ACC: Terrance Ashe
1. Miami freshman offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson. He made his first career start last week in the win at Clemson, and impressed coach Randy Shannon. He’s likely to continue to see more playing time, sharing snaps at right tackle with Jermaine Johnson.
2. Defenses in Miami. Florida State and Miami are among the nation’s best at getting pressure on their opponents. FSU leads the nation in sacks and is second in tackles for loss, while Miami is first in tackles for loss and second in sacks. Quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Jacory Harris will be playing under pressure. Harris has thrown eight interceptions in the past three games while Ponder and E.J. Manuel have been interception free over the past 89 pass attempts.
3. Ailing quarterbacks. Wake Forest is hoping Tanner Price (concussion) is healed in time for Saturday’s game against Navy and the status of Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig (ankle) is expected to be learned today. The injury-laden position has been a disaster for the Deacs, as three have been sidelined. Just when the Eagles seemed to find someone who could manage the offense without turning it over, Rettig hurt his ankle and they’re “back at square one.”
5. NC State’s third-down defense. NC State leads the ACC and ranks seventh nationally in third-down conversion defense. The Wolfpack is allowing opponents to convert on just 26.6 percent of third-down attempts (17-of-64). The Wolfpack has also forced opponents into 23 three-and-outs this season, an average of 4.6 per game. That mark ranks sixth in the nation.
6. North Carolina’s secondary. The Tar Heels will have both starting safeties in the lineup against Clemson with the return of strong safety Da’Norris Searcy and free safety Deunta Williams. Searcy, who missed the first three games of the season, came back last week with a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown. Williams ranks third at UNC with 12 career interceptions.
7. Virginia’s offense vs. the 3-4 defense. The Cavaliers should be well-prepared as they face their former coach in Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh. Groh said this week that Virginia has the advantage because of coach Mike London’s familiarity with Groh’s philosophies.
8. Clemson’s receivers. Coach Dabo Swinney made a change this week. Out: Xavier Dye, Terrance Ashe and Brandon Clear. In: DeAndre Hopkins, Bryce McNeal and Jaron Brown. Why? It took nine minutes into the third quarter until a Clemson receiver caught a pass against Miami. The Tigers will face a similar challenge against the Tar Heels.
9. BC’s running game. Or lack thereof. Despite a veteran offensive line and one of the most productive running backs in the ACC in Montel Harris, the Eagles rank 108th in the country in rushing offense at just 87.5 yards per game. NC State’s rushing defense took a hit against Virginia Tech and is now allowing 164 yards per game. The Hokies ran for 317 and 8.6 yards per carry.
10. Virginia Tech’s secondary. Nine different players have broken up passes this season, and Jayron Hosley is coming off an impressive performance in which he tied a single-game school record with three interceptions against NC State. Central Michigan has the No. 19 passing offense in the country with 290.8 yards per game.
Here's a look back at the weekend scrimmages for schools that provided scrimmage reports:
There's a running back other than Montel Harris capable of making some plays. True freshman Andre Williams led the running game with seven carries for 59 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown run.
Quarterback Dave Shinskie completed 9 of 14 pass attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown. Senior tight end Jordon McMichael led all receivers with four catches for 23 yards.
Defensively, true freshman linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis led the Eagles with five tackles. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Dillon Quinn made three sacks, which should be an encouraging sign to a line in need of some help.
Redshirt freshman kicker Nate Freese went 2-for-3, making from 24 and 44, but missing a 46-yarder off the left upright. Junior Ryan Quigley made from 33 and missed from 34.
Quarterback Kyle Parker threw three touchdowns passes -- two to running back Andre Ellington -- in Clemson’s two-hour scrimmage in Death Valley on Saturday morning. It was the second scrimmage for the Tigers.
Parker completed 10-of-14 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He led the first-team offense to four touchdowns overall. Roderick McDowell led the rushers with 12 carries for 127 yards on the ground, including a 12-yard touchdown run and a 53-yard run early in the scrimmage.
Terrance Ashe led the receivers with five catches for 76 yards, including a 44-yard completion from Parker.
The defense was led by Brandon Maye, who had six tackles, including a tackle for loss and a diving backwards interception from his linebacker position.
Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt was the highlight of the Jackets' scrimmage. He opened the scrimmage with a 70-yard scoring drive and had a two-yard touchdown run and a six-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Hill. Defensively, true freshman Louis Young and sophomore linebacker Julian Burnett had interceptions.
