ACC: Steve Greer

Opening camp: Coastal Division

August, 1, 2013
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Several more teams in the ACC begin practicing today, and by Aug. 6, the entire conference will have officially begun fall camp. Here’s a quick look at when each team in the Coastal Division is starting, and what to keep an eye on:

Duke

Opening camp: Aug. 5

What to watch: Quarterback Anthony Boone is entering his first season as a full-time starter, and Duke’s offense will look different as a result. Boone has a stronger arm than his predecessor, Sean Renfree, and he’s more mobile. The question is whether the Blue Devils can get their running game going around him, and if the defense can finally find a way to stop the run. The entire secondary has to be rebuilt, as Ross Cockrell is the only returning starter, and even he missed half the spring with an injury.

Georgia Tech

Opening camp: Today

What to watch: Vad Lee takes over at quarterback, and expectations are already soaring. The defense will be under the direction of first-year coordinator Ted Roof, a familiar face to the program and the ACC. Coach Paul Johnson said it’s likely the Jackets will throw the ball more this fall, but how much depends on whether they can find some dependable receivers in a group that’s been depleted this offseason.

Miami

Opening camp: Aug. 3

What to watch: Defensive improvement will be the key to the Canes’ success this year, particularly up front where the group struggled to get pressure on quarterbacks last fall. Every starter returns on both the offensive and defensive lines, and so does 2012 ACC Rookie of the Year Duke Johnson and veteran quarterback Stephen Morris. Miami was chosen by the media as the preseason favorite to win the division this year, but the defense was one of the worst in the country last year, allowing 30.5 points per game. And of course, the NCAA is still snoozing.

North Carolina

Opening camp: Today

What to watch: The offensive line's cohesiveness and development will be critical, especially after lead blocker Jonathan Cooper left, who helped make former running back Giovani Bernard look so spectacular. Plenty of talent and experience returns, starting with James Hurst, who could be a first-round draft pick, and center Russell Bodine. Landon Turner and Kiaro Holts have playing experience, and Caleb Peterson is a redshirt freshman taking over for Cooper. Keep an eye on the competition at running back, where A.J. Blue is penciled in as the starter to take over for Bernard, and in the return game, where Bernard will also be missed.

Pittsburgh

Opening camp: Aug. 6

What to watch: Quarterback Tom Savage hasn’t officially been named the starter, so the competition with Chad Voytik continues. The running game took a hit when Rushel Shell decided to transfer, so also keep an eye on how Malcolm Crockett and Isaac Bennett fare. None of that will matter much, though, if the offensive line can’t get it together. The group was a major question mark after the spring, as new center Gabe Roberts struggled a bit with the shotgun snap, and depth and experience remain concerns. With nine starters returning on defense, including standout lineman Aaron Donald, the Panthers will have to rely on their defense until the offense catches up.

Virginia

Opening camp: Aug. 5

What to watch: This team will have an entirely new look this fall. The Cavaliers overhauled the staff, including adding two new coordinators and hiring former NC State coach Tom O’Brien. Mike London said he expects to name a starting quarterback by mid-August, but the field has narrowed to frontrunners David Watford and Greyson Lambert. Virginia needs to find some linebackers to help fill the voids after Steve Greer and LaRoy Reynolds left, and the running game has to show progress after ranking No. 96 in the country last year.

Virginia Tech

Opening camp: Aug. 5

What to watch: Offense, offense, offense. It’s the storyline in Blacksburg, as first-year offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was hired to cure the Hokies’ woes and make quarterback Logan Thomas look like the first-round draft pick many projected him to be. Problem is, it’s not just Thomas who needs to get better. The offensive line remains a work in progress, the running game is a question after Michael Holmes' dismissal, and the receivers are still young. Thomas can’t do it all by himself, and it’s in his nature to try. That’s when the mistakes happen. This summer has to be about the entire supporting cast improving, because Alabama’s defense will be ready to exploit any and every weakness in the season opener.
2012 record: 4-8
2012 conference record: 2-6 (sixth in the Coastal Division)
Returning starters: Offense: 7; Defense: 7; Kicker/punter: 1

Top returners:

QB David Watford, QB Phillip Sims, RT Morgan Moses, TE Jake McGee, TB Kevin Parks, C Luke Bowanko, WR Tim Smith, WR Darius Jennings, DE Jake Snider, CB Demetrious Nicholson

Key losses:

LT Oday Aboushi, QB Michael Rocco, TB Perry Jones, LB Steve Greer, LB LaRoy Reynolds

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Kevin Parks* (734 yards)
Passing: Michael Rocco (1,917 yards)
Receiving: Darius Jennings* (568 yards)
Tackles: Steve Greer (122)
Sacks: Chris Brathwaite* (3.5)
Interceptions: Maurice Canady*(2)

Spring answers

1. Born to blitz. The defense embraced first-year defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s aggressive style with enthusiasm. There were 14 sacks in the spring game. Senior Brent Urban seemed to flourish at defensive tackle. At 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds, he was disrupting the run and creating havoc in the passing lanes with his long reach.

