ACC: Ryan Quigley
2011 conference record: 3-5 (5th, Atlantic)
Returning starters: Offense: 9; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1
LT John Wetzel, RT Emmett Cleary, LG Bobby Vardaro, RG Ian White, TE Chris Pantale, QB Chase Rettig, RB Rolandan Finch, RB Tahj Kimble, RB Andre Williams, WR Coin Larmond, WR Bobby Swigert, DE Kasim Edebali, DT Kaleb Ramsey, DT Dominic Appiah, DT Dillon Quinn, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Steele Divitto, LB Sean Duggan, CB Jim Noel, SS Spenser Rositano
C Mark Spinney, TE Lars Anderson, DE Max Holloway, LB Luke Kuechly, CB Donnie Fletcher, FS Hampton Hughes, P Ryan Quigley
2011 statistical leaders (* returners)
Rushing: Rolandan Finch* (705 yards)
Passing: Chase Rettig* (1,960 yards)
Receiving: Colin Larmond* (528 yards)
Tackles: Luke Kuechly (191)
Sacks: Max Holloway (2.5)
Interceptions: Luke Kuechly (3)
1. Chase Rettig makes strides: Rettig was thrown into the fire early, and he has endured plenty since, with injuries, new schemes and last year's 4-8 campaign. Now a junior, and playing for another new offensive coordinator, Rettig has the command of the offense and should benefit from playing behind an experienced offensive line.
2. More running back depth than BC probably hoped for: Montel Harris and Andre Williams couldn't go in the spring game. Then Tahj Kimble injured himself early in the contest. Finch, who played a lot last season with Harris sidelined, ended up shouldering the load, and it will take a group effort this season with Harris out of the picture. Injuries and a dismissal gave BC a better look at its backfield talent than it had probably hoped for, but the group effort this spring should benefit the Eagles come fall.
3. Defense looking to build off 2011 finish: Coach Frank Spaziani said the worst thing about last season was that it ended. BC is hungry to build off its 4-8 campaign, as the team hopes to carry the momentum from winning two of its final three games. A long offseason gave the defense time to think about that finish, which was keyed by a unit that held each of the final three opponents to fewer than 20 points.
1. Who will replace Luke Kuechly? The short answer is no one. Kuechly's legend will only continue to grow with each passing day. But the Eagles do return plenty of talented linebackers, led by Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis. It will take a collective effort and then some for the linebackers to make up for the loss of Kuechly, but their attitude in trying can certainly rub off on the rest of the defense.
2. What happened with Harris? The school's all-time leading rusher was dismissed from the team after the spring for a repeated violation of team rules. The backfield is used to playing without him after his injury-plagued 2011 campaign, but the suddenness of Harris' departure -- which Spaziani will not get into -- has to have some effect on his former teammates, especially with Harris having been primed to chase the ACC's career rushing record this season.
3. How will the offense transition under Doug Martin? Spaziani said he was impressed with the unit coming out of the spring, but a fifth offensive coordinator in five years has to be challenging for the players. Martin has said he is looking to increase the pace, and he'll have nine starters back to work with come preseason camp.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Mike Glennon, NC State, Sr., QB, 6-6, 232, Centreville, Va.
Glennon completed 26 of 55 passes for 306 yards, five touchdowns and just one interception in NC State’s historic come-from-behind victory over Maryland. Glennon tied the school record for touchdown responsibility by passing for five touchdowns and running for a sixth, tying the mark Philip Rivers set in 2002 vs. Navy. Also, Glennon’s five touchdown passes against the Terps made him the fifth NC State player to pass for five TDs in a game, the last being Russell Wilson against Florida State in 2009.
Glennon set personal career highs with his 55 pass attempts (sixth in NC State history) and 36 completions (fifth). Glennon now has 28 touchdown passes on the season, moving him into a tie for third place with Wilson (28 in 2008) on the NC State single-season list for TD passes. Only Philip Rivers (34 in 2003) and Wilson (31 in 2009) have thrown for more touchdowns in a single season than Glennon has so far in 2011.
RECEIVER – Dwight Jones, North Carolina, Sr., WR, 6-4, 225, Burlington, N.C.
Jones had 10 catches for 101 yards in Carolina's 37-21 win over Duke. He eclipsed the previous UNC single-season record for receptions and finished the game with 79 catches on the year. The previous mark of 74 was set by Hakeem Nicks in 2007. It was his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season, tying the school record set by Nicks in 2008. Jones had touchdown catches of 6, 18 and 8 yards and became the first Tar Heel to catch three scoring receptions in a game since Nicks vs. Boston College in 2008. Jones has 11 touchdown catches this season, the second-highest single-season total in school history, just one shy of Nicks’ record of 12 in 2008.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, Sr., OT, 6-5, 311, Midlothian, Va.
The Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner continued his strong season by grading out at 90 percent on 61 snaps with 15 knockdowns as the Hokies blanked Virginia 38-0 on the road to clinch the ACC's Coastal Division.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – James Gayle, Virginia Tech, So., DE, 6-4, 257, Hampton, Va.
Gayle had a big hand in Tech's 38-0 shutout of Virginia, posting five solo tackles, three of which were for loss and two of which were sacks. He also had three quarterback hurries.
LINEBACKER – Terrell Manning, NC State, Jr., LB, 6-3, 233, Laurinburg, N.C.
Manning helped to keep Maryland off the scoreboard the final 25-plus minutes of the game and give the offense a chance to pull off the comeback victory. He had seven total tackles, two of which were tackles for losses totalling 11 yards, and one of those was a quarterback sack for an eight-yard loss. He also caused a pair of Maryland fumbles, and recovered another. Manning recovered a blocked field-goal attempt early in the second quarter and returned it 21 yards.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Terrance Parks, Florida State, Sr., S, 6-2, 215, Fairburn, Ga.
Parks saved the finest performance of his career for his final regular season game – against arch-rival Florida. The second-year starter matched his career-high with 6 tackles – all solo stops – including the first two tackles for loss (-17 yards) of his career. Parks was an integral part in both the run support efforts that limited the host Gators to 54 rushing yards, and the coverage unit which yielded only 130 through the air and came away with four interceptions. Parks came away with the Seminoles’ fourth and final interception of the night – the first of his career – and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
CO-SPECIALIST – Ryan Quigley, Boston College, Sr., P, 6-3, 188, Little River, S.C.
Playing his final game in a Boston College uniform, Quigley affected Miami’s field position all day long, booming six punts for 240 yards (average of 40 yards per kick) and downing five of those kicks inside the 20-yard-line. Four of Quigley’s punts came in the fourth quarter. Boston College entered the quarter with a 24-14 lead and held the Hurricanes to three points to preserve the win. Quigley played a major role in that defensive effort, pinning the Canes on their 13, 15, 10 and 2-yard-lines on consecutive punts in the quarter.
CO-SPECIALIST – Danny Coale, Virginia Tech, Sr., WR/P, 6-0, 200, Lexington, Va.
Coale, punting for just the second time this season, had four punts for an average of 47.5 yards with two punts of 52 yards in Tech's win over Virginia. He found out he was punting in pregame warm-ups.
CO-SPECIALIST – Shawn Powell, Florida State, Sr., P, 6-4, 235, Rome, Ga.
One week after taking over the FBS lead in overall and net punting, Powell solidified his standing. Cranking out a career-high 9 punts in a conservatively called, field position game, Powell averaged 44.0 yards. More importantly he kept Florida’s laboring offense backed up all day, pinning five of those nine punts inside the 20-yard line, pushing his season total to 21. Impressively enough, three of those were inside the Florida 10-yard line (he has 12 inside the 10 this season). Three of Powell’s punts covered 50 or more yards (he has 11 of those in his last 3 games), including a 62-yarder that marked the sixth over 60 yards this season. On the year Powell is averaging 47.0 yards a punt and boasts a net average of 42.0, both of which lead the nation. He’s nailed 43 percent of his punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line this season, and 63 percent of his punts have gone unreturned.
ROOKIE – Giovani Bernard, North Carolina, Fr., RB, 5-10, 205, Davie, Fla.
Bernard had his seventh 100-yard rushing game of the season with 165 yards on 30 carries, both career highs, in North Carolina's 37-21 win over Duke. His seven 100-yard rushing games are a UNC freshman single-season record, breaking the previous mark of six set in 1977 by Amos Lawrence. Bernard now has 1,222 rushing yards this season, the most ever by a UNC freshman. He now ranks sixth on the school’s single-season rushing chart. Bernard scored his 13th rushing touchdown of the season on a 48-yard run up the middle of the field in the second quarter. His 13 rushing scores equals the fifth-highest single-season total in school history, tied with Natrone Means in 1992. The last player to rush for more than 13 touchdowns in a season was Leon Johnson who had 14 in 1993. Bernard had 222 all-purpose yards against Duke, 165 rushing and 57 receiving. His previous high was 202 vs. Georgia Tech.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Mike Glennon, NC State, Sr., QB, 6-6, 232, Centreville, Va.