The kickers were the highlight of the second scrimmage, as the offense didn't score a touchdown. Part of that was because the coaching staff stopped drives inside the 20, because the staff hasn't installed its entire red-zone package. The staff is expected to make a decision on its backup quarterback situation soon.
Here are the Hokies' stats leaders from Saturday:
Darren Evans 12-60
David Wilson 6-33
Ryan Williams 4-18
Logan Thomas 9-17-0-82
Tyrod Taylor 5-7-0-42
Ju-Ju Clayton 3-8-0-36
Marcus Davis 2-15
Austin Fuller 2-20
Chris Hazley made four: 29 yards, 43, 48 and 31
Derek DiNardo, 6
The Deacs scrimmaged for 90 minutes on Saturday in the first of three scrimmages, and the quarterback race continues.
Josh Harris 5-76 and 1 TD
Skylar Jones 10-44
Patrick Thompson 7-29
Tanner Price 8-13 for 82 yards
Patrick Thompson 3-10 for 61 yds and an INT
Ted Stachitas 5-of-8 for 95 yds and 1 TD
Skylar Jones 4-of-7 for 27 yds
Brendan Cross 2-of-3 for 16 yds
Devon Brown 4-67
Marshall Williams 3-79
Jimmy Newman made three, 27 yards, 38 and 25
Justin Jackson, 7
Freshman Joe LaBarbera intercepted Thompson late in the scrimmage and returned it 25 yards.
The Tigers had their first scrimmage on Tuesday and got in about 100 snaps in a little over two hours.
Offensive highlights: Kyle Parker completed 9 of 18 passes for 114 yards. He did not throw and interception and ran for a score on a 14-yard run. Tajh Boyd completed 7 of 18 passes for 71 yards. He had a 13-yard run for a score that culminated a 75-yard drive early in the scrimmage.
Rod McDowell was the top rusher with 76 yards on 12 carries. He had a 22-yard run and a 34-yard run on the same drive. Andre Ellington gained 45 yards in 11 carries, while Jamie Harper had seven carries for 35 yards. Ellington had the only rushing touchdown among the running backs with a 15-yard score.
Five different receivers had two catches apiece. Dwayne Allen had 2-49, including a 36-yard completion from Parker. Drew Traylor had 2-29, Terrance Ashe had 2-28 and Marquan Jones had 2-11. Jaron Brown had 2-14 and also had an 18-yard run.
Defensive highlights: Andre Branch intercepted a tipped pass and raced 25 yards for a score. Tig Willard was the top tackler with seven, while Brandon Maye, Coty Sensabaugh and Scotty Cooper all had five apiece. Jonathan Meeks had two tackles for loss. Freshman Tra Thomas had the only fumble recovery.
Special teams: Richard Jackson was 4-4 on field goals attempts, including a pair from 42 yards. Spencer Benton was 3-4 and Chandler Catanzaro made 2-3 with his only miss from 56 yards.
Dabo Swinney said: “It was a better scrimmage than I expected for the first scrimmage. We had a lot of new guys in action in Death Valley for the first time and we did a lot of mix and matching during the scrimmage. We need to perform better in the red-zone on both sides of the ball.
“Defensively, Andre Branch had the big play of the day with an interception return for a touchdown I thought he was a consistent player last year. But, he has become a physical player who is a team leader. Opposing teams will talk about 93 [Da’Quan Bowers], but they better pay attention to number 40 [Branch].
Injured: All-American safety DeAndre McDaniel, who suffered an injury near his tailbone. He was able to walk off the field on his own. I'll try and get an update for you on this today. Freshman running backs D.J. Howard and Demont Buice both missed the scrimmage as they recover from a concussion suffered this past Saturday. Da’Quan Bowers missed the scrimmage as he is home with his family after the sudden death of his father last Sunday.
The Blue Devils held their second practice on Tuesday night.
Defensive highlights: Johnny Williams, who moved from receiver this past spring, showed that he is grasping the cornerback position well as he intercepted a deep pass down the sideline during 7-on-7 drills and also made two nice plays to force incompletions during the 1-on-1 period against the receivers.
The defense has emphasized forcing turnovers early in the preseason and came up with three on Tuesday. Along with Williams' interception, junior safety Lee Butler returned an interception for a score off a tipped ball and redshirt junior Charlie Hatcher recovered a fumble. The defense had several other pass breakups on the day, including a couple by sophomore safety Walt Canty.
Offensive highlights: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyree Watkins made several big plays, and senior wide receiver Austin Kelly ran two good routes during team drills to provide redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Renfree with some wide open looks. The offensive line did a good job in both pass and run blocking during the first session of team drills.
