ACC: Louis Givens

Highlights from FSU's pro day

March, 18, 2010
Former FSU cornerback Patrick Robinson and linebacker Dekoda Watson both improved their 40 times from the NFL combine and clocked the fastest performances at this morning's pro timing day in Tallahassee.

Robinson ran a 4.38 and Watson a 4.4.

“I was definitely interested in posting a better number, because I didn’t feel like I ran like I was supposed to at the combine," Watson said in a release. "I wasn’t comfortable with the surroundings and the setting and looking at the film from the combine, I noticed that my knee lift wasn’t where it was supposed to be and knocked my 40 time down at the combine. That’s what I worked on and it really helped me out. … As long as it was in that 4.4 range, I can’t be mad.”

There were about 30 representatives from NFL and CFL teams, including San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. In all, 14 total players participated. Drills included the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, standing broad jump, bench press and agility drills.

A few other highlights:

  • Jamie Robinson had a 10-foot, 2-inch standing broad jump, which barely beat receiver Rod Owens’ 10-foot, 1 -inch effort. Owens also had a 34 -inch vertical jump.
  • Defensive tackle Budd Thacker led the way in the bench press with 31 repetitions at 225 pounds.

Additional participants included: deep snapper Zack Aronson, receiver Louis Givens, receiver Richard Goodman, defensive tackle Justin Mincey, tight end Caz Piurowski, defensive tackle Kendrick Stewart and linebacker Recardo Wright. One-time FSU linebacker Jae Thaxton and receiver Preston Parker also participated.

ACC injury reports: Week 11

November, 13, 2009
Jameel Sewell, Marc Verica, Chris Turner, Christian Ponder and Thaddeus Lewis are all on this list. Not a good week for ACC quarterbacks. Duke will need everyone healthy in order to beat Georgia Tech, and while several key offensive players are listed as probable, they're still listed:



LB Mark Herzlich (illness)


RB Rolandan Finch (illness) - OUT

DE Alex Albright (ankle) – DOUBTFUL

LS Jack Geiser (foot) – DOUBTFUL

WR Billy Flutie (head) - PROBABLE

OT Rich Lapham (shoulder) - PROBABLE

LB Mike McLaughlin (leg) - PROBABLE



DaQuan Bowers, DE, knee


Coty Sensabaugh, CB, toe

Cleared to play

Kantrell Brown, DB, concussion


QB Thaddeus Lewis (leg) -- Probable

LB Damian Thornton (neck) -- Probable

WR Donovan Varner (knee) -- Probable

WR Conner Vernon (head) -- Probable

WR Johnny Williams (knee) -- Probable

LB Abraham Kromah (leg) -- Questionable

OG Mitchell Lederman (foot) -- Questionable

LB Vincent Rey (leg) -- Questionable

K Will Snyderwine (leg) -- Questionable

DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- Doubtful

RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

WR Tyree Watkins (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON



76 OT Garrett Faircloth (hip)

70 OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)

51 LB Aaron Gresham (knee)

44 LB Maurice Harris (neck)*

97 DT Demonte McAllister (knee)

94 DT Justin Mincey (knee)

81 TE Caz Piurowski (knee)*

7 QB Christian Ponder (shoulder)*

74 OT John Prior (knee)

27 CB Xavier Rhodes (thumb)

11 LB Vince Williams (back)


28 CB Dionte Allen (thumb)

9 WR Richard Goodman (groin)


89 WR Louis Givens (hand)

72 DT Budd Thacker (knee)

* - out for the season



Austin Barrick, r-Jr., OT (heel)

Kevin Cone, r-Jr., WR (ankle)

Robert Hall, r-Jr., DE (knee)

Out For Season

Kyle Jackson, r-So., LB (foot)

Cooper Taylor, So., S (undisclosed)


Out for season:

Tyler Bowen (foot)

Nolan Carroll (leg)

Bennett Fulper (shoulder)

Isaiah Ross (knee)


Da’Rel Scott (wrist)


Chris Turner (knee)


Ronnie Tyler (upper body)

Austin Walker (lower body)


Demetrius Hartsfield (hand)



DL Eric Moncur – Lower Extremity

DB DeMarcus Van Dyke – Lower Extremity


DB Ray-Ray Armstrong – Lower Extremity

FB Patrick Hill – Lower Extremity

DB JoJo Nicolas – Upper Extremity

LB Sean Spence – Lower Extremity

Surgery and Out for the Season

DL Dyron Dye – Lower Extremity

DL Marcus Forston – Lower Extremity

LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity

TE Richard Gordon – Upper Extremity

LB Shayon Green – Lower Extremity

DE Gavin Hardin – Upper Extremity

DB Ryan Hill – Upper Extremity

DE Adewale Ojomo – Jaw



Joshua Adams WR Shoulder

AJ Blue RB/QB Knee

David Collins OT Foot

Shaun Draughn TB Shoulder

Carl Gaskins OT Knee

Matt Merletti S Knee

Trevor Stuart DS Knee

Ryan Taylor TE Knee

Jamal Womble TB Wrist


Brennan Williams OT Wrist


Cam Holland C Shoulder



Mario Carter, TE - knee

Ryan Cheek, LB - hip

Denzelle Good, OL – shoulder

T.J. Graham, WR – stress fracture/leg

Nate Irving, LB - leg

Colby Jackson, FB - knee

R.J. Mattes, OG - knee

Everett Proctor, QB – shoulder

Jeff Rieskamp, DE – sports hernia

Rashard Smith, CB - knee

Javon Walker, S – knee

James Washington, HB - knee


Ray Michel, LB - ankle



Raynard Horne (back)