Glennon completed 19 of 29 pass attempts for 253 yards and three touchdowns and did not throw an interception. Glennon got more and more prolific as the game went along, completing 8 of 10 pass attempts for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter as the Wolfpack scored 27 points in the period, then completing 6 of 9 attempts for 138 yards in the third quarter, including a 43-yard touchdown pass to Tobias Palmer and three other passes of 19 yards or longer.
RECEIVER – Chris Givens, Wake Forest, Jr., WR, 6-0, 195, Wylie, Tex.
Givens tied his career-high with eight receptions and set a career-high with 191 receiving yards in Wake Forest’s 31-10 win over Maryland. Givens added a 35-yard touchdown catch from QB Tanner Price. In the process, Givens set the school record for receiving yards in a season with 1,207. That also ranks as the sixth-best season receiving total in ACC history.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, Sr., OT, 6-5, 311, Midlothian, Va.
Playing in his last game at Lane Stadium, DeChristopher played all 74 offensive snaps, grading out at 86 percent with a team-high seven knockdown blocks. He had a key push on Logan Thomas on a 4th-and-1 sneak for a first down and sprung David Wilson for several big runs. He has graded out at 91 percent for the season with a team-high 100 knockdown blocks.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Brandon Jenkins, Florida State, Jr., DE, 6-3, 265, Tallahassee, Fla.
Jenkins matched his season-high with six tackles including 2.5 sacks of Virginia QB Michael Rocco. The 2.5 sacks matched a career high for the junior and pushed his season total to a team-leading seven. The preseason All-American and All-ACC candidate now has 10 tackles for loss on the season. In addition to applying pressure on the quarterback, Jenkins was instrumental in the Seminoles’ limiting the Cavaliers to a season-low 78 rushing yards – more than 100 under their per-game average – and 316 total yards. FSU’s rushing defense now ranks third nationally and the Seminoles are sixth nationally in sacks per game. Jenkins now ranks seventh in FSU history with 34.5 career tackles for loss and with 20.5 career sacks. He is 10th all-time for the Seminoles.
LINEBACKER – Steve Greer, Virginia, Jr., ILB, 6-2, 225, Solon, Ohio
Greer led the Virginia defense with eight tackles and recorded two sacks and another QB hurry in UVa's 14-13 upset win at Florida State. Greer came up with a key sack in the fourth quarter. With FSU leading 13-7 and at the Cavaliers' 30-yard line, Greer sacked FSU quarterback EJ Manuel for a 14-yard loss, forcing the Seminoles to punt. UVa scored the winning touchdown on its next drive. The Cavalier defense held FSU to just three points in the second half. Florida State entered the game averaging 34.6 points per game. Only Oklahoma (also with 13 points) has held FSU to less than 14 points this year.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Brandan Bishop, NC State, Jr., S, 6-2, 210, Boca Raton, Fla.
Bishop led the Wolfpack with 10 total tackles, including nine first hits, one tackle for a two-yard loss, and his fifth interception of the season.
SPECIALIST – Ryan Quigley, Boston College, Sr., P, 6-3, 188, Little River, S.C.
Downed six (of nine punts in total) inside Notre Dame’s 12-yard line, including five punts inside the 9. Of his six punts inside the 12, three were downed (at the 5, 3 and 12-yard lines) and three were fair caught (at the 6, 8 and 9-yard lines). Quigley finished the game with a season-high nine punts for 369 yards, an average of 41.0 yards per punt, and matched a season-long with a 52-yard punt in the first quarter.
ROOKIE – Art Norman, NC State, Fr., DE, 6-1, 242, Stone Mountain, Ga.
A redshirt freshman defensive end from Stone Mountain, Ga., Norman had four total tackles, including three sacks for 16 yards. He also caused a fumble.
- Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 20-of-28 attempts for 176 yards, but threw four picks.
- Receiver Colin Larmond, Jr. led the team with 10 receptions for 89 yards.
- Sophomore Alex Amidon caught three passes for 29 yards.
- Junior running back Mike Javorski had 10 carries for 32 yards. Sophomore Rolandan Finch carried the ball seven times for 26 yards while Kimble registered four attempts for 22 yards.
- Junior Hampton Hughes, who switched from wide receiver to defensive back just five days prior to the scrimmage, had two pass breakups and one interception.
- Freshman DB Manny Asprilla led all defensive players with five tackles and one pass breakup -- a long pass attempt that Asprilla deflected into redshirt freshman Sean Sylvia’s hands for an interception. Redshirt freshman Dominique Williams and sophomore Jim Noel also recorded interceptions.
- LBs Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Devitto each registered one sack.
- Sophomore PK Nate Freese hit a 41-yard field goal attempt to end the scrimmage.
- Senior Ryan Quigley punted four times, averaging 40 yards per punt, while his lone field-goal attempt -- of 42 yards -- missed.