The Terps opened camp on Tuesday in temperatures in the upper-90s, and spent much of the practice working on individual drills to help acclimate 21 newcomers and refresh veterans. Maryland has 24 preseason workouts scheduled.
Ralph Friedgen says: “The kids showed they worked hard over the summer. We’re a little further along in some areas than I thought. I think it got hot out there at the end and they got a little tired, but overall I thought it was a good first day.”
Jamarr Robinson, who proved to be a dangerous dual-threat quarterback while filling in for an injured Chris Turner last year, enters camp atop the depth chart. The Terps also have a pair of talented redshirt freshmen in Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown, who spent a year learning offensive coordinator James Franklin’s system and look ready to contribute.
“I saw more of a leadership role by Jamarr [today],” said Friedgen. “I thought his fundamentals were better. I thought his reads were better. The guy that kind of showed some improvement was C.J. Brown. I thought he did some things better than he did in the spring. I sat in a meeting with him and to me he was a lot sharper than he has been, so maybe he’s starting to mature a little bit.”
Notable: Avery Murray, who was the listed as the backup at Mike linebacker behind Alex Wujciak, has left the team for personal reasons. Sophomore Ryan Donohue moves up a spot on the depth chart. Redshirt freshman De’Onte Arnett, a reserve defensive tackle, will also miss preseason camp. He was diagnosed with a cyst on his ankle and will be out of action about six weeks. Taylor Watson is the only other member of the two-deep who will not be a part of the 105-man preseason roster. Watson had knee surgery in the spring and is not expected back until next month.
The Canes had a walk-through practice Tuesday morning on the Greentree Practice Fields. They spent just under an hour on the practice fields sharpening up for the first fall scrimmage Wednesday night. After working through positional drills, the team came together and spent the rest of the session in 11-on-11, two-minute drill work.
Defensive highlights: In the two-minute drill, the first-team defense forced a quick three-and-out, and only allowed one score the rest of the session. Among the highlights were a DeMarcus Van Dyke pass breakup, a Marcus Forston quarterback hurry and a Luther Robinson sack.
Offensive highlights: Tight end Chase Ford may have turned in his best showing of camp on Tuesday. Ford caught a first down pass over the middle on a third a long before later scoring the session’s only touchdown on a 40-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline.
Up next: Wednesday’s scrimmage is closed to the public. Following the scrimmage, the team will take its first day off from camp on Thursday before returning to the practice fields for its first two-a-day on Friday.
The Deacs practiced in pads for the first time.
Jim Grobe says: “We didn’t have the greatest practice mentally but it was a good night effort wise. The guys are working real hard, flying around and bumping into each other. We have a lot in right now offensively and defensively and the young guys are a little flustered but at least when they're making mistakes, they’re making them in a hurry.”
On the competition: “We have nine seniors and quite a bit of juniors but some of our most talented guys at spots are freshmen and sophomores. So there is quite a bit of competition right now and there are number of spots were you can feel comfortable at the top of the depth chart one day and be at the bottom of the chart the next. It’s a good position for us because we don’t just have guys that are talented at the top and there’s no one pushing them. We have talent at every position and guys know they have to come out to practice each day and get after it.”
On the quarterbacks: “We have a great group of guys right now at quarterback. I think you get a little concerned if you don’t have any talent back there but we have three or four guys that have enough talent to win. What we’re looking for right now is a guy who makes very few mental mistakes and does not turn the football over. That’s going to be the key. The flashiest guys, the fastest guy, the guy with the best arm may not end up being our quarterback. It’s going to be the guy that doesn’t get us beat. The guy that takes care of the ball the best and makes the fewest mental mistakes is probably going to be the guy.”
Up next: The Deacons continue to practice this week as they prepare for their first intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday at 2 p.m. at BB&T Field. The team will practice again Wednesday evening from 8-10 p.m. at the Doc Martin Practice Complex on campus.
Quarterback: The Eagles can’t afford to be in another situation where nobody on the roster has had a snap of collegiate experience like they were heading into 2009. This is the class where coach Frank Spaziani can build the future of the program at this position.
Running back: Montel Harris is one of the best running backs in the ACC, but he’s not invincible. After the transfer of backup Josh Haden midway through last season, the Eagles were forced to depend on Harris and only Harris. It’s time to bring in some help.
Wide receiver: BC will graduate three seniors from the two-deep in Justin Jarvis, Clarence Megwa and record-setter Rich Gunnell. Quarterback Dave Shinskie will be better in Year 2, but now he’ll have to help usher in a new supporting cast.