Quintin Hunter (ankle)


Darren Childs (neck)

Jameel Sewell (shoulder)

Marc Verica (head)


Javaris Brown (ankle)

Aaron Clark (knee)

Matt Conrath (ankle)

Colte Phillips (leg)


Out for Season

Darren Evans (ACL)


Beau Warren (knee)

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, Miami Hurricanes, Justin Mincey, Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner, Damian Thornton, Christian Ponder, Vince Williams, Garrett Faircloth, Vince Oghobaase, Rich Lapham, Marc Verica, Alex Albright, Will Snyderwine, Adewale Ojomo, Jack Geiser, Jamal Womble, Caz Piurowski, Aaron Clark, Mike McLaughlin, Chris turner, Kyle Jackson, Billy Flutie, DaQuan Bowers, Demetrius Hartsfield, Marcus Forston, Ray Michel, Raynard Horne, Xavier Rhodes, Jeff Rieskamp, Javon Walker, Matt Conrath, Carl Gaskins, Sean Spence, Robert Hall, Darren CHilds, Ryan Cheek, Richard Gordon, JoJo Nicolas, Louis Givens, Javaris Brown, Mario Carter, Austin Barrick, Johnny Williams, Antwane Greenlee, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Nolan Carroll, Budd Thacker, Vincent Rey, Abraham Kromah, Dionte Allen, Ryan Taylor, Joshua Adams, Coty Sensabaugh, Jameel Sewell, Nate Irving, T.J. Graham, Cam Holland, Mark Herzlich, Maurice Harris, Tyree Watkins, Thaddeus Lewis, Matt Merletti, Cooper Taylor, Aaron Gresham, Colby Jackson, Ronnie Tyler, Shaun Draughn, James Washington, Eric Moncur, Richard Goodman, Tyler Bowen, Anthony Young-Wiseman, Da\'Rel Scott, Demonte McAllister, Ray Ray Armstrong, Rashard Smith, Kyle Griswould, Gavin Hardin, Shayon Green, John Prior, Denzelle Good, Everett Proctor, R.J. Mattes, Trevor Stuart, Mitchell Lederman, Patrick Hill, Kantrell Brown, Kevin Cone, Rolandan Finch, Bennett Fulper Isaiah Ross, Austin Walker, Jordon Futch, David Collins, Brennan Williams, Quintin Hunter, Colte Phillps

FSU offensive coordinator encouraged by summer camp

September, 4, 2009

Posted by’s Heather Dinich

Florida State enters Monday's Miami game as the front-runner to win the Atlantic Division (and last night's subpar performance by NC State's offense further validated that early pick, at least for now.) FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has liked what he's seen this summer from every facet of his offense. And yes, the head-coach-in-waiting is keeping a watchful eye on the entire team, not just his offense. Here's the first part of our recent conversation:

Going into the summer, you had so many questions at wide receiver, but then guys started to shake out their legal issues. How confident are you in that group now?

Jimbo Fisher: Pretty confident. The challenge is how consistent will they perform, week in and week out, and keeping that focus, but we’ve got a good group of guys, and we’ve got a talented group of guys. You’re still always looking for consistency, but we’re seeing it more and more in practice every day.

Who do you think is going to be your go-to guy there? Any indications?

JF: It’s funny, there’s been a lot of guys. Rod Owens has had a super camp. Him and Rich Goodman have played well. [Jarmon] Fortson had some big scrimmages. Taiwan Easterling, he’s gotten back. There is no sign of his Achilles. He hasn’t missed a day. He hasn’t missed anything. He’s been good. [Louis] Givens coming back and doing some things. There’s a good group. Those first three guys have been the most consistent, but Bert Reed has had his big plays at times. They all bring a little something different to the table.

How good did it feel for you to be able to give Givens a scholarship?

JF: It was awesome, because he deserved it. He worked his tail off. He’s a great guy on special teams, and the numbers worked out. As people know, your numbers get screwed up sometimes to give a scholarship. There’s all kinds of legal implications, but it was super to be able to give it to him, and it was very well deserved.

How much more are you expecting out of your running game because the offensive line should be so much better, but they’re still young guys back there?

JF: They are, they’re still young. Jermaine has had a great camp, Ty’s gotten healthy now, and is really starting to come on, kept his weight up. There should be a good group. We feel very confident we’ll be able to run the football, and we have to be able to run the football.

You guys made a lot of strides in that area last year. I think it was some of the best numbers you’ve produced in a while. Is that because of the development of the offensive line? How do you see that growth continuing there?

JF: I see it continuing. I think our line grew, they got very good. Rick Trickett did a great job, and two, if you look at it, the ability for the receivers to have nice runs, the receivers did a good job running the football and the quarterback. You added a lot of yards, hidden yards people didn’t really see as much to a lot of different guys. The diversity helps, too.

