ACC: Matt Waldron
Just don't tell that to Hokies head coach Frank Beamer.
Virginia Tech likely will be a preseason top-10 team and a popular choice to win the league for the third time in the past four years. Beamer's bunch is absolutely loaded at running back with Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. The Hokies also bring back ACC pass efficiency leader Tyrod Taylor and several solid defenders.
It's a strong group, but Beamer has no plans to sit back and relax this spring.
"Any time you're talking about top 10, and you're talking about replacing both kickers, that's a concern ...," Beamer told reporters Monday. "I think the talent level is good. It's just you've got some young guys there."
What are some key areas to watch as Virginia Tech opens spring drills? Here's a quick look:
- Position changes: Virginia Tech has several of them, most notably Josh Oglesby moving from running back to fullback and Jake Johnson moving from linebacker to defensive end. The Hokies don't normally feature their fullbacks but could look to do more with Oglesby, a highly touted prospect buried on the depth chart.
- Running back: The Hokies know they have a great option in Williams, but they'll be closely watching how Evans responds this spring after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Beamer expects Evans to push Williams for the starting job, but you never know how players respond to major knee injuries.
- Specialists: As Beamer mentioned, both the starting kicker and punter jobs are open after the departures of Matt Waldron and Brent Bowden. Several players are in the mix at kicker, including Chris Hazley and Justin Myer, while Brian Saunders is expected to step in at punter. Special teams are a huge deal at Virginia Tech, so plenty of eyes will be on these two competitions.
- Defense: Virginia Tech loses seven starters, including three along the defensive line and All-ACC linebacker Cody Grimm. In addition, linebacker Barquell Rivers is out for the spring following quadriceps surgery. Alonzo Tweedy, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Lorenzo Williams are in the mix to fill Grimm's spot at outside linebacker. The Hokies need to build depth along the line and especially at the end spots, where Chris Drager and Steven Friday try to nail down starting spots.
QB: Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech (50)
RB: Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech (67)
RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (63)
WR: Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech (63)
WR: Donovan Varner, Duke (50)
TE: George Bryan, NC State (39)
TE: Michael Palmer, Clemson (39)
OT: Jason Fox, Miami (57)
OT: Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (53)
OG: Rodney Hudson, Florida State (54)
OG: Cord Howard, Georgia Tech (47)
C: Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (45)
K: Matt Waldron, Virginia Tech (27)
K: Matt Bosher, Miami (27)
Spc: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (76)
DE: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech (76)
DE: Robert Quinn, North Carolina (69)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (47)
DT: Allen Bailey, Miami (38)
LB: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech (65)
LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College (53)
LB: Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina (44)
LB: Alex Wujciak, Maryland (44)
CB: Kendric Burney, North Carolina (59)
CB: Brandon Harris, Miami (41)
S: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (57)
S: Deunta Williams, North Carolina (53)
P: Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech (57)
QB: Thaddeus Lewis, Duke (18)
RB: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (62)
RB: Montel Harris, Boston College (39)
WR: Torrey Smith, Maryland (25)
WR: Jacoby Ford, Clemson (24)
TE: Greg Boone, Virginia Tech (16)
OT: Ed Wang, Virginia Tech (31)
OT: Chris Hairston, Clemson (26)
OG: Thomas Austin, Clemson (39)
OG: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech (37)
C: Matt Tennant, Boston College (29)
K: Casey Barth, North Carolina (21)
K: Will Snyderwine, Duke (21)
Spc: Torrey Smith, Maryland (17)
DE: Ricky Sapp, Clemson (29)
DE: Willie Young, NC State (24)
DE: Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (24)
DT: Marvin Austin, North Carolina (32)
DT: John Russell, Wake Forest (29)
LB: Vincent Rey, Duke (29)
LB: Darryl Sharpton, Miami (21)
LB: Bruce Carter, North Carolina (17)
LB: Colin McCarthy, Miami (17)
LB: Dekoda Watson, Florida State (17)
CB: Ras-I Dowling, Virginia (26)
CB: Patrick Robinson, Florida State (26)
S: Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (51)
S: Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech (24)
P: Matt Bosher, Miami (37)
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Aren't you glad it's September today?
- Georgia Tech isn't changing its gameplan for Jacksonville State, even though starting quarterback Ryan Perrilloux has been suspended for the opener.
- Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey left some strong words of advice for his friend and former teammate, Adrian Cannon: "I want you to follow in my footsteps and be better than me." Cannon seems up to the task.
- Who better to break down the NC State-South Carolina game than the man who coached at both schools? ESPN's Lou Holtz gave the Charlotte Observer his take.
- Can you name Virginia's starting linebackers this year? It's understandable. They've been in the shadows for a while, but that will change this fall.
- Duke hasn't played in a bowl game since 1994, and while the Blue Devils might not quite be there yet, they at least believe they can be.
- Last year, Miami linebacker Sean Spence was a self-described "ping pong," bouncing off guys before he'd make a play. This year, he's not a "little freshman anymore." And he's hoping the collective growth of the defense will help the Canes stop the run.
- FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews doesn't want any help from the Noles' offense, but he just might need it, at least early in the season.
- Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post sat down with Miami AD Kirby Hocutt, who said he's confident Randy Shannon "is going to continue to be our leader for a long, long time."
- Ha, Randy King of the Roanoke Times writes the Virginia Tech-Bama game is going to be a "slobber-knocker" of a game, which would be just fine with kicker Matt Waldron, who would love nothing more than to be the deciding factor.
- Can Clemson running back C.J. Spiller run between the tackles? Can he be an every-down back? Heck, can he get 1,000 yards? Spiller laughs at those questions, and says he's already proven himself.
- UNC H-back Ryan Taylor will miss the opener against the Citadel with a sprained right knee. Still, the Tar Heels are eager to get into a game situation to find out "who's going to be the playmakers."
- Toney Baker is back and taking over the No. 1 job at running back for NC State, but he hasn't played in a game in eons. Ken Tysiac caught up with Baker to find out his thoughts on the upcoming season.
n said. "He kind of looked like he had solidified the job and then he opens it up again." Defensive back Eric Franklin, a true freshman, made a scrimmage-best eight tackles and picked off Turner on the sixth possession. MIAMI The Canes wrapped up their final two-a-day of fall camp on Sunday, and coach Randy Shannon said everything -- that's right, everything -- is still up for grabs. Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post had a couple of notes for you off Sunday's practice. Morning Practice Highlights -- (pads) Joe Joseph and Marcus Robinson each had a sack in 11-on-11 drills. Randy Phillips (INT, pass break-up) and DeMarcus Van Dyke (two pass break-ups) stood out in the secondary. Lee Chambers and Damien Berry each broke off a couple runs of 15+ yards. Javarris James caught several passes in both 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 sessions Afternoon Practice Highlights -- (shells) Sam Shields (red zone), Chavez Grant (7-on-7) and C.J. Holton (11-on-11) all recorded interceptions. Grant returned his for a touchdown while Holton caught his off a tipped pass. A.J. Highsmith connected with Tommy Streeter (11-on-11) and LaRon Byrd (7-on-7) for significant yardage. Damien Berry took a short pass in the flat from Taylor Cook for a long gain. Other highlights include a near interception by Randy Phillips, a pass break-up by Ramon Buchanan and a sack by Micanor Regis. Red zone touchdowns included Jacory Harris to Richard Gordon and Taylor Cook to Jimmy Graham. VIRGINIA TECH So ... add Ryan Williams to the list of VT running backs who are banged up. Williams sprained his ankle, and Josh Oglesby has "the worst infection" coach Billy Hite has ever seen on a foot. Also, the coaches want to redshirt Logan Thomas, and Kenny Lewis Jr.'s recovery has been delayed. Not a lot of happy news coming out of Blacksburg these days. To read Virginia Tech's entire scrimmage report, click here. Tyrod Taylor completed 8 of 11 passes for 78 yards. Xavier Boyce led all receivers with two catches for 47 yards. Freshman running back Tony Gregory rushed 18 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns. Williams rushed just five times for 22 yards before spraining his ankle and sitting out the rest of the scrimmage. He did score on a 4-yard run and he returned several punts. Matt Waldron was 4-for-4 on his field goal attempts. (31, 32, 43, 30) Defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson led the defense with seven tackles, four for a loss, and one sack.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
More than half of the teams in the ACC held scrimmages this past weekend, and no, I didn't forget about them. Instead of giving you the entire practice reports, though, I decided to highlight a few scrimmage stars for each team. (Virginia also scrimmaged on Saturday but it was closed and they do not release stats.)
