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   Welcome to TSLMail #299 - Friday, October 5, 2007    
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The ACC's Stars: Offense

A month into the season, we are starting to get an idea about who the top players in the ACC are at each position. Today we'll take a look at the offensive stars, and next week we'll focus on the defensive side of the ball.

The ACC lacked good quarterback play last season, but this year there appears to be some improvement. Four players in the conference are averaging at least 231 passing yards per game. They are Matt Ryan of BC, Thad Lewis of Duke, T.J. Yates of UNC and Cullen Harper of Clemson. No other ACC quarterback is averaging over 200 yards per game.

Matt Ryan is hands down the First Team All-ACC quarterback. He is averaging 309 passing yards per game so far this season. Lewis and Harper have been very efficient. Yates has been spotty at UNC, but he's only a r-freshman. He looks to be a future ACC star quarterback.

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The ACC has plenty of good tailbacks right now, though not all of them were expected to breakout this year. UVA's Cedric Peerman is leading the conference in rushing, averaging 113.2 yards per game. Maryland's Keon Lattimore and Georgia Tech's Tashard Choice are also averaging over 100 yards per game. Andre Callender of BC and James Davis of Clemson are getting over 90 yards per game.

There are other very talented running backs in the conference that don't have great production because they are forced to share carries. That includes Andre Brown at NC State, and Javarris James and Graig Cooper of Miami. Josh Adams of Wake Forest had a breakout 100+ yard performance against Maryland, and he looks like a perfect fit for the offense.

Other very good backs haven't been so lucky this year. Toney Baker of NC State is done for the season with a knee injury. Virginia Tech's Branden Ore, who was First Team All-ACC last season, is banged up, averaging just 59 yards per game, and hasn't had a 100 yard game since October 2006.

Although the conference lacks a big time receiver, there are a number of guys who are putting up solid numbers. Five ACC receivers are averaging five catches or more per game. They are Kenneth Moore of Wake Forest, Brandon Robinson of Boston College, Aaron Kelly of Clemson, Hakeem Nicks of UNC and Jomar Wright of Duke.

With Matt Ryan at quarterback, the Eagles easily have the best passing game in the ACC. Three of the top eight receivers in the conference have Matt Ryan throwing them the ball. Brandon Robinson averages 5.6 receptions per game, which ranks second in the ACC. Kevin Challenger catches 4.8 passes per game, while Rich Gunnell averages 4.0 catches per game.

Of course, there are many other talented receivers in the ACC as well. Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech all have great athletes at receiver, but they have all been limited so far this year for one reason or another.

Partly because of the lack of talented and experienced receivers, Virginia tight ends Tom Santi and Jonathan Stupar have become two of the top players at their position in the league. Santi leads the team with 17 catches for 194 yards and three touchdowns. Stupar is right behind him with 16 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Four of the Hoos' six touchdown passes this year have gone to the tight ends.

Other tight ends who are establishing themselves this year in the passing game are Ryan Purvis of Boston College (another BC player putting up big numbers with Matt Ryan at quarterback), John Tereshinski of Wake Forest, Marcus Stone of NC State and Sam Wheeler of Virginia Tech.

While there are plenty of talented offensive players in the ACC, there aren't many good offenses as a whole.

ACC Offenses
Team Total Offense National Rank

Boston College

451.6 ypg 23


401.6 ypg 53

Georgia Tech

350.4 ypg 83


348 ypg 85


348 ypg 85

Wake Forest

338.5 ypg 89

Florida State

336.3 ypg 91

NC State

326 ypg 97


323.8 ypg 99


303 ypg 106


294 ypg 109

Virginia Tech

285.6 ypg 112

Ouch. You can't put a dress on that pig and make it look pretty. Only one ACC offense ranks in the top 50 nationally, and 10 of the 12 ACC teams rank 83rd or lower in total offense out of 119 Division 1-A teams. The Hokies are ahead of only Syracuse, Army, Eastern Michigan, Akron, Utah State, Notre Dame and Florida International in total offense.

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Scouting Report and Game Prediction: Clemson

October 5, 2007
Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence will use multiple formations and personnel packages in a ball-control offense oriented to their running backs. Spence likes to get his backs the ball in space using screens, draws, counters, sweeps, and any other play that will give his backs some room to operate. Clemson will often run in passing situations, and Spence's play calling has received criticism from fans for his conservatism.

TSL Audio: The Len Martez Show, 10/3/07
October 5, 2007
On Wednesday evening's show, Chris Coleman and Len Martez reviewed the UNC game and discussed Branden Ore's status, Tyrod Taylor's performance, whether Kenny Lewis should get more carries, and UNC's young, but talented team (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.5 MB, 14:51).

Class of '09 Profile: Orange County's Quintin Hunter
October 5, 2007
One would've thought that losing star quarterback Bradley Starks (currently a freshman QB at West Virginia) would have taken a serious toll on the Orange County varsity football squad this season, but that simply hasn't been the case with 6-2, 185-pound junior Quintin Hunter taking over the helm. Hunter's playmaking skills and big-time athleticism were evident last Friday, when he racked up 361 yards passing and 153 yards rushing in a 61-42 loss to Monticello.

Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: Clemson
October 4, 2007
The first big conference road test awaits Virginia Tech as the Hokies travel to Death Valley to face the 22nd ranked Clemson Tigers. Many offensive questions still exist for Virginia Tech after a lackluster performance against a very young, but talented North Carolina Tar Heel team, but even more questions may exist for a Clemson offense that only managed three points against Georgia Tech. Basically, this game pits two inconsistent offenses against two talented and experienced defenses, so I would not expect a lot of scoring in this game.

