NCF Nation: Kevin Ogletree

ACC's lunchtime links

February, 16, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here's a quick look at what's going on in the ACC today:

  • The great football state of Texas held nothing on Georgia Tech when it came to recruiting receiver Jeremy Moore.
  • ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said former Virginia wide receiver Kevin Ogletree should have stayed in school.
  • Duke isn't wasting any time building its 2010 recruiting class, and it didn't even have to leave the state to add two more.
  • Despite the injury to FSU receiver Taiwan Easterling, the Noles' strength coach says he has seen plenty of positive results during the offseason.
  • Is Bryce Brown now leaning toward LSU?

Pre-spring ACC power rankings

February, 9, 2009

Posted by'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.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

In case you slept through all of Wednesday, two major things happened: Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski was fired, and a handful of players decided to leave the ACC for the NFL.

Here are a few stories and opinions on both of those subjects:


Gregg Doyel applauded Boston College for taking a stand, but he wasn't the only one. Sally Jenkins was also a fan of the move, as was Dan Wetzel. About the only opinion missing on this is Jagodzinski's. One thing is for sure -- athletic director Gene DeFilippo took it personally.


Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is trying to remain a "normal citizen" while preparing for the NFL draft.

The fact that Virginia wide receiver Kevin Ogletree already graduated made his decision a lot easier.

Also leaving is arguably the best defensive end in the ACC, FSU's Everette Brown.


Paul Strelow is reporting that Clemson assistant Ron West (outside linebackers/bandit ends) might be the first one out the door to make room for new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

Posted by'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?

ACC's internal affairs

October, 29, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

CLEMSON: Entering Saturday's game at Boston College, the Tigers have a chance to be as healthy as they've been all year, and that's saying a lot. Clemson has had 12 injured players miss games and seven are offensive or defensive linemen. As a result, Clemson has started five different offensive line combinations in the first seven games and it could have another different lineup in Chestnut Hill. Starting defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson, a team leader who hurt his knee during summer camp and hasn't played a down all year, has been practicing this week. Running back C.J. Spiller, who hasn't played the past seven quarters, has looked pretty mobile at practice, and starting guard David Smith, who hasn't played since he sprained his ankle in the first half against South Carolina State, could also be back. The bye week might have been the best thing to happen to the Tigers this season.

FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles' run-based offense took a hit last weekend when leading rusher Antone Smith and his backup, freshman Jermaine Thomas, were both injured against Virginia Tech. Smith's biggest concern right now seems to be his ribs, but he is expected to play. Thomas, though, had a concussion and his availability is less certain even though he practiced this week. Depending on how much they've healed, it's possible that receiver Preston Parker could be used more in the running game like he was last year against Maryland. He was forced into the starting role after all three of the Noles' scholarship runners were injured. Both Smith and Thomas, though, seemed determined to play at Georgia Tech. Smith is the fourth-leading rusher in the ACC with 77.1 yards per game, but leads with 11 touchdowns.

VIRGINIA: Virginia coach Al Groh said this week that he expects tight end John Phillips to be among the leading tight ends in the nation before the season is over. Last year, with receiver Kevin Ogletree injured and the production from the receivers down, three Cavs' tight ends combined to catch 93 passes. Some of those plays this year have gone to Ogletree and Maurice Covington. This year, Groh said he expects his tight ends to get 50-55 passes. Phillips has shown his versatility this season and is second on the team and tied for fifth in the ACC with 35 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown. That's more production than he had in his first three seasons combined (21 catches for 285 yards and three touchdowns).

DUKE: The Blue Devils' coaching staff faces an interesting challenge this week. For the first six games of the season, Wake Forest ran a spread offense, and then last week, the Deacs made a sudden change to the I-formation and surprised Miami by throwing the ball just eight times. Duke's staff is now forced to prepare for two different offensive styles. While the Blue Devils are comfortable with their base defense, they're expecting to have to make adjustments. Duke's defense has been inconsistent this season, looking good against Navy's run, but unable to stop anything at Georgia Tech. Odds are Duke will see a more balanced Wake Forest offense on Saturday.

