ACC: Shawn Petty

Did you know? ACC bowl games

December, 26, 2013
Thanks to ESPN Stats & Info, the ACC office and sports information departments for these tidbits.
  • This marks the first time in the ACC's 61-year history that three ACC teams have ended the regular season with at least 10 wins (Florida State, Duke and Clemson).
  • Throughout the year, the ACC has had three different top-10 teams (Three teams in the top 10 for three weeks, two teams in the top 10 for all but two weeks.)
  • ACC student-athletes have combined to win as many national individual awards as the other Power 5 conferences combined.
  • The ACC is the first conference in history to sweep the Heisman, Doak Walker, Davey O’Brien, Outland, Lombardi, Bednarik, and Nagurski awards in the same year.
  • As of Dec. 18, the ACC ranked second nationally with a total of 97 selections to postseason All-America teams (Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, Walter Camp, Sporting News, USA Today, ESPN, CBS and Sports Illustrated.) The ACC’s 57 total first-team selections were also the second-most of any conference.
  • For the first time, the ACC boasted two of the top five vote recipients for the Heisman Trophy in Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Boston College running back Andre Williams. They were also among the five finalists for the Walter Camp Foundation National Player of the Year, with Winston receiving that honor.
  • Duke will try to do something it hasn’t done in 53 years: Win a bowl game. The Blue Devils haven’t won a bowl since the Cotton Bowl following the 1960 season. They’ll battle Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A bowl on Dec. 31 (8 ET, ESPN). It could be the final collegiate game for Johnny Manziel. The Aggies haven’t beaten a ranked team this season (0-4).
  • The AdvoCare V100 Bowl (Dec. 31, 12:30 ET on ESPN), features two of the best running backs in the nation in Boston College’s Williams and Arizona’s Ka'Deem Carey. Williams finished fourth in the Heisman voting, while Carey finished 10th. One big difference is the load each player has been forced to carry. Williams has accounted for 80 percent of the Eagles rushing yards this season, while Carey has some help in the running game and has only accounted for 54 percent of Arizona’s rushing total.
  • Pitt is appearing in a bowl for the sixth straight season, but this will be its first bowl game not named the BBVA Compass Bowl since 2009. The Panthers have won just two of their last seven bowl appearances. Bowling Green has lost its last three bowl appearances with its last win coming in the 2004 GMAC Bowl.
  • One of the keys to Maryland’s improvement this season has been health at the quarterback position. Last season four players took snaps at quarterback, including four starts by Shawn Petty, who started the season as a linebacker. C.J. Brown, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, has thrown for over 2,000 yards and accounted for 23 touchdowns this season.
  • Syracuse’s Terrel Hunt finished the regular season with 426 rushing yards, fourth among ACC quarterbacks in 2013. According to the school's game notes, it's already the most by an Orange QB since Donovan McNabb in 1998 (510).
  • North Carolina’s redshirt-sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams, who grew up in Charlotte, leads a very young Tar Heel offense. 42 of their 50 touchdowns this season have come from freshmen or sophomores, including the last 26.
  • Miami receiver Allen Hurns needs just 19 more receiving yards to set the school single-season record. Hurns already is one of just four players in school history with a 1,000-yard receiving season. Hurns hasn’t found the end zone as frequently as one might expect, though. Only two ACC players have more receiving yards than Hurns this season, but nine players have more touchdown catches than Hurns’ six.
  • The last time Georgia Tech and Ole Miss met in football was exactly 42 years ago: the Dec. 30, 1971 Peach Bowl. Ole Miss won that game, 41-18, its only win in three all-time meetings vs Georgia Tech. A bit of a surprise that this is just the fourth meeting all-time, considering that both were conference opponents when Georgia Tech was in the SEC from 1933-63.
  • Virginia Tech is making its 21st straight bowl appearance, the longest active streak recognized by the NCAA (Florida State is making its 32nd straight bowl appearance this season but vacated the 2006 Emerald Bowl). Rivals Georgia and Georgia Tech are tied for the second-longest active streak with 17 straight appearances. The Hokies need a win to avoid posting consecutive five-loss seasons for the first time since 1990-92 (three straight). To put that streak into perspective, all other current members of the ACC have notched consecutive five-loss seasons since the Hokies joined the league in 2004.
  • Florida State can become only the third team since 1950 to win all of its games by at least 14 points. The last to do it was Utah in 2004. The other was national champion Nebraska in 1995. FSU’s Winston can become just the third QB since 1950 to go undefeated with a national championship and a Heisman Trophy all in the same season. The two to do it were Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010 and USC’s Matt Leinart in 2004.

