Tag:ACC Media Day
Posted on: July 25, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 11:31 am
 

N.C. State's Byrd lost for year with ACL tear

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

N.C. State fans hoping to hear good news from head coach Tom O'Brien at today's ACC Media Days must feel sorely disappointed, as O'Brien has instead confirmed that redshirt sophomore corner Jarvis Byrd has torn his ACL and will miss the 2011 season.

As if the news wasn't difficult enough for Byrd and the Wolfpack faithful to take, the injury is Byrd's second ACL tear in three years in Raleigh. One of O'Brien's most highly sought-after recruits in the Wolfpack's 2009 class, Byrd earned a starting role late in his freshman season but went out with his first knee injury in the final game of the year against North Carolina.

As a result, Byrd missed the entire 2010 campaign and redshirted. But he returned this past spring and had once again put himself into position to start, until suffering the new ACL tear in 7-on-7 work last Wednesday, according to O'Brien.

If there's any silver lining to Byrd's plight, it's that the Wolfpack still have plenty of experience in the secondary to fall back on. Both 2010 starting corners (David Amerson and C.J. Wilson) return, as do both starting safeties in juniors Earl Wolff and Brandon Bishop. If that foursome can stay healthy, Byrd's absence may not be felt too keenly.

But that's hardly guaranteed, and all the same, there's no question the ceiling for NCSU's 2011 defensive backfield has been lowered.

(And in other Wolfpack injury news, O'Brien also announced bruising running back Mustafa Greene won't return from a foot injury until October. Ouch.)

For more immediate Wolfpack news, follow our N.C. State CBS RapidReporter Mike Potter either here at CBSSports or on Twitter.

Posted on: July 24, 2011 11:47 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:15 am
 

E.J. Manuel understands talk of expectations

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from Florida State

The buzz about Florida State is unmistakable down at the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst. All through Tallahassee this offseason we've heard that "Florida State is back." One thing that is most certainly "back" for Florida State is ACC title expectations. Claiming that the Seminoles are "back" is something that quarterback E.J. Manuel is not comfortable saying, but he seems to understand why people have been talking.

"Me personally I have no control over that. People are going to say what they want and have their own opinions. But I think that's going to be settled when we actually go out there and play," Manuel said. "I'm not going to say "we're back" or anything like that because that would be taking respect away from those teams that were what Florida State is now. That's what we're working towards, and hopefully we do get to that point.

"I don't mind it, I can't control it. If that's what people want to say we appreciate it, but you also have to go out there and do it."

Manuel, a junior, has as much pressure as anyone else on the roster, being one of the few new starters on the depth chart. But the quarterbacking duties are not unfamiliar to Manuel, who saw several games of action while backing up former Seminole Christian Ponder. Manuel was asked Sunday how he thought he compared to Ponder, now a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings.

"I think we are more similar than different," Manuel said. "A lot of people want to say I'm more of a runner, he's more of a thrower. But I think Christian can run the ball and throw the ball, and I can do the same. But personality-wise, everybody's different. I wouldn't say I'm just like Ponder or anything like that but I think we are both intelligent young men and want to win."

Manuel exhibits a confidence that makes you want to believe he is destined to be the next great quarterback from the Virginia Beach area. While his appearances in Ponder's stead were sporadic and inconsistent across his career, the back-to-back performances against Virginia Tech in the ACC title game and leading the game-winning drive against South Carolina in the Chick Fil-A Bowl have changed the public's expectations from Manuel.

As he said himself, now they just need to "go out there and play."
Posted on: July 24, 2011 11:16 pm
 

Pass defense a priority for Wake Forest in 2011

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from Wake Forest

Wake Forest gave up 238.2 yards per game through the air in 2010, ranking them just above Duke at the bottom of the ACC. Much of that has been credited to inexperience, where the Demon Deacons started four freshman at times in the secondary. But with 9 starters returning on defense, the expectations are that there will be improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Senior linebacker Kyle Wilber did not duck away from admitting things need to change, and even suggested some changes the team has made to help with pass defense.

