NCF Nation: Markus White
Here are the players who will represent the ACC:
BOSTON COLLEGE (3)
- Anthony Castonzo
- Rich Lapham
- Mark Herzlich
- Da'Quan Bowers
- Marcus Gilchrist
- Chris Hairston
- Jamie Harper
- Jarvis Jenkins
- Byron Maxwell
- DeAndre McDaniel
- Rodney Hudson
- Christian Ponder
- Markus White
- Anthony Allen
- Mario Butler
- Jerrard Tarrant
- Allen Bailey
- Damien Berry
- Matt Bosher
- Orlando Franklin
- Graig Cooper
- Leonard Hankerson
- Brandon Harris
- Colin McCarthy
- DeMarcus Van Dyke
- Marvin Austin
- Kendric Burney
- Bruce Carter
- Greg Little
- Shaun Draughn
- Robert Quinn
- Da'Norris Searcy
- Quan Sturdivant
- Johnny White
- Deunta Williams
- T.J. Yates
- Nate Irving
- Owen Spencer
- Danny Aiken
- Ras-I Dowling
1. Stop the run. Florida State has been much better against the run this year -- No. 25 in the country and third in the ACC -- but it showed some weaknesses against Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game that the Gamecocks can exploit. Marcus Lattimore has run for 1,198 yards and 17 touchdowns this year, and quarterback Stephen Garcia has scored six rushing touchdowns this year.
2. Pressure Garcia. Florida State is No. 2 in the country and first the ACC in sacks with 3.54 per game. The Noles have had 46 sacks this season, and Garcia makes mistakes under pressure. South Carolina’s ability to pick up the rush and handle defensive ends Markus White and Brandon Jenkins will play a huge role in the outcome of the game.
3. Establish the run. Florida State’s tailbacks have been banged up this year, but this could be the healthiest they’ve all been in a while. Ty Jones, Chris Thompson and Jermaine Thomas will force the Gamecocks to be disciplined, but South Carolina has a knack for finding the ball and has also improved against the run this year, ranking ninth in the country and leading the SEC with 104.31 yards per game.
Turning point: In the first quarter, Virginia Tech linebacker Bruce Taylor came up with a big defensive play when he tipped E.J. Manuel's pass into the hands of Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, who ran it back 24 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. In a game that has been lacking big defensive plays, that one could come back to haunt Florida State. It was less a mistake by Manuel than it was an impressive play by Taylor and Gouveia-Winslow. In an otherwise even game, turnovers will make the difference.
Stat of the half: Virginia Tech is 6-of-8 on third-down conversions. The Hokies' ability to sustain drives could eventually wear out Florida State's defense, but time of possession has been about even. It was not until the Hokies' final possession of the half that the Seminoles started to come up with some big stops, none bigger than a sack by Markus White on third-and-10.
Best player in the half: Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He continues to make plays with his ability to scramble and buy time so that the wide receivers can get open. He has completed 9 of 14 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Virginia Tech: That's right, the whole team gets one this week for overcoming a 10-0 deficit at home against ECU and scoring 28 unanswered points in the second half -- without injured running back Ryan Williams, who pulled his hamstring in the second quarter. The Hokies are banged up, but they avoided an 0-3 start with a complete effort in the second half, winning 49-27.
NC State quarterback Russell Wilson: Rusty? Nah. Not this time. He threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-19 Thursday night win over Cincinnati. He completed 26 of 40 passes, including an 8-yard touchdown to Taylor Gentry with about 7½ minutes left to make it 30-7. He also ran for 33 yards.
NC State's defense. The Pack has shown measurable improvement. The Wolfpack finished with five sacks, hurried quarterback Zach Collaros four times and came up with a big fourth-and-1 stop in the fourth quarter. NC State is 3-0 for the first time in eight years.
Florida State's defense: The Seminoles showed some needed improvement in their 34-10 win over BYU. FSU's defense yielded only 191 total yards. The Seminoles had eight sacks; the most in a game since registering nine against Miami in 2005. FSU's top four defensive ends -- Markus White, Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Dan Hicks -- combined for five sacks. The Noles had just four from the defensive end position last season.
Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt: He completed 75 percent of his passes (3 of 4), for 76 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for 104 yards and another touchdown on 26 carries in the 30-24 win over North Carolina. He also led the Jackets on a 44-yard scoring drive that ended in a field goal for the 27-24 lead.
CLEMSON, S.C. -- First, an injury update. Chris Chancellor has a lower leg injury. He’s being reevaluated during the break. Now, a quick look at what happened in the first half here in Memorial Stadium.
Turning point: It was first and goal from the FSU 5-yard line, when Kyle Parker was sacked by Markus White for a loss of a yard and fumbled. Dekoda Watson recovered it, and Clemson’s chance at heading to the locker room took a hit. The defense gave Parker and Co. another opportunity on the ensuing drive with an interception, but Richard Jackson missed a 38-yard field goal. That fumble on the five-yard line was as close as the Tigers would get to reasserting themselves in the first half.
