ACC: Yannick Reyering

Ranking the ACC units: Special teams

July, 23, 2009
7/23/09
3:06
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Special teams are critical, especially in Blacksburg, and it's one of the Hokies' few weaknesses this year. They're in need of a kicker for the third time in three seasons, but Virginia Tech is hardly the only team in the ACC with big holes to fill. Here's how the ACC's special teams units ranked:

1. Miami -- Matt Bosher has already gotten plenty of ink in the blogosphere, but he's only one reason the Canes are No. 1 here. Bosher converted 18 of 20 field goal attempts and averaged 40.3 yards per punt. It's possible Jake Wieclaw could give Bosher some relief on kickoffs. If Travis Benjamin stays healthy, the return game will be in great shape. Benjamin led the team and the ACC in punt return yardage (173) and was ninth in the ACC in kick return yardage (477). Thearon Collier is also another return threat.

2. NC State -- The combination of kicker Josh Czajkowski and speedy return specialist T.J. Graham make the Wolfpack one of the best in the ACC. If they find a punter this summer, the unit will be complete. In his first season as starter, Czajkowski made 84.2 percent of his field goals (16 of 19), and he made 33 of 34 PATs to finish with 81 points and seventh place in the ACC in scoring. Graham's 1,028 yards in kickoff returns set the school record for a single season and already ranks fifth on the Wolfpack career list. They have to replace punter Bradley Pierson, though. Jeff Ruiz and Carl Ojala are both options.

3. Maryland -- The Terps have to replace kicker Obi Egekeze, but they've still got the ACC's top punter in Travis Baltz. He pinned Maryland opponents inside their own 20-yard line 24 times last year. Wide receiver Torrey Smith had a record-setting season as a kickoff returner, as he set the ACC single-season record for kickoff return yards with 1,089. There are high expectations for Nick Ferrara, who will be a true freshman, to replace Egekeze, but the job is wide open.

4. Virginia Tech -- Not only did the Hokies lose placekicker Dustin Keys, but they also lost punt returner Victor "Macho" Harris. The good news is that punter Brent Bowden returns, as does kickoff man Justin Myer, and snapper Collin Carroll. Matt Waldron and Myer enter summer camp as the favorites for the placekicking and kickoff duties, respectively. Incoming freshman Cody Journell might give them both a run for their money, though. Ryan Williams came out of spring practice as the starting punt returner, but Dyrell Roberts and Danny Coale are also options.

5. Clemson -- The Tigers have to replace veteran starters Mark Buchholz and Jimmy Manners at the two kicking positions. Spencer Benton, a redshirt freshman, is the frontrunner to take over the placekicking duties, but he'll get some competition from Richard Jackson. Dawson Zimmerman, who started two games and punted in three last year, should be the starting punter. Zimmerman averaged 38.5 yards for his 12 punts last season. The return game is in good hands -- C.J. Spiller's. Jacoby Ford is also experienced as a return man, and has a punt return and a kickoff return of more than 90 yards for scores.

6. Georgia Tech -- This is the area where coach Paul Johnson wants to see the most improvement, and with good reason: The Yellow Jackets ranked 11th in the ACC in net punting, 10th in kickoff returns and ninth in punt returns last year. Junior Scott Blair did a respectable job last year, as he was the first Yellow Jacket to handle both kicking and punting duties in 25 years. He'll get some competition, though, at one or both positions from sophomore Chandler Anderson, the holder last season. Anderson, who missed spring practice after a bout with appendicitis, punted six times in '08 for an average of 41.7.

7. Boston College -- Steve Aponavicius returns for his senior year. He went 14-for-21 on field goals last season. Newcomer Nate Freese, who kicked a school-record 52-yard field goal in Ohio, will challenge Aponavicius. Ryan Quigley and Billy Flutie both return to their punting duties. Quigley serves as the main punter and averaged 39.6 yards per kick with nine pinned inside the 20-yard-line. Flutie was used in short situations and pinned opponents inside the 20 seven times. Unheralded veteran long-snapper Jack Geiser also returns.

8. Duke -- The Blue Devils return placekicker Nick Maggio and punter Kevin Jones. Jones punted 71 times last fall and 27 of those kicks pinned Duke's opponents inside their own 20-yard line, the most by any punter. He finished second in the ACC in punting, with 40.8 yards per kick as a sophomore. Maggio made 11 of 14 field goal attempts.

