ACC: Meares Green

NC State spring wrap-up

May, 7, 2009
5/07/09
9:15
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

North Carolina State Wolfpack

2008 overall record: 6-7

2008 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters: Offense: 7, defense: 7, kicker/punter 1

Top returners: QB Russell Wilson, WR Owen Spencer, C Ted Larsen DT Alan Michael Cash, DE Willie Young, LB Nate Irving, PK Josh Czajkowski, TB Toney Baker, WR T.J. Graham, LB Ray Michel, TB Jamelle Eugene, CB DeAndre Morgan

Key losses: TE Anthony Hill, HB Andre Brown, S J.C. Neal, CB Jeremy Gray, DT Keith Willis, OG John Bedics, OG Meares Green

2008 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Andre Brown (767 yards)
Passing: Russell Wilson* (1,955 yards)
Receiving:
Owen Spencer* (691 yards)
Tackles:
Ray Michel* (85)
Sacks:
Willie Young* (6.5)
Interceptions:
Nate Irving* (4)

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 South Carolina
Sept. 12 Murray State
Sept. 19 Gardner-Webb
Sept. 26 Pittsburgh
Oct. 3 at Wake Forest
Oct. 10 Duke
Oct. 17 at Boston College
Oct. 31 at Florida State
Nov. 7 Maryland
Nov. 14 Clemson
Nov. 21 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 28 North Carolina

Spring answers

1. Sweet relief. Mike Glennon impressed the coaching staff as the No. 2 quarterback this spring with his poise and arm strength and likely earned himself some playing time this fall. Glennon completed 23 of 38 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown in the Kay Yow Spring Game.

2. Hit me. Baker hadn't played in almost two years, let alone been hit, but he held up physically throughout the spring despite not being entirely 100 percent. He and Jamelle Eugene should help compensate for the loss of Brown.

3. Going the distance. Placekicker Josh Czajkowski could be a difference-maker this fall. He was accurate last year (16 of 19 field goals and 33 of 34 PATs), but improved his distance this spring. Czajkowki made a 52-yarder in one of the scrimmages.

Fall questions

1. Winning in September. NC State has made a push late in the schedule over the past two seasons, and has had a tendency to get off to a slow, injury-laden start. If the Wolfpack is going to be a legitimate contender in Tom O'Brien's third season, they'll have to get off to a faster start.

2. Staying power. Can Russell Wilson stay healthy and handle the spotlight of Year 1 while Glennon is itching to see some playing time? Wilson showed improvement this spring by working through his progressions better, but O'Brien said there could have been more progress had Wilson not spent part of the spring with the baseball team.

3. Walker's return. Can the Pack get safety Javon Walker back in secondary? Walker tore his ACL in the second-to-last game of 2008. As a freshman he was starting, but he missed the spring. He is expected back this fall and could be the best player in secondary.

You look a little green ...

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
1:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

They're young. They're inexperienced. They're ... green.

In keeping with our St. Patrick's Day theme, here's a look at the "greenest" units on each team in the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE -- If Dominique Davis wins the starting quarterback job, he's got a whopping three full games of starting experience to fall back on, and that's three more games than Justin Tuggle, who is also competing for the job.

CLEMSON -- The Tigers will be youngest at quarterback, where either sophomore Willy Korn or redshirt freshman Kyle Parker will inherit the offense.

DUKE -- The Blue Devils have to replace three starters on their offensive line and returning sophomore Kyle Hill moved from guard to tackle.

FLORIDA STATE -- Without Preston Parker, Greg Carr and Taiwan Easterling (for the spring) and Corey Surrency, the Noles will depend heavily upon a green group of receivers.

GEORGIA TECH -- Having lost three of four starters on the defensive line, it's easily one of the greenest groups in the whole conference.

MARYLAND -- Maryland lost five starters from its defensive front seven, but defensive tackles Travis Ivey and Dion Armstrong ended the year as starters and linebacker Adrian Moten had three starts.

MIAMI -- The Canes are still young everywhere, but remember quarterback Jacory Harris has only started two games and his backups have no collegiate experience.

NORTH CAROLINA -- The Tar Heels lost their top three receivers and will be counting heavily on inexperienced players to replace Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate and Brooks Foster.

NC STATE -- The Wolfpack needs to replace both offensive guards in John Bedics and Meares Green, who combined for 43 starts.

VIRGINIA -- Outside linebacker Denzel Burrell is the only returning starting linebacker in the Cavaliers' 3-4 defense.

VIRGINIA TECH -- The Hokies have to replace two starting linebackers in Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant.

WAKE FOREST -- The Demon Deacons have to replace three starters at linebacker, including Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry.

