ACC: Takoby Cofield

ACC lunchtime links

June, 11, 2014
Jun 11
12:00
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The Spurs just hit another shot ...
David Cutcliffe earned plenty of praise for the job he did revitalizing Duke in 2012, but even the most optimistic Blue Devils fans had to be surprised by the leap their team took in 2013 — winning 10 games and playing for a conference title. So, how did they do it?

Obviously Cutcliffe’s efforts installing an offseason program, improving recruiting and installing his system have worked wonders in Durham, but dig into the numbers and there were a few key areas that proved crucial to Duke’s run in 2013 and could make the difference once again as the Blue Devils try to defend their Coastal Division title this fall.

Strong offensive line play

[+] Enlarge Laken Tomlinson
Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMIDespite some personnel losses, Duke's offensive line, led by the experience of Laken Tomlinson, can be successful again in 2014.
Last season: It’s no secret that strong play in the trenches can cover a lot of other blemishes, and Duke’s offensive line was exceptional in 2013. The Blue Devils mustered 29 dropbacks per sack, the 10th-best mark in the country and by far the best in the ACC (Miami was next at 23.5). Duke also averaged 4.6 yards per carry (up nearly a yard from 2012) and had 28 rushing TDs (10 more than the previous season).

2014 outlook: Last season’s success shouldn’t have been a shocker. Duke returned the third-most experienced line in the country for 2013 (113 career starts), which translated to a unit that gelled quickly. Now, Duke must replace its two most veteran starters in Dave Harding and Perry Simmons, but the Blue Devils still have plenty of experience on the line. Still, Duke’s line isn’t exactly green. Laken Tomlinson (39 career starts), Matt Skura and Takoby Cofield are all seniors, while Lucas Patrick and Sam Marshall are juniors with ample game experience. With another year in Cutcliffe’s strength and conditioning program, the 2014 line could be every bit as good as 2013's.

A workhorse on offense

Last season: No receiver in the country was more relied upon more than Duke’s Jamison Crowder. Blue Devils QBs threw the ball 472 times in 2013, with Crowder the target on a whopping 174 of them (37 percent). Crowder hauled in 62 percent of the balls thrown his way and was exceptional on both short passes and as a deep threat. Most importantly, however, he was consistently good. The only game in which Crowder finished with fewer than five catches was the win over Virginia Tech.

2014 outlook: The case can be made that Crowder won’t be a secret in his senior campaign, but ACC defenses had to have known what was in store last fall, too. In the past two seasons, with three different starting QBs throwing to him, Crowder has racked up 184 catches, 2,434 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’ll be among the best in the country -- and an ideal security blanket on offense -- once again in 2014.

Dynamic QB play

Last season: Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette combined for nearly 4,000 yards of offense (551 rushing, 3,472 passing) with 45 total touchdowns. As a point of comparison, Heisman winner Jameis Winston had 4,276 yards of offense and 44 total touchdowns. And thanks to the threat Connette posed with his legs, Duke was among the most successful teams in the country in the red zone, scoring TDs on 40 of 58 trips and 27 percent of its red-zone rushing attempts.

2014 outlook: Boone has another year of experience under his belt and is the ACC’s second-most veteran QB, but Connette’s transfer to Fresno State is a big blow. Only Navy’s Keenan Reynolds and Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch had more rushing TDs among quarterbacks last year than Connette, and they did so with nearly three times as many attempts. No player in the country with at least 30 red-zone rushing attempts scored at a higher rate than Connette in 2013 (42 percent), and while the Blue Devils are high on Thomas Sirk as Boone’s new backup, those are some enormous shoes to fill.

A playmaking defense

Last season: The easy knock on Duke last season was its defense. After all, twice Duke topped 48 points and still lost (Pitt, Texas A&M). Overall, the Blue Devils’ D ranked 82nd nationally, and it allowed nearly 8 yards per play in four losses. But the great equalizer were the big plays. Duke’s D recorded 26 takeaways (tied for 26th nationally) and 18 interceptions (tied for 13th nationally). The capacity for big plays helped offset too many bad ones defensively.

2014 outlook: The Blue Devils could be in for some rough patches on D again this fall. The secondary features four sophomores likely to see extensive playing time, while the defensive front gets a significant makeover from last season. Still, 14 of the 18 INTs from last season return, and DeVon Edwards, Breon Borders and Bryon Fields have the talent to blossom quickly.

Scoring on D, special teams

Last season: Thanks to Edwards and Crowder, Duke scored six non-offensive touchdowns last season, tied for the eighth-most nationally. The 16 teams that had at least six non-offensive touchdowns were a combined 130-66 (.653) in 2013, with eight of them winning at least 10 games (including both teams that played for the national title).