"This year we're trying to help our secondary a lot, we're dropping back, we're hitting wide receivers, we're not letting them get a free release," Wilbur explained on Sunday. "I feel like its one of the greatest secondaries we've had at our school since 2006. We have a lot of young guys, Merrill Noel - he's a young, feisty freshman who brings a lot of attitude to our corners. He's small…but he's going to hit you and he's good in coverage. He's real aggressive and I really like that in him."

Wilbur went on to explain how the leaders on the team have made the defense a priority. Moving from defensive end to linebacker, the senior will serve as one of the on-field leaders of the unit.

Once again, Wake Forest will find themselves with another uphill battle to regain their prominence of the mid-2000's. They have been selected by many to finish at the bottom of the Atlantic Division again in 2011, though the Deacons are hoping to catch the conference by surprise.
Posted on: July 24, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 11:31 am
 

Roddy Jones likes O-line development, RB depth

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech is ready to get football started. After a dismal 6-7 season that ended with a 14-7 loss to Air Force in the Independence Bowl and the new NCAA sanctions that vacated their 2009 ACC Championship, the Yellow Jackets are ready to write some new history on the field. Fifth-year senior Roddy Jones was the elder representative for the team in Pinehurst on Sunday, and he was excited to talk about the upcoming season. Georgia Tech's spring practices received mixed reviews, but one thing that was obvious in the Yellow Jacket's "T-Day" spring game was an improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Jones elaborated on what has made the unit better on Sunday.

"I see a lot of athleticism on [the defensive] side of the ball," Jones explained. "They're starting to understand more, and they are going to fly around this year. One thing you will definitely see is guys running to the football, like I said a lot of athleticism. They are going to be very talented and very fast, and hopefully hungry."

Of course, some have argued that the strong showing by the defense in intrasquad scrimmages has been due to a significantly weaker offensive line. Head coach Paul Johnson said after the spring game that the quarterbacks were "running for their lives." According to Jones, the line has been a spot where the players have focused on improvement over the summer - all under the leadership of All-ACC offensive lineman Omoregie Uzzi.

"I've seen a whole lot of work put in by the offensive line. Uzzi has done a great job of organizing them and having them talk through things," Jones said. "He's kind of the elder statesman on the offensive line, between him and Phil Smith. He's done a great job of making sure everyone gets on the same page, because it all starts with them. We can't do anything without [the offensive line], and they understand that. Omoregie knows what it's like to be a part of a really good offensive line, one that won us an ACC Championship. So he's been really driving that home for the young guys."

As far as the guys behind that line? It's a crowded group of players all looking for their touches, thankfully Paul Johnson's option offense allows for plenty of rushers to find time on the field.

"There's a lot of depth in the backfield," Jones elaborated. "We've got probably 4 or 5 guys at A-back who have a lot of playing time and a lot of experience. We've got 4 guys at B-back who can all play. They might not have the experience that we have at A-back, but they are all very talented, ready, and hungry to show what they can do. I think everyone does a great job of being ready when their time comes and that's what it's about."
Posted on: July 24, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 11:32 am
 

Sylvester Williams making an impression at UNC

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from North Carolina

Questions regarding the ongoing NCAA case were impossible to avoid at the ACC Football Kickoff for North Carolina, but since we're here to talk about the 2011 season it was nice to get some actual football talk from Butch Davis' two representatives here at Pinehurst. Jonathan Cooper has been a pivotal part of the offensive line since he arrived at Chapel Hill, and with more health and experience than ever he thinks this could be their best unit yet. One of the first tasks for the group is opening holes for running back Ryan Houston. Houston redshirted last season after initially sitting out because of the NCAA investigation. The return of the big back has Cooper and his teammates excited for the rushing attack in 2011.

"It's very, very exciting, Cooper explained. "I definitely look forward to running the ball on 3rd and 2. I don't want to run play-action and I don't want to drop back and pass. I want to pound the ball, I think that's the sign of a good offensive line: when you can impose your will. With a good, big back, it'll help a lot to do that."

Earlier this week, Butch Davis identified the offensive and defensive line as the team's strengths heading into camp. One fresh face to the defensive line is transfer defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. Williams is rooming with defensive tackle Tydreke Powell in Chapel Hill. Powell opened up and shared an interesting story about his new roommate and teammate.

