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|Welcome to TSLMail #177 - Friday, May 27, 2005||
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ACC Spring Football, Part 2
Miami returns a lot of good players on both sides of the ball. With four of five starters returning along the offensive line, the Canes should not have a problem blocking for tailback Tyrone Moss or new quarterback Kyle Wright.
Speaking of Wright, there are a lot of expectations for him to lead the program back to where it was under Ken Dorsey. That will be a difficult task for the young sophomore, but he has a lot of skilled players around him to help him out. However, he will also have to work with a r-freshman center, Tyrone Byrd, so potential problems do exist.
Defensively, Miami should be very good, starting five seniors and five juniors. Bryan Pata, Baraka Atkins, Orien Harris and Thomas Carroll make up a highly rated defensive line. The secondary lost a first round draft pick in Antrel Rolle, but he will be replaced by Devin Hester, who is possibly the best athlete in the ACC. Sophomore free safety Anthony Reddick was heralded as a future star as a true freshman in 2004, and he will get his chance to shine this year.
Winning the ACC will be a challenge for the Canes with an inexperienced quarterback, as they open the season on the road at Florida State, and later travel to Virginia Tech.
Head coach John Bunting saved his job in 2004 with a 6-5 record and a birth in the Continental Tire Bowl, but now he faces the challenge of keeping the program headed in the right direction. Losing Darian Durant hurts tremendously. R-senior Matt Baker emerged from spring as starting quarterback. Ronnie McGill will be a fine running back who will run behind an offensive line that returns four starters. Carolina will start a total of eight seniors and two juniors on offense, so the only mark will be whether or not Baker can lead the offense efficiently.
The Carolina defense was terrible last season, and they lost their best player, safety Gerald Sensabaugh, to the NFL Draft. However, they do return seven starters and will start seven seniors and three juniors.
Overall, John Bunting has a very experienced team coming back for 2005. If they can find the same production offensively that they had in 2004, it looks as if they could be heading to another bowl game.
NC State had a down year in 2004, their first season without Philip Rivers. The Pack finished 5-6 and suffered from poor offensive play. Seven starters return from that unit, including quarterback Jay Davis, who hopes to improve his play. State also returns four starters on the offensive line, and hope to have more depth at that position than they had last season
Defensively, NC State had the #1 ranked unit in the nation in 2004. The entire defensive line returns for 2005, including Manny Lawson, who abused the Virginia Tech offensive line in 2004. However, they also must rebuild their secondary, which will likely struggle in the early stages of the season. That won’t be as difficult though, with possibly the best defensive line in the ACC going after the quarterback every play.
Perhaps the most important part of State’s season will be how they adjust to new offensive and defensive coordinators. Marc Trestman, former quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins, will head the offense, while Steve Dunlap will be defensive coordinator. Dunlap is the former defensive coordinator at West Virginia and Syracuse, so he is familiar with Virginia Tech.
UVA lost some very good players to the NFL, including stars such as Elton Brown and Heath Miller. However, they return some very solid players as well, and have some highly recruited players ready to step into the lineup. Marques Hagans returns at quarterback, as well as Wali Lundy at tailback. D’Brickashaw Ferguson anchors what should be a very solid offensive line despite the loss of Brown. The big question mark on offense is whether or not the receivers develop and whether Hagans can get them the ball.
Defensively, UVA returns six starters. They are spread out equally, with two on the defensive line, two at linebacker and two in the secondary. Only one senior is projected to start for the Hoos, Brennan Schmidt, at defensive end. However, five sophomores are projected to start, including two on the defensive line and two at linebacker. The secondary struggled in 2004 and will again be a question mark in 2005.
UVA’s season will hinge on quarterback and wide receiver play, and how well the young sophomores on defense can develop throughout the season. They should win their first four games, and then we will find out a lot about the Hoos when they visit Boston College.
The major question mark for the Hokies in 2005 is the offensive line. Tech is fine with Will Montgomery, Jimmy Martin and Jason Murphy, but question marks remain at right tackle and center. Danny McGrath will likely be solid at center, but that is not set in stone. Reggie Butler, who struggled to block defensive tackles as a guard last season, must face even quicker defensive ends when he lines up at right tackle this fall. Quarterback is fine, and may even improve, with Marcus Vick at the helm, and the Hokies go four deep at tailback. Tech also has six receivers worthy of major playing time, and Jeff King will be very good at tight end, possible first-team All-ACC.
Defensively, Tech should be very good, but not quite as good as 2004. The starting defensive line will have Darryl Tapp leading the way. However, there isn’t as much depth as last season, and that could come into play late in games or with injuries. Tech should be very good at linebacker as well, with Vince Hall, Xavier Adibi and James Anderson. The secondary is the big question mark, as Tech lost three starters. Eric Green and Vincent Fuller were both drafted, and James Griffin was solid at rover. At cornerback, Tech will be fine with Jimmy Williams returning. Roland Minor and Brandon Flowers showed in the spring that they can be very good corners as well, but with the news of Flowers being arrested Thursday, his future is murky. At free safety, true sophomore D.J. Parker will attempt to replace Fuller, while a battle at rover is going on between Aaron Rouse and Cary Wade.
Wake Forest has recently turned into a team that threatens to beat every team they play but still only manages to finish next-to-last in the ACC. They don’t have much talent, but head coach Jim Grobe runs a good system. Right now there is a battle at the quarterback position between senior Cory Randolph and sophomore Ben Mauk. Mauk appears to have an ever-so-slight lead at this point, but the battle will rage until fall. Wake should have a very good running game again this year, returning Chris Barclay, one of the ACC’s top running backs. They also return four starters along the offensive line.
Defensively, Wake will still have trouble because of a general lack of athleticism, but they do return some good players, such as sophomore linebacker Jonathan Abbate and strong safety Patrick Ghee. The Demon Deacons start four sophomores in their front seven, including three on the defensive line. To make matters worse, Wake’s biggest starting defensive lineman goes 273, so it looks as if the defense is going to get pushed around in 2005.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Against Nolen Dropped
VT's 2005 Top Gun Recruiter
125 National Basketball Prospects for 2006
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