ACC: Orlando Franklin

Miami spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
8:30
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MIAMI

2010 overall record: 7-6

2010 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 0

Top returners

WR Travis Benjamin, RG Brandon Washington, C Tyler Horn, QB Jacory Harris, QB Stephen Morris, DE Olivier Vernon, DT Micanor Regis, DT Marcus Forston, LB Sean Spence, S Vaughn Telemaque, S JoJo Nicolas, RB Lamar Miller, RB Mike James

Key losses

WR Leonard Hankerson, LT Orlando Franklin, RB Damien Berry, P/PK Matt Bosher, DT Allen Bailey, LB Colin McCarthy, CB Brandon Harris

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Berry (899 yards)

Passing: Harris* (1,793 yds)

Receiving: Hankerson (1,156 yds)

Tackles: McCarthy (119)

Sacks: Bailey (7)

Interceptions: Ryan Hill, Vaughn Telemaque* and Ray-Ray Armstrong* (3)

Spring answers

1. Stacked at running back. Lamar Miller finished the spring atop a depth chart deep with talent at running back, including Mike James and Storm Johnson. All three have different styles, as James is the power/slasher, Johnson gets the tough yards and is elusive in the open field, and Miller is the fastest and the home run threat.

2. The Golden era has been embraced. First-year coach Al Golden made his debut this spring with a new staff and new schemes, and all of the players have bought in. The Canes now eat breakfast together every day, and the seniors were the first to latch on to Golden, as they know time is running out to win. They seem willing to follow whoever wants to lead, and the players also started to take ownership this spring.

3. Jordan Futch has helped the linebacker depth. He was a role player for most of his career and was going to move to tight end, but, as it turns out, he can play inside or outside linebacker, and he played well enough this spring to convince Golden he deserves a spot somewhere on the field. Colin McCarthy was the only starter who had to be replaced, and there was some shuffling of positions, but Futch or Gaines emerged as the leaders to take over that spot.

Fall questions

1. And the quarterback is? Golden said the quarterback competition will likely go into mid-August, as neither Jacory Harris nor Stephen Morris separated himself. It’s one of the main storylines in the ACC, and could be the difference in Miami’s season. Both struggled in the spring game, as they threw two interceptions each, but first-year offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is evaluating them on more than just picks.

2. Who will take over the secondary? It’s so wide open that true freshman Thomas Finnie enrolled early and worked his way onto the two deep. It’s a young, inexperienced group with big shoes to fill after the departures of Brandon Harris and Ryan Hill. Lee Chambers, Nicolas, Telemaque and Armstrong will have to rise to the occasion or leave it to the rookies like Finnie. This spring, Golden said Nicolas and Armstrong were the leaders of the secondary.

3. Baffled without Bosher. Matt Bosher, an all-conference kicker and punter during his career, did it all, and the kicking game is a major question without him. Jake Wieclaw is next in line, but he only played against Florida A&M and has yet to attempt a collegiate kick. Incoming freshmen kickers Matt Loudis and Dalton Botts will challenge Wieclaw for the starting job.

NFL draft rewind: ACC basics

May, 2, 2011
5/02/11
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ACC Players Taken in the NFL Draft

1 12 Christian Ponder, Florida State, QB Vikings
1 14 Robert Quinn, North Carolina, DE Rams
1 22 Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, T Colts
2 33 Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB Patriots
2 38 Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, RB Cardinals
2 40 Bruce Carter, North Carolina, LB Cowboys
2 41 Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT Redskins
2 46 Orlando Franklin, Miami, OL Broncos
2 50 Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson, CB Chargers
2 51 Da’ Quan Bowers, Clemson, DE Buccaneers
2 52 Marvin Austin, North Carolina, DT Giants
2 55 Rodney Hudson, Florida State, C-G Chiefs
2 58 Torrey Smith, Maryland, WR Ravens
2 59 Greg Little, North Carolina, WR Browns
2 60 Brandon Harris, Miami, CB Texans
3 67 Nate Irving, NC State, LB Broncos
3 79 Leonard Hankerson, Miami, WR Redskins
3 81 DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami, CB Raiders
3 86 Allen Bailey, Miami, DE Chiefs
4 100 Da’Norris Searcy, North Carolina, S Bills
4 109 Colin McCarthy, Miami, ILB Titans
4 122 Chris Hairston, Clemson, T Bills
4 127 Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech, CB Texans
4 130 Jamie Harper, Clemson, RB Titans
5 133 Johnny White, North Carolina, RB Bills
5 152 T.J. Yates, North Carolina, QB Texans
6 171 Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina, LB Cardinals
6 173 Byron Maxwell, Clemson, DB Seahawks
6 180 Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech, QB Ravens
6 181 Richard Gordon, Miami, TE Raiders
6 192 Matt Bosher, Miami, P-PK Falcons
7 218 Ryan Taylor, North Carolina, TE Cowboys
7 221 Da’Rel Scott, Maryland, RB Giants
7 224 Markus White, Florida State, DE Redskins
7 225 Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech, RB Ravens

