Monday, July 11, 2011
ACC 2011 Preview
Florida State Seminoles
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher, 10-4, 1 Year
2010 Record: 10-4 (6-2), 1st ACC Atlantic
2010 Results: Samford, W 59-6; @ Oklahoma, L 47-17; BYU, W 34-10; Wake Forest, W 31-0; @ Virginia, W 34-14; @ Miami, W 45-17; Boston College, W 24-19; @ NC State, L 28-24; Clemson, W 16-13; @ Maryland, W 30-16; Florida, W 31-7; # Virginia Tech, L 44-33; * South Carolina, W 26-17
# ACC Championship Game, * Chik-Fil-A Bowl
Christian Ponder moves on now leaving the ball in the hands of EJ Manuel at QB, and some folks feel that this is an upgrade. Manuel played in 10 games last fall, and passed for 861 yards while completing 69.1% of his passes. The problem was that his TD to pick ratio (4/4) was not to standard. That should improve in 2011. Manuel also looks to be more dual threat, and can run when needed to.
The run game looks to fall into the hands of Ty Jones, a senior. Jones rushed for 527 yards on 85 carries last fall, but don't count out Chris Thompson making the job his this fall, as he led the Seminoles with 846 yards and 5 TDs last fall. Devonta Freeman, a true freshman looked great in the spring, and could push into the group, or steal the job, but he is on the small size. Jermaine Thomas will also push for playing time, while Lonnie Pryor looks to be the FB.
Bert Reed returns at receiver after leading the team last season with 57-614-2, but Willie Haulstead could be the star after averaging 15.45 yards per catch last fall. Haulstead caught a team leading 6 TDs last season. Rodney Smith looks solid as a starter, but FSU likes to go multiple spread sets, which could implement all of these receivers. Beau Reliford and Ja'Baris Little will battle it out at TE in fall camp.
The line returns both tackles in Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders, and David Spurlock should man the RG spot once again, but Rodney Hudson has moved on. Jacob Stanley projects at LG, while Jacob Fahrenkrug is ahead at Center coming into the fall.Fahrenkrug was the top rated juco lineman in America last season. If Stanley fails at RG, he could back up at center. Henry Orelus and Rhonne Sanderson will also battle at RG. There is solid depth behind the projected starters.
8 starters project to return on the Seminole D in 2011, and this is where the heart of the team will rest. 3 starters return on the line in DE Brandon Jenkins (13.5 sacks), NT Anthony McCloud, and DT Everett Dawkins. The new starter will line up at DE, as sophomore Bjorn Werner looks to be the leader for the job. Werner recorded 3.5 sacks as a freshman reserve last season, so there is optimism.
Only one starter returns at LB, and that is Nigel Bradham, who tied for the team lead in tackles with 97 last fall. Bradham recorded 5.5 TFLs and 5 sacks last season. Christian Jones and Vince Williams are the leaders coming into the fall to man the two open spots, but they only recorded 30 tackles combined last season, so the jury is out. Jeff Luc and freshman Nigel Terrell will push them if they fail.
The secondary is loaded, as all 4 starters return from last season. The CBs are shutdown types with NFL potential in Greg reid and Xavier Rhodes. Reid defended 14 passes last fall, while Rhoades defended 12. Rhoades also picked off 4 passes to tie for the team lead with 3rd CB Mike Harris, who returns in that role as well. Nick Moody (FS) and Terrence Parks (SS) also return. Moody finished 3rd on the team in tackles with 79 last season.
Dustin Hopkins was solid last fall, connecting on 22 of 28 FGs on the season, and he will be a junior in 2011. Expect improvement. He nailed all 53 of his PATs last fall. Shawn Powell returns at punter as well, after a stellar 2010 in which he averaged 44.28 yards per punt.
Greg Reid collected 742 yards in kick returns last fall, and is expected to return kicks once again this season. Lamarcus Joyner will join him when returning kickoffs, and he averaged 20.56 yards per return last season. Reid is also the primary punt return man, and took one in for a score last season.
9/3 Louisiana-Monroe; 9/10 Charleston Southern; 9/17 Oklahoma; 9/24 @ Clemson; 10/8 @ Wake Forest; 10/15 @ Duke; 10/22 Maryland; 10/29 NC State; 11/3 @ Boston College; 11/12 Miami; 11/19 Virginia; 11/26 @ Florida
The Noles are in perfect shape to win the ACC in 2011, as the conoference is extremely winnable this season. Manuel could be an improvement over Ponder, and the rest of the roster appears set. The difference between FSU and a national title contention appears to be the 9/17 date with Oklahoma. Even with this game in Tallahassee, OU still appears to be the better team. That being said, an 11-1 season, a BCS appearance, and an ACC title are well within range. FSU appears to me to be the best team in the ACC. Jimbo Fisher has moved the Seminoles back into the national spotlight much faster than anyone could have hoped for.
2010 Record: 11-3 (8-0), 1st ACC Coastal
Head Coach: Frank Beamer, 240-118-4, 30 Years
2010 Results: Boise State, L 33-30; James Madison, L 21-16; East Carolina, W 49-27; @ Boston College, W 19-0; @ NC State, W 41-30; Central Michigan, W 45-21; Wake Forest, W 52-21; Duke, W 44-7; Georgia Tech, W 28-21; @ North Carolina, W 26-10; @ Miami, W 31-17; Virginia, W 37-7; # Florida State, W 44-33; * Stanford, L 40-12
# ACC Championship, * Orange Bowl
The Hokies could have a real step back kind of season in 2011. The Tyrod Taylor days oare over, and now the ball gets handed to the young and inexperienced Logan Thomas. Thomas, a sophomore in 2011, is huge. He stands at 6-6 and weighs in at 245, so he should be able to stand some pressure of the physical nature. He was not overwhelming in limited action as a freshman last fall, so don't expect too much from the young man. JuJu Clayton is the lone competition, so Thomas should be the man.
David Wilson returns, and so even though Ryan Williams and David Evans depart, fear not. Wilson can handle this thing. Wilson rushed for 619 yards and 5 scores in a three ring circus last fall. As the focus back, Wilson should be more than capable of burning for 1000 yards plus in 2011. Josh Oglesby lists as the primary backup, and he has played sparsely throughout his career.
The good news was that the Hokies bring back their top 4 receivers from last season in Jarrett Boykin, Danny Coale, Dyrell Roberts, and Marcus Davis. That group combined for over 2000 yards last fall, and combined for 132 receptions. That number could increase if the Hokies pass more this fall. They only passed on 38% of their plays from scrimmage last fall. Chris Dager and Eric Martin will battle for the TE job, but neither brings a wealth of experience to the field.
