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Tag:Greg Reid
Posted on: November 26, 2011 11:30 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Florida State 21, Florida 7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

FLORIDA STATE WON: It wasn't a game to remind anyone of this rivalry's '90s heyday -- heck, it wasn't a game to remind anyone of anything but, say, their bouts with influenza -- but after shutting out the Gators for the game's first 56 minutes and winning their second straight in the series, the Seminoles will take it. Jimbo Fisher's offense was held to a miserable 100 total yards, but three critical Florida interceptions -- the first two by John Brantley, the third by Jacoby Brissett -- led directly to all three Seminole touchdowns. Terrance Parks collected the game-sealing pick-six off Brissett for FSU.

WHY FLORIDA STATE WON: As that opening paragraph made clear, nothing the 'Nole offense did, other than seize on their defense-fueled opportunities; after following up the first Brantley interception with a 20-yard touchdown drive on their second possession, their longest drive the remainder of the night (out of 12 tries) covered all of 17 yards.

But as horrible as the Seminole offense was, that's how well the Seminole defense played ... and how much help they got from the Gator offense. Brantley and Brissett finished the game having hit 13-of-28 for 4.6 yards an attempt and four interceptions. Two of those belonged to the dynamic Greg Reid, but a nod is also due the dominant 'Nole defensive line. No play maybe defined this game like the Gators' attempted conversion of 4th-and-1 at the FSU 15 in the second quarter, on which Florida gave the ball to short-yardage specialist Trey Burton. Burton tried the middle of the line, found nothing, attempted to get outside, cut back ... and on a play which needed only a one-yard gain, lost 14 yards. Credit to the 'Noles for the stuff, but it was also that kind of night for Charlie Weis's offense.

WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: Even down 14-0, even with only 14 minutes remaining, and even without Brantley, Florida could dream of a comeback until Parks picked off Brissett and took it 29 yards to the house. At 21-0 and less than a quarter remaining, the Gators were barbecue.

WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: their eighth game, but more importantly, a second straight in-state sweep of Miami and Florida. This has still been a disappointing season for a team that started the season with national title hopes, but Fisher's not going to face too much heat as long as keeps owning FSU's biggest rivals.

WHAT FLORIDA LOST: The Gators will still go bowling at 6-6, but after this loss they finish the year without a win over a winning team, their greatest triumph a five-point home win over Vanderbilt. It's going to be a long road back to crystal footballs for Will Muschamp and Co.

Posted on: September 26, 2011 9:39 am
Edited on: September 26, 2011 9:57 am
 

FSU CB Greg Reid charged with misdemeanor perjury

Posted by Chip Patterson

Two weeks ago, Florida State was a top-5 team one win away from being considered a national championship contender. After two tough losses to Oklahoma and Clemson, the Seminoles get a much-needed off week to get healthy and fix some on-field issues. Unfortunately, they are going to have to keep dealing with off-field issues.

Cornerback Greg Reid was arrested early Monday morning by the Tallahassee Police Department and charged with misdemeanor perjury (not in an official proceeding) and resisting an officer without violence.

The junior cornerback is also a key piece of the Seminoles' return game, and sat out Florida State's 35-30 loss to Clemson on Saturday.  Reid injured his right knee in the loss to Oklahoma on Sept. 17 and was on the sideline for the loss, but never saw the field.  Reid and linebacker Telvin Smith received one-game suspensions earlier in the season for a violations of unspecified team rules. It is unknown at this point whether or not the suspensions and arrest are connected in any way.

Keep it here at CBSSports.com and Follow the Seminoles' Rapid Reports for more on this story as it develops.

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 3:01 am
Edited on: September 25, 2011 3:22 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Sept. 24)



Posted by Chip Patterson

1. After stealing headlines in Week 3, the ACC (and future ACC) struggled in Week 4. A week ago, I was writing praises for commissioner John Swofford for taking action to ensure the ACC had a place in the uncertain future landscape of college football. The ACC was gathering praise for their off-field transactions and on-field victories over Auburn and Ohio State. In a fashion typical of this fluid college football world we live in - things have changed in seven days. Florida State was so beaten emotionally and banged up physically after their 23-13 loss to Oklahoma they could not play to their potential against Clemson in Death Valley. Maryland got embarrassed 38-7 by Temple at home, Virginia lost to Southern Miss at home, and Miami followed their defeat of the Buckeyes with a home loss to Kansas State.

