NCF Nation: Antonio Dixon

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 23, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here's a look at what's going on around the league today: 

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Sorry, snooze button ...

It looks like the Seminoles have finally woken-up, though.

Florida State coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher hasn't "had a fit in three days." Sounds like progress to me. Especially considering Drew Weatherford's quote in that story about getting "rid of some of the garbage" on the team. Yikes. It certainly helps when you replace problems with young talent.

Things are looking up in Miami for left tackle Antonio Dixon, who is back at practice after a scare with his breathing. The Hurricanes also got some good news in that injured projected starting defensive ends -- Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey, who haven't practiced yet this summer -- should be ready to go for the season opener.

Still, Randy Shannon is trying to get the team moving forward at practice, not backwards.

Congrats to NC State coach Tom O'Brien. He's got his quarterbacks narrowed down to three candidates. Unfortunately for them, Harrison Beck and Justin Burke aren't among the options.

Think learning Paul Johnson's offense is easy? Try doing it against Georgia Tech's defensive line every day. The learning curve is steep for this young offensive line.

Virginia coach Al Groh is pleased with the progress of cornerback Ras-I Dowling, and receivers coach Wayne Lineburg has more reasons to smile in his second season.

Virginia Tech is looking to replace its top four receivers, and while the offense has the potential to improve from a year ago, things were a little sloppy in the first scrimmage. Frank Beamer called it "ragged." And running backs coach Billy Hite was fuming.

At least he has options there, which is more than you can say for Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who is trying to find a replacement for injured leading rusher Re'quan Boyette.

One team that obviously has zero problems with the running back position is Clemson.

I can attest to the friendship between Clemson running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller. I talked to them on Monday after they ate lunch together.

Still, how far Clemson goes this season might come down to Mark Buchholz's right foot. If so, he's going to have to be better than he was in 2007.

Check back later for more.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

CLEMSON, S.C. -- I'm not sure how Clemson will do this year, but I think I'm gonna have a heckuva season. I ran down The Hill on Monday and touched Howard's Rock. (Well, technically I touched the protective case around the rock. It's been there since 1992, when some South Carolina fans tried to chip the rock off its base).

There's plenty going on here -- and I'll get to it throughout the day -- but first let's check out what's going on around the rest of the league:

Why not start with the entire ACC, which says has improved during expansion. The ACC has produced more NFL draft picks than the Pac-10 and Big 12, but Stewart Mandel writes that "the ACC's premier teams have not stacked up with their counterparts from around the country."

Let's get back to the state of South Carolina, where NC State nabbed another recruit? Tom O'Brien is still trying to figure out what to do with the players he already has, namely at quarterback.

Life's a beach at Georgia Tech for one too many players. The Beach is what they call the spot on the practice field for injured players. As for the guys who are actually healthy? It's an infusion of youth on defense.

The same can be said for Florida State's offensive line, where just two starters -- both talented sophomores -- return. Can Will Furlong make an immediate impact? If you don't think the Noles have a chance this season, then guess what? Defensive tackle Bud Thacker says "Poop on you."

Wake Forest doesn't have to worry about youth when it's got a defensive end nicknamed "grandpa." Matt Robinson is 24, in his sixth season of eligibility, and said he feels old. Ha.

Everyone at Virginia is tired of talking about Kevin Ogletree's knee. Now that he's healthy, he should play an integral role this season. Ogletree isn't the only receiver making a comeback. Cary Koch is healthy for the first time since he transferred from Tulane.

Miami's Antonio Dixon practiced on Monday, as did Eric Moncur and a few freshmen who were facing NCAA Clearinghouse issues. Meanwhile, Randy Shannon snagged another key recruit out of his backyard. And safety Anthony Reddick is due a break.

Maryland players are taking what coach Ralph Friedgen says to heart. If they don't win big, they're at least gonna go down swinging.

But first Friedgen has to name a starting quarterback.

Don't read this one unless you feel like crying in your coffee. It's going to be hard not to root for UNC linebacker Chase Rice this season.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Miami lost offensive lineman Chris Barney for 4-6 weeks because of an undisclosed injury, the Miami Herald reported. And Antonio Dixon was back for the second practice on Thursday but he didn't play. It looks like Marcus Forston and Arthur Brown should also return on Saturday after suffering undisclosed injuries.

And Wake Forest is running low on tight ends these days.

Florida State needs some help from the young players this season, and the coaching staff did well at finding some who can help. Unfortunately, reporters aren't allowed to talk to them.

Here are some more notes on who showed and who didn't for the Noles.

Virginia Tech has two quarterbacks and an improved offensive line but lost one top recruit until January.

Georgia Tech's receivers aren't sipping sweet tea while everyone else is practicing the triple option.

North Carolina running back Ryan Houston has a simple goal for this season behind Greg Little -- get in the end zone a few times, "for real."

Backup quarterback Mike Paulus is frustrated he probably won't get that chance, as he instead is fighting for the No. 2 spot.

There's little question as to who's No. 1 at BC. If you're wondering about BC's next quarterback, here's an article on the evolution of Chris Crane.

If he's going against Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp, look out. He's on a mission this year to rush the QB.

Duke's coaching staff is bringing some SEC swagger to Durham.

It sounds like the addition of Rob Skinner, Virginia's first full-time sports nutritionist, is paying off. It also sounds like I need to meet this guy. He tells you how to shop for food and how to cook.

Hey, we've all got flaws.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Well, this is it -- FSU is the last team in the league to start practicing Thursday. College football season is now officially underway in the ACC. 

There are a few questions facing the Seminoles this season, and here are three of them. Eventually, I'll give you three more.

When the Noles begin practice, all but four members of their 30-man recruiting class are expected to show up. The staff could always decide to withhold a few more from enrolling this semester, though.

Longtime FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews broke down his defense for you as the Noles begin practice. Andrews is entering his 25th preseason.

Miami defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was hospitalized after practice Wednesday, apparently for dehydration. He was the third player in two days to be treated for it, and practices have stretched between two and a half to three hours. Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post wondered if Randy Shannon is working them too hard.

His fullbacks appear to be doing just fine.

Can Miami's tight ends bring the spotlight back to the position? Shannon says they're hungry and making plays.

So is Virginia Tech running back Kenny Lewis Jr., who decided to take his injury into his own hands.

Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford is back at practice after a brief scare about his ankle. The only thing he needs to do now is play like a veteran.

Did Tommy Bowden find some help at linebacker? Maye-be.

Former UNC recruit Dwight Jones might be a Tar Heel after all.

UNC running back Greg Little wants to be a 1,000-yard rusher and the best back in the nation. Kudos to him for aiming high.

Al Groh has checked his players into a Charlottesville hotel in order to keep them out of trouble this summer. Well, any more trouble.

The numbers looked good for Mike Glennon and Harrison Beck in NC State's first scrimmage, but are they the guys? Tom O'Brien isn't ready to make the QB call. Also in that story, it looks like the staff is being more careful with Toney Baker than he might have expected after being cleared to play.

It looks like O'Brien got himself another recruit.

Elsewhere on the recruiting front, the Terps aren't getting as many players from Florida these days, and that's OK with Ralph Friedgen. Nearby neighbors Virginia and Virginia Tech have just as few Florida reps on their rosters.

What, exactly, is a B-back? Jonathan Dwyer seems to have figured it out. There are a couple of former offensive players, though, who are getting comfortable on Georgia Tech's defense.