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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said quarterback Cullen Harper's three interceptions at Boston College were "just poor decisions. Simple as that." It's somewhat of a concern for Swinney, considering Harper is a fifth-year senior. One of Harper's interceptions was a late throw, he didn't go through the progression properly on another, and he forced a throw into coverage on the third. While Harper made some key throws under pressure in that win, Swinney said his quarterback has to learn he doesn't have to win the game by himself. Swinney said he is frustrated by Clemson's inability to put opponents away when it has the chance.
Sophomore do-it-all athlete Anthony Parker-Boyd has been tasked with playing the role of Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt this week. He's about Nesbitt's size and has a similar running style, so he's given the defense a good look, but the Tar Heels know they can't simulate the true speed of the triple option. That's why getting off to a fast start will be so important in this noon kickoff, something UNC has struggled with in its early games. From watching Georgia Tech's game film from last week, UNC noticed Florida State played a lot of man to man coverage against some new formations and it didn't always work.
The way coach Jeff Jagodzinski tells it, offensive coordinator Steve Logan appears to be caught in a catch-22. Jagodzinski said they didn't have an aggressive game plan against Clemson because they didn't want to turn it over. "You can't have it both ways," he said. "We can sling it, but I'm going to try to avoid a multiple turnover game. You don't even give yourself a chance that way. At some point you've got to go make a play." Jagodzinski said he still thinks Chris Crane is the best option at this point, despite his eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
In order to help prepare for the hostile environment at Lane Stadium, the Terps have cranked the artificial crowd noise up during practices this week. (Not sure if "Enter Sandman" was on the playlist, though). Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh said turnovers will be a key to the game, and something he wants to see more of. The Terps have been practicing stripping the ball this week and picking them up. Cosh said he has reminded his players that Cory Holt is a quarterback, and a veteran who knows the system, so he is not to be overlooked if he is the starter.
The Hokies are wary of Maryland quarterback Chris Turner, but their first priority, defensive end Orion Martin said, is to stop the run. They also plan to bring "four-man heat, like we always do," Martin said. While the defense has been concentrating on stopping ACC leading rusher Da'Rel Scott, who is listed as questionable on the injury report, Virginia Tech's offense has been focused on developing its own running game. Offensive guard Nick Marshman said the offensive coaches have stressed "running the ball with authority," something they haven't done since the Nebraska game. The Hokies had 206 rushing yards at Nebraska, a number that declined with each game since and hit a season-low of 82 at Florida State.