ACC: Patrick Thompson

Defense highlights Wake scrimmage

August, 21, 2012
Wake Forest held its second scrimmage of the preseason on Tuesday morning at BB&T Field. Here are the highlights, according to the team's practice report:

Offensive highlights: Sherman Ragland III had three catches for 32 yards and scored both touchdowns. Michael Campanaro caught three passes for 31 yards. For the second straight scrimmage, Tyler Jackson was the leading rusher with 44 yards on nine carries. Orville Reynolds rushed the ball just five times but gained 26 yards, including an 18-yard run.

Jackson carried the ball eight times on an 11-play scoring drive. He had seven carries for 34 yards on the drive and caught a pass from Patrick Thompson for 11 yards. Tanner Price completed 8 of 18 passes for 78 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Defensive highlights: The Deacs held the offense scoreless for the first 13 possessions and finished with nine tackles for loss, including five sacks, and two turnovers. Zach Thompson led with two sacks, while Nikita Whitlock, Kris Redding and Joey Ehrmann each made one sack. Kevin Johnson had an interception, and Chibuikem Okoro recovered a fumble on a botched handoff. Johnson also broke up one pass, as did Ehrmann, Tylor Harris and Hunter Williams. Merrill Noel and Brandon Chubb each had five tackles.
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 ACC scrimmage notes

March, 26, 2012
Three ACC schools held scrimmages over the weekend. Here's a roundup of the good and bad from a busy weekend.

Sean Renfree completed 14 of 17 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Tight ends David Reeves and Issac Blakeney had scores of 31 and 70 yards, respectively.

Corey Gattis led all pass-catchers with six receptions for 81 yards and a 42-yard touchdown catch from Thomas Sirk. Sirk did a bit of everything, completing 5 of 9 passes for 75 yards, carrying it four times for 54 yards and hauling in two receptions for 25 yards.

The Blue Devils' spring game is March 31.

No Stephen Morris, no problem. At least on Saturday at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah. With Morris out recovering from back surgery, Ryan Williams completed 14 of 21 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns. Early enrollees Gray Crow and Preston Dewey were behind the Memphis transfer, going a combined 11-for-26 for 64 yards in action that was more situationally simulated than a typical spring game, which Miami will hold April 14.

Mike James and Eduardo Clements combined for 134 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries, with James accounting for three of those scores.

The Hurricanes will hold another scrimmage at 6:45 p.m. ET this Friday at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers.

Also, defensive back Keion Payne was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, UM associate athletic director for communications and marketing Chris Freet told reporters. Payne had appeared in just two games.

Michael Campanaro impressed as the Demon Deacons' top receiver, catching 10 balls for 116 yards to lead the offense, which got off to a rough start.

After misfiring on seven of his first eight pass attempts, Tanner Price finished strong, completing 17 of 30 passes on the day for 169 yards and a touchdown on six drives. Nikita Whitlock had an 87-yard interception return for a score on Price.

Reserve signal-caller Patrick Thompson finished 5-for-6 passing for 79 yards with a touchdown, and Wake's defense finished with five sacks from five different players.

“I think we’ve improved quite a bit from the first day of practice when we didn’t look very good,” coach Jim Grobe said of the offensive line. “I thought Thursday we improved a little bit and I thought today we got a little better. It’s going to take time before these guys are really comfortable.

"We’ve got guys who like to play, who like to get after it but they’re just making too many mistakes right now and you can’t do that up front. We just play against too many good people. You want to get to the point where when they beat us, they beat us physically and not because we didn’t block the right guy.”

Wake Forest's spring game is April 14.
Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price is the Demon Deacons' returning starter, but all five quarterbacks had a chance to make their case on Saturday in the second spring scrimmage. Price, Brendan Cross, Ted Stachitas, Patrick Thompson and redshirt freshman Keenon Rush each had at least one completion of 35 yards or longer in the hour-long scrimmage. Each of the top four quarterbacks either accounted for a scoring drive or drove the team into field goal range.

