ACC: Tavares Pressley

Junior defensive tackle Moses McCray and running back Tavares Pressley were lost for the year with torn ACL injuries, according to the team's practice report. Pressley, who was battling for time among a deep tailback corps, was injured Friday. McCray, who has 14 career starts in two seasons, was injured Saturday.

“Neither one was hit,” coach Jimbo Fisher said in the team's practice report. “They were cuts on the field and there wasn’t anyone around them. They just stuck their foot in the ground and it went out. It’s very unfortunate because they’re both great kids.”

The losses are adding up for Florida State, which also suspended junior linebacker Nigel Carr and dismissed receiver Jarmon Fortson from the team. None of the interior defensive linemen has more than one season of college experience. It's not an ideal situation for a defense in transition. It has been an opportunity, though, for younger plays to get important snaps this summer.

Sophomore wide receivers Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead, and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Demonte McAllister will now be called upon to provide more help. On the defensive line, Fisher will rely upon tackles Jaccobi McDaniel, Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud.

“For me it means I have an opportunity coming in behind Everett (Dawkins) and try to work my way into the rotation,” said McAllister. “Moses is a big loss for us, but we are going to continue to fight hard and make a difference."

Opening camp: Florida State

August, 5, 2010
Schedule: Practice begins at 6 p.m.

What’s new: Everything. New coach, new coordinators, new attitude under first-year coach Jimbo Fisher.

Sidelined: Linebacker Nigel Carr has been suspended indefinitely after facing a felony charge. Nobody else on the two-deep depth chart is expected to be missing.

Key battle: Boundary corner, where redshirt senior Ochuko Jenije, the only returning starter in the secondary, will be fighting off redshirt freshman Xavier Rhodes. Offensively, the tailback position is so loaded that Jermaine Thomas, the top returning rusher from a year ago, is not at the top of the preseason depth chart. That spot belongs to sophomore Chris Thompson. Ty Jones, Tavares Pressley and Lonnie Pryor will also be competing for time.

New on the scene: Defense. The whole thing -- the scheme, the personnel and coordinator Mark Stoops. He’s tasked with turning around a unit that ranked among the nation’s worst in nearly every relevant statistical category last year.

Breaking out: Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Everett Dawkins. Given all of the issues Florida State has had up front, he’s a player who is poised to make a difference. The staff is expecting a breakthrough season after earning “most dependable” honors this spring.

Don’t forget about: Junior tight end Beau Reliford. He came on to replace Caz Piurowski last year and caught the game-winning touchdown against North Carolina. He could help a receiving corps that lacks proven talent. Taiwan Easterling is back after missing spring practices to play baseball, and he could also help that group.

All eyes on: Quarterback Christian Ponder. The whole nation will be watching, especially during a trip cross country to play Oklahoma, to see if Ponder is truly worthy of the Heisman hype.

Quotable: “That’s why I’m here at Florida State, to win it all.” -- Ponder.

Fully loaded in the ACC

June, 8, 2010
Florida State fans can rest assured their quarterback situation is in good hands. After all, how many other teams could lose their starter and have the backup earn MVP honors in a Gator Bowl win?

Darren Evans/Ryan Williams
US PresswireVirginia Tech has the luxury of two 1,000-yard rushers in the same backfield.
E.J. Manuel proved Christian Ponder isn’t irreplaceable last season, and that’s a good thing for a program vying to win the Atlantic Division title in the first season under Jimbo Fisher. When it comes to the offense, there isn’t much Florida State is missing, but the Seminoles are just one of several teams in the ACC prepared to replace key players if need be.

The deepest position throughout the ACC appears to be at running back, where numerous programs have to figure out how to divvy up the carries this fall. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech are all at least two deep at the position -- at least. The Hokies are fortunate enough to have two former backups turned 1,000-yard rushers in Darren Evans and Ryan Williams, both of whom got their opportunities at the expense of an injured teammate.

At Florida State, running back Chris Thompson passed Jermaine Thomas on the unofficial post-spring depth chart, but there’s also Lonnie Pryor, Tavares Pressley, Ty Jones and junior-college transfer Debrale Smiley, who is a fullback/tailback like Pryor. Both Florida State and Boston College return at least four starters each on their offensive lines, which immediately helps the depth there.