9. North Carolina -- This might be the Tar Heels' biggest concern, as they have to replace punter Terrence Brown, and placekicker Jay Wooten decided to transfer. Connor Barth was UNC's primary field goal kicker in 2008 and Wooten was used as the kickoff man. Reid Phillips is a walk-on who is now in the mix, and walk-on Grant Shallock, who handled the punting duties this spring, is another option. The staff is eager for the arrival of prized recruit C.J. Feagles. Another concern is the return game, which survived without Brandon Tate last year with the help of walk-on Trase Jones. He finished the season with five returns for 36 yards.

10. Florida State -- The Noles took a huge hit here with the graduation of Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano. The good news? FSU returns its long-snapper, Zack Aronson, and holder, Shawn Powell. James Esco and Nathan O'Jibway handled the kicking duties this spring, but neither have attempted a field goal in a game during their careers. There are high hopes for freshman Dustin Hopkins. Powell, who started the first seven games of 2008 as punter, will replace Gano there.

11. Wake Forest -- Veteran Sam Swank only started seven games last year before being injured, and that allowed Shane Popham to get his feet wet. Popham said he's much more confident heading into this season and gained valuable experience last year. He could handle both duties a
gain like he did last year. Popham made 7 of 12 field goal attempts and averaged 39.2 yards on 54 punts, pinning opponents inside the 20 on 19 occasions.

12. Virginia -- After three season as head coach at Kansas State, Ron Prince returns to Charlottesville to coach special teams, and it won't be an easy gig. Senior Yannick Reyering's injury-marred career is over, so sophomore Chris Hinkebein, who handled the kickoff duties for five games while Reyering was slowed with an injury, is expected to contend for some of the placekicking responsibilities. Robert Randolph shared some time with Reyering last year and made 3 of 4 attempts. Junior Danny Aiken is a proven long-snapper, and sophomore Jimmy Howell was one of five true freshmen to see time last year. He averaged 39.0 yards on 64 punts.

Kickin' it in the ACC

June, 3, 2009
6/03/09
2:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Considering how evenly matched the ACC is expected to be yet again, there should be a significant amount of close games -- as in, the kind of games won with a swift kick and good field position, not just a strong arm. The problem is, even the best teams in the league are in search of dependable kickers and punters. Florida State took a huge hit with the graduation of Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano. Miami and NC State seem to have the edge with Matt Bosher and Josh Czajkowski, respectively.

Here's a rundown of who's in good shape and who's not when it comes to the kicking game:

IN GOOD SHAPE

Boston College: Finally, a plus for the Eagles -- kind of. BC returns both placekicker Steve Aponavicius, who has 36 career starts, and Ryan Quigley, who has 14 career starts. The problem has been consistency. Aponavicius, who received an extra year of eligibility, needs to improve upon last year's 14 of 21 field goals made. Challenging him for the job will be newcomer Nate Freese, from Ohio. Quigley serves as the main punter and had a strong freshman season, averaging 39.6 yards a kick and had nine inside the 20-yard line and five over 50 yards. Billy Flutie was used in short situations and pinned opponents inside the 20 seven times.

Duke: The Blue Devils return placekicker Nick Maggio and punter Kevin Jones. Jones punted 71 times last fall and 27 of those kicks pinned Duke's opponents inside their own 20-yard line, the most of any punter. He finished second in the ACC in punting, with 40.8 yards per kick as a sophomore. Maggio made 11 of 14 field goal attempts.

Miami: Matt Bosher is a legitimate candidate to win the Lou Groza Award this fall, and he doubles as kicker and punter. Bosher made 90 percent of his field goal attempts last year, his first season of double duty (18 of 20 attempts). As a punter, he averaged 40.3 yards per kick with 19 punts inside the 20-yard line.

NC State: In his first season as starter, Czajkowski made 84.2 percent of his field goals (16 of 19), and he made 33 of 34 PATs to finish with 81 points and seventh place in the ACC in scoring. They have to replace punter Bradley Pierson, though. Jeff Ruiz and Carl Ojala are both options.