Check it out:
No. 3 RB, Montel Harris, Boston College
No. 3 FB, Taylor Gentry, NC State
No. 4 FB, Devon Ramsay, North Carolina
No. 2 TE, George Bryan, NC State
No. 4 OT, Andrew Datko, Florida State
No. 1. DE, Quinton Coples, North Carolina
No. 2 DE, Andre Branch, Clemson
No. 2 DT, Tydreke Powell, North Carolina
No. 4 DT, Brandon Thompson, Clemson
No. 3 OLB, Zach Brown, North Carolina
No. 5 OLB, Sean Spence, Miami
No. 5 CB, Donnie Fletcher, Boston College
No. 2 S, Kenny Tate, Maryland (has moved to linebacker this season)
No. 5 P, Ryan Quigley, Boston College
No. 5 RB, Andre Ellington, Clemson
No. 4 FB, Lonnie Pryor, Florida State
No. 1 TE, Dwayne Allen, Clemson
No. 3 OG, Brandon Washington, Miami
No. 1 DE, Donte Paige-Moss, North Carolina
No. 2 DE, Brandon Jenkins, Florida State
No. 2 DT, Marcus Forston, Miami
No. 2 ILB, Luke Kuechly, Boston College
No. 5 ILB, Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech
No. 5 OLB, Terrell Manning, NC State
No. 3 CB, Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
No. 1 S, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami
No. 5 S, Vaughn Telemaque, Miami
No. 1 K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
2010 conference record: 4-4
Offense: 7, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 2
LB Luke Kuechly, P Ryan Quigley, CB Donnie Fletcher, QB Chase Rettig, TB Montel Harris, WR Bobby Swigert, WR Ifeanyi Momah, TE Chris Pantale, DE Max Holloway, DT Kaleb Ramsey
LT Anthony Castonzo, LB Mark Herzlich, DT Damik Scafe, RG Thomas Claiborne, RT Rich Lapham, CB DeLeon Gause
2010 statistical leaders (* returners)
Rushing: Harris* (1,243 yards)
Passing: Rettig* (1,238 yds)
Receiving: Swigert* (504 yds)
Tackles: Kuechly* (183)
Sacks: Holloway* (4)
Interceptions: Fletcher* (5)
1. Starting offensive line has been rebuilt. Mark Spinney returns at center, the projected starting guards are Nathan Richman and Ian White, who started three games as a freshman, and the tackles are Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel. It’s a veteran group of starters, which is important considering the losses of three starters, including Castonzo, who had a league-high 54 starts and is a likely first-round draft pick.
2. The offensive depth and experience has improved. The Eagles return their leading rusher, passer and receiver from a year ago. They enter the fall set at every starting position on offense, and 10 of the 13 receivers who caught a pass last year return. Coach Frank Spaziani said everyone got better this spring, including Rettig, who was forced to play as a true freshman last year.
3. Two spring enrollees could contribute immediately. Four-star cornerback Al Louis-Jean really turned some heads this spring as a backup to Fletcher, and was ranked the No. 9 cornerback in the nation in his recruiting class by ESPN Recruiting. True freshman Mehdi Abdesmad also had a good spring and could see playing time at defensive end behind Holloway.
1. How much better is Rettig in the new system? There’s no doubt that Rettig will be better in his second season as a starter, but how will the sophomore adjust to the new scheme under first-year coordinator Kevin Rogers? Spaziani has said that the offense won’t look dramatically different, but there is new terminology involved and there will be some wrinkles.
2. Will the Eagles develop depth up front? The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen: i.e. no experience. The defensive line will be young, and so will its backups. This summer will be critical for getting the linemen more reps and finding rotations the staff is comfortable with.
3. What is this team’s offensive identity? This spring wasn’t a good indicator of what BC’s offense will look like, as star tailback Montel Harris was held out of the scrimmages for precautionary reasons, and his backup, Andre Williams, was nursing a shoulder injury. The Eagles also hope to get receiver Colin Larmond Jr. back this summer from a knee injury he sustained before last season, and BC will be under the direction of a new offensive coordinator.
Taylor Gentry, NC State
Devon Ramsay, North Carolina
Lars Anderson, Boston College (tight end)
George Bryan, NC State
Andrew Datko, Florida State
Quinton Coples, North Carolina
Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest
Cam Johnson, Virginia
Zach Brown, North Carolina
Sean Spence, Miami
Nigel Bradham, Florida State
Kenny Tate, Maryland (linebacker)
Ryan Quigley, Boston College
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.
