NCF Nation: Greg Reid

The term "replacement player" in football conjures up images of bumbling and stumbling guys that are poor imitations of the real thing.

[+] EnlargeCornellius 'Tank' Carradine
Phil Sears/AP PhotoDE Cornellius "Tank" Carradine is adjusting to the Seminoles' starting lineup quite well.
But at Florida State, replacement players for two standouts -- defensive end Brandon Jenkins, lost to injury, and cornerback/kick returner Greg Reid, dismissed from the team -- have more than proven their worth. Through the first three games of the season, the Noles have used three players to plug those holes -- defensive end Tank Carradine, cornerback Nick Waisome and punt returner Rashad Greene -- and gotten fantastic results.

Nobody is quite saying Brandon Jenkins who? Or Greg Reid who? But these three players have made what appears to be a seamless transition into their starting roles. Of course, the biggest test comes Saturday when No. 4 Florida State hosts No. 10 Clemson. Carradine and Waisome have never started a game against an offense filled with this many playmakers.

But at least they have notched the first starts of their careers going into this one, something that Carradine says has been hugely important for him. Carradine played behind Bjoern Werner last season but going into 2012, coach Jimbo Fisher labeled Werner, Jenkins and Carradine his 1A, 1B and 1C defensive ends, respectively. When Jenkins was lost for the season with a foot injury sustained in the season opener, it was time for Carradine to move into the starting lineup.

Not exactly the easiest transition, but Carradine says he is now fully acclimated to his new role.

"Being a starter and coming off the bench is totally different," Carradine said in a phone interview this week. "When you're a starter, the team expects more out of you and you come across plays you wouldn’t come across if you weren't a starter. You come across certain situations by having more playing time. It’s much better starting because you get to see the first snaps of the ball, what keys this person is going to take, and feeling of this person you are up against right off the bat."

Carradine was one of the ACC players of the week following his performance against Wake Forest, in which he had a career-high 2 1/2 sacks. He and Werner are the top two sack leaders in the ACC -- Werner has 6.5 total sacks, Carradine has 3.5. Carradine also ranks No. 3 in the league in tackles for loss, with 4.5. And he also leads the FSU defense with 12 total tackles.

His play has even drawn an "I told you so," from Werner, who has repeatedly said the Noles would be fine without Jenkins.

"I’m feeling very comfortable," Carradine said. "I think it was a shock to me at first because I wasn’t expecting it, but I feel comfortable now that I’m out there playing, having a chance to start a game and be out there, I have the feeling of being a starter. Playing last year a lot, it also helped me prepare as well."

Waisome mostly played on special teams as a true freshman in 2011, and ended the year with one tackle. But he got his opportunity to start after Reid was kicked off the team this summer. Waisome won a summer competition with true freshman Ronald Darby and has done a nice job in the secondary.

With only three career starts under his belt, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Waisome now faces the biggest challenge of his young career, in trying to defend Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and all the other talented Clemson receivers.

What has he learned in his three starts that will help him going into this game?

"Probably just staying with the play, finishing the play all the way to the end," Waisome said. "When you get to the end of the route, when you figure out the receiver is done with the route, you can ease off a little bit sometimes. I feel like you have to stay on them because sometimes those quarterbacks scramble out -- with Tajh Boyd being such a great quarterback, we've got to stay on our receivers and play the play out."

As for Greene, he took over punt return duties from Reid and is leading the ACC with a 19.6-yard punt return average and two punt returns for touchdowns. Marcus Murphy of Missouri is the only other player in the nation with two punt returns for touchdowns so far in the season.

Fisher was quick to point out that he is really pleased with the way his team has responded, and believes they are much more confident this year than they were going into their game against Clemson a year ago.

"I think I've got some young guys that have really developed, some older guys that have really changed who they are and what they've done and really grown, like you want guys to grow and mature as they do in college," Fisher said.

We'll know more about them after Saturday.

ACC predictions: Week 1

August, 30, 2012
Ah, it’s that time of year again. The time when you guys get to point and laugh when I am wrong, when you’re shocked into silence when I’m right, and when 12 fan bases are convinced I always pick against their team.

I heart predictions, don’t you?

As usual, my goal this year is to beat the guys over there in SEC land with a better picks percentage, but they’ve got a real tough job picking LSU and Alabama every week. Over here in ACC land, we’ve got a real conference race going on, and the unpredictability is a fabulous excuse for erroneous picks. Speaking of the SEC, I’m going to go out on a limb -- walk a plank, actually -- and say the ACC leaves Atlanta 2-0.

