NCF Nation: D'Vontrey Richardson

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Sophomore Kyle Parker is on a football scholarship at Clemson, but he might be more easily recognized by fans when he's wearing his No. 25 jersey -- his baseball uniform -- instead of his No. 11 quarterback jersey.

That might change this spring.

 
  AP Photo/Brett Flashnick
  Kyle Parker will spend time playing football and baseball again this spring.

Parker, the son of former NFL wide receiver Carl Parker, enrolled in Clemson last January after graduating high school early, and immediately made a name for himself as a first-team All-ACC baseball player. He started 55 games and hit .303 with 44 runs scored, 12 doubles, 14 home runs and 50 RBIs. On the side, he happened to be going to spring football practice every day.

This year, there will be a bit more emphasis on spring football, as the graduation of quarterback Cullen Harper leaves the position wide open -- and Parker at the heart of the competition.

"To be able to compete for the job, he's gotta be there," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "Obviously football is paying the bills, but he's here to do both. It's in my and [baseball] coach [Jack] Leggett's best interests that we work out a good schedule for him, and I'm real comfortable with what we've got resolved."

Parker isn't the only ACC quarterback who will be pulling double duty with baseball this spring, and it's no easy feat considering how strong the conference is (North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State are all ranked among Baseball America's preseason Top 25, and Miami and NC State are both consistent championship contenders).

The three quarterbacks playing both sports are each at different points in their career. NC State's Russell Wilson is a returning starter at quarterback, and also a second baseman for the Pack, Florida State's D'Vontrey Richardson was a backup quarterback last year but moved to safety recently and is an outfielder for the Noles.

This year, because he's competing for a starting role, Parker said he is feeling a bit more pressure from the football staff to be around this spring. After all, he was the No. 4-ranked quarterback in the country, according to Scouts Inc., and he was recruited by Swinney.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

ATLANTA, Ga. -- This game has been a microcosm of the entire league, with the momentum shifting back and forth and it being impossible to truly grasp who's going to come out on top.

Statistically, they've been very evenly matched, so odds are it will depend on whose offensive line grades out better in these run-based offenses, which defense can limit the big plays and who doesn't turn it over.

Neither team has been a one-man show, as four different players have scored for Georgia Tech, and Florida State has made use of both its quarterbacks. D'Vontrey Richardson has been used soley for his feet. Georgia Tech has started to get more pressure on Christian Ponder, though, and has forced him into some poor throws.

Both teams are getting a lot out of their usually overshadowed backs, as Florida State's Jermaine Thomas and Georgia Tech's Roddy Jones have both played integral roles so far.

So far, Georgia Tech has made enough plays in all three phases that it could be the team that knocks the Noles out of the hunt for the Atlantic Division. Florida State's defense has definitely been challenged. It hasn't given up three rushing touchdowns in a half since the 1997 Sugar Bowl. Still, the Noles continue to be one of the toughest teams to beat on third downs.

We knew turnovers would be key going into this game, and Ponder's interception in the second quarter dramatically swung the momentum in Georgia Tech's favor, but it didn't last long.

Florida State has had to come from behind in each of its past two wins, though, so this is nothing new for them.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

I'm hoping that playing all of the conference games on Saturdays again will help boost my percentage after last week.

Here's what I've got.

Florida State 27, Colorado 17 -- Neither Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson played well last week at quarterback for the Seminoles, but their defense kept the game close. With four projected defensive starters returning from suspension, the Buffaloes struggled down the stretch before escaping with a field goal in overtime to beat West Virginia. The guess here is that the Seminoles simply have too many athletes for the Buffaloes, who have tried to prepare for the trip to humid Jacksonville by swigging Gatorade all week. They should stay close before wilting at the Gator Bowl in the fourth quarter.

Kansas State 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 28 -- Coach Ron Prince was so perturbed by his team's defensive performance last week at Louisville that he made them run in the middle of the night as soon as they returned to Manhattan. Louisiana-Lafayette has a strong ground game that is averaging almost 6 yards per carry, but the Wildcats will be up for the test after last week's struggles. Look for Kansas State QB Josh Freeman to return to form and feast on the Ragin' Cajuns' weak defense.

Nebraska 28, Virginia Tech 24 -- The Cornhuskers have been lightly tested in their first three games of the season. This game should be an indicator if the Cornhuskers are legitimate North challengers, as well as an early litmus test of coach Bo Pelini. Virginia Tech is heavily run-based with QB Tyrod Taylor, which should play right into the Cornhuskers' defensive philosophy. Nebraska QB Joe Ganz has shown he can beat top opponents by passing before, but will be challenged by Tech's tough secondary. Give the Cornhuskers a narrow edge, mainly because of a better passing game and the home-field advantage.

