ACC: Vic Hall

Virginia spring wrap

May, 7, 2010
2009 overall record: 3-9

2009 conference record: 2-6

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense: 6, punter/kicker 2

Top returners

WR Kris Burd, QB Marc Verica, DE Matt Conrath, LB Steve Greer, CB Ras-I Dowling

Key losses

WR Vic Hall, T Will Barker, C Jack Shields, QB Jameel Sewell, FB Rashawn Jackson, NG Nate Collins, CB Chris Cook, LB Denzel Burrell, TB Mikell Simpson

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Jackson (461 yards)

Passing: Sewell (1,848 yds)

Receiving: Burd* (413 yds)

Tackles: Greer* (92)

Sacks: Collins (6)

Interceptions: Cook (4)

Spring answers

1. Johnson’s move a hit. Cam Johnson’s move from linebacker to defensive end proved beneficial, as he returned an interception 51 yards in the Cavaliers’ spring game. Johnson, who started 10 of the 12 games he played in last year, showed he can transition to playing with his hand on the ground.

2. Aboushi a boost up front. Offensive tackle Oday Aboushi could be Virginia’s next stellar lineman. He’ll only be a sophomore, but he showed this spring he can help plug up some holes in an offensive line that was rather porous last year. Aboushi played in late in the Clemson game and he held his own as a freshman last year.

3. Mending fences. First-year coach Mike London has been working the crowd and winning it over by making the staff more approachable. He held a scrimmage at Old Dominion, and had been rebuilding relationships with high school coaches and media throughout the state.

Fall questions

1. Which Verica will show this fall? The one who was pushed into duty without experience two years ago and performed well, or the one who last year struggled in mop-up duty? Verica said he avoided turnovers during every team drill this spring, but threw two interceptions in the spring game. Verica is the only player on the roster who has attempted a pass in a game.

2. Kicking competition. Last year, the kicking duties were done by committee. This year, London would like to find one player capable of PATs, field goals and kickoffs. Robert Randolph handled most of the field goal duties last year. Drew Jarrett handled the PATs at the end of the year and Chris Hinkebein did kickoffs. Hinkebein has the strongest but least accurate leg.

3. Defensive transition. How will the players adjust to their new roles in the transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme? London has moved a lot of players into positions where he’s trying to get speed on the field. LaRoy Reynolds and LoVante Battle moved from the secondary to strongside linebacker. Ausar Walcott moved from defensive back to whip linebacker, and other players -- like Conrath -- have moved from defensive end to tackle.

Virginia pro day highlights

March, 19, 2010
Ten former Virginia players auditioned on Thursday for representatives from more than two dozen NFL teams on campus, including former fullback Rashawn Jackson, who is listed as the No. 1 fullback Insider in this year's NFL draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper. Virginia does not release its pro day results, but Jeff White reported on the event, as did Jay Jenkins.

Other former Cavs who participated included defensive lineman Nate Collins, cornerback Chris Cook, offensive lineman Will Barker, linebackers Denzel Burrell and Darren Childs, running back Mikell Simpson, quarterback Jameel Sewell, safety Brandon Woods and athlete Vic Hall. Both Cook and Jackson participated in last month's NFL combine and didn't fully participate in Thursday's drills.

We'll go ahead and consider these unofficial results, but here are a few highlights, according to both reports:

  • Hall bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times, only three fewer than Barker and Collins. He ran his second 40-yard dash in about 4.4 seconds.
  • Collins ran the 40 in about 4.9 seconds.

According to the Daily Progress:
"Sewell posted a 4.58 according to one stopwatch and Collins added another in 4.93. Mikell Simpson was timed unofficially at 4.69 and 4.60, numbers that do not compare well to running backs who were invited to the NFL combine."

Jackson actually played tailback for most of his senior year and led the team in rushing with 461 yards on 96 carries, but he told White "I think I'm a fullback." Kiper seems to agree:
Jackson gets a nod here because he had to step in and carry the ball a lot. He's had better production than the tailbacks, with 96 carries for 461 yards. His ability to block well is a bonus. Versatile fullbacks are valued commodities in some systems.

ACC position superlatives: Virginia

March, 11, 2010
We continue our strong and weak series today with Virginia:

Strongest position: Defensive backs

Key returnees: S Rodney McLeod, CB Ras-I Dowling

Key departures: CB Chris Cook, S Brandon Woods

The skinny: The Cavaliers return six of eight players on their final two-deep roster of the 2009 season, including Dowling, who opted to return for his senior season instead of enter the NFL draft. Dowling will be the face and leader of not only the defense this year, but also of probably the whole team. He was fifth on the team in tackles and broke up eight passes. The Cavaliers also return Chase Minnifield, who had two interceptions last year and played in all 12 games, and Corey Mosley, who played in every game and had 47 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Weakest position: Running back

Key returnees: Torrey Mack, Dominique Wallace

Key departures: Mikell Simpson, Rashawn Jackson

The skinny: The Cavs have to replace their four leading rushers in Simpson, Jackson, receiver Vic Hall and quarterback Jameel Sewell. That might not be so bad, considering Virginia ranked 112th in the country last year in rushing offense. True freshman Kevin Parks is an option, but the staff will also look at Mack, who played sparingly in nine games last year, and Wallace, who had just seemed to be coming on at Southern Miss when he was injured and missed the rest of the season.

