ACC: Lee Butler

ACC injury report: Week 7

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
11:00
AM ET
Here are the ACC injury reports for Week 7 from the schools that emailed them:

DUKE

Probable
Questionable
Doubtful
Out
FLORIDA STATE

Out
Out for season
MARYLAND

Out for season
Out
Probable
MIAMI

Probable
Out
Surgery/Out for season
NORTH CAROLINA

Out
VIRGINIA

Out
Questionable
Probable
Out for season
VIRGINIA TECH

Out for season
Out
Doubtful
Duke defensive coordinator Jim Knowles gave up a head-coaching job at his alma mater, Cornell, to come to Duke and take over one of the nation’s worst defenses.

That’s the kind of draw coach David Cutcliffe has to his assistants.

“That’s why I did it, because of him,” said Knowles, who also worked with Cutcliffe at Ole Miss. “He’s that kind of guy. He’s the right guy at the right time here.”

Turns out Knowles was the right guy at the right time for Duke’s defense, too. Less than three full years after he was hired, Knowles has turned his injury-laden group into one of the ACC’s more respectable defenses. As Duke prepares to face Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Saturday, it does so ranked higher than the Hokies this week in total defense, rushing defense, passes intercepted and sacks. Duke’s improvement on defense has been one of the key factors in the Blue Devils’ 5-1 start, as they are the only team in the ACC that can become bowl eligible this weekend with a win.

[+] EnlargeWalt Canty
Zumapress/Icon SMIWalt Canty (4) and the Duke defense are turning heads.
“They are starting to make plays even if they’re not in the perfect position,” Knowles said. “We all try to have the perfect defense for every play, but it doesn’t work out that way. What you need is guys who understand the system and react to what they see and things that are happening right in front of them. It’s not a video game. As coaches we want to make it into a video game and draw up the perfect blitz. We call it ‘pull your trigger.’ They’re really just starting to react to the play before it happens. That’s a product of being in the system. That’s the way you get better.”

Duke, which gave up 180 rushing yards per game last year, is allowing fewer than 130 yards (and 3.7 yard per carry) this year. Duke already has more sacks from its defensive front (13.5) than it did all last season (12).

Duke -- a program usually filled with a bunch of polite players -- is finally looking a little mean, not to mention more comfortable in Knowles’ 4-2-5 scheme.

“From last year to this year, I feel like we’re playing more aggressive,” said safety Walt Canty, who had 14 tackles, including three for loss in last week’s 42-17 win over Virginia. “Last year it was still kind of a new system. This year we’re more familiar with it, and there are a lot of older guys, and a lot of leaders on the field.

“That’s one of our focuses on defense. We want to come out and try and be as aggressive as possible and try and force the offense into doing things they don’t want to do.”

So far, so good. Duke is tied for second in the ACC in turnovers gained with 12.

What makes Duke’s defensive progress all the more impressive is how many injuries to key players they’ve had to overcome. In years' past, the program wouldn’t have been able to do it because of a lack of depth and talent. The recruiting has improved, though, and there is no longer as much of a drop-off from the first- to the second-string defense.

Safety Jordon Byas missed the first three games after preseason knee surgery. Starters Brandon Braxton and Lee Butler were injured early in the Wake game. Starter August Campbell was hurt and then left the team. Backups Corbin McCarthy, Taylor Sowell, Jared Boyd and Chris Tavarez have all been hurt.

“It could have been devastating,” Knowles said. “It really could have been devastating.”

The secondary, which was hit the hardest by injuries, has also been one of the most improved groups on the defense. Last year, Duke ranked either last or next to last in the ACC in every significant defensive category. This year, the Blue Devils rank fourth in total defense and fifth in pass efficiency defense.

“Coach Cutcliffe has really built a great program,” Knowles said. “We’re at a point where the players are starting to believe. All coaches talk about that next-man-up philosophy, and that’s hard to get to when you’re struggling to build a program, but at some point it clicks. The guys who step in there are just expected to do it instead of people wondering if they’re going to make a mistake. That’s the growth and maturity of the program in general.”

Week 6 injury reports

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
11:00
AM ET
Here are the ACC injury reports from the schools that emailed them:

CLEMSON

WILL PLAY

WR Sammy Watkins (virus)

C Dalton Freeman (thumb)

PROBABLE

OG Kalon Davis (hamstring)

OUT

WR Martavis Bryant (groin)

RB D.J. Howard (shoulder)

OUT FOR SEASON

DB Martin Jenkins (hernia)

CB Tony McNeal (torn ACL)

LB Justin Parker (groin)

DUKE

PROBABLE

LB David Helton (leg)

QUESTIONABLE

CB Lee Butler (lower body)

QB Sean Renfree (arm)

DT Jamal Wallace (lower body)

OUT

CB Jared Boyd (leg)

S Brandon Braxton (upper body)

LB Kelby Brown (leg)

NG Jamal Bruce (foot)

TE Braxton Deaver (leg)

DE Justin Foxx (hand)

S Chris Tavarez (leg)

OUT FOR SEASON

TE Jack Farrell (leg)

WR Blair Holliday

DE Allen Jackson (shoulder)

S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder)

S Taylor Sowell (leg)

FLORIDA STATE

OUT

DB Justin Bright (head)

LB Ukeme Eligwe (hand)

OL Garrett Faircloth (hip)

OL Daniel Foose (back)

DT Moses McCray (head)

DT Derrick Mitchell (back)

OL Trey Pettis (head)

OUT FOR THE SEASON

DB Colin Blake (shoulder)

DE Chris Casher (knee)

TE Dan Hicks (knee)

DE Brandon Jenkins (foot)

DT Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)

RB Mario Pender (sports hernia)

MARYLAND

PROBABLE

WR Kerry Boykins (hamstring)

LB Kenneth Tate (knee)

DL Joe Vellano (foot)

QUESTIONABLE

DB Matt Robinson (groin)

OUT

PK/P Nick Ferrara (hip)

OUT FOR SEASON

QB C.J. Brown (knee)

DL Andre Monroe (knee)

MIAMI

OUT

DL Curtis Porter (upper extremity)

