ACC: Xavier Boyce
- Maryland could lose three scholarships because of poor academic performance.
- Virginia Tech receiver Xavier Boyce has been charged with child abuse.
- There's about 2.6 million incentives for Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer to win the national title.
- Georgia Tech has plenty of corrections to make, starting on Monday when spring practices begin.
- Miami's cornerback situation might not be that much of a concern after all.
- Wake Forest was in full pads for the first time on Thursday.
Boyce was expected to be a backup heading into spring practices, so his absence won't be a huge loss for a group that's one of the deepest and most experienced on the roster. Boyce would have been behind Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin, the Hokies' top two receivers from 2010, but he hasn't been dismissed from the program -- only suspended until the issue is resolved. Boyce had only two catches last year for 10 yards in nine games.
Kwamaine Battle (knee) *
Xavier Boyce (Achilles)
Eric Martin (knee)
Barquell Rivers (quad)
Lorenzo Williams (foot) *
Ryan Williams (hamstring)
* designates already out for the season
Andre Smith (sternum)
Eddie Whitley (foot)
Notes: Duke had no injuries to report, and because UCF did not release an injury report, NC State didn't. Also, the Duke-Wake Forest game is sold out.
Brandon Maye, LB, knee, out
Kalon Davis, OT, back, out
Jarvis Jenkins, DT, knee, questionable
Miguel Chavis, DT, ankle, probable
LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity
OL Jermaine Johnson – Upper Extremity
DL Micanor Regis – Upper Extremity
DB Jamal Reid – Lower Extremity
DL Curtis Porter – Upper Extremity
DL Andrew Smith - Upper Extremity
RB Graig Cooper – Lower Extremity
LB Kevin Nelson – Upper Extremity
DL Luther Robinson – Lower Extremity
Surgery and Out for the Season
FB John Calhoun – Lower Extremity
RB Darion Hall – Lower Extremity
DL Jeremy Lewis – Lower Extremity
LB Travis Williams – Lower Extremity
Xavier Boyce (knee)
Chris Drager (knee)
Barquell Rivers (quad)
Lorenzo Williams (foot - season)
Williams tested positive for a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot and is tentatively set to have surgery next Thursday. He is expected to miss the season.
Boyce's MRI revealed a grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee and no surgery is required. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.
While this obviously isn't good news, they are both injuries the Hokies can overcome. Virginia Tech is five deep at wide receiver -- six if you count redshirt sophomore Austin Fuller. Boyce probably would've been No. 4 or 5 on the depth chart.
Williams was a backup at the whip linebacker position, where there's not a lot of depth. Having Alonzo Tweedy back from his groin injury will be helpful, as he's the No. 2 there now. There's a little more depth with the return of Zach Luckett, but he's still not 100 percent from his knee injury.
So ... heading into the Boise State game, the only two starters still hampered by injuries are linebacker Barquell Rivers, who is doubtful for the opener, and offensive lineman Nick Becton, who is still nursing his turf toe and hasn't practiced much lately.
Sophomore quarterback Mike Marscovetra was perfect, going 12-for-12 for 90 yards and a touchdown. Dave Shinskie went 14-for-19 for 116 yards, but threw an interception. True freshman Chase Rettig was 2-for-4 for 13 yards.
Sophomore Clyde Lee and true freshman Bobby Swigert led the receivers with five catches each. Lee had a game-high 43 yards, and Swigert went for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman kicker Nate Freese made a 51-yard attempt that hit the crossbar and went through, and he made another from 39 yards. He missed a 47-yarder that hit high off the left upright.
Sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechly led the defense with six tackles, and junior safety Dominick LeGrande recorded five tackles and an interception.
The Seminoles went through what amounted to a full-scale dress rehearsal, as they did their pre-game routine, returned to the locker room, then returned to the field for a three-hour scrimmage. Offensive coordinator James Coley and quarterbacks coach Dameyune Craig were in the press box, along with defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot and a graduate assistant. They helped call the plays on headphones, and there weren't any personnel or clock-management issues.
Junior college transfer Mike Harris earned some high praise from coach Jimbo Fisher:
“Mike’s a good player; he’s a real good player,” said Fisher. “He breaks on the ball. He’s almost like a quiet assassin. You never hear him out there, but he’s always in the right place."
Statistics weren't included in the team's scrimmage report, but sophomore Willie Haulstead played well, and Fisher used a tailback-by-committee approach with Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones and Chris Thompson. Defensively, former cornerback Ochuko Jenije started at safety.