What we learned in the ACC: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
With a bunch of big games for the conference, there figured to be some major implications from Week 1. Here's what we learned:

[+] EnlargeTajh Boyd
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesTajh Boyd accounted for five touchdowns against Georgia in a statement win for Clemson.
Clemson is a legitimate national title contender. This game shouldn't have been a referendum on the Tigers' legitimacy, but the win nevertheless cements them as real contenders to win it all. The game lived up to its advanced billing, and both teams had their runs. In the end, Clemson proved it was just a little better, and that's due in large part to senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, who was exceptional. He accounted for five TDs, while Georgia's Aaron Murray once again struggled against a highly ranked opponent. There's still a lot of football to be played, but for now, Boyd is in line for a Heisman, and Clemson has a clear path to a championship.

The ACC's profile still hasn't changed much. This weekend was supposed to tell us a lot about the ACC, but after five games against teams from other AQ conferences, there's still plenty of room for debate. Yes, Clemson is in the national championship hunt, but that's not a huge surprise. Virginia was on the ropes against BYU, but a late turnover and lateral helped the Cavs eke out a win. Virginia Tech lost handily, but the Hokies did manage to expose some weaknesses in Alabama. And OK, Syracuse and North Carolina didn't do a lot to change hearts and minds. In the end, Clemson offered the big win, Virginia helped the cause, and at the end of the day, there probably weren't a lot of fans who changed their minds about the ACC one way or the other.

The Hokies' D is good. The offense and special teams need some work. The scoreboard showed a blowout, 35-10, but Virginia Tech actually outgained Alabama 212 yards to 206. So how'd things get so ugly? Alabama racked up two long touchdowns on special teams and returned an interception -- thrown by Logan Thomas -- 77 yards for a score. The special-teams breakdowns are galling for a program once known for success in that area, but Thomas' struggles might be an even bigger concern. The senior was a woeful 5-of-26 passing for 59 yards.

Maryland is better with its No. 1 QB than its No. 5 QB. No offense to Shawn Petty, who did a serviceable job in emergency duty down the stretch last year, but Randy Edsall has to be doing cartwheels that he has C.J. Brown back and healthy. After Brown missed all of the 2012 season, he returned to action Saturday and demolished FIU. Brown was 20-of-23 passing for 281 yards and rushed 11 times for 105 yards, and he tallied five touchdowns in the first half alone. It had been a decade since any Maryland quarterback accounted for five touchdowns in the same game. For the game, Maryland racked up 576 yards of total offense.

Some new QBs had a rough Saturday. NC State certainly looked like it had an answer at quarterback as Brandon Mitchell started strong, but a foot injury in the first quarter now means he'll miss the next 4-6 weeks. Meanwhile, Syracuse didn't get the emphatic performance it wanted from new quarterback Drew Allen, who completed just 16 of 37 passes for 189 yards and two interceptions. Virginia got slightly better results from its new quarterback, but David Watford still wasn't overly impressive, completing just 50 percent of his passes for 118 yards, a TD and an INT. The weather in Charlottesville did Watford no favors, but the Cavaliers certainly will expect more moving forward. Of course, the whole group can take solace that they were better than Virginia Tech's Thomas.

NC State wins game, loses QB

August, 31, 2013
It was a busy -- and relatively easy -- early afternoon for three ACC teams jockeying for position in the crowded middle ground of the conference. All three games ended in blowouts, but for NC State and new head coach Dave Doeren, the day wasn't without its setbacks.

NC State 40, Louisiana Tech 14

The good news is, Doeren and the Wolfpack got win No. 1. The bad news is they also lost their starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Brandon Mitchell suffered a broken foot that will require surgery early in the game and could miss up to six weeks, according to reports. The Arkansas transfer, who won an offseason QB competition to replace Mike Glennon, was 3-for-3 for 93 yards and ran for another 19, leading NC State to scores on each of his first two drives. But on a failed run on third-and-1 on the Wolfpack's third drive, Mitchell went down with the foot injury and didn't return.

Pete Thomas replaced Mitchell, but didn't look quite as sharp. The junior completed 15 of 27 passes for 212 yards and an interception, but the ground game picked up the slack as Matt Dayes rushed for 84 yards and three touchdowns.

NC State's defense forced four Louisiana Tech fumbles, which contributed to the Wolfpack more than doubling Louisiana Tech's time of possession. Kicker Niklas Sade connected on four field goals.

Maryland 43, Florida International 10

It was a long wait for C.J. Brown to finally get on the field again after missing all of 2012 with a knee injury. Against a thoroughly overmatched FIU team, Brown quickly made up for lost time.

The Terps' quarterback scored five times in the first half -- three passing TDs, two rushing -- to lead the charge. It was the most touchdowns by a Terps quarterback in a game since 2003.