DB Rayshawn Jenkins (upper extremity)

DL Olsen Pierre (upper extremity)

OL Ben Jones (lower extremity)

OUT FOR THE SEASON

WR Malcolm Lewis (lower extremity)

LB Ramon Buchanan (lower extremity)

LS Sean McNally (lower extremity)

NORTH CAROLINA

OUT

RB Connor Gonet

OL T.J. Leifheit

LB Darius Lipford

RB Travis Riley

PK Miller Snyder

WR T.J. Thorpe

NC STATE

OUT

OT Rob Crisp (lower back)

OG Andrew Wallace (foot)

RB James Washington (ankle)

OUT FOR THE SEASON

OG Zach Allen (foot)

DT Jacob Kahut (knee)

LB Michael Peek (knee)

VIRGINIA

PROBABLE

OT Oday Aboushi (upper extremity)

DT Will Hill (medical)

S Brandon Phelps (upper extremity)

DOUBTFUL

WR Tim Smith (lower extremity)

OUT

DE Billy Schautz (lower extremity)

DT Buddy Ruff (medical)

S Darius Lee (lower extremity)

OUT FOR THE SEASON

S Pablo Alvarez

LB Adam Caplinger

DT Marco Jones

S David Marrs

WR Mario Nixon

VIRGINIA TECH

PROBABLE

DT Luther Maddy (ankle)

WR Christian Reeves (hamstring)

G David Wang (ankle)

DOUBTFUL

RB Tony Gregory (knee)

OUT

WR Joshua Stanford (knee)

OUT FOR SEASON

OT Nick Acree (knee)

WR D.J. Coles (knee)

Week 5 injury reports

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
11:00
AM ET
Here are the ACC injury reports from the schools that emailed them:

DUKE

PROBABLE

CB Lee Butler (leg)

OG Lucas Patrick (ankle)

QUESTIONABLE

QB Brandon Connette (leg)

TE Erich Schneider (lower body)

OUT

CB Jared Boyd (leg)

LB Kelby Brown (leg)

NG Jamal Bruce (foot)

TE Braxton Deaver (leg)

DE Justin Foxx (hand)

S Chris Tavarez (leg)

OUT FOR SEASON

TE Jack Farrell (leg)

WR Blair Holliday

DE Allen Jackson (shoulder)

S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder)

S Taylor Sowell (leg)

FLORIDA STATE

OUT

S Justin Bright (head)

DE Chris Casher (knee)

LB Ukeme Eligwe (hand)

OL Garrett Faircloth (hip)

OL Daniel Foose (back)

DT Moses McCray (head)

DT Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)

DR Derrick Mitchell (back)

OUT FOR SEASON

DB Colin Blake (shoulder)

TE Dan Hicks (knee)

DE Brandon Jenkins (foot)

RB Mario Pender (sports hernia)

MIAMI

PROBABLE

Raphael Kirby-Lower extremity

OUT

Denzel Perryman-Lower Extremity

SURGERY/OUT FOR SEASON

Ramon Buchanan-Lower Extremity

Malcolm Lewis-Lower Extremity

Sean McNally-Lower Extremity

NC STATE

OUT FOR SEASON

Jacob Kahut, DT - knee

Michael Peek, LB - knee

OUT FOR GAME

Rob Crisp, OT - lower back

Andrew Wallace, OT - foot

James Washington, HB - ankle

VIRGINIA TECH

OUT FOR SEASON

Nick Acree (knee)

D.J. Coles (knee)

OUT

Tony Gregory (knee)

Joshua Stanford (knee)

PROBABLE

David Wang (ankle)

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
12:00
PM ET
That was an exciting final 10 minutes of football.

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage reports

August, 20, 2012
8/20/12
10:00
AM ET
Not every school in the ACC gives scrimmage reports, but for those that do, we will gladly post the highlights. Here's a look back at what happened in the ACC this weekend, according to each school's report:

Boston College

Offensive highlights: Junior receiver Alex Amidon had seven catches for 84 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown reception, in the situational scrimmage Sunday. The scrimmage featured six end-of-half/fourth-quarter situations with limited time on the clock and a limited number of timeouts. Chase Rettig went 18-of-32 for 168 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Defensive highlights: Justin Simmons had two interceptions off second-team quarterback Josh Bordner. Manuel Asprilla intercepted Rettig at the goal line, and linebacker Nick Clancy intercepted a Rettig pass that was deflected by Mehdi Abdesmad a few plays later.

Special teams: Gerald Levano punted four times and averaged nearly 48 yards per punt. His first punt landed at the 2-yard line, while his second attempt went 60 yards. Kicker Nate Freese made his only field goal attempt, from 40 yards, and is now 6-for-6 on field goal attempts in the preseason.

Quotable: “We got a lot of nice young guys on this football team, and if they come through and play well, good things can happen, and Justin [Simmons] is one of them,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “He’s as advertised. We did our homework and everything that you do on kids. He’s a good prospect.”

Clemson

Offensive highlights: Tajh Boyd threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, while Martavis Bryant had four catches for 97 yards and had two touchdowns. Boyd was 13-of-22 for 218 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Backup Cole Stoudt went 4-of-9 for 61 yards and led a touchdown drive on his first possession. Andre Ellington had an 8-yard touchdown run, while Roderick McDowell led all running backs for a second straight scrimmage with 65 yards on four carries.

Defensive highlights: Coach Dabo Swinney praised the defensive line, where Josh Watson, Grady Jarrett and DeShawn Williams made plays. Xavier Brewer made a brilliant breakup of a long pass and added five tackles. Jonathan Meeks added an interception. Tony Steward made a big play with a 25-yard interception return.

Special teams: Williams had a blocked a field goal. Backup kicker Spence Benton made a 53-yard kick that could have been good from 63 yards.

Quotable: “We have two weeks to get dialed in,” Swinney said. “We are going to turn the page on Monday after our last two-a-day (practices) and start getting ready for Auburn. We will have our guys penciled in on where they need to be.”

