Monday, July 27, 2009

Pack's Young shut out...and other ACC notes

The last time I played golf about 10 years ago, my ball hit some type of vegetation in addition to grass (trees, bushes, etc.) on the first seven holes.

So while the coaches and many of the other media members are playing golf Monday morning, I’m reviewing my notes. Here’s a second-day recap of some odds and ends from Day One of the ACC football media kickoff.

- N.C. State defensive end Willie Young tried fishing one of the ponds on the Grandover golf course with a fly rod and a blue dragonfly, but didn’t have any luck.

“I didn’t see any signs of any fish, but I thought I’d give it a try,” he said. “You never know.”

Young was one of the most entertaining personalities at the opening day of the media kickoff. He sent a room full of TV reporters into a tizzy by telling them he’d seen linebacker Nate Irving sprinting to catch a bus on campus recently.

Irving is recovering from a broken leg and collapsed lung. N.C. State sports information director Annabelle Myers quickly explained to the TV folks that Young was joking.

The quote of the day also might have come from Young.

“I don’t care what anybody says,” he said. “You can draw X’s and O’s on paper. But when the quarterback says, ‘Hike,’ those X’s and O’s are moving.”
Nobody at the table had any idea what Young was talking about. But it was interesting.

- It’s fashionable to predict that Georgia Tech’s flexbone offense will be less effective this season now that defensive coaches are more familiar with it.

Running back Jonathan Dwyer, the returning ACC player of the year, didn’t sound the least bit concerned about that as coach Paul Johnson begins his second season.

“We didn’t even have all our plays,” he said. “We just kept running the same play over and over and over.”

Dwyer said Georgia Tech’s playbook will expand significantly this fall. That can’t be good thing for opposing defensive coordinators.

- Clemson’s life-sized poster promoting running back C.J. Spiller for the Heisman Trophy was a bit of old-school marketing genius by school sports information director Tim Bourret.

Embracing new technology, college sports marketers now often set up web-based promotions for their athletes. By doing a print-based campaign on the 25th anniversary of Clemson’s promotion of William Perry, Bourret set his player apart from the crowd.

With the last two Heisman winners, Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford, still playing, Spiller probably doesn’t have much of a chance at the trophy. But Bourret still made his player the talk of Greensboro on Sunday.

His only cost will be about $1,000 in postage to send some posters to the media. Two sponsors split the $10,000 cost of printing the 4,700 posters. Judging by their popularity, more sponsors and additional printings are likely.

- ACC officiating supervisor Doug Rhoads said a new NCAA rule will allow both the home and road teams to wear their dark jerseys in a given game if the colors of the jerseys are significantly different.

The rule came about after Southern California accepted a 15-yard penalty to start the game in order to wear its dark jersey along with rival UCLA last season.

In order to make that penalty void, both teams must agree in writing before the game that neither team will wear white.

Last year’s new timing rules implementing an NFL-type 40-second clock resulted in shorter games by an average of 12 minutes and nine snaps. Rhoads said the NCAA is pleased with how the changes sped up the game.

ACC crews stopped play for replay reviews 184 times last season for an average period of 1 minute, 24 seconds. Calls were reversed 46 times. Rhoads said that’s on par with the national average of one reversal for every four stoppages.

- For the second time in three years, the ACC’s lobbying for an early signing date for football recruits has failed to generate support.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said the early signing date, which had been proposed for December, would have saved money. He said it would have saved coaches the expense of continuing to travel and continue recruiting players who gave non-binding commitments months earlier.

Swofford said he understands the opposition to the early signing date, though. A worst-case scenario could have a whole class of players signing in December with a school that fires its coach in January – after a loss in a bowl game.

“I can see those issues on both sides,” Swofford said, “but we’ve been pretty consistent with our coaches and Ad’s in supporting it. We haven’t been able to get enough support from our colleagues.”

The coaches meet with the media beginning at 3 p.m., so we’ll have more for you then.

Ken Tysiac