The line is stacked with 4 starters returning this fall. Andrew Lanier and Blake DeChistopher return to man the tackles, while Jaymes Brooks and Greg Nosal return at the guard spots. The center job is open, and it looks like sophomore Andrew Miller comes into the fall as the potential starter. He will be pushed by junior Michael Via, who comes into fall as second on the depth chart. The retuning depth should be music to the ears of David Wilson.
There are some concerns up front. Only one lineman returns on defense, and that is DT Antoine Hopkins, a junior. Hopkins was not exactly a force up front, having collected only 6.5 TFLs on the season, and only collecting 2 sacks on the season in 14 games. JR Collins and Tyrel Wilson, both sophomores, will battle it out at one DE spot, while James Gayle, a sophomore, willl fight it out with freshman Duan Perez-Means at the other DE spot. Sophomore Derrick Hopkins and Senior Kwamaine Battle will fight for the vacant DT slot. All could play, but only 1 of 8 players has starting experience here.
2 of 3 starters return at LB for the Hokies. Jeron Gouveia-Winslow returns after a subpar season that saw him only collect 41 tackles for the Hokies. He is not a threat in the pass rush, and does not get into the backfield very often at all. Bruce Taylor returns in the middle as a junior. Taylor recorded 6 sacks last fall, and led the team with 91 tackles. He may bust over 100 this season with the depth issues up front. Tariq Edwards and Telvion Clark, both sophomores, look to battle it out for the open OLB spot. Expect Alonzo Tweedy to get involved as well.
There will be some bumps in the secondary as well, as only two starters return. Jayron Hosley will be back at CB. Hosley defended 8 passes last season, picked off an amazing 9 passes, but only picked up 39 tackles. Teams tend to go away from him, and I see a dip in pick numbers coming this fall, as teams willl likely challenege the new starter at the other CB spot, whether that is sophomore Kyle Fuller, or freshman Detrick Bonner. Eddie Whitley returns at FS this fall as a senior. Whitley finished 3rd with 80 tackles last fall and defended 6 passes, and also picked off 2 passes on the season. He may see more coverage area, as he will likely have to assist his new SS in either sophomore Antone Exum or junior Lorenzo Williams.
Gone is Chris Hazley, who connected on 21 of his 22 FGs last fall. That's bad news. Cody Journall is the new PK, and he is a sophomore with no game experience. This could get interesting. Also gone is punter Brian Saunders, who averaged just a shade under 44 yards per punt in 2010. WR Danny Coale is the front runner to try his hand (or leg) at punter.
David Wilson averaged 26.55 yards per kick return last fall and scored twice, but with more demands on him in the run game coming, the team may want to go with Dyrell Roberts, who was much less effective last fall. Jayron Hosley will return to his duties at PR, as he averaged 12.58 yards per punt return, with one score last fall.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 Appalachian State; 9/10 @ East Carolina; 9/17 Arkansas State; 9/24 @ Marshall; 10/1 Clemson; 10/8 Miami; 10/15 @ Wake Forest; 10/22 Boston College; 10/29 @ Duke; 11/10 @ Georgia Tech; 11/17 North Carolina; 11/26 @ Virginia
There is much too much youth involved to predict a ton of success for the Hokies in 2011. That being said, the schedule is still manageable, and there are enough pieces here or there to win the Coastal Division again and return to the ACC title game, but with so much youth around in key spots on defense, I have worries. The schedule is seriously weak, but there are traps. If the youngsters jell early, Tech could surprise, but kids make mistakes. 10 wins is not out of the question, but the Hokies are not as deep as the Seminoles in the ACC. They may meet again in the ACC title game.
Head Coach: Al Golden, 27-34, 5 Years (1st at Miami)
2010 Record: 7-6 (5-3), 2nd Coastal
2010 Results: Florida A&M, W 45-0; @ Ohio State, L 36-24; @ Pittsburgh, W 31-3; @ Clemson, W 30-21; Florida State, L 45-17; @ Duke, W 28-13; North Carolina, W 33-10; @ Virginia, L 24-19; Maryland, W 26-20; @ Georgia Tech, W 35-10; Virginia Tech, L 31-17; South Florida, L 23-20; * Notre Dame, L 33-17
* Sun Bowl
The most frustrating thing going for the Canes has been the QB situation with Jacory Harris. Harris is a shell of the QB that he was in high school. He was smart, accurate, and didn't make dumb mistakes then, and all he does now is make mistakes, look dumb, and miss targets. Harris tossed 14 TDs, and blew it by tossing 15 picks. That needs to stop now. He does not have a lock on the job, as Stephen Morris, a sophomore this season, can steal it at any time, but the reality is, I don't see that much more ability in Morris right now. Luckily, Al golden's offense takes away a ton of the risk in the passing game, and puts the ball in the hands of the RBs to win games.
That could be a problem. Miami does not have a wealth of runners in the system right now. Lamar Miller was a solid young player last fall, and he returns as a sophomore to try to win the job after rushing for 646 yards last fall. Mike James should rotate with Miller, as he returns as the primary number 2 back after rushing for 398 yards last fall. The shift to the run game as the focus should bring out some serious skill in these two backs, but it remains to be seen if they can handle the load full time after serving as complimentary backs a year ago.
Golden plans on implimenting a 3 receiver set with no FB, but Miami's best receiver from 2010, Leonard Hankerson, is long gone. Travis Benjamin is the lone returning experienced receiver that started last season, and he posted 43-743-3. He has to be the new Hankerson. LaRon Byrd 41-441-1 and Allen Hurns (a sophomore who did not register a catch) look to be the new starters with Benjamin. Look for Tommy Streeter and Aldarius Johnson to dive into the mix as well. The worst problem with this group is that they were as mentally instable as the QBs were last fall, a bad combo. At TE, the job looks to belong to USC transfer Blake Ayles, and the coaching staff is high on him. Chase Ford should get into the mix in two TE sets, but freshman Clive Walford and sophomore Asante Cleveland will battle for time in camp as well.
The Hurricanes do have some solid experience and star power on the line. First of all, Golden made a brilliant move by hiring Art Kehoe as line coach. Kehoe has five rings as a coach at Miami, so he understands the culture and what it takes to build championship lines. The LT job was hotly contested in the spring, as freshman All-American Seantrell Henderson found himself in a battle with freshman Malcolm Brunche. Brunche actually passed Henderson on the depth chart for a time. Brunche would be better off going over to the right side, where the job is currently open. Jermaine Johnson and Ben Jones are currently competing for that spot, with Johnson having the edge, unless Brunche moves over. The Middle is all set with Harland Gunn and Brandon Washington returning at the guard spots, and Tyler Horn returning at center.