Duke

Offensive highlights: Quarterback Brandon Connette caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sean Renfree and ran for another in a 95-snap, controlled scrimmage Friday night at Wallace Wade Stadium. Renfree went 14-of-21 for 116 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Freshman Shaquille Powell had eight carries for 30 yards, while Jela Duncan had 28 yards on nine attempts. Garrett Patterson, who moved from defensive back to receiver this week during practice, had five receptions for 80 yards.

Defensive highlights: Cornerbacks Lee Butler and Tony Foster each had interceptions while linebacker Deion Williams recovered one fumble. Freshman defensive end Michael Mann had one sack and one forced fumble.

Special teams highlights: Freshman kicker Ross Martin made field goals of 43 and 48 yards and converted his only extra-point attempt.

Georgia Tech

Offensive highlights: Broderick Snoddy had a 70-yard touchdown run on the second series, while quarterback Vad Lee threw two touchdowns to A-back B.J. Bostic. Lee later added a touchdown run as he continues to work at quarterback and A-back. Synjyn Days and freshman Justin Thomas also took snaps at quarterback, and each led scoring drives.

Defensive highlights: Nick Menocal had an interception he nearly returned for a touchdown. Jimmie Kitchen recovered a fumble, while defensive lineman Anthony Williams had two sacks.

Special teams highlights: Justin Moore had a 29-yard field goal, while David Scully made a 31-yard field goal and all five of his extra-point attempts. There was no punting on Saturday.

Quotable: “The guys are ready to play someone else,” quarterback Tevin Washington said. “We’ve been hitting each other for two weeks and all summer doing drills against each other. Guys are just ready to go and get some new faces in front of us.”

Maryland

Freshman Stefon Diggs continued to impress, as he had three first-half touchdowns -- a 68-yard punt return, a 98-yard kickoff return and an 11-yard reception. Quarterback Perry Hills ran the first-team offense and led Maryland to scores on three of his five drives.

On the opening drive, Hills took the Terps on an 18-play, 76-yard touchdown drive, He went 5-of-6 for 27 yards on the drive and also rushed for 36 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run.

"I thought Perry [Hills] had a good day," coach Randy Edsall said. "I thought he did some good things. Of course there's going to be plenty of things that he could learn from, and get better, but I think that we didn't have any issues with delay of game, really didn't have any false starts. When you talk about the mechanics and the operation of the offense I thought he handled it really well."

Miami

The Hurricanes' scrimmage Saturday was cut short in the middle of the second quarter because of lightning in the area. Among the highlights in the abbreviated scrimmage: Mike James and Duke Johnson each had touchdown runs, and Kelvin Cain recorded a sack in the end zone for a safety.

Virginia Tech

Offensive highlights: Logan Thomas went 8-of-15 for 112 yards and a score, while backup Mark Leal went 6-of-16 for 111 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Kevin Asante led all receivers with four catches for 79 yards, while Corey Fuller caught three passes for 68 yards. The Hokies also rushed for 174 yards. J.C. Coleman played with a broken hand and had 54 yards -- 52 coming on one run -- and Trey Edmunds added 45. Tony Gregory rushed for 36 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown run. Projected starter Michael Holmes had three carries for 21 yards.

Defensive highlights: The projected first-team defense allowed a little more than 120 yards in four series (24 plays) and gave up just two field goals. Walk-on Zach Snell had six tackles, while Ronny Vandyke had five. Desmond Frye and Antone Exum each recorded four. The defense had five total sacks and Bruce Taylor had an interception.

Special teams highlights: Cody Journell made two field goals and missed one, while Brooks Abbott made one and had a 37-yarder blocked by Kyle Fuller.

Quotable: “I thought it was one of the more productive offensive first scrimmages we’ve had around here,” coach Frank Beamer said. “I think we did some good things, and I think we’ll see some things we can improve. Overall, I think the effort was good. I always say this, but it’s hard to come out pleased because if the offense makes plays, you’re worried about your defense. If the defense makes plays, you’re worried about your offense. Overall, I thought it was a good first scrimmage.”

ACC's INT artists

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
4:30
PM ET
The ACC has an impressive, under-the-radar streak going on that could be difficult to continue this fall. Last year, NC State cornerback David Amerson led the nation with 13 interceptions, the highest total for an FBS player since 1968. Thanks to Amerson, an ACC player has now won or shared the national lead in total pass interceptions in four of the last five seasons:

NCAA leaders in pass interceptions

2011: David Amerson, NC State (13, 1.00/gm)

2010: Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (9, 0.69/gm)

2008: Trimane Goddard, UNC (7, 0.54); Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest (7, 0.54); Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (7, 0.54) (tied in total interceptions with 4 others)

2007: Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest (8, 0.62) (tied with Cincinnati's DeAngelo Smith and Troy's Elbert Mack in total interceptions)

Can the ACC keep it up? Here's a look at the returning leaders who had at least four interceptions last year:
Don't forget about Merrill Noel at Wake Forest, who led the league with 21 passes defended. Here's a look at the ACC's spring all-star checklist for 2012 defensive backs:

Cornerbacks
Safeties
Duke's spring season will end at 1 p.m. this Saturday, when the Blue Devils take the field at Wallace Wade Stadium for their spring game. I caught up with coach David Cutcliffe over the phone earlier this week to talk about injuries, expectations and the next step for the program.

What would count as a successful spring for you guys, and how close do you think you are to that with just a few days left?

David Cutcliffe: We've had an unusual spring. We've had a lot of starters that have missed the entire spring. So it put us in a little different light. Brian Moore, Conner Vernon, Braxton Deaver, Kenny Anunike, Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo, Kelby Brown, August Campbell, all guys that were returning starters. Desmond Scott on offense. So they've miss the entire spring and it's been difficult in that regard. So what was successful was to go out and kind of think players. Not plays, not systems. And see if we could go from kind of Point A to B with a lot of younger players and some of our more experienced players that are out there just being able to go to another level. So kind of really evaluated our team by evaluating individuals. So to this point I would tell you we've had a very successful spring in that regard. I think we've made more improvement with more players than any spring since we've had since we've been here. Hopefully when we get everybody available that computes to a much better football team, because with our schedule, Matt, it's going to take that.