What about Christian [Ponder]? You mentioned quarterback. I know last year he was banged up with his back, ribs, and all kinds of stuff. How much better can he be this year?

JF: I think he can be a lot better. I think he will be better. Especially as the consistency around him grows, you’re going to see his development grow. His confidence and his decision-making to know what people do and how they do it is going to grow. I think he’ll have a fine year, I really do.

Where did he make the biggest strides since last season?

JF: I think in just pure confidence. I think he knows he belongs here and he could be a heck of a player. When you’re confident in things, he really grabs ahold and his ability to learn and process information is very good.

Check back in a bit for Fisher's take on the Miami game and the NCAA's sanctions against coach Bobby Bowden.

FSU's Bowden praises Yarborough

September, 2, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

It's the season of walk-ons in the ACC. There's Virginia receiver Matt Snyder, who cracked the starting lineup, according to the latest depth chart. There's Maryland offensive linemen Paul Pinegar and Andrew Gonnella, who have earned the starting jobs at right tackle and right guard, respectively. There's FSU receiver Louis Givens, who finally earned a scholarship this summer.

And the latest to join the group of walk-on success stories is FSU defensive end Craig Yarborough, who -- at least to many outside the program -- came out of nowhere when he appeared at the top of the depth chart at left end this week. I got a chance on Wednesday to ask coach Bobby Bowden about that move, and the reason was simple -- Yarborough out-hustled everyone else.

"Craig is a good story because he's a walk-on," Bowden said. "He came over here with a pretty good reputation, just not what people were looking for. What he has done is out-hustled everybody for the job. He has out-hustled everybody for the job. He'll start that ballgame. He got hurt a little bit the other day, with a slight pull, and we're going to let him lay off a couple of days. But if he's healthy, he'll start that doggone ball game."

Bowden explained that just because a player starts, doesn't mean he's got a permanent role.

"He might be on the first down team, and never play second or third down, because you're going to send in pass rushers, and things like that," Bowden said. "But he's the starter.

"Now, the guy that can solve our problem but he hasn't solved it is (Kevin) McNeil," Bowden said. "He has the talent to solve that problem, but he's missed to much and he doesn't hustle like you need to hustle to be a first-teamer. I wish he would."

He'll get a chance on Monday to watch Yarborough to see how it's done.

Around the ACC: FSU's Givens earns scholarship

August, 8, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

A few odds n' ends from Friday practice reports around the league to get you through until Monday ...


FSU opened practice on Friday, and a pair of former walk-ons, senior wide receiver Louis Givens and grad student long-snapper Zach Aronson, have earned scholarships for the 2009 season. Bowden made the announcement at the conclusion of the first practice.

"It's a great feeling," said Givens, a Jacksonville native. "I have always felt like I was a part of the team since I got here because the coaches and players treat you right. The staff is great at making you feel welcome. But now that it's official that I am on scholarship, it's a great feeling to not have to worry about paying for school. Now I can focus more on class and football and not have to worry about that in the back of my mind."

Givens caught four passes for 44 yards and rushed three times for 32 yards as a reserve last season. He also recorded 13 special teams tackles.

Aronson handled all the Seminoles special teams snaps last season -- a job he's expected to hold -- and was virtually flawless.

Also good news for the Noles, as reported by Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel, wide receiver Taiwan Easterling and running back Tavares Pressley participated at full strength.


Clemson had its fourth practice of the preseason on Friday evening on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. Saturday night's practice will be the final day of the NCAA mandated five-day acclimatization period.

"I was encouraged by the way the team worked today," said coach Dabo Swinney. "They have been a focused group and that is important. Champions are not born, they are made and you have to have a daily commitment . They have to be focused on every play. I have talked to the team time and again about six seconds. Each play is giving full effort for six seconds at a time."

Swinney talked about the play of his defense after practice. "The defensive side of the ball has played well. There were oame great thuds out there today. DeAndre McDaniel had a great thud on Andre Ellington towards the end of the practice. He has really played well in the preseason. Marcus Gilchrist had a strong day in the secondary as well."

Gilchrist had two interceptions during the drills.

"I think we can be special in the secondary this year. Chris Chancellor and Crezdon Butler are both on the Thorpe Award Watch List (announced today) and we are the only team in the country with both of our starting cornerbacks on that list. They are having a great camp as well.

"And, I am very pleased with what I see from Ricky Sapp. He looks like he is wide open to me. We will have some physical practices coming up in full pads and it will be interesting to see how he does."

Swinney also commented on the fact that Clemson was not ranked in the preseason top 25 of the USA Today Coaches poll. "That doesn't bother me one bit. I have said many times before whether we are ranked in the preseason or not really doesn't matter. It will all be decided by the end of the year when we play the games on the field."

Jacoby Ford and J.K. Jay continued to miss practice and were both in yellow jerseys due to injury.


Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe put the Demon Deacons through a two-hour practice on Friday afternoon at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex.

The team wore shorts and jerseys along with helmets. The majority of the practice was spent going through station drills.