Oklahoma 37, TCU 14 -- The Sooners are still smarting from TCU's last visit to Norman, when Horned Frogs shocked OU with an upset victory and the kind of physical whipping that rarely happens to a team coached by Bob Stoops. That was OU's most recent home loss -- the team has charged to a nation-best 19-game winning streak since then. The Horned Frogs won't be intimidated, considering they have won three of their last four games in Norman and have a seven-game winning streak of their own, tied for third-best in the nation. TCU leads the nation in rush defense and will be a tough matchup against the Sooners' mammoth offensive front. TCU QB Andy Dalton will need to make some downfield plays, something he hasn't done much of this season. Look for the Sooners' superior talent to win this one and make it a runaway late.

Oklahoma State 44, Troy 31 -- After losing at Troy last season, the Cowboys will be ready to play in the rematch. They should be better prepared as their balanced offensive attack, which has hung half a hundred on each of its last two opponents, will keep humming along. Troy looked good in flashes against Ohio State, but could find a bigger defensive challenge this week in trying to keep the Cowboys' multi-faceted offense in check. Look for another big game from Oklahoma State TB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant, who was shut out in his most recent game after producing nine catches the previous week.

Texas 45, Arkansas 14 -- This one won't be much of a matchup between the two storied former Southwest Conference rivals. The Longhorns' emerging defense will make life miserable for Arkansas QB Casey Dick. Alabama gashed the Razorbacks for 9.4 yards per carry last week, providing a nice recipe for Texas' backfield-by-committee of Fozzy Whittaker, Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbonnaya. And Texas QB Colt McCoy will have a chance to boost his Heisman candidacy with a big day against Arkansas' leaky pass defense. I'm wondering if Texas fans will be chanting "Big 12, Big 12" to celebrate a victory in this game after Arkansas fans chanted "SEC, SEC" following wins over Texas in two of the last three games of the series.

Texas A&M 24, Army 10 -- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman will be looking for his first victory at Kyle Field after opening the season with back-to-back losses, the first time that's happened since 1972. The Aggies' quarterback rotation remains iffy after both Stephen McGee and Jerrod Johnson missed practice this week due to sprained shoulders. The Aggies shouldn't get too much of a test from an Army team that has been outscored 85-20 this season and has lost nine of its last 10 games on the road. Even the offensively challenged Aggies should be able to move the ball on the Black Knights, providing a grind-it-out victory.

My predictions last week: 7-2 (77.8 percent)

My predictions for the season: 38-3 (92.7 percent)

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher breezed into the postgame interview room following the Seminoles' second straight inept offensive performance against Wake Forest, plopped into a chair and addressed what had just happened as if it were nothing more than a bad day at practice.

"We made some boo-boos," Fisher said. "We had some chances to make some plays and did some good things. No consistency, no consistency."

No offense, either.

There were three points. Five interceptions. The leading rushers were the quarterbacks. FSU averaged 3.4 yards per play. And fumbled twice.

This was no "boo-boo." This was a black eye, broken nose and busted lip on picture day.
The opportunity for Florida State to show the college football nation it took a step toward regaining respectability was thrown away with each yellow flag. It was given away with seven turnovers. And it's going to take a while to get it back.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder made it all the way through the first series of the second half against Western Carolina before offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher decided to see what D'Vontrey Richardson could do in a game situation.

The better question might be what can't this duo do.

Richardson and Ponder accounted for six total touchdowns in the program's most lopsided victory in school history. Ponder threw for three touchdowns while Richardson threw one and ran for two more in the Seminoles' 69-0 romp of Western Carolina.

Granted, it was against an outmanned, overmatched opponent, but all indications are it's going to be hard for Fisher to keep both of them off the field this season.

"We'll see as how we plan on playing them," Fisher said. "There may be some situations where you might want to play D'Vontrey earlier. ... I was hoping to get him in earlier the other day, the scenario just didn't work out. We got hot so quick in the second quarter and then you didn't want to break that momentum ... You wanted to keep that fluidity of the game going and keep Christian going and get his confidence going because of the way we got on the roll and because I say we changed diapers the first quarter and then we played three.

"We'll see how that goes. He may get in earlier, but he's earned the right. He brings things to the table. Like I've said, he would be a good quarterback if he couldn't run, D'Vontrey. He can throw the ball, too. We've got to get him in there."

In addition to a 52-yard rushing touchdown, Richardson also threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jarmon Fortson. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 57 yards. None of the quarterbacks threw an interception.

Ponder, who completed 11 of 17 passes for 196 yards, said he's got no problem sharing the spotlight.

"I'm fine with it," he said. "D'Vontrey is definitely a guy we need in this offense. He's a guy that can make a play at anytime as well. He'd be a great weapon to use. He's really earned the right to play ... I think he should be in there."

So does Fisher.

"They're different and they're the same," he said. "One is a much better runner than y'all think, and the other is a much better thrower than y'all think. They're both very multidimensional and have a lot of attributes."