Miami has four returning receivers who had at least 200 yards receiving a year ago, and Duke had so much depth at receiver that it was able to move one of its top four pass-catchers -- Johnny Williams -- to cornerback this past spring.

Miami is also stocked on the defensive line, where the defensive ends go about three-deep on each side. The same can be said at Clemson, which returns three starters on the defensive line, and can also depend upon DE Andre Branch (38 tackles, 7.5 for loss) and DE Malliciah Goodman (26 tackles, 6.0 for loss).

Maryland returns all three of its starting linebackers and their backups. At Boston College, defensive coordinator Bill McGovern’s scheme utilizes a lot of players, which helps continue the strong defensive tradition there because the players are always prepared. Reserves from 2009 such as CB Donnie Fletcher (51 tackles), DE Brad Newman (45 tackles), LB Dominick LeGrande (36 tackles), LB Anthony DiSanzo (28 tackles) and CB Isaac Johnson (27 tackles) all saw significant playing time.

No team in the ACC, though, is as loaded on defense as North Carolina, which returns nine starters. They have combined for 234career starts -- the most of any team in the ACC, with S Deunta Williams and CB Kendric Burney making 38 starts each. The challenge for Butch Davis this fall will be getting the backups some playing time in preparation for 2011.

The goal of course for all coaches is to use their backups when they want to -- not when they have to.

Florida State spring wrap

May, 7, 2010

2009 overall record: 7-6

2009 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters

Offense: 10, defense 6: punter/kicker 2

Top returners

QB Christian Ponder, LG Rodney Hudson, C Ryan McMahon, WR Bert Reed, CB/PR Greg Reid, RB Jermaine Thomas, DE Markus White, LB Kendall Smith, LB Nigel Bradham, CB Ochuko Jenjie

Key losses

CB Patrick Robinson, S Jamie Robinson, LB Dekoda Watson, WR Rod Owens

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Thomas*(832 yards)

Passing: Ponder* (2,717 yds)

Receiving: Owens (729 yds)

Tackles: Bradham* (93)

Sacks: Watson (6)

Interceptions: J. Robinson, Jenjie* (4)

Spring answers

1. Tailor-made defense. We don’t know yet how much better it will be, but the new defensive scheme will create more playmaking opportunities under first-year coordinator Mark Stoops. The Noles will use more zone coverage and be more suited for the personnel. That should lead to some improvement.

2. Ponder will be 100 percent. He took every meaningful snap with the first team offense this spring and there didn’t seem to be a difference since he injured his shoulder last year. That means Florida State could have a Heisman contender this year.

3. Staff cohesion. The five new on-field assistants and first-year strength coach brought a new philosophy to Tallahassee and they clicked well together in their first practice sessions. Coach Jimbo Fisher does things differently than his predecessor. Both the offensive and defensive staffs met a lot together to look at film, and there was good feedback across the board between players and coaches.

Fall questions

1. Consistency at receiver. With the exception of Reed, dependability was sorely lacking in this group. Plenty of plays were made, but not continuously. Fisher said the execution is not where he wants it to be. Jarmon Fortson is one of the players who needs to step it up.

2. Tailback talk. Who’s going to win the tailback job, or will it be by committee? Chris Thompson passed Jermaine Thomas on the unofficial depth chart, but there’s also Lonnie Pryor, Tavares Pressley, Ty Jones and junior-college transfer Debrale Smiley, who is a fullback/tailback like Pryor. They all had their moments this spring.

3. Unsecure secondary. FSU has four good corners to count on in this scheme with Jenjie, Reid, Dionte Allen and newcomer Xavier Rhodes, but the two safety spots and depth remain in flux. Jenjie is the only returning starter in the secondary.
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder looked like his old self Saturday.

Ponder, who had surgery on his right shoulder four months ago, took all the snaps with the first-team offense in the Seminoles’ first full scrimmage of the spring. He went 6-for-12 for 91 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Beau Reliford. More importantly, he threw without any pain.

"It’s been a while and to get back and scrimmage and actually play a little football, it was fun," said Ponder. "We really know what we’re doing, having everyone back, and we’re only going to get better."

It's nice to have a veteran offensive line protecting you and a good running game to lean on. Florida State's rushing attack -- consisting of Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas, Lonnie Pryor, Tavares Pressley and newcomer Debrale Smiley -- combined for 262 yards on 31 carries with three rushing touchdowns.

Getting Ponder back, though, was the big story.