First, the injury report: Backup receiver Xavier Boyce sprained his left MCL and will have an MRI, backup linebacker Lorenzo Williams sprained his right foot and will have an MRI, and punter Brian Saunders bruised his right ankle. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, linebacker Barquell Rivers will not play against Boise State, and Bruce Taylor will start in his place. Starting field corner Jayron Hosley is still out with a hamstring injury.
Offensively, Tyrod Taylor completed 7 of 9 passes for 95 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Ryan Williams was the leading rusher with 46 yards on nine carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run. David Wilson added 38 yards on six carries and scored on a 12-yard run. Defensively, Eddie Whitley led the way with seven tackles and a pass break-up. Kicker Chris Hazley made field goals of 43 and 47 yards, but missed his first field goal in a preseason scrimmage when he was wide left on a 48-yard attempt. Cris Hill blocked two punts.
You can find more on the Hokies' scrimmage here.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt have both been very good this season on third and long. They rank first and second in the country in pass efficiency on third and 7+ yards.
Here is how the two quarterbacks matchup statistically, thanks to a breakdown by ESPN Stats & Information:
Here's a look at how Taylor has improved in throwing passes longer than 15 yards from the first three games to the past three games:
Taylor's success down the field can be attributed to two receivers, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale. On the flip side, Taylor has had almost no success throwing deep to Dyrell Roberts and Xavier Boyce.
If the Virginia Tech wide receivers aren't more productive this fall, it certainly won't be for a lack of effort.
Asked recently what the group did this offseason to make the receiving corps better, redshirt freshman Xavier Boyce didn't hesitate when he said "anything possible."
"Most of the receivers, we all stayed up here the whole summer," said Boyce. "We got better chemistry with the quarterback, with Tyrod [Taylor], ran more routes, lifted weights, stayed in the film room -- everything possible to get this team better."
In a program that consistently reloads at defense, banks on special teams and can somehow afford to lose its leading rusher and still be confident in a talented backfield, the one weak link for the team hoping to contend for a national title has been its passing game. Over the past three seasons, Virginia Tech has ranked no better than 99th in the country in total offense, and last year finished 11th in the ACC in total offense and passing offense. Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon combined to throw five touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The good news for Virginia Tech fans is that they're not the only ones with raised expectations.
"I'd say we definitely expect more out of ourselves, too," redshirt sophomore Danny Coale said. "There was a lot of growth out of this group this summer, and Tyrod. As a leader he got everybody together in 7-on-7s. I know he was throwing every day. And as a receiving corps, we're more comfortable with each other. We can run a route, go in for a play, talk about what we saw, get on the same page and help each other out. It's fun and it's exciting when you've got a group who's willing to work together like we are."
It wasn't until Nov. 22 last year in a 14-3 home win over Duke that a Virginia Tech receiver caught a touchdown pass, a 19-yard score from Glennon to Jarrett Boykin in the second quarter. The question is, though, does it really matter? Take the ACC championship game against Boston College. The Hokies had 84 passing yards compared to the Eagles' 263 in a 30-12 win. It was the program's third ACC title in five seasons. They did it with the help of two rushing touchdowns by Taylor.
"Let me say this about our offense," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said last month at the ACC football kickoff. "I think you look at your football team and you do what you need to do to win. I think offensively we've done that. There are kind of some unselfish coaches involved there, too. Sometimes you've got to do what your talent says you can do and play to your strength. ... I think we're in a better position to consistently run the football and consistently throw the football. The big thing is to win football games, and sometimes you have to play to what you've got and I think we've done a great job of doing that."
They have, but they would probably have a better chance of taking it to the next level if the passing game became more of a threat. In 1999, when the Hokies played for the national title, they averaged 197.9 passing yards per game. Last year they averaged 129.1. The 1999 national champion, Florida State, finished 12th in the country that year in passing offense with 302.9 yards per game.
More will be needed from Virginia Tech's passing game since Darren Evans was lost for the season with a torn ACL. While Ryan Williams has the potential for a seamless replacement, he still hasn't made a collegiate carry yet.
"Darren's loss was huge," Coale said. "Everybody's gotta pick up the slack for that, and we're included. We had goals as a unit for ourselves to come out and perform better and with the questions in the backfield we really have to step it up."
Those within the program say Taylor has not only improved as a passer, but he's also become a leader -- a role that has been easier to embrace now that there's no question who the starting quarterback is.