2. Reshuffling the O-line. The staff made some changes up front in order to give the running game a much-needed boost. UVa moved walk-on center Jackson Matteo to the starting spot for the week of practices following the spring game and slid last year's center, Luke Bowanko, to left guard. Sean Cascarano moved from right tackle to right guard and Jay Whitmire took over at right tackle.

3. Morgan Moses is The Man. He decided to return for his senior season, and if this spring was any indication, Moses is on the way to a monster of a finale. The coaching staff was very pleased with his play at left tackle, and he’ll be the anchor of the line.

Fall questions

1. Quarterbacks (again). David Watford, Phillip Sims and Greyson Lambert continue to battle it out. Coach Mike London has said the staff will decide upon a starter in early August. Lambert is more of a drop-back passer, and Sims and Watford are more dual-threat quarterbacks.

2. Linebackers. The loss of Steve Greer, who finished his career with 376 tackles, looms large, but LaRoy Reynolds was also a big-play linebacker who will be missed. Henry Coley switched from the outside to the middle and will be responsible for more line calls. He has big shoes to fill in the tackle department.

3. The running backs. Can Clifton Richardson stay healthy and give UVa a big-back option? UVa lost versatile tailback Perry Jones. Parks returns, along with Khalek Shepherd, but UVa ranked No. 96 in the country in rushing offense last season.
When asked for his assessment of the new defensive style Virginia plans to play this season, veteran defensive end Jake Snyder had one word:

Different.

As in different good or different bad?

"More aggressive," he said. "We have all just really been working hard this spring trying to learn everything and pick up the new defense. I think it is going to be good for us."

Coach Mike London overhauled his coaching staff after a 4-8 season and brought in Jon Tenuta to run the defense. Tenuta has made a career out of employing aggressive, attacking defenses, and Hoos fans saw that firsthand last week during the team's spring game. The defense was credited with 14 "sacks" -- essentially any time a defender got two hands on the quarterback. Though they were not allowed to tackle the quarterbacks, it was evident that the group was much more active, particularly up front.

That is a huge area the Hoos have spent time working on this spring, because they were below average in sacks a last season with just 17. Snyder is the top returning player in that category, with 2.5. Chris Braithwaite led the team with 3.5, but he is no longer with the Hoos. The inside players, though, look promising. Brent Urban returns, and he had 3.5 sacks in the spring game.

The surprise has been tackle David Dean, who was selected the team's most improved player on defense this spring.

The other area that has to be improved is takeaways. Last season, UVa had 12 total -- eight fumble recoveries and four interceptions, tied for third worst in the nation. Contrast that with NC State, where Tenuta worked last season. The Wolfpack had 16 interceptions to rank in the Top 20. Of course, they had veterans in their group last season, and the Hoos were very inexperienced in the back end.

Still, Snyder said the Hoos spent plenty of time working on takeaway drills this spring.

"Getting takeaways is always such a big key in any game," he said. "And we didn't do a good enough job of that last season. So we all know we have to do better to be a better defense."

One of the other key question marks about this group this spring is at middle linebacker, where the team loses team leader and leading tackler Steve Greer. Henry Coley has moved over from the outside to take over the spot, and Snyder says he has done a good job this spring.

"It's always tough to replace a great player like that," Snyder said. "Henry has done a great job doing it. He spends more time out of anybody in the film room and the meeting room, because he has to know what everyone else is doing at all times."

Top 25 countdown: Who missed the cut

February, 25, 2013
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We just finished our Top 25 countdown of the best players in the ACC in 2012.

But as with any list, there are always guys who just miss the cut. Heather and I went back and forth on this list many times before solidifying our Top 25, weighing performance, postseason accolades, records set and overall impact on each player's respective team. There were many tough decisions to make, none tougher than some of the guys we had to leave off.

So who are our next five?

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. There is no doubt Watkins is one of the most talented players in the entire ACC. Expect him to be in the preseason 2013 countdown. But he did not have the type of performance in 2012 to merit inclusion in our revised list, which takes into account performance over the course of the season. Some of that was out of his control; some of it was in his control. Bottom line: he had a down year with 708 yards receiving and three touchdown catches.

Nick Clancy, LB, Boston College. Clancy was the most productive linebacker in the league in terms of tackles, leading the league with a whopping 145 tackles. But the Eagles' defense was one of the worst in the ACC and had a hard time stopping teams.