NC State recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
1:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As he enters his third season in Raleigh, coach Tom O'Brien is close to reaching his recruiting goal of bringing in a balanced class every February instead of focusing on certain positions.

Ideally, the Pack would like to add four offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three linebackers, four defensive linemen, a quarterback and a tailback in every class, but defense was the main priority in this year's recruiting class. The biggest names they'll have to replace are on offense, where running back Andre Brown and tight end Anthony Hill will be graduating.

While NC State enters 2009 with arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Russell Wilson, Mike Glennon provides the only legitimate depth behind him, and if Wilson has another injury-laden season, Glennon won't have to wait long for his shot.

Of the 19 seniors departing, nine are from the defense, and both lines will lose key contributors, including offensive linemen Meares Green and John Bedics. The staff has gone after several recruits for the defensive line, as it loses Keith Willis Jr. and Antoine Holmes, and all four starters on the defensive line might be seniors next season. There's not a lot of young depth behind them right now.

The secondary will also take a hit with the departure of Jeremy Gray and J.C. Neal, and the Pack will need a replacement for Robbie Leonard at linebacker.

ACC's Players of the Week

November, 24, 2008
11/24/08
5:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here they are folks, from the league office as voted on by members of the media:

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK -- Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech, B-Back, 6-foot, 228, So., Marietta, Ga.
Dwyer ran for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 10 carries in Georgia Tech's 41-23 win over No. 23-ranked Miami on Thursday. Dwyer, who sat out most of the second half, helped the Yellow Jackets produce 472 yards of rushing offense -- Tech's highest total in an ACC game. For Dwyer, it was his eighth 100-yard rushing performance of the season and he remains the ACC's leading rusher (by 13 yards per game).

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK -- Russell Wilson, NC State, QB, 5-11, 191, R-Fr., Richmond, Va.
Wilson threw for a career-high 279 yards on 17-of-28 passing and two touchdowns in NC State's 41-10 win over North Carolina. This was the fifth consecutive game he has thrown for multiple touchdowns, the longest such streak since Philip Rivers threw multiple TDs in six straight games in 2003. Wilson also extended his string of consecutive pass attempts without an interception to 203. Last week, Wilson was honored as ACC Rookie of the Week.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Meares Green, NC State, G/T, 6-4, 306, R-Sr., Wilmington, N.C.
Green led the NC State rushing attack that produced season highs in rushing yards (187), passing yards (279) and total yards (466) in the Pack's 41-10 win over North Carolina. Green graded out at 82 percent for the game. The offensive line allowed just two sacks of quarterback Russell Wilson.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Thomas Austin, Clemson, Guard, 6-3, 295, Jr., Camden, S.C.
Austin helped the Clemson offense to a 13-3 victory over Virginia with 11 knockdown blocks in 71 plays. He did not miss a snap and received a grade of 86 percent from the coaching staff. The Tiger offensive line held tough, not allowing a sack in 29 passing attempts.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Everette Brown, Florida State, DE, 6-4, 248, Jr., Stantonsburg, N.C.
Brown was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his dominating performance in FSU's 37-3 win over Maryland. For the third time this season, Brown recorded three or more sacks in a game as he recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks. He also forced the fumble that linebacker Derek Nicholson scooped up and returned for a TD to put the Seminoles up 14-0. His career-high 4.5 tackles for loss upped his season total to 20.5 which leads the nation in tackles for loss. He is tied for second in the FBS with 12.5 sacks this season.

DEFENSIVE BACK -- Mark Herzlich, Boston College, LB, 6-4, 238, Jr., Wayne, Pa.
Herzlich picked off two Riley Skinner passes, returning one 34-yards for a touchdown and setting up an Eagle field goal with the other in Boston College's 24-21 win over Wake Forest. The junior finished with nine tackles, seven solo, as BC held Wake to 191 net yards of total offense. Herzlich's interception return for a touchdown marked the sixth consecutive game in which the Eagles have scored a non-offensive touchdown.

SPECIALIST -- Graham Gano, Florida State, PK/P, 6-1, 197, Sr., Pensacola, Fla.
Gano was 3-for-3 in field goal attempts in the Seminoles upset win over No. 22 Maryland. Gano improved to 21-for-23 this year in field goals and for the sixth time this year (in nine games played) he had double-digit points (13). Gano handled all the kicking for FSU and none of his three punts were returned by Maryland. Gano converted on field goal tries from 22, 34 and 48 yards, respectively.

ROOKIE -- Dominique Davis, Boston College, QB, 6-4, 198, R-Fr., Lakeland, Fla.
Davis was forced into action on Saturday when starting Eagle quarterback Chris Crane went down with a broken collarbone. He came in and completed 13-of-23 for 103 yards as Boston College defeated Wake Forest, 24-21. Davis engineered a 9-play, 70-yard drive that included a 36-yard and 21-yard completion. Ultimately, Davis scored the winning touchdown on a QB sneak.

