ACC: Roddy Jones

ACC's lunchtime links

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
12:30
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Don't forget about the BCS chat today, guys!
Sixteen players from ACC schools were named Wednesday to the 2012 National Football Foundation Hampshire Society for their academic achievement.

The society is in its sixth year, and it honors those from all divisions of college football who maintained a minimum 3.2 GPA throughout their college careers.

Here's the list of ACC honorees:

DB Hampton Hughes (BC)
P Dawson Zimmerman (Clemson)
S Matt Daniels (Duke)
TE Cooper Helfet (Duke)
K Will Snyderwine (Duke)
CB Johnny Williams (Duke)
OT Zebrie Sanders (FSU)
RB Roddy Jones (Georgia Tech)
TE John Calhoun (Miami)
QB Spencer Whipple (Miami)
OT Mikel Overgaard (NC State)
K Robert Randolph (Virginia)
LS Collin Carroll (Virginia Tech)
WR Danny Coale (Virginia Tech)
TE Chris Drager (Virginia Tech)
OG Michael Hoag (Wake Forest)

Week 12: Did you know?

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
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Thanks as always to the sports information directors at each school for this week's notes:

ACC: For the earliest time in its seven-year history, all of the public tickets available for sale to the Dr Pepper ACC championship game have been sold. That happened on Nov. 9. The only tickets remaining are the 10,000-seat team blocks for Clemson and the Coastal Division winner. Clemson has already received ticket requests which exceeds its 10,000-seat allotment, leaving the only block available at this point to be that of the Coastal Division champion, which will either be Virginia or Virginia Tech. In its six previous years, the championship game has drawn two crowds in excess of 72,000 fans and the 2011 game should at least match that if not set a record.

BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles ran only 49 plays in Saturday’s 14-10 win over NC State; the total tied a school record for fewest offensive snaps in an ACC game and was the Eagles’ lowest in a victory over an FBS opponent since Oct. 27, 2001, when BC had 47 plays in defeating Notre Dame 21-17. Saturday’s game took only 2 hours, 29 minutes; that’s 44 minutes below the national average.

CLEMSON: Coach Dabo Swinney has a winning percentage of 85.7 against ACC competition at home in Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. In the shadow of Howard’s Rock in Death Valley, the Tigers have posted a 12-2 mark under Swinney against conference opponents, including a 7-0 record this year.

DUKE: Duke has 19 rushing touchdowns through 10 games this season -- matching last year’s total for the most since 1994. Sophomore running back Juwan Thompson has seven rushing scores -- the highest total by a Duke running back since 2005 when Justin Boyle scored nine times on the ground.

FLORIDA STATE: Florida State enters Saturday’s home finale against Virginia looking to extend its winning streak against ACC opponents to six games. Since the Seminoles joined the league for the 1992 season, there have been a total of 15 six-game winning streaks among ACC teams, 10 of which belong to FSU. Florida State last strung together six ACC wins in 2003, when it won its first six league games en route to a 7-1 finish. Only Georgia Tech (2009, 2000) and Virginia Tech (2010, 2004) have posted multiple six-game conference win streaks. The Hokies can notch their third six-game conference winning streak by beating North Carolina Thursday night.

GEORGIA TECH: Senior A-back Roddy Jones will make his 50th career start Saturday at Duke. Assuming Jones starts the final three games (including the bowl game), he will have more career starts than any player in Georgia Tech history. Senior safety Rashaad Reid will play in his 51st career game Saturday at Duke. Assuming Reid plays in Tech’s remaining three games, he will tie the Yellow Jacket record for career games played.

MARYLAND: According to the Washington Times, Maryland has given up 500 yards on 14 occasions since 1997, and three of them have come in the Terrapins' last five games. It's the first time since 1999 that Maryland has surrendered three 500-yard performances.

MIAMI: Receiver Travis Benjamin became the sixth player in school history to surpass the 2,000-yard receiving mark with his 18-yard reception in the first quarter against Florida State. The senior entered the FSU game needing only three yards to reach the milestone. He now has 2,024 career receiving yards.