What to watch in the ACC this spring

February, 15, 2010
Here's a breakdown of three issues facing each program heading into the spring:


Spring practice starts: March 18

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• How linebacker Mark Herzlich progresses. Herzlich, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer last May, has been going through winter conditioning with his teammates, and he plans on participating in spring drills. How quickly he regains his form will be worth watching, as he and sophomore Luke Kuechly could give the Eagles one of the most formidable linebacking corps.

• The quarterback battle. After one season, Dave Shinskie has the most experience on the roster, but he’ll get some competition from Josh Bordner and Chase Rettig, two early enrollees. There were times last season when Shinskie looked like the future of the position and there were others when he looked like any other freshman.

• Defensive linemen. For the second straight year, BC is looking for some stability up front. The Eagles have to replace left tackle Austin Giles and defensive end Jim Ramella. They return Kaleb Ramsey, Giles’ backup, and Brad Newman, Ramella’s reserve, but some young faces are likely to be seen in the rotation.


Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Life without C.J. Spiller officially begins. The backs behind him had a pretty good year, so there’s no need for full panic mode. Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington actually combined for a higher yards per carry average (6.1 to 5.6 yards). Clemson will also be looking to replace Spiller’s lost kickoff return yardage. The Tigers had a 13-yard advantage in average starting field position, as their start was their own 37-yard line compared to opponents’ 24-yard line. Ellington is a candidate in the return game.

• Kyle Parker’s batting average. No, really. How well Parker does this spring with the baseball team will help determine whether he remains Clemson’s quarterback or turns to the MLB draft. He didn’t have a great 2009 season, but he was still the fastest player to 25 home runs in school history. It remains to be seen this spring if he’ll become a high enough draft choice to give up college football.

• Secondary shuffling. It seems like eons ago since Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor weren’t the Tigers’ starting corners, as Butler started 40 straight games and Chancellor started 42. Butler finished his career second in school history in interception return yards. Now it’s time for a new duo. Will Marcus Gilchrist move to corner, which he’s capable of doing? Might Rashard Hall move to safety with DeAndre McDaniel?


Spring practice starts: Feb. 14

Spring game: March 27

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Somebody has to take over for the graduated Thaddeus Lewis, but his backup – Sean Renfree – will miss the spring with a torn ACL. Redshirt freshman Sean Schroeder should be heavily in the mix to be the starter, pending Renfree’s recovery.

• Defensive line makeover. It’s wide open. Charlie Hatcher is entrenched at nose guard, but it’s really anyone’s game. The staff might move redshirt senior Wesley Oglesby, who played the majority of his career at defensive end, inside. Other options are defensive tackle Sydney Sarmiento, a redshirt freshman, and Curtis Hazelton, who played sparingly last season.

• Johnny Williams’ move from wide receiver to cornerback. He had 31 catches in 2009 – the fourth-best on the team. Now they need his help in the defensive backfield. Duke will lose starter Leon Wright and his 10 career interceptions, and the pass defense, which allowed 215.75 yards per game, could use a boost.


Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Christian Ponder’s return from shoulder surgery. Ponder is expected to practice this spring, though it could be on a limited basis, at least early. He’s ahead of schedule, but the coaches won’t subject him to any risks now. Yes, E.J. Manuel is talented and played well at the end of the season, but make no mistake – Ponder is FSU’s starter and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.

• The defense under first-year coordinator Mark Stoops. His secondary, in particular, will be interesting to watch, as will how quickly he can help the front seven generate a pass rush and plug the middle. Stoops has been a secondary coach, and the Noles lost three starters there. The fourth, Ochuko Jenije, could be pushed to retain his job.

• New faces, new opportunities. In addition to the fab freshmen who are coming in, FSU has a handful of unfamiliar players already on the roster who played sparingly or not at all. We'll see how they fit in this spring. RS-So DT Anthony McCloud and RS-So RB Debrale Smiley are both junior college transfers and former teammates. Physically, freshman linebacker Jeff Luc is already a man, but how quickly can he mature on the field? Two young wide receivers worth watching are Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead.


Spring practice starts: March 29

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The defensive transformation. The Jackets will switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 under first-year coordinator Al Groh. In addition to learning the new scheme, the staff has to figure out who goes where. Linebackers might play defensive end and vice versa, safeties might play outside linebacker. It’s anyone’s guess as to how this team lines up in the spring.