Making the perception even worse, incoming members Pittsburgh and Syracuse both embarrassed the conference on Saturday. The Panthers could not muster a single fourth quarter score in their 15-12 loss to Notre Dame at home while Syracuse beat Toledo in an overtime that should have never happened. The week wasn't all bad - the games certainly revealed new legitimate conference contenders in Atlanta and Death Valley - but in comparison to the praises showered on the conference a week ago this was a pretty weak encore.

2. Georgia Tech ready to challenge Virginia Tech for Coastal Division. After gaudy victories against Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee, we were intrigued by Georgia Tech. After decisive victories against Kansas and a talented North Carolina team, we know Paul Johnson's team is back and ready to compete for an ACC title. When Josh Nesbitt broke his arm last season, Tevin Washington took over and the offense struggled to maintain the level of production due to a rough adjustment period and an unhealthy habit of turning the ball over. The changes in the offense which the coaching staff has discussed all offseason have been clearly visible in the Yellow Jackets' 4-0 start. Not only is the triple option sharper with less turnovers, but Tevin Washington has gotten comfortable throwing the ball as well. With the physical Stephen Hill as his favorite target, Washington actually leads the nation in passing plays of more than 50 yards.

The Yellow Jackets dominated the Tar Heels on Saturday, much more than the 35-28 victory would suggest. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has not faced any opponents of note for comparison and has not looked particularly impressive offensively. While the Hokies defense seems to have found their grit back, holding teams basically no yards on the ground, Logan Thomas and running back David Wilson are still getting used to their new full-time starting positions. Virginia Tech is still the favorite to win the division thanks to a favorable draw, but the Yellow Jackets are right up there with a more convincing resume at this point for the strongest team in the Coastal Division.

3. Clemson's win does not put them in the driver's seat yet. Clemson's victory over Florida State in Death Valley was reaffirming. It was reaffirming to Dabo Swinney that his efforts to recruit players like sophomore Tajh Boyd and freshman Sammy Watkins would pay off for the program. It was reaffirming to offensive coordinator Chad Morris that his newly installed system could roll against the best defensive units in the nation when executed properly. It was reaffirming to a fan base who doubted their team's ability to beat two ranked opponents in a row, that the 2011 Tigers could compete for an ACC title.

But this "driver's seat" talk that is being tossed around? That's a little much.

Two wins over ranked opponents do not automatically erase several seasons of inconsistency within Clemson football in recent history. A 1-0 conference record with a win over Atlantic Division favorite Florida State does not pencil you in to the ACC Championship Game, but it does eliminate one of the most difficult obstacles on the schedule.

The Tigers faced Florida State at THE most opportune time. EJ Manuel out with a shoulder strain. Greg Reid and Bert Reed both out with injuries. The entire team coming down after losing the biggest game of the regular season 23-13 on the biggest stage. But those intangibles are not the sole reason the Tigers put up 455 yards of total offense on Florida State, in fact they are likely a small fraction. The Clemson defense, which has received very little attention so far this season, dropped back against a suddenly one-dimensional Florida State offense while the front four applied pressure to redshirt freshman quarterback Clint Trickett. They were able to come up with just enough stops to secure the 35-30 win and set up the Tigers with an incredible opportunity to jump ahead in the ACC Atlantic Division race.

Are the Tigers in the "driver's seat?" No. But if they can do it again at Virginia Tech, we might have a different conversation on our hands.

4. Jury is still out on Miami and Maryland. Maybe it is because they played a memorable season opener against each other on Labor Day, but Miami and Maryland both have started the season in different yet equally confusing fashions. Miami bounced back from the loss to the Terps with a defensive showcase against Ohio State with four of their suspended players back in the lineup. Maryland has come back from making headlines with the Miami win and shockingly memorable jerseys with two straight losses to West Virginia and Temple. As we saw on Saturday night, West Virginia is a formidable opponent and far from an embarrassing loss. Temple, on the other hand, should be a cause for concern for Terps' fans.