Miami appears set on the line, as 3 starters return up front. Olivier Vernon returns at one DE spot after recording 10.5 TFLs last season. The other DE spot is open, and is being fought for between Andrew Smith and Marcus Robinson, both seniors. Adewale Ojomo will put up a fight as well. Ojomo may have a better edge, as he collected 7.5 TFLs last fall. The tackles are all set, as Marcus Forston and Micanor Regis both return to action. Forston was 2nd on the team with 12 TFLs last fall, while Regis collected 8. The depth at tackle could be questionable, as both Luther Robinson and Curtis Porter are sophomores.
2 returning starters dot the LB landscape for Miami. Sean Spence (111 tackles) and Ramon Buchannon (54 tackles) return to man the OLB spots, but the MLB slot is open after the loss pf Colin McCarthy (119 tackles). Jordan Futch, a senior, looks to have the edge, but only recorded 9 tackles last fall. He will be pushed by sophomore James Gaines, who has equally little experience.
The secondary looks to be a mixed bag of tricks. One CB and one safety return to the mix. JoJo Nicolas returns at CB as a senior in 2011, but he needs to seriously up his game. He only defended 2 passes last fall, and did not pick off a single pass. Junior Brandon McGee will battle with senior Lee Chambers for the other corner spot. Neither option seems glowing. Vaughn Telemaque returns at FS. He defended 4 passes, and picked off 3 last fall while recording 58 tackles. Ray Ray Armstrong will likely man the SS spot, with sophomore Kacy Rodgers pushing him this fall. Armstrong recorded 79 tackles last season, broke up 3 passes, and picked off 3 more. Freshman Keion Payne will try to push his way into the lineup at CB as well, and will see time in pass defense packages.
Jake Wieclaw, a junior, looks to be the likely replacement at PK after the departure of Matt Bosher, who connected on 13 of 17 FGs last fall. Wieclaw is an unknown game commodity. Bosher also averaged 44.02 yards per punt last season, and Wieclaw could be called on to handle that job as well, but Dalton Botts looks to push him. A trio of sophomores look to be in the mix on kick returns this fall, led by Lamar Miller. Eduardo Clements and Storm Johnson have some experience there as well. Travis Benjamin is the returning punt return man, but that's hardly special news for Hurricane fans.
2011 Schedule: 9/5 @ Maryland; 9/17 Ohio State; 9/24 Kansas State; 10/1 Bethune-Cookman; 10/8 @ Virginia Tech; 10/15 @ North Carolina; 10/22 Georgia Tech; 10/27 Virginia; 11/5 Duke; 11/12 @ Florida State; 11/19 @ South Florida; 11/25 Boston College
As I see it, the problems all rest with the offense. Golden has a huge job in finding out a way to keep Harris, Morris, or both from making the same stupid mistakes that they made under Randy Shannon. Miami tossed 27 picks last season, worst in the nation, and 19 of those came in losses. It's a wonder that the Canes won 7 games with a mark like that. If the offense can be fixed, and the defense plays up to potential, Miami can win 8 games in 2011.
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney, 19-15, 3 Years
2010 Record: 6-7 (4-4), Tied 4th Atlantic
2010 Results: North Texas, W 35-10; Presbyterian, W 58-21; @ Auburn, L 27-24; Miami L 30-21; @ North Carolina, L 21-16; Maryland, W 31-7; Georgia Tech, W 27-13; @ Boston College, L 16-10; NC State, W 14-13; @ Florida State, L 16-13; @ Wake Forest, W 30-10; South Carolina, L 29-7; * South Florida, L 31-26
* Meineke Bowl
It's time to start over at QB, and that's a good thing. Kyle Parker's return last fall was supposed to be a great thing, but Parker played at times like he had never seen a football. Tha ball now goes over to Tahj Boyd, but let me be clear, Boyd so far looks like he has the potential to be yet another hugely recruited Tiger QB that may or may not pan out (see Willy Korn). Boyd was highly unimpressive in action as a freshman last fall, so the jury is out. Id Boyd fails, the only backup option is freshman Cole Stoudt.
Andre Ellington is a very good RB. He may be one of the better backs in the nation, but he needs to be the primary back. He was the 2nd leading rusher last fall, having rushed for 684 yards and 10 scores, but he was limited to just 9 games. He needs to stay healthy, which could be an issue. Super freshman Mike Bellamy looks to steal some carries, and could be a stellar option if Ellington heads to the MASH unit again.
The receivers look to benefit from the new offensive scheme change being implemented by new OC Chad Morris. The new offense is an up tempo attacking passing game. DeAndre Hopkins (51-626-4) and Jaron Brown (31-424-3) return as starters, while freshman Sammy Watkins looks to battle for the third spot with fellow freshman Joe Craig, Charone Peak, and Brandon Ford. Dwayne Allen and Chad Diehl provide depth and experience at the TE spot for the Tigers. However, the attack will only work if Boyd can handle the load at QB.
The line is solid, as the Tigers return 4 starters from last fall. Only the LT spot is open, as Phillip Price looks to fight it out with David Smith. Both are seniors, and Smith has starting experience. Smith, however, looks like he could be moving inside to the LG spot. If that doesn't pan out, look for Mason Cloy and Brandon Thomas to fight it out there. Dalton Freeman is set at center, while Antoine McClain (RG) and Landon Walker (RT) have the right side covered.
The Tigers appear to have some questions in the front seven. 2 of 4 spots are spoken for up front on the line, as DE Andre Branch returns at DE after collecting 8.5 TFLs last fall. Competing to try to replace All World DE Da'Quan Bowers will be Malliciah Goodman (3.5 TFLs) and Kourtnei Brown (2.5 TFLs). Brandon Thompson (7.5 TFLs) returns at DT as a senior, but Rennie Moore (6 TFLs) and freshman Tavaris Barnes will battle it out for the other DT spot. Freshman Corey Crawford will battle for time at DE as well.
Corico Hawkins is the lone returnee at LB for the Tigers in 2011. Hawkins finished with 73 tackles and 10.5 TFLs last fall. Hawkins also registered 3 sacks. Quandon Christian does have starting experience, and could fill in one of the open OLB spots. He will be pushed by Justin Parker, a sophomore. Jonathon Willard looks set at the other open OLB spot, but freshman Stephone Anthony will make his presence known in that battle. Another freshman, Tony Steward will fight for time as well, and looks to back up Hawkins in the middle as of now.
The secondary will have issues as well this fall. Only two starters return in the back four, and they are CB Xavier Brewer and FS Rashard Hall. Brewer defended 6 passes last season, collected 51 tackles, and picked off a pair of passes, returning one for a score. Hall finished with 62 tackles, knocked away 2 passes, and also picked off a pair, returning one for a score as well. Freshman Bashaud Breeland looks to be the new starter at CB, while he will be pushed by senior Coty Sensabuagh and sophomore Darius Robinson. Jonathon Meeks looks to be stepping in at SS, and he looks locked in at this time.