Brown didn't stick around long in the second half, and finished the day 20 of 23 passing for 281 yards and three TDs, adding another 11 rushes for 109 yards and two scores. His 66-yard TD throw to Stefon Diggs was the first in what the Terps hope will be a lethal combination in 2013. Diggs finished the game with five catches for 98 yards. Wideout Deon Long added eight catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Brown's stellar debut couldn't be better news for Maryland, which used five different quarterbacks during a remarkable run of injuries in 2012. Brown's five touchdowns in the first half were just one shy of what linebacker-turned-QB Shawn Petty mustered in Maryland's final four full games of 2012.

Georgia Tech 70, Elon 0

Paul Johnson couldn't have expected his team to have much trouble with Elon, but Georgia Tech nevertheless managed to impress.

Sure, the competition was light, but the Yellow Jackets thoroughly dominated. Tech entered the fourth quarter with a 63-0 lead -- the largest in program history. By tacking on a fourth-quarter touchdown, the Jackets set a new ACC record for largest margin of victory in a game, topping Florida State's 69-0 win over Western Carolina in 2008.

It was a matter of shared wealth in the drubbing, with nine different Yellow Jackets finding the end zone. Still, it was a strong start for first-year starting quarterback Vad Lee, who completed 7 of 11 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns and ran six times for an additional 49 yards and a score.

Linebacker Tyler Marcordes' 95-yard interception return for a score was one of two Georgia Tech had in the game.

ACC QB battles in final rounds

August, 27, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher said the decision was agonizing, but the truth is, the Florida State coach had it easy.

Fisher may have debated the merits of both of his quarterback prospects for months before finally tabbing redshirt freshman Jameis Winston over sophomore Jacob Coker as FSU's starter, but any ambivalence was a result of the Seminoles having two strong options. Fisher couldn't go wrong.

"You’re splitting hairs when you really get down to it," Fisher said. "That’s not coach talk or anything else. That’s the truth. That was a great competition."

If Fisher reveled in the quarterback drama, however, he wasn't alone. More than half the ACC's coaches are getting used to life with a first-year starter at QB, and not everyone has enjoyed the same luxury as Florida State when it comes to picking a winner.

While the preseason favorites -- Clemson and Miami -- share the common thread of stable quarterbacking situations, there's no shortage of question marks across the ACC. Look no further than NC State and Syracuse. Both schools are looking to replace immensely successful quarterbacks, and neither has officially tabbed a starter for the season opener yet.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Mitchell
Nelson Chenault/US PresswireIs Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell the answer for NC State at QB? We won't know until game day.
This spring, NC State coach Dave Doeren wasn't entirely satisfied with his options, so when fifth-year senior Brandon Mitchell transferred from Arkansas, the Wolfpack's quarterback carousel took get another turn. Mitchell is a versatile athlete who probably fits Doeren's offense better than Pete Thomas, but that doesn't mean it's an open-and-shut case. Doeren said he's not planning to announce a starter until game day.

At Syracuse, new coach Scott Shafer is planning to let the drama simmer a bit longer, too. Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt have been battling for the starter's job throughout camp as the Orange look to replace Ryan Nassib, and Shafer won't announce a decision until Saturday when Syracuse takes on Penn State.

Life is a bit simpler at Pittsburgh, where Tom Savage officially won the job last week. He'll get an up-close look at Winston when the Panthers host Florida State on Labor Day, making the job of preparing a bit more challenging on both sides.

“You know there’s some stuff you won’t be prepared for, but you try to do the best you can,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “As a coach you try to prepare for the unknown — but how do you do that? I don’t know.”

At Duke and Georgia Tech, there isn't nearly so much mystery. Yes, Sean Renfree and Tevin Washington are gone, but their replacements have already offered extended sneak peeks.

The Blue Devils turn their offense over to Anthony Boone, who appeared in 12 games last season and made one start against Virginia when Renfree was sidelined. Replacing Renfree's big numbers from 2012 won't be an easy task, but the athletic Boone figures to slide into the new role with ease. The same is true for Vad Lee at Georgia Tech. Washington was a key contributor in 2012, rushing for an ACC-best 20 touchdowns, but Lee may be an even better fit in Paul Johnson's triple-option offense. The sophomore appeared in 12 games last season, racking up over 100 yards on the ground against both Presbyterian and North Carolina.

Virginia is excited about its quarterbacking situation, too, which comes as something of a surprise after months of drama. Last season saw a two-man QB battle play out throughout the year, with both Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims getting turns as the starter, and when the season ended, both left the program. But this summer, sophomore David Watford emerged as the clear favorite, and coach Mike London made it official just two weeks into fall camp.

And if Virginia is happy to have a stable starter for the first time in a long time, Maryland is downright elated just to have a cache of healthy bodies. The Terps' 2012 campaign was sunk by a rash of injuries to its quarterbacks, with four different players lost for the year. Eventually, coach Randy Edsall was forced to turn to linebacker Shawn Petty as his only remaining option.