NEEDS HELP

Clemson

OUT: The Tigers lose placekicker Mark Buchholz, who was 15 of 21 in field goals last year, and punter Jimmy Maners, who ranked fourth in the ACC in putting average (40.5). Buchholz made 15 of 21 field goals last year and was perfect on 40 extra points in leading the team in scoring with 85 points. He established a Clemson record for consecutive extra points with a perfect 88-88 performance over his two years on the team.

IN: Spencer Benton, a redshirt freshman, looks to take over the placekicking duties, but will be pressured by Richard Jackson. Dawson Zimmerman, who started two games and punted in three last year, should be the starting punter. Zimmerman had a 38.5 average for his 12 punts last year.

Florida State

OUT: Graham Gano. This will be a huge loss, as Gano led the nation in field goals (2.18 per game), and finished fourth in scoring, despite missing two games. He doubled as both kicker and punter.

IN: James Esco and Nathan O'Jibway handled the kicking duties this past spring. Neither has attempted a field goal in a game during their careers. Dustin Hopkins, a highly touted recruit, should add to the competition there this summer. Shawn Powell, who started the first seven games last year as the team's punter, will return to that job.

Georgia Tech

IN: Scott Blair is back as both the kicker and punter, and he did a solid job last year, but special teams has been an area of concern and point of emphasis for Paul Johnson since he arrived in Atlanta. Blair will get some competition. Chandler Anderson, the holder last year, had appendicitis and missed all of spring. Kevin Crosby will also challenge at punter and Chris Tanner will compete at kicker, along with Andy Elakman.

Maryland

OUT: Placekicker Obi Egekeze, who had 26 career starts and made 15 of 24 field goals last fall. The Terps can take solace in the fact punter Travis Baltz returns. He pinned Maryland opponents inside their own 20-yard line 24 times last year.

IN: There are high expectations for Nick Ferrara, who will be a true freshman. But while he wasn't on campus yet, Mike Barbour and Nick Wallace were battling it out. The job is wide open.

North Carolina

OUT: Punter Terrence Brown, who had 25 career starts, has to be replaced. Walk-on Grant Schallock handled the punting duties this spring. The staff is eager for the arrival of prized recruit C.J. Feagles.

IN: Sophomore Casey Barth returns with 10 games of placekicking experience, but it's not a given that he's the guy. Walk-on Reid Phillips is also in the mix, as is Jay Wooten, who was used as the kickoff man last year.

Virginia

OUT: Yannick Reyering's injury-marred career is over. The former soccer star had a strong leg, but made just 6 of 11 field goal attempts.

IN: Robert Randolph shared some time with Reyering last year and made 3 of 4 attempts. Chris Hinkebein, who handled the kickoff duties for five games while Reyering was slowed with an injury, is also expected to contend for some of the placekicking responsibilities this season. The good news is they return Jimmy Howell at punter, but he only has 12 starts. He was one of five true freshmen to see time last year and averaged 39.0 yards on 64 punts.

Virginia Tech

OUT: Dustin Keys. For the third time in three seasons, Frank Beamer needs to find a new kicker. Keys finished eighth nationally in field goals per game, and made 23 of 29.

IN: Matt Waldron appears to be the leading candidate to replace Keys, but Justin Myer, Tim Pisano and Chris Hazley are also in the mix. They'll compete with incoming recruit Cody Journell for the job in August. The good news is punter Brent Bowden is back, and he averaged 40.4 yards per kick and had 24 kicks inside the 20-yard line last year. The coaches would like him to be a little more consistent, but he is entering his third season as a starter.

Wake Forest

OUT: Sam Swank and his 45 career starts. Swank only started seven games last year before being injured, and that allowed Shane Popham to get his feet wet.

IN: Popham. He could handle double duties again like he did last year, and should be more confident after being thrown into the fire in 2008. Popham made 7 of 12 field goal attempts and averaged 39.2 yards on 54 punts, pinning opponents inside the 20 on 19 occasions.