Undefeated … you know, just like my picks? Here we go, 2012 …

Miami 17, Boston College 14: The Eagles will give it everything they’ve got in a hard-fought game, but they’ll come up short late in the fourth quarter. Miami’s speed will be too much for a defense that will sorely miss tackling machine Luke Kuechly.

Clemson 34, Auburn 31: This has a high-scoring, last-play-of-the-game feel to it, and I’m willing to give Clemson the benefit of the doubt. Losing Sammy Watkins is going to hurt, yes, but the Tigers have enough surrounding talent that they’ll be able to compensate for his loss with a group effort.

Florida State 66, Murray State 10: Somehow I get the feeling Jimbo Fisher won’t call off the dogs in this one until later in the game. This will be a good chance for the offensive line to get the kinks and jitters out, and for the Seminoles to adjust to life without Greg Reid.

Maryland 24, William & Mary 14: Even with true freshman Perry Hills making his debut at quarterback, this is a home game the Terps should still win. It might get uncomfortably close at times, but Maryland has been embarrassed enough already not to let it happen again in the opener.

NC State 28, Tennessee 24: The Volunteers desperately need this victory, and it should be another down-to-the-wire game, but the Wolfpack will have the edge up front, and quarterback Mike Glennon will make enough plays down the stretch to be the difference.

Wake Forest 24, Liberty 10: This should be a ho-hum game for the Deacs, as long as they’re not looking ahead to next week’s game against North Carolina.

Florida International 34, Duke 31: The Blue Devils beat FIU on the road last year, but Duke’s injuries have accumulated over the past two months and will be a factor on both sides of the ball.

Virginia Tech 31, Georgia Tech 20: Did I mention this game is in Lane Stadium? Virginia Tech will come out fired up by its home-field advantage and force a fumble or a turnover that gives the Hokies the momentum early. The Hokies have questions on offense, yes, but it’s going to be Bud Foster’s defense that is the difference in this game.

North Carolina 38, Elon 10: Larry Fedora’s offense will work just fine in Week 1, but don’t expect to see the full repertoire against Elon. This will be a chance for the Tar Heels to work on the execution of new schemes on both offense and defense at game speed, and give them some game film to make corrections and adjustments before the Wake Forest game.

Virginia 24, Richmond 21: The Spiders, coached by quarterback Michael Rocco’s uncle, will keep things interesting against the Hoos. The familiarity between the coaching staffs will make this game better than it should be, as UVa coach Mike London was formerly the Richmond coach, and it is his alma mater.

ACC power rankings: Week 1

August, 27, 2012
There was plenty of news in the ACC this summer, some of which has affected the order of the power ranking since it was last released post-spring. The biggest difference is at the bottom, where Maryland has sunk following the season-ending injury to starting quarterback C.J. Brown. The first five teams remained the same, but UNC got a small boost after positive reviews by the staff and players who were learning the new systems and terminology of first-year coach Larry Fedora.

This list will change with the season, but for now, here is the starting point for how the ACC teams stack up heading into Week 1:

1. Florida State: There is no excuse for coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff not to take advantage of the ubertalented roster this year and run away with it. The biggest questions remaining are how the Noles will handle the loss of cornerback Greg Reid, and how much better the offensive line will look than it did a year ago.

2. Clemson: The Tigers will be without suspended starting receiver Sammy Watkins for the opener against Auburn, but there are enough other options that Clemson’s offense should still be productive. The depth on the offensive line remains a question, though, and the pressure is on first-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables to help Clemson fans forget the Orange Bowl.

3. Virginia Tech: The Hokies are confident in the speed, talent and athleticism of their young running backs and receivers, but the lack of experience remains a concern. Bud Foster’s defense should again be the strength of the team, particularly early, but with Georgia Tech on the schedule for Labor Day, there’s no time for a tuneup.

4. NC State: The Wolfpack kicks off the season against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl trying to sustain the positive momentum with which it ended 2011. Coach Tom O’Brien has said this is the deepest, most talented team he has had since he was hired in Raleigh, but will it be good enough to beat Florida State and Clemson in the same season?

5. Georgia Tech: The Jackets could sneak up on some teams this year, as they have one of the best offensive lines coach Paul Johnson has had since he was hired there. Expectations are higher for the defense in Year 3 under coordinator Al Groh, and the hire of assistant Dave Walkosky should help the special teams.