What Clemson needs to do: Eliminate the penalties and capitalize on their red zone scoring chances. Clemson has five penalties for 40 yards. That’s surprising, considering the Tigers entered this game averaging just 4.6 penalties per game, which was fourth best in the country. Earlier in the year, when Clemson was struggling, it was in the red zone. That appears to be the case again tonight.
What Florida State needs to do: Continue to run the ball and limit the mistakes. Jermaine Thomas has been a bright spot for the Noles, and his success helps Ponder with the play-action passes and opens up other options in the passing game. Right now, though, FSU has only been successful on 1 of 2 third downs. Their three turnovers have kept them out of a rhythm. Ponder’s two interceptions are uncharacteristic, but Clemson’s defense deserves some credit for that.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The face of Florida State's defensive line will change this fall, as the Noles' lost last season's top defensive end, Everette Brown, early to the NFL, and the coaching staff is expecting to hear within a day or two whether Kevin McNeil, who is listed as a starting defensive end on the preseason depth chart, will be cleared academically.
|Ken McKimm/Icon SMI|
|Mickey Andrews is counting on Markus White to take over the right end spot vacated by Everette Brown.|
While the interior line is deep and strong, the end positions are a question mark, though Markus White is the clear front-runner to take over for Brown on the right end.
"They're going to look for the guy who can make all the sacks," White said of FSU fans. "They're going to look for the standout guy. That's what they're used to. There's always been a dominant defensive end. Now that Everette's gone, who's the dominant guy? I want to step into that role, but only time will tell."
The Saturday scrimmages will help, and so will Wednesday's practice, which will be the first day in pads, but defensive ends coach Jody Allen said the defensive line won't be "near as talented" as it was last year without Brown, but that White has the intangibles it takes to be an aggressive end.
"He plays football with a very mobile and hostile attitude," Allen said. "He's got a good motor, and he plays hard, and he plays mean. He's a super person, but on the field he's a football player."
Allen said maybe one player can't replace Brown, but if he gets a collective effort from four players, the ends might be better as a group than they were last year. Everett Dawkins, Jamar Jackson, Brandon Jenkins, Dan Hicks, Craig Yarborough, and Toshmon Stevens are all candidates to help.
"The interior looks real good but our outside, they have the talent they just need to learn," White said. "They need somebody to learn from. The coach can only do so much, but as a player I can help them, too."
"He looks great," defensive tackle Budd Thacker said. "His confidence level is definitely way up there, I promise you that. He'll hustle, he gets to the football all the time. He knows the playbook front and back, and that's what we need."
Thacker said the unit's goal is to get more pressure on the quarterbacks, get the ball out of his hands, cause some more picks and get some more sacks. FSU had the best pass defense in the ACC last year, but only had nine interceptions. The only ACC team with fewer picks was Miami with a measly four. With Brown in the lineup, FSU led the ACC with 39 total sacks.
White said he's been working on two primary counteraction new moves this summer to help him keep those sack numbers high.
"Last year we had Everette Brown and he would always get pressure on the quarterbacks even if it wasn't sacks, but I got too much pressure and not enough sacks," White said. "This year instead of getting pressure I want to get to the quarterback, get past the guy, be able to grab him and tackle him."
If he does, White just might be the Noles' next "dominant defensive end."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
As we head into spring football, there will be some pretty big names missing from the rosters -- Clemson needs to replace its starting quarterback, safety and running back, Duke lost the ACC's leading tackler, Virginia lost its leading receiver and rusher, BC lost its starting defensive tackles, Georgia Tech needs to replace three of its four starting defensive linemen, and UNC needs to replace all of its top receivers -- just to name a few. There will also be plenty of replacements within coaching staffs.
Here are the five biggest shoes to fill in the ACC this spring:
|Mark Goldman/Icon SMI|
|Aaron Curry finished his career at Wake Forest with 332 tackles.|
Virginia Tech cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris -- Not only will the Hokies lose one of their top defenders, they'll also lose a true leader. Last season, Harris had 14 passes defended and six interceptions -- including two returned for touchdowns -- and two forced fumbles. One option is to move Stephan Virgil to the other side like the staff did when Brandon Flowers left. Another is to let a few players battle it out. Rashad Carmichael started the game Harris missed due to injury.
Florida State defensive end Everette Brown -- He led the league in sacks and tackles for loss. Brown's season sack total was 13.5 and his career sack total was 23. Markus White, who was Brown's backup in 2008, earned his first sack against Clemson, and is the front-runner to succeed Brown. Kevin McNeil also has experience at the end position.
Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry -- The Butkus Award winner finished the regular season with a team-leading 101 tackles and 15 tackles for loss. Curry finished his career with 332 tackles and a school-record 278 career interception return yards. Jonathan Jones was Curry's backup last season and has some experience there.