Sean Renfree, QB, Duke. Renfree put together his best season, throwing for 3,113 yards with a career-high 19 touchdown passes while completing 67.3 percent of his passes. He was a big reason why Duke got to a bowl game, but the Blue Devils also struggled down the stretch.

Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia. Aboushi made the All-ACC first team and was no doubt one of the best tackles in the ACC. But the UVa ground game also took a step back in 2012, and the Hoos gave up 12 more sacks than a season ago.

Steve Greer, LB, Virginia. Greer finished second in the ACC with 122 tackles and finished as a media first-team All-ACC selection and coaches' second-team selection. But the Hoos also struggled on defense this past season.

On the outside looking in

Here are several other players worthy of mention for solid 2012 seasons

Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech. Ranked third in the ACC with 10 sacks and finished with 69 tackles.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke. Set career highs with 76 receptions for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns, and ranked No. 5 in the ACC in receptions per game and tied for No. 3 in receiving yards per game.

Stephen Morris, QB, Miami. Set school single-season total offense record with 3,415 yards, and ranked No. 4 in the ACC in passing yards per game and pass efficiency and No. 3 in total offense.

Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State. Made the coaches' All-ACC second-team in a nod to his efforts before his knee injury, when he averaged a whopping 7.5 yards per carry. In eight games, he had 935 of total offense and five touchdowns.

Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech. Tyler made the coaches' All-ACC first team, finishing the season with 119 tackles -- 13 of them for loss.

Tevin Washington, QB, Georgia Tech. Washington was No. 4 in the ACC in scoring and No. 2 in scoring touchdowns with 20, all rushing. He ends his career with more rushing touchdowns (38) than any quarterback in ACC history.
DUKE

Spring start: March 4

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:

1. Boone is up. Duke loses three-year starter Sean Renfree, who threw for 3,113 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Anthony Boone is the next man up, and has plenty of game experience. But coming in for spot duty is vastly different from taking over the starting quarterback job. He has to get a jump on becoming the leader of this offense in the spring.

2. Receiver spots open. The Blue Devils lose the most prolific receiver in ACC history in Conner Vernon, plus the versatile and athletic Desmond Scott. Jamison Crowder is back, but Duke is going to need to find two more starters and several more to step up and help with depth.

3. Handling success. This is the first time since 1994 that Duke goes into a spring with 15 bowl practices already under its belt and a taste of success. That should presumably give the Blue Devils an advantage. But it is much harder maintaining, as many coach will tell you. How does this new success impact the mind-set in spring practice?

GEORGIA TECH

Spring start: March 25

Spring game: April 19

What to watch:

1. Ted Roof takes over. What is the Georgia Tech defense going to look like with Ted Roof in charge? He has not really given out specifics about the type of scheme he wants to use as his base, so it will be interesting to see how he fits his personnel to what he likes to do best. The Jackets do return eight starters to a unit that improved in the second half of the season.

2. Vad Lee time. We saw glimpse of what Lee could do as he began to share quarterback duties with Tevin Washington last season. Now, the show is all his, so we get to see how he develops as a full-time starter.

3. So long, Orwin. The Jackets lose one of their most dynamic playmakers in Orwin Smith, who finished his career ranked among Georgia Tech’s all-time leaders in kickoff returns (76), kickoff return yards (1,624) and career all-purpose yards (4,278). Georgia Tech has to find somebody to replace that productivity.

MIAMI

Spring start: March 2

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:

1. D in Defense? The No. 1 spring priority has got to be improving a defense that was one of the worst in the nation in every NCAA statistical category (No. 112 rushing defense, No. 102 passing defense, No. 116 total defense, No. 82 scoring defense). If Miami is going to be a favorite to win the Coastal, it needs better play out of this group.

2. New OC. James Coley takes over as offensive coordinator, replacing Jedd Fisch. Coley served as offensive coordinator at Florida State before arriving at Miami, but did not call the plays. So he has much more responsibility here, and is charged with taking Stephen Morris from great to next-level great.

3. D-Line improvement. If Miami is going to be better on defense, it has to start up front, where the Hurricanes were extremely young and mostly ineffective for 2012. The Hurricanes had to deal with their share of injuries, but they also were not great at stopping the run or putting pressure on the passer -- with only 13 sacks all year. That is the lowest total since at least 2005, the first year NCAA stats began listing team sack totals.

NORTH CAROLINA

Spring start: March 6

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:

1. Bye bye, Gio. Life begins without All-ACC running back Giovani Bernard, who left school early for the NFL draft. The cupboard is not completely bare, though, as A.J. Blue and Romar Morris both return. Blue and Morris combined for 819 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns last season.