Wide receiver: The Tigers will have to replace standout Jacoby Ford in 2010, but they’ll also have to prepare for the losses of Xavier Dye and Terrance Ashe, who will be seniors in 2010. It was a position of concern heading into 2009 and will be again.
Defensive backs: Two of the most experienced starting cornerbacks in the conference -- Chris Chancellor and Crezdon Butler -- have to be replaced, but the staff also has to look ahead. Next year, the Tigers will lose All-American safety DeAndre McDaniel, free safety Marcus Gilchrist and cornerback Byron Maxwell.
Linebacker: FSU’s biggest loss here will be Dekoda Watson, but two other players on the two-deep are juniors. The Noles were hurting at every position defensively, and while the bulk of players return, they need an overall upgrade in talent.
Defensive line: Save for defensive end Markus White, who will be a senior, and Budd Thacker, who will have to be replaced, this was a relatively young group. Still, the Noles struggled to stop the run and fluster quarterbacks most of the season, and it all starts up front.
Secondary: FSU will lose cornerback Patrick Robinson, Korey Mangum and Jamie Robinson. The addition of Lamarcus Joyner should give this unit an immediate boost.
Secondary: Three starters -- Anthony Wiseman, Jamari McCollough and Terrell Skinner -- were all seniors, and standout Nolan Carroll, who was injured, will also have to be replaced. It’s time to usher in the next wave of talent here.
Linebackers/ends: The staff needs to find players here who can better fit defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme. Some of those linebackers could end up being defensive end/hybrid players, but the Terps need some speed off the edge.
Linemen: The Pack will lose three starters on the offensive line and all four on the defensive line. Those positions are what almost half of the staff’s commitment list is comprised of so far, and the depth at those positions had to be completely rebuilt under Tom O’Brien. Some junior college transfers could help.
Halfback: With the news that Toney Baker decided to forgo his sixth year of eligibility, and the graduation of fifth-year senior Jamelle Eugene, it couldn’t hurt the Pack to start to reload at this position.
Offensive line: Seven members on the two-deep roster were redshirt seniors in 2009, and one, starting center Russell Nenon, was a redshirt junior. Three starters will have to be replaced in 2010.
Tight end: This position will be very thin, but the staff has added two in this year’s recruiting class. Wake could also help itself by adding a fullback or two to help with the blocking.
Linebackers: It was a unit comprised mainly of redshirt seniors and juniors in 2009, so the Deacs will have immediate holes there, as well as the need to restock for the future.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
It's been an indecisive day for Clemson receiver Xavier Dye. This morning, coach Dabo Swinney told the Dan Scott show on WCCP in Clemson that Dye had decided to leave the program. Since that 11:45 a.m. interview, Swinney met with Dye, who has changed his mind and will stay at Clemson.
This was little more than Dye taking this week to hang his head about being demoted from the starting lineup for the Georgia Tech game. He hadn't practiced all week, which is why he's not going to play this week against Boston College.
The Tigers spent all summer looking for another receiver to emerge as a dependable option along with standout Jacoby Ford, and Dye was in the mix of inconsistency. He caught one pass for four yards as a starter against Middle Tennessee and was then relegated to the bench last week. Marquan Jones (three catches for 108 yards and one touchdown) hasn't dropped a ball yet, and Terrance Ashe has provided some help, but Swinney is still looking for answers from that group. They wanted to get Brandon Clear a shot last week, but the ball he caught was out of bounds.
If Dye uses this experience as motivation -- which his final decision indicates he might -- it could give the group a boost.
Clemson released its depth chart on Sunday evening, though some caution not to put too much stock into it.
As Clemson beat writer Paul Strelow pointed out in his blog, the most telling names on there are that Marcus Gilchrist is the projected starter at free safety, and Kevin Alexander, a previous starter at defensive end, will play at strongside linebacker.
Look out for Kevin Steele's defense, though. Not only will this group be one of the stingiest defenses in the conference, it will also show a lot of different looks with different formations and guys moving around.
Offensively, the Tigers are clearly going to make the most out of Kyle Parker's arm strength, and he really could be one of the surprise players to emerge in the ACC this fall. Jacoby Ford, will need some help out there, and the early indications are that Xavier Dye and Terrance Ashe are the frontrunners, though coach Dabo Swinney said several times throughout camp the receivers hadn't exactly separated themselves. (I'm told Ford, by the way, is expected to return to practice this week after missing the bulk of the summer with a hamstring injury. Most of that was just precautionary.) The depth chart also indicates the use of two-tight end sets.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Clemson starts practice this evening with a semi-new coach, new coordinators, and much of the same talent that a year ago made this program seem invincible. Will the Tigers be at their best when less is expected of them? Here are three reasons they will, and three reasons they won't:
Why Clemson will win the Atlantic Division
1. The offensive line will be better. The Tigers return all five starters, including veteran leader Thomas Austin. He is slated to start at guard and Mason Cloy will start at center. Cloy started all but one game last year. Sophomore Antoine McClain was the most-improved offensive lineman this past spring and will start at right guard. Chris Hairston and Landon Walker are two returning starters at tackle.
