NCF Nation: Reggie Youngblood
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Miami offensive tackle Reggie Youngblood has played through both physical pain, and the heart-wrenching pain of dealing with his mother's cancer. As his career comes to an end, though, he's got everything he needs -- family included.
There's a rivalry game this week, and NC State coach Tom O'Brien hasn't hesitated to remind his players of it. In Raleigh, it's "Carolina Week."
How refreshing ... a candidate for the Clemson job speaks candidly about the experience. One thing is certain -- it takes a lot to make Bud Foster" a nervous wreck." Sounds like some Hokie fans who have e-mailed me about the possibility of him leaving.
Speaking of Clemson ... quarterback Cullen Harper is starting to look like the quarterback everyone expected him to be in the preseason. Unfortunately for him, it's probably too little, too late to earn the all-conference honor many expected him to win.
Georgia Tech's seniors will play their final home game on Thursday night, but there is still plenty of season left to help define their legacy.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Miami senior offensive tackle Reggie Youngblood shook his head and let out a sigh. It was the only thing he could come up with since he was at an utter loss for words to describe just how much the Canes' 16-14 win over Virginia Tech meant to the seniors.
"You can't, you really can't," he said. "It's just something you've got to experience. I believe everything happens for a reason and now everything seems to be paying off."
|Joel Auerbach/US Presswire|
|Robert Marve and the Canes won their fifth straight game.|
So much attention has been paid to this year's freshman class -- and deservedly so -- but they weren't on the field for last year's embarrassing senior sendoff at the historic Orange Bowl. The 48-0 loss to Virginia in front of so many former Miami greats punctuated a miserable season in which the Canes won only two league games and were denied a bowl bid for the first time in a decade.
This season's home finale, though, was different.
This team is different.
This time, in front of a crowd that included former Hurricanes Jim Kelly, Cortez Kennedy, Jim Otto and Gino Torretta, the bowl-eligible Hurricanes knocked off the defending ACC champions and won their fifth straight game. This is the same team that was predicted by the media to finish fifth in the Coastal Division and appeared headed in that direction with its 0-2 start in the conference. Now, for at least 48 more hours, the Hurricanes can enjoy sole possession of first place by a half game over North Carolina.
"It feels real good," Youngblood said, "especially after last year's senior night, how those seniors went out."
Miami coach Randy Shannon hesitated to call it a statement win, but acknowledged the significance of it.
"I think it's a big win for us because it's our last regular-season game playing in Dolphin Stadium, and I think for these seniors and this football team that was tremendous because we have a lot of seniors on this football team who have been through a lot," Shannon said. "For us to come out and win this football game the way we did and played hard for the senior class was tremendous for us."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles are expecting a similar defense from the one they saw in their loss to Wake Forest, but the Noles are more confident in their offensive line and running game this time around. Coach Bobby Bowden said tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace are probably the best they'll play to date, and his task will be to "mix the running game in there." Bowden said BC has a different defensive alignment than Wake, but the zone is similar. "We have to execute," Bowden said. "A team like that gives you things. You can have a little hook out there but you better not miss it. We must protect the passer and then execute and then get a running game going where they can't just tee off on the passer."
WAKE FOREST: Placekicker Sam Swank likely won't play again, and coach Jim Grobe is still trying to further integrate the I-formation with the spread offense, so the defense will once again be heavily relied upon this weekend at NC State. In the first half of the season, Wake was spending three-fourths of its practices on throwing the ball, blitz pickup, reads for the quarterbacks and route concepts for the receivers. Now, Grobe said, they're "probably 50/50 or 60/40 run-pass, which I think has helped us on Saturday, because we have the ability to do more than one thing." Running back Josh Adams, who has missed the past two games with a sprained ankle, is likely to return on Saturday.
MARYLAND: After allowing the Hokies a school-record rushing performance last week, the Terps made some changes to their defensive line in order to give their rushing defense a boost, and it starts inside. Travis Ivey will start at defensive tackle in place of Jeremy Navarre, who has been moved to defensive end, and redshirt freshman Dion Armstrong will start at nose tackle in place of Olugbemi Otulaja, who has started every game this season. Navarre, who started every game at defensive tackle, leads all ACC defensive linemen with 5.3 tackles per game. Mack Frost, who started five games at end this season but hasn't completely healed from knee surgery last year, is his backup.
VIRGINIA TECH: Things have been coming together for the Hokies on offense and special teams lately. Overshadowed by the record-setting success of tailback Darren Evans, true freshman Dyrell Roberts has also shown big-play capabilities for the Hokies. The former tailback turned receiver has found his niche as a return man. Roberts has 10 catches for 158 yards, but is averaging 26.9 yards per return -- ninth-best in the country. He has had returns of 55 and 54 yards in the past two games. Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring has also said he'd like to continue to use the "Wild Turkey" formation, with 280-pound tight end Greg Boone rushing out of the shotgun formation, but wants to make sure he only confuses defenses, and not his own players.
MIAMI: The Hurricanes spent their bye week focusing on special teams, but a consistent key to beating the Hokies has been a high-scoring game. Miami is 11-2 against Virginia Tech when it has scored 20 or more points against the Hokies. The Hurricanes lead the ACC in scoring offense with 30.4 points per game in ACC games. The Hurricanes could be without injured left tackle Jason Fox, though, and that could obviously hurt. Starting in his place would be senior Reggie Youngblood. Fox has started 22 straight games, and he and Xavier Shannon are the only two players on offense who have started every game this season.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State