2. Replacing Williams, Reddick. North Carolina returns nine starters on defense. That is the good news. The bad news is the Tar Heels lose their two best players in linebacker Kevin Reddick and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, two first-team All-ACC selections. We'll see if Ethan Farmer at tackle and P.J. Clyburn at linebacker emerge to win the starting jobs.

3. Replacing Coop. The Tar Heels have a major hole to fill on their offensive line as they say goodbye to unanimous All-America guard Jonathan Cooper, a stalwart who made 47 career starts. Cooper was the unheralded leader of the offense, so filling his spot is a major priority this spring.

PITTSBURGH

Spring start: March 5

Spring game: April 12

What to watch:

1. QB situation. Tino Sunseri is gone, leaving Arizona transfer Tom Savage, redshirt freshman Chad Voytik and junior Trey Anderson to compete for the starting job. Inconsistent quarterback play has been a major issue for the Panthers, so upgrading this position is an absolute must.

2. Adjusting to DC. Pitt is going into the season with its fourth new coordinator in as many years, as Dave Huxtable left for NC State after only one year on the job. Secondary coach Matt House was promoted to coordinator, so at least there will be some familiarity. But he has to get to work on improving this unit's consistency.

3. Offensive line improvements. Is this the year we finally see a vastly improved Pitt offensive line? The Panthers have to replace center Ryan Turnley and guard Chris Jacobson, two key positions to watch during spring practice.

VIRGINIA

Spring start: March 18

Spring game: April 6

What to watch:

1. New coaches. How will the three most high-profile hires Mike London made mesh with the staff and returning players? How will the offense deal with a new scheme under Steve Fairchild? How will the defense deal with a new scheme under Jon Tenuta? How big will Tom O'Brien's role be with the offense? Inquiring minds want to know.

2. QB competition. Fairchild has already said he will open up the quarterback job to a "very spirited competition" this spring. The two front-runners figure to be Phillip Sims and David Watford, who both have game experience. But there will be no shortage of quarterbacks in Charlottesville this year, so there are no guarantees that either of them will win the job.

3. Replacing Greer. The Hoos have some big shoes to fill in the middle of their defense with the departure of linebacker Steve Greer, who ended his career with 376 tackles -- ranking No. 6 in school history. Kwontie Moore, one of nine true freshmen to play in 2012, backed up Greer last season. Will he win the starting job?

VIRGINIA TECH

Spring start: March 27

Spring game: April 20

What to watch:

1. Logan Thomas. All eyes will be on Thomas as he heads into his senior season, especially with new offensive coordinator in Scot Loeffler in charge. How will the two work together, and what will Loeffler do to get Thomas to cut down on his mistakes and capitalize on the immense potential he has?

2. Rushing attack. Item No. 2 on the agenda for Loeffler is to figure out a way to jump start the Virginia Tech rushing game, which struggled in 2012. The offensive line was inconsistent, and so were the running backs. The Hokies could never really settle on a starter or a clear rotation in the backfield, either. Somebody has to emerge as THE guy.

3. Filling in for Exum. Virginia Tech took a serious hit to its defensive backfield last month when emerging cornerback Antone Exum tore his ACL in a pickup basketball game. The Hokies will look to several young players to try and fill his void, including Donovan Riley, Donaldven Manning and Davion Tookes. Fans will have to wait on highly touted cornerback Kendall Fuller, who joins in the summer.

2012 report cards: Virginia

January, 30, 2013
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VIRGINIA

OFFENSE: Hopes were high for the Virginia offense headed into 2012. The Hoos returned their starting quarterback, Michael Rocco, who made significant strides the previous season. They returned starting running back Perry Jones, one of the top rushers in the ACC. They returned both their starting tackles, too. But everything that worked so well for 2011 worked miserably for UVa in 2012. This team could not run the ball. And the specter of backup quarterback Phillip Sims loomed large, until finally he replaced the struggling Rocco as the starter midway through the season against Duke. But when Sims struggled, too, coach Mike London decided to alternate his quarterbacks at the end of the season. In the end, Virginia was a dysfunctional group on offense, ranking in the conference No. 8 in total offense, No. 7 in rushing offense and No. 9 in scoring offense. London could not have handled the quarterbacks worse -- Rocco ended up transferring to Richmond after the season. Compounding the problems were all the mistakes. Virginia turned the ball over 26 times -- including a combined 15 interceptions -- to finish last in the ACC in turnover margin. Given the returning talent at the skill positions, UVa fell way, way short of its potential in 2012. GRADE: D.