"He really became a leader for us," Boyce said. "I really do look up to him. He's taken charge of the team and practices."
It was only natural that the Hokies struggled last year offensively considering the numerous obstacles they had to overcome, including youth. What many outside Hokie Nation might not realize, though, is that the receivers are still a very young group. There's not a junior or a senior on the preseason two-deep depth chart.
"We put the expectation on ourselves to go out and play well," Coale said. "Age can't be an excuse for us. We have a year under our belt. We're trying to be not a year older, but a year better."
n said. "He kind of looked like he had solidified the job and then he opens it up again." Defensive back Eric Franklin, a true freshman, made a scrimmage-best eight tackles and picked off Turner on the sixth possession. MIAMI The Canes wrapped up their final two-a-day of fall camp on Sunday, and coach Randy Shannon said everything -- that's right, everything -- is still up for grabs. Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post had a couple of notes for you off Sunday's practice. Morning Practice Highlights -- (pads) Joe Joseph and Marcus Robinson each had a sack in 11-on-11 drills. Randy Phillips (INT, pass break-up) and DeMarcus Van Dyke (two pass break-ups) stood out in the secondary. Lee Chambers and Damien Berry each broke off a couple runs of 15+ yards. Javarris James caught several passes in both 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 sessions Afternoon Practice Highlights -- (shells) Sam Shields (red zone), Chavez Grant (7-on-7) and C.J. Holton (11-on-11) all recorded interceptions. Grant returned his for a touchdown while Holton caught his off a tipped pass. A.J. Highsmith connected with Tommy Streeter (11-on-11) and LaRon Byrd (7-on-7) for significant yardage. Damien Berry took a short pass in the flat from Taylor Cook for a long gain. Other highlights include a near interception by Randy Phillips, a pass break-up by Ramon Buchanan and a sack by Micanor Regis. Red zone touchdowns included Jacory Harris to Richard Gordon and Taylor Cook to Jimmy Graham. VIRGINIA TECH So ... add Ryan Williams to the list of VT running backs who are banged up. Williams sprained his ankle, and Josh Oglesby has "the worst infection" coach Billy Hite has ever seen on a foot. Also, the coaches want to redshirt Logan Thomas, and Kenny Lewis Jr.'s recovery has been delayed. Not a lot of happy news coming out of Blacksburg these days. To read Virginia Tech's entire scrimmage report, click here. Tyrod Taylor completed 8 of 11 passes for 78 yards. Xavier Boyce led all receivers with two catches for 47 yards. Freshman running back Tony Gregory rushed 18 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns. Williams rushed just five times for 22 yards before spraining his ankle and sitting out the rest of the scrimmage. He did score on a 4-yard run and he returned several punts. Matt Waldron was 4-for-4 on his field goal attempts. (31, 32, 43, 30) Defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson led the defense with seven tackles, four for a loss, and one sack.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Tuesday we broke down the quarterbacks in the ACC, so let's figure out who the best targets are in the conference:
1. Miami -- No doubt this is the deepest group in the ACC, and it comes with a wide range of abilities. Seven freshmen were introduced last season, and five of them -- Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Thearon Collier and Davon Johnson -- scored touchdowns. Both Tommy Streeter (wrist surgery) and Kendall Thompkins (shoulder surgery) redshirted last year but should be factors this fall. Leonard Hankerson, a junior, is the veteran of the group.
2. Maryland -- The Terps had nine different scholarship wideouts show promise this spring, so replacing Darrius Heyward-Bey should be a smooth transition. Quintin McCree was the star in the spring game, but all of them have had their moments and should excel in the second season under offensive coordinator James Franklin. Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler should build upon last year's success, especially with a veteran quarterback throwing to them in Chris Turner.
3. Virginia Tech -- There are plenty of talented options here, but this was a young group a year ago and it's still a young group. The Hokies have something to prove on offense, and this is the year to do it. They started to turn the corner in the last two or three games of 2008 and can build on that momentum. Jarrett Boykin, Xavier Boyce, Danny Coale, Dyrell Roberts, Brandon Dillard ... depth should not be a problem. Boykin earned eight starts as a true freshman and was second with 30 receptions.
4. Boston College -- When the Eagles figure out who their quarterback is, he'll have dependable options to throw to. Rich Gunnell caught a team-high 49 passes and four touchdowns with 551 yards last year. He also returned punts and brought one back 65 yards for a score against Virginia Tech. Justin Jarvis caught 25 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns last season and will work for the other starting job. Ifeanyi Momah will look to prove that he can be more than just a situational receiver while Clarence Megwa is working to return in the fall after suffering a devastating leg injury against Clemson last season.