NORTH CAROLINA: Dwight Jones had six catches for 105 yards in the loss to Virginia Tech, making him only the second receiver at UNC to post 1,000 receiving yards in a season, following Hakeem Nicks in 2008. With tailback Giovani Bernard already over 1,000 yards, it marks the first time in school history that UNC has had a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season.

NC STATE: The Wolfpack are 5-0 this season when forcing three or more turnovers and are 0-5 when causing two or fewer.

VIRGINIA: When senior defensive tackle Matt Conrath blocked a field goal attempt by Duke in the first quarter of the Cavaliers’ 31-21 victory last Saturday, it marked the third time this year he has done that. Conrath now has five blocked PAT or FG attempts in his career. The fact he is 6-foot-7 certainly helps.

VIRGINIA TECH: On senior night, receiver Jarrett Boykin caught a career-high 10 passes for 106 yards in the win over UNC. Boykin became the first Tech player to catch 10 or more passes in a game since 1990 when Nick Cullen had 13 against Southern Miss. He has caught at least one pass in 47 of 51 career games and at least two passes in 41 of 51. Danny Coale had four catches for 37 yards. He has caught at least one pass in 48 of 52 career games and at least two passes in 42 of 52. Boykin, who holds the school record for career receptions (173) and career receiving yardage (2,752), has caught 50 passes this season, while Coale has 48. The school record for receptions in a season is 55 by Ernest Wilford in 2005.

WAKE FOREST: Jim Grobe has led Wake Forest to a number of close encounters during his 11 seasons as head coach but Saturday’s 31-28 loss at Clemson on a “walk-off” field goal was the first time that the Demon Deacons had lost in that manner under Grobe. In 2009, the Deacons scored a touchdown with :02 remaining to defeat Stanford but the final play of the game was a Wake Forest kickoff. The same was true in 2008 when Wake Forest scored a touchdown with :03 remaining to beat Ole Miss. The last true “walk-off” decision for Wake Forest occurred in 2006 when Duke missed a field goal on the final play of the game to preserve the Deacons’ 14-13 win over the Blue Devils.

Clemson has something to prove vs. GT

October, 27, 2011
10/27/11
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Nobody within Clemson’s program needed to point out this week what happened to Wisconsin and Oklahoma, two programs that dropped like bricks out of the top six in the BCS standings with upset losses this past weekend.

There was an unspoken realization for the No. 5-ranked Tigers of just how easy it is to go from something to nothing in the BCS standings.

“It’s very hard to ignore,” said tight end Dwayne Allen. “Some guys may say they ignore it or whatnot. That’s cool -- they don’t ignore it. But listening to it and being able to tune it out is totally different than trying to ignore it. I hear it, I understand what they’re saying, but it doesn’t matter to me. And that’s the way myself and a lot of my teammates think.”

[+] EnlargeDabo Swinney
Bob Donnan/US PresswireDabo Swinney has Clemson on the brink of 9-0 for the first time since 1981.
If you believe the lines that have been preached within Clemson’s program this season, there is an unwavering focus on the task at hand, despite the program’s highest-ever ranking in the BCS standings. As far as the remaining games go on Clemson’s schedule, none is bigger than this Saturday at Georgia Tech because of the history between the two teams. The last time Clemson started out 8-0, in 2000, the Tigers also beat North Carolina to reach that mark before losing to Georgia Tech the following week. This is a series in which 14 of the past 16 games have been decided by an average of only 4.6 points.

While Georgia Tech is the one coming off of back-to-back losses, Clemson is the team with something to prove on Saturday -- that it can avoid a trap it has fallen into in the past, and that the defense can play disciplined enough to be considered championship caliber. A win for Clemson and the comparisons between this team and the 1981 national champions will grow louder, as the program has not been 9-0 since that undefeated season. A loss and Clemson would look more like the 2009 team that lost to Georgia Tech twice, including in the ACC championship game.

“I don’t think you have to be very talented to beat them -- I think Coach [Paul] Johnson would admit that -- but you have to be very disciplined and very fundamentally sound,” said Clemson center Dalton Freeman. “If you’re not, they’re going to kill you. Doesn’t matter how talented you are.”