Additionally, Miami's win over Ohio State was supposed to be a signature win for Al Golden and this new attitude in the Miami football program. But the defense that looked so sharp against Ohio State gave up 265 rushing yards to the Wildcats, and forced the Hurricanes offense to scramble just to get back in the game. On paper both of these teams should be among the best in the conference. But their performances have been inconsistent and difficult to interpret, making it tough for any fan to judge exactly how good these teams could be come November.

5. Gio Bernard is ready to be the feature back in Chapel Hill. Entering the season, it was expected that redshirt senior Ryan Houston would be the starting running back. A big bruiser with an ability to withstand the first and second hit, Houston was going to be featured with sophomore Giovani Bernard as the change-of-pace back. It only took two games before interim coach Everett Withers started splitting the workload more evenly, and when the Tar Heels faced Georgia Tech in their first road test of the season it was Bernard who was the featured running back in the offense.

The 5-foot-10 shifty back from Florida answered the call with an impressive performance that basically kept the Tar Heels competitive for our quarters against the high powered Georgia Tech offense. Bernard rushed 17 times for a career high 155 yard and two touchdowns. He was also a threat in the screen game, with 5 receptions for 47 yards. As sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner has become more conservative against tougher defenses, Bernard's role has increased. If he can replicate Saturday's performance on a weekly basis, it would make life much easier for the first-year starter under center.

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Posted on: September 11, 2011 1:10 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 1:23 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Sept. 10)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Time to re-rank the ACC Atlantic. Two weeks into the season, and my projected order of finish for the division in the ACC Preview already looks way off. I'm trying to be careful not to jump to any conclusions, but I think it's safe to say my predictions (below) will not be very similar to the final standings.

1. Florida State
2. Clemson
3. NC State
3. Maryland
3. Boston College
6. Wake Forest

See what I mean? No chance. So based on what we've learned from the last two weeks, here is how I would re-rank them. Consider it a "power ranking" of sorts.

1. Florida State (2-0) - No real surprise or change here. Who we thought they were.

2. Maryland (1-0) - The Terps made our jaw drops twice on Labor Day. Once when they ran out of the tunnel in those uniforms, and again when they completed the 32-24 defeat of Miami.

3. Wake Forest (1-1) - Tanner Price has been one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the ACC so far this season, and if the Deacs can learn how to hold a lead they could end up giving a lot of teams trouble this year.

4. NC State (1-1) - Quarterback Mike Glennon put together a great second half on Saturday, helping the Wolfpack fight back from a 27-6 third quarter deficit and nearly steal a win from Wake Forest. 315 yards passing and three second half touchdowns will help the first-year starter build some confidence moving forward.

5. Clemson (2-0) - The Tigers have more talent on paper than many teams in the ACC, but they also have more talent than both of their opponents this season. Unfortunately things are still a work in progress for this young team, and their showing against Troy and Wofford have been less than impressive. Can be better, should be better, just not putting it together right now.

6. Boston College (0-2) - That defense can only do so much when the offense struggles like they have been this season. From Montel Harris to losing their top receiver for the season, injuries will unfortunately be the story of the 2011 Eagles.

2. North Carolina/Bryn Renner not so flawless anymore. I opened last week's What I Learned with a glowing review of North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner. Well the sophomore faced a new challenge on Saturday with the Rutgers defense, and his performance did not match his 22-for-23 debut. Renner did complete 20 of 26 passes for 273 yards, but half of those incompletions were once again thrown to the other team. But Renner's mistakes were hardly the only frustrations for interim head coach Everett Withers. The Tar Heels were penalized 9 times for 94 yards, and finished the game with five turnovers in their narrow 24-22 win over Rutgers. After looking so sharp a week ago, the Tar Heels will have some work to do this week before kicking off the conference schedule against Virginia in Chapel Hill next Saturday.

3. Virginia Tech's greatest opponent is Virginia Tech. The Hokies have one of the most favorable schedules in the ACC, and it has been a reason that many people have penciled them in to repeat as Coastal Division champs. Virginia Tech's mental mistakes and inability to get a passing game going nearly cost them a game on Saturday in their 17-10 victory over ECU. The Hokies were penalized 12 times and turned the ball over twice, while quarterback Logan Thomas completed only 8 of 20 passes for 91 yards and no touchdowns. The defense was doing their part, holding the high-powered ECU offense to just 112 total yards. But there were too many mistakes that almost cost the No. 11 Hokies an early loss that would have crushed their potential bowl resume.