"His arm is getting stronger," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He is starting to get a better feel for the pocket where he is flicking the ball around. He missed a few throws, one in the flats to the fullback. I thought overall he was solid. He didn’t do anything bad, but overall he was just OK."

The second-team offense, led by quarterback Will Secord, didn't have as much success. Credit defensive end Brandon Jenkins for causing havoc, with five tackles for loss and three sacks.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here's a quick catch-you-up on practices from around the league, as reported by each school's sports information office:


With tailbacks Tavares Pressley and Ty Jones getting their first extended work since returning from hamstring strains, the Seminoles moved the ball effectively on the ground throughout the second half of Wednesday's afternoon practice.

"We ran 'ol Pressley a lot today just to see what kind of shape he was in," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "He ran good, but he gave out."

Pressley was the primary ball carrier for the first-team offense during 11-on-11 work, when the Seminoles started at the 50-yard line. He repeatedly ripped off runs between 6-and-12 yards, displaying power and speed, though he did lose a fumble downfield. That fumble proved costly when Pressley landed on the football, knocking the wind out of him, and ultimately ending his day prematurely.

Still, it was the first significant contact work Pressley has had in more than two years, since transferring from El Camino (Calif.) Community College last fall. He missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, suffered early in preseason camp.

"[Pressley] did some good things and some bad things," offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said. "When you hit it up in there now, this ain't junior college. There are men on the other side."

Jones also received significant work with the second-team offense and was largely effective running between the tackles.

While Jermaine Thomas earned a break throughout a large chunk of scrimmage work, 212-pound freshman tailback Lonnie Pryor continued to rip off yardage after initial contact and earn the coaching staff's praise.

"The guy that keeps looking good is Pryor," Bowden said. "Sometimes he looks like he's the best back we've got. He just does better than he's supposed to do. He's supposed to faint every now and then, but he ain't fainted yet."


After Tuesday afternoon's practice turned into an evening session due to a couple of rain delays, the Maryland Terrapins were back on the football field Wednesday morning for the first of two workouts scheduled for the day.

"We had a good, tough practice today," said coach Ralph Friedgen. "It was tough because we went late last night, then we got up this morning. It was hot and humid. We forced them to push themselves out of their comfort zone. Some did it and some didn't."

Despite the short rest, heat and humidity, several players that have stood out in practice so far continued to impress.

"A couple guys really stand out right now," Friedgen said. "Chris Turner -- he's really doing a great job of seeing things, setting the defense, using his cadence, making decisions. I'm very pleased with how he's playing. Kenny Tate is having a sensational camp. He's all over the place. He's intercepting passes, he's sacking guys. [Defensive coordinator Don] Brown's got him blitzing, covering. Every time you look up, he's making a play. You saw that in the scrimmage the other day."

Friedgen like the development the team has made through 11 preseason workouts.

"I think we're getting better," Friedgen said. "We're a long way from where we need to be, but I'm seeing progress."

Now a week and a half in to fall camp, Friedgen is starting to see separation at some positions, while others remain a wait-and-see situation. Parts of the offensive line remain a question, Friedgen said, but the coaching staff is remaining patient with a group that is talented but very young.

"We have [three] redshirt freshmen [Justin Lewis, R.J. Dill and Justin Gilbert] and two regular freshmen [Pete White and Bennett Fulper] and then Maurice Hampton, he's a redshirt sophomore," Friedgen said. "They're very, very young. We knew going in, it is what it is. You just have to be patient and keep working them and keep encouraging them."


Miami held its third two-a-day of fall camp Wednesday, with the team working out in shells in the early morning and late afternoon sessions.

In the morning session, the defense played well in red zone drills and Javarris James led a strong showing by the running backs in 11-on-11 work. In the afternoon, James continued his strong play with a couple big runs to go along with interceptions by Sam Shields and Vaughn Telemaque.

Thearon Collier had a big afternoon offensively, catching several balls from Jacory Harris in 11-on-11 action.

The team continues to focus on kickoff coverage, in addition to the usual work in 11-on-11, 7-on-7 and positional drills.

After five practices in three days, the Canes will take the day off on Thursday before holding a closed scrimmage on Friday.