And there’s no question Clemson is one of the most talented teams in the country. The Tigers have scored at least 56 points in each of their past two games, a first in school history. They’ve got a Heisman hopeful quarterback in Tajh Boyd and a record-setting receiver in freshman Sammy Watkins. (Fitting for this game, John Heisman coached at both Clemson and Georgia Tech.) The defense, which has been average, is coming off a performance in which it snagged six turnovers from North Carolina. As good as Clemson has been, though, it knows it has to be better to stay in the hunt for the national title.

Plus, it IS Georgia Tech.

“There is a little bit more umph in our preparation going down there because we know that rivalry within the series and we haven’t been successful down in Atlanta,” Allen said. “That’s what we want to change, go down there and have a complete game in every aspect, from offense, defense and special teams.”

Georgia Tech has gone back to the basics this week after scoring just seven points and being held to numerous offensive season lows in a loss at Miami last week. The Yellow Jackets know they have a chance to play spoiler on Saturday.

After all, it IS Clemson.

“Obviously we’ve had some success since I’ve been here against Clemson, and there have been some great games,” said Georgia Tech A-back Roddy Jones. “… It’s one of those, 'they don’t like us and we don’t like them' kind of things. But there’s always a respect factor, and the fact that they’re coming in here highly ranked makes this an even bigger game for us.”

And even bigger for the BCS standings.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
12:30
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Let's get to it ...
It was a busy weekend in the ACC. Here's a look back at the highlights from the scrimmages, according to the sports information departments of the teams that provided reports:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Coach Frank Spaziani told reporters after the 70-minute scrimmage that there were some good things, but "it's like a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces in the box; they're not connected yet."

Offensive highlights:
  • Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 12 of 19 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. “I think Chase showed the progress he's been making,” Spaziani said. “The obvious things were fine; there were some subtle things he needs to work on.”
  • Rettig connected on passes of 10 yards six times, including a 30-yard pass to Colin Larmond, Jr., a 24-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field to receiver Bobby Swigert and a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior captain Ifeanyi Momah.
  • Larmond (3 receptions for 53 yards), Swigert (3-for-33), junior receiver Donte Elliott (3-for-37) and redshirt freshman tight end Jarrett Darmstatter (3-for-16) led a total of 12 receivers that registered at least one reception each.
  • Rettig and fellow quarterbacks Mike Marscovetra and Dave Shinskie combined for four touchdowns as Marscovetra went 6-for-9 for 30 yards and a touchdown pass of five yards to junior receiver Hampton Hughes and Shinskie connected on 4-of-5 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown to sophomore tight end Mike Naples.
  • Tailback Rolandan Finch carried the ball 10 times for a total of 30 yards to lead all running backs while sophomore Andre Williams broke free for a 20-yard touchdown run during red zone drills. Williams finished with five attempts for 21 yards and redshirt freshman Tahj Kimble accounted for 20 yards on five carries.
Defensive highlights:
  • Linebacker Nick Clancy and defensive back Sean Sylvia led the team with four tackles each.
  • Sophomore linebacker Jake Sinkovec had one interception and one fumble recovery.
CLEMSON

Quarterback Tajh Boyd had an impressive performance, as he completed 10 of 12 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown to highlight the new offense in Clemson’s 75-play scrimmage in Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning.

