Tuesday, September 4, 2007

ACC football points to ponder

Five points to ponder about ACC football now that the first weekend is complete:

1. Clemson fans shouldn’t get too excited about the prime time win over Florida State on Monday night. The Tigers’ defense was excellent, but Clemson won’t win the Atlantic Division unless quarterback Cullen Harper can loosen up defenses with downfield throws. The 2007 Tigers look a lot like the 2006 version, which was crippled against top defenses by quarterback Will Proctor. Clemson also looks a little like Wake Forest, using all manner of trickery with wide receivers and running backs to spread the field horizontally.

2. Redshirt freshman T.J. Yates is better than anybody North Carolina used at quarterback last season. His refusal to be satisfied even with his strong performances in the spring game and against James Madison indicates that he should continue to improve. But if the Tar Heels can’t develop a running game against the strong schedule they play, they might not improve much on last year’s 3-9 record.

3. Many of N.C. State’s players have “an over-inflated image” of their own talent, coach Tom O’Brien said Monday. “That’s something that’s permeated here, that we have this great talent,” O’Brien said. N.C. State’s failure to control the line of scrimmage in the first half of a 25-23 loss to Central Florida should dispel the myth that the Wolfpack can win on talent alone, according to O'Brien. After the loss, N.C. State senior wide receivers John Dunlap and Darrell Blackman passionately appealed to their teammates to get serious. The Wolfpack has lost eight in a row. “We’ve got some winners on this team,” said tight end Marcus Stone. “Granted, we’ve had a few losses in the past. We’re going to work it out and get on the right page.”

4. Though Riley Skinner’s shoulder separation is a blow to Wake Forest, don’t underestimate coach Jim Grobe’s ability to overcome injuries. The Deacons lost starting quarterback Benjamin Mauk and tailback Micah Andrews and survived a bunch of other key injuries last season to win the ACC title. And backup quarterback Brett Hodges’ 17-for-23, 130-yard performance provides hope that Wake Forest can win even if Skinner can’t play Saturday against Nebraska.

5. The struggles of Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon on Saturday weren’t a surprise. East Carolina’s domination of the Virginia Tech offensive line was unexpected, though. If the Hokies are going to win at LSU on Saturday and get into the national championship hunt, the veteran line led by Duane Brown and Sergio Render must do a much better job against All-America candidate Glenn Dorsey and the LSU defensive front.

- Ken Tysiac


JAT said...

Ken --

We'll know a LOT more about Yates after the trip to Greenville, but don't get confused about what happened vs. JMU. The Dukes put, 8-9 guys in the box and dared Yates to throw the ball. So he did, and did it well. And DEEP. A huge change from previous years.

Yes, the Heels need a balanced offense to be successful. But there is no reason why Yates hitting his big play WRs cannot help set-up the run.

In all, we Heel fans are glad to even be talking about balance -- we weren't sure we had a QB on the roster.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on beating a 1-AA team. Unfortunately for you, there are some 1-A teams on your schedule that you will not beat.

Anonymous said...

Better to thoroughly beat a good 1AA team than to be beaten by a lowly rated D1A team.

Anonymous said...

That's eight losses in a row State fans, so keep trashing UNC.

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Damn, that's too funny. All you Tar Holes have to cling to is the "well, we don't suck as bad as Duke or State". What a way to live. Why don't you crawl back under your rocks until roundball and then you can all slither back out and act like the spoiled, rotten whiney babies that you are?

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