Things are looking much better for Maryland now, where C.J. Brown is finally healthy. Brown tore his ACL during fall camp last year, but the injury is completely healed and the athletic senior is eager to get back to work.

Of course, the Terps' trials and tribulations last season offer an easy reminder that even the most settled quarterback situations can unravel quickly. That's a big reason why Fisher was so pleased to see FSU's QB battle remain so close throughout fall camp.

“No matter what you say, you’ve got to have two guys ready to play,” Fisher said. “And I think both guys have shown they can go in and play.”
You’ve heard the saying that time heals all wounds?

Well, in Maryland’s case, time healed all quarterbacks.

One year after an unfathomable rash of injuries to four quarterbacks devastated Maryland’s starting lineup, the Terps are finally strong again – not to mention deep – at the position. Starter C.J. Brown, who missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in August, is once again at the top of the depth chart. It’s not just his name, though, that should have Maryland fans excited.

Perry Hills, who also tore his ACL last year, is back.

Caleb Rowe, who tore his ACL, is back.

It’s quite a turnaround from last fall, when the Terps were down to their fifth-string quarterback – scout team linebacker Shawn Petty. Now, Hills is able to run and will be cleared by August. Rowe has been cleared to participate in 7-on-7 drills. Most important, Brown has been cleared for everything.

“All of those guys will be healthy,” coach Randy Edsall said. “It will be great competition. It will be good to have all of them out there, and when you bring Shane [Cockerille] into the mix, it will be more than adequate at that position.”

Brown was involved in practices and 7-on-7 drills this spring, but he wasn’t allowed to have any contact. He has been granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA and so still has two years left to play. He entered last fall as the projected starter, but this will be his first full season as a starter. In 2011, Brown pushed former quarterback Danny O’Brien for the starting job and started five games. He led the team with five rushing touchdowns that year and finished second in rushing yards. Once he was injured last summer, many immediately wrote the Terps off, but Maryland surprised the ACC with a gritty and relentless effort into November.

Now, with Brown back and the core of the group returning, the Terps are already better off than when they finished 2012.

Edsall said he has no concerns about Brown’s status heading into the fall, despite the fact it has been so long since he has taken a meaningful snap.

“You could see the progression and the progress he was making throughout the spring in those drills,” Edsall said. “I was very pleased. You could see the confidence he was gaining each time he was out there, and now that we’re involved into doing conditioning and lifting with our eight hours per week, he’s doing well. There’s not going to be any limitation, there’s not going to be any hesitation I know on his part. I’m not concerned about him. He has really worked extremely hard to put himself in the best possible position to be as healthy and as sound as he can be, so no, there’s no hesitation on my part. I don’t believe we’ll see any hesitation on CJ’s part, either.”
The Terps have released their summer depth chart, and there weren't many changes or surprises from how it looked in the spring.

Quarterback C.J. Brown, who was very limited this spring while he recovered from a torn ACL, is listed as the starter once again heading into summer camp. That should be refreshing news to Maryland fans, but sad news to Shawn Petty fans. Petty took over as the fifth-string starting quarterback last year, but he has since been relegated back to irrelevance as the team's third-string inside linebacker. Ouch. The good news is that Maryland's quarterbacks will be much, much healthier come August, as both Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe -- who also suffered torn ACLs last year -- are scheduled to be cleared in time for practice.

Maryland's running backs were a definite highlight for the Terps this spring, so much so that it's still unclear who the starter will be for the season opener. Brandon Ross, Albert Reid and Wes Brown will all compete for the starting job. Sal Conaboy will enter as the starting center.

2012 report cards: Maryland

January, 24, 2013
Let's move on to Maryland.

OFFENSE: Woe is Maryland, right? The truth is, the Terps really had no chance to get any consistency going on offense because of all the quarterback injuries. It was bad enough losing projected starter C.J. Brown in the preseason. But then to see Perry Hills get hurt, and then Devin Burns, and then Caleb Rowe, well, some strange voodoo was going on in College Park. Three of those players, by the way, tore their ACLs, leaving coach Randy Edsall in a position to defend his strength and conditioning staff when questions were raised about why there was a rash of that specific injury to his quarterbacks. The Terps ended the season with converted linebacker Shawn Petty playing quarterback for the final four games, all losses. Given all the turmoil, you understand why Maryland ranked last in total offense, No. 107 in scoring offense, No. 112 in rushing offense, and No. 100 in passing offense. The lone bright spot was the emergence of Stefon Diggs, one of the more dynamic freshmen in the country. But even he is not enough to keep Maryland from getting a failing grade, even if it comes with extenuating circumstances. OFFENSE: F.