Morning Practice Highlights -- (shells)
• Randy Phillips stood out defensively, recording a sack and pass deflection in 11-on-11 play.
• In a series of 15-to-20 red zone plays, the defense held the offense to just one touchdown (Taylor Cook to LaRon Byrd for a 20-yard score).
• James had a rush and a reception of over 20 yards in 11-on-11 play.
Lee Chambers had a few runs of 10-to-15 yards in run drills and in 11-on-11 action.

Afternoon Practice Highlights -- (shells)
• James had runs of approximately 65 and 30 yards in 11-on-11 drills.
• Harris hooked up with Collier (twice) Jimmy Graham and Travis Benjamin for substantial gains in 11-on-11 action.
• Shields recorded an interception in 7-on-7 play.
• Telemaque picked off a pass in the end zone during two-minute drills.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

A few odds n' ends from Friday practice reports around the league to get you through until Monday ...


FSU opened practice on Friday, and a pair of former walk-ons, senior wide receiver Louis Givens and grad student long-snapper Zach Aronson, have earned scholarships for the 2009 season. Bowden made the announcement at the conclusion of the first practice.

"It's a great feeling," said Givens, a Jacksonville native. "I have always felt like I was a part of the team since I got here because the coaches and players treat you right. The staff is great at making you feel welcome. But now that it's official that I am on scholarship, it's a great feeling to not have to worry about paying for school. Now I can focus more on class and football and not have to worry about that in the back of my mind."

Givens caught four passes for 44 yards and rushed three times for 32 yards as a reserve last season. He also recorded 13 special teams tackles.

Aronson handled all the Seminoles special teams snaps last season -- a job he's expected to hold -- and was virtually flawless.

Also good news for the Noles, as reported by Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel, wide receiver Taiwan Easterling and running back Tavares Pressley participated at full strength.


Clemson had its fourth practice of the preseason on Friday evening on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. Saturday night's practice will be the final day of the NCAA mandated five-day acclimatization period.

"I was encouraged by the way the team worked today," said coach Dabo Swinney. "They have been a focused group and that is important. Champions are not born, they are made and you have to have a daily commitment . They have to be focused on every play. I have talked to the team time and again about six seconds. Each play is giving full effort for six seconds at a time."

Swinney talked about the play of his defense after practice. "The defensive side of the ball has played well. There were oame great thuds out there today. DeAndre McDaniel had a great thud on Andre Ellington towards the end of the practice. He has really played well in the preseason. Marcus Gilchrist had a strong day in the secondary as well."

Gilchrist had two interceptions during the drills.

"I think we can be special in the secondary this year. Chris Chancellor and Crezdon Butler are both on the Thorpe Award Watch List (announced today) and we are the only team in the country with both of our starting cornerbacks on that list. They are having a great camp as well.

"And, I am very pleased with what I see from Ricky Sapp. He looks like he is wide open to me. We will have some physical practices coming up in full pads and it will be interesting to see how he does."

Swinney also commented on the fact that Clemson was not ranked in the preseason top 25 of the USA Today Coaches poll. "That doesn't bother me one bit. I have said many times before whether we are ranked in the preseason or not really doesn't matter. It will all be decided by the end of the year when we play the games on the field."

Jacoby Ford and J.K. Jay continued to miss practice and were both in yellow jerseys due to injury.


Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe put the Demon Deacons through a two-hour practice on Friday afternoon at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex.

The team wore shorts and jerseys along with helmets. The majority of the practice was spent going through station drills.

"I thought we flew around pretty good for a first practice," said Grobe. "The guys had a pretty good feeling of what to do. Typically, when you have as many young guys as we do, you think they won't have much recall. We didn't put too much in on the first day but their recall from spring practice was really good."

The team will practice in shorts and jerseys through the weekend before going to shells on Monday. The first practice in full pads is set for Wednesday, August 12.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Florida State running backs Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones will be competing for carries this summer and fall, but as roommates, they've developed a friendship that seems will only encourage their progress together.

  Dale Zanine/US Presswire
  Jermaine Thomas, who finished last season with 482 yards, is the Noles' leading returning rusher.

On Tuesday nights, they head out for wings, and when they stay in, Thomas has learned that Jones is a pretty good cook. In return for a few "four-course meals," Thomas makes sure Jones, who is a diabetic, takes his medicine and keeps his blood sugar up. They've learned to take care of each other.

"It feels like a family," Thomas said. "It's a bond that we've built and we look out for each other. I couldn't ask for a better roommate."