• The replacements. From Georgia Tech’s coaching staff to the new faces who will be tasked with filling in for the Fab Four -- Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett and Demaryius Thomas -- the Jackets will need some “Hello My Name Is” tags this spring.

• The offensive line. Three offensive linemen redshirted who could start, and Georgia Tech might need them to, especially if guard Joseph Gilbert decides to transfer to pursue his MBA. The Jackets lose two starters on the offensive line, and Gilbert, who graduates this spring, would be a third if he leaves. Center Sean Bedford and tackle Austin Barrick return as seniors.


Spring practice starts: March 23

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. Chris Turner has graduated, leaving Jamarr Robinson the top option going into the spring, but he has limited experience. The staff liked what he did when Turner was injured, but Danny O’Brien, Miami (Ohio) transfer Clay Belton and C.J. Brown will all be given an opportunity. Look for O’Brien to start the spring at No. 2 on the depth chart.

• Cornerback: Cameron Chism is the only returning starter in the secondary, but right now the staff has fewer concerns about the safeties. Maryland will have to find some bodies at corner, and Dexter McDougle, who redshirted as a true freshman last year, is one option. Michael Carter and Trenton Hughes, who was the third corner last year, are also among a handful of candidates.

• The offensive line. Losing Bruce Campbell to the NFL hurt, but the Terps also lost starter Phil Costa. Justin Gilbert, a redshirt sophomore, could inherit Campbell’s job. And there’s always Mr. Versatility -- Paul Pinegar. He has helped the Terps at both tackle spots and left guard, and this spring he’ll likely be given a shot at center.


Spring practice starts: Feb. 23

Spring game: March 27 (tentative)

What to watch:

• Tight end/offensive line: Jimmy Graham is gone, and the Canes don’t return any tight ends with any experience other than Richard Gordon, who was injured the majority of last season. Miami signed four tight ends in this recruiting class, but none of them were early enrollees. Miami has to replace three starters up front, including both tackles and the center.

• How the two young quarterbacks perform: The health of Jacory Harris was precious last year, as he had nobody behind him with any experience after the transfers of Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. The depth has improved a bit with A.J. Highsmith, who played sparingly last year, and Stephen Morris, one of the early enrollees.

• Upgrade on the d-line? Progress up front began with the hire of Rick Petri as defensive line coach, and it’s up to Petri to help the Canes become better pass rushers. Miami will depend upon its two mainstays -- Allen Bailey and Josh Holmes. The right end position was a group effort last year, and Miami has to replace Joe Joseph and Eric Moncur.


Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback T.J. Yates. It’s his job to lose, and the coaching staff still has confidence in him, but Bryn Renner is waiting in the wings, and Braden Hanson will also be given an opportunity. The staff is looking for the offense to improve its passing efficiency and cut down on turnovers.

• The offensive line. It was a patchwork effort in 2009, thanks to injuries and inexperience, and will be a major key in how much UNC improves offensively this year. The Heels have to replace two starters, and Jonathan Cooper is likely to move from guard to center, and right guard Alan Pelc will miss spring drills while recovering from shoulder surgery.

• Defensive line tweaks. There aren’t many questions on a defense that should be one of the best in the country, but somebody has to replace Cam Thomas and defensive end E.J. Wilson. Tydreke Powell is the frontrunner to take over at defensive tackle and Quinton Coples at defensive end. Both were backups last year at their respective positions.


Spring practice starts: March 9

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• Backup quarterback Mike Glennon. Russell Wilson is the starter, but he’s going to be playing baseball all spring. Keep an eye on his backup to see if Glennon can make it any more of a competition in Wilson’s absence.

• Chris Ward at punter. No, it’s not usually, the highlight of the spring, but in this case, it’s necessary. Ward is it -- he’s their only option right now, and it’s a position the Pack struggled with last year. Ward was expected to be the starter last season, but he was inconsistent. He’s definitely got the talent to be the guy.

• The recovery of linebacker Nate Irving. After being severely injured in a one-car crash last summer, Irving is hopeful he can go through spring drills. He has been lifting with the team and running with the sports medicine staff, but it’s still uncertain how limited his contact will be.


Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Marc Verica is the only one with any experience, and first-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor hasn’t been in Charlottesville long enough to evaluate any of the candidates. That’s what the spring is for, and true freshman Michael Strauss is the lone incoming quarterback on campus, so he’ll have a head start on the playbook. Of the four quarterbacks Virginia signed in this year’s class, Strauss is the only one listed as a true quarterback. The Cavs also have Ross Metheny, who redshirted last year, and Riko Smalls, who redshirted in ‘08 and was No. 2 on the depth chart when Verica was out with a concussion.

• Coaching transition. First-year coach Mike London has hired almost an entirely new staff, and they’ll bring changes in philosophy and scheme. London has said he wants to get the defense back to the traditional 4-3, and revert to the tradition of featuring the tight ends, offensive linemen and running backs.