DEFENSE: The Terps were much improved on defense in 2012, turning a group that was the worst in the ACC in 2011 into one of the best in 2012. Maryland finished the season ranked No. 3 in the ACC in total defense, allowing 121 yards fewer than a year ago. Joe Vellano anchored the inside, and won All-ACC honors as expected. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield also had an excellent season, but it ended up being cut short because of -- you guessed it, a torn ACL. He still made it on the coaches' All-ACC second team after averaging 8.7 tackles per game. Still, Maryland was much stronger in the first half of the season than it was in the second. The final four games were the toughest in the league, against teams with winning records. Given the offense's malaise, more and more pressure was placed on the defense until it broke. The strides, though, cannot be overlooked. GRADE: B-minus.

OVERALL: Maryland got off to a 4-2 start, one of the more pleasant surprises in the ACC to that point. But it was all a mirage. None of those wins came against FBS opponents with winning records, and the injury situation at quarterback completely did this team in. So did the brutal end-of-the season schedule against Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina with no break in between. Maryland doubled its win total from a year ago, but it did end the season on a six-game losing streak and suffer its third losing season in four years (including two straight). Not a winning grade in this book. GRADE: D.

More grades
Brace yourselves.

This is not the ACC power rankings you are used to. It is bigger. Let’s hope it’s not badder. The first version of the 2013 ACC power rankings reflects the addition of Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange. There are 14 teams here (and Boston College is still last). Welcome to the league, Pitt and Cuse.

There are still plenty of questions for several teams that have players still undecided about their NFL careers, but this is your first take on a ranking likely to change many times between now and the opening kickoff. Lots can happen (and does) during signing day, spring ball and summer camp, but here is how Andrea Adelson and I think the ACC will shape up this fall based on what we know now:

1. Clemson -- With quarterback Tajh Boyd and offensive coordinator Chad Morris working together again, the Tigers would have the best coordinator/quarterback combo returning in the ACC. The defense should take another step forward in the second season under coordinator Brent Venables, and the Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over LSU was a monumental springboard for the program heading into the offseason.

2. Florida State -- The Seminoles will be going through a transition, as coach Jimbo Fisher has to replace at least five assistants on his staff, as well as starting quarterback EJ Manuel. With several players, including defensive end Bjoern Werner, leaving early for the NFL draft, the Noles will have to reload.

3. Miami -- The Hurricanes hoped their self-imposed bowl ban was a preemptive strike against NCAA sanctions. With quarterback Stephen Morris returning, along with ACC Rookie of the Year Duke Johnson and what could be one of the best offensive lines in the ACC, expectations should be much higher for the Canes in Year 3 under Al Golden.

4. Georgia Tech -- The Yellow Jackets will have some momentum and confidence to build on after their bowl win over USC, but more importantly, they’ve got an experienced, talented roster to work with. Georgia Tech will have eight starters back on a defense that made measurable progress in the second half of the season.

5. UNC -- Coach Larry Fedora is going to have to work some magic in trying to replace leading rusher/returner Giovani Bernard, who left early for the NFL, and his lead blocker, Jonathan Cooper. Quarterback Bryn Renner will be a senior, though, and the Tar Heels have other talented running backs waiting in the wings.

6. Pitt -- The moment every Pitt fan has been waiting for -- Tino Sunseri will no longer be the starting quarterback in 2013. Does that mean the position gets an automatic upgrade? Promising running back Rushel Shell returns, and Pitt's defense should be much better, but questions remain on the offensive line.

7. Virginia Tech -- The school has yet to announce any staff changes, quarterback Logan Thomas has yet to announce whether or not he is returning for his senior season, and the Hokies open the schedule against national champion Alabama. Doesn’t look good.

8. Syracuse -- Major questions surround the Orange now that coach Doug Marrone has left for the Buffalo Bills. This is a team that already had to replace starting quarterback Ryan Nassib, all-Big East tackle Justin Pugh, record-setting receiver Alec Lemon and leading tackler Shamarko Thomas. But Syracuse does have 1,000-yard rusher Jerome Smith returning, along with linebackers Marquis Spruill and Dyshawn Davis. Many questions must be answered before 2013 begins.

9. Maryland -- It can only get better, right? Maryland was down to its fifth-string quarterback last year, linebacker Shawn Petty. Starter C.J. Brown should be ready to return to the starting lineup this summer and healed from a torn ACL. The defense has some big shoes to fill, but the Terps should have enough experience to be bowl bound in their final season in the ACC.

10. Wake Forest -- The Deacs were thrown off track last season by injuries and suspensions and should be a better team this year. Quarterback Tanner Price returns for his senior season, along with receiver Michael Campanaro, who should be one of the best in the ACC if he can stay healthy.

