ACC: Morgan Roberts

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris has made some decisions about his starting offensive line for the season opener against Auburn next week.

Morris told local reporters that David Beasley will start at left guard, while Shaq Anthony is penciled in at right tackle, Brandon Thomas at left tackle, Dalton Freeman at center and Tyler Shatley at right guard. Freeman and Thomas are the only returning starters from a year ago.

The only way the starting lineup will change is if injured tackle Gifford Timothy is healthy enough to participate in practice next Monday and Tuesday. Timothy, projected to start at right tackle, hurt his knee in one of the first practices of fall camp and has been out.

“It is going to be our evaluation at that point,” Morris said, according to the team practice report. “We will look at his footwork and see where he is from a mental standpoint. So it’s hard to tell right now, but if he can’t go next Monday and Tuesday, then he can’t play.”

Morris also said he has been encouraged with the play of his offensive line the past three days after struggles early on in camp.

“We had to really challenge those guys almost to the point of being ugly,” he said. “I hate to be ugly, but sometimes being nice does not work. But, they responded and that has been good to see.”

In one other depth chart note, Morris said Cole Stoudt has won the backup quarterback job over Morgan Roberts and Chad Kelly. That probably boosts the likelihood that the Tigers redshirt Kelly, a highly touted true freshman who has performed well this preseason.
The quarterback position should be a strength throughout the ACC this year, moreso than any other season in recent memory. That is, of course, assuming the starters all stay healthy and on the field. If not, some teams could be in serious trouble. Here’s a look at the backup quarterback situation at each school.


School: Florida State

Starter: EJ Manuel

Top backup: Clint Trickett

The skinny: Trickett came out of the spring and entered summer camp with a firm hold on the backup spot. Redshirt freshman Jacob Coker is pushing Trickett, but is No. 3 right now in front of two true freshmen, Jameis Winston and Sean Maguire. The Noles are in great shape with Trickett because he started two games when Manuel was hurt last year, and he played in nine games.


School: Boston College

Starter: Chase Rettig

Top backup: Josh Bordner

The skinny: Bordner was listed second along with Dave Shinskie on the depth chart behind Rettig for each of BC’s last three games of the 2011 season -- NC State, Notre Dame and Miami. Bordner earned the No. 2 spot on the pre-spring game depth chart and post-spring game depth chart. He worked out with the second-team offense in the first scrimmage of preseason camp, completing 9-of-18 passes for 71 yards. Bordner played in five games last year.

School: Clemson

Starter: Tajh Boyd

Top backup: Cole Stoudt

The skinny: There is plenty of depth and talent behind Boyd, but not a lot of experience. Stoudt was the backup to Boyd a year ago, too, but he is being pushed at practices by highly touted recruit Chad Kelly, the nephew of Jim Kelly, a quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Kelly was rated the No. 4 quarterback in his class by Stoudt was 12-21 passing for 115 yards in 71 snaps over six games last year. He completed 57.1 percent of his passes. Tony McNeal suffered a torn ACL on the final offensive play of Clemson’s spring game, and will miss the season. The Tigers also have Morgan Roberts, a redshirt freshman.


School: Wake Forest

Starter: Tanner Price

Top backup: Brendan Cross

The skinny: Patrick Thompson has been taking reps at No. 2 since Cross has missed a few days with a virus. Neither of them, though, have done much with the limited playing time they’ve had. Cross’ only appearance of 2011 was against Gardner-Webb. He played in 2010 as a redshirt freshman, but he has only thrown eight career pass attempts. Thompson, a redshirt freshman last year, has only one pass attempt in one game.

School: Maryland

Starter: Perry Hills

Top backup: Caleb Rowe

The skinny: Maryland got devastating news on Wednesday when it learned starter C.J. Brown would miss the entire season with a torn right ACL. Perry Hills, a true freshman, got an immediate promotion, while Rowe moved up to the No. 2 spot and Devin Burns, a receiver who was competing for the No. 2 spot there, volunteered to become the No. 3 quarterback. It was a punch in the gut to an offense trying to recover from a 2-10 season and move on without former starter Danny O'Brien, who transferred to Wisconsin.