Teammate Tavares Pressley lives about four houses down, and they've become a close-knit group ready to take on the challenge of leading Florida State's offense. With so many questions surrounding the wide receivers, and a talented offensive line that returns four starters, it would hardly be a surprise to see the Noles depend heavily on their running game this fall.

FSU had the No. 33 rushing offense in the country last season, but two of the top four ball carriers were quarterbacks Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson. Thomas, who finished with 482 yards and three touchdowns on 69 carries, is the team's leading returning rusher.

"I think the running game is going to be a lot better," Thomas said. "It might be the face of the offense. I just think because of the bond me and Ty have with each other and also Tavares Pressley is coming along too from that knee injury, we all have a bond and we treat each other like brothers. We know we have to compete against each and all three of us want to be the best. Us all wanting to have that starting position, it's just going to make us work even harder and want to learn the offense. And the offensive line, I don't think nobody worked as hard as the offensive line. They seemed to be really dedicated. We're just trying to do our part and be counted on when it's time."

Pressley, Jones and Thomas will be responsible for helping to replace Antone Smith's 177 carries and 15 rushing touchdowns from 2008. Without quarterbacks in the equation, Smith's 117 carries accounted for almost 55 percent of the running plays last year. As a true freshman, Thomas was introduced quickly with an average of seven yards per carry on 69 attempts. He finished behind only Sean Jackson and Warrick Dunn for the most yards per carry by a true freshman. Jones showed his potential in the Champs Sports Bowl, when he rushed four times for 55 yards and a touchdown.

One of Thomas' best attributes last season was his ability to constantly get positive yardage. He only lost 10 yards rushing all year.

"I learned a lot," Thomas said. "The game experience, how to run certain plays, ... knowing I have to be more comfortable when I'm in the game. Antone Smith taught me a lot. He told me, 'If it's something you love, you don't have no problem doing it and you're destined to do it, so just go out there and be dedicated.' I just listened to him."

The staff also has high expectations for Pressley, who redshirted in 2008 after suffering an ACL injury in his left knee. He wasn't cleared for full participation this spring, but has begun to get some of his speed back and will be ready for summer camp.

"The guy everybody keeps forgetting about," said offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, "Tavares Pressley is back. Tavares is a heck of a player. Tavares is 4.4 220 pounds. He has great hands and can do things."

It's still a young, inexperienced group, but they've learned they're pretty productive when they stick together. And it could take all three of them to build upon last year's success.

ACC's lunchtime links

June, 22, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

I've already spoken today to one player who was at home on break in Orlando and another who was in the dining hall between exams. They seem to be everywhere but the field this month, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to talk about until summer camp: 

First, a speedy recovery to Hokies' assistant Curt Newsome, who is recovering from the double-bypass surgery he had Friday morning. Usually, it takes about three months to fully recover from this.

NC State backup quarterback Mike Glennon says he "never once thought about transferring." He's learned a thing or two about patience from his older bro. 

FSU opponents should be wary of Tavares Pressley. He's recovering from a torn ACL, and has quietly been rebuilding his strength and speed. He should definitely be a factor this year.

Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt talks about his expectations for this fall with the AJC's Doug Roberson. The Yellow Jackets also recently received a commitment from a cornerback.

The Post and Courier nailed it when Travis Sawchik wrote that most people are just plain curious to see how coach Dabo Swinney will fare. Check out Sawchik's Q&A with the man himself.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

FSU fullbacks Marcus Sims and Seddrick Holloway are both taking some time to evaluate their futures at Florida State, offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said on Thursday. Holloway was excused for some personal issues, but neither has been suspended or are in any trouble. They're both just evaluating their futures, what their roles are and where they want to be.

"Marcus is evaluating what he wants to do," Fisher said. "He's making some decisions about himself, too. He's just at a time in his career, so we'll wait and see how it goes."

A source said Sims is considering transferring to North Alabama, where Preston Parker landed after being kicked off the team. It makes sense, as they will play for Bobby Bowden's son, Terry Bowden.

Overall, though, Fisher said he's the most excited about this team since he arrived on campus. He said he loves their work ethic, and he's seeing a whole new attitude.

"You see a group that's tied together," he said. "Our attitude is tremendous. It's the best since I've been here. Now we've got 11 bowl teams to play, so I don't know if that equates to a lot better record, but I like our chances and where we're going. We're going to get there very quickly."