11. Duke -- The Blue Devils have to replace quarterback Sean Renfree and his top target, ACC record-setting receiver, Conner Vernon. Duke went to its first bowl game since 1994, but the program still has something to prove after losing its last five games of the season. The Coastal Division should collectively be stronger this year.

12. Virginia -- Phillip Sims will take over at quarterback after the transfer of Michael Rocco, but how much time will David Watford see under center? The hires of Tom O’Brien and Jon Tenuta were smart moves, but the staff will have to find a way to extract more out of many of the same players who struggled last year.

13. NC State -- Quarterback Mike Glennon is out, and first-year coach Dave Doeren is in. The Wolfpack will have an entirely different look this fall, and some bumps in the road should be expected as the program begins a new era under Doeren.

14. Boston College -- The Eagles have lots of work to do under first-year coach Steve Addazio. It all starts with recruiting, but the staff is also going to have to find a way to improve the running game and get the defense back to its stingy ways.

Back to bowl: Maryland

December, 21, 2012
Maryland almost became bowl eligible in 2012 with its fifth-string quarterback.

There’s no question the Terps should be bowling again in 2013 with their No. 1 quarterback in the lineup.

Quarterback C.J. Brown, the projected starter heading into this past season before he tore his ACL, should be healthy and ready to go by summer camp. When Brown was injured last summer, many counted the Terps out immediately, but they were a relentless bunch determined to prove doubters wrong. After a win at Virginia, the Terps were 4-2 and a bowl game seemed like a realistic possibility.

Four injured quarterbacks later, Maryland still refused to quit. The Terps should have won at Boston College on Oct. 27, a game they lost 20-17. With a first-string quarterback, they likely would have beaten North Carolina in the regular season finale. Instead they squandered a 14-point third-quarter lead and lost, 45-38. Considering Maryland was 10 points away from the six-win mark with backup linebacker Shawn Petty throwing passes, Maryland fans should expect the team to reach the postseason with Brown leading the offense.

The non-conference schedule is conducive to a promising start, as the Terps should go 3-1 with wins over FIU, Old Dominion and Randy Edsall’s former team, Connecticut.

Maryland’s receiving corps should be a strength, as the team’s top offensive playmaker, Stefon Diggs, returns, and junior college transfer Deon Long should make an immediate contribution. Long will enroll at Maryland in the spring after spending the past two seasons at New Mexico. As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Long tied for the team lead with 47 receptions and led the Lobos with 809 receiving yards and four touchdown catches.

The two biggest questions facing Maryland this offseason will be how good the offensive line can be, and how the Terps plan to replace six starters on defense, including the charismatic A.J. Francis, and all-conference defensive tackle Joe Vellano.

Barring another catastrophic quarterback situation, though, Edsall’s third season should be his best.

2012 top Atlantic Division assistants

December, 17, 2012
The head coaches get all the money and all the ink. Not today. Today Andrea Adelson and I are recognizing one assistant coach from each staff in the ACC for a job well done this year. The Atlantic Division is up first:

BOSTON COLLEGE – Wide receivers coach Aaron Smith. In his first season with the program, Smith helped junior Alex Amidon develop into one of the ACC’s best. Amidon’s 1,210 yards receiving at the end of the regular season ranked second in the ACC, just four yards behind DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson. The entire group, including Johnathan Coleman, Bobby Swigert and Spiffy Evans, had one of its more productive seasons.

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Chad Morris. There’s a reason he was on the short list for many head coaching jobs this offseason. Clemson enters the Chick-fil-A Bowl ranked sixth in the nation in scoring (42.33), ninth in total offense (518.3) and 13th in passing (319.6) -- all record numbers for the program. Clemson has scored at least 37 points in 10 of the 12 games this year, and quarterback Tajh Boyd showed measurable improvement and mobility in his second season as a starter.

FLORIDA STATE – Defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot. There’s no question he will be missed on FSU’s staff, as Eliot was hired as Mark Stoops’ defensive coordinator at Kentucky. FSU’s defensive line didn’t miss a beat despite season-ending injuries to two of the group’s top players, Brandon Jenkins and Tank Carradine. Bjoern Werner has 13 sacks this season, leading the ACC and ranking second nationally in total sacks. Carradine went from backup to first-team All-ACC. He has 11 sacks this season, second in the ACC and 14th nationally.

MARYLAND – Mike Locksley, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks: No quarterbacks coach in the country had to deal with what Locksley did this year, as the Terps were down to their fifth-string quarterback -- a freshman linebacker in Shawn Petty. After injuries to every scholarship quarterback on the roster, Maryland still never quit and somehow managed to score 38 points on the road against North Carolina. Many wrote off Maryland before the season even began, when C.J. Brown tore his ACL. But the Terps hung in until the very end thanks to great coaching by Locksley.