In some cases, like at Maryland and Boston College, the defense looked much sharper than the offense. At others, like Wake Forest, the offense lived up to the preseason expectations. And Virginia Tech looked good on special teams. The teams that have veteran quarterbacks took advantage of them, while others -- like Clemson and BC -- struggled. Here are a few of the top performers from Saturday:
The defense had 12 sacks including two each by Derek Drummond and Obum Akinyili. Drummond, who is expected to be a key player at one of the end positions, also had the first scoring play of the day, sacking Jamarr Robinson in the end zone for a safety on the third series, which began at the 5-yard line.
The defense stole the show, and cornerback Isaac Johnson led the way with five tackles. Redshirt freshman defensive end Max Holloway had two quarterback sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Deacs might have lost their leading receiver, but there are plenty of young players eager to take over, as 13 players caught at least one pass. Chris Givens finished with four catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Terence Davis led the receiving corps with six catches for 75 yards, including a gain of 25 yards. Riley Skinner completed 12 of 16 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive ends Da'Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp combined for five quarterback sacks. Malliciah Goodman, a freshman, also had a pair of sacks in the scrimmage that was played with no tackling the quarterback, so it was much easier to record sacks. Brandon Maye led the defense in tackles with seven, while Marcus Gilchrist had two tackles for loss and a 60 yard fumble return.
The quarterbacks shone in the 60-play scrimmage with backup Sean Renfree completing 11-of-18 passes for 120 yards and 1 touchdown. Can't wait to see him play. Veteran Thaddeus Lewis completed 9-of-18 for 96 yards and an interception.
Not a bad day for Beamerball. Matt Waldron made all four of his field-goal attempts, 42, 25, 46 and 25 yards, and Ryan Williams returned a punt for a touchdown. Lyndell Gibson intercepted a pass to go with five tackle. Logan Thomas completed 6-of-14 for 128 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
Christian Ponder put up some no-nonsense numbers, completing 15 of 20 attempts for 287 yards and four touchdowns. Jarmon Fortson made three receptions for 106 yards, while Rod Owens added three for 84, including a touchdown. Markus White led the defense with six tackles.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Special teams are critical, especially in Blacksburg, and it's one of the Hokies' few weaknesses this year. They're in need of a kicker for the third time in three seasons, but Virginia Tech is hardly the only team in the ACC with big holes to fill. Here's how the ACC's special teams units ranked:
1. Miami -- Matt Bosher has already gotten plenty of ink in the blogosphere, but he's only one reason the Canes are No. 1 here. Bosher converted 18 of 20 field goal attempts and averaged 40.3 yards per punt. It's possible Jake Wieclaw could give Bosher some relief on kickoffs. If Travis Benjamin stays healthy, the return game will be in great shape. Benjamin led the team and the ACC in punt return yardage (173) and was ninth in the ACC in kick return yardage (477). Thearon Collier is also another return threat.
2. NC State -- The combination of kicker Josh Czajkowski and speedy return specialist T.J. Graham make the Wolfpack one of the best in the ACC. If they find a punter this summer, the unit will be complete. In his first season as starter, Czajkowski made 84.2 percent of his field goals (16 of 19), and he made 33 of 34 PATs to finish with 81 points and seventh place in the ACC in scoring. Graham's 1,028 yards in kickoff returns set the school record for a single season and already ranks fifth on the Wolfpack career list. They have to replace punter Bradley Pierson, though. Jeff Ruiz and Carl Ojala are both options.
3. Maryland -- The Terps have to replace kicker Obi Egekeze, but they've still got the ACC's top punter in Travis Baltz. He pinned Maryland opponents inside their own 20-yard line 24 times last year. Wide receiver Torrey Smith had a record-setting season as a kickoff returner, as he set the ACC single-season record for kickoff return yards with 1,089. There are high expectations for Nick Ferrara, who will be a true freshman, to replace Egekeze, but the job is wide open.
4. Virginia Tech -- Not only did the Hokies lose placekicker Dustin Keys, but they also lost punt returner Victor "Macho" Harris. The good news is that punter Brent Bowden returns, as does kickoff man Justin Myer, and snapper Collin Carroll. Matt Waldron and Myer enter summer camp as the favorites for the placekicking and kickoff duties, respectively. Incoming freshman Cody Journell might give them both a run for their money, though. Ryan Williams came out of spring practice as the starting punt returner, but Dyrell Roberts and Danny Coale are also options.