Fisher sounded especially excited about tight end Caz Piurowski, who will be more involved in the passing game this year and should be a much bigger factor now that they don't need him to help out the offensive line. He also pointed out players like Tavares Pressley and Ty Jones who will help the team take the next step.

The receivers, he said, have learned from their mistakes and he's noticed a difference in their attitude. Their grades are up, they're making better decisions and they understand the consequences of their actions.

For more on the Noles today, watch College Football Live at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

I got a chance on Tuesday to catch up with Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, who said he was sporting green for St. Patrick's Day instead of one of the many black T-shirts he earned this winter for his efforts during mat drills. He talked about his prizes along with a few other things -- including the recent NCAA sanctions.

  Scott A. Miller/US Presswire
  Christian Ponder played through a number of injuries in 2008.

Here are the highlights of our interview:

How did winter conditioning go for you and where did that effort come from?

Christian Ponder: It went well for me especially. I thought I needed to gain a few pounds and I did put on some weight. It was good to get away and relax for a little bit, forget about football, but once school started we came back with a good attitude. The whole team worked hard, got in shape through mat drills. It was probably the best mat drills I've been a part of. Everyone came in with the right attitude, no one missed. A lot of people got black shirts. It was great. Everyone is in great condition going into spring ball.

Where do you think that came from? Was it because you guys had success at the end of last season and took a few steps forward last year?

CP: I think that definitely had a part in it. There was a little bit of momentum going into the offseason, and I think it definitely helps when you have a lot of guys coming back. We already have the chemistry together, a lot of guys have experience and they know exactly what they have to do. There are a lot of leaders that have come out of this and a lot of guys that are pushing each other.

Tell me a little bit about the offense. You guys need to find a dependable running back, all of your receivers are wiped out ... who's back besides you and the entire offensive line?

CP: Bert Reed's back. Richard Goodman, who was hurt last year and will be a redshirt senior this year, will probably be one of the top leaders we have on the team. He knows what he's doing and he runs great routes. We're happy to have him back. He's doing a great job. Avis Commack, a freshman last year, played towards the end, caught some balls in the bowl game. He's looking really good. Louis Givens, a walk-on, he's doing real well. And running back-wise, Ty Jones and Jermaine Thomas, they saw a lot of action, they look good. I think they're finally getting comfortable in what they're doing and knowing exactly what to do. They still make some mistakes, but they're still young. We're trying to work back in Tavares Pressley who got injured in August practice. He's still limited, but he looks good when he gets in some reps.

I'm not sure people realize how banged up you were last year. Can you give the run through of what happened?

CP: It all started at the Wake Forest game. I took a shot in the ribs, had bruised ribs on my back side. That lasted a couple of weeks. I started feeling fine, and then the NC State game, I tore cartilage in the ribs, my front, and that hurt a little bit. And then at the beginning of the Maryland game I took a shot in the back. That tightened up and spazzed out. It hurt pretty bad and lasted through the Florida game. Luckily we had those weeks off after the Florida game before the bowl game.

Christian Ponder
#7 QB
Florida State Seminoles

2008 STATS
72.4 2,006 14 13 55.7

Are you OK?

CP: Yeah, I'm good now. Two months did me a lot of good.

What kind of improvements has Jimbo Fisher told you you need to make and when you watch film of yourself, what do you see?

CP: I need to make quicker reads. I think sometimes I get caught looking at the rush, and looking down, and not reading coverages. That's something I definitely have to improve on, and just getting more comfortable, relaxing and trusting my instincts. So far this spring I've done pretty well. I'm comfortable will all of the guys we have on the offense. Everything is picking up. That whole year experience helped me out a lot, so things should be a lot better.

Did you get bigger, stronger, faster, slower?

CP: I got a little bigger. I'm at 218 now. I actually grew a half inch, and swear to God, I'm the only person listed shorter than they actually are. They took an inch off.

OK, the other thing is I have to ask you this question: How embarrassing has it been to see your whole athletic department go through all the crap it's gone through?

CP: It's a tough situation. We were kind of put in a bad spot. We've got to accept what we did. We're responsible for what we did and we've got to deal with what happened. It's a tough situation. Hopefully the appeal goes through. We'll see, but we can't change it right now so we've just got to deal with it.

How disheartening was it to hear that your coach -- college football's second-winningest coach -- might lose that? That's such a big thing for Florida State.