Offensive highlights:
  • Boyd completed each of his final eight passes to six different receivers. He threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, then connected on a 3-yard score to Dwayne Allen in a goal-line situation.
  • Allen had three receptions for 66 yards, including a diving catch over the middle for 14 yards and a first down. Brandon Ford had three receptions for 37 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass from Cole Stoudt.
  • Stoudt was 4-of-14 passing, but threw for 71 yards and two touchdowns, one to Ford and one to Bryce McNeal (23 yards).
  • Rod McDowell was the leading rusher with four carries for 68 yards, including a 39-yarder on his first carry of the day. Andre Ellington had five rushes for 41 yards and added two receptions, while freshman Mike Bellamy had five carries for 40 yards.
Defensive highlights:
  • The first-team defense did not allow a scoring drive.
  • Martin Jenkins led the team with seven tackles, including a tackle for loss.
  • Corico Hawkins had five tackles and a fumble recovery, while freshman defensive end Corey Crawford had five stops, including a sack.
Special teams highlights:
  • Clemson’s three kickers, Chandler Catanzaro, Ammon Lakip and Brian Symmes were a combined 16-of-16 on the day in field goal attempts and extra points against a live rush.
Notable:
  • Three Tigers missed the scrimmage because they were going through graduation exercises across the street from Memorial Stadium in Littlejohn Coliseum. Starting offensive tackle Landon Walker, starting safety Rashard Hall and reserve defensive end Kourtnei Brown all graduated from Clemson on Saturday. It was especially noteworthy for Hall, who has been at Clemson just three years. He joins Nick Eason (now in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals) as the only scholarship football players to graduate with two years of athletic eligibility remaining.
  • Four players missed the scrimmage due to injury. Those players were defensive back Xavier Brewer (sprained foot), defensive back Garry Peters (bruised calf), Andre Branch (head injury), DeShawn Williams (sprained ankle).
GEORGIA TECH

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson had mixed reviews after the Yellow Jackets' first scrimmage, which ran 90 minutes inside Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday morning.

"It was like a lot of first scrimmages, there were way too many balls on the ground and way too many penalties," Johnson said. "But we hit some big plays. When you play against each other there's positives and negatives on both sides. It's a starting place and we'll look at it and try to make some improvements."

Offensive highlights:
  • While no official statistics were kept, quarterback Tevin Washington passed for well over 100 yards, including a 63-yarder to senior A-back Roddy Jones. Redshirt freshman quarterback Synjyn Days threw the only touchdown of the day, to true freshman Jeff Greene.
  • Greene ran with the first unit Saturday as most of the veterans -- junior Stephen Hill, senior Tyler Melton, sophomore Jeremy Moore and junior Daniel McKayhan -- all sat out with injuries.
  • Washington scored the only other touchdown Saturday on a 1-yard QB keeper.
Defensive highlights:
  • Defensive end Emmanuel Dieke had a sack, true freshman Jamal Golden intercepted a Vad Lee pass, and Steven Sylvester and Isaiah Johnson both recovered fumbles.
Special teams highlights:
  • Sophomore Justin Moore booted a 45-yard field goal on his only attempt.
  • David Scully's 52-yard attempt was long enough, but just wide left.
MIAMI

The most important news out of Miami's first scrimmage was that quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris combined for five touchdown passes and only one interception. That sounds like improvement. Miami's quarterbacks combined for 407 passing yards on 38-of-52 passing for six touchdowns and only one interception.

Offensive highlights:
  • Receiver Tommy Streeter had the best offensive day for the Canes, catching five passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came from Harris.
  • Lamar Miller had runs of 16 and 31 yards on the opening drive.
Defensive highlights:
  • Senior defensive back JoJo Nicolas led all defenders with eight tackles (six solo), with two tackles for loss.
  • Ramon Buchanan and freshman Gionni Paul and each had six total tackles, with Paul also recording a tackle for loss.
  • The defense totaled eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a total loss of 29 yards
VIRGINIA TECH

The Hokies' offense was the highlight, but what does that mean for the defense? Coach Frank Beamer pointed out that there were some long plays allowed, as the offense racked up 398 yards of total offense in the 78-play scrimmage at Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The touchdowns came against Tech's second- or third-team defense, though, so the jury is still out.

"I thought it was a good first scrimmage -- better than most," Beamer said, according to the team's scrimmage report. "You take into consideration that you're trying to get everyone some work, people who don't know quite what they're doing, and that makes things a little ragged. I thought overall, though, it was a sharp scrimmage. The quarterbacks made some nice plays and Wilson got a couple of long plays against the defense, and we need to see what's going on there. Overall, the effort was good and the play was good."

