Tag:ACC Football
Posted on: November 30, 2010 4:00 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 4:06 pm

MD's Friedgen: From hot seat to trophy case

Posted by Chip Patterson

Back in August, I was discussing the upcoming ACC season on a radio program in North Carolina.  We were making both humorous and serious predictions when the host looked me in the eye and said, "Ralph Friedgen will not be the coach of the Maryland Terrapins in 2011."  I wholeheartedly agreed.  After all, he barely survived the axe in 2009 after a 2-10 season and did not make have a lot of drastic changes in the 2010 squad.  

Boy were we wrong.

On Tuesday, Friedgen was named the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Media Association.  While Maryland has not been the subject of national rankings or widespread public discussion, they have put together a truly historic season.  The six-win turnaround to 8-4 in 2010 is the second best win improvement in FBS history.  If the Terps win their bowl game, they will be the first team in ACC history to go from two or fewer wins one season to nine the next.  

Friedgen will tell you himself the credit belongs to the players, and one player I did not count on in August got his due recognition on Tuesday as well.  Freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien was named ACC Rookie of the Year as well, collecting 54 of 61 possible first place votes.  His 21 touchdowns ranks for second place in school history, and his 2,257 yards passing are sixth all-time among ACC freshman.  

Both Friedgen and O'Brien entered the season with low expectations, and in some cases expectations to fail.  But together, along with the rest of the 2010 Maryland team, they ascended to the top of the conference.  While they fell one game short of the ACC Atlantic Division title, at least their coach and quarterback will get a little hardware in Charlotte on Friday.  After pulling off that kind of turnaround, it is well deserved.
Posted on: November 25, 2010 7:12 pm

Miami down one RB for USF

Posted by Chip Patterson

With the uncertainty of Miami's quarterback situation, the Hurricanes will likely be looking for help from their running game in their season finale against South Florida.   The Hurricanes use a three running back rotation pretty consistently, and their rushing attack is among the best in the ACC.  That committee will be missing their third piece on Saturday with Mike James being listed as out on Miami's injury report.  According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, James has been suffering from an undisclosed illness this week and will not go against the Bulls.

The injury report did not provide any further clarification to the status of starting quarterback Jacory Harris.  Head coach Randy Shannon has been predictably ambiguous about the situation, naming Harris the starter only "if he's ready."  However, sources are reporting that freshman Stephen Morris will continue to start for the Hurricanes, a fact that is not sitting well with Harris.  With a shaky quarterback situation and having finished conference play, Miami will lean on the efforts of running backs Lamar Miller and Damien Berry to avoid being upset by the Bulls in the season finale.          
Posted on: November 24, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 3:09 pm

Randy Shannon's job is safe, for now

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Randy Shannon has spent most of his football career in South Florida.  His roots in Miami are so deep, it is nearly impossible to imagine Shannon anywhere else.  After playing on the Hurricanes' 1987 National Championship team, Shannon returned to Miami after a brieft NFL stint as a graduate assistant and later assistant coach.  Shannon then made the big jump to the NFL, joining (you guessed it!) the Miami Dolphins.  He then returned to the Hurricanes as a defensive assistant and eventually was named head coach.  Despite Shannon's deep roots in the Miami area, he is beginning to catch some criticism from the Miami faithful.

No matter what the critics are saying, Shannon still has the support of the Miami brass.  The Miami Herald reports that despite this year's disappointing 5-3 conference finish, University President Donna Shalala still has confidence that Shannon is the man for the job.  The report goes on to suggest that there are some trustees who would like to see a change, but as long as Shannon is not deterring donors - his job is safe for the moment.   

When Miami joined the ACC, the expectation was for "The U" to quickly establish dominance and take their place among the conference's elite.  But since Randy Shannon took the reigns at Miami, the Hurricanes have not finished better than third in their own division.  Shannon's .500 conference record does not exactly live up to the same standards of the Miami squads he played on and coached for in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  Shannon could start to silence his critics with a berth to the ACC Championship Game, it is awfully difficult to establish conference dominance without ever winning your own division.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 1:50 pm

Shannon: Harris will start 'if he's ready'

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Stephen Morris experience at Miami got a harsh dose of reality when the first-place Virginia Tech Hokies came into Coral Gables on Saturday.  While Morris had impressed Hurricanes fans by orchestrating wins over Maryland and Georgia Tech, but the fourth quarter unraveling against the Hokies have turned all eyes back on injured starter Jacory Harris.  The Hurricanes entered the fourth quarter tied 17-17 with Virginia Tech, and a win would keep their ACC Championship hopes alive.  But the Virginia Tech defense was not about to surrender the Coastal Division on account of a freshman quarterback.  Morris was picked three times in the final 9 minutes, and Tyrod Taylor put the nail in the coffin at the 6:25 mark with his 18 yard touchdown scramble.  

Harris was cleared by doctors to play, but remained on the sideline throughout the 31-17 loss.  Now, with an in-state showdown against South Florida to close the season, head coach Randy Shannon must decide whether to start the recovering quarterback.  Harris has yet to see the field in a game since suffering a concussion against Virginia on October 30, and has worn the green, non-contact jersey in practice.  When asked about Harris' status for Saturday's game, Shannon was predictably ambiguous.  Shannon said that Harris would start against the Bulls, but only "if he's ready."  The head coach stressed that it would depend on how Harris' timing and rhythm looked in practice this week, and that doctors would be on the sideline to assist in the decision.