DEFENSE: Hiccups were expected on defense with a majority of its starters gone, particularly in the defensive backfield. So seeing the struggles did not come as a major surprise. Virginia failed to sustain success in two key areas: pass rush and creating turnovers. Virginia had only 17 sacks last season, ranking No. 98 in the country. And the Hoos only gained 12 turnovers in 12 games -- ranking No. 113 in the country. Only three teams out of 120 were worse. The bottom line -- there was simply no consistency out of this group. Virginia would alternate between giving up 40 points, and then 16 and 6, and then back to 40. Only linebacker Steve Greer got recognition on the first or second All-ACC team among Virginia defenders, winning a spot on the media's first team and the coach's second team. Though Virginia ranked No. 4 in total defense, it also ranked No. 8 in scoring defense. Virginia may not have given up chunks full of yards, but it did give up chunks full of points and did nothing to put the offense in better position. GRADE: D.

OVERALL: The question going into the year was if Virginia could keep up the momentum from its 2011 bowl season. It never happened. After opening the season 2-0, Virginia dropped six straight. The Hoos tried to turn around their season following their bye, with two straight wins -- including a stunning 33-6 victory over NC State. Alternating Sims and Rocco worked -- temporarily. With bowl hopes on the line, Virginia had a huge opportunity on a Thursday night at home against North Carolina. Driving for the tying score, Virginia was stuffed at the goal line and the Tar Heels cruised. Virginia then dropped its rivalry game against Virginia Tech for the ninth straight season and only won four games, a season after winning eight. Cutting your win total in half is not going to get you a passing grade. GRADE: D.

More grades

ACC reps in East-West Shrine Game

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
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The 88th East-West Shrine Game will be played at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The East roster is loaded with ACC players from a wide range of schools. Wake Forest was the only school not represented:

EAST
WEST

2012 top Coastal Division assistants

December, 17, 2012
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Now let's take a look at the top assistants in the Coastal Division.

Duke: Matt Lubick, receivers. This one is a slam dunk. Lubick was nominated for several assistant coach of the year awards, and it is easy to see why. He coached the only trio nationally with 60 or more receptions this season -– Jamison Crowder (70 receptions, 1,025 yards, 8 TDs), Desmond Scott (61-606-2) and Conner Vernon (75-955-7). Don't forget Scott moved from running back to receiver this year as well. And Vernon is the ACC’s all-time leader in both pass receptions (273) and receiving yardage (3,630).

Georgia Tech: Mike Sewak, offensive line. Well, not much went right for the defense this year, so this one goes to a coach on the offense. The Jackets were as steady as everybody expected up front, and Omoregie Uzzi earned first-team All-ACC honors at guard. The Jackets averaged 312.5 yards per game on the ground, only a few yards shy from their average a year ago.

Miami: Jedd Fisch, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks. I am giving Fisch the nod for his development of quarterback Stephen Morris, one of the more pleasant surprises in the ACC this season. It seems hard to believe Morris was locked in a quarterback competition during fall camp given the way he played this season. Morris had 3,415 yards of total offense, the most in the history of the program, just ahead of the 3,412 yards Bernie Kosar had in 1984. Morris’ season total of 3,345 passing yards ranks fifth in program history, while his 421 attempts and 245 completions rank first and second, respectively.

North Carolina: Chris Kapilovic, offensive line. Kapilovic had plenty of talent to work with, but remember that the Tar Heels implemented a completely different offensive style and blocking scheme, and the offensive line had to learn just as quickly as the skill players. So to see North Carolina only gave up 11 sacks all season -- on 441 pass attempts -- shows just how well this group played as a unit. Guard Jonathan Cooper became a unanimous All-American, and tackle James Hearst joined him on the All-ACC first team. Kapilovic also is the run game coordinator, and, well, the Tar Heels had terrific development of not only Giovani Bernard, but A.J. Blue and Romar Morris as well.

Virginia: Vincent Brown, linebackers. Brown had two players finish in the Top 8 in the ACC in tackles. Steve Greer had another outstanding year, earning first-team All-ACC honors from the media after finishing second in the league in tackles (122). Outside linebacker LaRoy Reynolds also had another productive season, with career highs in tackles tackles (90), tackles for loss (9.5) and passes defended (four).

Virginia Tech: Torrian Gray, secondary. There were not many bright spots for the Hokies this season, but I will give you one -- the secondary played pretty well. Virginia Tech had the No. 2 passing defense and pass efficiency defense in the ACC, holding opponents to roughly the same numbers as a season ago. Antone Exum moved from safety to cornerback and made the All-ACC second-team, leading the league in passes defended (19) while grabbing four interceptions.