NC STATE – Offensive coordinator Dana Bible. He was named interim coach for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, and has been a rock on the sideline for the often inconsistent Pack. He has been integral in the development of quarterback Mike Glennon, who finished first in the ACC in passing yards per game (304) and second in total offense (292 yards per game). Despite numerous injuries and shuffling on the offensive line, NC State’s passing game was always a threat.

WAKE FOREST – OLB coach Derrick Jackson. Not only was he instrumental in the development of the linebackers, he was also a key recruiter for the Deacs this year. Linebacker Justin Jackson, who led the team with 80 tackles, including 8.5 for loss and four sacks, also had two pass breakups, one blocked kick and a forced fumble, and was the star of the group. Zachary Allen, Kevis Jones and Steve Donatell also showed significant progress this year under Jackson.

Greetings from College Park

November, 17, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- This is just a formality, right?

That's certainly what it feels like here as No. 10 Florida State is playing to clinch a share of the Atlantic Division and earn a trip to the Dec. 1 Dr Pepper ACC title game in Charlotte. Maryland is undermanned and overmatched. It's the nation's No. 1 total defense against the nation's No. 120 (dead last) total offense. There are three things the Terps have going for them here today, though:

1. Stefon Diggs should play: Maryland's top offensive playmaker is expected to return to the lineup today after missing last week's game against Clemson with an ankle injury. Diggs will help keep Florida State's defense honest, as there's no way the Seminoles can leave him unaccounted for without paying for it in some form. It should help keep some pressure off fifth-string quarterback Shawn Petty. Sort of. Kind of.

2. It's Senior Day: This group hasn't quit under coach Randy Edsall, despite injury after injury and setback after setback. Maryland's seniors have been through the firing of Ralph Friedgen, the hire of Edsall, a 2-10 season, and now one of the most absurdly injury-filled seasons in school history. Maryland's 4-6 record is not for a lack of effort. Florida State, on the other hand, hasn't played its best on the road. Will the Noles be going through the motions, or playing to win?

3. Defense: It's been the one bright spot for the Terps this season, and on Senior Day, expect the best from senior defensive linemen Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, two of the anchors in the program. Those two have played a huge role in holding opponents to just 3.07 yards per rush, which is tied for 10th nationally. Maryland's 6.9 tackles for loss per game is No. 24 in the FBS, and the 2.5 sacks per game are tied for 27th.

Here's the thing, though: This game isn't going to come down to any of those. Those are more just a consolation to Maryland fans and to remind Florida State fans that the game still has to be played. This game will come down to Florida State's pass rush. It's that simple. Maryland has to keep Petty from spending four quarters on his back. Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine are mansters.

Maryland's quarterbacks have had it tough, but the Terps' offensive line will have its toughest job of the season today in making sure it doesn't get even worse.

Week 12 injury reports

November, 16, 2012
Here are the ACC injury reports for Week 12 from the schools that emailed them:


Out for the season

Out for the season

Out for the season

Out for the season

Surgery/Out for the season:

Out for season
Out for game

Wrapping up the ACC's afternoon games

November, 10, 2012

The ACC Coastal Division is a mess, but it won the entertainment award for today's games. The Atlantic Division didn't quite deliver any must-see TV today. Here's a quick recap of the lopsided wins this afternoon:


NC State finally became bowl eligible -- the only ACC team to join that club this week -- with its win over Wake Forest. The Wolfpack looked like a different team from the one that showed up (or rather, didn't) last week against Virginia. The Pack came to play, and the defense gave Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price fits all game. He was sacked five times, and was constantly throwing under pressure. It was a much better effort in all three phases of the game from NC State. Wake Forest was held to just 16 yards rushing, and was 2-of-17 on third downs. It was an important bounce-back win for NC State, which can still finish the season on a positive note. With a win over the Deacs, Tom O'Brien took another important step in solidifying his job security. An upset at Clemson next week would likely leave no doubt he'd return, but NC State should still have some momentum heading into the postseason as the Pack closes out with BC. Wake Forest is still one win away from bowl eligibility, but with No. 4 Notre Dame up next, odds are the Deacs will be staring down a must-win situation in the regular-season finale against Vanderbilt.


The Terps were overmatched long before this game even started. They were playing without their leading rusher (Wild Crab Wes Brown), their leading receiver (Stefon Diggs), their leading tackler (LB Demetrius Hartsfield), and they were playing with their fifth-string quarterback, Shawn Petty. Not a good start against a Clemson team ranked No. 7 in the country in scoring offense. Clemson set a school record with 12 straight home wins. The Terps have now lost four straight and need to win their final two regular-season games against No. 10 Florida State and at North Carolina. If the Terps had just 180 total yards against Clemson, they're going to need hope and a prayer next week against the Seminoles' defense. Both Clemson and Maryland had three turnovers each. One thing to keep an eye on from this game -- Clemson standout Sammy Watkins left the game in the second quarter with a lower leg injury.
There was more bad news for Maryland on its weekly injury report Thursday.