5. NC State -- Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer are ready to elevate their games as redshirt juniors, and now have one season as starters to build upon. Their chemistry with Russell Wilson should be better and they were No. 3 in the ACC in passing offense a year ago. Williams caught 26 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns in 2008. Spencer could be a big-play threat if he cuts down on the dropped balls.
6. Clemson -- Jacoby Ford and ... Jacoby Ford. He's one of the fastest athletes in the country and will likely be the best solo receiver in the ACC, but he'll draw all of the coverage until one of his teammates becomes a legitimate concern for opposing defenses. It will be up to Xavier Dye, Marquan Jones and Terrence Ashe to help Ford out.
7. Georgia Tech -- This should be one of the more improved units on the Jackets' roster. It was very thin last year (they started a freshman walk-on at Virginia Tech), but should have better depth this season. Demaryius Thomas should be one of the best wideouts in the conference, and he'll have more help this year with the return of sophomores Tyler Melton and Luke Fisher.
8. Florida State -- It's the Noles' lone question mark on offense, but the cupboard isn't completely bare, and Christian Ponder has plenty of confidence in the players who are there. Louis Givens, Jarmon Fortson and Bert Reed. If Taiwan Easterling heals from his Achilles injury and they get their suspended players back, this group could impress.
9. Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons have to replace D.J. Boldin, but they've got enough players that the depth and speed should actually improve overall. Chris Givens and Terence Davis, both redshirts last year, impressed the staff this spring. They'll team with Devon Brown, Marshall Williams and Jordan Williams.
10. Duke -- Zero seniors. Not a good sign for a team trying to win more than one ACC game. It's not like the cupboard is bare, though. The Blue Devils will be led by sophomores Johnny Williams and Donovan Varner, who had six catches for 116 yards in the spring game. Williams finished second on the team last year with 30 catches for 327 yards. Freshmen Conner Vernon, Corey Gattis and Tyree Watkins could all push for playing time.
11. North Carolina -- The Tar Heels took a huge hit in this department and it's obviously their biggest concern heading into summer camp. It's not like they don't have players ready and willing to start, but there's nothing that can compensate for game experience, which only Greg Little has. The next most experienced receiver is Rashad Mason, who played in the Rutgers game.
12. Virginia -- The Cavaliers lost their top four receivers from last year, and coach Al Groh didn't notice that "go-to guy" yet this past spring. Sophomore Jared Green leads the returnees with 12 catches for 144 yards a year ago. Kris Burd caught seven passes as a redshirt freshman last year, and the expectations are obviously higher now.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
You asked, I answered ...
Brandon in Columbia, S.C., writes: Heather, Do you believe C.J. Spiller has a legitimate chance to be in the Heisman mix this year? I know it will be hard, considering Tebow, McCoy, and Bradford all returned. However, Spiller is a game changer like no other in college football. What can Clemson do PR-wise to up his stock and get everyone talking?
Heather Dinich: Brandon I think the task falls to Dabo Swinney and the offensive line, not the Tigers' PR department. In order for Spiller to even be in the conversation, he has to get the ball more, which I expect him to do. But because of the very names you mentioned returning, his odds are a long shot.
Bob K in Atlanta writes: Heather, how many ACC games will you be attending this fall? Any involving the Yellow Jackets?
HD: I usually go to a game every weekend, Bob. Last year I doubled up on Thursday/Saturday games a few times, too. There's also a Monday night game this year that has caught my interest. And considering the high expectations for the Jackets this year, I'm pretty sure Atlanta will be one of my destinations unless I catch them on the road somewhere.
Mitchell in Atlanta writes: Hey HD first off great blog, keep up the good work. Quick question, I live in SEC country and I keep telling these fans that in three or less years the ACC will be as good if not better than the SEC, what do you think about that?
HD: I think don't push it, Mitchell. There's no question the ACC is getting better, and much of that is a product of better coaches. The conference is closing the gap, albeit slowly. I think the ACC stands a good chance to be among the top three in the country this year. But as good or better than the SEC? Let's wait til' Florida State and Miami beat Florida, Virginia Tech beats Alabama and anybody knocks off LSU. Kudos to Georgia Tech for taking the first step against Georgia.