ACC position rankings: Offensive lines

July, 16, 2008
7/16/08
5:57
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here they are, the unheralded linemen. The guys who do the dirty work and make their teammates look good. Check out who's got the best:

1. Maryland -- The Terps have just one starting job open here and five of the top six linemen are seniors. The experience younger players like Bruce Campbell and Paul Pinegar gained last year at the misfortune of injured teammates should pay dividends this season. The Terps' depth is why they're ahead of the Hokies.

2. Virginia Tech -- Four starters are back, including Ed Wang, who moved from right to left tackle; left guard Nick Marshman, who at 6-foot-5, 357-pounds was the largest man on the roster but dropped 25 pounds in the offseason; center Ryan Shuman, who missed the spring because of offseason knee surgery; and right guard Sergio Render, who has already caught the eye of NFL scouts. Wang's backup, Greg Nosal, is a redshirt freshman moving from tight end. Marshman's reserve is Hivera Green, who hasn't played.

3. North Carolina -- The Tar Heels have struggled in the past, but with four starters returning and the second season under Butch Davis, it should see improvement. Senior tackle Garrett Reynolds and junior tackle Kyle Jolly -- who missed the spring with an injured left foot -- lead a group that has 67 total starts.

4. Wake Forest -- This group should be better than people think, despite having to replace center Steve Justice. Barrett McMillin has starting experience at right guard, and left tackle Joe Birdsong and right tackle Jeff Griffin both split time at one of the tackle spots last season. Left guard Russell Nenon didn't start but picked up a lot of playing time toward the end of the season. Center is a question mark. Because he was stuck behind Justice, center Trey Bailey has the most catching up to do.

5. Boston College -- There are still two spots up for grabs. Sophomore Anthony Castonzo, who holds the distinction of becoming the school's first offensive lineman in a decade to start as a true freshman, moved from right to left tackle to replace Gosder Cherilus. Matt Tennant is back at center along with returning staritng guard Clif Ramsey. Former defensive lineman Thomas Claiborne moved to right guard this spring.

6. NC State -- Moving defensive linemen Ted Larsen to center and John Bedics to left guard will only help this football team, but neither of them has taken a snap on offense yet in a college game. Jake Vermiglio, a hulking tackle who played well against Chris Long as a freshman last year, moved to guard behind Bedics (which shows Tom O'Brien's confidence in that move). Andy Barbee, a redshirt junior, was a longtime backup at center. Depth is a question mark, but the Wolfpack has three returning starters in right tackle Meares Green (who played at guard, center AND tackle last year), right guard Curtis Crouch, and Julian Williams, who is in his second full year starting at left tackle.

7. Miami -- The Hurricanes are looking for a starting center but have two starters back in Jason Fox and Reggie Youngblood. They've got experience in Orlando Franklin, Joel Figueroa (a key reserve) and Chris Rutledge (split time as a starter).

8. Virginia -- The loss of Branden Albert and two other starters left a gaping hole. The best thing the Cavaliers have going for them is senior Eugene Monroe, who might be the best offensive lineman in the ACC. He didn't allow a sack last year at left tackle. There's also experience at right tackle, where Will Barker has 25 career starts.

9. Georgia Tech -- The good news is that left tackle Andrew Gardner came back instead of heading for the NFL. The bad news is the cohesiveness of this unit is mostly gone because Gardner is the lone full-time returning starter. Cord Howard missed the spring because of foot surgery, but he and Dan Voss, who started the final seven games of last season at left guard, at least have starting experience.

10. Clemson -- Finally. A flaw. Tommy Bowden had to replace four starters, and named all but the two guard spots. Still, Cory Lambert has never started a game at left tackle and three of the four players competing to be guards are redshirt freshmen. Freshman Antoine McClain, who was ranked the No. 6 offensive tackle prospect [Insider] in the country by ESPN.com, could help.

11. Duke -- The Blue Devils have three starters back, including both tackles -- Fred Roland and Cameron Goldberg -- and guard Rob Schirmann. The reason they're not last? They've got one more body with experience than the 'Noles.

12. Florida State -- For the first time in school history, there's not one junior or senior on the line. That doesn't mean there's not talent, but much of it is unproven. What the Seminoles do have is sophomores Ryan McMahon and Rodney Hudson. McMahon was the only freshman or sophomore in the FBS to take every offensive snap for his team at center. Redshirt freshman Antwane Greenlee, a bulky 302-pound tackle who was very highly recruited, still hasn't played. A true freshman will most likely start somewhere, but first the coaches have to find the best one they have.

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