Phil Steele's preseason All-ACC team came out and Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt is on the fourth team behind Christian Ponder, Tyrod Taylor and Jacory Harris, in that order. Miami and North Carolina have five players each on the first team. But guess what? Boston College has five, too. So much for the argument that the Eagles play with lesser talent. Virginia Tech -- the team many have ranked the highest from the ACC in the preseason polls -- only has one.
Here are Steele's full first teams for offense and defense, which he was kind enough to email me this morning:
QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
RB Montel Harris, Boston College
WR Donovan Varner, Duke
WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami
WR Greg Little, North Carolina
TE George Bryan, NC State
C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech
OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State
OG Thomas Claiborne, Boston College
OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
OT Orlando Franklin, Miami
DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
DT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
DE Allen Bailey, Miami
LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland
LB Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
CB Brandon Harris, Miami
SS DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
FS Deunta Williams, North Carolina
K Matt Bosher, Miami
P Ryan Quigley, Boston College
KR Torrey Smith, Maryland
PR Greg Reid, Florida State
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Special teams are critical, especially in Blacksburg, and it's one of the Hokies' few weaknesses this year. They're in need of a kicker for the third time in three seasons, but Virginia Tech is hardly the only team in the ACC with big holes to fill. Here's how the ACC's special teams units ranked:
1. Miami -- Matt Bosher has already gotten plenty of ink in the blogosphere, but he's only one reason the Canes are No. 1 here. Bosher converted 18 of 20 field goal attempts and averaged 40.3 yards per punt. It's possible Jake Wieclaw could give Bosher some relief on kickoffs. If Travis Benjamin stays healthy, the return game will be in great shape. Benjamin led the team and the ACC in punt return yardage (173) and was ninth in the ACC in kick return yardage (477). Thearon Collier is also another return threat.
2. NC State -- The combination of kicker Josh Czajkowski and speedy return specialist T.J. Graham make the Wolfpack one of the best in the ACC. If they find a punter this summer, the unit will be complete. In his first season as starter, Czajkowski made 84.2 percent of his field goals (16 of 19), and he made 33 of 34 PATs to finish with 81 points and seventh place in the ACC in scoring. Graham's 1,028 yards in kickoff returns set the school record for a single season and already ranks fifth on the Wolfpack career list. They have to replace punter Bradley Pierson, though. Jeff Ruiz and Carl Ojala are both options.
3. Maryland -- The Terps have to replace kicker Obi Egekeze, but they've still got the ACC's top punter in Travis Baltz. He pinned Maryland opponents inside their own 20-yard line 24 times last year. Wide receiver Torrey Smith had a record-setting season as a kickoff returner, as he set the ACC single-season record for kickoff return yards with 1,089. There are high expectations for Nick Ferrara, who will be a true freshman, to replace Egekeze, but the job is wide open.
4. Virginia Tech -- Not only did the Hokies lose placekicker Dustin Keys, but they also lost punt returner Victor "Macho" Harris. The good news is that punter Brent Bowden returns, as does kickoff man Justin Myer, and snapper Collin Carroll. Matt Waldron and Myer enter summer camp as the favorites for the placekicking and kickoff duties, respectively. Incoming freshman Cody Journell might give them both a run for their money, though. Ryan Williams came out of spring practice as the starting punt returner, but Dyrell Roberts and Danny Coale are also options.
5. Clemson -- The Tigers have to replace veteran starters Mark Buchholz and Jimmy Manners at the two kicking positions. Spencer Benton, a redshirt freshman, is the frontrunner to take over the placekicking duties, but he'll get some competition from Richard Jackson. Dawson Zimmerman, who started two games and punted in three last year, should be the starting punter. Zimmerman averaged 38.5 yards for his 12 punts last season. The return game is in good hands -- C.J. Spiller's. Jacoby Ford is also experienced as a return man, and has a punt return and a kickoff return of more than 90 yards for scores.
6. Georgia Tech -- This is the area where coach Paul Johnson wants to see the most improvement, and with good reason: The Yellow Jackets ranked 11th in the ACC in net punting, 10th in kickoff returns and ninth in punt returns last year. Junior Scott Blair did a respectable job last year, as he was the first Yellow Jacket to handle both kicking and punting duties in 25 years. He'll get some competition, though, at one or both positions from sophomore Chandler Anderson, the holder last season. Anderson, who missed spring practice after a bout with appendicitis, punted six times in '08 for an average of 41.7.
7. Boston College -- Steve Aponavicius returns for his senior year. He went 14-for-21 on field goals last season. Newcomer Nate Freese, who kicked a school-record 52-yard field goal in Ohio, will challenge Aponavicius. Ryan Quigley and Billy Flutie both return to their punting duties. Quigley serves as the main punter and averaged 39.6 yards per kick with nine pinned inside the 20-yard-line. Flutie was used in short situations and pinned opponents inside the 20 seven times. Unheralded veteran long-snapper Jack Geiser also returns.
