NCF Nation: Edwin Williams

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There was some progress in the ACC this spring, and each team got a little bit of help at certain positions. Here's a look at who found some help this spring and where:

BOSTON COLLEGE: Marcellus Bowman and Wes Davis are two safeties who should help make the Eagles' secondary one of the best BC fans have seen in recent years. Four players return to the secondary with starting experience.

CLEMSON: It's amazing what a year of experience can do, and the Tigers' offensive line needed it. The only direction for this group to go is up, and it started to do that this spring. All five starters return.

DUKE: The return of running back Re'quan Boyette will give the Blue Devils' running game a more potent punch. He could be a difference maker on the field this fall, and Duke will need him to be.

FLORIDA STATE: Leading rusher Antone Smith is gone, but FSU fans can rest assured Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones can carry the load for the Noles. Both had several breakaway runs this spring.

GEORGIA TECH: On a defense that lost its leaders up front, defensive end Derrick Morgan and safety Morgan Burnett established themselves as the new captains of the ship this spring, and they should be the Jackets' top two defenders.

MARYLAND: Phil Costa helped ease the transition of the graduation of longtime leader Edwin Williams at center. The Terps lost three starters up front and have four players in new positions, but Costa proved he can be the new leader of the group.

MIAMI: This "got help" award goes to new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. He had an immediate impact on the offense this spring and has Jacory Harris' full attention.

NORTH CAROLINA: Da'Norris Searcy and Melvin Williams gave the staff some confidence in life without Trimane Goddard. Searcy played well in the Meineke Car Care bowl as a fifth defensive back and played with confidence this spring.

NC STATE: Mike Glennon answered the distress signal at backup quarterback, a position that had been exposed far too many times in the past. Glennon completed 23 of 38 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown in the Kay Yow Spring Game.

VIRGINIA: The return of Jameel Sewell at quarterback and addition of Vic Hall no doubt helped the Cavaliers. At this point last year, they didn't have one quarterback who had any starting experience. Now they've got three.

VIRGINIA TECH: Confidence grew in the linebackers this spring, and that's because of the efforts of Barquell Rivers and Jake Johnson. Bruce Taylor and Quillie Odom are still learning, but there was progress at this position.

WAKE FOREST: Kenny Okoro and Josh Bush both proved to be dependable players at a position that just lost Alphonso Smith. Okoro in particular stood out, but both of them got a lot of reps with Brandon Ghee out with an injury.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It's always college football season here, but for some reason, the Terps are getting a lot of ink lately:

Here is a great read on former Maryland center Edwin Williams, who succeeded in the one goal his parents wished for: "You don't want to end up like your mom and dad." Williams' parents were both former cocaine users, and Edwin and his sister were born addicts.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen talked about his diet, his succession plan, and Bobby Bowden in this Q&A with Dennis Dodd. Dodd was having a little fun with the ACC this month and a game we call Ultimate Frisbee.

Former Terp Dean Muhtadi has become accustomed to making the most out of tryouts. His latest led to a free agent contract with Green Bay.

While UNC coach Butch Davis is cutting ties with troublesome recruits, Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin is supporting them.

Macho Harris intends to make the most of his opportunity to play in the NFL.

And finally, in case you missed it, here's an interesting story by my colleague, Amy K. Nelson on how the collapse of the Dallas practice facility has some other teams with bubbles a little concerned. Boston College has a bubble, but BC isn't expecting any drastic changes.

Pre-spring ACC power rankings

February, 9, 2009
2/09/09
11:46
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With the NFL departures announced, and signing day officially over, it's time for a re-ranking heading into spring football. Keep in mind things change during spring practice -- some players get hurt, some win position battles, but here's the first early peek at how the ACC might fare in 2009:

1. Virginia Tech -- The ACC and Orange Bowl champs return 16 starters, and there are high expectations for an offensive backfield that will contain shifty quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and tailbacks Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. If the defense maintains its tradition without Victor "Macho" Harris, the Hokies could be a top 10 team.

2. Florida State -- The defense took some hits -- the most notable being the loss of defensive end Everette Brown -- but should have enough experience to compensate for it. The offensive line should be one of the best in the conference and give returning quarterback Christian Ponder and tailback Jermaine Thomas plenty of help. The question is the depth at receiver after the loss of Preston Parker, Greg Carr, and probably Corey Surrency. FSU also loses Lou Groza award winner Graham Gano.