4. Duke's "breakthrough" will not occur until they fix red zone woes. Preseason All-ACC kicker Will Snyderwine shocked us when he missed a 28-yard field goal against Richmond that could have won the game. But on Saturday the streak continued with two more field goal misses in Duke's 44-14 loss to Stanford. Those missed field goals complimented a turnover on downs from the Stanford 14 yard line to equal a day of red zone troubles for the Blue Devils. Sean Renfree, Conner Vernon, and the Blue Devils offense entered this season with a lot of hype, but the inability to finish will keep the Duke in the ACC cellar in 2011 unless something changes.

5. No more coach speak, let's talk Oklahoma. All through training camp and the first two weeks of the season, the media has been frowned upon when asking questions about the early-season showdown between Oklahoma and Florida State in Tallahassee. With the Seminoles' 62-10 win over Charleston Southern, "Oklahoma Week" has officially begun for the FSU fan base.

The defense looks as ready as they could be for the Sooners' potent offense, after only allowing one touchdown in eight quarters of play. On Saturday the Seminoles' defense did not even let the Buccaneers get a first down until the third quarter, and this week they will get Greg Reid and Telvin Smith back from one-game suspensions. Head coach Jimbo Fisher admitted the Seminoles "didn't play perfect," but he was able to use the big lead to get extra quality snaps for his offensive line and running backs as they work to advance a rushing game that hasn't hit 2010's production yet.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 6:47 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 6 FSU 34, ULM 0

Posted by Chip Patterson

FLORIDA STATE WON. Seminoles' fans have had their eyes set on Oklahoma's visit to Tallahassee on Sept. 17, but the team has some business before that - starting with ULM. Taking care of business is what FSU did, shutting out Louisiana-Monroe 34-0. Quarterback EJ Manuel played well in his first opening day start, completing 22-of-34 passes for 254 and a pair of touchdowns. The junior threw to 10 different receivers, with Rodney Smith leading the group in catches (6) and yards (79).

WHY FLORIDA STATE WON: The Seminoles defense suffocated ULM all afternoon. They only allowed 191 yards of total offense and held the Warhawks to 5-for-15 on third down conversions. The Florida State rushing game was steady, but not overly impressive. Manuel put together two impressive drives in the second half, but both fell short and ended in Dustin Hopkins field goals.

WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: In the second quarter, Florida State pulled off a 17 play, eight minute drive that ended in a field goal to take a 10-0 lead. Greg Reid ran a punt back to set up the offense in the ULM red zone, but Manuel threw an interception on the first snap of the drive. Noticeably dejected with the offense's inability to capitalize, Manuel looked shaky for a moment. After a Lamarcus Joyner answered with an interception of his own, Manuel stepped up on the next drive and delivered a beautiful 50-yard touchdown pass while getting hit in the pocket. Helped the junior starter get his rhythm back and extended the Seminoles' halftime lead to 17.

WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: While media and fans can continue to salivate at the thought of Florida State and Oklahoma throwing down in Doak Campbell Stadium, the team still needs to take advantage of these first games against ULM and Charleston Southern. Take advantage of a new opponent to learn more about yourself, and try to improve upon your weaknesses in practice. The coaching staff won 60 minutes of tape to break down for next week.

WHAT LOUISIANA-MONROE LOST: The lack of offensive production should not be a huge concern for ULM. They were going up against a fantastic defense and had terrible field position throughout the game. Keeping the game close for the first 1.5 quarters is a credit to the defense, and the fact that none of the halfbacks ran wild. Overall probably a good experience for a team looking to make strides in the Sun Belt Conference.

THAT WAS CRAZY: After Florida State built a 27-0 lead, EJ Manuel took a seat and backup Clint Trickett entered the game. The freshman Tallahassee native is the son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett, and connected with Rashad Green for a touchdown on his first collegiate snap. Pretty cool moment for the father and son on the sideline.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 2:47 pm
 

PODCAST: Talking FSU with Coley Harvey

Posted by Chip Patterson

A buzz is back in Tallahassee as Florida State enters the season as the favorite to win the ACC. Coley Harvey, of the Orlando Sentinel, joins me to break down the first two weeks of training camp and preview the upcoming season. Can Florida State knock off Oklahoma on Sept. 17? How long has it been since the Seminoles have been this good? Tune in and find out on this special edition of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast.