Class of '09 Profile: Brookville's Logan Thomas
October 4, 2007
Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) junior Logan Thomas is certainly off to a successful start to his recruiting process. A prospect in football and basketball, the 6-6, 220-pound Thomas has already received official scholarship offers in both sports. The focus right now is on the sport he is currently playing, football, but the sport he'll ultimately choose to play in college is a question.

Hokies Doing Well in GSR Calculations
October 4, 2007
The NCAA released the latest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data on Wednesday, and the Hokies are doing well in most of the major sports in comparison to the rest of the ACC. Much-maligned in football for years in the old standard of Federal Graduation Rates, the Hokies are now above the national average in the GSR data, which has been the measuring stick for several years now.
Also: Ike Whitaker Not Traveling to Clemson

3-Star Guards Enjoy Virginia Tech
October 4, 2007
A pair of talented senior guards traveled to Blacksburg last weekend, each making an official visit to Virginia Tech. St. Anthony's (Jersey City, N.J.) star Tyshawn Taylor and Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville, FL) standout Shaquille Johnson, rated 3-star recruits by and, had excellent experiences in Blacksburg. Where will their respective recruitments go from here?

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Clemson
October 3, 2007
Virginia Tech will travel to another Death Valley this Saturday, with hopes that this trip turns out better than the first one back on September 8. This time the Hokies will take on the #22 Clemson Tigers, a team that looked like they could be the best team in the ACC until Georgia Tech embarrassed them 13-3 in Atlanta last Saturday.

Bennett Discusses Season, Recruitment
October 3, 2007
6-8 (almost 6-9), 290-pound West Potomac (Alexandria, VA) star offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett, a Washington Post first-team all-metro performer last season as a junior, is having a great time in his senior season. His team is off to a 5-0 start and he is playing well, thanks in large part to the chemistry his team has been able to build throughout this past off-season.

UNC Game Analysis: A Work in Progress
October 2, 2007
Another ACC opener. And another ACC victory for the Hokies. But it was also another game that left everyone asking a lot of questions, particularly about the sputtering offense. After all, this was a young UNC team coming off a lopsided loss at South Florida. (Don't those guys have something nice brewing down there in Tampa?).

Brandon (FL) PF Deciding Among Four
October 2, 2007
6-8, 245-pound Brandon (FL) power forward Evan Ravenel enjoyed his official visit to Blacksburg this past weekend, and now he is faced with a tough decision. Ravenel, who wants to sign a letter of intent in November but is not in any rush to make a commitment, now plans to focus on making a decision among four schools - Penn State, Tulane, Virginia Tech and Wichita State.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 10/1/07
October 2, 2007
Monday night's Hokie Hotline guests were quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain, athletic director Jim Weaver, and head football coach Frank Beamer. O'Cain talked about Tyrod Taylor's development, and Beamer discussed the injury status of various players and talked about what the Hokies can expect at Clemson this Saturday.

A Decision Coming Soon for Gilbert?
October 2, 2007
Monacan (Richmond, VA) senior offensive lineman Justin Gilbert has taken two unofficial visits each of the past two weekends, including trips to East Carolina on September 22nd and Virginia Tech this past Saturday. He'll make a third unofficial visit this coming Saturday and could have a college decision as soon as next week.

Monday Thoughts: UNC
October 1, 2007
Coming into this game, we didn't know which game was representative of how the Virginia Tech offense would operate under Tryod Taylor: the Ohio game (473 total yards, 287 passing by Taylor) or William & Mary (287 total yards, 72 passing by Taylor). This game indicated that the struggles of the Tech offense will continue, and even games against 19-point underdogs will turn out to be dogfights.

Hokies, Blue Devils to Kickoff at Noon
October 1, 2007
Virginia Tech's October 13 game at Duke will be televised by Raycom/Lincoln Financial, and will kickoff at noon, according the
Also: ACC in the Top 25, VT Injury Report.

Around the ACC: Week 5
October 1, 2007
The ACC has taken a lot of heat this year, but Saturday was a better day when it comes to out-of-conference games. ACC teams knocked off ranked teams in Rutgers and Alabama and also defeated Pitt. The two most impressive teams in the first four weeks, Clemson and Boston College, struggled in Week Five. Once again, it's obvious that the ACC is wide open.

Painter Has Excellent Official Visit
October 1, 2007's top overall recruit in the state of Virginia's 2008 class - Maury (Norfolk) offensive lineman Vinston Painter - made an official visit to Virginia Tech this past weekend and had a great time. The 4-star prospect rated the visit a "10" on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the best), as he enjoyed spending time with the players and attending his first Virginia Tech home game.

Virginia Tech Lands Big-Time Commitment
September 30, 2007
One of the bigger prospects in the state of Virginia's 2008 class verbally committed to Virginia Tech earlier, giving the nod to the Hokies over offers from Clemson, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee. Liberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg, VA) offensive/defensive lineman Bobby Massie, a 6-7, 330-pound prospect, is the latest recruit to join Tech's 2008 recruiting class.

Hokies Struggle, but Pick Up Key ACC Win
September 29, 2007
Virginia Tech's offense struggled, but the defense came up with two big turnovers to propel the #17 Hokies to a 17-10 victory over UNC in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Tech improved to 4-1 overall, with a 1-0 mark in ACC play. The Tar Heels dropped to 1-4, with an 0-2 record in conference play.
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