Offensive highlights:
  • Backup quarterback Mark Leal led the quarterbacks with 116 yards passing, completing 6 of 13. He also threw an interception. Beamer said Leal is No. 2 on the depth chart behind Logan Thomas. Ju-Ju Clayton, who has dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart, completed 6 of 10 for 51 yards, while starter Thomas completed 4 of 8 for 79 yards, with an interception, in limited action.
  • Tailback David Wilson scored against the Hokies' second-team defense on a 22-yard run. Wilson led all rushers with 57 yards on five carries. Freshman Michael Holmes added 54 yards rushing on a game-high 11 carries.
Defensive highlights:
  • Freshman tackle Luther Maddy led the team with eight tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack. Freshman Michael Cole added six tackles, while Telvion Clark and Jack Tyler each finished with four.
  • Barquell Rivers had three tackles and an interception.
  • Jayron Hosley and freshman Ronny Vandyke also had interceptions. Hosley intercepted a Logan Thomas pass, while Vandyke intercepted a Trey Gresh attempt.
Special teams highlights:
  • The kickers connected on 5-of-6 attempts. Cody Journell hit from 35, 22 and 35 yards, while Justin Myer drilled a 52-yarder and a 28-yarder. "Cody's kicking extremely well," Beamer said. "Myer has a load of potential, and he needs to win some of the kicking contests during the week. That shows consistency, and that's where he is right now. Cody is usually winning it or right in the running at the end."

ACC media day observations

July, 25, 2011
7/25/11
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PINEHURST, N.C. - A few basic observations from this year's ACC football kickoff:
  • BC linebacker Luke Kuechly is huge. Those within the program used to joke he looked like Clark Kent because of his short dark hair and glasses, but the dude is seriously busting out of his shirt these days like Superman. I asked him how much weight he has gained since his freshman year and he said 20 pounds. The funny thing about Kuechly, though, is that he still doesn't really look intimidating. It's the glasses. You know, Clark Kent?
  • The ACC has gotten taller at quarterback. They might not have much experience, but they've got the height. Duke's Sean Renfree, Maryland's Danny O'Brien, and Florida State's EJ Manuel are all towers. And of course, Logan Thomas at Virginia Tech, who's not here, has about six inches on his predecessor, and Mike Glennon is also a height upgrade. O'Brien really looks a lot stronger. It's hard to believe he's the same player who started his first game last year. He's going to be harder to bring down this fall.
  • ACC commissioner John Swofford is pushing change. He's repeatedly said phrases such as "crossroads" and "tipping point" here when referring to the state of college football. His main area of reform has been with scholarships, in that he's a proponent of the full cost of tuition. But when it comes to talking about the NCAA investigations and allegations against Georgia Tech and North Carolina, Swofford only really scratches the surface. It's impossible to tell what he really thinks about both situations.
  • The players here are great representatives of the conference. Georgia Tech's Roddy Jones? His smile is contagious. UNC lineman Jonathan Cooper is a terrific interview. Virginia's Kris Burd and Chase Minnifield had a great time turning the tables on me for a video interview. They did their research and found out I was an Indiana grad. Who will win that game this year? They're trying to take my job I think. Danny Coale is first class. Every one of the players here has been great to talk to. I can't remember coming to this event when they weren't.
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Georgia Tech A-back Roddy Jones said he was one of the few players who, in 2009, realized the NCAA was looking around.

[+] EnlargeJones
Josh D. Weiss/US PresswireRoddy Jones and the Yellow Jackets are focused on winning another ACC title.
"You hear," he said. "You hear things. When the NCAA's around, people tend to notice."

The rest of the world didn't seem to notice the 20-month-long investigation until recently, when it was announced that the Jackets would have to vacate their 2009 title, face four years probation and pay a $100,000 fine. Those within the program, though, say the sanctions haven't affected them.

"It doesn't," said Jones, "it doesn't affect me a bit. I get to keep my ring and I get to tell people we won the ACC championship in 2009, and I get to go out and play this year, so it has no bearing on what goes on this year. We're very focused on getting back to an ACC championship game this year because that would really alleviate a lot of the stuff that's been going on around us."