• Running back. The Cavs will have the help up front, but they need to replace their four leading rushers in Mikell Simpson, Rashawn Jackson, Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell. The staff will look at true freshman Kevin Parks, but also have Torrey Mack and Dominique Wallace, who had just seemed to be coming on at Southern Miss when he was injured and missed the rest of the season.


Spring practice starts: March 31

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• Revamped defensive line. The Hokies have to replace three of four starters up front. The only defensive ends with significant playing time are Chris Drager, who the staff wanted to move back to tight end, and Steven Friday. Redshirt freshmen will be given a chance – Duan Perez-Means, Tyrel Wilson, James Gayle and J.R. Collins – but they’ve never played. Isaiah Hamlette is the only other end who’s played and that was a skinny minute. At defensive tackle, Antoine Hopkins will be the frontrunner to replace Cordarrow Thompson.

• Darren Evans’ comeback. Evans, the team’s leading rusher in 2008, is working his way back from a season-ending ACL injury, and one of the biggest questions in Blacksburg is how the staff will divide the carries in such a talented backfield that includes Ryan Williams. With two returning 1,000-yard rushers, will David Wilson decide to redshirt? The spring will help him in that decision.

• The evolution of Tyrod Taylor. He’s going to be a senior, and with so many questions on defense heading into the season, the offense will be leading the way. This should be a breakout year for Taylor, who by now should have mastered the offense and should consistently be a passing threat to compliment his running abilities.


Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. It’s the most glaring hole the Deacs have to fill this spring, as they’re tasked with replacing the winningest quarterback in school history, Riley Skinner, and his backup, Ryan McManus. Redshirt sophomores Ted Stachitas and Skylar Jones, and sophomore Brendan Cross, will compete with rookie Tanner Price for the top spot.

• Offensive line. The Deacs will take a huge hit here, as seven players in the two-deep depth chart were redshirt seniors, including all four tackles. Three starters have to be replaced.

• The interior defensive line. Nose guard Boo Robinson and John Russell have graduated, and Russell’s backup, Michael Lockett, was also a redshirt senior. The Deacs are in good shape at the ends, but will need some help inside.

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, Wesley Oglesby, Russell Wilson, Darren Evans, Christian Ponder, Ochuko Jenije, Chris Drager, Cam Thomas, Demaryius THomas, Justin Gilbert, Isaiah Hamlette, Marc Verica, Rashawn Jackson, A.J. Highsmith, Boo Robinson, Torrey Mack, Trenton Hughes, Quinton Coples, Chris turner, Phil Costa, Cannon Smith, Jamarr Robinson, Mike Glennon, Tyrod Taylor, David Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Cameron Chism, Jamie Harper, CHris Chancellor, Michael Carter, Ryan McManus, Joseph Gilbert, Brad Newman, Antoine Hopkins, Sean Renfree, Dave Shinskie, Cordarrow Thompson, Richard Gordon, Mikell Simpson, Austin Barrick, Johnny Williams, Morgan Burnett, E.J. Wilson, Paul Pinegar, Tydreke Powell, Bryn Renner, Jacory Harris, Riley Skinner, Joe Joseph, Skylar Jones, Derrick Morgan, T.J. Yates, Braden Hanson, Sean Bedford, Jonathan Dwyer, C.J. Brown, John Russell, Jameel Sewell, Allen Bailey, Mike London, Nate Irving, Rodney Smith, Marcus Gilchrist, Mark Herzlich, Taylor Cook, Willie Haulstead, Andre Ellington, Josh Holmes, Thaddeus Lewis, E.J. Manuel, Leon Wright, Crezdon Butler, Ryan Williams, C.J. Spiller, Kaleb Ramsey, James Gayle, Eric Moncur, Jonathan Cooper, Bruce Campbell, Ted Stachitas, Jim Ramella, Danny O'Brien, Luke Kuechly, Sean Schroeder, Tyrel Wilson, Dominique Wallace, Austin Giles, Mark Stoops, Brendan Cross, Stephen Morris, Rick Petri, Bill Lazor, Chase Rettig, Michael Strauss, Tanner Price, Anthony McCloud, Debrale Smiley, Josh Bordner, Kyle Paker, Rahsard Hall, DeAndrew McDaniel, Charlie Hatcher, Sydney Sarmiento, Chris Hazelton, Clay Belton, Dexter McDougle, Chris Ward, Ross Metheny, Roko Smalls, Kevin Parks, Duan Perez-Means, J.R. Collins, Michael Lockett

ACC recruiting needs: Coastal Division

January, 25, 2010
Here's a look at what the Coastal Division coaches need to address in this year's signing class:


Defensive linemen: Redshirt juniors and seniors comprised the bulk of the two-deep depth chart in 2009, and the recent dismissal of backup John Drew plus the graduation of Vince Oghobaase makes it a position of concern. The interior line needs the most help.