"I thought we flew around pretty good for a first practice," said Grobe. "The guys had a pretty good feeling of what to do. Typically, when you have as many young guys as we do, you think they won't have much recall. We didn't put too much in on the first day but their recall from spring practice was really good."

The team will practice in shorts and jerseys through the weekend before going to shells on Monday. The first practice in full pads is set for Wednesday, August 12.

Ranking the ACC units: Wide receivers

July, 15, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Tuesday we broke down the quarterbacks in the ACC, so let's figure out who the best targets are in the conference:

1. Miami -- No doubt this is the deepest group in the ACC, and it comes with a wide range of abilities. Seven freshmen were introduced last season, and five of them -- Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Thearon Collier and Davon Johnson -- scored touchdowns. Both Tommy Streeter (wrist surgery) and Kendall Thompkins (shoulder surgery) redshirted last year but should be factors this fall. Leonard Hankerson, a junior, is the veteran of the group.

2. Maryland -- The Terps had nine different scholarship wideouts show promise this spring, so replacing Darrius Heyward-Bey should be a smooth transition. Quintin McCree was the star in the spring game, but all of them have had their moments and should excel in the second season under offensive coordinator James Franklin. Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler should build upon last year's success, especially with a veteran quarterback throwing to them in Chris Turner.

3. Virginia Tech -- There are plenty of talented options here, but this was a young group a year ago and it's still a young group. The Hokies have something to prove on offense, and this is the year to do it. They started to turn the corner in the last two or three games of 2008 and can build on that momentum. Jarrett Boykin, Xavier Boyce, Danny Coale, Dyrell Roberts, Brandon Dillard ... depth should not be a problem. Boykin earned eight starts as a true freshman and was second with 30 receptions.

4. Boston College -- When the Eagles figure out who their quarterback is, he'll have dependable options to throw to. Rich Gunnell caught a team-high 49 passes and four touchdowns with 551 yards last year. He also returned punts and brought one back 65 yards for a score against Virginia Tech. Justin Jarvis caught 25 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns last season and will work for the other starting job. Ifeanyi Momah will look to prove that he can be more than just a situational receiver while Clarence Megwa is working to return in the fall after suffering a devastating leg injury against Clemson last season.

5. NC State -- Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer are ready to elevate their games as redshirt juniors, and now have one season as starters to build upon. Their chemistry with Russell Wilson should be better and they were No. 3 in the ACC in passing offense a year ago. Williams caught 26 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns in 2008. Spencer could be a big-play threat if he cuts down on the dropped balls.

6. Clemson -- Jacoby Ford and ... Jacoby Ford. He's one of the fastest athletes in the country and will likely be the best solo receiver in the ACC, but he'll draw all of the coverage until one of his teammates becomes a legitimate concern for opposing defenses. It will be up to Xavier Dye, Marquan Jones and Terrence Ashe to help Ford out.

7. Georgia Tech -- This should be one of the more improved units on the Jackets' roster. It was very thin last year (they started a freshman walk-on at Virginia Tech), but should have better depth this season. Demaryius Thomas should be one of the best wideouts in the conference, and he'll have more help this year with the return of sophomores Tyler Melton and Luke Fisher.

8. Florida State -- It's the Noles' lone question mark on offense, but the cupboard isn't completely bare, and Christian Ponder has plenty of confidence in the players who are there. Louis Givens, Jarmon Fortson and Bert Reed. If Taiwan Easterling heals from his Achilles injury and they get their suspended players back, this group could impress.

9. Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons have to replace D.J. Boldin, but they've got enough players that the depth and speed should actually improve overall. Chris Givens and Terence Davis, both redshirts last year, impressed the staff this spring. They'll team with Devon Brown, Marshall Williams and Jordan Williams.

10. Duke -- Zero seniors. Not a good sign for a team trying to win more than one ACC game. It's not like the cupboard is bare, though. The Blue Devils will be led by sophomores Johnny Williams and Donovan Varner, who had six catches for 116 yards in the spring game. Williams finished second on the team last year with 30 catches for 327 yards. Freshmen Conner Vernon, Corey Gattis and Tyree Watkins could all push for playing time.

11. North Carolina -- The Tar Heels took a huge hit in this department and it's obviously their biggest concern heading into summer camp. It's not like they don't have players ready and willing to start, but there's nothing that can compensate for game experience, which only Greg Little has. The next most experienced receiver is Rashad Mason, who played in the Rutgers game.

12. Virginia -- The Cavaliers lost their top four receivers from last year, and coach Al Groh didn't notice that "go-to guy" yet this past spring. Sophomore Jared Green leads the returnees with 12 catches for 144 yards a year ago. Kris Burd caught seven passes as a redshirt freshman last year, and the expectations are obviously higher now.

FSU's Ponder takes ownership of offense

June, 11, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

There is something different about Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder this year -- something his teammates have noticed that wasn't there last season.

  Max Lashin/Icon SMI
  Christian Ponder has asserted himself as a leader of Florida State's offense this spring.

Ponder has officially assumed ownership of Florida State's offense and his role as team leader.

"He's like a veteran to us now," said receiver Louis Givens. "We're all looking for him to tell us what to do. He's like coach (Jimbo) Fisher when coach Fisher is not around."