5. Clemson -- The Tigers have to replace veteran starters Mark Buchholz and Jimmy Manners at the two kicking positions. Spencer Benton, a redshirt freshman, is the frontrunner to take over the placekicking duties, but he'll get some competition from Richard Jackson. Dawson Zimmerman, who started two games and punted in three last year, should be the starting punter. Zimmerman averaged 38.5 yards for his 12 punts last season. The return game is in good hands -- C.J. Spiller's. Jacoby Ford is also experienced as a return man, and has a punt return and a kickoff return of more than 90 yards for scores.
6. Georgia Tech -- This is the area where coach Paul Johnson wants to see the most improvement, and with good reason: The Yellow Jackets ranked 11th in the ACC in net punting, 10th in kickoff returns and ninth in punt returns last year. Junior Scott Blair did a respectable job last year, as he was the first Yellow Jacket to handle both kicking and punting duties in 25 years. He'll get some competition, though, at one or both positions from sophomore Chandler Anderson, the holder last season. Anderson, who missed spring practice after a bout with appendicitis, punted six times in '08 for an average of 41.7.
7. Boston College -- Steve Aponavicius returns for his senior year. He went 14-for-21 on field goals last season. Newcomer Nate Freese, who kicked a school-record 52-yard field goal in Ohio, will challenge Aponavicius. Ryan Quigley and Billy Flutie both return to their punting duties. Quigley serves as the main punter and averaged 39.6 yards per kick with nine pinned inside the 20-yard-line. Flutie was used in short situations and pinned opponents inside the 20 seven times. Unheralded veteran long-snapper Jack Geiser also returns.
8. Duke -- The Blue Devils return placekicker Nick Maggio and punter Kevin Jones. Jones punted 71 times last fall and 27 of those kicks pinned Duke's opponents inside their own 20-yard line, the most by any punter. He finished second in the ACC in punting, with 40.8 yards per kick as a sophomore. Maggio made 11 of 14 field goal attempts.
9. North Carolina -- This might be the Tar Heels' biggest concern, as they have to replace punter Terrence Brown, and placekicker Jay Wooten decided to transfer. Connor Barth was UNC's primary field goal kicker in 2008 and Wooten was used as the kickoff man. Reid Phillips is a walk-on who is now in the mix, and walk-on Grant Shallock, who handled the punting duties this spring, is another option. The staff is eager for the arrival of prized recruit C.J. Feagles. Another concern is the return game, which survived without Brandon Tate last year with the help of walk-on Trase Jones. He finished the season with five returns for 36 yards.
10. Florida State -- The Noles took a huge hit here with the graduation of Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano. The good news? FSU returns its long-snapper, Zack Aronson, and holder, Shawn Powell. James Esco and Nathan O'Jibway handled the kicking duties this spring, but neither have attempted a field goal in a game during their careers. There are high hopes for freshman Dustin Hopkins. Powell, who started the first seven games of 2008 as punter, will replace Gano there.
11. Wake Forest -- Veteran Sam Swank only started seven games last year before being injured, and that allowed Shane Popham to get his feet wet. Popham said he's much more confident heading into this season and gained valuable experience last year. He could handle both duties a
gain like he did last year. Popham made 7 of 12 field goal attempts and averaged 39.2 yards on 54 punts, pinning opponents inside the 20 on 19 occasions.
12. Virginia -- After three season as head coach at Kansas State, Ron Prince returns to Charlottesville to coach special teams, and it won't be an easy gig. Senior Yannick Reyering's injury-marred career is over, so sophomore Chris Hinkebein, who handled the kickoff duties for five games while Reyering was slowed with an injury, is expected to contend for some of the placekicking responsibilities. Robert Randolph shared some time with Reyering last year and made 3 of 4 attempts. Junior Danny Aiken is a proven long-snapper, and sophomore Jimmy Howell was one of five true freshmen to see time last year. He averaged 39.0 yards on 64 punts.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Considering how evenly matched the ACC is expected to be yet again, there should be a significant amount of close games -- as in, the kind of games won with a swift kick and good field position, not just a strong arm. The problem is, even the best teams in the league are in search of dependable kickers and punters. Florida State took a huge hit with the graduation of Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano. Miami and NC State seem to have the edge with Matt Bosher and Josh Czajkowski, respectively.
