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Thursday, August 28, 2008
ACC in the morning: Time to 'Wake' up


Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

ATLANTA -- A belated good morning, ACC fans. Sorry for the late start, but there's one thing you need to know before this season officially gets started: If I know I'm going to be in a press box until at least midnight (as is the case tonight), there ain't no way, no how I'm starting my work day at 5:30 a.m.

Speaking of being a-Wake, let's check in on those Demon Deacons ...

Jim Grobe put them through one of the two toughest training camps since he's been there, and it should pay off tonight in Waco, Texas. They can be confident in their quarterback, but the preseason expectation and hype surrounding this program has the players a little uneasy.

At least they don't have to worry about a redshirt freshman making his debut at quarterback. We'll know much more about Russell Wilson and NC State tonight, too. Is there an upset brewing?

We already know plenty about the quarterback I'll be watching. I'm excited to be here for the start of the Paul Johnson era, which begins tonight against former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux and Jacksonville State.

I'll be keeping an eye on every ACC game, even though I'm in Atlanta. (Good times last night at a place called Six Feet Under, by the way. Nice view of the Dome from the roof).

Miami also opens its season tonight, and it's time for a fresh start, in a new stadium with a brand new quarterback. Don't get too excited, though, Greg Cote says. Better days in Coral Gables aren't here quite yet. The players at Charleston Southern aren't thinking any less of the Canes, though.

Unfortunate news out of Tallahassee last night, as projected starting defensive lineman Emmanuel Dunbar was taken to the hospital with a back injury. I'll check in with FSU for an update on that today.

Elsewhere in the ACC, keep an eye on this "son of a gun" at Maryland. Defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre has been such a force this summer coach Ralph Friedgen was worried he'd hurt the confidence of the offensive lineman. How's that for a compliment?

Maryland quarterback Jordan Steffy has endured more criticism than praise during his career in College Park. Can he change that this season?

Virginia is looking to silence some doubters this season, too.

Meanwhile, Duke coach David Cutcliffe is working to change attitudes inside and out of his program. The seniors on the roster are still hoping to be part of the turnaround in Durham.

Way up north, Boston College right guard Thomas Claiborne had to shed some major weight in order to get on the field. His efforts have paid off.

On a more serious note, Victor Harris was a little shaken up about his recent testimony in court.