Offensive highlights:
  • Lovell Jackson scored on a 65-yard swing pass from Cross.
  • Brandon Pendergrass scored on a 12-yard run and led all rushers with 52 yard on four carries, including a 34-yard run.
  • Price drove the Deacons to the 11 and 29 while Stachitas had a drive that ended at the 9. Thompson led Wake to the 1 before a fumble at the goal line.
  • Michael Campanaro led all receivers with six receptions for 77 yards. Jackson had five catches for a team-high 91 yards while Matt James finished the scrimmage with 67 yards on three receptions.
Defensive highlights:
  • Zachary Allen, Riley Haynes and Mike Olson all recorded sacks during the scrimmage.
  • Kris Redding and Gelo Orange each recovered fumbles.
Quotable: “Last season doesn’t cut it,” coach Jim Grobe said of delivering a message to his players. “It’s not like we have a season like we had last year, we can’t all get together at Chuck E. Cheese and hand out trophies. At this level, it just doesn’t happen and our guys have to understand it. If you don’t practice, it’s going to be hard for us to be a good football team. We have to have durable and dependable guys.”

Week 5: Did you know?

October, 1, 2010
Here’s your weekly dose of ACC fun facts, thanks to sports information directors in the league:
  • NC State wideout Jarvis Williams has averaged a touchdown every 5.9 catches for his career, the best mark in school history. Tight end George Bryan’s mark of 6.3 ranks third. In fifth place is Owen Spencer, who has scored every 7.3 times he makes a grab.
  • Georgia Tech has not lost back-to-back games in three seasons under coach Paul Johnson.
  • Georgia Tech and Wake Forest have identical turnover margins -- zero. The Jackets have gained six and lost six, while the Deacs have gained seven and lost seven.
  • Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Virginia coach Mike London have the same birthday, Oct. 9. Fisher’s FSU team will face rival Miami that day, while the Cavaliers will play at Georgia Tech. Dabo Swinney’s Clemson squad will play at Wake Forest on his 41st birthday.
  • Wake Forest has three sets of brothers on the team this year: senior linebacker Hunter Haynes and sophomore linebacker Riley Haynes from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; sophomore wide receiver Chris Givens and freshman running back Nick Knott from Wylie, Texas; and redshirt freshman defensive end Zach Thompson and true freshman quarterback Patrick Thompson from Ashburn, Va. The Thompson brothers are twins who joined the Demon Deacons a year apart.
  • Boston College saw its consecutive game scoring streak stopped at 148 games last week in a 19-0 loss to Virginia Tech. BC had gone 12 years without failing to score; the last time the Eagles were shutout was on October 8, 1998 by Virginia Tech.
  • Since 2005 when the ACC began competing in divisions, Virginia Tech has been the most successful team in interdivisional play. The Hokies are 14-5 against the Atlantic Division during that time, a .737 winning percentage.
  • Clemson and Miami have played to overtime each of the past three meetings, just the second FBS series that has occurred in. The only other series that took place was the Central Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan series. Those two schools played overtime games every year between 2004-06. What is even more strange about the Clemson vs. Miami series is that the visiting team has won all three overtime games. That includes last year when Clemson won 40-37 in overtime in “walk-off” fashion on a Kyle Parker to Jacoby Ford 26-yard touchdown pass.
  • Maryland has been one of the top scoring teams in the league (34.5 ppg) despite posting 319.0 yards per game in total offense thanks to the big play. The Terps already have 27 plays of 20 yards or longer this year, which has resulted in 10 touchdowns. In 2009, Maryland had just 13 touchdowns off explosive plays. The Terps had four scoring plays over 50 yards against FIU last week. The Terps have 10 plays of 50 yards or longer this year (three on punt returns, three on passes, three on rushes and one on an interception return) after only eight last season.
  • This is only the second time since 1994 that an unranked Virginia Tech team will play a true road game at a ranked opponent’s stadium (using the AP poll). The only other time came in 2008 when Tech lost at No. 24 Florida State. Under head coach Frank Beamer, this has happened only 13 times and the Hokies’ only win in this scenario came in 1989 when the Hokies went to Morgantown and beat No. 9 West Virginia, 12-10.
  • Virginia’s 1995 33-28 win against then-No. 2 Florida State featured a total of 62 players (32 FSU, 30 UVA) who went on to the NFL. Of the 62 players, 45 combined actually played in the game. Surprisingly, 24 were Virginia players and 21 were from FSU. Paul London, Mike London's brother, started as a cornerback and made four tackles in that game - two assisted and two unassisted.
  • This is the latest start to the ACC schedule for Clemson since 1982 when the Tigers had their first league game on Oct. 9 at Virginia. The Miami game will be the first of eight straight ACC games on eight straight Saturdays. It is the first time since 2003 that Clemson has played eight straight ACC games, and the first time in history Clemson will play eight straight league opponents in eight consecutive weeks.
  • In the first two games of the season, three different Tar Heels played center, including sophomore Jonathan Cooper, junior Cam Holland and senior Alan Pelc. The Tar Heels have played at least eight linemen in each of the first three games. Against LSU, 10 different linemen played at least one offensive series.
  • Duke coach David Cutcliffe has an overall head coaching record of 21-9 (.700) in the month of October. Cutcliffe led Ole Miss to a 17-6 record in October and is 4-3 in the month at Duke.
  • Over the past two seasons, the Blue Devils are 3-1 in road games played in October with wins against Vanderbilt (2008), NC State (2009) and Virginia (2009). The lone loss was a 27-0 defeat at Georgia Tech in 2008.