ACC Selections by Rounds

First 3
Second 12
Third 4
Fourth 5
Fifth 2
Sixth 5
Seventh 4

ACC Selections by Teams

North Carolina 9
Miami 8
Clemson 6
Florida State 3
Virginia Tech 3
Maryland 2
Boston College 1
Georgia Tech 1
NC State 1
Virginia 1

Ponder ACC's highest draft pick in '11

April, 29, 2011
4/29/11
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It what might have been the biggest surprise of the entire first round of Thursday night's NFL draft, former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder was the first player drafted from the ACC when he was chosen 12th by the Minnesota Vikings.

Ponder, whose durability has been a question but his talent hasn't, was picked ahead of former ACC defensive ends Da'Quan Bowers and Robert Quinn, and Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo -- all of whom were projected by many to be the ACC's top draft picks this year. Instead, the ACC's string of five straight seasons with a top-10 pick was broken, and a quarterback who wasn't even a second-team all-conference selection was the first of three ACC players chosen in the first round.

That's not a knock on Ponder -- when healthy, he is undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC, if not the best. He was my 2009 first-team all-conference quarterback. It's puzzling why Bowers' previous injury is more of a concern. In spite of it, he was still one of the best players in the country last year. Ponder would have been had he stayed healthy.

Ponder became the highest quarterback in FSU history taken in the NFL draft as well as the first FSU player taken in the first 12 picks since linebacker Ernie Sims in 2006 by the Detroit Lions. Ponder also became the highest offensive Florida State player drafted since offensive lineman Alex Barron in 2005. Before Ponder, Gary Huff was the highest drafted FSU quarterback as the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 1973 draft.

Mel Kiper's take on this surprise pick:
First of all, this is no shot at Ponder, who some personnel folks believe might be the most ready-to-play quarterback in this draft. But the Vikings looked like a team that panicked with this pick, given the context. They had no shot to trade down? Andy Dalton is still available going into the second day, and in taking Ponder, you also passed on Fairley and Quinn, a couple of guys who can help this team. Again, it's not called "Pick your favorite player." It's a draft. Order and the value of each pick are components that factor in. Should note: This doesn't mean the Vikings are done looking for solutions at quarterback. They could target one in a trade or via free agency.

Much of the pre-draft attention went to Bowers and Quinn. Bowers, whose previous knee injury has obviously scared away some teams, is still available.

Quinn was selected with the No. 14 overall pick by the St. Louis Rams. Quinn becomes Carolina's 19th overall first-round selection and the highest pick since defensive tackle Ryan Sims (No. 6) in 2002. He became the first UNC defensive end taken in the first round since Julius Peppers was chosen No. 2 by the Carolina Panthers in 2002.

Castonzo was the No. 22 pick, taken by the Colts.

Round 2 could be a big day for the ACC. Along with Bowers, former players in the latest mock draft include:

NFL combine notes

February, 28, 2011
2/28/11
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Today is going to be a fun day for former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who is ready to show NFL scouts that the cancer is behind him, and a pro career in front of him.

Former FSU quarterback Christian Ponder decided to throw at the combine, and it's a good thing he did -- he wowed 'em.