Gabe in Wheaton, Ill., writes: Hey HD,I love the blog, it's been my saving grace over the summer so far. I read the article you had today in your lunchtime links about Luckett potentially coming back to the Hokies this next year and it made me wonder, how good can the Hokie's receiving core be? As a VT fan I'm really encouraged to see what they can produce since they are also bringing Dillard back from injury, and all of last years freshman have solid game experience. On top of that you've got a much improved offensive line and a quarterback who has also improved his passing game. How good can they be? Also, who do you think will have the best WRs in the ACC? Thanks again for all your hard work!
HD: No doubt this group should be better, but my expectations for the passing game are somewhat tempered until I see that improvement. Dyrell Roberts had a great spring, but the coaches really liked what Xavier Boyce did, so much so he was named one of the top two newcomers of the spring. And don't forget about Marcus Davis, Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin. There should be some good competition there this summer. With Tyrod Taylor's improvement and their consistency, this group has the potential to be part of one of the most effective offenses in the ACC. There are no excuses this year. As for the best wide receivers in the ACC? My first reaction is to say Miami. Guys like Demaryius Thomas at Georgia Tech and Jacoby Ford at Clemson stand out, but Miami might be the deepest.
Adam in Gaithersburg, Md., writes: Heather,If the NCAA keeps FL. States penalty and Coach B gets the 14 wins knocked from his record, do the other coaches or teams get the wins back on their records?
HD: Nope. Nothing that happens to FSU will affect its opponents' records. That's the difference between vacate and forfeit.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Frank Beamer's office is a wee bit bigger than Bud Foster's (there's enough room for pretty much a full living room ensemble in there on a section of hardwood floor with a big VT on it), but everything is in its place, and it's more classy than it is showy.
Beamer sat behind his desk with his depth chart in front of him and we talked a bit about how his team is looking halfway through spring practices. I'll have more tomorrow and next week (I'm stockpiling a few things while I'm here), but here are a few notes from our interview:
- All of the running backs have had their moments. Don't sleep on Josh Oglesby. Ryan Williams and Darren Evans have been getting all the hype, but Oglesby is having a good spring. And Beamer knows Dave Wilson's name already. This competition will play out into summer camp, and "they'll determine their playing time."
- Beamer's biggest concern, aside from finding a backup quarterback, is the fact it's the third year in a row they'll have a new field goal kicker. Matt Waldron, Justin Myer, Tim Pisano and Chris Hazley all have a shot.
- Defensively, Beamer said they're a linebacker short and a defensive end short of where they'd like to be. I'll have more from Foster on the status of the defense tomorrow, but Beamer said he'll have three or four freshmen coming in at defensive end and he hopes one or two of them can contribute immediately.
- The staff used the first eight practices to install a lot, and with a young team, that meant some mistakes and a few "do-overs." Beamer said he's hoping the last seven practices are filled with more precision, consistency and improvement. "This spring practice has been good, but from here on out is when you have to really be good. When you're young like that, you have a chance to really improve at spring practice. If you're a veteran team, you're just trying to get through spring practice. We've really got a chance to improve."
- As for the receivers, a few have stood out to Beamer so far this spring. Among them are Xavier Boyce, a tall player who "looks like a wide receiver," and Tony Gregory, who was a running back at Fork Union Military Academy but has been playing well at wide receiver this spring, and has shown his speed. "I'm hoping our receiver position, which was so young last year, and probably a weakness for us to a degree because of the inexperience last year can become a strength for us this year."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Jamie Cumbie, DT, broken wrist, out
Rashaad Jackson, DT, knee, out
Barry Humphries, OG, knee, out
David Smith, OT, sprained ankle, out
Antwon Murchison, DT, hamstring, out
Stanley Hunter, LB, sprained ankle, questionable
Jamarcus Grant, OT, shoulder, questionable
Chris Hairston, OT, Knee, questionable
Dawson Zimmerman, P, pulled hamstring, probable
WR Xavier Boyce (knee) -- OUT
OL Barrett Mears (ankle) -- OUT
LB Bruce Taylor (shoulder) -- OUT
Cooter Arnold, WR, Ankle Probable
Charles Brown, DB, Ankle Probable
Linwan Euwell, LB, Thigh Questionable
LaCount Fantroy, DB, Hand Probable
Vince Jacobs, DL, Abdomen Probable
Darrius Massenburg, DL, Knee Doubtful
Scott Mincey OL, Ankle Doubtful
Jordan Nix, DL, Low Back Questionable
T.J. Yates, QB, Ankle Out