Virginia spring wrap-up

May, 7, 2009
5/07/09
9:10
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia Cavaliers
2008 overall record: 5-7

2008 conference record: 3-5

Returning starters

Offense: 5, defense: 6, kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

C Jack Shields, QB Marc Verica, QB Jameel Sewell, CB/QB Vic Hall, CB Ras-I Dowling, T Will Barker, TB Mikell Simpson

Key losses

WR Maurice Covington, WR Kevin Ogletree, WR Cary Koch, T Eugene Monroe, TB Cedric Peerman, TE John Phillips, OLB Antonio Appleby, ILB Jon Copper, OLB Clint Sintim

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Cedric Peerman (774 yards)
Passing: Marc Verica* (2,037 yards)
Receiving: Kevin Ogletree (723 yards)
Tackles: Jon Copper (101)
Sacks: Clint Sintim (11)
Interceptions: Ras-I Dowling* (3)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule

Sept. 5 William & Mary
Sept. 12 TCU
Sept. 19 at Southern Miss
Oct. 3 at North Carolina
Oct. 10 Indiana
Oct. 17 at Maryland
Oct. 24 Georgia Tech
Oct. 31 Duke
Nov. 7 at Miami
Nov. 14 Boston College
Nov. 21 at Clemson
Nov. 28 Virginia Tech

1. Quarterback, not cornerback. Yes, Vic Hall really is playing offense. Al Groh has committed to getting Hall involved on the offensive side of things, whether it's at quarterback or other situational plays and opportunities. That's where he spent the entire spring -- not in the defensive meetings.

2. In good hands. With the departure of the top four receivers, one of the questions this spring was who would step up. The players felt like Kris Byrd and Javaris Brown answered that question, and they're also confident in sophomore Jared Green.

3. Buzz about Brandon. Make no mistake -- the offense isn't where it needs to be yet. But there is an excitement about Gregg Brandon's scheme, and it was well-received by the players. It's no-huddle, and they're trying to get the plays in fast to keep the defenses on their heels. Just remember -- nobody thought Georgia Tech's offense would flourish in its first season, either.

Fall questions

1. Ah, quarterback. The emphasis this spring was not to determine who the starter was, but to let all of them get enough reps so the coaches could start to judge who could best manage the team in the new offense. Just because Hall and Sewell are versatile athletes doesn't mean the other candidates won't be involved in the offense in some capacity.

2. Looking for linebackers. It's not easy replacing veterans like Antonio Appleby, Clint Sintim and Jon Copper. There's not a lot of playing experience to choose from, and it will take some time for the young players to grow into those spots. The staff was pleased with Darren Childs, Steve Greer, Aaron Taliaferro, Cam Johnson, and Darnell Carter.

3. Kicking game. Yannick Reyering couldn't get through spring practice because of knee problems and is no longer with the team. The staff is looking for someone to take over that position. Robert Randolph and sophomore Chris Hinkebein were effective in the spring scrimmage, but neither has won the job.

Making a point in the ACC

March, 2, 2009
3/02/09
3:56
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

If you don't score, it's hard to win, which is why it's worth taking a look at how much scoring returns for each team this spring. Expectations are high for Florida State in the Atlantic Division, but the Seminoles took the biggest hit, as they lost the ACC's top two overall scorers in kicker Graham Gano and running back Antone Smith. FSU had the best scoring offense in the ACC last year with an average of 33.4 points per game. Note the past tense.

These percentages don't mean teams won't find playmakers to compensate for the scoring production they lost, but it's an indicator of how much work needs to be done this spring and summer.

Here's a look the percentage of points coming back in the ACC this spring, with a quick note on each:

Georgia Tech -- 93.7 percent
Jonathan Dwyer was second in the ACC last year with 13 touchdowns and an average of 6.2 points.

Miami -- 91.5 percent
• Eighteen different players scored last year for Miami, and 13 of them return. Matt Bosher made 18 of 20 fields goals last year and accounted for 7.2 points per game. Running back Graig Cooper scored a team-high six touchdowns.

Boston College -- 73.1 percent
• The Eagles return three of their top four scorers from last year's Atlantic Division championship team, including Steve Aponavicius, who made 14 of 21 field goals, and running back Montel Harris, who scored six touchdowns.

NC State -- 72.5 percent
• The Pack will have to replace Andre Brown, who scored nine of their 37 touchdowns. Receiver Owen Spencer could help, as will the return of tailback Toney Baker.

North Carolina -- 65.6 percent
• Former receiver Hakeem Nicks accounted for 13 touchdowns last year, including 12 touchdown receptions. Kicker Casey Barth and tailback Ryan Houston, who combined for 111 points, return.