Several former ACC players were among the top-five performers at their respective positions in drills this past weekend at the NFL combine, including former UNC receiver Greg Little, who was the top receiver in the bench press (27). Former Miami offensive lineman Orlando Franklin was No. 5 in top 10-yard splits (1.72) and was timed at 5.20 (official) in the 40. ESPN's Scouts Inc. said Franklin was "clearly playing out of position at left tackle" at Miami:
At 6-5 and 316 pounds, he showed just average quickness during drills but did display good short-area lateral agility. He also looked balanced throughout and did a nice job staying low out of his stance during pulling drills. Franklin was clearly playing out of position at left tackle during the college season, but he has the strength and short-area capabilities to be a reliable starter on the inside at the next level.

Former UNC tight end Zack Pianalto finished third in the 3-cone drills (6.85), and former Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans was No.5 in the bench press (26). Former Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott ran the fastest 40 time of any of the running backs.

A few more notes:
  • Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor was the shortest quarterback at the combine (6-0 3/4), and Florida State's Christian Ponder was tied for third at 6-foot-2. Former Maryland quarterback Josh Portis, who transferred to California (Pa.), was the lightest quarterback at 211 pounds. Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen was the second-tallest at his position (6-0 3/4).
  • Former Clemson offensive lineman Chris Hairston was tied for second with the most bench press reps by an offensive lineman (33).
  • ESPN's John Clayton wasn't impressed with the running backs' speed in this class, including Ryan Williams, who was clocked at 4.55 and 4.59 (unofficial) in the 40-yard dash.
  • While his former teammates had good days, UNC defensive end Robert Quinn "did not quite live up to expectations from a body-type standpoint," according to ESPN's Scouts Inc. His lower body was described as "a bit lean and knock-kneed." Ouch.
  • Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo had an "adequate 10-yard split (1.79 unofficial) while showing good flexibility and quick feet with his lateral slides."

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 4, 2011
2/04/11
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The official list for the NFL combine has been released. A total of 48 players from the ACC have been invited to audition for the NFL from February 23 – March 1. When categorized by school, it's somewhat of a reality check to see how many of the best players in the conference are moving on, and which programs will take the biggest hit. It's impossible not to wonder how good North Carolina could have been had all of the following players remained eligible. The Tar Heels will send the most players to the combine with 11.

Here are the players who will represent the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE (3)
  • Anthony Castonzo
  • Rich Lapham
  • Mark Herzlich
CLEMSON (7)
  • Da'Quan Bowers
  • Marcus Gilchrist
  • Chris Hairston
  • Jamie Harper
  • Jarvis Jenkins
  • Byron Maxwell
  • DeAndre McDaniel
FLORIDA STATE (3)
GEORGIA TECH (3)
MARYLAND (3)
MIAMI (9)
NORTH CAROLINA (11)
NC STATE (2)
VIRGINIA (2)
  • Danny Aiken
  • Ras-I Dowling
VIRGINIA TECH (5)

ACSMA All-conference team announced

November, 29, 2010
11/29/10
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The 2010 All-Atlantic Coast Conference football team as voted on by 61 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association was announced today. A first-team vote was worth two points and second team vote one.

FIRST TEAM

Offense

QB Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech (77)
RB Montel Harris, Boston College (122)
RB Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech (108)
WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami (118)
WR Torrey Smith, Maryland (96)
TE George Bryan, NC State (92)
OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (79)
OT Chris Hairston, Clemson (69)
OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State (116)
OG Brandon Washington, Miami (50)
C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (91)
K Chris Hazley, Virginia Tech (100)
Spc. Tony Logan, Maryland (69)

Defense
DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson (120)
DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (101)
DT Quinton Coples, North Carolina (101)
DT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson (63)
LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College (112)
LB Nate Irving, N.C. State (105)
LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland (78)
CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (112)
CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia (57)
S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (99)
S Kenny Tate, Maryland (78)
P Matt Bosher, Miami

SECOND TEAM

Offense
QB Russell Wilson, NC State (75)
RB Damien Berry, Miami (37)
RB Keith Payne, Virginia (30)
WR Conner Vernon, Duke (70)
WR Owen Spencer, NC State (41)
TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson (31)
OT Orlando Franklin, Miami (65)
OT Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech (39)
OG Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech (41)
OG Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (35)
OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (35)
C Ryan McMahon, Florida State (47)
K Will Snyderwine, Duke (38)
Spc. David Wilson, Virginia Tech (61)