2012 ESPN.com ACC all-conference team

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
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Despite the abundance of hype surrounding the quarterback position heading into this season, there was one player who quickly distanced himself from the rest. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd had a record-setting season and he was surrounded by several all-conference-caliber teammates. With five Tigers on the first-team offense, it’s no wonder Clemson was No. 6 in the country in scoring offense at 42.33 points per game. There was no running back in the ACC more electrifying than UNC’s Giovani Bernard, though, and to leave off his lead blockers in James Hurst and Jonathan Cooper would be unjust. Surprisingly, not one player from Florida State’s two-deep made the cut for first-team offense. There’s no question, though, the ACC champs dominated the defensive lineup with four first-team selections. Imagine a dream team made up of Clemson’s offense and Florida State’s defense.

Actually, the ACC’s dream team would look more like this, your 2012 ESPN.com ACC All-Conference team:

Offense First Team

QB -- Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB -- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

RB -- Andre Ellington, Clemson

WR -- DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

WR -- Conner Vernon, Duke

TE -- Brandon Ford, Clemson

T -- James Hurst, North Carolina

T -- Oday Aboushi, Virginia

G -- Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

G -- Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech

C -- Dalton Freeman, Clemson

Defense first team

DE--Cornellius Carradine, Florida State

DE--Bjoern Werner, Florida State

DT--Joe Vellano, Maryland

DT--Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

LB--Nick Clancy, Boston College

LB--Steve Greer, Virginia

LB--Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

CB--Ross Cockrell, Duke

CB--Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

S--Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S--Earl Wolff, NC State

Specialists

PK--Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P--Will Monday, Duke

SP--Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
The ACC coaches have unveiled their inaugural All-ACC football team and award winners, and it looks nearly identical to the media winners announced last week.

Both the coaches and media are in agreement on the players of the year: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd as player of the year and offensive player of the year; Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner as defensive player of the year; and Miami running back Duke Johnson as rookie of the year and Offensive Rookie of the Year; Florida State cornerback Ronald Darby as defensive rookie of the year; and Duke coach David Cutcliffe as coach of the year.

Boyd won player of the year and offensive player of the year more comfortably on the coaches' ballots, getting four more votes than North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard. In media voting, Boyd beat out Bernard by one point.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players. First-team selections earned two points; second-team selections got one.

Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina each had five players chosen to the first team, though the Tar Heels actually had six first-team picks as Bernard was named to the first-team offense as a running back, while also earning first-team specialist accolades. All of Clemson’s first-team honorees were on offense, while four of FSU’s five were on defense.

The coaches' All-ACC first-team differed from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association team only at three positions: choosing Duke receiver Conner Vernon over Boston College’s Alex Amidon; North Carolina offensive tackle James Hurst over Clemson’s Brandon Thomas; and Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler instead of Virginia’s Steve Greer. Amidon, Thomas and Greer were all second-team picks.

In all, there were four unanimous first-team selections in Boyd, Bernard, Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Florida State defensive end Cornellius Carradine on defense.

Here are the complete teams.

Tajh Boyd headlines All-ACC team

November, 26, 2012
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Clemson had the best offense in the ACC this season, so it comes as no surprise that the Tigers dominated the All-ACC first team released Monday.

Quarterback Tajh Boyd and five teammates won first-team honors on offense, the first time Clemson has ever place six players on the All-ACC first-team offense and the first time any team has done it since Florida State in 1995.

Florida State and North Carolina each placed five players on the all-conference team, determined by a vote of 46 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

Boyd is joined on the first team by running back Andre Ellington, receiver DeAndre Hopkins, tackle Brandon Thomas, center Dalton Freeman and tight end Brandon Ford. Boyd led the ACC with 34 touchdown passes while Hopkins had league-bests of 16 total touchdown catches and an average of 104 yards receiving.

Nine teams had at least one first-team selection. There were no unanimous picks to the first team, but North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard was chosen as a first-teamer on 45 ballots. Bernard, who had an ACC-leading 1,228 yards rushing and 12 rushing touchdowns, joins Boyd as repeat first-team selections.

Bernard, a punt returner who also was picked as the first-team specialist, was joined by guard Jonathan Cooper, linebacker Kevin Reddick and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.

Four Florida State defensive players -- ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Lamarcus Joyner -- join kicker Dustin Hopkins on the first team.

Boston College (receiver Alex Amidon and linebacker Nick Clancy), Virginia (offensive tackle Oday Aboushi and linebacker Steve Greer) and Duke (cornerback Ross Cockrell and punter Will Monday) were the only other schools with multiple first-team picks.

You also should note that Virginia Tech and Miami did not have a first-team selection for the first time since they joined the ACC in 2004. Defensive end James Gayle, linebacker Jack Tyler and cornerback Antone Exum made the second team for Virginia Tech; Miami's Duke Johnson made the second team as a running back and specialist.

The league coaches will announce their all-conference team next week.

FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE
  • QB-Tajh Boyd, Clemson
  • RB-Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
  • RB-Andre Ellington, Clemson
  • WR-DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
  • WR-Alex Amidon, Boston College
  • OT-Oday Aboushi, Virginia
  • OT-Brandon Thomas, Clemson
  • OG-Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
  • OG-Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech
  • C-Dalton Freeman, Clemson
  • TE-Brandon Ford, Clemson
  • K-Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • Specialist- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE
  • DE-Bjoern Werner, Florida State
  • DE-Cornellius Carradine, Florida State
  • DT-Joe Vellano, Maryland
  • DT-Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
  • LB-Nick Clancy, Boston College
  • LB-Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
  • LB-Steve Greer, Virginia
  • CB-Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
  • CB-Ross Cockrell, Duke
  • S-Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
  • S-Earl Wolff, NC State
  • P-Will Monday, Duke

For the second-team and honorable mention selections, you can click here.

ACC announces players of the week

November, 26, 2012
11/26/12
12:45
PM ET
Here are the ACC players of the week, as announced by the league office.

OFFENSIVE BACK: Sean Renfree, QB, Duke. Renfree completed 36-of-59 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns in Duke’s 52-45 loss to Miami. The senior quarterback directed the Duke offense that ran 94 plays, posted 30 first downs, totaled 583 yards of total offense, and did not commit a turnover. The 432 yards passing and 428 yards of total offense both marked the eighth-highest single-game total in program history. Renfree matched the Duke record for touchdown passes in a half with four in the second half and set the program single-game mark for pass attempts without an interception. He completed a 99-yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder en route to setting single-game career highs for pass attempts and passing yards.

RECEIVER: Jamison Crowder, Duke. Crowder caught eight passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns in Duke’s 52-45 loss to Miami, including a 99-yard score, the longest pass play in the 60-year history of ACC football.. The 203 yards rank as the seventh-highest single-game total in Duke history as the sophomore averaged 25.4 yards per catch. Crowder totaled 272 all-purpose yards in the game and now holds the Duke single-season record for most touchdown receptions of over 50 yards with five this year.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. Werner matched his career high with 3.5 sacks and recovered a fumble in Florida State’s 37-26 loss to No. 6 Florida. He finished the game with six tackles, including four solo stops, while sacking Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel twice in the first and 1.5 more times in the second half. His recovery of a Driskel fumble and 9-yard return set up Florida State’s go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter as the Seminoles rallied from a 13-3 deficit with 17 unanswered points. His play earned him National Defensive Lineman Performer of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards.

LINEBACKER: Steve Greer, Virginia. Greer played the best game of his career in his final college contest. Greer led the Cavalier defense with 19 tackles in a 17-14 loss at Virginia Tech. Greer led both teams in the defensive-oriented game with a career-high 19 tackles, along with nine solo stops. Greer finished the season with 122 total tackles. Virginia held the Hokies to 303 yards of total offense, almost 100 yards below their season average (399.9).

DEFENSIVE BACK: Xavier Brewer, Clemson. Brewer had the best game of his career on Senior Day against South Carolina with a career-high 12 tackles, including nine individual tackles. He was the leading tackler in the game for either team, three more than any teammate. He also had two tackles for loss, including a sack, an interception and three total passes defended. Brewer became the first Clemson player to record a sack and an interception in the same game since Rashard Hall did it against Boston College in 2009.

CO-SPECIALIST: Stefon Diggs, Maryland. Diggs, who ranks sixth nationally with 172.3 all-purpose yards per game, turned in his most productive all-around performance of the season in Maryland’s 45-38 loss to North Carolina. The freshman totaled 248 all-purpose yards and made plays in a variety of ways. With 0:21 left in the second quarter, Diggs took a pitch from quarterback Shawn Petty and threw across the field to Matt Furstenburg for an 8-yard touchdown. It was Maryland’s first touchdown pass by a non-quarterback in over two years. Then, to open the third quarter, Diggs took a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown that gave the Terrapins a 35-21 lead. Diggs had eight receptions for 82 yards and 20 rushing yards on three attempts. He ranks ninth on Maryland’s single-season receiving yards list with 848 and second on Maryland’s single-season all-purpose yards list with 1,896, trailing only Torrey Smith (2,192 in 2009).

CO-SPECIALIST: Dustin Hopkins, PK, Florida State. Hopkins continued his memorable senior season with another career first against Florida -- connecting on two field goals of 50 yards or longer in the same game. He closed out the first half with a 50-yard field goal on the final play to get the Seminoles on the scoreboard after falling behind 13-0. He then added 53-yard field goal to Florida State’s run of 17 unanswered points in the third quarter as the Seminoles built a 20-13 lead. Hopkins was named National Placekicker of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards. He is the first FSU player to kick two field goals of 50 yards or longer in the same game since Derek Schmidt in 1985. Hopkins is now 9-of-14 all-time from 50 yards or longer with his total field goals from that range ranking second among active kickers. With 87 career field goals, Hopkins now shares the NCAA FBS all-time lead with Georgia’s Billy Bennett. Already the all-time NCAA FBS leader in kick scoring, he pushed his all-time point total to 456 points. He currently ranks third all-time in FBS All-Player Scoring, trailing only Montee Ball (476 points) and Travis Prentice (468).