Freshman stud Stefon Diggs (ankle) is out Saturday against Clemson.

But wait, there's more.

So is starting running back Wes Brown (ankle).

Tally up all the injuries, and the Terps have to face No. 13 Clemson without their leading receiver/all-purpose player in Diggs; leading rusher in Brown; leading tackler in Demetrius Hartsfield AND their top three quarterbacks in Perry Hills, Devin Burns and Caleb Rowe. If anybody has any idea how the Terps are going to keep up with the No. 9 offense in the nation, all suggestions are welcomed.

Seriously, I am not sure I have seen a team with this much bad luck on the injury front.

The injuries to Diggs and Brown are just brutal, when you consider they are integral to helping linebacker-turned-quarterback Shawn Petty. Diggs is currently averaging 174.9 all-purpose yards per game to rank second in the ACC and seventh nationally. If it stands until the end of the year, it would be the best ever by an ACC freshman. Don't forget, Maryland already has lost second-leading receiver Marcus Leak to a season-ending toe injury.

Brown had been featured in the new direct snap "Wild Crab" formation the Terps used last week against Georgia Tech. Without him, Brandon Ross will most likely get the nod as the starter, with Justus Pickett right behind him.

Here is the Terps' full injury report:

  • WR Kerry Boykins Hip
  • QB C.J. Brown Knee
  • QB Devin Burns Foot
  • PK/P Nick Ferrara Hip
  • LB Demetrius Hartsfield Knee
  • QB Perry Hills Knee
  • WR Marcus Leak Toe
  • DL Andre Monroe Knee
  • QB Caleb Rowe Knee
  • RB Wes Brown Ankle
  • WR Tyrek Cheeseboro Concussion
  • WR Stefon Diggs Ankle
  • DL Joe Vellano Ankle
  • DL Justin Anderson Ankle
  • DB Undray Clark Thigh
  • WR Kevin Dorsey Knee
  • LB Cole Farrand Wrist
  • DL A.J. Francis Shoulder
  • OL Bennett Fulper Toe
  • OL Justin Gilbert Knee
  • OL Nick Klemm Knee
  • QB Shawn Petty Shoulder
  • DB Matt Robinson Hip
  • TE Ryan Schlothauer Knee
  • TE David Stinebaugh Back
  • LB Kenneth Tate Knee

For the first nine weeks of his college football career, Shawn Petty walked around the Maryland campus as an anonymous freshmen. Nobody ever recognizes a linebacker on the scout team.

Funny what happens when you become the starting quarterback.

Petty has become instantaneously recognizable, drawing much more attention not only from media, opposing defenses and his teammates but also from students on campus. Petty has tried to take his new role in stride, especially with precious time ticking down on the season.

He has only had his nose in the offensive playbook for a couple of weeks and is preparing to start his second game Saturday -- at Clemson, where the Tigers have won 11 straight games.

[+] EnlargeShawn Petty
Mitch Stringer/US PresswireQuarterback Shawn Petty intends to take care of the football better after throwing a pick and losing a fumble in his first start.
"I have to pick up the offense and then worry about everything else later," Petty said in an interview with this week. "It is a tragedy how I came to be in this spot, but I have to take it as a positive and do the best I can and take advantage of the opportunity."

So now that he has his first start under his belt, what is the No. 1 takeaway from his performance?

"Take care of the football," said Petty, who had an interception and two fumbles, losing one. "I just feel like I can go out there and do the things that need to be done to win the game, but I have to stay consistent for all 60 minutes of the game."

What should help Petty going into this week is the way he played in the second half of a 33-13 loss to Georgia Tech last week. Petty was jittery to start the game, as can be expected, and it took him a while to adjust to the speed and tempo. He started the game 1-of-6 for 1 yard and he lost fumble.

But he found a groove in the second half, going 8-of-12 for 114 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 56 yards before losing 32 of them to four sacks and other tackles behind the line.

"It’s a confidence booster because I played better," Petty said. "The game slowed down for me, and I plan on going into the game Saturday playing how I’m supposed to play, and getting better from that Georgia Tech game."

Coach Randy Edsall talked this week about trying to tailor the game plan to what Petty does well. But Clemson is going to be a far bigger challenge because its defensive players are extremely athletic and play with great speed.

"We know how much we can give him and how much we can go into the game with, and that's what we'll do, and I think he'll play better having a game under his belt," Edsall said. "Everybody on offense just has to step up and do their part and try to make his job that much easier."