8. Duke -- The Blue Devils return placekicker Nick Maggio and punter Kevin Jones. Jones punted 71 times last fall and 27 of those kicks pinned Duke's opponents inside their own 20-yard line, the most by any punter. He finished second in the ACC in punting, with 40.8 yards per kick as a sophomore. Maggio made 11 of 14 field goal attempts.
9. North Carolina -- This might be the Tar Heels' biggest concern, as they have to replace punter Terrence Brown, and placekicker Jay Wooten decided to transfer. Connor Barth was UNC's primary field goal kicker in 2008 and Wooten was used as the kickoff man. Reid Phillips is a walk-on who is now in the mix, and walk-on Grant Shallock, who handled the punting duties this spring, is another option. The staff is eager for the arrival of prized recruit C.J. Feagles. Another concern is the return game, which survived without Brandon Tate last year with the help of walk-on Trase Jones. He finished the season with five returns for 36 yards.
10. Florida State -- The Noles took a huge hit here with the graduation of Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano. The good news? FSU returns its long-snapper, Zack Aronson, and holder, Shawn Powell. James Esco and Nathan O'Jibway handled the kicking duties this spring, but neither have attempted a field goal in a game during their careers. There are high hopes for freshman Dustin Hopkins. Powell, who started the first seven games of 2008 as punter, will replace Gano there.
11. Wake Forest -- Veteran Sam Swank only started seven games last year before being injured, and that allowed Shane Popham to get his feet wet. Popham said he's much more confident heading into this season and gained valuable experience last year. He could handle both duties a
gain like he did last year. Popham made 7 of 12 field goal attempts and averaged 39.2 yards on 54 punts, pinning opponents inside the 20 on 19 occasions.
12. Virginia -- After three season as head coach at Kansas State, Ron Prince returns to Charlottesville to coach special teams, and it won't be an easy gig. Senior Yannick Reyering's injury-marred career is over, so sophomore Chris Hinkebein, who handled the kickoff duties for five games while Reyering was slowed with an injury, is expected to contend for some of the placekicking responsibilities. Robert Randolph shared some time with Reyering last year and made 3 of 4 attempts. Junior Danny Aiken is a proven long-snapper, and sophomore Jimmy Howell was one of five true freshmen to see time last year. He averaged 39.0 yards on 64 punts.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Considering how evenly matched the ACC is expected to be yet again, there should be a significant amount of close games -- as in, the kind of games won with a swift kick and good field position, not just a strong arm. The problem is, even the best teams in the league are in search of dependable kickers and punters. Florida State took a huge hit with the graduation of Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano. Miami and NC State seem to have the edge with Matt Bosher and Josh Czajkowski, respectively.
Here's a rundown of who's in good shape and who's not when it comes to the kicking game:
IN GOOD SHAPE
Boston College: Finally, a plus for the Eagles -- kind of. BC returns both placekicker Steve Aponavicius, who has 36 career starts, and Ryan Quigley, who has 14 career starts. The problem has been consistency. Aponavicius, who received an extra year of eligibility, needs to improve upon last year's 14 of 21 field goals made. Challenging him for the job will be newcomer Nate Freese, from Ohio. Quigley serves as the main punter and had a strong freshman season, averaging 39.6 yards a kick and had nine inside the 20-yard line and five over 50 yards. Billy Flutie was used in short situations and pinned opponents inside the 20 seven times.
Duke: The Blue Devils return placekicker Nick Maggio and punter Kevin Jones. Jones punted 71 times last fall and 27 of those kicks pinned Duke's opponents inside their own 20-yard line, the most of any punter. He finished second in the ACC in punting, with 40.8 yards per kick as a sophomore. Maggio made 11 of 14 field goal attempts.
Miami: Matt Bosher is a legitimate candidate to win the Lou Groza Award this fall, and he doubles as kicker and punter. Bosher made 90 percent of his field goal attempts last year, his first season of double duty (18 of 20 attempts). As a punter, he averaged 40.3 yards per kick with 19 punts inside the 20-yard line.
NC State: In his first season as starter, Czajkowski made 84.2 percent of his field goals (16 of 19), and he made 33 of 34 PATs to finish with 81 points and seventh place in the ACC in scoring. They have to replace punter Bradley Pierson, though. Jeff Ruiz and Carl Ojala are both options.