Wake Forest -- 57.9 percent
• The Demon Deacons will sorely miss kicker Sam Swank, but they learned to live without him when Swank was injured last year. Running back Brandon Pendergrass returns, and there will be plenty of competition this spring at running back and wide receiver.

Virginia Tech -- 57.6 percent
Darren Evans scored 11 rushing touchdowns last year, and the Hokies have plenty of playmakers, including quarterback Tyrod Taylor, returning. Four defenders scored last year, and only one -- Stephan Virgil -- returns.

Duke -- 52.7 percent
• They'll miss Eron Riley and his eight touchdowns, and running back Clifford Harris and his six touchdowns, but the return of previously injured running back Re'quan Boyette should help.

Virginia -- 50.3 percent
• Kicker Yannick Reyering, tailback Cedric Peerman and Kevin Ogletree, the team's top three scorers from '08, are gone. It should help, though, to have Jameel Sewell back.

Maryland -- 47.3 percent
• The Terps will have to replace kicker Obi Egekeze, but quarterback Chris Turner and running back Da'Rel Scott return, along with running backs Morgan Green and Davin Meggett.

Clemson -- 40.4 percent
C.J. Spiller scored 11 touchdowns last year (seven rush, three pass, one return), and averaged 5.5 points per game).

Florida State -- 29 percent
• Carlton Jones or Jermaine Thomas will have to compensate for the loss of Smith, but both are talented enough to do that, and they'll be behind one of the best offensive lines in the league.

A few more injury reports

October, 17, 2008
10/17/08
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

CLEMSON

Jamie Cumbie, DT, broken wrist, out
Rashaad Jackson, DT, knee, out
C.J. Spiller, RB, hamstring, out
David Smith, OT, sprained ankle, out
Cory Lambert, OT, foot, questionable
Barry Humphries, OG, knee, questionable
Cullen Harper, QB, shoulder, Probable
Tyler Grisham, WR, ankle, probable
Mason Cloy, OG, Knee, Probable

Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper said after practice that he does need surgery on his left (nonthrowing) shoulder. He said that he has not decided when he will have the surgery. He will be available to play against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

MARYLAND

Out for Season:
Kevin Dorsey (foot)
Dominique Herald (knee)
Paul Lariviere (knee)
Ben Pooler (knee)
Richard Taylor (knee)
Joe Vellano (shoulder)

Out:
Louis Berman (leg)
Tyler Bowen (leg)
Matt Furstenburg (leg)
Stephen Hargett (leg)
Adrian Moten (arm)
Stephen St. John (arm)

Doubtful
Jordan Steffy (hand)

VIRGINIA

Out
Aaron Clark (knee)
Max Milien (foot)
Keith Payne (hand)
Yannick Reyering (knee) -- This one will be noticable in the kicking game.
Bill Schautz (ankle)
Joe Torchia (shoulder)

Doubtful
Landon Bradley (ankle)

Questionable
Mikell Simpson (neck)

Probable
Maurice Covington (ankle)
Kevin Crawford (shoulder)
Andrew Devlin (shoulder)
Austin Pasztor (ankle)
Zach Parr (leg)
Crutcher Reiss (ankle)
Zak Stair (knee)

USC at UVA: Halftime update

August, 30, 2008
8/30/08
5:24
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- I'm sure most of you are watching this game on ABC and yes, it's as bad as it looks in person.

So much for USC having to adjust to this 3-4 defense. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has had way too much time to make his throws and isn't in too much danger of getting sacked today. A fourth-down attempt early shows they're confident against the Cavs. USC, though, is bringing some heat.

The Trojans' defense is much faster and for the most part stifling Virginia, which looks like it has three new starters on its offensive line (it does). They've got no ground game going, which obviously makes it even tougher to get the passing game going.

Considering he's the only one with any game experience, it's no surprise that Peter Lalich is the starting quarterback for Virginia, and he has gotten better under pressure as the game has progressed. Still, Virginia's lone points so far were aided by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on USC.

Since 2007, Virginia has been one of the luckiest teams I've ever seen. Even as they're losing here, they're catching breaks. Like the fumbled punt that long snapper Danny Aiken recovered. Didn't matter, though. Yannick Reyering, a soccer star in his college football debut, ended the drive with a missed 46-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide right.