[+] EnlargeDuke's David Cutcliffe
Mark Dolejs/US PRESSWIRE"This is a good team," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said, "now you just got to go win games, and that sounds simple, but that's about how simple it is."
That was going to get to my next point. Injuries aside, you obviously return a lot of starters. How important was it to build depth this spring and how much did you learn about some of those younger guys?

DC: I think it's been good. Right now we've got a good football team. And what we have learned here, at this point, we've been really, pretty good here. The record hasn't indicated anything. We've played a lot of good football. So there's another level we're hunting, and that's the next step for Duke football. Everybody asks you all the time: When is it going to come through? Well it already kind of has come through. This is a good team, now you just got to go win games, and that sounds simple, but that's about how simple it is.

You've said before publicly that good isn't good enough. What will it take for Duke to make the next step?

DC: I think that where you get into making critical plays. We need maybe some great playmakers that can do that to that level on a consistent basis, if you think about the teams winning in our league, there's a number of great playmakers. You just take the two teams that played for the championship. They had guys, both of them, had guys that just made great plays at critical times in critical opportunities, and they did it time and time again. We played Virginia Tech. We know at quarterback and at running back and [Jarrett] Boykin at receiver, and there were defensive players that made those critical plays. And you certainly look at Clemson, and they had the most playmakers in the league. And I think we've made great strides there in the recruiting parts of things and for us to go from being just a good team, we've got to have guys make some great plays for us at critical times that win games, and we haven't had enough of that, quite frankly. I think we have more of those guys and we're more equipped -- I don't think it, I know we're more equipped than we've ever been. I'm really excited and looking forward to seeing this team play.

Sean Renfree, Conner Vernon -- you have a lot of skill players returning. How high offensively do you set the bar?

DC: I would expect us to play very high. All of our backs have played. We have three quarterbacks that have played a lot. Not many people have that — certainly a starter in Sean Renfree that's very, very experienced. But [Anthony] Boone and [Brandon] Connette are as well. With Conner Vernon and Jamison Crowder and Blair Holliday, it allowed us to move Brandon Braxton to safety. But all of our receivers have played, and played well. Deaver at tight end, and we get him back. But we've got some young tight ends that are exciting, that have made plays all spring. I think our weapons are far deeper, and I think the beauty of all that is our line is kind of maturing at the same time those other guys are maturing. So I look for us to be much better offensively in production.

What did you take away from the scrimmage this past weekend?

DC: Again, thinking players, we had on both sides of the ball some huge plays made. Walt Canty in the secondary, [Lee] Butler and [Ross] Cockrell, people that have played again. Jordon Byas is playing the best football. Our secondary made some big plays. Up front Jamal Bruce and Dezmond Johnson and Sydney Sarmiento, and guys made big plays in the game. And then on offense just about everybody got in on the look. All the quarterbacks. Renfree had a big day, but David Reeves and Issac Blakeney, these young tight ends. Then Holliday, Crowder, Tyree Watkins -- just the people we had available to us made huge plays. And then our backs. Having Josh Snead back healthy, and Juwan Thompson, those two really got your attention Saturday. So I just felt good about the number of people that were contributing, and it was pretty well-played on both sides of the ball.

What would a bowl game mean for your players?

DC: There's no question that's part of the goal. What it would mean for me is not just these players but there's some vindication for the amount of work that's gone in to what we've done here with all the players that we've had in recent times. And certainly this staff, who, they're very close to each other. And this is an exceptional staff. All of the staff and the families, and then certainly the people, the fans of Duke football that have endured a long drought. It's a big deal, and it should be a big deal around here. And I don't think an average team with this schedule can be a bowl team. We can't be average; we've go to be well above average. You've got the schedule, you know what I'm saying is accurate. I'm not making an excuse, I'm just stating a fact: We're not going to be good enough if we're average.

How do you tell your players that? How do you get them to buy into that and know that it will take more than a typical performance from them this season?

DC: I've told them that. All I had to do was kind of just put the schedule, and just start writing up on the board and tell them that a lot of lesser people than them would crumble under this. You start looking at, we're playing Clemson, Florida State, not to leave anybody out. Miami and Florida State are two of the more talented teams in the country every year. Stanford. North Carolina's been as talented as anybody I know of in the country the last few years. Virginia Tech, Virginia. I could go on. Opening up with an FIU team that's a bowl team the last two years, all kinds of talent on that team. South Florida talent. We've got a lot of people that have played a lot of football. They know what's in front of them. And you've got to push and strive and do what you got to do to get past it. And I think this team is really looking forward to that challenge. Rather than worrying about it, I think they're looking forward to the opportunity that exists with it.

Coastal Division spring previews

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
10:00
AM ET
DUKE

Spring practice start date: Feb. 22
Spring game: March 31

What to watch:
  • The defense in the second season under coordinator Jim Knowles. The Blue Devils should be more comfortable in the 4-2-5 alignment that uses three safeties, but they lost their top safety, Matt Daniels. Will the comfort level of the rest of the defense help compensate for the departure of the team’s top defensive playmaker? More players have a better understanding of the system and philosophy.
  • The health of the team. For Duke to stand a chance at reaching a bowl game, it must have its top players healthy. Guys like defensive end Kenny Anunike, linebacker Kelby Brown and safety Lee Butler have all proved they can make plays, but how quickly will they regain their form?
  • The running game. The offensive line should be deeper, more athletic and more competitive than in past years, and the running game should follow suit. Two of the highest-rated recruits in Duke’s 2012 class were running backs, but will the Blue Devils have to wait until summer camp to see a difference?
GEORGIA TECH

Spring practice start date: March 26
Spring game: April 20

What to watch:
  • The quarterback competition. There’s no question that Tevin Washington is the undisputed starter heading into the spring, but coach Paul Johnson has said he expects backups Vad Lee and Synjyn Days to push Washington. Finding the No. 2 will be a priority this offseason, but will either play well enough to unseat Washington?
  • The status of LB Julian Burnett. He has been the Jackets’ leading tackler, but he also has a medical condition or injury that Johnson won’t comment on publicly. Johnson has said he’ll leave it up to Burnett, but signs are pointing toward his inability to play.
  • The defensive progress. Some Georgia Tech fans were expecting more in the second season of Al Groh’s 3-4 defense, and Johnson is also among those hoping to see more progress this offseason. Groh has to replace two of three starters on the defensive line.
MIAMI