Defense
DE Allen Bailey, Miami (51)
DE Steven Friday, Virginia Tech (42)
DT John Graves, Virginia Tech (46)
DT Joe Vellano, Maryland (33)
LB Bruce Carter, North Carolina (43)
LB Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech (41)
LB Sean Spence, Miami (37)
CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (49)
CB Brandon Harris, Miami (45)
S Davon Morgan, Virginia Tech (48)
S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami (25)
P Brian Saunders, Virginia Tech (48)

FSU's Hudson wins Jacobs Blocking Trophy

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
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Florida State’s Rodney Hudson has been awarded the 2010 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, the ACC announced Sunday. Hudson, who also won the award in 2009, becomes one of just 11 players in ACC history to be a two-time recipient of the Jacobs Trophy.

The Jacobs Blocking Trophy has been awarded annually since 1953 to the player voted the most outstanding blocker in the ACC by a poll of the league’s head coaches and defensive coordinators. The trophy is given in memory of William P. Jacobs, who served as president of Presbyterian College from 1935 to 1945. The trophy will be presented at the ACC’s Night of Legends event, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Charlotte Convention Center as part of festivities held around the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game.

Hudson totaled 23 points, including six first-place votes, to beat Boston College senior offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (13), Miami senior offensive tackle Orlando Franklin (12) and Clemson senior offensive tackle Chris Hairston (10).

Hudson, who has made 46 career starts at guard, graded out to 87 percent this year with 44 knockdown blocks. He has been penalized only once in 772 snaps this year. He is also the only offensive lineman nominated for ACC Player of the Year by the ACC’s football coaches.

ACC's lunchtime links

October, 27, 2010
10/27/10
12:00
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It's almost game day!
  • Whoever would have thought the biggest problem with Paul Johnson's offense would be the lack of a big-play wide receiver?
  • It would also help if the Jackets could win the battle up front.
  • Maryland makes the stops when it counts -- on fourth down and in the red zone.
  • Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins gives quarterback Kyle Parker some margin for error when he throws.
  • NC State kicker Josh Czajkowski has a pregame routine he always sticks to. Some might say he's even a little superstitious.
  • Virginia sophomore tight end Paul Freedman has learned how to score -- and celebrate it.
  • Good news, bad news for the Canes. Good news? Seantrel Henderson has been as good as advertised. Bad news? He has to be, because Orlando Franklin is hurt.
  • It was a long process, but UNC cornerback Kendric Burney has finally been cleared to play.
  • Thursday night's game looms large for the Atlantic Division standings.
  • Mike London's academic requirement didn't end when the season started -- just ask the three players who were benched this past weekend.
  • Virginia Tech's defense has been preparing for Georgia Tech since the offseason.

ACC's Players of the Week

September, 27, 2010
9/27/10
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Here are the ACC's Players of the Week, as announced by the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.:

OFFENSIVE BACK -- Russell Wilson, NC State, QB, r-Jr., 5-11, 201, Richmond, Va. (Collegiate)

Wilson had a record-setting day in the Wolfpack’s victory over the Yellow Jackets. Wilson completed 28 of 41 passes for a career-high 368 yards and three touchdowns. His 28 completions went to 10 different receivers. Wilson also ran the ball nine times for 16 yards and a 6-yard touchdown. Wilson’s 368-yard passing game ranks 18th in school history. His previous career high for passing yards was 349 versus Florida State a year ago. The Georgia Tech game marks the seventh time in his career that he has passed for 300 yards or more and the 10th time he has thrown at least three touchdown passes in a game. Each of Wilson’s touchdown passes came at the end of long nine-play drives that immediately followed touchdowns by the Yellow Jackets. Those three drives went for 69, 78 and 74 yards, and culminated with touchdown passes of 21 yards to Steven Howard, 5 yards to Jarvis Williams and 23 yards to T.J. Graham. Wilson did throw an interception in the game, snapping a streak of 168 pass attempts without an interception. He holds the NCAA record of 379 consecutive throws without being picked off.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Orlando Franklin, Miami, OL, Sr., 6-7, 312, Delray Beach, Fla. (Atlantic)