Here's a rundown of who's in good shape and who's not when it comes to the kicking game:
IN GOOD SHAPE
Boston College: Finally, a plus for the Eagles -- kind of. BC returns both placekicker Steve Aponavicius, who has 36 career starts, and Ryan Quigley, who has 14 career starts. The problem has been consistency. Aponavicius, who received an extra year of eligibility, needs to improve upon last year's 14 of 21 field goals made. Challenging him for the job will be newcomer Nate Freese, from Ohio. Quigley serves as the main punter and had a strong freshman season, averaging 39.6 yards a kick and had nine inside the 20-yard line and five over 50 yards. Billy Flutie was used in short situations and pinned opponents inside the 20 seven times.
Duke: The Blue Devils return placekicker Nick Maggio and punter Kevin Jones. Jones punted 71 times last fall and 27 of those kicks pinned Duke's opponents inside their own 20-yard line, the most of any punter. He finished second in the ACC in punting, with 40.8 yards per kick as a sophomore. Maggio made 11 of 14 field goal attempts.
Miami: Matt Bosher is a legitimate candidate to win the Lou Groza Award this fall, and he doubles as kicker and punter. Bosher made 90 percent of his field goal attempts last year, his first season of double duty (18 of 20 attempts). As a punter, he averaged 40.3 yards per kick with 19 punts inside the 20-yard line.
NC State: In his first season as starter, Czajkowski made 84.2 percent of his field goals (16 of 19), and he made 33 of 34 PATs to finish with 81 points and seventh place in the ACC in scoring. They have to replace punter Bradley Pierson, though. Jeff Ruiz and Carl Ojala are both options.
OUT: The Tigers lose placekicker Mark Buchholz, who was 15 of 21 in field goals last year, and punter Jimmy Maners, who ranked fourth in the ACC in putting average (40.5). Buchholz made 15 of 21 field goals last year and was perfect on 40 extra points in leading the team in scoring with 85 points. He established a Clemson record for consecutive extra points with a perfect 88-88 performance over his two years on the team.
IN: Spencer Benton, a redshirt freshman, looks to take over the placekicking duties, but will be pressured by Richard Jackson. Dawson Zimmerman, who started two games and punted in three last year, should be the starting punter. Zimmerman had a 38.5 average for his 12 punts last year.
• Florida State
OUT: Graham Gano. This will be a huge loss, as Gano led the nation in field goals (2.18 per game), and finished fourth in scoring, despite missing two games. He doubled as both kicker and punter.
IN: James Esco and Nathan O'Jibway handled the kicking duties this past spring. Neither has attempted a field goal in a game during their careers. Dustin Hopkins, a highly touted recruit, should add to the competition there this summer. Shawn Powell, who started the first seven games last year as the team's punter, will return to that job.
• Georgia Tech
IN: Scott Blair is back as both the kicker and punter, and he did a solid job last year, but special teams has been an area of concern and point of emphasis for Paul Johnson since he arrived in Atlanta. Blair will get some competition. Chandler Anderson, the holder last year, had appendicitis and missed all of spring. Kevin Crosby will also challenge at punter and Chris Tanner will compete at kicker, along with Andy Elakman.
OUT: Placekicker Obi Egekeze, who had 26 career starts and made 15 of 24 field goals last fall. The Terps can take solace in the fact punter Travis Baltz returns. He pinned Maryland opponents inside their own 20-yard line 24 times last year.
IN: There are high expectations for Nick Ferrara, who will be a true freshman. But while he wasn't on campus yet, Mike Barbour and Nick Wallace were battling it out. The job is wide open.
• North Carolina
OUT: Punter Terrence Brown, who had 25 career starts, has to be replaced. Walk-on Grant Schallock handled the punting duties this spring. The staff is eager for the arrival of prized recruit C.J. Feagles.
IN: Sophomore Casey Barth returns with 10 games of placekicking experience, but it's not a given that he's the guy. Walk-on Reid Phillips is also in the mix, as is Jay Wooten, who was used as the kickoff man last year.
OUT: Yannick Reyering's injury-marred career is over. The former soccer star had a strong leg, but made just 6 of 11 field goal attempts.