Ellington looks to be the new primary kick return man, replacing Marcus Gilchrist. Ellington averaged 34 yards per return in limited duty, and took one in for a score last fall. Mike Bellamy looks to be inserted as the punt returner right away, but Jaron Brown has limited experience as well. Chandler Catanzaro returns as the Pk and will be a sophomore this season, but he has to improve after only hitting on 14 of 22 FGs last fall. Dawson Zimmerman averaged 42.81 yards per punt last fall, and he returns as well.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 Troy; 9/10 Wofford; 9/17 Auburn; 9/24 Florida State; 10/1 @ Virginia Tech; 10/8 Boston College; 10/15 @ Maryland; 10/22 North Carolina; 10/29 @ Georgia Tech; 11/12 Wake Forest; 11/19 @ NC State; 11/26 @ South Carolina
Trouble...troouble, trouble, trouble, trouble. Get to know that song well if Tahj Boyd cannot handle Chad Morris' system from the get go. The schedule gets tough starting in week three, and then it really does not let up. Ellington may be great, but if the passing game fails to develop, teams will stack up to stop him, and he'll be screwed. The defense loses some huge talent, and the depth is lacking due to youth. I only see 5 serious wins on this slate, and then Dabo Swinney can pick up the next line...worry...worry, worry, worry, worry...because his ass will be on the hot seat.
North Carolina Tarheels
Head Coach: Butch Davis, 79-43, 10 Years
2010 Record: 8-5 (4-4), Tied 3rd Coastal
2010 Results: LSU, L 30-24; Georgia Tech, L 30-24; @ Rutgers, W 17-13; East Carolina, W 42-17; Clemson, W 21-16; @ Virginia, W 44-10; @ Miami, L 33-10; William & Mary, W 21-17; @ Florida State, W 37-35; Virginia Tech, L 26-10; NC State, L 29-25; @ Duke, W 24-19; * Tennessee, W 30-27 (OT)
* Music City Bowl
Bad news in the backfield, as TJ Yates departs, leaving sophomore Bryn Renner as the lone returnee with any experience. Renner has thrown 3 passes, so that's your experience. AJ Blue, another sophomore, is your only other option, so Renner had better pick up and go quickly.
The backfield is also new, with battles going at both RB and FB. Ryan Houston, a senior, and Giovani Bernard, a freshman, are both fighting it out at RB. Neither has experience. Christian Wilson, Devon Ramsey, and Curtis Boyd are all in the mix at FB, with Boyd being the most experienced back in the group.
Dwight Jones and Erik Highsmith both return at WR, with Jones being the returning leading receiver (62-946-4). Highsmith caught 25 passes last fall, 2nd best on the team. Jheranie Boyd and freshman Sean Tapley are also looking to be a part of the rotation at receiver. Boyd caught only 14 passes last fall. Chritian Wilson and Nelson Hurst are also fighting it out at TE heading into fall camp.
Luckily, the line looks set from center left. Cam Holland returns at center, and will be joined as returning starter by LG Jonathon Cooper and LT James Hurst. The right side...not so set. Travis Bond, David Collins, and Peyton Jenest are fighting it out at RG, while Brennan Williams, TJ Leifheit (a freshman), and Carl Gaskins will battle it out at RT.
UNC looks to be in good shape up front, as three starters return on the line, led by All-America candidate Quinton Coples at DE. Coples finished last season with 15.5 TFLs on the season and recorded 10 sacks. He will be joined at DE by Donte Paige-Moss. Moss finished with 7 sacks last season, and collected 13.5 TFLs as well. Tydreke Powell will return at DT, but is mainly a block vacuum, as he only collected 3 TFLs last season with no sacks. Sylvester Williams, Jordan Nix, and Jared McAdoo look to battle for the open DT spot as of now.
Now for some bad news...only one LB returns. Junior Kevin Reddick will return at MLB, and he led the team in tackles last fall with 74. Zach Brown, Herman Davidson, freshman PJ Clyburn, and Darius Lipford will fight for the two open OLB spots.
Even worse news? Nobody returns as a starter in the secondary.Charles Brown, Mywan Jackson, Jabari Price, and Pete Mangum will fight it out at CB, while Jonathon Smith, Matt Merletti, Tre Boston, and Gene Robinson will battle for the safety spots.
Casey Barth is one of the best PKs in the nation, and returns for his senior season after hitting 19 of 22 FGs last fall. Barth also nailed all 38 of his PATs. CJ Feagles returns as the punter, but was horrible last fall.Grant Schallock could push him for the starting job if he starts out badly this fall. Could be a huge camp battle there. Freshman Reggie Wilkins could be plugged in as the kick return man from the go. Todd Harrelson and Jheranie Boyd could push him for time. Charles Brown will look to take over on punt returns, but has no experience.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 James Madison; 9/10 Rutgers; 9/17 Virgnia; 9/24 @ Georgia Tech; 10/1 @ East Carolina; 10/8 Louisville; 10/15 Miami; 10/22 @ Clemson; 10/29 Wake Forest; 11/5 @ NC State; 11/17 @ Virginia Tech; 11/26 Duke
UNC is in trouble. They have off-filed issues with a pending NCAA investigation involving agents, and they have depth issues almost everywhere. We have been eharing for years now about these great classes that Davis has brought in, but we have not seen the results. Either way, Davis may not survive. I only see 5 wins guaranteed in this schedule. That could be very bad indeed, and if sanctions come, UNC could go into the tank, big time.
Head Coach: Randy Edsell, 74-70, 12 Years (1st Year at Maryland)
2010 Record: 9-4 (5-3), Tied 2nd Atlantic
2010 Results: Navy, W 17-14; Morgan State, W 62-3; @ West Virginia, L 31-17; Florida International, W 42-28; Duke, W 21-16; @ Clemson, L 31-7; @ Boston College, W 24-21; Wake Forest, W 62-14; @ Miami, L 26-20; @ Virginia, W 42-23; Florida State, L 30-16; NC State, W 38-31; * East Carolina, W 51-20
* Military Bowl
Danny O'Brien was probably the best freshman QB in the country last fall, and he returns this season as possibly the best QB returning in the ACC. O'Brien passed for 22 TDs and only 8 picks last fall, showing amazing maturity and balance in his first season. It will be interesting to see how he develops under Edsell, who is not known for having great QBs in his systems (Dan Orlovsky not included).