2. The defense will be one of the best in the conference. There are high expectations for this group under the direction of first-year coordinator Kevin Steele. The defensive line returns three of four starters and could be the strength of the entire team. The cornerback duo of Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor is one of the most experienced pairs in the ACC.
3. C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. The potential to have a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver is something most coaches probably envy. This could be the nation's fastest receiver/running back combination. Both have been All-Americans for Clemson's track team the past three years. With James Davis and Aaron Kelly gone, it's their show now.
Why Clemson won't win the Atlantic Division
1. Inconsistency at quarterback. It's bound to happen, especially considering we don't know who the quarterback will be, or whether both Kyle Parker and Willy Korn will be used. Korn has the most experience, but neither has gone through an entire season shouldering the responsibility of full-time starter, and that can take some time to get used to.
2. Unproven head coach and OC. At the age of 30, Billy Napier will be the youngest offensive coordinator in school history. Only time will tell if it was wise to promote the wide receivers coach to head coach and the tight ends coach to offensive coordinator. Together Napier and Dabo Swinney helped lead the Tigers to a bowl game last season, but now they're facing the same pressures Tommy Bowden once did -- win the ACC title. It's not like either of them has a similar FBS experience to draw from.
3. Unproven receivers. Somebody is going to have to help Ford out, and right now the staff doesn't know who will come through. Xavier Dye, Marquan Jones and Terrance Ashe all return, but none had more than six catches a year ago.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Probable: Jamelle Eugene, HB, ankle injury
Out: Alan-Michael Cash, DT, knee surgery; Curtis Crouch, OG, foot injury; Anthony Hill, TE, pectoralis strain; Geron James, WR, ankle injury; Clem Johnson, S, broken jaw; Jeff Rieskamp, DE, shoulder injury
Jamie Cumbie, DT, broken wrist, out
Rashaad Jackson, DT, knee, out
Chris Hairston, OT, Knee, out
Barry Humphries, OG, knee, out
Terrance Ashe, WR, sprained ankle, probable
Scotty Cooper, LB, flu, probable
Dawson Zimmerman, P, pulled hamstring, probable
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
It doesn't matter that Clemson is playing an FCS opponent this week in South Carolina State.
Tommy Bowden is sending a message to his team at practice today there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The Tigers will go out in full pads and hit each other, and if somebody else gets hurt, so be it.
"We've got to get better," Bowden said. "Especially when you've got young linemen. We've got young linemen on defense, too, with [defensive tackles] Rashaad [Jackson] and [Jamie] Cumbie out. The only way to get better is to have collisions and to have contact at full speed. Good on good.
"You've got to see live bullets. I think they'll get the idea today. If I said we were going out in shorts or shells or something like that, cut the practice down ... this is not going to be that type of week, regardless of the competition, whether we play Maryland or Wake Forest or South Carolina State. This is where the program is. This is what we need to work on because of injury, because of whatever."
Bowden said fundamental tackling needs to improve, as does the offensive line's footwork and ability to make quick decisions.
"There's just a whole bunch of work to do," Bowden said. "... If we want to remain in the hunt, there's just a whole bunch of work we've got to do. We'll make them feel that sense of urgency. I don't want to sound doom and gloom, but this is kind of the state of the union as it is."
Here's Clemson's injury report:
Rashaad Jackson (DT) -- out until at least midseason due to a knee injury that required surgery in August.
Barry Humphries (OG) -- suffered knee injury vs. Alabama and will miss at least through September.
Terrance Ashe (WR) -- Sustained sprained ankle against Alabama. Missed The Citadel and NC State games. Questionable for SC State.
Jamie Cumbie (DT) -- Broken wrist, out for year
Chris Hairston (OT) -- Sustained bruised knee in motor scooter accident. Missed NC State game and is doubtful for SC State.
Brandon Maye (LB) -- Missed the NC State game due to the flu. Probable for SC State.
Dawson Zimmerman (P) -- Suffered pulled hamstring in pregame for NC State. Questionable for SC State.