2014 outlook: Big plays on D and special teams can be maddeningly inconsistent. When they happen, they can be game-changers, but they’re notoriously tough to predict. Still, Duke returns athleticism in the return game and in the secondary, which should open up options, and if the Blue Devils’ offense can force opponents into shootouts, the D will have its chances to take a few more INTs to the house.

ACC Week 7: Did you know?

October, 11, 2013
10/11/13
10:00
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Thanks again to ESPN Stats & Info and sports information departments from all of these schools for the tidbits.

Pitt: The Panthers have played 12 different true freshmen this season, and they are led by rookies in seven different categories. James Conner is their top rusher (353 yards), and receiver Tyler Boyd is their top pass-catcher (23 receptions), scorer (30 points), kick returner (178 yards) and all purpose threat (701 yards). Kicker Chris Blewitt, meanwhile, is the team's top kick-scorer (26 points), while defensive back Terrish Webb is tied for the team lead in fumble recoveries (1).

Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech has allowed just 30 points in the second half, the second-fewest in the ACC. Pitt has scored just 38 points in the second half, the fewest in the ACC. Quarterback Logan Thomas has faced a lot of criticism over the last two seasons but has stepped up his play recently for the Hokies, as he has not thrown an interception in his last two games after getting picked off in each of his previous five games.

Duke: The Blue Devils have displayed remarkable consistency on their offensive line in recent years, as they started Perry Simmons (RT), Laken Tomlinson (RG), Dave Harding (LG) and Takoby Cofield (RT) together in 18 straight games. Simmons, Tomlinson and Harding have started 28 o the past 30 games together. Duke's starting offensive linemen have a combined 128 starts, the most in the ACC. Simmons' 42 straight starts leads the ACC. Center Matt Skura is the only newcomer to the grope this year.

Virginia: Speaking of offensive lines, and upperclassmen ... the Cavaliers have actually gone the opposite way of Duke this season, using three freshmen on their offensive line this season, the most in the nation. Eric Smith started at right tackle last week against Ball State, making him the fourth true freshman in Virginia history to start at offensive tackle. The others are D'Brickashaw Ferguson (2002, LT), Brad Butler (2002, RT) and current starting left tackle Morgan Moses (2010, RT).

Maryland: Andre Monroe had a sack against Florida State, raising his season total to 3.5. The Terrapins are now the only team in the ACC and one of only three teams in the nation (Louisville, USC) to have three different players with at least three sacks on the season, Marcus Whitfield has 5.5 and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil has three. Maryland's 18 sacks on the season are third in the ACC and and fourth nationally.

Syracuse: The Orange are making their ACC road debut this weekend at NC State. Their last conference road debut came at Pitt in 1991, when Syracuse beat the Panthers in its Big East debut, the first of six straight conference road wins the Orange had to start their Big East tenure. Conversely, the Wolfpack are 6-0 all-time against the Orange, most recently beating them 38-17 in 1998. Syracuse was ranked in the top-20 in each of the last two meetings.

NC State: The Wolfpack call it "Rushing Roulette," as they have had five different players lead them in rushing through their first five games. None of those players, however, have eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Matt Dayes (84) led NC State on the ground against Louisiana Tech, followed by Tony Creecy (56) against Richmond, Bryan Underwood (54) against Clemson, Shad Thornton (71) against Central Michigan and Pete Thomas (60) against Wake Forest.

Boston College: The Eagles have lost four of their last five meetings with Clemson, but there have been some key BC wins against the Tigers — notably, BC’s first ACC win in 2005, at Clemson. And in each of the next two years, BC beat ranked Clemson teams. Those BC wins all came before Dabo Swinney took over as Clemson’s head coach. The last time BC knocked off a team ranked third or higher in the AP Poll was 1993, when it beat No. 1 Notre Dame on the road on a last-second field goal. The win landed Boston College on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Since then, BC is 0-6 against teams ranked third or higher, though the Eagles did beat No. 4 Notre Dame 14-7 in 2002.

Clemson: Tajh Boyd continues to light it up and will look to follow up his performance last week against Syracuse when he threw for a school-record 455 yards. That broke his own record, which he set last season against Wake Forest, by 27 yards. This week he needs just 220 yards of total offense to pass Georgia Tech’s Joe Hamilton for second place on the ACC career total offense list.

Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech leads the FBS in rushing yards by the quarterback position (718), while BYU is second with 579 yards. But the Yellow Jackets' passing offense, never a strong suit since Paul Johnson became head coach, has been awful lately, even by program standards. During its last two games, Georgia Tech has completed just 30.2 percent of its throws, the nation's worst mark during that stretch, while averaging just 105 passing yards per game. They have tallied no passing touchdowns and four interceptions, with a total QBR of 30.9.

ACC injury report: Week 8

October, 19, 2012
10/19/12
11:00
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Here are the ACC injury reports for Week 8 from the schools that emailed them:

CLEMSON

Out for the season
DUKE

Probable
Questionable
Out
Out for season


FLORIDA STATE


Out


Out for season
MARYLAND

Probable
Questionable
Doubtful
Out
Out for season

MIAMI

Doubtful
Surgery/Out for season
NORTH CAROLINA

Out
NORTH CAROLINA STATE

Probable
VIRGINIA

Probable
Questionable


Out
Out for season
VIRGINIA TECH

Probable
Out
Out for season

ACC injury reports: Week 12

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
10:30
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Here are this week's injury reports from the schools that released them:

CLEMSON

Out


DE Joe Gore (knee)
LB Tony Steward (knee)
OT Philip Price (knee)

Questionable


WR Sammy Watkins (shoulder)

Probable


CB Darius Robinson (hamstring)

DUKE

Probable

WR Brandon Braxton (upper body)
OT Takoby Cofield (upper body)
CB Zach Greene (leg)
WR Conner Vernon (leg)

Questionable

LB Kelby Brown (leg)
WR Jamison Crowder (leg)
WR Tyree Watkins (leg)

Doubtful

DE Justin Foxx (leg)
LB C.J. France (upper body)
LB Kevin Rojas (lower body)
CB Johnny Williams (upper body)

Out

S Lee Butler (leg)
QB Brandon Connette (upper body)
DE Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo (leg)
C Brian Moore (upper body)

Out for season

DE Kenny Anunike (leg)
TE Jack Farrell (leg)
OT Kyle Hill (shoulder)

FLORIDA STATE

Out

Willie Haulstead (head)
Henry Orelus (head)
Darious Cummings (hand)
Andrew Datko (shoulder)
Moses McCray (knee)

Out for season

Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
Chris Thompson (back)

GEORGIA TECH

Out

LB Morgan Carter
AB Orwin Smith

Out for season

S Fred Holton
DL Jimmie Kitchen
S Lance Richardson

MARYLAND

Out for season

WR Tyrek Cheeseboro
DB Makinton Dorleant
OL Andrew Gonnella
DB Avery Graham
LB Garrett Lederman
QB Danny O'Brien
DB Matt Robinson
DL Isaiah Ross
TE Dave Stinebaugh
LB Kenny Tate

Out

LB Alex Twine

Doubtful

OL Bennett Fulper

Probable

OL Max Garcia
RB Justus Pickett
RB Jeremiah Wilson

MIAMI

Probable

Marcus Robinson (upper extremity)

Out

Luther Robinson (lower extremity)
Rashawn Scott (upper extremity)
Jordan Futch (upper extremity)
Lee Chambers (upper extremity)
Davon Johnson (lower extremity)

Surgery/Out for season

Blake Ayles (upper extremity)
Ramon Buchanan (lower extremity)
Marcus Forston (lower extremity)
Erik Lichter (upper extremity)
Corey White (lower extremity)

NC STATE

Out for season

CB Jarvis Byrd, (knee)
FB Taylor Gentry (foot)
LB D.J. Green (foot)
HB Mustafa Greene (foot)
LB Sterling Lucas (knee)
DE Jeff Rieskamp (shoulder)

Questionable


DT Markus Kuhn (abdomen)

VIRGINIA

Out

Pablo Alvarez (upper extremity)
David Marrs (lower extremity)
Charlie Richards (upper extremity)
E.J. Scott (medical)
Bobby Smith (lower extremity)
Tyler Smith (lower extremity)
Matt Snyder (lower extremity)
Michael Terrell (lower extremity)
Joseph Williams (lower extremity)

Questionable


Kyle McCartin (upper extremity)

Probable


Rodney McLeod (lower extremity)
Kevin Parks (lower extremity)
Colter Phillips (lower extremity)

WAKE FOREST

QUESTIONABLE

RB Josh Harris (hamstring)

OUT

DT John Gallagher (back)

OUT FOR THE YEAR

OT Dylan Heartsil (back)
CB Dominique Tate (knee)
LB Kyle Jarrett (hip)
WR Airyn Willis (shoulder)

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