Defensive tackle Logan Walls said $312 worth of clothing "wasn't worth an ACC championship."

"It bothered me, but then I talked to my mom about it, and she said, 'They can't take away your memories, you have your ring.' We have all of the stuff from the game, I'd just like to show my kids our ACC championship trophy. I guess that's the biggest thing."

ACC media days notebook

July, 24, 2011
7/24/11
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Boston CollegeBoston College: Linebacker Luke Kuechly led the nation last year with 110 tackles -- so many that his dad often gave him grief last year about how many were legitimate. “He’s always like, ‘You just walk by the ball and they give you tackles,’” Kuechly said with a laugh. “I’m like, ‘Dad, man, I’m working for those.’ He said, ‘No, you’re not, they’re just tallying them up for you.’”

ClemsonClemson: The pace of Clemson’s offense has sped up under first-year coordinator Chad Morris, and it starts at the heart of the line. Instead of looking to the sideline and getting the play, Clemson center Dalton Freeman said he’s running straight to the ball. “When you’re looking at the sideline for a couple of years, waiting to hear the signal, to going straight to the ball and getting into your stance, it’s a big transition but it’s been a smooth one.”

DukeDuke: Quarterback Sean Renfree said his improved decision-making was the biggest difference down the stretch last season. “Towards the end of the season I was thinking you don’t have to score every series,” he said. “Do the little things to give yourself a chance in the fourth quarter.” Renfree, who’s visibly bigger, faster and stronger, said he’s much more confident entering his second season as starter.

Florida StateFlorida State: The Seminoles are already preparing for their Sept. 17 home game against Oklahoma. “I watch film on them every day,” said defensive end Brandon Jenkins. “That’s a key factor.” Jenkins said last year’s 47-17 loss stuck with them for a long time, but they’re “going to try to change that this year.” He said the Noles have grown most in leadership and maturity since that loss.

Georgia TechGeorgia Tech: While Georgia Tech might not find its next 1,000-yard rusher this fall, A-back Roddy Jones said the Jackets will get their yards by committee this year. “I think there will definitely be at least two,” he said of the B-backs. “We have four who are capable of doing the job. I don’t think any of them will be as explosive as [Jon] Dwyer was, but every single one is capable of being as effective as Anthony [Allen] was.”

MarylandMaryland: Linebacker Kenny Tate said his move from safety to linebacker isn’t as significant as some might think. “It’s really not a huge change,” he said. “… I still have the freedom to move around, I’m just closer to the line.” Tate said he has heard that the move could be a boost in his NFL stock because he can showcase his ability to blitz and also play safety.

MiamiMiami: The Hurricanes will be hunkered down in a hotel to stay focused during the first few weeks of summer camp, according to center Tyler Horn -- who said the team could use it. “Obviously what we did last year was not good enough,” Horn said. “The focus has been an emphasis and being mentally tough … Nothing but good can come out of it.”

UNCNorth Carolina: Quarterback Bryn Renner lost a video game to offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, and Cooper immediately got the silent treatment. Cooper said Renner is “very competitive. He hates to lose.” One of the adjustments Renner will have to make, Cooper said, is accepting the ups and downs of his position. “You’re not always going to be the glory guy, you’re going to have to take some of the falls with it as well.”

NC StateNC State: Tight end George Bryan said he kept his personal feelings out of former quarterback Russell Wilson’s decision to transfer. He didn’t know until he found about it on TV. “I trust whatever decision was made,” he said. Bryan said he hopes Wilson does well at Wisconsin. “If it’s on TV, I’ll definitely watch it and be cheering for him.”

VirginiaVirginia: Cornerback Chase Minnifield said he “doesn’t have many expectations” for himself: Just an All-American, All-ACC, and the best corner in the country. “I don’t really care what my interceptions are,” he said. “I think a good corner is a guy who doesn’t give up too many passes and doesn’t give up any touchdowns. If I can get that done, I’ll be all right.”