3. Georgia Tech -- Overall, this team will be experienced and deeper -- it will return every starter at the skill positions -- but the Yellow Jackets must reload on the defensive front and improve on the offensive line. There will be three new starters on the defensive line, and Tech lost two senior starters on the offensive line. There are 25 players on the roster, though, who have at least one career start.

4. Miami -- Coach Randy Shannon brought in yet another outstanding recruiting class, and playing so many true freshmen in 2008 should help this season. There shouldn't be any quarterback drama this season, and Jacory Harris should only improve under first-year coordinator Mark Whipple. Defensive coordinator is still a question mark, though.

5. North Carolina -- Never count out a Butch Davis-coached team, but the Tar Heels will be a question mark until a new batch of receivers proves otherwise. Brooks Foster, Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks accounted for 114 receptions in 2008, and all three have left for the NFL. Safety Trimane Goddard is arguably the biggest loss on defense.

6. NC State -- If the Pack stay healthy -- something they haven't been able to do for the past two seasons -- NC State could be the sleeper in the Atlantic Division. It has to replace tight end Anthony Hill and running back Andre Brown, though, and 2007 leading receiver Donald Bowens will miss spring practice because of knee surgery.

7. Clemson -- Speedy playmakers C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford are back, but they'll be under the direction of a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. Let's see how the Tigers do without any expectations for a change.

8. Maryland -- The Terps graduated 30 seniors and junior receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey left for the NFL. One of the biggest question marks is how they'll fare up front after the graduation of three starting offensive linemen, including All-ACC center Edwin Williams. The defense, which loses four starters from its front seven, will be led by first-year coordinator Don Brown.

9. Wake Forest -- The good news for the Deacs is the offensive line should better, and they return veteran quarterback Riley Skinner. The bad news is they'll sorely miss some of the best defensive players the program has had in recent years, along with kicker Sam Swank.

10. Virginia -- If quarterback Jameel Sewell makes a smooth transition back into the lineup and quickly learns the new offense, the Cavs could surprise some people this season. They'll have to replace all three starters at linebacker, though, and will miss starting receivers Kevin Ogletree and Maurice Covington, as well as leading rusher Cedric Peerman.

11. Boston College -- Consider this a rebuilding year for the Eagles. The loss of defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace will have an effect up front. With a new staff, a small recruiting class and a young starting quarterback, the only direction for BC to head is up.

12. Duke -- The Blue Devils have arguably one of the league's top quarterbacks in Thaddeus Lewis, but he won't have Eron Riley to throw it to this season. Duke also loses ACC-leading tackler Michael Tauiliili at linebacker. Still, the Blue Devils should take another step forward in their second season under David Cutcliffe.

All-ACC 2008

December, 10, 2008
12/10/08
10:57
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

OFFENSE

QB -- Russell Wilson, NC State
RB -- Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech
RB -- C.J. Spiller, Clemson
TE -- John Phillips, Virginia
OL -- Eugene Monroe, Virginia
OL -- Matt Tennant, Boston College
OL -- Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech
OL -- Edwin Williams, Maryland
OL -- Rodney Hudson, Florida State
WR -- Hakeem Nicks, UNC
WR -- D.J. Boldin, Wake Forest
K -- Graham Gano, Florida State

DEFENSE

LB -- Clint Sintim, Virginia
LB -- Michael Tauiliili, Duke
LB -- Mark Herzlich, Boston College
LB -- Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
DL -- Everette Brown, Florida State
DL -- Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
DL -- B.J. Raji, Boston College
DB -- Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
DB -- Victor Harris, Virginia Tech
S -- Trimane Goddard, North Carolina
S -- Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech

SPECIALIST

C.J. Spiller

PUNTER

Travis Baltz, Maryland

FSU's defense the difference

November, 23, 2008
11/23/08
1:16
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Florida State defensive end Everette Brown held up his index finger, indicating No. 1 as he ran towards the Seminoles' fans in the stands who had lingered in the bitter cold Saturday at Byrd Stadium.

He should have held up three fingers -- one for each sack he made.

Technically, Brown had 3.5 sacks. It was the third time this season he has had at least three sacks in a game, and in the 37-3 win over Maryland, Brown led an aggressive pass rush that frustrated quarterback Chris Turner all night. It was a turnaround performance on defense that was lacking in last week's 27-17 loss to Boston College, and a major reason why Florida State still has a sliver of a chance at playing in the ACC championship game.