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If you are having trouble seeing the player, you can download the MP3 HERE

Posted on: August 15, 2011 7:55 am
 

CBSSports.com Preseason All-ACC Team

Posted by Chip Patterson

As part of CBSSports.com's season preview, we offer this blogger's selections for the Preseason All-ACC Team.

Offense


QUARTERBACK

EJ Manuel, Jr., Florida State - Manuel has been handed the keys to arguably one of the best Seminole teams in nearly a decade, and the first-year starter has already had several opportunities to grow comfortable with the 57 returning letterman. Manuel was impressive filling in for the injured Christian Ponder in the ACC Championship Game (44-33 loss to Virginia Tech) and the Chick Fil-A Bowl (26-17 victory over South Carolina), and completed 67.3 percent of his passes as a two-year reserve. Manuel also has the ability to burn defenses with his feet, making him especially dangerous in the red zone.

Also watch for: Expect another big year from Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien, though it will be hard to replicate last year's numbers without Torrey Smith. Also the competition between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris at Miami could elevate the game of the to-be-named starter.

RUNNING BACK

Montel Harris, Sr., Boston College - Harris was the ACC's leading rusher in 2010 (1,243 yards) despite missing the final two and half games of the season. If Harris can stay healthy, he should have a chance to chase down the ACC career rushing record. Currently, Harris sits 15th and needs just 1,003 yards (approx. 80-85 yards/game) to become the conference's all-time leading rusher.

Lamar Miller, Soph., Miami - Storm Johnson's departure has left the Hurricanes rushing attack primarily in the hands of Miller and junior Mike James. There have been nothing but good reports on the duo, with Miller in particular drawing praise from teammate Sean Spence. "Lamar is one of the fastest backs in the ACC and the nation," Spence said. Miller's ranking nationally is debatable, but he should be one of the most impressive backs in the conference.

Also watch for: Florida State's trio of Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas, and Ty Jones combined for 1,862 yards and 17 TDs in 2010 and all return. Clemson will likely be giving Andre Ellington (5.8 ypc in 2010) more touches in Chad Morris' up-tempo system, and Roddy Jones will try to be the sixth straight Yellow Jacket to rush for 1,300 yards or more in a season.

WIDE RECEIVER

Conner Vernon, Sr., Duke - In 2010 Vernon led the ACC in receptions per game, and should see similar production this season with Sean Renfree much more comfortable under center. Despite a rocky start, the Blue Devils passing game began clicking in the second half of the season. Along with teammate Donovan Varner, Vernon is a big reason optimism is on the rise in Durham.

Dwight Jones, Sr., North Carolina - An All-ACC Honorable Mention selection in 2010, the 6-foot-4 Jones will quickly be a go-to target for new starting quarterback Bryn Renner. Jones is a threat as a possession receiver, but also has shown the ability to make a big play after the catch. Against Virginia in Charlottesville, Jones turned a short slant into an 81 yard touchdown on his way to a 198 yard outing. Jones is looking to continue the momentum from the second half of last season into his final year with the Tar Heels.

Also watch for:Questions with new quarterbacks makes selecting wide receivers difficult, but there is no reason believe that Virginia Tech wide receiver Jarrett Boykin and Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins won't be able to shine with a new signal caller. Virginia's Kris Burd is another sleeper to watch at this position.

OFFENSIVE LINE

C Tyler Horn, Sr., Miami - Horn has taken on a leadership role with this unit and this team since Al Golden's arrival. The redshirt senior was one of the many players selected by Golden and the staff to spend practices as coaches, and has become a mentor to to touted DL Anthony Chickillo. Golden has complimented his efforts, and it looks like he will hold off redshirt freshman Shane McDermott after a fierce battle for the starting spot.

OG Brandon Washington, Jr., Miami - A 1st Team All-ACC pick in 2010, Washington is arguably the most talented piece of the Hurricanes front line. Washington has been moved around because of injuries, but has never failed to deliver regardless of position. Whoever wins the Jacory Harris/Stephen Morris battle will be happy to be playing behind Washington.