Virginia TechVirginia Tech: Safety Eddie Whitley said he has seen quarterback Logan Thomas making “big strides, even from spring to now.” Whitley said Thomas is ahead of the curve, but expects opponents to disrespect Thomas’ IQ and arm strength. During voluntary workouts this summer, Thomas would run a play, and ask Whitley what coverage the defense was in and why, and how he can throw the ball better against it.

Wake ForestWake Forest: One priority for the defense is creating turnovers, as the Demon Deacons ranked tied for No. 94 in the country last season with 17. Linebacker Kyle Wilber said the players were young, “cocky and arrogant” and thought they were going to easily strip the ball last year. “If we don’t help out our offense and put them in the best position they can be in, how do we expect to win?”

ACC's Good Works nominees

July, 20, 2011
7/20/11
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Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) recently announced a record 132 nominees for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works TeamŽ. The award recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football players across the nation.

Congrats to the following ACC players who have been nominated in the program's 20th season:

Look who's talking ...

July, 11, 2011
7/11/11
3:30
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The ACC on Monday announced the names of the 24 players who have been chosen to attend the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff, July 24-25 at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C.

This is one of my favorite events of the year, as it's the first real sign the season is right around the corner. I will be covering every second of it, tweeting and posting videos of players and coaches. I'll have more on it as it gets closer, but here are the players who will be available for interviews from each school:

Boston College
Montel Harris, tailback, senior, Jacksonville, Fla.
Luke Kuechly, linebacker, junior, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Clemson
Landon Walker, offensive tackle, senior, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
Brandon Thompson, defensive tackle, senior, Thomasville, Ga.

Duke
Sean Renfree, quarterback, junior, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Matt Daniels, safety, senior, Fayetteville, Ga.

Florida State
EJ Manuel, quarterback, junior, Virginia Beach, Va.
Brandon Jenkins, defensive end, junior, Tallahassee, Fla.

Georgia Tech
Roddy Jones, A-Back, senior, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Logan Walls, defensive tackle, senior, Dawsonville, Ga.

Maryland
Danny O’Brien, quarterback, sophomore, Kernersville, N.C.
Kenny Tate, linebacker, senior, Forestville, Md.

Miami
Tyler Horn, center, senior, Memphis, Tenn.
Sean Spence, outside linebacker, senior, Miami, Fla.

North Carolina
Jonathan Cooper, center, junior, Wilmington, N.C.
Tydreke Powell, defensive tackle, senior, Ahoskie, N.C.

NC State
George Bryan, tight end, senior, Castle Hayne, N.C.
Audie Cole, linebacker, senior, Monroe, Mich.

Virginia
Kris Burd, wide receiver, senior, Matoaca, Va.
Chase Minnifield, cornerback, senior, Lexington, Ky.

Virginia Tech
Danny Coale, wide receiver, senior, Lexington, Va.
Eddie Whitley, safety, senior, Charlotte, N.C.

Wake Forest
Joe Looney, offensive guard, senior, Lake Worth, Fla.
Kyle Wilber, outside linebacker, senior, Apopka, Fla.

ACC's 2011 veterans

June, 13, 2011
6/13/11
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After looking at this list, ACC fans should have a better appreciation for the lengthy, healthy career of former Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo, who graduated after a league-high 54 career starts. These are the ACC's old guys, the veterans in the conference who enter 2011 with the most starting experience. Virginia Tech, Florida State and Virginia have two players each. Here's a look at the ACC's top 10 veterans for 2011:

1. Danny Coale, Virginia Tech, WR, 40
2. Roddy Jones, Georgia Tech, RB, 39
3. Montel Harris, Boston College, RB, 37
Zebrie Sanders, Florida State, T, 37
Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, T, 37
6. Andrew Datko, Florida State, T, 36
Kyle Hill, Duke, T, 36
8. Landon Walker, Clemson, T, 35
9. Matt Conrath, Virginia, DT, 33
10. Austin Pasztor, Virginia, G, 32

Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech have a veteran edge at one other very important position group: the offensive line. It's the second straight season that the Seminoles lead the ACC in the number of returning career starts on the offensive line. Though the Seminoles have only three returning starters, this trio -- Zebrie Sanders (37), Andrew Datko (36) and David Spurlock (28) -- combined for 101 starts.