The fans booed Al Groh's decision to punt on fourth-and-four with 44 seconds left to go in the half. They might want to wait until Virginia improves upon its 1-of-7 third-down conversions first.

ACC anticipation

August, 27, 2008
8/27/08
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

I thought this top 25 list was going to be difficult, but as it turns out, there are a gazillion things I can't wait to see in the ACC this season -- Chief Osceola and Renegade included. But this year, the quarterbacks top the list.

I can't wait to see ...

1. Miami quarterback Robert Marve in his first collegiate start against Florida. First there was the car accident. Then the suspension. Can we please get an official snap now?

2. Boston College quarterback Chris Crane. Finally. Let's watch what he can do and stop talking about the other guy.

3. Who will wind up as Florida State's most consistent starting quarterback. It was Drew Weatherford's job to lose this summer, but Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson both have Jimbo Fisher thinking too much.

4. Maryland third-string quarterback Josh Portis. So much hype, so little action. Not this season. After spending the past two years on the scout team, we finally get to see what this speedy transfer from Florida can do.

5. Which Miami freshman is going to have the most impact. There are so many to choose from, on both sides of the ball, including the two who are in the starting lineup for Thursday's season opener against Charleston Southern -- quarterback Jacory Harris and defensive end Marcus Robinson.

6. James Davis and C.J. Spiller try and get through B.J. Raji, Ron Brace, and the other guys in the Eagles' front seven. BC's defense should be even better than it was in 2007, and Thunder and Lightening only rushed for a total of 62 yards against them last year.

7. Macho Harris as a receiver. He switched to offense for a part of the spring, and the Hokies certainly could use him there, but will they?

8. Jacoby Ford used on a reverse in the same game he takes a kickoff or punt return all the way back. He's super fast, athletic and can be used just about anywhere on the field. Let's see it.

9. An upset -- I don't care who it is, and I don't care when it happens. That could mean Clemson shocking somebody in the postseason, or it could mean NC State shocking Clemson. Clemson losing to Wake? Not a shocker.

10. Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt throw it. It's bound to happen sooner or later, and don't think the receivers were standing around at practice this summer gossiping.

11. James Franklin calling the plays. Go deep, Hey-Bey. The offense should be more fun to watch as long as the staff doesn't get caught up in Jordan Steffy throwing five-yard passes.

12. Michael Johnson absolutely flatten somebody. He hasn't started a game yet, but the Yellow Jackets' new defensive scheme will free him up to rush from the edge.

13. Preston Parker take one home. Sure, he's suspended for two games, but this guy is a playmaker. I remember what he did against Maryland last year in his first shot at tailback and would love to see more.

14. The Wake Forest defense score 11 touchdowns. Hey, they scored 10 last year. OK, so the odds of this happening are slim to none, but this defense is still one of the most exciting to watch because of its playmaking potential.

15. Butch Davis' return to Coral Gables. Davis' coaching ties make for a good subplot, but so does the fact that the Tar Heels beat these guys last season.

16. Al Groh in a good mood. Too bad I'm heading to the season opener. Odds are Charlottesville is a happier place around Week 10. Then again, maybe not.

17. NC State get a break that doesn't involve a body part. These guys are due for one. It's not the third-string left tackle that gets hurt for these guys, either, it's their leading rushers and receivers. I want to see what the Pack can do at 100 percent.

18. Thaddeus Lewis after a summer of instruction from some former SEC coaches. He was the third best QB in the league before he started taking advice from a coach that tutored the Manning brothers.

19. The return of NC State tight end Anthony Hill. This guy is a veteran playmaker, and after missing last season with a torn ACL, he's ready to rock.

20. The Blue Devils win more than one game. These guys have put in way too much work this summer not to.

21. The Tar Heels defense under Everett Withers. The first-year defensive coordinator is the first to admit his Minnesota defense last year was "awful." What can he do with the talent on the Tar Heels' roster?

22. Frank Beamer's hip-hop dance. I missed it last year after the Hokies won the ACC title. Then again, they've got to win it again in order for another show.

23. The Euro kicker make his first field goal against USC. Yannick Reyering has never played a game of football in his life, and here he is starting against USC. Fun.

24. Jim Grobe explain his gameplan to the well-to-do fans in Deacon Tower an hour before kickoff against Clemson. If only I were a well-to-do sports reporter ...