Franklin graded out at 96 percent in helping Miami win at Pittsburgh by a 31-3 score Thursday night. He finished the game with eight pancake blocks and two lumberjacks in helping Miami’s offense rack up 348 yards (248 passing, 100 rushing) yards of total offense. On the season, Franklin has also graded out at 95 percent against FAMU and 96 percent against Ohio State. He has a total of 12 pancake blocks in three games.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Nate Irving, NC State, MLB, r-Sr., 6-1, 231, Wallace, N.C. (Wallace-Rose Hill)

Irving had a career-high 16 tackles vs. the Yellow Jackets. He had nine solo hits, two sacks for 11 yards in losses, and 4.5 tackles for losses totaling 15 yards. On Sunday, the Walter Camp Foundation named Irving its National Defensive Player of the Week. He led a defense which limited Georgia Tech, previously the nation’s third-best rushing offense, to 96 yards below its previous average.

DEFENSIVE BACK -- Bruce Carter, North Carolina, LB, Sr., 6-3, 235, Havelock, N.C. (Havelock)

Carter blocked a punt, returned an interception 55 yards and had seven tackles in Carolina’s 17-13 win at Rutgers. With Rutgers driving in Carolina territory, Carter made a leaping grab of Tom Savage’s second-quarter pass and returned it to the Rutgers 28-yard line. Carolina went on to score a touchdown and cut the lead to 10-7. In the fourth quarter, with Carolina holding a 14-13 lead, Carter blocked a punt, his sixth career blocked kick, and the Tar Heels took over at the Rutgers 35. Carolina kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive. Carter also added a 4-yard tackle for loss.

SPECIALIST -- Chris Hazley, Virginia Tech, PK, r-Sr., 6-1, 196, West Chester, Pa. (Henderson)

Hazley was a big factor in Tech's 19-0 win at Boston College as the senior hit a career-high four field goals. He had a career-best long of 45 yards and also made two kicks of 29 and 32 yards.

ROOKIE -- Danny O’Brien, Maryland, QB, Fr., 6-3, 215, Kernersville, N.C. (East Forsyth)

Starting the first game of his collegiate career, O’Brien completed 18 of 27 passes for 250 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. O’Brien, who was the first freshman quarterback to start for Maryland since Latrez Harrison (11/20/99), and just the fifth in school history, threw touchdown passes of 9 and 68 yards. O’Brien led the Terps on five scoring drives and had an efficiency rating of 168.89, seventh-highest mark by a freshman in the FBS this season.

Miami defense carries its offense

September, 24, 2010
9/24/10
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PITTSBURGH -- Miami linebacker Sean Spence didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked after the Hurricanes’ 31-3 win over Pittsburgh if he was playing on a championship defense. Spence, of course, was one of the main reasons it looked like one.

The problem?

Miami offensive lineman Orlando Franklin said the Hurricanes are “real far away” from being a championship-caliber offense.

Miami got exactly what it needed on Thursday night -- a throwback defensive performance in a nationally-televised road win against a respectable BCS opponent. It helped the Hurricanes move past their loss at No. 2 Ohio State and should give them a boost of confidence heading into next weekend’s game at Clemson.

[+] EnlargeOlivier Vernon
Andrew Weber/US PresswireThe Miami defense kept Pitt from getting a first down until its final drive of the first half. They forced three turnovers and had five sacks.
But Miami also got a double dose of the one thing it’s been trying to eliminate -- turnovers. Quarterback Jacory Harris has now thrown six interceptions in two games, and while not all of them have been his fault, it’s a trend that has to stop if Miami is going to take the next step under coach Randy Shannon and play for an ACC title this year.

Miami has proved so far to be a good team, not a great team -- one that can afford to make mistakes against average teams like Pitt, but isn’t ready to beat the elite teams like Ohio State.

“We’re real far away,” Franklin said. “We need to get better each and every week and we have to do the little things. We have to concentrate on the little things and execute more and just do our job. That’s the real importance of this thing -- we have to be able to do our jobs and not worry about what the other person is going to do. Trust the other person is going to do the right thing.”

The defense already has that trust.

“I believe in the guy next to me, and the guy next to me he believes in me,” said Spence, who finished with a game-high nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. “That’s all you need. We have a lot of great players on defense. We’re great in depth and execute, so I think we’re a championship defense.”