Spring practice start date: March 3
Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • The offensive overhaul. The coordinator is the same; it’s the players who will change. How do you replace eight starters on offense? How will the young players contribute and where? The Canes need to replace their leading rusher from a year ago, Lamar Miller, and their starting quarterback, Jacory Harris.
  • The quarterback competition. Is Stephen Morris ready to take over the offense, or will Ryan Williams, Gray Crow or Preston Dewey win the job from him? Morris is the most experienced quarterback in the system, but Williams probably would have pushed Harris for the starting job last year if he didn’t have to sit out for a season per NCAA transfer rules.
  • The new leader on defense. Miami will lose five starters on defense, but none of them had quite the leadership impact as linebacker Sean Spence. Who will be the new coach on the field for the Canes, not to mention compensate for the loss of Spence’s playmaking abilities?
NORTH CAROLINA

Spring practice start date: March 14
Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Buying in. It shouldn’t take much longer than spring practice to know whether the Tar Heels have bought in to first-year coach Larry Fedora, his staff and the changes they plan to make. Fedora has said he’s changing just about everything within the program, including offensive and defensive schemes.
  • How the defense will look in the new scheme with new faces. UNC will switch to a 4-2-5 scheme, which will allow it to have multiple fronts and looks and go from four down linemen to three without subs. The Heels will need more defensive backs and more hybrid players who can play linebacker/safety and linebacker/defensive end. Will they find them this spring?
  • An exciting offense. As good as the offensive line was last season, it should be even better this season with four starters returning and untapped potential at center. And if quarterback Bryn Renner had a 3,000-yard, record-setting season with bone spurs in his ankle, how much better can he be after his surgery?
VIRGINIA

Spring practice start date: March 19
Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Kicking competitions. They’re all gone -- the placekicker, punter and kickoff specialist. When you lose all three of them, it’s a question mark. The Hoos have some options but no answers.
  • Defensive replacements. Virginia has to replace seven starters on defense, including veterans like defensive end Cam Johnson and cornerback Chase Minnifield. Two of the three starting linebackers return, but the secondary is filled with guys who played sparingly or redshirted last year.
  • The next go-to receiver. Virginia has several young, talented receivers, but which one of them will emerge as the go-to player for quarterback Michael Rocco? Kris Burd leaves the biggest shoes to fill on the offense.
VIRIGNIA TECH

Spring practice start date: March 28
Spring game: April 21

What to watch:
  • Life without David Wilson. Virginia Tech begins the spring in search of its next great running back, as Wilson left early for the NFL draft, and his backup, Josh Oglesby, has graduated. True freshman J.C. Coleman and redshirt freshman Michael Holmes will be the top two options, as Tony Gregory will be out to recover from surgery on his knee.
  • New-look offensive line. Adding to the offensive uncertainty is the fact that Virginia Tech must replace four starters on the offensive line. All four were redshirt seniors, and there are likely to be growing pains while trying to compensate for the loss of their leadership and knowledge.
  • Secondary replacements. The Hokies will be challenged to find replacements for Jayron Hosley and Eddie Whitley in the secondary. Whitley had played cornerback, rover, outside linebacker and free safety during his career. Hosley, who led the nation in interceptions in 2010, decided to leave early for the NFL draft.

Offseason spotlight: Duke

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
10:30
AM ET
Our offseason spotlight series continues today with Duke. A reminder: This series features individual players, position groups and coaches who really need to have big offseasons -- starting this spring.

Spotlight: Defensive back Lee Butler, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, rising redshirt senior.

2011 summary: Butler played in the first four games of the year before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury against Tulane. Prior to the injury, he had four total tackles along with one interception return of 76 yards for a touchdown against Stanford. Butler also was Duke’s leading punt return specialist, taking back seven kicks for a 9.4 yards per return average. Butler’s injury left a playmaking void in Duke’s secondary, and the Blue Devils went on to finish tied for 11th in the ACC with just six interceptions and were last in the conference in pass efficiency defense.

The skinny: Butler has 113 career tackles, three interceptions and 12 pass breakups in 38 career games. He’s a versatile defensive back who has played cornerback and safety for Duke and gives defensive coordinator Jim Knowles the luxury of inserting him at either spot in 2012. Butler, who also is a threat in the return game with 35 career punt returns for an 8.6 yards per return average, has resumed full-speed workouts this offseason. He’s also a two-time academic all-ACC selection.

More in this series:

ACC injury reports: Week 12

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
10:30
AM ET
Here are this week's injury reports from the schools that released them:

CLEMSON

Out


DE Joe Gore (knee)
LB Tony Steward (knee)
OT Philip Price (knee)

Questionable


WR Sammy Watkins (shoulder)

Probable


CB Darius Robinson (hamstring)

DUKE

Probable

WR Brandon Braxton (upper body)
OT Takoby Cofield (upper body)
CB Zach Greene (leg)
WR Conner Vernon (leg)

Questionable

LB Kelby Brown (leg)
WR Jamison Crowder (leg)
WR Tyree Watkins (leg)

Doubtful

DE Justin Foxx (leg)
LB C.J. France (upper body)
LB Kevin Rojas (lower body)
CB Johnny Williams (upper body)

Out

S Lee Butler (leg)
QB Brandon Connette (upper body)
DE Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo (leg)
C Brian Moore (upper body)

Out for season

DE Kenny Anunike (leg)
TE Jack Farrell (leg)
OT Kyle Hill (shoulder)

FLORIDA STATE

Out

Willie Haulstead (head)
Henry Orelus (head)
Darious Cummings (hand)
Andrew Datko (shoulder)
Moses McCray (knee)

Out for season

Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
Chris Thompson (back)