The one quarterback who didn't see a lot of time was veteran Drew Weatherford, who completed 1 of 2 passes, but Ponder said the former starter has handled his new role with maturity.

"Drew's been put in a tough situation," Ponder said. "He's been a very supportive guy throughout this whole thing. He's helped me. He's always a team-first guy."

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The ACC didn't do too much to hurt itself this week (7-2 against nonconference opponents), but then again, it's not like Saturday was filled with highlight-worthy performances, either (See: Virginia, Maryland, NC State -- they booed Daniel Evans for crying out loud and third-stringer Harrison Beck had to beat William & Mary).

Here's a look at what Week 2 revealed:

1. Miami is close but not quite: Randy Shannon has a talented, young team that's headed in the right direction, as evidenced by the first half against Florida. Youth and inexperience were factors in this game, but it was closer than the score indicated. If it weren't for two errors on special teams, Florida might not have scored in the first half. Miami's 16-play drive that took 8:42 off the clock and ended in a field goal is evidence this team can move the ball on anyone. This could be a foreshadowing of a surprise team in the Coastal Division, but the Canes will obviously have to earn more than 1.6 yards per carry and do a better job of protecting Marve. Otherwise, look out for No. 2.

2. Once modest expectations are growing for Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets got their first ACC road win and helped Wake Forest and Clemson in the process by knocking off Atlantic Division foe Boston College. With its 2-0 start, Georgia Tech is in the lead and should only get better. It will have to, because the Eagles won't always be able to get away with three fumbles. These were two similar teams, both in transitions on offense and depending on defense. The difference was Georgia Tech's front four, and the grit and determination the offense showed. As long as those factors don't disappear, the coaching should take care of the rest.

3. Florida State has two quarterbacks: And neither of them are named Drew Weatherford. The veteran threw the ball just twice while the future of the program stole the show. Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson accounted for six total touchdowns and no interceptions. Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher made the right call with Ponder, who played nearly flawless in his debut. But Richardson will make it difficult to keep him off the field. His 68 yards rushing on four carries added another dimension to the game. (The quarterbacks probably got a little help, though, from their offensive line, which didn't allow a sack all night). Yes, it was against Western Carolina, but how many ACC teams have we seen handle a weak nonconference opponent the way they're supposed to -- with ease?

4. Virginia Tech might just have one quarterback: Sean Glennon said "a red flag went off" in his mind as he watched Tyrod Taylor play drive after drive from the sideline in the second half against Furman. We already knew Taylor could help this team out with his mobility, but weren't quite sure how well it would sit with Glennon or how they two would be used. Turns out they used Taylor more. He got 39 snaps to Glennon's 22. Better late than never, right? Unfortunately for Glennon, it might be too late. Coach Frank Beamer said he's not ready to talk about how he might use both of them against Georgia Tech, but the fact Glennon was used less against a Division I-AA opponent should give him every reason to be "a little concerned."

5. Maryland's not a sleeper: It's asleep: The Terps were the ACC's lone embarrassment on Saturday, as they fell to Middle Tennessee State. (Hey, at least UVA won). There were missed assignments, the quarterbacks couldn't hit open receivers, and the defense was on the field for too long because it couldn't stop the 5-yard short patterns. (Maryland's time of possession was 20:11, its lowest since 2002 against Notre Dame). Maryland has something to fix in every phase of the game. Kicker Obi Egekeze is now 0-for-4 on his field goals this season and has missed five straight dating back to the 2007 Emerald Bowl. The Terps finally have a 100-yard rusher and a backup and only carried the ball 19 times.

ACC helmet stickers, Week 2

September, 7, 2008
9/07/08
12:13
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

OK we're not messing around with these things anymore. We've got a nifty new sticker for you, and only the best of the best are getting one, so if you lose to, say, Middle Tennessee State, or only hang for dear life by, say, three points for most of a game, you're not getting one.

The following were deemed sticker-worthy in Week 2:

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson: Not only did he win his first ACC game, but he did it on the road and against one of the better defenses in the conference. Johnson became the first coach in school history to win his conference opener.

Wake Forest kicker Sam Swank: Had he not made his 41-yard field goal with three seconds left, odds are the ACC wouldn't have anyone representing the conference in the top 25. Swank booted the game-winner against a much-improved SEC team and kept the league from taking another hit in the national spotlight.

Clemson safety Michael Hamlin: He tied a school record with three interceptions in a feel-good win against the Citadel. The Tigers held Citadel, which averaged better than 191 yards on the ground last season, to 42 yards rushing through three quarters and 89 for the game.

Florida State's quarterbacks: The debut of duo of Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson couldn't have gone much better. They combined for six total touchdowns in a season opening romp of Western Carolina.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Good morning, ACC fans. Hope you're enjoying a long weekend. Watch the replay of the Clemson game last night? Didn't think so.