It looked like it against Pittsburgh. The Panthers had three turnovers, converted just 4 of 15 third downs, were 1-of-3 in the red zone and were sacked five times for a loss of 45 yards. Pitt punted eight times.

Miami’s defenders spent most of the game in Pitt’s backfield, stifling the run and chasing quarterback Tino Sunseri out of the pocket if he wasn’t already flat on his back. The Canes had nine tackles for losses, and looked much more fundamentally sound in their tackling than they did against Ohio State.

“As a defense we played great, executed,” said Andrew Smith, who had two sacks for a loss of 14 yards. "We gang tackled, all 11 hats on the ball. At practice we kept emphasizing everybody wrap up, everybody drive back, and tonight it showed up on the field.”

Miami did show improvement in the red zone, where it struggled at Ohio State. This time the Canes were successful in all four trips inside the 20-yard line. Harris also had a much better second half, completing 8 of 10 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

Shannon said the mistakes on offense are correctable, and said the offense isn’t that far away from playing at the level it needs to.

“We’re not that far away at all,” he said. “You can see that we have playmakers. I think that LaRon Byrd made some key catches in the game. I think the more we focus on getting things done on offense, the more we can be crisp and we’ll be OK.”

Until then, it can count on the defense.
Anytime Miami coach Randy Shannon needs to remind his players about the importance of consistency, he points to last season.

The Hurricanes had a similarly unforgiving start to September -- facing rival Florida State, Coastal Division foe Georgia Tech, and then a road trip to Virginia Tech. Miami had played surprisingly well in a 2-0 start and had once again captured the nation’s attention.

[+] EnlargeShannon
Fernando Medina/US PresswireRandy Shannon has worked on keeping his team focused on the next obstacle ahead.
And then it poured in Blacksburg, and Miami’s name was mud in a 31-7 loss to the Hokies.

Shannon said his team is mature enough this year to avoid similar mental pitfalls, including overlooking his first opponent, Florida A&M. The Canes can’t afford a letdown in what should be little more than a dress rehearsal as they travel to Ohio State in Week 2. The Hurricanes defeated the Rattlers 48-16 last season and have combined to outscore FAMU 355 to 49, dating back to 1980.

“From a lot of things we learned last season, I always refer back to last season,” Shannon said. “Our first three games I think we were very, very focused as a football team last season. Going and playing Virginia Tech, we kind of got away from where we needed to be at. I reminded the guys of that situation happening, that the more you are staying focused on what's ahead of you, don't look down the future, then you'll be OK.”

Shannon said the team has had “an unbelievable practice” in August, and he intentionally put the players in adverse situations to make sure he had their focus each day. He didn’t want them looking ahead to scrimmages or time off.

Receiver Travis Benjamin and other team leaders -- particularly offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, quarterback Jacory Harris, cornerback Brandon Harris and defensive end Allen Bailey -- have helped everyone take a one-game-at-a-time approach.

“If you don’t get past this game with a win, the next game won’t really be that important,” Brandon Harris said. “It won’t be nationally publicized and it won’t help your football team if you have a letdown and lose a game like this, so that’s big motivation. This team (Florida A&M) hung in there and gave it all they had for the first half of the football game (last year). They feel like they have a lot to prove. They feel like they should be wearing the uniform we’re wearing. They obviously want to go out and show everybody they’re just as capable of playing college football as we are.”

The question this year is whether or not Miami is capable of playing at a high level through the entire season.

ACC on watch lists: updated

August, 26, 2010
8/26/10
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Earlier this month I compiled a list of all of the ACC candidates who have been nominated for college football's major awards. A few more have since been released, so I figured it was time for an updated version. This one includes the Lou Groza Award, the Butkus Award, the John Mackey Award, and Doak Walker Award.