GEORGIA TECH

Out

LB Morgan Carter
AB Orwin Smith

Out for season

S Fred Holton
DL Jimmie Kitchen
S Lance Richardson

MARYLAND

Out for season

WR Tyrek Cheeseboro
DB Makinton Dorleant
OL Andrew Gonnella
DB Avery Graham
LB Garrett Lederman
QB Danny O'Brien
DB Matt Robinson
DL Isaiah Ross
TE Dave Stinebaugh
LB Kenny Tate

Out

LB Alex Twine

Doubtful

OL Bennett Fulper

Probable

OL Max Garcia
RB Justus Pickett
RB Jeremiah Wilson

MIAMI

Probable

Marcus Robinson (upper extremity)

Out

Luther Robinson (lower extremity)
Rashawn Scott (upper extremity)
Jordan Futch (upper extremity)
Lee Chambers (upper extremity)
Davon Johnson (lower extremity)

Surgery/Out for season

Blake Ayles (upper extremity)
Ramon Buchanan (lower extremity)
Marcus Forston (lower extremity)
Erik Lichter (upper extremity)
Corey White (lower extremity)

NC STATE

Out for season

CB Jarvis Byrd, (knee)
FB Taylor Gentry (foot)
LB D.J. Green (foot)
HB Mustafa Greene (foot)
LB Sterling Lucas (knee)
DE Jeff Rieskamp (shoulder)

Questionable


DT Markus Kuhn (abdomen)

VIRGINIA

Out

Pablo Alvarez (upper extremity)
David Marrs (lower extremity)
Charlie Richards (upper extremity)
E.J. Scott (medical)
Bobby Smith (lower extremity)
Tyler Smith (lower extremity)
Matt Snyder (lower extremity)
Michael Terrell (lower extremity)
Joseph Williams (lower extremity)

Questionable


Kyle McCartin (upper extremity)

Probable


Rodney McLeod (lower extremity)
Kevin Parks (lower extremity)
Colter Phillips (lower extremity)

WAKE FOREST

QUESTIONABLE

RB Josh Harris (hamstring)

OUT

DT John Gallagher (back)

OUT FOR THE YEAR

OT Dylan Heartsil (back)
CB Dominique Tate (knee)
LB Kyle Jarrett (hip)
WR Airyn Willis (shoulder)

Week 11 injury reports

November, 11, 2011
11/11/11
10:30
AM ET
Here are your injury reports for the schools that reported them in Week 11:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Out

WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee)
DB CJ Jones (knee)
DT Connor Wujciak (shoulder)
RB Montel Harris (knee)
DT Kaleb Ramsey (foot)
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (leg)
DB Jim Noel (ankle)
LN Nick Clancy (knee)

Questionable

DE Dan Williams (shoulder)
DB Spenser Rositano (leg)

Probable

RB Andre Williams (abdomen)
RB Tahj Kimble (head)

CLEMSON

Out
Joe Gore, DE, Knee
Tony Steward, LB, Knee

Questionable
Spencer Benton, PK, shoulder

Will play
Andre Ellington, RB, ankle

DUKE

Probable

DE Justin Foxx (leg)
CB Zach Greene (leg)
CB Johnny Williams (leg)

Questionable

LB Kelby Brown (leg)

Doubtful

WR Jamison Crowder (leg)

Out

S Lee Butler (leg)
QB Brandon Connette (upper body)
C Brian Moore (upper body)

Out for season

TE Jack Farrell (leg)
DE Kenny Anunike (leg)

FLORIDA STATE

Out

Andrew Datko (shoulder)
Willie Haulstead (head)
Henry Orelus (head)
Darious Cummings (hand)

Out for season

Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
Chris Thompson (back)

Probable

David Spurlock (knee)
Rashad Greene (ankle)
Bryan Stork (head)

MIAMI

Out

Luther Robinson-Lower Extremity
Curtis Porter-Upper Extremity
Rashawn Scott-Upper Extremity
Jordan Futch-Upper Extremity

Surgery/Out for season

Marcus Forston-Lower Extremity
Ramon Buchanan-Lower Extremity
Corey White-Lower Extremity
Erik Lichter-Upper Extremity
Blake Ayles-Upper Extremity

NC STATE

Out for season

Jarvis Byrd, CB - Knee
D.J. Green, LB- Foot
Mustafa Greene, HB - Foot
Sterling Lucas, LB - Knee
Jeff Rieskamp, DE- Shoulder

Out for game

Taylor Gentry, FB - Foot
Jake Kahut, DE - Knee
Brandon Pittman, LB- Hamstring

Questionable

R.J. Mattes, OT - Ankle

VIRGINIA

Out
Pablo Alvarez, (upper extremity)
Charlie Richards, (upper extremity)
E.J. Scott, (medical)
Bobby Smith, (lower extremity)
Tyler Smith, (lower extremity)
Matt Snyder, (lower extremity)
Michael Terrell, (lower extremity)
W.J. Williams, (lower extremity)

Probable

Luke Bowanko (upper extremity)
Thompson Brown (medical)
Cam Johnson (lower extremity)
Rodney McLeod (lower extremity)
Colter Phillips (lower extremity)
Draquan Romero (lower extremity)

Week 10 injury reports

November, 4, 2011
11/04/11
10:30
AM ET
Here are the injury reports from the schools that reported them this week:

DUKE

Probable

S Walt Canty (upper body)
S Matt Daniels (upper body)
CB Zach Greene (leg)

Questionable

DT Jamal Bruce (leg)
CB Johnny Williams (leg)

Out

S Lee Butler (leg)
QB Brandon Connette (upper body)

Out for season

TE Jack Farrell (leg)
DE Kenny Anunike (leg)

MARYLAND

Out for season

WR Tyrek Cheeseboro
DB Makinton Dorleant
OL Andrew Gonnella
DB Avery Graham
LB Garrett Lederman
DB Matt Robinson
DL Isaiah Ross
TE Dave Stinebaugh
LB Kenny Tate