6. North Carolina: The Tar Heels have the potential to play spoiler this year, or they could have a particularly bumpy ride given the complete overhaul in staff, schemes and philosophy. The players have bought in, though, and quarterback Bryn Renner adapted well to the spread offense this summer.

7. Wake Forest: Coach Jim Grobe has some hidden gems on this team, as players like receiver Michael Campanaro, nose guard Nikita Whitlock and cornerback Kevin Johnson are all-conference candidates. Questions still remain, though, about the offensive line, and two league games in the first three weeks won’t be easy.

8. Virginia: Coach Mike London is expected to release a depth chart today naming his starting quarterback, but the bigger concern should be a secondary that has to replace three starters. The Hoos have two of the best offensive tackles in the country, though, in Morgan Moses and Oday Aboushi. They could pave the way for Perry Jones to have a 1,000-yard season.

9. Miami: Quarterback Stephen Morris earned the starting job this summer, and his leadership will be critical to a young offense that must replace seven starters. The Canes will continue to play with the NCAA investigation hanging over their heads, but those within the program say it hasn’t been a distraction.

10. Duke: The Blue Devils have one of the most talented quarterbacks in the ACC in Sean Renfree, but they need to stay healthy and show improvement on the defensive line in order to have a chance at a bowl game. Duke has a legitimately tough task in getting past FIU in a game that will set the course for its season – and possibly postseason.

11. Boston College: The Eagles couldn’t seem to get a break this offseason, as injuries piled up and athletic director Gene DeFilippo announced his retirement. Coach Frank Spaziani enters this season with the hottest seat in the ACC. It’s only Week 1, but the game against Miami is a must-win for the Eagles.

12. Maryland: Barring something catastrophic, the season-ending injury to quarterback C.J. Brown was arguably the worst thing that could have happened to the Terps this offseason. The offense will be in the hands of true freshman Perry Hills, and Maryland will adjust to two new coordinators in its quest to turn around last season’s 2-10 finish.
Florida State cornerback Greg Reid didn’t give coach Jimbo Fisher much of a choice.

Strike one: He was suspended for the season opener last year for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Strike two: He was arrested last fall for resisting arrest and perjury charges. (Granted, they were dropped.)

Strike three: He was arrested last month and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Fisher didn’t say specifically why Reid was dismissed from the team, other than a “violation of team rules,” but it doesn’t matter. It was time for Reid to go, and despite the value he adds to the Noles’ special teams, Florida State will be better off without him. Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe has a name for players who continually seem to find themselves in trouble: knotheads. Reid, you might say, is a bit of a knothead.

This is another example of Fisher laying down the law in Tallahassee. Just last month he banned his players from using Twitter for the rest of the season. By giving Reid the boot -- a three-year starter who will be nearly impossible to replace in the return game -- he has also shown no player is bigger than the team and its goal of winning a national title. Fisher knows this team has a chance to be great and the last thing it needs is distractions to accompany the pressure that already comes with being a top-10 preseason team.

Losing Reid is a significant blow to Florida State’s return game -- most of you already know that. Reid is one of the nation’s top punt returners. But he wasn’t even the best corner on the team. That honor belongs to Xavier Rhodes. Defensively, coordinator Mark Stoops has enough talent on the roster to find a capable replacement for Reid. The return game will have a more glaring hole.

It’s not as deep of a hole, though, as the one Reid dug himself.
Florida State starting cornerback Greg Reid has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, the school announced on Wednesday morning.

Reid, a three-year starter for the Seminoles and one of the team’s top special teams players, has had several off-field incidents during his career. Most recently, he was arrested in mid-July and charged with driving with a suspended license, a seatbelt violation and misdemeanor possession of marijuana, according to the Lowndes County (Ga.) Sheriff's office.

I'll have more on this for you in a bit.
The ACC today announced its preseason all-conference team, which was chosen by media members this week at the ACC Football Kickoff on Sunday and Monday at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. Florida State, Clemson and North Carolina led all schools with four players each.

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was named by the media as the ACC preseason Player of the Year on Monday, was the only unanimous selection on the team, being named on all 68 ballots.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Michael Floyd's 100th catch of his history-making season ended up being his last in a Notre Dame uniform. But despite not being able to finish the final quarter of his college career, the senior receiver managed to exit in style.