IN: Robert Randolph shared some time with Reyering last year and made 3 of 4 attempts. Chris Hinkebein, who handled the kickoff duties for five games while Reyering was slowed with an injury, is also expected to contend for some of the placekicking responsibilities this season. The good news is they return Jimmy Howell at punter, but he only has 12 starts. He was one of five true freshmen to see time last year and averaged 39.0 yards on 64 punts.
• Virginia Tech
OUT: Dustin Keys. For the third time in three seasons, Frank Beamer needs to find a new kicker. Keys finished eighth nationally in field goals per game, and made 23 of 29.
IN: Matt Waldron appears to be the leading candidate to replace Keys, but Justin Myer, Tim Pisano and Chris Hazley are also in the mix. They'll compete with incoming recruit Cody Journell for the job in August. The good news is punter Brent Bowden is back, and he averaged 40.4 yards per kick and had 24 kicks inside the 20-yard line last year. The coaches would like him to be a little more consistent, but he is entering his third season as a starter.
• Wake Forest
OUT: Sam Swank and his 45 career starts. Swank only started seven games last year before being injured, and that allowed Shane Popham to get his feet wet.
IN: Popham. He could handle double duties again like he did last year, and should be more confident after being thrown into the fire in 2008. Popham made 7 of 12 field goal attempts and averaged 39.2 yards on 54 punts, pinning opponents inside the 20 on 19 occasions.
Posted by ESPN.com'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.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Boston College is still looking for a starting quarterback, and Maryland, Virginia and Wake Forest are both looking for backups. Here are a few more reports from scrimmages and spring games from sports information directors around the ACC this past weekend:
The Eagles held their second scrimmage of the spring on Friday, and sophomore quarterback Dominique Davis completed 9 of 20 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman quarterback Justin Tuggle completed 1 of 4 passes for 17 yards. Sophomore quarterback Codi Boek completed 7 of 9 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
The ball was spread around between the wide receivers, with a total of eight players catching passes. Redshirt freshman Clyde Lee led all receivers with four catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. Junior Billy Flutie had a 40-yard touchdown catch from Davis, finishing the day with three catches for 57 yards. Senior Rich Gunnell caught three passes for 23 yards and one touchdown, while senior Justin Jarvis had a 22-yard touchdown reception.
A few younger Eagles got an opportunity to showcase themselves on defense. Redshirt freshman linebacker Alexander DiSanzo led the team with seven tackles. Redshirt freshman defensive end Max Halloway had a great day all around with three tackles, one fumble recovery, one sack, and a blocked extra point. Sophomore defensive end Dan Williams totaled five tackles for the day. Junior defensive tackle Damik Scafe and senior Brendan Deska each recorded sacks.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The Hokies had a mini-scrimmage today, but the reporters got the boot early into it, so I didn't see much. One observation came from the sideline -- recruit Logan Thomas was there and he is a man-child. If looks mean anything, he looks like he could play yesterday.
As for what happened at the scrimmage, here's the official report:
Kam Chancellor's interception return for a touchdown highlighted the Virginia Tech football team's 40-play mini-scrimmage held Wednesday afternoon at Lane Stadium.
Chancellor's interception return went for 37 yards and was the only touchdown of the scrimmage. Matt Waldron booted field goals of 47 and 35 yards to account for the remainder of the scoring.
Defensively, Nekos Brown finished with two sacks and a tackle for a loss. Germond Oatneal had two tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
Josh Oglesby had 10 carries for 24 yards, but he has decided he's not talking to the media this spring, so there goes that. That's it from Blacksburg for tonight.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Frank Beamer's office is a wee bit bigger than Bud Foster's (there's enough room for pretty much a full living room ensemble in there on a section of hardwood floor with a big VT on it), but everything is in its place, and it's more classy than it is showy.
Beamer sat behind his desk with his depth chart in front of him and we talked a bit about how his team is looking halfway through spring practices. I'll have more tomorrow and next week (I'm stockpiling a few things while I'm here), but here are a few notes from our interview:
- All of the running backs have had their moments. Don't sleep on Josh Oglesby. Ryan Williams and Darren Evans have been getting all the hype, but Oglesby is having a good spring. And Beamer knows Dave Wilson's name already. This competition will play out into summer camp, and "they'll determine their playing time."
- Beamer's biggest concern, aside from finding a backup quarterback, is the fact it's the third year in a row they'll have a new field goal kicker. Matt Waldron, Justin Myer, Tim Pisano and Chris Hazley all have a shot.