Thanks to information provided by the ACC, here's a look at which ACC schools return the most experience up front:

Georgia Tech spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
9:30
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GEORGIA TECH

2010 overall record: 6-7

2010 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense 5

Top returners

WR Stephen Hill, AB Roddy Jones, AB Orwin Smith, G Omoregie Uzzi, DE Jason Peters, DT Logan Walls, OLB Steven Sylvester, ILB Julian Burnett, OG Will Jackson, DE Izaan Cross

Key losses

QB Joshua Nesbitt, RB Anthony Allen, C Sean Bedford, CB Dominique Reese, CB Mario Butler, ILB Brad Jefferson, S Jerrard Tarrant, PK Scott Blair

2011 Schedule

Sept. 1 Western Carolina

Sept. 10 at Middle Tennessee

Sept. 17 Kansas

Sept. 24 North Carolina

Oct. 1 at NC State

Oct. 8 Maryland

Oct. 15 at Virginia

Oct. 22 at Miami

Oct. 29 Clemson

Nov. 5 Open

Nov. 10 Virginia Tech

Nov. 19 at Duke

Nov. 26 Georgia

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Allen (1,316 yards)

Passing:Nesbitt (674 yds)

Receiving: Hill* (291 yds)

Tackles: Burnett (89)

Sacks: Jefferson (4)

Interceptions:Tarrant (3)

Spring answers

1. A new attitude. There were some disgruntled players on the roster last year, but that disenchantment has been replaced by charismatic leaders like Jason Peters and Roddy Jones. The sense of complacency has been replaced by a stronger work ethic, as the players now realize that ACC championships don’t come without offseason dedication.

2. An improved defense. The Jackets aren’t exactly going to pitch shutouts, but despite losing six starters, the defense had a good spring. The entire front seven had the advantage for most of the spring, all three starters return on the defensive line, and the linebackers showed progress. It was obvious the players are more comfortable in the second season of Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme.

3. A-back is a strength.Georgia Tech has at least six players who can play the position, including Jones, a senior leader, Orwin Smith, a big-play candidate, and Embry Peeples, who may be one of the best receivers on the team. The Jackets are also confident in B.J. Bostic, who impressed Johnson as a true freshman. Those four players combined to run for 1,283 yards last year, and Georgia Tech could get additional yardage from redshirt freshman Tony Zenon, who also had a good spring.

Fall questions

1. Will Tevin Washington keep his job?Washington still has the edge and is the starter heading into summer camp, but there are some lingering questions after his performance in the spring game. He threw three interceptions, lost two fumbles, was sacked three times and completed 10 of 26 passes. Backup Synjyn Days ran for 112 yards and led his team to a 21-7 win. Add to the mix a pair of true freshmen, including highly-touted Vad Lee, and it could make for an interesting August.

2. Will the offensive line be better?It’s not for a lack of experience -- Omoregie Uzzi was a second-team all-conference lineman last year, Phil Smith is a returning starting tackle and sophomore guard Will Jackson has nine career starts. It’s simply that the group didn’t play very well this spring and depth is a question. Jay Finch is expected to take over for Bedford at center, but Uzzi will be the leader of the line.

3. Special teams concerns. It was an area of emphasis for coach Paul Johnson this spring, as it should have been. The Jackets need to solidify their starting kicker and punter, and all three field goal attempts were missed in the spring game, though two were distances of 47 and 49 yards. Kicker Justin Moore, the lone scholarship kicker competing this spring, hasn’t distanced himself from the four walk-ons who played in the spring game. Punter isn’t as much of a concern, where Sean Poole had nine starts last year, but the return games also need improvement.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 8, 2011
4/08/11
12:00
PM ET
Spring games, anyone? ...

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 23, 2010
12/23/10
12:00
PM ET
Happy holidays to college football fans (and everyone else)! - HD

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