 
 James Lang/US Presswire
 Seminoles defensive end Everette Brown brought down Terrapins running back Da'Rel Scott and forced a fumble. Brown also recorded 3.5 sacks.

"That's the way it used to be," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said of his defense. "That's the way we used to play. I thought we'd forgotten how."

Against Boston College, they did, and it cost them dearly.

Maryland has a similar-sized offensive line as the Eagles, but the Terps paved the way for Brown and Co. They got beat on spin moves, didn't make their blocks and were sloppy on fundamentals. As a result, Turner was sacked six times and FSU had 10 tackles for a loss of 53 yards.

"We did a better job tonight of just attacking, playing Florida State football," Brown said. "We knew they were similar to Boston College coming into the game and if we let them get going, give them momentum, they're a tough offensive line, but tonight we wanted to make sure we attacked and controlled the line of scrimmage up front."

Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews challenged his defense after the loss to the Eagles, told them they got "pushed around out there" and said they needed to be more physical. He pointed out that they had only scored one touchdown all season, and even that changed against Maryland when Derek Nicholson ran a fumble recovery back 22 yards for a touchdown.

"The kids responded real well," Andrews said. "We felt like they had a blocking scheme that would free our ends up and then maybe a tackle and we got to them several times. Guys doing their jobs."

The Florida State defense has a motto they revert to following a poor performance: "Somebody's gotta pay."

"When we go out there and have a horrible game like we did last week," linebacker Kenny Ingram said, "somebody's gotta pay. We came out there and we played a great defensive game."

Turner was the one who wound up paying most of the night, as he was sacked six times. This has become a trend for FSU, as the Noles did the same thing to Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper.

Turner, who entered the game having thrown just six interceptions all season and not one in his past 123 attempts, had two against FSU.

"He's a player," Turner said of Brown. "He has a pretty good future ahead of him. We game planned for him. We were trying to double team him most of the night. There were a few times where we put our left tackle on an island. Every now and then he's going to get you and he got us a few times."

Six to be exact.

"They definitely got into us a lot tonight," said center Edwin Williams. "I guess we weren't ready. We didn't expect that."

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Wow. Regardless of what he thinks about offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, Virginia Tech linebacker Purnell Sturdivant should have kept it to himself. There are certain things that should stay in the locker room, and that was one of them. Stinespring's future is Frank Beamer's decision to make. This is not the NFL, where players question their coaches. Besides, the Hokies have enough distractions.

  • Virginia fans need not panic when they see wide receiver Kevin Ogletree line up with the seniors being honored on Saturday in their final home game. Ogletree still has one more year of eligibility. He might not use it, though, if the NFL comes calling.
  • Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe was joking with placekicker Sam Swank when he asked, "When's your date for coming back, Thanksgiving?" Turns out the pulled quadriceps was no joke.
  • For all of the inconsistency that has defined Maryland this season, there might not be a more dependable player on the roster than veteran center Edwin Williams. Coach Ralph Friedgen might not have everything he needs to build the Terps into a national power, but fans should be happy with what they've got, writes Kevin Van Valkenburg.
  • Georgia Tech has had several memorable Thursday night games. Will this week be another one?

Preseason All-ACC team

August, 26, 2008
8/26/08
10:39
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Just so you know, I agonize over these things. You can't pick everyone.

Here's the final version:

OFFENSE

QB -- Cullen Harper, Clemson
RB -- Josh Adams, Wake Forest
RB -- James Davis, Clemson
WR -- Aaron Kelly, Clemson
WR -- Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
TE -- Ryan Purvis, Boston College
T -- Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech
T -- Eugene Monroe, Virginia
G -- Rodney Hudson, Florida State
G -- Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
C -- Edwin Williams, Maryland

DEFENSE

DE -- Everette Brown, Florida State
DE -- Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
DT -- Ron Brace, Boston College
DT -- Vance Walker, Georgia Tech
LB -- Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
LB -- Clint Sintim, Virginia
LB -- Michael Tauiliili, Duke
CB -- Victor Harris, Virginia Tech
CB -- Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
S -- Michael Hamlin, Clemson
S -- Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest

SPECIALISTS

PK -- Sam Swank, Wake Forest
P -- Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech (Graham Gano is injured, out 3-5 weeks)
KO RET -- C.J. Spiller, Clemson
PUNT RET -- Preston Parker, Florida State (following his two-game suspension, of course)

SPONSORED HEADLINES