Out

DL Cody Blue

Doubtful

DL Justin Anderson

Questionable

DL Clarence Murphy

MIAMI

Probable

Jon Feliciano-Lower Extremity

Out

Luther Robinson-Lower Extremity
Shayon Green-Lower Extremity
Curtis Porter-Upper Extremity
Rashawn Scott-Upper Extremity

Surgery/Out for season

Marcus Forston-Lower Extremity
Ramon Buchanan-Lower Extremity
Corey White-Lower Extremity
Erik Lichter-Upper Extremity
Blake Ayles-Upper Extremity

NORTH CAROLINA

Out

Casey Barth, PK Thigh
TJ Leifheit, OT Ankle
Matt Merletti, FS Knee
Norkeithus Otis, LB Thigh
Devon Ramsay, FB Knee
Reggie Wilkins, WR Ankle

Questionable
DJ Bunn, SS Knee
Mark McNeill, WR Hip

NC STATE

Out for season

Jarvis Byrd - Knee
Mustafa Greene - Foot
Sterling Lucas - Knee
Jeff Rieskamp - Shoulder

Out

Taylor Gentry - Foot
D.J. Green - Foot
Jake Kahut - Knee
Brandon Pittman - Leg

Questionable

Thomas Teal - Foot

VIRGINIA

Out

Pablo Alvarez (upper extremity)
Charlie Richards (upper extremity)
Daquan Romero (lower extremity)
E.J. Scott (medical)
Bobby Smith (lower extremity)
Tyler Smith (lower extremity)
Matt Snyder (lower extremity)
Michael Terrell (lower extremity)
Joseph Williams (lower extremity)

Questionable
Cam Johnson (lower extremity)

Probable
Sean Cascarano (trunk)
Matt Conrath (lower extremity)
Kevin Parks (upper extremity)

ACC injury reports: Week 9

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
10:30
AM ET
Here are the latest injury reports from the schools that reported them:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Out
WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee)
DB CJ Jones (knee)
DT Connor Wujciak (shoulder)
TB Montel Harris (knee)
DT Kaleb Ramsey (foot)
DT Dillon Quinn (shoulder)
OG Nate Richman (back)
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (leg)
DE Dan Williams (leg)

Doubtful
DT Conor O’Neal (illness)

Questionable
WR Bobby Swigert (shoulder)

CLEMSON

Out
Joe Gore, DE, Knee
Spencer Benton, PK, shoulder
Tony Steward, LB, Knee

Questionable
Andre Ellington, RB, ankle
Note: D.J. Howard will start at running back.

DUKE

Probable
WR Brandon Braxton (head)
S Matt Daniels (leg)
OG Dave Harding (leg)
QB Sean Renfree (leg)

Questionable
DE Justin Foxx (leg)

Doubtful
CB Johnny Williams (leg)

Out
S Lee Butler (leg)
QB Brandon Connette

Out for season
TE Jack Farrell (leg)
DE Kenny Anunike (leg)

FLORIDA STATE

Out
Andrew Datko (shoulder)
David Spurlock (knee)
Henry Orelus (head)
Moses McCray (knee)
Darious Cummings (hand)
Willie Haulstead (head)
Josh Gehres (knee)

Doubtful
Rashad Greene (ankle)

Out for season
Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
Chris Thompson (back)

GEORGIA TECH

Out
Jay Finch, C
Tyler Morgan, LS

Out for season
Fred Holton, S
Jimmie Kitchen, DL
Lance Richardson, S

MARYLAND

Out for season
WR Tyrek Cheeseboro
OL Andrew Gonnella
DB Avery Graham
LB Garrett Lederman
DB Matt Robinson
DL Isaiah Ross
TE Dave Stinebaugh
LB Kenny Tate

Out
WR Kevin Dorsey
OL Justin Gilbert
DB Jeremiah Johnson;

Doubtful
DL Justin Anderson

Questionable WR/PR Tony Logan
DL Andre Monroe

Probable
OL Max Garcia

NORTH CAROLINA

Out
Casey Barth, PK Thigh
Sean Fitzpatrick, TE Concussion
Kiaro Holts, OT Wrist
Matt Merletti, FS Knee
Devon Ramsay, FB Knee
Reggie Wilkins, WR Ankle

Questionable
Curtis Byrd, RB Knee
T.J. Leifheit, OT Ankle

Probable
Cam Holland, OC Back
Dwight Jones, WR Thigh
Kevin Reddick, LB Chest

NC STATE

Out for season
Jarvis Byrd, CB - knee
Mustafa Greene, HB - foot
Sterling Lucas, LB - knee

Out
Brandon Pittman, LB - leg
Taylor Gentry, FB - foot
Jake Kahut, DE - knee
Jeff Rieskamp, DE - shoulder
Thomas Teal, DT - foot

VIRGINIA TECH

Out for season
Kwamaine Battle (knee)
Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot)
Antoine Hopkins (knee)
Dyrell Roberts (arm)
E.L. Smiling (wrist)
Bruce Taylor (foot)

Out
Mark Shuman (knee/ankle)
Alonzo Tweedy (ankle)

ACC injury reports: Week 8

October, 21, 2011
10/21/11
10:00
AM ET
BOSTON COLLEGE

Out
WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee)
DB CJ Jones (knee)
DT Connor Wujciak (shoulder)
TB Montel Harris (knee)
DL Kaleb Ramsey (foot)
RB Tahj Kimble (head)
DT Dillon Quinn (shoulder)

Probable
OG Nate Richman (back)

CLEMSON

Out
Joe Gore, DE, Knee
Spencer Benton, PK, shoulder
Tony Steward, LB, Knee

DUKE

Probable
WR Brandon Braxton (head)
S August Campbell (leg)

Questionable
C Dave Harding (leg)
C Brian Moore (arm)
WR Donovan Varner (leg)
CB Johnny Williams (leg)

Out
S Lee Butler (leg)
QB Brandon Connette (upper body)

Out for season
TE Jack Farrell (leg)
DE Kenny Anunike (leg)

FLORIDA STATE

Out
OT Andrew Datko (shoulder)
OG David Spurlock (knee)
OG Henry Orelus (head)
WR Willie Haulstead (head)
WR Josh Gehres (knee)
DT Darious Cummings (hand)
DT Moses McCray (knee)