"[Williams] is going to be one of the top D-tackles in the country," Powell boasted about his roomy. "When he first got here, we weren't rooming together. I was staying at my fiance then. He called me on Saturday at 8 o'clock [in the morning] and I asked him 'What's up' - I thought something was wrong. He was like 'Come on man, let's go work. We can't get better and we can't be the best d-tackles in the country if we're not working on Saturdays cause everybody else is resting.'

"I knew right then when he called and told me that I knew he was going to be a big force for us. That work ethic is something serious."

Williams and Powell will anchor the middle of North Carolina's defensive line along with Jordan Nix. Powell also shared that the greatest inspiration for him on the field has not been any of the top ranked NFL talent that has come before him, but his two children.
Posted on: July 24, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 11:32 am
 

Danny O'Brien looking for the next Torrey Smith

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from Maryland

A season ago, Maryland fans found an early Christmas gift with the emergence of quarterback Danny O'Brien. The true freshman took the conference by storm, racking up 22 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions on his way to being named ACC Rookie of the Year. After coming within a game of the ACC Atlantic Division crown, the Terps have had to undergo an offseason of change in the leadership positions. Out with Ralph Friedgen and offensive coordinator James Franklin (now the head coach at Vanderbilt) and in with Randy Edsall and new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. But the sophomore believes that the coaching change will not alter the expectations in College Park.

"[Coach Edsall's] goal coming in, he said he's here to win championships," O'Brien told reporters. "If we have a really tight-nit team it's ACC title or bust."

Part of putting together that tight-nit team will include finding a replacement for All-ACC wide receiver Torrey Smith, who was O'Brien's favorite target in 2010. Smith pulled in 67 catches for 1055 yards and 12 touchdowns, numbers that dwarf the rest of the receivers from last year's campaign. When asked who will step up in Smith's absence, O'Brien admitted that was still unanswered.

"That remains to be seen," O'Brien responded. "We've got a lot of guys who don't necessarily have the same stat line Torrey did last year, but made big plays in big games. We have four or five guys that have stepped up in big games, between Kerry Boykins, Kevin Dorsey, Ronnie Tyler, Quintin Mcree, I think one of those guys will step up."
Posted on: July 24, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 6:04 pm
 

VT WR Danny Coale wearing multiple hats

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech wide receiver Danny Coale is entering fall camp wearing multiple hats for the Hokies. In addition to being one of the primary returning receivers, the senior has also made himself a player in the competition for the starting punter job. Coale fielded several questions regarding the possible position change, including the challenges of running a deep route on 3rd Down and having to transition right into the kicking game. Coale said he has worked on his conditioning over the Summer, but his "primary role is receiver."

Another interesting piece Coale offered was a comparison between last year's ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies' current starter Logan Thomas. "Their approach is the same, off the field and on the field," Coale explained. "Their attitude towards study is the same. When you have someone who is passionate about the game like Tyrod, that helps."

If the 6-foot-6, 245 pound sophomore can exhibit any of the creative playmaking ability of his predecessor, the Hokies will be tough to scheme against in the league this fall.
Posted on: July 24, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 4:23 pm
 

NC State's Glennon taking on leadership role

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my media day takeaway from N.C. State

One notable absence for many ACC fans will be former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson. With Wilson now the focus of the Big Ten, attention has turned towards the new man under center: Mike Glennon. Glennon has been compared by head coach Tom O'Brien to former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, but his lack of on-field experience has left much unanswered for the junior quarterback. Senior tight end George Bryan is leading returning receiver from last year's 9-4 squad. In Pinehurst on Sunday, Bryan did not hesitate to share his confidence in the Wolfpack's new signal-caller.

"He commands the offense well," Bryan remarked. "I'm excited for him to be my QB."

Bryan went on to talk about how Glennon has been going out of his way to text teammates in an attempt to organize extra preparation activities in the offseason. Whether it is simply a film session, or even as much as an informal 7-on-7 - the junior quarterback is excited to be the leader of this new team. From the sound of it, the entire Russell Wilson transfer was never a team ordeal at all, but instead a matter that was handled exclusively between Wilson and O'Brien. The sentiments from Bryan and teammate Audie Cole are that it was something out of their hands, and they have long ago moved forward preparing to follow Glennon into the 2011 season.

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