Here is the updated list:

BEDNARIK AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Allen Bailey, Miami
  • Kendric Burney, North Carolina
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Colin McCarthy, Miami
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
BILETNIKOFF AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding wide receiver by the Tallahassee QB Club Foundation. BUTKUS AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding linebacker by the Butkus Foundation
  • Bruce Carter, North Carolina
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Nate Irving, NC State
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Colin McCarthy, Miami
  • Adrian Moten, Maryland
  • Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
  • Sean Spence, Miami
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
DOAK WALKER AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding running back by the SMU Athletic Forum
  • Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech
  • Darren Evans, Virginia Tech
  • Montel Harris, Boston College
  • Da'Rel Scott, Maryland
  • Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
LOU GROZA AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding kicker by the Palm Beach Sports Commission
  • Casey Barth, North Carolina
  • Matt Bosher, Miami
  • Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • Robert Randolph, Virginia
  • Will Snyderwine, Duke
JOHN MACKEY AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding tight end by the Nassau County Sports Commission
  • Dwayne Allen, Clemson
  • George Bryan, NC State
  • Brett Huffman, Duke
  • Zack Pianalto, North Carolina
MAXWELL AWARD: The Maxwell Award has been presented to the outstanding collegiate football player in America since 1937 and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. WALTER CAMP AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Foundation.
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte TD Club.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Allen Bailey, Miami
  • Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
  • Bruce Carter, North Carolina
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD: Presented to the nation's best quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation.
  • Jacory Harris, Miami
  • Joshua Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
  • Christian Ponder, Florida State
  • Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
  • Russell Wilson, NC State
OUTLAND TROPHY: Presented to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman by the FWAA.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech
  • Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
  • Thomas Claiborne, Boston College
  • Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech
  • Marcus Forston, Miami
  • Orlando Franklin, Miami
  • Rodney Hudson, Florida State
  • Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
  • Ryan McMahon, Florida State
  • Alan Pelc, North Carolina
JIM THORPE AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association.
  • Kendrick Burney, North Carolina
  • Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Deunta Williams, North Carolina

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 18, 2010
8/18/10
12:30
PM ET
Are we there yet?

ACC on watch lists

August, 11, 2010
8/11/10
2:00
PM ET
It's not easy keeping track of everyone who's been named to preseason watch lists, so I took some time today to make a one-stop shopping post for you on everyone in the ACC who's been recognized so far. I'll update it again, as there are more watch lists coming out this month.

Here's who is representing the ACC so far in college football's major awards watch lists (every ACC school has at least one player here):

BEDNARIK AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Allen Bailey, Miami
  • Kendric Burney, North Carolina
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Colin McCarthy, Miami
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
BILETNIKOFF AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding wide receiver by the Tallahassee QB Club Foundation. MAXWELL AWARD: The Maxwell Award has been presented to the outstanding collegiate football player in America since 1937 and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. WALTER CAMP AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Foundation.
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte TD Club.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Allen Bailey, Miami
  • Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
  • Bruce Carter, North Carolina
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD: Presented to the nation's best quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation.
  • Jacory Harris, Miami
  • Joshua Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
  • Christian Ponder, Florida State
  • Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
  • Russell Wilson, NC State
OUTLAND TROPHY: Presented to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman by the FWAA.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech
  • Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
  • Thomas Claiborne, Boston College
  • Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech
  • Marcus Forston, Miami
  • Orlando Franklin, Miami
  • Rodney Hudson, Florida State
  • Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
  • Ryan McMahon, Florida State
  • Alan Pelc, North Carolina
JIM THORPE AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association.
  • Kendrick Burney, North Carolina
  • Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Deunta Williams, North Carolina

Outland, Nagurski watch lists revealed

June, 21, 2010
6/21/10
2:00
PM ET
The ACC was well-represented on the Outland and Nagurski trophies' watch lists, which were recently revealed. The Outland Trophy recognizes the nation's top interior lineman: offensive and defensive tackles, guards and centers. It is the third-oldest award in major college football. The Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the nation's best defensive player. Here are the ACC candidates:

OUTLAND

Marvin Austin, UNC, DT

Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech, C

Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, OT

Thomas Claiborne, Boston College, OG

Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, OT

Marcus Forston, Miami, DT

Orlando Franklin, Miami, OT

Rodney Hudson, Florida State, OG

Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT

Ryan McMahon, Florida State, C

Alan Pelc, UNC, OG

NAGURSKI

Marvin Austin, UNC, DT

Allen Bailey, Miami, DE

Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson, DE

Bruce Carter, UNC, LB

Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB

Brandon Harris, Miami, CB

Mark Herzlich, Boston College, LB

Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT

Luke Kuechly, Boston College, LB

DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson, S

Robert Quinn, UNC, DE

Quan Sturdivant, UNC, LB

Alex Wujciak, Maryland, LB

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