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage highlights

August, 16, 2010
Ahh, scrimmages. They're almost like real games, right? Nope. Still, something to hold us over.

Here's a look back at the weekend scrimmages for schools that provided scrimmage reports:


There's a running back other than Montel Harris capable of making some plays. True freshman Andre Williams led the running game with seven carries for 59 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown run.

Quarterback Dave Shinskie completed 9 of 14 pass attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown. Senior tight end Jordon McMichael led all receivers with four catches for 23 yards.

Defensively, true freshman linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis led the Eagles with five tackles. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Dillon Quinn made three sacks, which should be an encouraging sign to a line in need of some help.

Redshirt freshman kicker Nate Freese went 2-for-3, making from 24 and 44, but missing a 46-yarder off the left upright. Junior Ryan Quigley made from 33 and missed from 34.


Quarterback Kyle Parker threw three touchdowns passes -- two to running back Andre Ellington -- in Clemson’s two-hour scrimmage in Death Valley on Saturday morning. It was the second scrimmage for the Tigers.

Parker completed 10-of-14 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He led the first-team offense to four touchdowns overall. Roderick McDowell led the rushers with 12 carries for 127 yards on the ground, including a 12-yard touchdown run and a 53-yard run early in the scrimmage.

Terrance Ashe led the receivers with five catches for 76 yards, including a 44-yard completion from Parker.

The defense was led by Brandon Maye, who had six tackles, including a tackle for loss and a diving backwards interception from his linebacker position.


Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt was the highlight of the Jackets' scrimmage. He opened the scrimmage with a 70-yard scoring drive and had a two-yard touchdown run and a six-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Hill. Defensively, true freshman Louis Young and sophomore linebacker Julian Burnett had interceptions.


The kickers were the highlight of the second scrimmage, as the offense didn't score a touchdown. Part of that was because the coaching staff stopped drives inside the 20, because the staff hasn't installed its entire red-zone package. The staff is expected to make a decision on its backup quarterback situation soon.

Here are the Hokies' stats leaders from Saturday:

Darren Evans 12-60
David Wilson 6-33
Ryan Williams 4-18

Logan Thomas 9-17-0-82
Tyrod Taylor 5-7-0-42
Ju-Ju Clayton 3-8-0-36

Marcus Davis 2-15
Austin Fuller 2-20

Chris Hazley made four: 29 yards, 43, 48 and 31

Derek DiNardo, 6


The Deacs scrimmaged for 90 minutes on Saturday in the first of three scrimmages, and the quarterback race continues.