Ponder takes that as a compliment, and his new demeanor has been intentional.

"I've consciously done it," he said. "I've never grown up really vocal, and it kind of showed last season, but as the leader of the offense I have to be more vocal, I have to get on guys who aren't doing the right thing. It's very important for me to do so. I've kind of had to get used to it a little bit. It's not in my nature, but I think I've done a pretty good job and I've taken ownership of this team."

Ponder took advantage of E.J. Manuel's absence this spring, as Manuel injured his finger in the first spring practice and left the majority of reps to Ponder. Now, when the players go through their 7-on-7s three times a week, Ponder is calling his own plays.

"I know basically the whole offense in and out," he said. "I'm telling guys what they need to do, plays they need to run. I'm as comfortable as ever. It's made me more confident in myself. I've gotten to the point as well where I know what coach is going to call."

Receiver Bert Reed called Manuel's injury a blessing in disguise.

"(Ponder) couldn't be fatigued, he had to come practice every day, and he had to concentrate and execute with both rotations," Reed said. "That gave him a lot of reps. He really has a knowledge of the playbook right now. We can go out there, and he calls plays off the top of his head. Somebody might call a play wrong, and he'll correct them. He's matured so much right now. He's matured a lot just from last summer to what I see now.

"The one thing about Ponder, I really feel like now he knows this is his team. He's really stepped up to be a leader, which is something he really wasn't last year, a vocal leader. He's not really a vocal guy, but this year, knowing this is his team, he's stepping up a lot and making sure guys are accountable and doing what they're supposed to do."

FSU receivers ready for redemption

June, 4, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

It's only June, but Florida State's wide receivers are working with a sense of urgency and purpose not usually detected until August. They're lifting in the mornings, running in the afternoons, and participating in individual seven-on-sevens. They're catching about 100 balls from the JUGS machine every day.

And most importantly, they're trying to stay on their best behavior.

"It seems like the receivers are trying to get into trouble, and it's not like that," said walk-on Louis Givens, who is expected to be a major contributor this fall. "All of us are good guys, but we get caught in the wrong situation at the wrong time."

Rod Owens was suspended earlier this spring for a DUI charge, and Preston Parker was kicked off the team in February for multiple incidents. Richard Goodman, Bert Reed and Cameron Wade are all facing charges for their involvement in an on-campus fight last season. And to top it all off, Corey Surrency was denied an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA.

After making headlines for all the wrong reasons, this group is intent on cleaning up their image -- starting now.

"Our mentality is to set the right impression," said Reed, who added his priorities this offseason start with being accountable to his teammates and coaches. "That's what our main focus is right now. Coach wouldn't have recruited us if we weren't good guys. We're all good guys. We just made mistakes and we were making mistakes at the wrong time -- back to back to back.

"We're making too many mistakes and hurting our team, obviously. It's hurting us at the same time but it's building up so much it's starting to hurt our team. I really feel like it's got to be dealt with. The athletic department is dealing with things, and we're kind of putting them in a bind right now."

Both Reed and Givens insist, though, that the off-field incidents haven't put the Noles in a bind on it. They point to Jarmon Fortson, Avis Commack and freshman Josh Gehres as players who made significant progress this spring. Tight end Caz Piurowski should also have an increased role in the passing game, and it would help dramatically for FSU to get Taiwan Easterling back from a ruptured Achilles.

"I wouldn't say we really lost a step," said Givens. "All these guys who backed up the guys from last year are here now, and they could have played last year and not missed a step. The spring was really strong."

Plus, the Noles have Reed, whose 23 receptions last year leads all returning receivers, and Givens, who caught two passes for 33 yards against Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Reed has bulked up from 166 to 178 and has made the weight room a priority. He said part of the problem last year was that receivers weren't holding their blocks long enough to spring a big play.

"I've been working hard in the weight room," he said. "I want to block, I want to get in somebody's grill. That's been one of my main goals, if not my main goal, is just to put on some more weight, knowing you're going to take a little bit more pounding being in on every play, and playing outside receiver, I feel like guys can jam you, so I have to be prepared for that."

The receivers have also benefited from the steady progress of quarterback Christian Ponder, who is entering his second season as a starter.

"Ponder is putting it on the money," Reed said. "It doesn't really matter who the receiver is. That's what he's showing us -- it doesn't matter who it is out there running the route, he's going to put it in your chest. It's up to you to catch the ball, and all of us guys can catch the ball. We catch 100 balls a day from the JUGS. We have enough talent to play."

Their talent was never a question. Now they're out to prove discipline isn't one either.

ACC in the afternoon

June, 3, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Random rumblings from around the ACC ...