Questionable
WR Rashad Greene (ankle)

Out for season
DT Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
RB Chris Thompson (back)

GEORGIA TECH

Probable
Jeremiah Attaochu, LB

Out

Tyler Morgan, LS

Out for the season

Fred Holton, S
Jimmie Kitchen, DL
Lance Richardson, S

MARYLAND

Out for the season
WR Tyrek Cheeseboro
OL Andrew Gonnella
DB Avery Graham
LB Garrett Lederman
DB Matt Robinson
DL Isaiah Ross
TE Dave Stinebaugh

Out
DL Justin Anderson
WR Kevin Dorsey
OL Justin Gilbert
LB Shaquan Virgil

Doubtful
LB Demetrius Hartsfield
LB Kenny Tate

Questionable
DL Andre Monroe

Probable
OL Pete White

MIAMI

Out
Luther Robinson - Lower Extremity
Shayon Green - Lower Extremity
Curtis Porter - Upper Extremity
Rashawn Scott - Upper Extremity

Surgery/Out for the season
Marcus Forston - Lower Extremity
Ramon Buchanan - Lower Extremity
Cory White - Lower Extremity
Erik Lichter - Upper Extremity
Blake Ayles - Upper Extremity

NORTH CAROLINA

Out
Casey Barth, PK Thigh
Curtis Byrd, FB Knee
Kiaro Holts, OT Wrist
Devon Ramsay, FB Knee

Questionable
T.J. Leifheit, OT Ankle

Probable
Giovani Bernard, TB Hip
A.J. Blue, TB Ankle
Erik Highsmith, WR Ankle
Cam Holland, C Back
Jonathan Smith, S Ankle

NC STATE

Out for the season
Jarvis Byrd, CB - knee
Mustafa Greene, HB - foot
Sterling Lucas, LB - knee

Out
Taylor Gentry, FB - foot
Jake Kahut, DE - knee
Jeff Rieskamp, DE - shoulder
Thomas Teal, DT - foot
Curtis Underwood, HB - foot

Questionable
D.J. Green, LB - abdomen
J.R. Sweezy, DT - foot

VIRGINIA

Out
Pablo Alvarez (upper extremity)
Diamonte Bailey (lower extremity)
Darius Lee (upper extremity)
Charlie Richards (upper extremity)
E.J. Scott (medical)
Bobby Smith (lower extremity)
Tyler Smith (lower extremity)
Matt Snyder (lower extremity)
Joseph Williams (lower extremity)

Doubtful
Tim Cwalina (lower extremity)
Michael Terrell (lower extremity)

Questionable
Brian Oden (lower extremity)

Probable
Luke Bowanko (lower extremity)
Henry Coley (lower extremity)
Cam Johnson (lower extremity)
Jake McGee (lower extremity)
Clifton Richardson (lower extremity)
Michael Rocco (trunk)

VIRGINIA TECH

Out for the Season
Kwamaine Battle (knee)
Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot)
Antoine Hopkins (knee)
Dyrell Roberts (arm)
E.L. Smiling (wrist)

Out
Eric Martin (shoulder)
Mark Shuman (knee/ankle)
David Wang (foot)

Doubtful
Jayron Hosley (hamstring)

WAKE FOREST

Probable
RB Josh Harris (leg)
TE Andrew Parker (ankle)
DT Tristan Dorty (ankle)
C Garrick Williams (ankle)
NT Duke Mosby (illness)

Out
NT Ramon Booi (knee)
DT John Gallagher (back)

Out for the season
OT Dylan Heartsil (back)
CB Dominique Tate (knee)
LB Kyle Jarrett (hip)
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, Miami Hurricanes, ACC, Casey Barth, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Donovan Varner, Dillon Quinn, Sterling Lucas, Matt Robinson, Justin Gilbert, Justin Anderson, Ramon Buchanan, Kwamaine Battle, Dyrell ROberts, Tristan Dorty, Demetrius Hartsfield, Marcus Forston, Andrew Gonnella, Jeff Rieskamp, Cam Johnson, Montel Harris, Antoine Hopkins, Andrew Datko, Matt Snyder, Kevin Dorsey, Spencer Benton, Johnny Williams, Devon Ramsay, Andrew Parker, Dave Harding, Josh Gehres, Jacobbi McDaniel, David Wang, Kenny Tate, Cam Holland, Luther Robinson, Taylor Gentry, Moses McCray, Chris Thompson, Kenny Anunike, Willie Haulstead, Ifeanyi Momah, Kaleb Ramsey, Lee Butler, David Spurlock, Pete White, Cory White, Shayon Green, Bobby Smith, Erik Highsmith, Isaiah Ross, Curtis Porter, Jayron Hosley, Tyler Smith, Jake McGee, Jeremiah Attaochu, Mustafa Greene, Curtis Underwood, Michael Rocco, Brandon Connette, Clifton Richardson, T.J. Leifheit, J.R. Sweezy, Ramon Booi, John Gallagher, Dominique Tate, Josh Harris, Garrick Williams, Jarvis Byrd, Brandon Braxton, Giovani Bernard, August Campbell, Jonathan Smith, Henry Orelus, Eric Martin, Brian Oden, Tony Steward, Brian Moore, Fred Holton, D.J. Green, Blake Ayles, Dave Stinebaugh, Avery Graham, Henry Coley, Luke Bowanko, Rashawn Scott, E.L. Smiling, Pablo Alvarez, Curtis Byrd, Tahj Kimble, Mark Shuman, Rashad Greene, Thomas Teal, Tim Cwalina, Darius Lee, Jack Farrell, Jimmie Kitchen, Kiaro Holts, Connor Wujciak, Nate Richman, Andre Monroe, Darious Cummings, Garrett Lederman, Shaquan Virgil, Tyler Morgan, Erik LIchter, Charlie Richards, E.J. SCott, Dylan Heartsil, Kyle Jarrett, Tyrek Cheeseboro, Lance Richardson, Duke Mosby, Diamonte Bailey, Joseph Williams, Michael Terrell, Jake Kahut

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