UNC receiver Hakeem Nicks -- Nicks set UNC single-season records in 2008 for receiving yards (1,222) and touchdowns (12). In just three seasons, Nicks established 14 school records at UNC, including career receptions (181), career receiving yards (2,580) and career touchdowns (21). The staff recruited several receivers who are expected to compete for time this fall, but Joshua Adams, who enrolled in January, could have a slight edge because he'll be practicing this spring. Sophomore Dwight Jones should also be in the mix, along with Todd Harrelson and Rashad Mason.
Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski -- He took the Eagles to back-to-back ACC title games, including 2008, when little was expected of the Eagles in their first season without Matt Ryan. Jagodzinski left Boston College with a 20-8 record (11-3 in 2007, 9-5 in 2008). Former defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani will be in his first season as a head coach.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
It was another week of impressive defensive performances in the ACC. These guys are making the race for defensive player of the year very, very difficult. Even NC State got a boost from its defense and the return of linebacker Nate Irving. Sorry, NC State fans, but there are only five helmet stickers to give, and a win against Duke in a game that meant little more than Pack pride just doesn't cut it when so much was on the line for everyone else.
Here are this week's top performers:
Florida State's defensive ends. Everette Brown recorded half of his team's six sacks, junior Markus White sacked Cullen Harper for a 7-yard loss in the second quarter and forced a fumble on the play, senior Neefy Moffett picked off Harper in the first quarter and returned the interception 18 yards for a touchdown, tying Saturday's game at 10-10. It was the Seminoles' first interception returned for a touchdown.
Wake Forest defense. It's tough to single one person out when three different players had interceptions, and linebacker Aaron Curry forced and recovered a fumble and had two-and-a-half tackles for loss. The Deacs scored 14 points off of the turnovers, including Kevin Patterson's 53-yard interception return for a touchdown, Wake's first defensive touchdown of the season.
Boston College safety Paul Anderson. He accounted for half of Jimmy Clausen's four interceptions, including one he returned 76 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. The Eagles handed Notre Dame the first shutout in the series and held the Fighting Irish to just 66 yards rushing. The BC defense created five turnovers and blocked one punt.
North Carolina's offensive line. They held their own against Georgia Tech's front four and paved the way for a strong running game led by sophomore tailbacks Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston. The Tar Heels rushed for a season-best 186 yards and 4.4 yards per carry. Houston had a career-best 74 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and Draughn had 90 yards on 17 carries.
Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans. He rushed for a school-record 253 yards and scored a touchdown, surpassing the previous record of 243 set by Mike Imoh against UNC in 2004. It was the first time this season a Virginia Tech running back surpassed 100 yards, and it was exactly what the Hokies' offense needed.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
I've gotten a ton of questions in the mailbag from fans expressing displeasure with Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring. A ton. Here are a few samples:
Jason, in Arlington, writes: Heather, you ought to talk with Kyle Tucker and ask about the past few days in Blacksburg!! Heat is getting turned up on Beamer and Stinespring, grass roots campaign style!
Alexander, in Blacksburg, writes: you rank the teams you rank the head coaches rank the OC's and the DC's Stinespring needs to be pushed out interestingly..he is the o-line coach, and our o-line has been shakey the last few seasons..no only his he predictable he's the source of our offensive weakness-the o-line. I hope you cover these topics soon
Somebody writes: are you going to help us dismantle stinespring or not?..he needs to go..we can't win with him
Dennis, in Torrance, CA, writes: ... And could you please ask Coach Beamer why Stinespring's name is still on a Hokie Office Door?
Yes, I'm ignoring you, because it's not something I feel comfortable passing judgment on right now. However, Frank Beamer has made it clear that Stinespring is his guy.
So you can complain all you want -- the mailbag is there for you to vent, cry, laugh, whatever -- but it doesn't look like things are going to change anytime soon. Other than the fact that Beamer is firing back at his critics.
Elsewhere in the league ...
- Clemson running back C.J. Spiller has taken his game North and South -- an early Christmas present for coach Tommy Bowden.
- There's no rest for the weary Yellow Jackets, a sign that Paul Johnson's not big on substitutions and there might not be as much depth on his roster to give him that option.
- After facing a hostile Florida crowd this past weekend, the young Hurricanes are ready for College Station and have a weekend off to prepare for Texas A&M. They're still talking about that Florida game, though, in Coral Gables.
- How many kickers does it take to replace Connor Barth at UNC? Two, including his little bro.
- The Seminoles lost a few guys from their roster, including defensive tackle Emmanuel Dunbar, who would have been a starter if he had been able to stay healthy. Markus White is still struggling with seizures, although doctors assure him he's safe on the football field as long as he takes his medication.
- Did you guys catch the show yesterday? Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe took my ACC seat on College Football Live. He's right, the ESPN headquarters are "enormous."
- Duke senior tight end Tielor Robinson knows a thing or two about Navy. He was on Army's roster once. Then again, he's also 0-5 against the Middies, so coach David Cutcliffe doesn't "want to hear anything he has to say." Ha.
- Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin uncovered eight plays that should have been touchdowns. Yikes. It's still not enough for coach Ralph Friedgen to make any changes, though.
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.