WAKE FOREST: Filming for the movie "The 5th Quarter" will take place during Saturday's home game against Duke. The movie is based on the Demon Deacons' 2006 championship season during which linebacker Jon Abbate was driven by the death of his 15-year-old brother, Luke. The crew purchased about 150 tickets for the game and will sit in section five, where Abbate's parents used to sit. The actors will be reacting to the game as it goes on, but since some scenes take place in September and others in November, they're going to have to change from short-sleeves to parkas during the game.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The ACC is definitely defensive: North Carolina couldn't get in the end zone in the first half, Wake Forest has had trouble scoring from as close as the 2-yard line, and Miami held UCF to 78 total yards. And what would Georgia Tech have done if its defense didn't hold Gardner-Webb to just seven points, or get a hand on the final field goal attempt? The touchdown-less Florida State-Wake Forest game last month was a foreshadowing of what this league would be about. Three teams -- Florida State, Boston College and Georgia Tech -- are among the top six teams in the country in total defense. Add Wake Forest and Miami in the top 20.

The Tar Heels are ahead of schedule in the rebuilding process -- If this is what they're capable of without their starting quarterback and top playmaker Brandon Tate, what can they do when everyone is healthy? Heck, will T.J. Yates even get his job back? UNC hasn't been the most prolific team on offense, but the Tar Heels have become experts at capitalizing on opponents' mistakes -- and forcing them into it. UNC further padded its stats as the nation's leader in interceptions (14), picking off Jimmy Clausen twice. What it's lacked on offense, the Tar Heels have compensated for with special teams and defense.

Virginia is to be taken seriously -- The Cavaliers caught some attention with their win over Maryland, but this weekend proved they have made legitimate progress. The talent on this team is plentiful -- Cedric Peerman, Kevin Ogletree, the linebackers, and offensive tackle Eugene Monroe is an NFL lineman. They had to come together as a team, though, to find their identity, which could be determined as relentless.

Georgia Tech's offense doesn't work without its top two quarterbacks and the right offensive line -- Third-string quarterback Calvin Booker isn't suited for Paul Johnson's offense, and didn't help that he was playing behind an offensive line that has struggled all season. The more Johnson recruits, the better suited the line will be to execute the triple option. With Jaybo Shaw and Josh Nesbitt sidelined with injuries, the Yellow Jackets didn't look anywhere near a Top 25 team -- not in a too-close-for-comfort 10-7 win over an FCS team. Yikes.

Clemson is officially the biggest bust of the season -- Not just in the ACC, but possibly on a national level, too. We're talking about the No. 9-ranked team in the preseason (admittedly too high), but still a team loaded with talent -- a roster other coaches throughout the country would love to borrow from for one Saturday. And yet the Tigers have not been able to do anything with it, instead playing themselves into obscurity and almost out of the Atlantic Division race for sure.

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.

 Kevin Ogletree was the Cavaliers' leading receiver in 2006.
Posted by's Heather Dinich

Today is ACC Coastal day for our Blue Ribbon previews, so like yesterday, I'll have some different interviews from within the division, rankings, games to watch, etc.

Virginia had its share of offseason problems (gone -- QB Jameel Sewell, DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald) and lost irreplaceable talent to the NFL (Chris Long, Branden Albert), but the Cavaliers do have a few bright spots in the return of WR Kevin Ogletree and RB Cedric Peerman.

Ogletree, the Cavaliers' leading receiver in 2006, tore his left ACL last spring and missed the entire season, although he was cleared to play. He started practicing around the end of October, but knew he wasn't 100 percent. Now, he says, he's ready.

"Injuries are part of the game," Ogletree said in an interview this week. "It's how you bounce back from them and how you treat those bad days when you're not feeling great, when you get down on yourself. You can't really have those. You've always got to be upbeat, always have to find some type of motivation to push you. It's lonely, man. Rehab is lonely."

Midway through the season he got company. Peerman, the team's leading rusher, was also leading the ACC in rushing midway through the season but missed the second half with a foot injury. He and Ogletree are now working out twice a day, participating in 7-on-7 drills and trying to help everyone come together as a team.

"With Cedric back in the lineup, we look at him and say that's our guy," Ogletree said. "That's someone we've seen work hard here for five years. Having him back is a mental boost and obviously it's a boost on the field just by his production because we know he's going to give us everything he's got, and that's plenty."

Virginia will need all the help it can get as the Cavaliers open the schedule with USC.

"No one is in the locker room with us," Ogletree said. "It's like a family. ... We want everyone to know we're working to win and we're getting ready."