OG Jonathan Cooper, Jr., North Carolina - Cooper believes that this offensive line unit is the best North Carolina has had since he arrived in Chapel Hill. What the junior guard did not mention is that he is probably one of the critical pieces in their success. Cooper can play either guard or center, and will be looked to as one of the leaders in the trenches.

OT Blake DeChristopher, Sr., Virginia Tech - Missing training camp because of a strained left pectoral shouldn't slow down DeChristopher too much this fall. He has been a three-year starter and All-ACC pick in 2010. A crucial piece to protecting new quarterback Logan Thomas.

OT Andrew Datko, Sr., Florida State - The 6-foot-6, 321 pound tackle is determined to make his senior year count, playing his last season alongside David Spurlock and Zebrie Sanders. Datko is considered the most talented of the group, and will be needed to be productive and keep EJ Manuel on his feet and healthy.

Also watch for:You could argue that Clemson center Dalton Freeman and Georgia Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi both belong on this list, and a strong case could be made for Virginia Tech guard Jaymes Brookes. One to watch this season is JUCO transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug at Florida State. If the 307-pound guard lives up to expectations it could make an already talented Seminole offense even better.

TIGHT END

George Bryan, Sr., N.C. State - Bryan earned 1st Team All-ACC honors after pulling in 35 catches for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2010. The big target could see a lot of action this fall, as the most experienced receiver for new starting quarterback Mike Glennon. When Glennon sees pressure from opposing defenses, you can bet he'll be looking for No. 84 underneath.

Also watch for:The conference is a little thin at tight end, but Clemson's Dwayne Allen and Virginia's Colter Phillips are two players to keep an eye on. Virginia Tech tight end Chris Drager is making the move back to offense after playing DE in 2010, though his primary task may be focused more on run/pass blocking.

Defense


DEFENSIVE LINE

DE Brandon Jenkins, Jr., Florida State - Jenkins is a relentless pass rusher who leads a talented unit in Tallahassee that made of habit of bringing down quarterbacks in 2010. Jenkins finished sixth in the nation with 13.5 sacks, and the return of eight defensive starters should help him follow up 2010 with another impressive campaign this fall.

DE Quinton Coples, Sr., North Carolina - After causing havoc at DT last season (10.0 sacks ranked him third in the conference behind Da'Quan Bowers and Brandon Jenkins), Coples will move to defensive end in 2011. Teams won't be surprised by Coples this year, but North Carolina's depth and talent on the defensive line will make it difficult to scheme specifically against the All-ACC senior.

DT Tydreke Powell, Sr., North Carolina - Expectations are high for Powell, who was one of the few defenders to start all 13 games in 2010. Powell has the body of a run stopper, but said in the offseason he has focused on moving faster and becoming more of a pass rusher. If he adds that aspect to his game it will make that talented unit a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.

DT Marcus Forston, Jr., Miami - Forston has returned from a knee injury ahead of schedule, and could end up having a big impact on the field for the Hurricanes this season. Golden has been high on Forston since camp started, and if he can stay healthy the standout defensive lineman could finally deliver the type of season many have waited for from the top-ranked recruit.

Also watch for: Clemson will once again will have a strong defensive line with Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson, and Maryland's Joe Vellano was a 2nd Team All-ACC selection a year ago.

LINEBACKERS

Luke Kuechly, Jr., Boston College - Kuechly might not only be the best linebacker in the ACC, but possibly the best in the nation. The unanimous All-American selection in 2010 is currently the NCAA active leader in tackles per game, averaging 13.1 tackles across his 26 career starts. There is no reason to think that "Boy Wonder," as they call him, will do anything other continue dominating on the defensive side of the ball.

Sean Spence, Sr., Miami - After a 2nd Team All-ACC selection in 2010, Spence has returned as the "clear-cut leader" on defense. Fellow linebacker Jimmy Gaines went so far as to call Spence "Mr. Miami." He is one three Hurricanes on the Nagurski Award Watch List, given to the nation's top defensive player. From making plays in coverage to getting stops behind the line of scrimmage (16.0 tackles for loss in 2010), Spence can have an impact all over the field for Miami.

Kenny Tate, Sr., Maryland - Maryland finished fourth nationally in turnover margin last season, with some of the credit going to Tate - who led the ACC in forced fumbles. Tate makes the move from free safety to linebacker this season, and can be found on most individual award watch lists for defenders.