School: NC State

Starter: Mike Glennon

Top backup: Manny Stocker

The skinny: If Glennon gets hurt, NC State is in trouble. That’s not a knock on Stocker, who has impressed coach Tom O’Brien with his maturity, he’s just not ready to be the Wolfpack’s starter. Stocker is a true freshman who received an unexpected promotion after Tyler Brosius left school to play junior college baseball. Walk-on Garrett Leatham is the Pack’s only other available quarterback. Pete Thomas, a transfer from Colorado State, has to sit out the season under NCAA rules.

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage reports

August, 13, 2012
Not every school in the ACC gives scrimmage reports, but for those that do, I'll gladly post the highlights. Here's a look back at what happened in the ACC this weekend, according to each school's report:


Offensive highlights: Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 6 of 10 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown -- a 15-yard pass to running back Rolandan Finch, who also had eight carries for 37 yards. Freshman Harrison Jackson led the receivers with five receptions for 50 yards.

Defensive highlights: Defensive end Brian Mihalik had two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, including a sack. Senior captain Jim Noel had the lone interception.

Special-teams highlights: Kicker Nate Freese made all three of his field-goal attempts -- 30, 35 and 25 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good start, good first series and then it tailed off,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “We got soft and had some execution issues, but in general the scrimmage gives us a good idea where we’re at right and we’ll look to improve for the next one.”


Offensive highlights: Sophomore receiver Charone Peake caught three passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns -- one a six-yarder from Cole Stoudt, the other 37 yards from Morgan Roberts. (Six quarterbacks got reps.) Jaron Brown caught the other touchdown pass of the scrimmage, a 56-yarder from first-team quarterback Tajh Boyd. Sammy Watkins had two receptions for 35 yards, the first two completions on the first drive of the scrimmage from Boyd. Boyd finished 5-for-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He also had a 32-yard rushing touchdown. Rod McDowell was the top rusher with nine attempts for 46 yards. Clemson’s running backs tallied 109 yards on 22 carries on the day, nearly a 5.0 average per carry. Andre Ellington played sparingly to give the other young backs some experience.

Defensive highlights: Xavier Brewer had seven tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. Kellen Jones, a transfer from Oklahoma who is not eligible this season, added six tackles, including two for loss, while Jonathan Meeks had five tackles. Tig Willard had three tackles and one of his two pass deflections led to an interception.

Special-teams highlights: Spencer Benton made a 55-yard field goal. Chandler Catanzaro made three of his four attempts, from 36, 39 and 41 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good first scrimmage,” said coach Dabo Swinney. “We made some mistakes, but they are correctable. I thought the defense played well. We saw a lot of activity around the ball. Xavier Brewer had a good scrimmage, as did Lateek Townsend. He was involved in three sacks and that was big.

“We have made good progress this first week. There is still much to do, but I like the attitude of this team. They come to work. They go about their business.”


Offensive highlights: Mike James rushed for a team-high 137 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns, including a 51-yard burst down the sideline. Duke Johnson had 49 yards on nine carries and four touchdowns -- three rushing and one receiving. He took a screen pass from Stephen Morris 37 yards for a score.

Morris and Ryan Williams showed good footwork to elude pressure in the pocket and scramble for yards when needed. Morris completed 24 of 36 passes for 193 yards with four touchdowns, with one interception. Williams threw for 121 yards and three scores on 12-of-17 passing.

Johnson led all receivers with 44 yards. Malcolm Lewis caught three passes for 42 yards, while Kendal Thompkins hauled in a team-best five catches for 22 yards.

Defensive highlights: A.J. Highsmith had a team-high nine tackles, while Tyrone Cornileus, Tracy Howard and Ramon Buchanan all recorded seven tackles apiece. Anthony Chickillo, JaWand Blue and Cornileus each recorded a sack.

Quotable: “We’ve been saying it all camp: Mike [James] looks quicker,” coach Al Golden said. “He has always been strong but now he looks healthy.

“[Duke Johnson] found [the end zone] a couple of times today. He has a low center of gravity and a knack for diving and finding the end zone.”
Clemson reserve quarterback Tony McNeal suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on the last play of the Tigers' spring game Saturday, likely costing him the 2012 season.

McNeal, who redshirted as a freshman last season, completed 4 of 9 passes for 49 yards in Saturday's Orange and White game.

Freshman center Jay Guillermo (shoulder) and sophomore quarterback Morgan Roberts (ankle) had minor surgeries Monday, but both are expected to be able to resume workouts soon.