Running back: The Blue Devils never quite got their running game going in 2009 and will have to start to make a push at this position to help break in new starting quarterback Sean Renfree. Re’quan Boyette will have to be replaced.

Offensive line: In looking ahead, the Blue Devils will have six redshirt juniors or seniors up front in 2010. While that’s good news for the immediate future, Duke needs to work ahead for what it will lose in 2011.


Defensive backs: The biggest loss is obviously safety Morgan Burnett to the NFL draft, but the Jackets need to look ahead. Safeties Mario Edwards and Dominique Reese will be redshirt seniors this year, and cornerback Mario Butler will be a senior.

Defensive linemen: For the second year in a row it’s a concern, and thanks in large part to the NFL draft. Derrick Morgan will be missed, but overall this group needs an upgrade.


Offensive line: Three starters will have to be replaced, including the Canes’ top veteran, Jason Fox. Both guard positions are also short-timers, as Orlando Franklin and Joel Figueroa will both be seniors this fall.

Linebacker: Darryl Sharpton is the lone senior departing, but this unit could use more depth. It’s been a problem since Randy Shannon took over. And while the staff has made progress, injuries have continuously depleted the group.

Secondary: The Canes will have to replace Chavez Grant and Randy Phillips, and DeMarcus VanDyke will be a senior. Miami improved its interceptions in 2009, but not by much, ranking No. 87 in the country with nine. Of course, it helps to get pressure up front to force quarterbacks into those mistakes.


Offensive line: This is where the Tar Heels’ offensive improvement needs to start, and it didn’t help that this year’s unit was battered and bruised most of the season. Two starters will have to be replaced this year and five more of the top players in the rotation will be seniors in 2010.

Linebacker: UNC needs to reload at this position, and it's taking the right steps in that direction with this class. Although Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter elected to return, it’s only a matter of time before the talented seniors have to be replaced.


Quarterback: The Cavs have a lot of questions about this position heading into 2010 and beyond. The good news is that Michael Strauss has already enrolled this semester, so he’ll get an early start with spring ball.

Playmakers: Vague, yes, but it’s exactly what this program needs. Part of the reason Gregg Brandon’s spread offense didn’t work was because he didn’t have the personnel to execute it. Virginia will lose its most versatile player in Vic Hall, will have to replace fullback Rashawn Jackson, and needs more than just Mikell Simpson.


Linemen: The Hokies will need help on both sides of the ball, particularly interior defensive linemen. Six of the eight players on the 2009 two-deep defensive line were either juniors or seniors. Starters Ed Wang and Sergio Render will have to be replaced on the offensive line this year.

Defensive backs: This unit will be hit hard with departures in the next two seasons, as starters Kam Chancellor and Stephan Virgil have to be replaced in 2010, and Rashad Carmichael and Davon Morgan will be seniors.

Quarterback. With Tyrod Taylor being a senior next year, the staff will have to look ahead. There’s a lot of inexperience and question marks behind him. The one thing they don’t need in Blacksburg? Running backs.

ACC's lunchtime links

November, 25, 2009
Savor these links, because you'll be starving for them tomorrow ...

  • Great news -- BC linebacker Mark Herzlich's cancer treatments are over.
  • The power has shifted from Georgia to Georgia Tech.
  • Wake Forest safety Josh Bush had a serious medical condition that gave coach Jim Grobe a scare. Without Bush in the lineup, the Deacs' secondary is thin heading into their game against Duke and standout quarterback Thaddeus Lewis.
  • Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen is trying to stay focused on Boston College, but the noise surrounding his future is growing louder in College Park.
  • Can Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor continue his impressive streak without an interception this weekend? Virginia's talented secondary might have something to say about that.
  • Ron Morris writes that Clemson should sit C.J. Spiller for the Tigers' game against rival South Carolina this week, and he makes a convincing argument for it.
  • It's going to be loud at Florida this weekend, and FSU did what it could to prepare the players for it at practice this week.
  • Just how much progress has Miami made? The final regular-season game against South Florida will go a long way in determining that.
  • He's rushed for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass, returned an INT for a touchdown and thrown a touchdown pass. And no, it's not C.J. Spiller.
  • Remember this score, 41-10? It's been tough for both UNC and NC State fans to forget.
  • It looks like it's going to be more Bulls, less Gators for Miami on the Canes' future schedules.

Simpson missing again

November, 21, 2009
CLEMSON, S.C. -- After being the best offensive option the Cavaliers had in the first half, Virginia tailback Mikell Simpson has disappeared again. Why? Why no Simpson for the first two series of the second half? It's almost as baffling as Simpson not playing at all last weekend against BC. Without Simpson, Virginia's offense has stalled so far. It doesn't matter if Jameel Sewell or Vic Hall is getting the snap. Virginia isn't going to be passing. Not against this secondary. Their best bet is what we saw in the first half -- running it with Simpson. Apparently they left that game plan in the locker room.