[+] EnlargeMichael Floyd
Brad Barr/US PresswireMichael Floyd's final catch for Notre Dame accounted for the Irish's only offensive touchdown of the night.
That last catch may be the one replayed the most (it reached No. 3 on SportsCenter's top plays segment Thursday night), as it accounted for the Irish's only offensive touchdown on the night and their last of the season. Floyd made a circus 5-yard grab from Tommy Rees, ripping the ball out of the hands of Florida State cornerback Greg Reid and then bobbling the ball five times before securing it and absorbing a hit from Nigel Bradham.

Reid (concussion) and Floyd (upper-body injury) both left the game afterward.

"He's such a good player," Rees said of Floyd. "His concentration to find it and secure it was unbelievable."

Floyd finished the night with five catches for 41 yards. He also returned the game's first punt 41 yards, a huge jolt to an Irish punt return unit that averaged 0.3 yards per return during the regular season.

"Just an incredible competitor," coach Brian Kelly said of Floyd. "This is my 22nd year and I've had great players, guys that have gone on to great careers in the NFL, are doctors and lawyers. And you remember the guys that overcome, the guys that compete in battle, and he did that today."

Floyd finished the season with 1,147 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches. His 100 receptions this year are a Notre Dame single-season record.

Notre Dame's 10th two-time MVP, Floyd sits atop the school list for career receptions (271), touchdown receptions (37) and receiving yards (3,686), though he was less than pleased with how it ended.

"It's very frustrating," he said of the 18-14 loss. "To end the season you always want to get a 'W.' Unfortunately we didn't get the job done tonight. But you leave a lot of positive things and the underclassmen going back to school, making sure they do the little things right, stay disciplined and show some leadership."

That leadership mantle was taken away from Floyd after he was arrested for drunken driving in March, his third alcohol-related brush with the law since 2009. An offseason suspension followed, and his role as a season captain was stripped. Floyd's probation status from school prohibited him from being a game captain during the regular season.

Having graduated this month, Floyd was named a game captain for the Champs Sports Bowl, joining season captain Harrison Smith for the pregame coin toss.

"That's something that he's deserved," Smith said. "He's done everything that people have asked of him, whether it's on the field, off the field, in the classroom. And he's earned it. He's worked his way to this point and he definitely deserved it, and it was an honor being a captain alongside him."

Irish season ends just like it began

December, 29, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. -- One team surrendered five sacks, averaged 1.4 yards per rush and gave up a defensive touchdown.

This was the other coach after the game:

"We turn the ball over. And we cannot win football games at the highest level if we continue to turn the ball over. The coach has got to get better. The players got to get better and we have to solve this issue if we're going to be an elite football team."

That was Brian Kelly, because his Notre Dame team gave up four sacks, gave the ball away three times -- including two end-zone interceptions -- and was actually outgained by 10 yards in a Champs Sports Bowl that was anything but an offensive clinic.

Florida State emerged on the winning end of an 18-14 contest Thursday, bouncing back from an atrocious first half and a two-touchdown deficit to rattle off 15 points in the final quarter and finish 9-4 on the season.

Thirty minutes before the final horn, it looked like the Seminoles would have trouble even getting on the board.

Four sacks, two false-start penalties and a fumble that Irish safety Zeke Motta returned 29 yards for the half's lone score highlighted a less-than-inspiring offensive performance. Much of the third quarter played out in similar fashion, though Dustin Hopkins did manage a 42-yard field goal to get Florida State on the board -- after a 77-yard kickoff return was followed by a four-play, minus-3 yard drive.

But EJ Manuel scraped together the game's most impressive drive just as the third quarter was winding down, taking the Seminoles 84 yards in 10 plays, the last of which -- an 18-yard touchdown pass to Bert Reed -- kicked off a fourth quarter that the Irish will want back.

The second half of Notre Dame's two-quarterback system, Andrew Hendrix, threw an interception to Nigel Bradham three plays later, and Manuel capitalized two plays after that by connecting with game MVP Rashad Greene for a 15-yard score to make it 15-14. Greene finished with 99 yards on five catches.

[+] EnlargeTerrence Brooks
AP Photo/John RaouxThis interception by Terrence Brooks, right, ended Notre Dame's chances at a late comeback.
Field position, poor punting and a facemask penalty allowed Notre Dame to begin its second-to-last drive at Florida State's 28, but the Irish's chance went out the door when Tommy Rees' pass for the double-covered John Goodman was picked off in the end zone by Terrence Brooks.

Rees took the Irish to the Florida State 4 on the their first drive of the game, but was picked off in the end zone that time by Lamarcus Joyner.