ROOKIE: Duke Johnson, RB, Miami, Freshman. Johnson rushed for a career-high 176 yards and a career-best three touchdowns in Miami’s 52-45 win at Duke in the season finale. Included in his three rushing touchdowns was a 65-yard score, his 11th play of over 50 yards in 2012. He finished with 277 all-purpose yards, his sixth game with 200-plus all-purpose yards this season. In the process, Johnson broke Miami’s single-season rushing record held by Clinton Portis (838 in 1999). His 2,070 all-purpose yards are the most by a Miami freshman and second-most in program history (2,108 by Willis McGahee in 2002). Johnson had four 100-yard rushing games this season, and finished his rookie campaign with 957 rushing yards and 10 scores on 139 carries. He also finished 2012 with a single-season school-record 892 kick return yards and two touchdowns. Johnson’s 13 touchdowns on the season are tied for the fifth-most in program history.

ACC's lunchtime links

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
12:00
PM ET
It's gaaaaame day!

ACC's lunchtime links

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
12:00
PM ET
Here's what's going on around the ACC.

ACC Week 10: Did you know?

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
10:00
AM ET
Thanks as always to the sports information directors throughout the league, and ESPN's Stats & Information department for this week's notes.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Receiver Alex Amidon had his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season last week against Maryland, passing offensive graduate assistant coach Rich Gunnell (four 100-yard games in 2009) and Darren Flutie (four 100-yard games in 1987) for second place on the school’s all-time single-season list. Brian Brennan holds the school record with six 100-yard receiving games, set in 1983.

CLEMSON: Andre Ellington has gained 47.1 percent of his rush yards after contact this season. Ellington has been slowed in conference play, gaining just 36.6 percent of his yards after contact against ACC opponents. Against nonconference opponents, Ellington gained 60.7 percent of his yards after contact.

DUKE: The Blue Devils are 5-0 at Wallace Wade Stadium this year, matching the school record. ... The Blue Devils’ last victory over a ranked team was a 28-25 victory over No. 13 Virginia on Nov. 5, 1994.

FLORIDA STATE: Florida State has gone over 200 yards rushing six times this season -- five times against ACC opponents. This marks the first time since 2002 the Seminoles have rushed for 200 or more yards six times in a season. This also is only the fourth time an FSU team has rushed for 200 yards five times in a season against ACC competition, with the 2012 team joining the 1992, 1993 and 1995 squads. The Seminoles have won 21 consecutive games when rushing for 200 or more yards.

GEORGIA TECH: Georgia Tech is 2-3 in ACC play, but the Yellow Jackets have held fourth-quarter leads in all five conference games. The past three Tech-Maryland games have been decided by a combined 11 points.

MARYLAND: The Terps are holding opponents to 2.31 yards per carry, which ranks third nationally. Of the opponents’ 269 rushing attempts this season, 186 (69.1 percent) have been for 3 yards or less.

MIAMI: The Hurricanes converted 1 of 12 third-down attempts but still beat Virginia Tech 30-12.

NC STATE: Coach Tom O’Brien will face another one of his former assistants Saturday -- Virginia coach Mike London. London served on the Boston College staff as defensive-line coach from 1997-2000. This will mark the eighth time that O’Brien has faced one of his former assistants, and the second of three times this season. O'Brien already squared off against Miami coach Al Golden, and later faces Boston College coach Frank Spaziani.

NORTH CAROLINA: Carolina has scored 40 or more points four times this year and 30 or more on six occasions. The Tar Heels also have compiled more than 500 yards of total offense four times this season.

VIRGINIA: Steve Greer has taken the lead among active ACC players with 330 career tackles. Greer is one ahead of Maryland’s Demetrius Hartsfield. A preseason All-ACC pick, Greer leads Virginia with 76 tackles this season.

VIRGINIA TECH: Though Logan Thomas had a game to forget in Thursday's 30-12 loss to Miami, he did become the first Virginia Tech quarterback to rush and pass for 100 yards in a game since Tyrod Taylor against Central Michigan in 2010 (127 rush, 163 pass).

WAKE FOREST: Since Boston College and Wake Forest renewed their rivalry in 2003, each of the nine games played has been decided by 10 points or fewer. BC holds a 5-4 edge in those nine games, and has outscored Wake Forest 222-213.

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