Josh Harris 5-76 and 1 TD
Skylar Jones 10-44
Patrick Thompson 7-29

Tanner Price 8-13 for 82 yards
Patrick Thompson 3-10 for 61 yds and an INT
Ted Stachitas 5-of-8 for 95 yds and 1 TD
Skylar Jones 4-of-7 for 27 yds
Brendan Cross 2-of-3 for 16 yds

Devon Brown 4-67
Marshall Williams 3-79

Jimmy Newman made three, 27 yards, 38 and 25

Justin Jackson, 7

Freshman Joe LaBarbera intercepted Thompson late in the scrimmage and returned it 25 yards.

Wake Forest spring game review

April, 19, 2010
Wake Forest's offense had looked shaky during earlier spring scrimmages, but had a pretty good day in Saturday's spring game.

The big play was Devon Brown's 65-yard score on an option pitch from quarterback Skylar Jones. Willie Dixon ran for a 3-yard touchdown, and kicker Jimmy Newman converted three field goal attempt.

Jones started at quarterback, while Brendan Cross, Ted Stachitas, Turner Faulk and Patrick Thompson also saw time under center. Jones went 4-of-5 for 38 yards and also ran seven times for 21 yards. Cross had the best passing numbers, completing 9 of 12 passes for 73 yards.

"Consistency is the key," coach Jim Grobe told reporters. "Sky has a leg up, just from durability. He went every day [this spring] and didn't miss anything. But you could see that Brendan and Ted both have ability, they did some things pretty well. We've got talent at quarterback and the guy who takes the first snap against Presbyterian [in the season opener] will be the most durable guy and also the guy who develops the most consistency."

The defense didn't blitz much, which may be one reason the offense performed a little better.

"We really don't want to call a blitz or call a defense that stops a play because of a good defensive call from the coach," Grobe said. "We wanted guys just hitting offensive players and getting off blocks and making plays, and that's what we looked for today."
Wake Forest has a muddied picture at quarterback, and the situation didn't get much clearer in the Demon Deacons' first spring scrimmage Saturday.

Four different quarterbacks played, all of them competing to succeed four-year starter Riley Skinner. Junior Skylar Jones got the first reps, followed by sophomore Turner Faulk, redshirt freshman Brendan Cross and true freshman Patrick Thompson.

Jones directed a 65-yard scoring drive and Cross led a 56-yard touchdown march for the offense's only two scores. Cross went 3-of-7 for 14 yards and was sacked four times. Faulk connected on five of his six pass attempts for a team-high 35 yards and was sacked twice. Jones was 3-for-5 for 23 yards, while Thompson missed on both of his pass attempts.

In other words, nobody really stood out, though it wasn't all the quarterbacks' fault.

"We were sloppy," coach Jim Grobe said. "If everybody’s playing perfect, and all we had to do was look at the quarterback, it would be easy. But there were times today where the quarterbacks didn’t have an opportunity; we either missed blocks or didn’t run the right route.

"I liked Skylar today. I thought he did some really good things, showed some composure. He’s matured a lot. He’s a lot calmer in the pocket right now. He’s got a lot of ability. He just needs a lot of work.

"All those guys have a lot of work to do. We really don’t know what we are right now because we don’t know what their strengths and weaknesses are. By the end of spring, we’ll have a pretty good feel about these guys."

Another quarterback candidate, sophomore Ted Stachitas, missed the scrimmage with a strained hamstring. The Deacons' top three centers -- Russell Nenon, Whit Barnes and Chance Raines -- also missed the scrimmage with injuries. Garrick Williams handled most of the snapping duties Saturday.

"I didn’t know linemen could get a hamstring [injury]," Grobe joked.