. Saturday, though, the front seven looked impressive. Yes, Cal might have been snoozing through the first three quarters since it was playing a 9 a.m. game in its home time zone. And Pac-10 leading rusher Jahvid Best wasn't the same after he took a hard, sharp hit in the second quarter from cornerback Kevin Barnes. But the Terps held the Golden Bears to just 38 yards on 23 carries one week after Cal rushed for 391 yards in a 66-3 romp of Washington State. Maryland also recorded five sacks.

2. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will live and die by their quarterbacks' legs -- All afternoon, the duo of Josh Nesbitt and Tyrod Taylor got their respective teams out of jams with their shiftiness. Both are working behind struggling offensive lines and can make things happen on their own. They looked like mirror images of each other, neither throwing the ball more than 14 times. The Hokies are in dire need of playmakers on offense, and even lined up cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris at wideout to find one. Georgia Tech is still working out the fundamentals and technique of Paul Johnson's offense, but the main problem could be its line, save for veteran Andrew Gardner.

3. UNC reasserted itself as a legitimate contender for the Coastal Division -- The Tar Heels were picked to finish second in the division behind the Hokies, but didn't look much like a contender in their season opener against McNeese State. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech didn't exactly play stellar football on Saturday night, but North Carolina looked impressive in all three phases of the game against Rutgers. Quarterback T.J. Yates threw three touchdown passes, Hakeem Nicks caught two of them, and the defense intercepted four passes. Freshman Jay Wooten also made three field goals, making for a complete game. It was a significant improvement from Week 1.

4. Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford is emerging from Aaron Kelly's shadow -- Tommy Bowden said the staff intended to get Ford a significant amount of touches against NC State based on a strong week of practice, and they made good on their plan. Ford, finally healthy, translated his best week of practice onto the field and was the Tigers' top playmaker. He had two carries for 48 yard and caught six passes for a touchdown and a team-high 106 yards. There's a good possibility this trend will continue.

5. It's official: There's little, if any, hope for Virginia and NC State -- Expectations were low to begin with, but this is bad. Virginia has had problems on and off the field, and NC State hasn't scored an offensive touchdown against a BCS team in 13 straight quarters, dating back to 2007. Both teams have had quarterback issues, and NC State has been plagued with injuries, but that doesn't explain things like a missed extra point or the missed 26-yard field goal. Virginia's defense gave up 506 yards to Connecticut and NC State managed 288 yards against a Clemson defense that has allowed 423 yards per game this season. Since neither team has shown significant improvement in the first few weeks, why should we expect any in the next few?

Around the ACC: Practice notes

August, 12, 2008
8/12/08
8:46
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here are a few notes I didn't get to last night from around the league on Monday's practices, per each team's report (please remember not every team puts out a report):

MIAMI

* The emphasis was on special teams' coverage, specifically kickoff and punt formations, in addition to structured plays in short yardage and red zone situations.

* Randy Shannon on the progress of the quarterbacks: "They're doing well. It's no different than what it was last week -- they are executing the offense. Sometimes they'll make mistakes but for the most part, they are doing what we are asking them to do."

MARYLAND

* Chris Turner, Jordan Steffy and Josh Portis are still in competition for the starting job. Coach Ralph Friedgen said he hasn't ruled out the possibility of using more than one.

"They're all getting reps right now," Friedgen said. "(Offensive coordinator) James (Franklin) today gave them all equal reps and alternated them with the teams. We're keeping the passing stats and all that. The one thing I think is an important stat -- and maybe the most important stat -- is to keep track of who puts the ball in the end zone. That's the important stat."

* Senior cornerback Kevin Barnes made a nice pass breakup, but senior receiver Danny Oquendo caught five passes during the full-team drills, including three from Steffy.

GEORGIA TECH

* The Yellow Jackets spent a few periods working on the game plan for their season opener against Jacksonville State.

* Coach Paul Johnson said he's not bothered with the low expectations and preseason rankings for his team this season.

"That doesn't bother me," Johnson said. "That's their opinion. It's up to us to go out and prove them wrong. We have so many young guys out here, I'd be tempted to ranks us pretty low myself."

DUKE

* The status of senior running back Re'quan Boyette has not officially been determined, other than he's out indefinitely.

Checking in on practices

August, 7, 2008
8/07/08
9:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here are a few notes from Wednesday practices around the league, according to each program's daily practice report:

MARYLAND

* The secondary has to replace three of four starters from a year ago, but this group led a ramped up defensive charge in the first day of full pads. DB's Nolan Carroll, Jeff Allen and Kevin Barnes each made interceptions. Carroll produced what was perhaps the play of the day when he dove to make a shoestring catch on a pass deflected by defensive lineman Mack Frost.

* The defense implemented blitz package drills for the first time.

* Is former Florida QB Josh Portis finally making a move? Ralph Friedgen said Portis looked the best on Wednesday.

* The standout offensive play, though, came from redshirt freshman receiver Tony Logan, who caught a touchdown on a deep fade pattern, prompting offensive coordinator James Franklin to exclaim, "That's beautiful! I love these touchdowns -- the defender can't find the ball!"

CLEMSON

* It was a rough day for the Tigers, who had final exams AND a two-and-a-half hour practice in 100-degree heat.

* Highlights: A 44-yard touchdown pass from Cullen Harper to Aaron Kelly on a slant pass in the third-and-long drill. Harper was 4-5 for 72 yards for the five plays.

* Injury update: Wide receiver Jacoby Ford was upgraded to a green jersey and hopefully will be back to full speed by Saturday's first scrimmage. Starting tight end Michael Palmer missed the practice due to a pulled hamstring. Offensive tackle David Smith was still out with a dislocated toe, while wide receiver Xavier Dye was in a green jersey as he attempts to get back on the field after suffering a bruised shoulder. Rendrick Taylor was excused from practice by Tommy Bowden, so he could attend to some personal matters.

GEORGIA TECH:

* Highlights: A long run by sophomore B-back Jonathan Dwyer to the left side drew the biggest applause from fans braving the heat. Redshirt senior receiver Andrew Smith also broke a long run down the right sideline on a reverse. Tech's defense continued to make plays as well, forcing fumbles and in turn dreaded up-downs Tech players have to do after a miscue.

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