ACC injury reports: Week 12

November, 20, 2009
Here are the guys who are down n' out for Week 12 ...



LB Mark Herzlich (illness)


RB Rolandan Finch (illness) - DOUBTFUL

DE Alex Albright (ankle) – QUESTIONABLE

DT Kaleb Ramsey (ankle) – QUESTIONABLE

FB James McCluskey (leg) – QUESTIONABLE

OT Mike Goodman Jr. (illness) – PROBABLE

CB Isaac Johnson (illness) – PROBABLE

DE Jim Ramella (ankle) – PROBABLE

LB Dan Williams (back) – PROBABLE

FS Wes Davis (leg) – PROBABLE

RB Montel Harris (back) – PROBABLE



DaQuan Bowers, DE, knee

Thomas Austin, OG, ankle


WR Austin Kelly (upper body) -- Probable

LB Abraham Kromah (leg) -- Probable

QB Thaddeus Lewis (leg) -- Probable

LB Vincent Rey (leg) -- Probable

K Will Snyderwine (leg) -- Probable

RB Re'quan Boyette (leg) -- OUT

DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- OUT

WR Johnny Williams (knee) -- OUT

RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

OG Mitchell Lederman (foot) -- OUT FOR SEASON

QB Sean Rengree (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON

WR Tyree Watkins (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON



76 OT Garrett Faircloth (hip)

70 OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)

51 LB Aaron Gresham (knee)

44 LB Maurice Harris (neck; out for the season)

62 OG Rodney Hudson (knee)

97 DT Demonte McAllister (knee)

94 DT Justin Mincey (knee)

81 TE Caz Piurowski (knee; out for the season)

7 QB Christian Ponder (shoulder; out for the season)

74 OT John Prior (knee)

27 CB Xavier Rhodes (thumb)

11 LB Vince Williams (back)


9 WR Richard Goodman (groin)



DB Ray-Ray Armstrong – Lower Extremity

QB Jacory Harris – Upper Extremity


LB Sean Spence – Lower Extremity

DB Vaughn Telemaque – Upper Extremity


RB Lee Chambers – Lower Extremity

WR Thearon Collier – Lower Extremity

FB Patrick Hill – Lower Extremity

DB Sam Shields – Lower Extremity

Surgery and Out for the Season

DL Dyron Dye – Lower Extremity

DL Marcus Forston – Lower Extremity

LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity

TE Richard Gordon – Upper Extremity

LB Shayon Green – Lower Extremity

DE Gavin Hardin – Upper Extremity

DB Ryan Hill – Upper Extremity

DB JoJo Nicolas – Upper Extremity

DE Adewale Ojomo – Jaw



Joshua Adams WR Shoulder

AJ Blue RB/QB Knee

Curtis Campbell DB Wrist

David Collins OL Foot

Shaun Draughn TB Shoulder

Carl Gaskins OT Knee

Matt Merletti S Knee

Trevor Stuart DS Knee

Ryan Taylor TE Knee

Jamal Womble TB Wrist


Devon Ramsay FB Ankle

Gene Robinson DB Back



Mario Carter, TE - knee

Ryan Cheek, LB - hip

Denzelle Good, OL – shoulder

T.J. Graham, WR – stress fracture/leg

Steven Howard, WR - knee

Nate Irving, LB - leg

Colby Jackson, FB – knee

R.J. Mattes, OG - knee

Everett Proctor, QB – shoulder

Jeff Rieskamp, DE – sports hernia

Rashard Smith, CB - knee

Javon Walker, S – knee

James Washington, HB - knee



Vic Hall (hip)


Kris Burd (shoulder)

Darren Childs (neck)

Matt Conrath (ankle)

Colter Phillips (leg)

Jameel Sewell (shoulder)


Out for Season

Darren Evans (ACL)


Beau Warren (knee)

Sewell right QB for Virginia

October, 24, 2009
Posted by's Heather Dinich

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia coach Al Groh isn't one to gush over players, but he comes close to it when he talks about Vic Hall. Had Hall not gotten injured earlier in the season, the battle at quarterback might have been extended. But Jameel Sewell used that time to assert himself as the leader of the offense, and since Hall's return, he's proved to be one of their best offensive options. Virginia had a lot of turnover heading into this season, and seems to still be in search of the consistent receivers, but the Sewell-Hall connection is one of the reasons they entered this game with the Coastal Division lead, and one of the reasons they're still in this game.

Maryland leads Virginia 6-3 at the half

October, 17, 2009
Posted by's Heather Dinich

Maryland has 49 passing yards and two turnovers and is somehow still winning. The defense is obviously holding Virginia in check, which is impressive because Jameel Sewell and Vic Hall have been clicking and the Cavaliers' offense looked impressive last weekend against Indiana. The difference is the absence of running back Mikell Simpson, who suffered a neck injury last week. Simpson isn't playing in this game, and his absence is noticeable. The Cavs have minus-one yard rushing.