Notre Dame entered with the plan to play both sophomore quarterbacks, and Rees saw most of the action. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 163 yards and a highlight-reel worthy touchdown, which Michael Floyd hauled in from five yards out after ripping the ball away from Greg Reid, bobbling it five times and hanging on for good while absorbing a hit from Bradham. Both Floyd (upper-body injury) and Reid (concussion) were hurt on the play and did not return.

Hendrix, who was used sparingly throughout the season, finished 3 of 8 for 24 yards.

"It's all those things -- frustrating, disappointing," Rees said. "It's not something you can hang your head on, though. As a quarterback and a leader you got to keep your head up regardless of the situation and be there for your teammates. The worst part is sending your seniors off with a loss, and a game that we had an opportunity to win makes it that much worse."

Kelly laughed at the notion that he started at Notre Dame in 2010 as an offensive guy -- "Well, I guess I'm not an offensive guy" -- and said earlier that the unit has some catching up to do after the performance his defense put forth.

"It's nice to be able to talk about a Notre Dame football team that plays championship defense, because they did that today," Kelly said. "Now we've got to get our offense obviously to play that level as well, and that will be the next step for our football program, is getting our offense to play at the same level that our defense is evolving to."

Coming off an 8-5 campaign, Notre Dame entered 2011 with BCS-bowl hopes and a quarterback controversy. On its first drive of the season, a goal-line fumble portended a two-week opening stretch that saw two close losses, 10 total turnovers and postseason goals all but go up in flames.

More than 16 weeks later, the campaign ended in a turnover-plagued slugfest that saw Notre Dame's final chance get picked off in the end zone.

"We see it as we could've run the table this year," Floyd said, "but with our mistakes and not being disciplined at certain times, we fell short."

3Q: Notre Dame 14, FSU 3

December, 29, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. — The fourth quarter begins with the Notre Dame holding a two-possession lead over Florida State, with the Seminoles offense finally putting together a nice drive.

FSU has gained 63 yards on nine plays and has reached the Irish 21, giving the offense as good a chance to get into the end zone as it has had all night.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, could not get anything going after a productive half-opening drive that ended with Michael Floyd's circus touchdown catch.

The Seminoles defense has been as good as advertised and is capable of making a game-changing play, something it might need to do if the offense cannot keep up this newfound burst of consistency. It will be without Xavier Rhodes and Greg Reid, however, who have suffered a leg injury and concussion, respectively. That is a big blow for the Seminoles' secondary, and you wonder if Notre Dame might take some chances downfield despite having the lead the next time it gets the ball.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Bowl season has found its best play of 2011.

Michael Floyd's 5-yard touchdown grab was anything but simple, as Tommy Rees' fade pass was underthrown and nearly picked off by Greg Reid. Floyd managed to pry it loose from Reid before engaging in a juggling act — all the while absorbing a hit from Nigel Bradham just as he secured the ball.

Touchdown, Irish.

Floyd's 100th catch of the season made it 14-0 Notre Dame, which is anything but your conventional two-score lead in a game that has lacked for offensive fire power.

The Seminoles appeared to be on the verge of closing the gap after Lamarcus Joyner's 77-yard kickoff return, but the offense followed with a three-and-out that was punctuated by a — you guessed it — sack of EJ Manuel, this time by Aaron Lynch for a loss of 15.

Dustin Hopkins kicked a 42-yard field goal to get FSU on the board and cut the lead to 14-3.

The Irish offense, meanwhile, went with both quarterbacks on its first drive of the half, putting Andrew Hendrix in at the 23 yard line. He carried it three times for 18 yards before Rees entered at first-and-goal from the 5, setting up the touchdown play.

George Atkinson deserves credit for setting the Irish up so well with a 37-yard kickoff return to open the half, as well as stopping Joyner from going all the way on the ensuing kickoff.

Halftime: FSU 10, Virginia 7

November, 19, 2011
This has been one of the more entertaining games in the ACC today, as Virginia is giving Florida State everything it has, and playing like a contender for the ACC title. Florida State's offense always seems to get a spark when quarterback EJ Manuel plows his way through traffic for a big run, and it happened again on the Noles' scoring drive with a 20-yard gain.

Defensively, Florida State has gotten good pressure on quarterback Michael Rocco, and Brandon Jenkins has sacked him twice. The Hoos will have to do a better job of protecting Rocco in the second half, and can't afford any mental errors from the offensive line against such a tough FSU defense. Rocco has passed the ball well, and Virginia proved in the first half that it can move the ball on Florida State's stingy defense.