OUT: The Tigers lose placekicker Mark Buchholz, who was 15 of 21 in field goals last year, and punter Jimmy Maners, who ranked fourth in the ACC in putting average (40.5). Buchholz made 15 of 21 field goals last year and was perfect on 40 extra points in leading the team in scoring with 85 points. He established a Clemson record for consecutive extra points with a perfect 88-88 performance over his two years on the team.
IN: Spencer Benton, a redshirt freshman, looks to take over the placekicking duties, but will be pressured by Richard Jackson. Dawson Zimmerman, who started two games and punted in three last year, should be the starting punter. Zimmerman had a 38.5 average for his 12 punts last year.
• Florida State
OUT: Graham Gano. This will be a huge loss, as Gano led the nation in field goals (2.18 per game), and finished fourth in scoring, despite missing two games. He doubled as both kicker and punter.
IN: James Esco and Nathan O'Jibway handled the kicking duties this past spring. Neither has attempted a field goal in a game during their careers. Dustin Hopkins, a highly touted recruit, should add to the competition there this summer. Shawn Powell, who started the first seven games last year as the team's punter, will return to that job.
• Georgia Tech
IN: Scott Blair is back as both the kicker and punter, and he did a solid job last year, but special teams has been an area of concern and point of emphasis for Paul Johnson since he arrived in Atlanta. Blair will get some competition. Chandler Anderson, the holder last year, had appendicitis and missed all of spring. Kevin Crosby will also challenge at punter and Chris Tanner will compete at kicker, along with Andy Elakman.
OUT: Placekicker Obi Egekeze, who had 26 career starts and made 15 of 24 field goals last fall. The Terps can take solace in the fact punter Travis Baltz returns. He pinned Maryland opponents inside their own 20-yard line 24 times last year.
IN: There are high expectations for Nick Ferrara, who will be a true freshman. But while he wasn't on campus yet, Mike Barbour and Nick Wallace were battling it out. The job is wide open.
• North Carolina
OUT: Punter Terrence Brown, who had 25 career starts, has to be replaced. Walk-on Grant Schallock handled the punting duties this spring. The staff is eager for the arrival of prized recruit C.J. Feagles.
IN: Sophomore Casey Barth returns with 10 games of placekicking experience, but it's not a given that he's the guy. Walk-on Reid Phillips is also in the mix, as is Jay Wooten, who was used as the kickoff man last year.
OUT: Yannick Reyering's injury-marred career is over. The former soccer star had a strong leg, but made just 6 of 11 field goal attempts.
IN: Robert Randolph shared some time with Reyering last year and made 3 of 4 attempts. Chris Hinkebein, who handled the kickoff duties for five games while Reyering was slowed with an injury, is also expected to contend for some of the placekicking responsibilities this season. The good news is they return Jimmy Howell at punter, but he only has 12 starts. He was one of five true freshmen to see time last year and averaged 39.0 yards on 64 punts.
• Virginia Tech
OUT: Dustin Keys. For the third time in three seasons, Frank Beamer needs to find a new kicker. Keys finished eighth nationally in field goals per game, and made 23 of 29.
IN: Matt Waldron appears to be the leading candidate to replace Keys, but Justin Myer, Tim Pisano and Chris Hazley are also in the mix. They'll compete with incoming recruit Cody Journell for the job in August. The good news is punter Brent Bowden is back, and he averaged 40.4 yards per kick and had 24 kicks inside the 20-yard line last year. The coaches would like him to be a little more consistent, but he is entering his third season as a starter.
• Wake Forest
OUT: Sam Swank and his 45 career starts. Swank only started seven games last year before being injured, and that allowed Shane Popham to get his feet wet.
IN: Popham. He could handle double duties again like he did last year, and should be more confident after being thrown into the fire in 2008. Popham made 7 of 12 field goal attempts and averaged 39.2 yards on 54 punts, pinning opponents inside the 20 on 19 occasions.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Boston College placekicker Steve Aponavicius has made 1 of 5 field goals in the past two games.
When asked Sunday if he's going to continue the competition at placekicker, coach Jeff Jagodzinski deadpanned: "Don't you think we should?"
Aponavicius has struggled this season, making 8 of 15 field goal attempts, and his past four misses have all been 37 yards or less. The one he made against Notre Dame was a 27-yard attempt.
Ryan Quigley punted and kicked off extremely well against Notre Dame, and has been getting his kickoffs inside the 5-yard line.
"He just hasn't had a lot of work at them," Jagodzinski said, "but there will be a competition this week and whoever does best will go ahead and kick."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Sorry for the delay, but Spanky's on Franklin Street was calling my name for dinner.
Here's what happened throughout the league today, per the latest available report from each team:
- The defense stole the show in the Eagles' second scrimmage, and that's not a surprise. But eight sacks and four interceptions?