  • I talked to FSU receiver Louis Givens Wednesday, who had just left Jimbo Fisher's office. He said he's still waiting on that scholarship. I'll have some good stuff from Givens and Bert Reed tomorrow. Long story short, the receivers are ready to redeem themselves -- and their image.
  • Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich has undergone several rounds of chemo and has responded well, mostly with only fatigue. It takes about five hours and he told sports information director Chris Cameron he sits there with an IV and watches TV or reads. A few players, including Alex Albright, Chris Fox, Codi Boek and others, have gone to Pennsylvania to visit him. Thanks to Chris for the update, and our thoughts are with Mark.
  • Virginia Tech AD Jim Weaver has been named the winner of the 2009 John L. Toner Award presented annually by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF). The Toner Award is given each year to a director of athletics who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football. The announcement was made Wednesday by Archie Manning, chairman of the NFF.
  • There are some good ACC recruiting notes in JC Shurburtt's latest report.
  • Out of pure curiosity, I've been tracking down ACC coaches who "Tweet" on Twitter today. I was surprised to see it's not as many as I thought. (Well, I'm really not surprised Al Groh, Frank Beamer and Jim Grobe aren't on there. Just doesn't seem like their kind of thing.) However, you can "follow" some of your coaches and teams on there. I'm following CoachFridge, CoachPJ, coachdabo, DavidCutcliffe, TarHeelfootball, and Packfootball. I'm told Frank Spaziani will eventually get into it, too.
  • One assistant coach in the league sent me a text message that said, "Must be a slow day if you're writing about the kickers." So it goes in June ...

SOS in the ACC

May, 26, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Each team is going to need a little bit of help this fall (some more than others). Here's a look at where everyone in the ACC needs the most help heading into summer camp:

BOSTON COLLEGE -- Quarterback. It's easily the biggest question mark in Chestnut Hill, and it will also be one of Frank Spaziani's first major decisions as head coach. Regardless of whom he picks -- Dominique Davis, Codi Boek or Justin Tuggle -- experience will be at a minimum.

CLEMSON -- Wide receivers. Somebody needs to help Jacoby Ford, and Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham are no longer around to do it. Xavier Dye didn't quite have the consistency he'd hoped for this spring. Marquan Jones and Terrence Ashe could also be factors.

DUKE -- Offensive line. The Blue Devils lost three starters there and moved a fourth (Kyle Hill from left guard to left tackle), so it will have an entirely new look. The one player back in his original position is center Bryan Morgan.

FLORIDA STATE -- Receivers. FSU is waiting until the legal process unfolds to determine the length of Rod Owens' suspension, and it's uncertain how quickly Taiwan Easterling will be cleared to play after an injury to his Achilles. Bert Reed, Louis Givens and Jarmon Fortson will be heavily depended upon.

GEORGIA TECH -- Linemen. The Yellow Jackets have to replace three of four starters on the defensive line, and injuries to Cord Howard, Dan Voss and Nick Claytor slowed the progress on the offensive line this spring.

MARYLAND -- Offensive line. The Terps lost three starters and will have four players in new positions. Phil Costa should be the leader of an otherwise inexperienced group.

MIAMI -- Linebacker depth. There were a few position changes, and Colin McCarthy missed the spring. Sean Spence is proven, but depth remains a concern.

NORTH CAROLINA -- Receivers. This group had to be completely rebuilt, as UNC lost players who accounted for 17 of 21 receiving touchdowns last year. Greg Little had a good spring and should be the leader now, and freshman Joshua Adams benefitted from enrolling early.

NC STATE -- Safety. This is coach Tom O'Brien's biggest concern, and the Pack need Javon Walker, who tore his ACL and missed the spring, back and healthy. Clem Johnson played well last year despite being hindered by several injuries. O'Brien is looking for more from Jimmaul Simmons and Justin Byers.

VIRGINIA -- Linebackers. The backups to Antonio Appleby, Jon Copper and Clint Sintim rarely played, as Al Groh wanted to keep his best players on the field. Darren Childs, Steve Greer, Aaron Taliaferro, Cam Johnson, and Darnell Carter will have to grow up quickly.

VIRGINIA TECH -- Kicker. For the third straight year, Frank Beamer is in search of a new kicker, this time to replace Dustin Keys. Matt Waldron was the leading candidate out of the spring, but the competition is wide open.

WAKE FOREST -- Linebackers. Gone are Aaron Curry, Stanley Arnoux and Chantz McClinic. Introducing Gelo Orange. Yes, that's his name. Orange, along with Hunter Haynes, Jonathan Jones and a host of others have some big shoes to fill.

ACC Mailblog

May, 22, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Kevin writes: Hey Heather, I love the blog, but why haven't you mentioned any of Coach Spaz's recruits yet? All three of BC's commits so far are on the ESPN 150 Watchlist.

Heather Dinich: Thanks for reading, Kevin. I don't do too much on recruiting because we've got our Scouts Inc. guys who specialize in that, but you're right, it's worth mentioning. Frank Spaziani and his staff are quietly doing a very good job with this class. Seth Betancourt (OT), Kevin Pierre-Louis (OLB) and Joe Boisture (QB) are all on the ESPNU 150 Watch List. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Southern Comfort in Edenton writes: Haven't seen much positive thoughts on tarheeels? What are they?

Yuengling: They're on the defense, SoCo. UNC's strength is going to be up front, where all four starters return on the defensive line, and the depth at linebacker is the best it's been in recent years. Guys like Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn, Cam Thomas, Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter have the potential to make -- and keep -- the Tar Heels a Top 25 team.

David in Winston-Salem writes: Hey, Heather, love the blog. Why isn't anyone paying attention to UNC's D? All they talk about is issues at WR. Everyone knows we do, but before Monday, No one knew about Zachary Brown (top 10 freaks in college fb aired). Why the lack of props?