Virginia finds playmakers

October, 10, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Vic Hall lined up at wide receiver and as a defensive back in the nickel package, and Virginia found some playmakers in its 47-7 romp of Indiana. It was a smart move to use him elsewhere while Jameel Sewell was finding a rhythm the past few weekends as the starting quarterback. Before the season started, the players talked about how this coaching staff would find a way to get its talent on the field, wherever it might be, and they did that today.

"During the week, we practice these situations so that no matter where I line up, I'm ready," said Hall, who also caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Sewell.

Virginia racked up 536 yards of total offense and should have a lot of confidence heading into next weekend's game at Maryland -- especially with the way the Terps are floundering right now at Wake Forest. Still waiting on an update about the injured Mikell Simpson, who scored four touchdowns in this game before he was carted off the field.

Scouting the progress of ACC's backup QBs

October, 2, 2009

Posted by’s Heather Dinich

It’s a good thing for the ACC that backup quarterbacks weren’t needed in September the way they were needed throughout the rest of the country (SEE: Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin, just to name a few). Had Miami’s Jacory Harris or Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor gone down early against the ranked opponents each of those teams faced -- including each other -- the ACC would be in big trouble right now. (Remember the panic, Miami fans, when FSU’s Greg Reid whacked Harris’ funny bone in the opener?)

Here’s to a healthy season in the ACC, and here’s a look at which backup quarterbacks are ready to roll after one month of football:


Sean Renfree, Duke: He’s Duke's quarterback of the future and has already been groomed as such. Renfree has appeared in 13 series, completing 29-of-43 pass attempts for 286 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.

Mike Glennon, NC State: He played in every game except last weekend against Pittsburgh, and has completed 10 of 13 passes for 85 yards. He’s a much more dependable option than the Pack had in the past.

Vic Hall, Virginia: He was actually the starting quarterback in the season opener, and is arguably the most athletic player the Cavaliers have, but injured his hip and hasn’t played since the William & Mary game. He’s a veteran leader who has already proven himself in a multitude of roles. Hall, Jameel Sewell and Marc Verica could all be backups any given Saturday, and they're all experienced and ready to roll. If Sewell is the starter, Hall can play just about anywhere else.

Jaybo Shaw, Georgia Tech: Shaw was finally cleared to play and could make his first appearance of the season this weekend at Mississippi State after breaking his collarbone this summer. He began throwing again on Sept. 7, and proved last year he’s a tough player who can run and pass well.


E.J. Manuel, Florida State: He’s definitely gotten more hype than he has playing time this fall, as Manuel played in two games and has completed just 1-of-2 passes for four yards. Manuel, recruited by Jimbo Fisher, was an ESPNU 150 prospect and the No. 6 ranked quarterback in the class of 2008.

Willy Korn, Clemson: Well, it’s more like he HAD the hype. It’s hard to believe Korn was the No. 12 quarterback in the class of 2007. Korn was relegated to the bench this summer in favor of Kyle Parker and has only played in two games. He’s also expressed his displeasure in the fact he’s only thrown two passes this year.

A.J. Highsmith, Miami: He earned a quick promotion after Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith both transferred, but all Highsmith has so far is hype and pedigree. He’s the son of former Miami and NFL running back Alonzo Highsmith, and was the No. 24-ranked quarterback in the class of 2009.


Ju-Ju Clayton, Virginia Tech – The former scout team quarterback was in on 23 snaps against Marshall, but threw three incompletions. Clayton won the job over Marcus Davis this past spring, who was moved to wide receiver. If Taylor is injured, uncertainty is the only thing behind him.

Jamarr Robinson, Maryland – The fact that Chris Turner has been sacked 14 times and hasn’t missed a snap makes you wonder about the confidence Ralph Friedgen has in his backup. Robinson, who was promoted after Josh Portis transferred, hasn’t seen the field yet.

Ryan McManus, Wake Forest – The redshirt senior is also a holder and backup longsnapper. He played against Elon and completed 1-of-4 passes, the only four plays he was in on as quarterback.

Justin Tuggle, Boston College – There wasn’t much separation between Tuggle and Dave Shinskie until the Wake Forest game, as both of them started with zero experience. Both have been used in every game, but it’s unclear where Tuggle’s future is headed. He has 229 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions so far.

Braden Hanson, North Carolina – He was given a shot ahead of Mike Paulus this year, and was 0-for-2 with one interception in his only chance against The Citadel, but they’re both listed as the backups this week. Neither has proven anything yet.

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 18, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

It's Friday. Miami looked very good. Now let's see how the Hokies perform ...