- The offense had 64 net rushing yards. Yikes.
- Chris Crane completed 14-of-25 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.
- Junior Rich Gunnell led all receivers with three catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
- Sophomore Billy Bennett connected on field goals of 26 and 38 yards while senior Steve Aponavicius nailed a 29-yarder.
- True freshman Ryan Quigley punted the ball three times for 104 yards (34.3 average) with a long of 36 yards while sophomore Billy Flutie punted once, a 33-yarder.
"The defense brought a whole lot of blitzes today," Crane said. "It's comforting to know this defense will be playing on our side of the ball this fall. It's a benefit to play against them every day."
- Rodney Gallon confirmed today that he is no longer a part of the Seminole football team. He told the FSU sports information office he will be enrolled in school this fall and is excited to complete the final nine hours toward his degree. Football is just not part of his future right now but completing his college degree is a priority.
- Preston Parker was held out of practice due to a cervical sprain. Tony Carter also suffered a cervical sprain and did not finish practice. Freshman Terrance Parks suffered a right knee contusion at the end of the session as well.
- One-on-one was run in the red zone and Corey Surrency caught four TD passes. Three came from E.J. Manuel and one from Drew Weatherford.
- Weatherford also had TD passes to Bert Reed, Avis Commack, Jarmon Fortson, Rod Owens and Chase Walker.
- Manuel not only had the three TDs to Surrency, but he also completed touchdown passes to Owens and Fortson. Christian Ponder, who was working mostly with the inside group, came over and completed a touchdown to Commack.
- In the 11-on-11 drill, Weatherford squeezed a pass between two defenders and it was deflected but Bo Reliford kept his concentration and hauled in the touchdown pass.
- Quarterback Josh Nesbitt didn't practice this afternoon with a shoulder injury and neither did Andrew Gardner, Sr., OT (also a shoulder). Both are day-to-day and neither is in jeopardy of missing the opener. Nesbitt got a "stinger" when a teammate fell on his shoulder.
- Practices will be closed beginning Monday. It was good while it lasted.
- The Yellow Jackets spent two periods this morning working on 3rd-and-5 situations. Back-up safety Troy Garside intercepted a Bryce Dykes passas.
- Senior quarterback Calvin Booker connected with sophomore Demaryius Thomas on a 35-yard touchdown completion.
- The Terps worked on clock management and ended with two-minute drills.
- There is still a battle at strongside linebacker where incumbent Moise Fokou is trying to hold off Adrian Moten for the starting nod. Regardless of who starts, both are likely to play extensively, including on special teams.
- During the full-team drill, wide receivers LaQuan Williams and Torrey Smith caught touchdown passes.
"We came out today and they were tired and sore," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "This was a character practice. We had a pretty good practice. I had to push them, but that's my job. I told them I'm going to get every ounce of energy and every ounce of talent out of them."
- The Hurricanes continued to stress special teams, and the defense focused on run blitzing drills with specific emphasis on red zone and run formations.
- After five practices in the past three days, coach Randy Shannon is giving his guys Thursday off.
- They'll scrimmage on Friday.
"The other day I didn't like the way we were practicing, but we came out this morning and this afternoon and finished up strong," Shannon said. "We had a lot of enthusiasm and we made a lot of plays on both sides of the football so we're excited about that. It was a big improvement from the other day."
- The Demon Deacons had their second two-a-day practice in preparation for tomorrow's scrimmage, which I will attend.
- In the first practice, during 7-on-7 drills, quarterback Riley Skinner hit running back Josh Adams on a long pass down the left sideline on the first play of the drill.
- Cornerbacks Chip Vaughn and Brandon Ghee each made a couple of nice pass breakups.
"I would like to see some improvement from the younger classes," said coach Jim Grobe. "We have older guys that are doing pretty much what we thought they would be doing at this point -- having good camps and making minimal mistakes. I think the key to a season is to have the younger guys step up. No matter how good your upperclassmen are, you are going to have to play young guys at some point, whether you are comfortable or not. So I would like to come back to the office after the scrimmage tomorrow and feel like our young guys made pretty good strides."
12:30 PM ET South Carolina State 23 Clemson 3:30 PM ET Richmond Virginia 4:00 PM ET Georgia Tech Tulane 6:00 PM ET Old Dominion North Carolina State 6:30 PM ET Gardner-Webb Wake Forest 7:00 PM ET Murray State 25 Louisville 7:00 PM ET Florida A&M Miami (FL) 7:00 PM ET Duke Troy 7:30 PM ET Citadel 1 Florida State 8:00 PM ET San Diego State 21 North Carolina 8:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 8 Ohio State