CP: Yeah, it would be. It's a pretty big deal to have coach Bowden get
that record, but it's not finalized yet. We'll see what happens.

You're the smart quarterback. What's going on with your classes?

CP: Right now I'm in my second semester of my MBA. It's not too bad right now. I'll finish next spring, so I'll have summer and fall to do something else. I don't know, I have to figure out what I'm going to do.

Is the MBA harder than you thought in terms of juggling football?

CP: No, it's actually easier than I thought. I think so far grad school is easier than undergrad.

Oh God.

CP: Only one of my classes has an actual test. All my other classes are take-home tests. The others are presentations. I'd much rather do a presentation than take a test.

Me, too.

CP: So far it hasn't been bad.

Then again, you're talking to somebody who took "coaching football."

CP: Nice. Awesome. I took coaching over the summer. It was a great class.

Does one of the coaches actually teach it though?

CP: She was the old volleyball coach.

Oh, see, that doesn't count. I had Cam Cameron.

CP: (He laughed). Nice.

What to watch in the ACC this spring

February, 11, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

With Miami kicking off spring practice on Feb. 24, it's never too early to start thinking about spring football in the ACC. There are plenty of story lines heading into the 2009 season -- like backup quarterbacks and new coordinators.

Here are a few things to watch for each team in the ACC this spring:


Spring practice starts:
March 17
Spring game: April 25

What to watch

  • Replacing 325-pound defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace will be a large challenge -- literally. Damik Scafe could be a starter, but beyond him it's anybody's guess.
  • Quarterback Dominique Davis only has three games of experience over everyone else, so it's definitely not a given that it's his job to lose. Davis was thrown into the fire at the end of 2008, but former coach Jeff Jagodzinski and former offensive coordinator Steve Logan liked freshman Justin Tuggle, who redshirted this past season. Whether the new staff is as high on Tuggle remains to be seen.
  • Including former defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, who was promoted to head coach, the Eagles will have six coaches in new positions this spring. With two new coordinators, a new offensive line coach, tight ends coach and a linebackers coach, this spring will be a chance for a few introductions.

(Read full post)


Boston College Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, North Carolina Tar Heels, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Coastal Division, Atlantic Division, Miami Hurricanes, Jermaine Thomas, Greg Little, Greg Boone, Eron Riley, Paul Johnson, Damian Thornton, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Florida State Seminoles, Toddrick Verdell, Vince Williams, Barquell RIvers, Miami Hurricanes, Mike Groh, Justin Tuggle, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Kyle Parker, Dan Voss, Brandon tate, Frank Beamer, Trimane Goddard, Aaron Clark, Logan Thomas, Chris turner, Myron Rolle, Cullen Harper, Willy Korn, Demetrius Hartsfield, Brad Lambert, Cannon Smith, Jamarr Robinson, Robert Marve, Mike Glennon, Nigel Carr, Tyrod Taylor, Jon Richt, Adrian Moten, David Cutcliffe, Stephen St. John, Butch Davis, Hakeem Nicks, Tavares Pressley, Duke Blue Devils, Lamar Young, Chris DeGeare, Derek Nicholson, Kevin Harrison, Rashad Carmichael, T.J. Barnes, Josh Portis, Sean Renfree, Carlton Jones, Brett Warren, Nigel Bradham, Darren CHilds, Andre Brown, Edwin Williams, Jeremy Gray, Purnell Sturdivant, Ron Brace, Dominique Davis, Johnny Williams, MIchael Tauiliili, Brandon Flowers, Jacory Harris, Anthony Allen, Trent Mackey, Virginia Tech Hokies, Cody Grimm, Gregg Brandon, Derrick Morgan, Vincent Rey, Virginia Cavaliers, Toney Baker, Antone Smith, spring primer 0902, Tyler Grisham, Clint Sintim, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Victor 'Macho' Harris, Jonathan Dwyer, J.C. Neal, Maryland Terrapins, Coastal Division, B.J. Raji, Clem Johnson, Atlantic Division, Antonio Appleby, Jacoby Ford, Jameel Sewell, Mark Paschal, Frank Spaziani, Tony Carter, Quan Sturdivant, Damik Scafe, Steve Logan, Bruce Johnson, Antone Exum, Taylor Cook, Boston College Eagles, Cam Martin, Brooks Foster, Dabo Swinney, Austin Kelly, Darius McClure, Michael Wade, Mark Richt, Aaron Kelly, Jeff Jagodzinski, Thaddeus Lewis, Clemson Tigers, Anthony Reddick, Aaron Curry, C.J. Spiller, Alphonso Smith, Jon Copper, Stephan Virgil, Tyler Bowen, Ben Anderson, Alex Wujciak, Zack Asack, Justin Lewis, D\'Vontrey Richardson, Da\'Norris Searcy