Also watch for: Florida State weakside linebacker Nigel Bradham is expected to have a big season, and Virginia Tech's Bruce Taylor was a second team All-ACC pick in 2010.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

CB Jayron Hosley, Jr., Virginia Tech - All-ACC and All-American in 2010, Hosley is arguably the most talented secondary player in the league. Hosley might not see as much action now that he's not playing opposite Rock Carmichael, but his impact will still be felt.

CB Xavier Rhodes, Soph., Florida State - Rhodes broke out a season ago, combining with teammate Greg Reid for 33 defended passes. His efforts earned him a Freshman All-American nod and 2nd Team All-ACC. The Seminoles' secondary is a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, and Rhodes is a big reason why.

S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Jr., Miami - There is a lot of hype around Armstrong, who is coming off a 2nd Team All-ACC season in 2010. He picked off three passes and is the second-leading returning tackler for the Hurrcanes, trailing only Sean Spence. Armstrong is also on the watch list for the Nagurski Award.

S Eddie Whitley, Sr., Virginia Tech - Whitley is the second-leading tackler back for the Hokies, and will be an important part of trying to turn around a defense that statistically did not live up to Bud Foster's recent standards. The Hokies have depth problems in the secondary, and Whitley should get plenty of chances to make plays as the only senior slated to start.

Also watch for: Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield could be set to have a big year, as could N.C. State's Earl Wolff. Sleeper pick for a big season is Duke's Matt Daniels..

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Dustin Hopkins, Jr., Florida State

P Dawson Zimmerman, Sr., Cemsoni

KR/PR David Wilson, Jr., Virginia Tech

Also watch for: Duke placekicker Will Snyderwine was the media's selection for Preseason All-ACC, and Greg Reid has a chance to cause some damage returning kicks for Florida State.

As always, let us know what you the think about the selections in the comment section below. Also be sure to click on over to the Conference Preview for more coverage on the ACC
Posted on: April 16, 2011 9:49 pm
 

Despite off Spring Game, EJ Manuel stays on track

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- You always have to take the Spring Game of a team with a grain of salt. After all, you still have to throw in freshmen, get injured players back and not mention go through several weeks of fall camp before you can truly get an idea of what a team is made of.

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher took the Seminoles' Spring Game with a bit of salt Saturday afternoon but he also managed to find just a little bit of sugar in an other wise down day for starting quarterback E.J. Manuel.

"He was frustrated but I got more out of him today because we struggled and he didn't have a good day," Fisher said. "At the end of the day we had a chance to make plays and we made a few plays."

Manuel was just 17 of 36 on the day and struggled to find his rhythm behind a patchwork offensive line. He did toss a touchdown but also threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Greg Reid. However, Manuel put his team, the 'Gold' team, in a position to win the game by driving the offense nearly 80 yards to get a shot at the comeback. Despite being in field goal range to win the game, 'Garnet' coaches opted to go for a touchdown and Manuel threw a strike to receiver James Dolan, who came up two yards short of the end zone.

While he did have some ups and downs throughout the day, it was Manuel's short memory that might have been his most impressive trait following the game. Some players might use the performance to motivate themselves through the summer but the calm and collected Manuel realizes that a bad afternoon in the Spring Game doesn't count one iota in the standings come fall.

"I do but at the same time not really because it is just a spring game," he said. "I don't want to down play it at all because I wanted to win. It's our 15th practice and I definitely wanted to show up better in front of the crowd but it is what it is."

Running backs Devonta Freeman (25 yards on seven carries) and Jermaine Thomas (20 yards on four carries) both had solid performances given the circumstances, namely most of the offensive line watching on the sidelines. Greg Dent was the leading receiver and seemed to develop into Manuel's favorite target over the course of the game. In the end though, it was the 6-foot-5, 235 pound quarterback struggling and keeping his emotions bottled up that really impressed his coach.

"He was frustrated but he didn't let it out or let his teammates know it," Fisher said. "That makes me sleep well. There's a bigger picture that I'm trying to get him to and that's what I was pleased with."

"I think everyone knows the goals and where we want to be this year," Manuel added. "We don't want to fall short. Everybody being on the same page is vital and I think everybody is on the same page right now."

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com