Davin Meggett returns as the leading rusher from last year with 720 yards and 4 TDs. DJ Adams will push him for carries, as he is a rising star after rushing for 11 TDs in just 67 carries last fall. Haroon Brown slots in as the FB right now when the Terps go to a two back system.
There are no returning starters at the WR slot for Maryland, which could spell trouble for O'Brien in the passing game. Kevin Dorsey, Quinton McCree, Ronnie Taylor, Devin Burns, Adrian Coxson, and Kerry Boykins will all battle for playing time. TE Matt Furstenburg returns at TE, and he is a viable option in the short passing game.
The good news is that the line is stacked. 4 starters will return on the line. RT Rj Dill returns, but the LT spot is open, with Justin Gilbert, Max Garcia, and Nick Klemm battling it out. Justin Lewis returns at RG, with Andrew Gonnella is back at LG. Bennett Fulper returns at center. The depth is limited, as all of the reserves are sophomores or freshmen. Health is a must.
The interior line is set, but the ends are open. Joe Vellano and Andre Monroe both return at DT. Vellano led the team with 10 TFLS last fall. The DE spots will be fought out for by Isaiah Ross, Justin Anderson, David Mackall, and Bradley Johnson.
The Terps have good depth coming back at LB, as two starters return in Kenny Tate (100 tackles) and Demetrius Hartsfield (88 tackles). Darin Drakeford, Lorne Goree, and Mario Dawson will look to break in at the WLB spot. Goree and Dawson are both freshmen. Ryan Donahue will look to back up Hartsfield at MLB, and he is a junior.
The secondary does not provide great news, as only two starters return. Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes both return at CB, but Hughes may be pushed out by sophomore Dexter McDougle. Chism broke up 8 passes on the season and recorded 70 tackles, but did not pick off any passes. Hughes broke up 9 passes, but only picked off 1 pass. He also only collected 39 tackles. McDougle broke up 3 passes while collecting 22 tackles, but had a very strong spring. Freshman Jeremiah Johnson is also pushing for playing time. The safety spots are building from ground up again, with Eric Franklin, Titus Hill, Matt Robinson, and Austin Walker all fighting for starting jobs. Hill is a freshman.
Travis Baltz has moved on at PK, so Nick Ferrara looks to be the new man handling that job. He has no experience as a junior. Baltz also handled punting duties, so freshman Michael Tart looks to be taking over that job. Tony Logan was dangerous as a punt return man, averaging 18.06 yards per return with 2 TDs. With the departure of Torrey Smith, he will also take over kick return duties as well.
2011 Schedule: 9/5 Miami; 9/17 West Virginia; 9/24 Temple; 10/1 Towson; 10/8 @ Georgia Tech; 10/15 Clemson; 10/22 @ Florida State; 10/29 Boston College; 11/5 Virginia; 11/12 Notre Dame; 11/19 @ Wake Forest; 11/26 @ NC State
I am still trying to figure out why Ralph Friedgen was shown the door in one of the more classless moves in college football last season. Friedgen has had amazing success at Maryland, which has never been a football powerhouse on any real level in modern history. What's worse is that they hired a more conservative and less succesful version of him in Edsell, a man who quit his job at UConn without addressing his team before moving on. Classy. Edsell has the pieces, but this is not a title contender in the watered down ACC. I see 6 wins here.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Head Coach: Paul Johnson, 133-53, 14 Years
2010 Record: 6-7 (4-4), Tied 3rd Coastal
2010 Results: South Carolina State, W 41-10; @ Kansas, L 28-25; @ North Carolina, W 30-24; NC State, L 45-28; @ Wake Forest, W 24-20; Virginia, W 33-21; M. Tennessee, W 42-14; @ Clemson, L 27-13; @ Virginia Tech, L 28-21; Miami, L 35-10; Duke, W 30-20; @ Georgia, L 42-34; * Air Force, L 14-7
* Independence Bowl
The bumpy ride at QB that was Josh Nesbitt has ended, and now the ball is handed over to Tevin Washington, or one would think. There will be a three way battle going into fall camp, as Synjyn Days and Vad Lee, a pair of freshmen, look to unseat him. That may not be as impossible as it may seem.
Anthony Allen will be hard to replace. Roddy Jones should take up some slack at AB, as the senior is the only returning starter after rushing for 353 yards last fall. Embry Peoples, Orwin Smith, and BJ Bostic will battle it out for the other starting AB spot in the triple option offense. Charles Perkins, Richard Watson, and Preston Lyons will battle to actually replace allen at the BB spot.
Stephen Hill is the lone returning starter at WR. Hill, a junior, caught 15 passes last fall and was the team leader. Tyler Melton, Jeremy Moore, and Daniel McKayhan will battle for the second receiver spot. LT Phil Smith, LG Omoregie Uzzi, and RG Will Jackson all return, but RT and Center will be open. Sophomore Jay Finch and sophomore JC Lanier will battle for the center job, while Ray Beno, Morgan Bailey, Tyler Kidney will battle for the open RT spot. Bailey is a freshman.
All three starters return up front for the Jackets. Izaan Cross and Jason Peters will man the DE spots, while Logan Walls returns at NG. Cross finished with 7.5 TFLs last season, and Peters added 5 more. Walls finished with 23 tackles. More will be needed out of this group if Tech hopes to improve on the 169 yards per game that they allowed on the ground last fall.
Julian Burnett returns at ILB, while Steven Sylvester returns at OLB. Burnett led the team with 89 tackles, while Sylvester added 60. Sylvester led the team with 10.5 TFLs. Daniel Drummond and Albert Rocker will compete for the open ILB spot, while freshman Quayshawn Nealy will movve his way into the battle. Jeremiah Attaochu and Malcolm Munroe will battle with Brandon Watts for the OLB opening.
The secondary could be in trouble, as there are no returning starters. Rod Sweeting, Ryan Ayers (a freshman), Louis Young, and Jemea Thomas will battle for the CB spots, while Isaiah Johnson, Lance Richardson, Fred Holton, and Rashad Reid will fight for the safety jobs.
Justin Moore, a sophomore, is in line to replace Scott Blair at PK in 2011. Moore has not kicked in a game yet. Chandler Anderson was one of three punters to work in games last season, and he is the leading candidate to start coming out of the spring. He will be pushed by Sean Poole, but both were awful in 2011. BJ Bostic was the primary kick return man, but was highly average and may be moved to punt returns this fall. Orwin Smith is in line to replace him, but Embry Peoples could get the job as well.