Posted by's Heather Dinich


Out for the year:
DB Ed Imeokparia (right knee)
LB Aaron Gresham (right knee)
RB Tavares Pressley (left knee)
OL Evan Bellamy (blood clot)
DT Emmanuel Dunbar (back)
DB Nick Moody (shoulder)

Out this week:
DE Toshmon Stevens (calf strain) and DE Jamar Jackson (knee)

WR Richard Goodman (knee)


Out for season:
WR Kevin Dorsey (foot)
LB Dominique Herald (knee)
RB Paul Lariviere (knee)
OL Ben Pooler (knee)
DB Richard Taylor (knee)
DL Joe Vellano (shoulder)

LB Louis Berman (leg)
OL Tyler Bowen (leg)
DB Nolan Carroll (leg)
DL Ricardo Dacosta (leg)
TE Matt Furstenburg (leg)
LB Adrian Moten (arm)
QB Jordan Steffy (hand)
WR LaQuan Williams (leg)
OL Lamar Young (leg)

DL Mack Frost (leg)
DL Travis Ivey (leg)


OL Barrett Mears (ankle) -- Out

ACC in the morning: NCSU edition

August, 21, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

One more member of the Wolfpack just got voted off of Quarterback Island. Freshman Mike Glennon will redshirt this year to learn the offense. What started out as a five-man competition is now down to two -- Russell Wilson and Daniel Evans.

Odds are both play. (Where have we heard that before this summer? Miami, Maryland, Virginia Tech ...)

Smart move, especially considering Glennon has guys in front of him who know the offense better. While I trust Tom O'Brien's judgment on his quarterbacks, the fact that he withheld passing stats from the media (and in turn Steve Spurrier) for the second straight scrimmage is a little much. Either you've got a quarterback or you don't.

FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has three, and he's prepared to wait longer if he has to before he names the Seminoles' starter for the season opener.

Nobody in Tallahassee seems to be willing to wait, though, for late-arriving running back Tavares Pressley to learn the offense. 

The offense isn't the problem for senior wide receiver Richard Goodman -- his knee is.

Here's more from around the league:

* Wake Forest corner Alphonso Smith is trying to fuel the rumor that his team is pretty darn good. One more winning season would certainly help.

Wake Forest fans have been asking about Skylar Jones. Well, he's a heck of an athlete, but barring something crazy happening, he's not going to play this season. Here's further evidence why -- they don't need him to.

* Miami is practicing at 5:30 a.m. on Friday. Wake-up call, anyone?

* Keep an eye out for Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich this season. The NFL certainly is. Not only is he an incredible athlete, but he's also well-spoken and a good guy.

* If Virginia fans are looking for some sort of a sign that everything is going to be OK this season, they might want to look outside the stadium. The university just banned signs at games.

* Clemson beat writer Paul Strelow sat down with the university president and asked some important questions about Tommy Bowden and the football program. Here's a lighter Clemson story with a neat twist on the Alabama game.

* This future Hokie might have earned a scholarship by not following directions, and he couldn't be happier.

* Terence Moore and I are on the same page when it comes to Paul Johnson -- it's only a matter of time. 

* Here's a more extensive breakdown of Deacon Tower, one of the places I got to visit this summer.

Pressley admitted to FSU

August, 19, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich


Running back Tavares Pressley was admitted to Florida State Tuesday when his associate's degree from El Camino Community College was officially posted, clearing him to begin practice with the football team.

Pressley, who should provide some depth at the position behind Antone Smith, hasn't even stepped on the sideline at practice this summer. He's just been hanging around on campus in limbo.

Like the rest of his teammates had to, Pressley now has to go through an acclimation period without pads, so it will take a while before he catches up.

There's a new rule in Tallahassee this year -- newcomers aren't allowed to talk to the media until they make a significant contribution on the field.

Odds are I'll be talking to him soon.