25. The inside of the Esso. I've heard a lot about this place, but didn't get a chance to go there this summer. I was too busy running down some hill.

USC will be first start, first football game for UVA kicker

August, 27, 2008
8/27/08
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

For his 24th birthday on July 10, Virginia kicker Yannick Reyering received a portable Playstation and Madden 09 from his girlfriend -- in part to keep himself amused on road trips, but moreso to learn a little more about football.

"I haven't really figured it out yet," he said.

Don't panic, Hoos fans. The native of Mettingen, Germany, is allowed a bit of a learning curve. Not only will Reyering make his first start on Saturday against USC, but he'll also be playing in his first football game. Ever.

Virginia coach Al Groh said Reyering will probably handle the kickoffs and place kicks.

The former UVA soccer star would be playing professionally now, had he not gotten injured. He finished his career with 39 goals and over 20 assists, and was taken in the MLS Supplemental Draft by FC Dallas.

Knowing that former Cavalier Chris Gould had graduated and Reyering had exhausted his soccer eligibility, Virginia soccer coach George Gelnovatch suggested Reyering try football. Gelnovatch said Reyering loves the pressure: he handled the penalty kicks.

"I'm a little nervous," Reyering said, "but not really. I've played in front of a couple of thousand people before, but obviously it's going to be something different."

Before Reyering came to the United States in fall of 2005, he said he couldn't name a single team in the NFL or college football. The first weekend he arrived at Virginia, he went to the home season opener and left at halftime because he didn't know what was going on and "it was so long."

Now he has no choice but to stay until the clock runs out.

The coaches and other players helped introduce him "to the entire American football thing."

Is he good at it?

"You'll see in the game," he said.

What's his range?

"You'll find out."

"I'm not really approaching the ball any different than a soccer ball," he said. "My soccer coach said, either you can do it as a soccer player, or you can't do it at all."

Due to the NCAA's amateurism rules, he only had three years of soccer eligibility. He is listed as a senior, but has two years of football eligibility.

"I've caught up on 99 percent of the rules," he said. "When I came into camp, obviously I was focused on what I have to do and what my job was, but being part of the team it's good to know what else is going on and when I have to be on the field and when I have to prepare for going out there, kicking field goals. I spent lots of time up in the coach's office and in the office watching tape and getting familiar with the rules and doing as much as I can to familiarize myself with the game."

And that includes playing Madden 09.

ACC in the morning: Bowden title talk

August, 22, 2008
8/22/08
7:29
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Until he wins an ACC title, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden knows he's going to be answering questions about whether or not he actually can.

It's not like he doesn't have the talent to do it. Just look at how many veterans are being pushed by talented rookies in this program.

Bowden said he planned on using a significant amount of freshmen this season, but a few prominent newcomers have been relegated to the redshirt ranks.

Maryland should surprise some people in the Atlantic Division this year, and the Terps' veteran offensive line is a major reason why.

On the Coastal side, even Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has had to temper his expectations because he had so many questions to answer this summer. Could a defensive tackle nicknamed Taco be one of those answers? Possibly, now that he's slimmed down a bit.

With Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey battling injuries all summer, the freshmen on defense have had to turn it up a notch. Marcus Robinson has been impressive enough to earn consideration to start in the season opener. We don't know who the starting quarterback is at Miami yet, but we know what his backups are doing.

Georgia Tech had a game-style scrimmage Thursday night to prepare for its season opener against Jacksonville State, and it wasn't exactly pretty.

Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner isn't Matt Ryan, but he's tried to be. Now he's ready to be himself -- unflappable

Boston College walk-on cornerback Mark Maglio has never gotten paid for doing his impersonations before -- unless a scholarship counts. Corner DeLeon Gause already has a scholarship, and there's no question he's going to earn it this season, as teams are likely to pick on BC's inexperienced secondary.

The same can be said at UNC, but as Kendric Burney points out, it's not like they're going against no-name receivers in practice every day.

With punter/placekicker Graham Gano out, who will step up?

Speaking of kickers ... can UNC's Casey Barth break his brother Connor's records? First he has to win the job.

And Virginia coach Al Groh isn't ready to name a starting quarterback, but he declared Yannick Reyering his new kicker.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ACC SCOREBOARD

Friday, 11/28
Saturday, 11/29