2011 Schedule: 9/1 Western Carolina; 9/10 @ M. Tennessee; 9/17 Kansas; 9/24 North Carolina; 10/1 @ NC State; 10/8 Maryland; 10/15 @ Virginia; 10/22 @ Miami; 10/29 Clemson; 11/10 Virgnia Tech; 11/19 @ Duke; 11/26 Georgia
There are potential problems everywhere for Paul Johnson, and it feels like this program is starting to slide. One major issue is the instability at QB, and whomever wins that job wil have to do what Nesbitt never could...throw the football with some success. Tech has proven over and over that they cannot win when they fall behind because of the lack of passing ability so horribly demonstrated by Nesbitt. It's not 1953 anymore...you can mix the pass in with the triple option. It's ok. I see a possibility for 7 wins, but it could only be 5 depending on how this team gels near the middle of the season.
Boston College Eagles
Head Coach: Frank Spaziani, 16-11, 2 years
2010 Record: 7-6, (4-4), Tied 4th Atlantic
2010 Results: Weber State, W 38-20; Kent State, W 26-13; Virginia Tech, L 19-0; Notre Dame, L 31-13; @ NC State, L 44-17; @ Florida State, L 24-19; Maryland, L 24-21; Clemson, W 16-10; @ Wake Forest, W 23-13; @ Duke, W 21-16; Virginia, W 17-13; @ Syracuse, W 16-7; * Nevada, L 20-13
* Fight Hunger Bowl
The offense was absolutely horrible last season, ranking 109th in the nation. They ranked 97th in passing, and Chase Rettig's struggles mirrored that number. Rettig played in 9 games as a freshman, pasing for 1238 yards and just 6 TDs. He tossed 9 picks and only completed 51.3% of his passes. Junior Dave Shinskie is the backup option, but he lost this job to Rettig.
The Eagles have one of the best RBs in America in Montel Harris. Harris rushed for 1242 yards and 8 scores last season, and if the QBs can keep the heat off of him, he could improve those numbers in 2011. Andre Williams will back him up after rushing for 421 yards last season as a freshman.
The Eagles are rebuilding at receiver, which is bad news for Rettig. Ifeanyi Momah, Clyde Lee, Colin Larmond, and Bobby Swigert will all compete to start in fall camp. Swigert wound up becoming the leading receiver last fall with 39-504-4. The Eagles will likely use a two TE set on most downs, and Chris Pantale is the lone returning starter. He caught 31 passes in 2010. Lars Anderson and Mike Naples will battle it out for the other spot.
Three starters return on the line, led by senior LG Nathan Richman, and senior Center Mark Spinney. Emmett Cleary will return to man the RT spot. John Wetzel, Aaron Kramer, and Mike Goodman will battle it out for the open LT spot, while Harris Williams, a freshman, is penned in to start at RG. He will be battled by Bryan Davis and fellow freshman Seth Betancourt for the job.
The Eagles had the 13th best defense in the country last fall, but there are losses all around. DT aleb Ramsey is the lone returnee on the front four. Ramsey led the linemen last fall with 39 tackles and collected 7.5 TFLs. Max Holloway, Mehdi Abdesmad, Kasim Edebali, and Jaryd Rudolph will battle for the DE spots, while Connor O'Neal, Bryan Murray, and Dillon Quinn will fight for playing time at DT.
The best defensive player in America last fall was probably LB Luke Kuelchy, who returns as a junior. Kuelchy, our Bilo FBS LB of the Year winner, collected 183 tackles last fall, had 10.5 TFLs, and added 1.5 sacks. WLB Kevin Pierre-Louis returns to start as a sophomore after collecting 93 tackles last fall. Steele DiVitto and Nick Clancy will battle it out for the SLB job in the fall.
Donnie Fletcher is the lone returnee at CB. Fletcher collected 53 tackles last season, but only defended 3 passes. He did lead the team with 5 picks on the year. CJ Jones, Jim Noel, and freshman Al Louis-Jean will battle for the open CB spot. Louis-Jean is a rising star as a freshman and was an early enrollee. Okechukwu Okoroha is the returnee at FS. He really did not provide much other than his 27 tackles last fall. Dominick LeGrande, Dominique Williams, and Sean Sylvia will likely battle it out for the SS job.
Nate Freese returns after an amazing season at PK, where he nailed 22 of 25 FGs. Freese did miss one PAT in 25 attempts, but he could be even better as a sophomore this fall. Ryan Quigley returns at punter as well after he averaged 41.5 yards per punt in 2010. Bobby Swigert looks to be the guy returning both punts and kickoffs after the Eagles struggled in both areas last fall.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 Northwestern; 9/10 @ Central Florida; 9/17 Duke; 9/24 UMass; 10/1 Wake Forest; 10/8 @ Clemson; 10/22 @ Virgnia Tech; 10/29 @ Maryland; 11/3 Florida State; 11/12 NC State; 11/19 @ Notre Dame; 11/25 @ Miami
Even with Montel Harris on offense, the Eagles will continue to struggle. The receivers were slow to adjust in the spring, and the passing game continues to sputter. With only 5 returning starters on defense, the Eagles will take a step back there as well, despite the star power of Kuelchy at LB. Frank Spaziani is a loyal guy, and a decent coach, but he is not the guy that will push BC football over the top anytime soon. I can honestly see a 4 win season here.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Head Coach: Tom O'Brien, 100-70, 14 Years
2010 Record: 9-4 (5-3), Tied 2nd Atlantic
2010 Results: Western Carolina, W 48-7; @ Central Florida, W 28-21; Cincinnati, W 30-19; @ Georgia Tech, W 45-28; Virginia Tech, L 41-30; Boston College, W 44-17; @ East Carolina, L 33-27 (OT); Florida State, W 28-24; @ Clemson, L 14-13; Wake Forest, W 38-3; @ North Carolina, W 29-25; @ Maryland, L 38-31; * West Virginia, W 23-7
* Champs Sports Bowl
It's time for Mike Glennon to step up at QB. Glennon will have more of a pro set offense to work under this season, but there is a ton of pressure on him to make it work, as Russell Wilson's ugly departure has the Pack losing one of its best QBs ever (including Philip Rivers).
Mustafa Greene returns as the leading rusher from last season, but he is injured and may not be ready to go, leaving the ball in the hands of Brandon Barnes, who did not run last season.
There is more bad news from the receivers, as not one starter returns from a year ago. TJ Graham, Tobais Palmer, and Jay Smith are all pencilled in as starters right now, but they will be battled by Quinton Payton, Bryan Underwood, and Steven Howard. George Bryan will be a primary target at TE, as he caught 35 passes last season and scored 3 times.
The only good news comes from the line, where 3 starters return. Zach Allen (RG) and RJ Mattes (RT) man the right side, and Camdon Wentz returns at center. The left side is starting over with Mikel Overgaard and Rob Crisp battling for the LT job, while Duran Christophe and freshman Andy Jomantis battle for the LG spot.