HD: I love my job. And the UNC D.

Carlos in Herndon, Va., writes: HD, what kinds of things are enticing talent to join upstarts like Duke vs UNC, GT, etc.? On the surface, I see the promise of playing for championships versus playing to maybe get to a bowl so it's not a logical conclusion they're reaching. Quality of the staff? Facilities? Don't other schools have those, too? Please enlighten me on how schools like Duke turn the corner on recruiting quality talent. As an NCAA fan, I'd like to know. Thanks!

HD: Well, it's a combination of things. At Duke, it's a staff with an SEC background and a recent pledge of $10 million by a booster to upgrade the practice field and facilities. At Georgia Tech, it's Paul Johnson and a recent nine-win season that included a win over Georgia. At North Carolina, John Blake has a lot to do with it. So does the fact the team doubled its win total in one year under Butch Davis. You never know, though -- at least one recruit liked Wake Forest because of their black uniforms. To each his own.

Marshall in Burlington, N.C. writes: I've been to a lot of ACC football games at many different stadiums, but I want to know, out of the the sold out crowds which one do you think is the quietest? I would make an argument for either UNC or GT

HD: Yeah, Georgia Tech comes to mind first, but Maryland is right up there, too.

Bryan in Wooster writes: Between receiver suspensions, graduation and out right being kicked off the team, is there any hope for the seminole passing game this year?

HD: Yes, there is, but I don't think FSU will have to rely on it because of the talented offensive line and newcomers in the backfield. The Noles will have Bert Reed, Jarmon Fortson and Louis Givens. We'll see how long Rod Owens is suspended for. But really, odds are their strength will be Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones in the running game.

ACC in the afternoon

May, 21, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

A few odds n' ends for you from around the league:

  • Florida State is hardly the only school interested in Christian Jones, but his father and brother both played for the Noles. The football ties in his family helped Jones get through a 0-10 season at Lake Howell High. Miami is also interested in Jones, who is on the ESPNU 150 watch list.
  • The Rimington Trophy committee released its 2009 Spring Watch List, and five ACC players are featured on it:
    • Lowell Dyer, North Carolina
    • Ted Larsen, NC State 
    • Ryan McMahon, Florida State
    • Bryan Morgan, Duke
    • Matt Tennant, Boston College

  • FSU walk-on receiver Louis Givens still hasn't been awarded a scholarship, a school spokesman said, but that's because the staff is waiting to see how the scholarship situation shakes out. It changes whenever a player like Willie Downs has to head to community college.
  • If you saw College Football Live today, you heard the mention of Jacory Harris, who has been working with former Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Harris is determined to be the leader of this team, and he's putting in the offseason work to do that. It's an impressive effort for a sophomore, and Miami's offense will be better for it. Miami might have lost some depth at the position with the transfer of Robert Marve, but the Hurricanes gained a true leader.

Friday Mailblog

May, 8, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Offseason? What offseason? Welcome to the Mailblog ...

eli poughkeepsie writes: Heather, As a Clemson fan i am confused. Was the safety part a misprint, is the position thin because McDaniels is staying at lb or is he is going back to safety were he was recruited, played and is listed as a db on the roster. Could u clarify or research better.

Heather Dinich: Starting linebacker DeAndre McDaniel has been moved from linebacker to strong safety because the position is thin, but I asked Chris Chancellor how McDaniel did this spring at safety, and he said, "He wasn't really a linebacker, he was a safety down in the box, that's all that was. He's real good. He's fast, big, he's a hitter. He's got great football instincts. He finds a way to get around the ball and make plays."

David in Raleigh writes: Now that some of UNC's top recruits from this past season are dropping like flies, where would you rank their REAL recruiting class in the ACC. I remember you acknowledging that it would likely change by the time Butch is forced to deal with his over-recruiting.

HD: Well, let's see which players actually wind up at prep schools first. And let's be honest -- the best evaluation of a recruiting class doesn't come until after they've had a chance to play. No doubt it's worth revisiting, though, after the dust has settled. I'm heading to Amelia Island on Sunday for the ACC spring meetings, and one of the topics on the coaches' agenda is over-recruiting, so check back for more on that next week.

Phil from Hamburg writes: Hey I am an avid FSU fan. What do you think their chances of winning the league and ultimatley competing for a national championship will be this year? Can FSU return to the promise land that seemed so automatic just a decade ago?

HD: Florida State is still a very talented football team, but this isn't the year for national title talk in Tallahassee. Aim high, but aim for the Atlantic Division title first. There is too much inexperience at wide receiver and running back, and FSU lost six starters on defense. Christian Ponder made progress, but he struggled last year with passes that were longer than about 12 yards. Can the Noles get the deep passing game going with young receivers? Let's see if they get past Miami, first.

Calvin in Silver Spring, Md., writes: Heather, What about the terps. It seems when the ACC is discussed the terps are not talked about.

HD: Well, I've talked about the Terps this spring, and was impressed with new defensive coordinator Don Brown during my visit to College Park. The staff loves him, and the players responded to the new press coverage. The bottom line is this: Maryland had a veteran team that let it slip away (again) last season. Now it has a young, talented team that isn't facing as high expectations because nobody in the conference lost more starters (13) than the Terps.