Shannon has been very vocal about supporting the health of his quarterback rather than thinking the team's offensive needs.  He may also know that the fate of the Hurricanes is basically sealed at this point.  Officially eliminated of the Coastal Division race, the Hurricanes are likely staring down an invitation to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.  They could still be selected by the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, but the Sun Bowl officials have already expressed interest in seeing the Hurricanes down in the Lone Star State.  With the game against South Florida having little to no meaning for Miami, working out Stephen Morris for one more game might not be a bad idea for Miami.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 5:10 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2010 5:11 pm

Harris dressed, but Morris starts for Miami

Posted by Chip Patterson

Jacory Harris was listed as questionable on the Miami injury report coming into Saturday's matchup with Virginia Tech, still recovering from the concussion suffered against Virginia .  At gametime, Harris is in pads on the sideline, but freshman quarterback Stephen Morris has continued to be the man under center.  Harris has been active on the sideline, constantly communicating with Morris and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.  He has been cleared to play by team doctors, but there has been little indication that he will see the field against the Hokies.

Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post is guessing that Morris will also be the starter for the Hurricanes season finale against USF, with Harris returning for the bowl game.  Morris' performance in the first half against the Hokies has been decent, completing 12 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown - though he has fumbled one snap.  With the score knotted at 10, the Hurricanes are keeping their ACC Championship Game chances alive...barely.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:43 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 11:05 am

Seminoles limping into conference finale

Posted by Chip Patterson

Locked in a heated three-way race with Maryland and N.C. State, Florida State knows that a loss against the Terps on Saturday likely crushes their chances of an Atlantic Division title and a berth to the ACC Championship Game.  Florida State had a firm grasp on the division before losing back-to-back games to N.C. State and North Carolina.  Now, the Seminoles must defeat Maryland and hope for the Wolfpack to lose one of their two remaining conference games in order to avoid losing the division.  

They are going to have to get the job done in College Park far from full health.  Christian Ponder will be back on the field after sitting out against Clemson a week ago with soreness from a ruptured bursa sac in his elbow.  Ponder is not quite 100 percent, and it would not be surprising if E.J. Manuel saw some action, particularly after his performance on the ground against the Tigers.  But Ponder will missing two crucial pieces of the offense on Saturday.  Wide receiver Willie Haulstead and running back Jermaine Thomas are both will both sit out the conference finale with injuries.  Haulstead, who leads the team in receiving yards, has not been able to practice this week due to a head injury. Thomas, the team's leader in carries, was expected to miss action due to a sprained knee.  Maryland's defense has buckled against Top 25-caliber offenses this season, but with all the health issues it is not certain that the unit on Saturday is of that caliber.
Posted on: November 17, 2010 12:46 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 12:48 pm

Nate Irving goes 'WWE' on Wake Forest WR [GIF]

Posted by Chip Patterson

Often a wide receiver will find himself being greeted face to face by a linebacker to the tune of a punishing open-field hit.  Many times, the wide receiver does not expect it and is left gathering himself for a few moments.  But the only thing worse, is the premeditated knowledge of your coming doom.  Such was the case for Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro.  

Campanaro found himself wrapped up by North Carolina State linebacker Nate Irving during the Wolfpack's 38-3 victory last Saturday, when he felt something funny.  His feet had left the ground.  Instead of a force pushing Campanaro to the turf, he was being lifted in the air.  I imagine, that the following split seconds seemed like an eternity.  After all Irving is one of the most talented and feared linebackers in the ACC, and he was in the midst of a performance that would finish with an NCAA-record 8 TFLs.  Rather hitting the ground when you least expect it, Campanaro had plenty of time to feel his body receive the full suplex into the Carter-Finley Stadium grass.  Face-to-face, the 6-1 235 pound Irving looks like a human incarnation of the Predator.  In fact, I was shocked he did not just start skinning Campanaro on the spot.

As Tom Fornelli pointed out, the only thing that would make this GIF better is if Campanaro's head stuck in the ground, leaving only his legs to dangle pointing towards the sky.


Posted on: November 16, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 2:08 pm

FSU RB gets some good news, but still doubtful

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Florida State running back Jermaine Thomas laid on the ground, leg limp at his side, many (your author included) believed that the knee injury could be the end of the season for the talented junior.  However, it appears as though Thomas has somehow avoided serious injury, according to the St. Petersburg Times.  An MRI on Monday showed no major tears or damages, though head coach Jimbo Fisher said that Thomas may not play this weekend against Maryland.

Thomas is the team's second-leading rusher, and has been a pivotal part of the multi-back rushing attack that has helped fuel the Seminoles' offense this season.  Thomas, along with Chris Thompson and Ty Jones, have combined to average 147.8 yards per game thus far in 2010.  Florida State will need to find a way to keep up that production in a must-win game against the Terrapins in College Park.  With Florida State, N.C. State, and Maryland all knotted at the top of the ACC Atlantic standings, the Seminoles must win their conference finale in order to do their part to win the division title and get to the ACC Championship Game.  With the loss to N.C. State, Florida State will also need a Wolfpack loss in order to claim the division.  N.C. State also has to travel to Maryland for their conference finale on November 27, but takes on the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Saturday.
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