Jeff Rieskamp returns at one DE spot, but he can hardly be called a dominating force up front. The other spot is an open battle between Darryl Cato-Bishop, McKay Frandsen, and freshman Art Norman. JR Sweezy is back at DT after collecting 50 tackles last fall. Sweezy added 11.5 TFLs as well as 5.5 sacks on the season. The other DT spot is open between Brian Slay, Markus Kuhn, and AJ Ferguson.
Audie Cole and Terrell Manning return at LB, but gone is the beast that was Nate Irving. Cole finished with 86 tackles last season, while Manning collected 75, so there is plenty of productivity coming back. DJ Green and Rickey Dowdy will fight it out for Irving's old job, and Dwayne Maddox could find his way into that battle as well.
All four starters return in the secondary for the Wolfpack. David Amerson and CJ Wilson return at the CB spots. Amerson collected 57 tackles last fall, but was useless in pass coverage. Wilson finished with 46 tackles, 6 passes defended, and 2 picks, which were both returned for scores. Brandon Bishop will return at FS, while Earl Wolff returns as the SS. Bishop defended 4 passes, forced a fumble, collected 66 tackles, and led the team with 4 picks. Wolff led the team in tackles with 95, forced 3 fumbles, defended 2 passes, and picked off a pass. All must stay healthy, as the support staff is very young at almost every position.
Niklas Sade is the expected new PK as a freshman, but he could be pushed by Chris Hawthorne in fall camp. Will Baumann, also a freshman, could get the nod at punter, as Andy Leffler was well below average last season. TJ Graham is back to handle both kick and punt return duties this fall, although he was below average on kick returns last fall.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 Liberty; 9/10 @ Wake Forest; 9/17 South Alabama; 9/22 Cincinnati; 10/1 Georgia Tech; 10/8 Central Michigan; 10/22 @ Virginia; 10/29 @ Florida State; 11/5 North Carolina; 11/12 @ Boston College; 11/19 Clemson; 11/26 Maryland
The offense could struggle badly at times, so the defense may need to step up, and they have the bodies to do so. Glennon is an unknown at QB, so everything is a flip of the coin. The schedule certainly is easy enough, as the Pack is taking the pussy way out by taking on two mid-major FCS teams in Liberty and South Alabama. That's crap. NC State is better than just about everyone on their schedule and does not get Virginia Tech. Could win anywhere from 8 games on up, but only based on their very easy schedule.
Head Coach: Mike London, 28-13, 3 Years
2010 Record: 4-8 (1-7), Tied 5th Coastal
2010 Results: Richmond, W 34-13; @ USC, L 17-14; VMI, W 48-7; Florida State, L 34-14; @ Georgia Tech, L 33-21; North Carolina, W 44-10; Eastern Michigan, W 48-21; Miami, W 24-19; @ Duke, L 55-48; Maryland, L 42-23; @ Boston College, L 17-13; @ Virginia Tech, L 37-7
The Cavaliers made some major strides last season, ranking 37th in total offense. That may be a difficult repeat this season, as They must break in a new QB in either Michael Rocco or Ross Metheny. Metheny was the better of the two in limited action last season, but Rocco is ahead after the spring. The battle will continue into the fall.
Perry Jones returns at RB after rushing for 646 yards last season. He will replace Keith Payne. Max Milien will return as the starting FB. Milien only carried 4 times in 2010, but racked up 45 yards in those carries. Look for freshman Kevin Parks to push for carries after he redshirted last season. Parks rushed for 10895 yards in high school.
Kris Burd is the lone returning receiver in 2011. Burd posted 58-799-5 as the second receiver in the offense last season, so he is more than able to carry the load. Matt Snyder, Tim Smith, and Miles Gooch will look to fight for the other spot. Colter Phillips is the returning starter at TE after catching 18 passes last fall.
Four starters return on the line. The LT job is the only one open, and London Bradley and Sean Cascarano are fighting it out there. Oday Aboushi returns at RT, Morgan Moses at RG, Anthony Mihota at Center, and Austin Pasztor at LG. Matt Mihalik could figure in at LT as well.
The defense was putrid against the run last fall, ranking 106th in the nation, but three starters do return with more experience up front. Cam Johnson returns at DE after collecting 53 tackles last season. Johnson also led the Cavs with 14 TFLs and 6 sacks. Nick Jenkins and Matt conrath return at DT. Jenkins collected 43 tackles, while Conrath collected 5.5 TFLs. The other DE spot is open, and it's between Jake Snyder, Bill Schautz, and Brett Urban.
Only LaRoy Reynolds returns at LB. Reynolds led the team in tackles, but only collected 66 on the season. Aaron Taliaferro, Tucker Windle, and Daquan Romero will compete for the open OLB spot, while Steve Greer and freshman Henry Coley will battle at MLB.
Three starters return in the secondary, starting with Chase Minniefield at CB. Minniefield defended 4 passes last fall and led the team with 6 picks. Rodney McCleod returns at SS after collecting 54 tackles, while Corey osley returns for his senior season at SS. Rijo Walker, Dom Joseph, and Demetrius Nicholson will battle for the open CB spot.
Robert Randolph will start out as the starting PK after he connected on 10 of 14 Fgs last fall.Randolph nailed all 37 PATs last fall. Jimmy Howell was solid with a 42 yard punting average last fall, and returns as well. Perry Jones will return kicks, while Chase Minniefield will return punts.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 William & Mary, 9/10 @ Indiana; 9/17 @ North Carolina; 9/24 Southern Mississippi; 10/1 Idaho; 10/15 Georgia Tech; 10/22 NC State; 10/27 @ Miami; 11/5 @ Maryland; 11/12 Duke; 11/19 @ Florida State; 11/26 Virginia Tech
The Cavs are slowly getting better, but they are not nearly ready to compete at the higher levels yet. The defense has some holes in the middle, but that group is surrounded by talented individuals who all need to step up and stop the run. If that can happen, the efense may be able to keep Virginia in some games. I can see an improvement to 5 wins this season.
Duke Blue Devils
Head Coach: David Cutliffe, 56-53, 9 Years
2010 Record: 3-9 (1-7), Tied 5th Coastal
2010 Results: Elon, W 41-27; @ Wake Forest, L 54-48; Alabama, L 62-13; Army, L 35-21; @ Maryland, L 21-16; Miami, L 28-13; @ Virginia Tech, L 44-7; @ Navy, W 34-31; Virginia, W 55-48; Boston College, L 21-16; @ Georgia Tech, L 30-20; North Carolina, L 24-19
Sean Renfree can let it fly at QB, as he passed for 3131 yards last fall, but he too often oputs the ball in the hands of his opponents, as he tossed 17 picks to just 14 TDs last fall. That will have to be fixed this season, but he is entrenched at QB.