- Defensively, Beamer said they're a linebacker short and a defensive end short of where they'd like to be. I'll have more from Foster on the status of the defense tomorrow, but Beamer said he'll have three or four freshmen coming in at defensive end and he hopes one or two of them can contribute immediately.
- The staff used the first eight practices to install a lot, and with a young team, that meant some mistakes and a few "do-overs." Beamer said he's hoping the last seven practices are filled with more precision, consistency and improvement. "This spring practice has been good, but from here on out is when you have to really be good. When you're young like that, you have a chance to really improve at spring practice. If you're a veteran team, you're just trying to get through spring practice. We've really got a chance to improve."
- As for the receivers, a few have stood out to Beamer so far this spring. Among them are Xavier Boyce, a tall player who "looks like a wide receiver," and Tony Gregory, who was a running back at Fork Union Military Academy but has been playing well at wide receiver this spring, and has shown his speed. "I'm hoping our receiver position, which was so young last year, and probably a weakness for us to a degree because of the inexperience last year can become a strength for us this year."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
This can obviously change -- that's what the offseason is for -- but the Hokies released their pre-spring depth chart on Sunday. I'll have more on this after coach Frank Beamer's teleconference Monday, but thought Hokies' fans might want to take a look:
SE Jarrett Boykin -- Austin Fuller
LT Ed Wang -- Nick Becton
LG Greg Nosal -- Will Alvarez
C Beau Warren -- Michael Via OR Richard Graham
RG Jaymes Brooks -- Vinston Painter
RT Blake DeChristopher -- Andrew Lanier
TE Greg Boone -- Chris Drager OR Sam Wheeler
QB Tyrod Taylor -- Ju-Ju Clayton
RB Darren Evans -- Josh Oglesby OR Ryan Williams
FB Kenny Jefferson -- Kenny Younger
FL Danny Coale -- Dyrell Roberts
DE Nekos Brown -- Steven Friday
DE John Graves -- Isaiah Hamlette
DT Demetrius Taylor -- Kwamaine Battle OR Courtney Prince
DT Cordarrow Thompson -- Antoine Hopkins OR Dwight Tucker
OLB Cody Grimm -- Jeron Gouveia-Winslow OR Alonzo Tweedy
ILB Barquell Rivers -- Bruce Taylor
ILB Jake Johnson -- Quillie Odom
FC Rashad Charmichael -- Cris Hill
FS Kam Chancellor -- Lorenzo Williams
ROV Dorian Porch -- Davon Morgan OR Matt Reidy
BC Stephan Virgil -- Eddie Whitley
FG Matt Waldron -- Justin Myer
KO Justin Myer -- Tim Pisano
P Brent Bowden -- Brian Saunders
LS Colin Carroll -- Matt Tuttle
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Checking in from the heart of ACC country. I'll be talking to Tar Heels tomorrow, but first a look around what happened throughout the rest of the league Tuesday, according to team practice reports:
- The Blue Devils had a 55-snap situational scrimmage this afternoon.
- Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis completed nine-of-13 passes for 92 yards and scored on a one-yard run.
- Backup QB Zack Asack completed six-of-14 throws for 67 yards and one touchdown, and he rushed four times for 55 yards.
- Freshman running back Jay Hollingsworth had 54 yards on 10 carries, including a 26-yard touchdown.
- Four Blue Devils -- Raphael Chestnut, Brett Huffman, Tielor Robinson and Johnny Williams -- caught two passes each and Jeremy Ringfield caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Asack.
- Adrian Aye-Darko had an interception and Eddie Morgan recovered one fumble.
"Out of this situational scrimmage we got a couple of two minute drills that were pretty dynamic," coach David Cutcliffe said. "We got some short yardage and goal line work. We got a lot of third down work which I thought was good. The offense made some big plays to move the ball down the field and then turned it over on a forced error by the defense. All in all there was a little bit more give and take in this scrimmage than on Saturday. The one glaring thing is we have to find somebody who can run the football. The loss of Re'quan Boyette for the time being has put a damper on our run game."
- Senior Kevin Akins, who was recently moved from linebacker to corner, had two interceptions.
- Junior Rich Gunnell scampered for a long touchdown catch down the right sideline, and sophomore Ifeanyi Momah made a leap over the corner for an impressive catch.
- Freshman Colin Larmond Jr. also grabbed a long reception on the left side with a defender on his hip.