If Virginia is going to stay in the Coastal Division race, it has to win this game, but the Cavaliers don't look panicked and aren't playing uptight. They look confident, and have reason to be, but one area they need to continue to be wary of in the second half is Florida State's special teams. Field position, thanks in part to Greg Reid's return ability, and the kicking game are two of the Noles' biggest strengths. FSU proved last weekend against Miami that even if its offense isn't operating at max capacity, it can win games with special teams and defense. Virginia must continue to pass the ball well, but also has to find ways to get its running game going without turning it over in the second half.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 11

November, 13, 2011
Here are your top five performers for Week 11:

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas: He played an outstanding game in the Hokies' 37-26 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday night. Thomas threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. He completed 7 of 13 passes for 209 yards and ran for another 70 yards. He also completed 75 percent of his third-down passes.

Florida State's special teams: Greg Reid scored on an 83-yard punt return, and Dustin Hopkins kicked three field goals to help lift the Noles over rival Miami, 23-19. Hopkins accounted for the only points in the third quarter with a 21-yard field goal, and his 38-yarder to start the fourth quarter put FSU up 23-7.

BC linebacker Luke Kuechly: He finished with 18 tackles in the 14-10 win over NC State, extending his streak of double-digit tackles to 32 consecutive games, the longest such streak in FBS. In the third quarter, Kuechly became the fifth player in ACC history to record 500 or more career tackles. He now has 509, fourth-best on the conference record list.

Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro: His game-winning, 43-yard field goal as time expired assured Clemson of a 31-28 win over Wake Forest and its second appearance in the ACC title game in three seasons. It was the first time since 2007 that Clemson had won on a last-second field goal. It was also the first time since 1948 -- when the stat started being tracked -- that Clemson won at home on a last-second field goal.

Virginia's offensive line: The Cavaliers have now gone three consecutive games without giving up a sack and the line paved the way for Kevin Parks and Perry Jones in the 31-21 win over Duke. It was the tenth game in a row that the offensive line has had the same five starters -- guards Austin Pasztor and Luke Bowanko, tackles Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses and center Anthony Mihot . The last time the same five players started an entire season on the offensive line at UVa was 2004.

Halftime: Florida State 17, Miami 7

November, 12, 2011
There's a reason neither of these teams are ranked.

Some telling stats from this game:
  • Miami has had three turnovers.
  • Florida State has had three first downs and two rushing yards.
  • FSU has had the ball for just 9:37.

Florida State has finally run into some better competition, and once again, the Noles' defense has been its best attribute. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was injured late in the first half and went to the locker room early, leaving the game in the hands of capable backup Stephen Morris. If there is an official update from Miami on Harris' status, I'll post it. Special teams has also played a role in this game, as Greg Reid returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown, and Dustin Hopkins missed a field goal. If FSU is going to hang onto this lead, the defense has continue to continue to pressure Miami into mistakes.

College GameDay

October, 8, 2011

Pregame notes from Death Valley

September, 24, 2011
CLEMSON, S.C. - A few quick lineup changes for you:

For Florida State, freshman Nick O'Leary will start in place of senior Beau Reliford at tight end, noseguard Anthony McCloud got the start of Jacobbi McDaniel, and Mike Harris will start at corner instead of Greg Reid. I am told receivers Kenny Shaw and Bert Reed are still game-time decisions. I expect an announcement here in the press box shortly before kickoff. Both are out on the field right now, dressed and running practice routes.

Truth? It would be stunning to me if Shaw -- after the viscious double helmet-to-helmet hit he took last week from Oklahoma -- played in this game and starting quarterback EJ Manuel didn't, but hey, I'm not a doctor and FSU has already confirmed that backup quarterback Clint Trickett will start. Manuel didn't even warm up. His receivers at least look like they're ready.

For Clemson, Brandon Thomas will start at left guard instead of Mason Cloy, and running back Andre Ellington (hamstring) is cleared and back in the starting lineup.

As early as three hours before the game, traffic into Death Valley was slower than a crawl, and the tailgating scene was in full force long before then. There have been a few sightings of Florida State fans, but this is Clemson's home and the Garnet and Gold is hard to find. Most of the fans are still outside the stadium at this point, but the Hill is starting to fill up.

This is one of the toughest venues in the ACC. We'll find out soon enough if Trickett is ready for it.