I'm moving on to the ACC's next hope at making a statement on the national level -- Miami. It doesn't help the Canes' odds that Percy Harvin and linebacker Brandon Spikes will be back. It does help, though, that Florida has provided a little trash-talkin' motivation about the U.

Randy Shannon will have his news conference for the Florida game on Tuesday, and I'll be in town to chat with him and a few of his players.

In addition to Robert Marve's debut, there are a few quarterback situations throughout the league worth watching this week:

MARYLAND -- Will Jordan Steffy start Game 2? This is déjà vu from a year ago. Once again it's unclear whether an injury or his play will determine Steffy's status.

FSU -- Finally, the Noles are playing. But who will be their starting quarterback? It looks like D'Vontrey Richardson has really impressed Jimbo Fisher. We should know his choice soon.

NC State -- Tom O'Brien is expected Monday to update the status of Russell Wilson, who was diagnosed with a grade 3 concussion in Thursday's loss to South Carolina.

Getting ready to board, but I'll have other updates for you throughout the day.

ACC anticipation

August, 27, 2008
8/27/08
4:06
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 saw what he did at 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.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Let's start with the Terps, since the news of their latest quarterback, Jordan Steffy, had fans absolutely losing their minds on the message boards Monday.

Chris Turner wasn't available to talk to the media on Monday, which is completely understandable considering his father said the family was "shell-shocked." And no, that's not some clever Terrapin marketing scheme that might suggest team unity.

The staff yesterday spoke about how it had all of the statistical data to name Steffy Maryland's starter for this season, but if you're looking for numbers to compare Steffy and Turner, check out this chart.

Regardless of the numbers, coach Ralph Friedgen wants to make sure he has credibility with his team for rewarding the best practice players.

While the competition is over in Maryland, NC State's trio of quarterbacks have one more scrimmage -- today -- to impress Tom O'Brien. This is nothing new for Daniel Evans.

It is a somewhat unusual situation, though, for Miami, where no matter which quarterback Randy Shannon chooses, none of them will have taken a snap in a college game. So far, all indications are that Robert Marve is the frontrunner. No surprise there.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden can't remember the last time he had three quarterbacks take reps with the first team during a scrimmage -- until Saturday, that is.

Not only does Drew Weatherford have Christian Ponder pushing him, but it's now official: D'Vontrey Richardson is equally in the mix.

At North Carolina, it's not about the quarterback anymore. It's about T.J. Yates wanting to win the close games this season instead of watching them slip away. Caulton Tudor says this is the first season for Butch Davis to correct the program's past mistakes.

Speaking of past mistakes ... did first-year Virginia defensive coordinator Bob Pruett make a big one? Pruett is being accused of academic fraud and overpayment of players while head coach at Marshall.

Just what Al Groh needs right now ... although it's not like he doesn't have any playmakers. And, Groh might find some help this season in wide receiver Cary Koch.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer needs all the help he can get at wide receiver after losing Zach Luckett.

Not that Clemson coach Tommy Bowden needs another running back this season, but highly touted freshman Jamie Harper was going to add to this year's offense -- before he put on a walking boot for his low ankle sprain. Will he be ready to go against Alabama?

Miami receiver Jermaine McKenzie is ready to stay healthy and play some football.

Like just about every other coach in the league, Jim Grobe is trying to add depth to his offensive line. And just like O'Brien, he stole a player from the defense to do it.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Getting ready to backtrack to Durham, but before I go, did you know ...

Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt is unlikely to practice today or in Saturday's scrimmage. Once again, I'm told this is nothing serious.

One of Florida State's players suffering a seizure, though, is a little scary. Sophomore defensive end Markus White was held out of practice on Thursday after suffering a seizure.

Florida State's quarterback situation is getting interesting. Drew Weatherford has been sharing first-team snaps with Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson.

FSU punter Graham Gano will finally get a chance to score some points again this season.

One of Virginia Tech's former quarterbacks is ready to help the Hokies out at wide receiver. 

While much of the attention in College Park has been on the Terps' top three quarterbacks, the No. 4 guy is keeping himself busy.

It sounds like a few NC State fans need to get over how Tom O'Brien is handling his quarterback situation and let the man do his job.

Miami coach Randy Shannon can recruit, but can he coach? We'll soon find out.

What's in store for Butch Davis in his second season? Frank Dascenzo says possibly the most-improved team in the ACC.

Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp has just been unstoppable at practice lately. Or have the offensive tackles just been stoppable?

This is why Clemson seems to continuously reload. While they're not in the spotlight, younger players, like receiver Marquan Jones, are being prepared for it. They realize how much improvement they need if they're actually going to play.

Here's more on Wake Forest's scrimmage Thursday from beat writer Dan Collins.

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