Tim in Athens, Ala., writes: HD, I was hoping that maybe you had insider on who the go to reciever @ Florida State was going to be. My pick is between Fortson and givens... Maybe easterling if he stays healthy. What do you think?

HD: You made good picks -- no doubt Givens had a great spring. My pick is going to be Bert Reed. Despite his suspensions, he is a super kid and a great player to talk to. I think he'll have a great season.

Marshall in Burlington, NC writes: Realistically how many games do you think Duke wins this year! Any upsets, like VT, Kansas, or NC state? Does Duke beat UNC and finally get the victory bell back where it belongs in Durham?

HD: My spring prediction is that Duke is going to win at least one game it's not expected to this year. I don't think it's unreasonable for Duke to win four or five games. I know this, there is legitimate confidence in Durham, and it starts at the top.

And finally, Chris in Atlanta has a fair response to my comment in Thursday's chat that Georgia Tech's crowds could have been better last fall:

I'd agree with your thoughts in the chat room that student attendance was definitely lacking at Georgia Tech at the start of the season, but if you look at the games, it is easy to see why. Jacksonville St, Miss St, Duke, Gardner-Webb, Virginia. That's not a line up that's really going to bring in the crowds. As for the FSU game, our old paper ticket system had some serious problems in dealing with high demand games. The AA caps student tickets for sold out games. Combine this with block seating (where 1 person gets tickets for 100 and only 75 show up), and you get empty seats even though people are camping out to get tickets. The new electronic system will hopefully fix this problem.

HD: There are two more issues in the Mailbag that I'll address at a later time: The ACC bowl lineup, and the possible NCAA sanctions against the Hokies. It doesn't sound like the latter is anything to be concerned about, but I'd like to do some reporting before I comment on that.

Florida State spring wrap-up

May, 7, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Florida State Seminoles
2008 overall record: 9-4

2008 conference record: 5-3, Atlantic Division co-champions

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 5, punter/kicker 0

Top returners

OG Rodney Hudson, C Ryan McMahon, QB Christian Ponder, DT Budd Thacker, LB Dekoda Watson, TB Jermaine Thomas, WR Bert Reed

Key losses

DE Everette Brown, LB Derek Nicholson, RV Myron Rolle, CB Tony Carter, P/PK Graham Gano, WR Greg Carr, RB Antone Smith, WR Preston Parker

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Antone Smith (792 yards)
Passing: Christian Ponder* (2006 yards)
Receiving: Greg Carr (542 yards)
Tackles: Derek Nicholson (81)
Sacks: Everette Brown (13.5)
Interceptions: Tony Carter (2)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule

Sept. 7 Miami
Sept. 12 Jacksonville State
Sept. 19 at BYU
Sept. 26 South Florida
Oct. 3 at Boston College
Oct. 10 Georgia Tech
Oct. 17 BYE
Oct. 22 at North Carolina
Oct. 31 NC State
Nov. 7 at Clemson
Nov. 14 at Wake Forest
Nov. 21 Maryland
Nov. 28 at Florida

1. Riding solo at quarterback. Ponder finished the spring entrenched as the No. 1 quarterback and leader of the offense, and since his backup, E.J. Manuel missed the whole spring with an injury, it's hard to imagine that's going to change. Manuel has yet to throw a pass in a college game.

2. Run with it. The Noles need to replace their leading rusher, who accounted for almost 55 percent of all the running plays last year that weren't by quarterbacks, and Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones showed this spring that they can be threats. Both made several long runs this spring.

3. Strength up front. The youngest line in the FBS last year should be one of the best in the ACC this fall. All five starters return. The only question is at right tackle, where three players are competing for one spot: Antwane Greenlee, Zebrie Sanders and Garrett Faircloth.

Fall questions

1. Secondary. There's going to be an infusion of freshmen this summer who could challenge for playing time. Greg Reid from Georgia, is a big-time player rated No. 15 on the ESPNU150. The staff is also expecting more from Terrance Parks, who was banged up this spring and didn't get a chance to compete much at rover/safety.

2. Receivers. It hasn't been determined how long Rod Owens will be suspended, or when Taiwan Easterling will be able to return from a ruptured Achilles. Louis Givens, a walk-on, is becoming a dependable option. It's up to Bert Reed, Jarmon Fortson and Richard Goodman to carry the unit.

3. Interior line play. The staff didn't leave the spring with any better idea of who will be the starters at tackle and nose guard. Budd Thacker missed all of spring. Moses McCray, a true freshman, played well, and Justin Mincey, and Kendrick Stewart, are in the mix. Nobody really distinguished themselves.

FSU's Owens suspended indefinitely

April, 6, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Florida State receiver Rod Owens has been suspended indefinitely, the university announced Monday.

"We're suspending Rod Owens, indefinitely, beginning today until the matter has been resolved," FSU head coach Bobby Bowden said in a prepared statement.

There will be no further comment from Florida State.

That leaves Richard Goodman, Bert Reed and rapidly rising walk-on Louis Givens as the top targets as the Seminoles wrap up spring ball.



Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12