- There was a torrential rainstorm that made it tough for the offense to handle the ball through 12 periods.
- New football equipment manager Darin Kerns, a veteran of the Tampa Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, believes FSU has the best helmet in college football (as do many of the nation's fans, according the ESPN.com's 'Helmet Clash' contest). When he came to Tallahassee and saw the team's practice helmet without a spear on the side he decided to immediately rectify that matter and the spear is now on FSU's practice helmets.
- The blocking drill was highlighted by Corey Surrency's crushing block on Ochuko Jenije that ended up with the junior receiver being swarmed by teammates and his position coach Lawrence Dawsey.
- Team inside -- which is usually a running drill and only features everyone but the receivers and DBs -- featured the receivers for one period as Drew Weatherford connected with Taiwan Easterling, something you usually don't see during inside drills. Weatherford ran for a TD and Antone Smith had a nice run as well.
- Kevin McNeil, who had some academic issues, returned to practice and could contribute on the defensive line.
"Kevin McNeil was back out there today," coach Bobby Bowden said. "Of course they have to go back to the very beginning of the acclimation process -- two days in shorts, two days in shells and then into full (pads). We are going to bring him along slow. I don't think any other new guys got back out there. I'm sure they are all waiting for clearance before they go out there."
- The offense worked mainly on short-yardage passing and goal-line offense during its team drills today. The defense worked on passing situations, mainly on short-yard coverage. The Yellow Jackets ended practice by working on situations they might face in overtime.
- Freshman quarterback Jaybo Shaw threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to true freshman Jonathan Lockhart.
- Sophomore quarterback Josh Nesbitt returned the favor on his squad's first play with a 25-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman A-back Roddy Jones. After the first-team offense failed an attempted field goal on the ensuing drive, the second team won the game soon after as redshirt junior Mohamed Yahiaoui made a 30-yard field goal.
- The Hokies had their first of three scrimmages today, and they went 78 plays without any serious injuries.
- Quarterback Sean Glennon completed 6-of-10 passes for 49 yards and Tyrod Taylor completed 6-of-10 for 20 yards.
- Running back Josh Oglesby had five carries for 65 yards and one touchdown; Darren Evans: 7-26, and Ryan Williams 7-20.
- Prince Parker led all receivers with three catches for 19 yards.
- Defensively, corner Eddie Whitley had six tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Orion Martin had five tackles, including two tackles for loss.
- Matt Waldron made three field goals (35 yards, 25, 38).
- Macho Harris: Two blocked field goals.
- Oglesby: blocked punt, 34-yard touchdown run.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
We're almost through the entire league as I break down position battles to watch during summer camp. Here's a look at the spots still open in Blacksburg, Va.:
QUARTERBACK -- It's not a matter of who, it's a matter of how many. Will Sean Glennon have sole responsibility, or will he share the spotlight with Tyrod Taylor again? Frank Beamer says we'll find out this fall whether or not it's a redshirt year for Taylor.
CORNER -- Junior Stephan Virgil ended the spring atop the depth chart at the field corner spot opposite Macho Harris. Virgil was behind Brandon Flowers last season at boundary corner and saw most of his time on special teams. Redshirt freshman Cris Hill also has a chance to earn playing time.
PLACEKICKER -- Redshirt senior Dustin Keys is at the top of the chart, and made a 53-yard field goal during a spring scrimmage, but he isn't a lock yet. Tim Pisano, an invited walk-on, and redshirt sophomore Matt Waldron will be pushing him in August, along with several other invited walk-ons.
RUNNING BACK -- Kenny Lewis Jr. and Jahre Cheeseman both suffered serious injuries this spring, but are expected back in time for summer camp. Lewis is the Hokies' most experienced runner (111 career carries, 420 yards and six touchdowns), but Josh Oglesby and Darren Evans both got a lot of reps this spring. There are also high expectations for true freshman Ryan Williams.
WIDE RECEIVER -- Few, if any, receivers possess the speed of walk-on Brandon Dillard, the frontrunner at flanker coming out of the spring, but Dillard will miss the season with a ruptured Achilles. Beamer said the top candidates here are currently Zach Luckett and Danny Coale, but he's got a lengthy list to choose from which is good -- because he's got to replace his top four receivers. Ike Whitaker, Cory Holt, Patrick Terry and several freshmen are all in the mix.
Check back tomorrow for Wake Forest.