Desmond Scott will return as the leading rusher, but that was not saying a ton, as he only ran for 530 yards last fall. Josh Snead is the backup, but is not likely to push for the starting job.
Conner Vernon (73-973-4) and Donovan Varner (60-736-1) both return as Renfree's top two targets this fall. Tyree Watkins and Corey Gattis are in reserve. Cooper Helfet (34-380-2) returns at TE.
Three starters return on the line, but both guards must be replaced. John Coleman and Laken Tomlinson will batte at RG, while Dave Harding and Joey Finison will battle at LG. Kyle Hill (LT) and Perry Simmons (RT) return at tackle, while Brian Moore returs at center.
Both DTs return on defense, but both DEs have departed. Charlie Hatcher and Sydney Sarmiento return to man the middle. Hatcher finished with 7.5 TFLs last fall, but Sarmiento is basically a warm body. Kenny Anunike, Jordan Dewalt-Ondijo, Justin Foxx, and Jamal Wallace will battle it out for the open DE jobs. Dewalt-Ondijo was solid in the spring drills.
Kelby Brown is the lone returnee at LB, but only collected 63 tackles last fall. The other spot will be between Kevin Rojas, Jonathon Woodruff, and Austin Gamble. Duke only runs with two LBs.
3 starters return in the 5 man secondary. Ross Cockrell is the lone returnee at CB. Cockrell defended 7 passes last fall and led the team with 3 picks. Johnny Williams, Garett Patterson, and Zach Greene will all battle for the open spot. Matt Dnaiels and Lee Butler return at safety, while August Campbell, and Isaac Blakeney are the frontrunners for the open slot.
Will Snyderwine was the best kicker in the conference last fall, and he returns to give Duke a chance at some pints this fall after hitting 21 FGs last fall. He also connected on all 32 of his PATs. Alex King averaged over 41 yards on his punts last fall, and he returns as well. Josh Snead will return kicks once again, while Lee Butler will be back returning punts.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 Richmond; 9/10 Stanford; 9/17 @ Boston College; 9/24 Tulane; 10/1 @ Florida International; 10/15 Florida State; 10/22 Wake Forest; 10/29 Virginia Tech; 11/5 @ Miami; 11/12 @ Virginia; 11/19, Georgia Tech; 11/26 @ North Carolina
It will be a different season with similar results it seems. David Cutliffe had his best chance to turn this thing around 2 years ago, and there has not been another opportunity since then. Duke cannot compete in this conference as it stands, and that's no joke. I see no more than 3 wins...again.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Head Coach: Jim Grobe, 95-93-1, 16 Years
2010 Record: 3-9 (1-7), 6th Atlantic
2010 Results: Presbyterian, W 53-13; Duke, W 54-48; @ Stanford, L 68-24; @ Florida State, L 31-0; Georgia Tech, L 24-20; Navy, L 28-27; @ Virginia Tech, L 52-21; @ Maryland, L 62-14; Boston College, L 23-13; @ NC State, L 38-3; Clemson, L 30-10; @ Vanderbilt, W 34-13
Tanner Price was not good last fall. He was a freshman, I know, but so was Danny O'Neill at Maryland. Price just wasn't good. The offense finished 108th in the nation, and it still appalls me to hear Steed Lobotzke's name come up in coaching searches for head man jobs. Lobotzke can't coach an offense out of a wet paper bag on a rainy day. That's my take. I'd rather watch grass grow than watch his offense at work, and that includes the Orange Bowl season. Price passed for 1349 yards with only 7 TDs and 8 picks. Yeah...not good. They want him to run the option out of shotgun formations, but he averaged 1.6 yards per carry last fall. Am I crazy here?
Josh Harris will be the full time starting RB this fall, and he has potential. He runs a 4.34 40, and ran for 241 yards against Virginia Tech, but the Deacons lost that game 52-21, so who cares. Harris rushed for 720 yards on the season and scored 7 times. Brandon Pendergrass is next on the depth chart, but he should not push Harris a bit. Tommy Bohannon and Ben Ernest will battle for the open FB spot.
Chris Givens is the lone returning starter at WR. Givens was the leader last fall, posting 35-514-4. Michael Campanaro, Terrence Davis, and Danny Dembry will fight it out for the open job. Andrew Parker returns at TE along with Cameron Ford. They combined for 17 receptions last fall. Hooray.
Four starters do return on the line, with only the Center position open coming into the fall. Garrick Williams projects to start, but Chance Raines will battle him for it in camp. Dennis Godfrey and Doug Weaver are the tackles, while Joe Looney and Michael Hoag return at guard.
It's back to the 3-4 defense for the Deacons after they finished 101st in the nation in total defense. Wake basically couldn't stop a dead body against the run last fall, giving up 192.5 yards per game on the ground. Tristan Dorty returns at DE, while Nikita Whitlock returns at NG. Zach Thompson, John Gallagher, and Kevin Smith will fight it out for the open DE spot.
Kyle Wilbur and Joey Erhmann return at the OLB spots, but both ILB spots are vacant and will be fought over by Scott Betros, Riley Haynes, Mike Olson, and Gelo Orange.
The secondary catches a break by returning 3 starters. Kenny Okoro returns at CB. He defended 5 passes and picked off 2 last fall, and collected 39 tackles. Not a star. Kevin Johnson, Dominique tate, and Merrill Noel will fight for the other CB spot. Cyhl Charles returns at SS, while Josh Bush returns at FS. Quarles finished with 71 tackles last fall. Bush was basically...there.
Jimmy Newman returns after nailing 12 of 13 FGs last fall, and he also drilled all 31 of his PATs. Newman has two more years of eligibility, so at least we know they have a scoring option after finishing 91st in the nation in scoring last fall. Freshman Alex Kinal is slated to punt after the incumbents on the roster sucked the big one last fall. Michael campanaro is slated to handle both kick and punt return duties this season. He averaged over 24 yards per return on kickoffs last fall.
2011 Schedule: 9/3 @ Syracuse; 9/10 NC State; 9/17 Gardner-Webb; 10/1 @ Boston College; 10/8 Florida State; 10/15 Virgnia Tech; 10/22 @ Duke; 10/29 @ North Carolina; 11/5 Notre Dame; 11/12 @ Clemson; 11/19 Maryland; 11/26 Vanderbilt
Not going anywhere. Jim Grobe has got to be feeling some heat, as he had this team in the Orange Bowl a few short years ago. He never sustained his recruiting edge from that experienced, and the program is starting to tank. Something has got to change, as the talent level here has just fallen apart. I see...maybe...2 wins.