ACC injury reports

September, 18, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The weekly injury reports have all come in (some come in much later than others, which is why I wait until Friday mornings to do this). If you don't see 'em, they weren't sent. Maryland will miss Bruce Campbell again, Duke has a handful of key players who could miss the game at Kansas, including Vince Oghobaasse, Virginia is likely to be without Vic Hall, and Boston College will be without defensive tackle Damik Scafe. Not good news for any of those teams. It looks like UNC might -- might -- get Jonathan Cooper back on the offensive line. That would be a huge help.

Here are the full reports:


FB James McCluskey (Achilles) – OUT

LB Will Thompson (shoulder) – DOUBTFUL

WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee) – DOUBTFUL

LB Mike McLaughlin (Achilles) – DOUBTFUL

DT Damik Scafe (Neck/Shoulder) – DOUBTFUL


Out for the Season

J.K. Jay, OT, back


Michael Palmer, TE, hip


RB Re'quan Boyette (ankle) -- Probable

TE Danny Parker (ankle) -- Probable

RB Jay Hollingsworth (ankle) -- Questionable

DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- Questionable

WR Conner Vernon (ankle) -- Doubtful

RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT

CB Randez James (hand) -- OUT

S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON



OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)

LB Aaron Gresham (knee)

DT Demonte McAllister (knee)

DT Justin Mincey (knee)

OT John Prior (knee)

LB Vince Williams (back)


RV Korey Mangum (shoulder)


Out for season:

Nolan Carroll (leg)


Louis Berman (leg)

Bruce Campbell (foot)

Jamari McCollough (foot)

Caleb Porzel (leg)

Joe Vellano (foot)


Tony Logan (shoulder)


Out (Season)

Carl Gaskins OL Knee

Matt Merletti S Knee

Out (Game)

Lowell Dyer C Shoulder

Dwight Jones WR Knee

Zack Pianalto TE Foot

Ryan Taylor TE Knee


Linwan Euwell LB Ankle

LeCount Fantroy CB Thigh


Jonathan Cooper OG Ankle

Devon Ramsay RB Thigh



Mario Carter, TE - knee

Denzelle Good, OL - shoulder

Nate Irving, LB - leg

Colby Jackson, FB - knee

Everett Proctor, QB - shoulder


Jamelle Eugene, HB - knee

Clem Johnson, S - thigh

Jeff Rieskamp, DE - hip

Jay Smith, WR - flu

Jake Vermiglio, OT - lower leg

Javon Walker, DB - knee

Julian Williams, OG/OT - flu

Johnson will be replaced by either Brandan Bishop or Justin Byers; Williams will be replaced by Andrew Wallace.



Bobby Smith (knee)


Vic Hall (hip)


Mikell Simpson (leg)


Denzel Burrell (hip)

BJ Cabbell (ankle)

Nate Collins (knee)

Matt Conrath (spine)

Chris Cook (hip)

John-Kevin Dolce (foot)

Ausar Walcott (knee)


Greg Boone (SC joint sprain) - probable

Stephan Virgil (knee) - questionable

ACC's game-day links

September, 12, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Good morning, ACC fans! It's Week 2! Every week counts. Let's kick it off with a few links:
  • Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and the other seniors on the team met this week to regroup from their loss to Richmond, and Lewis said the team knows what it needs to do to have a successful season.
  • BC coach Frank Spaziani is expecting a better contest against Kent State today than some might think. The Eagles are favored to win, but how much more will they learn about themselves before heading into ACC play? They're definitely expecting to face some adversity today.
  • Maryland, having faced Cal the past two years home and away, would probably agree with Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh:

"It seems any time a west-coast team goes to the east coast, they schedule a noon game, and when east coast teams travel west, they schedule a game as late as possible," Harbaugh told the Associated Press. "We're thinking of every way to screw with each other."

Stanford is on the receiving end of that deal today when it will get an early start against Wake Forest.

  • NC State offensive lineman R.J. Mattes is trying to follow in his father's footsteps and they've already got one thing in common -- Tom O'Brien.
  • UNC isn't likely to have three blocked punts against UConn again today, but coach Butch Davis is still looking for improvement on special teams from last weekend's game against The Citadel.
  • Today's game against Marshall will help Virginia Tech move on after the loss to Alabama.
  • The only thing clear about Virginia's quarterback rotation for today's game against TCU is that the three-headed monster is now likely down to two, as Vic Hall is expected to miss the game with a hip injury.
  • Maryland let the Baltimore Sun have a sneak peek - in general terms, of course - at what one of its game plans looks like. The coaches reviewed the game film of last week's plan against Cal and are hoping for a better result today against JMU.
  • Jeff Schultz of the AJC wonders if Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt is good enough to take the Jackets to the ACC title. If they're going to get there, Schultz writes, Nesbitt has to be better.
  • FSU might not have to vacate more than 11 wins, according to a report in the St. Pete Times.
  • One bright spot for the Noles in the loss to Miami was Greg Reid, who made the most of his debut.