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   Welcome to TSLMail #327- Friday, April 25, 2008    
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A Lot Rides on Quarterbacks in the ACC
by Chris Coleman,

There is talk each year of the ACC being down as a conference, and what it will take for the conference to get better. It would certainly help if Miami and Florida State stepped up. However, the quickest fix for the conference would be getting good, consistent quarterback play across the board.

The ACC hasn't had a lot of great quarterbacks recently. Last year we saw what a great quarterback can do for a team. Matt Ryan took Boston College, a team with solid but unspectacular talent, all the way to the ACC Championship Game. He put the team on his back, and made them better. Many quarterbacks in the ACC recently have done the opposite. They have made their teams worse.

Let's take a look at the projected starting quarterbacks in the ACC this year.

ACC Quarterbacks
Team Players

Boston College

Chris Crane


Cullen Harper*


Thad Lewis*

Florida State

Drew Weatherford*

Georgia Tech

Josh Nesbitt


Chris Turner*/Jordan Steffy*


Robert Marve

North Carolina

T.J. Yates*

NC State

Daniel Evans*/Harrison Beck*/
Justin Burke/Russell Wilson


Peter Lalich

Virginia Tech

Sean Glennon*/Tyrod Taylor*

Wake Forest

Riley Skinner*

* denotes returning starting experience

Who will replace Matt Ryan, who could possibly go as high as #3 overall in tomorrow's draft? The answer is Chris Crane, a 6-4 r-senior. Crane has been a college quarterback for a long time. However, he threw just four passes as Ryan's backup last season. His on-field experience is limited. His performance could determine how far the Eagles go this year.

Clemson has the best quarterback in the ACC in Cullen Harper. Harper completed 65.1% of his passes for 2,991 yards, with 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He'll be a r-senior in 2008. Because of his experience and production, and with most of the other starters returning, the Tigers are the early favorite by most analysts to win the ACC this year.

Duke has a very good returning quarterback in junior Thad Lewis. He had 21 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions last year. He is limited by a terrible offensive line, but he still has managed to put up some great numbers for the Blue Devils. He has been starting since his true freshman season. However, word is that he's had some trouble adjusting to new coach David Cutcliffe's system, and that former starter Zack Asack could be pushing him for the starting job.

Florida State will have rising r-senior quarterback Drew Weatherford. Weatherford is a good quarterback, and would greatly benefit from better offensive line play. The Seminoles' offensive line improved last year, but there is still a ways to go in the rebuilding job. Still, Weatherford will have a good senior season, and should have the 'Noles in contention for the Atlantic Division crown.

With the coaching change at Georgia Tech, Taylor Bennett transferred. That leaves sophomore Josh Nesbitt as new coach Paul Johnson's likely starter. Nesbitt is a runner at quarterback, and should be a good fit in Johnson's option scheme. However, he doesn't have much game experience, and the transition to an option-based offense is a tough one to make for any quarterback.

Maryland has two quarterbacks returning with starting experience in Jordan Steffy and Chris Turner. The problem is that neither was very good last year. Steffy was the starter at the beginning of the year, then got hurt. Turner came in and led the Terps to a couple of big comeback wins. However, on the whole, Turner wasn't very good if you look at the stats. Neither was Steffy. They combined for nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. They must get better if Maryland wants to go bowling again.

Miami lost senior quarterback Kyle Wright, and rising senior Kirby Freeman decided to transfer. That will leave r-freshman quarterback Robert Marve as the starter. By all accounts Marve is a talented player, but he'll still be just a r-freshman playing behind an offensive line that is still in rebuild mode. Young quarterbacks don't often carry teams, so Miami is still probably a couple of years away before we know if they are going to return to prominence.

North Carolina returns r-sophomore quarterback T.J. Yates, who had a very productive freshman season as a starter. He threw 18 interceptions, but he did complete 59.7% of his passes for 2,655 yards. He will get to throw the ball to Hakeem Nicks yet again. Nicks is the best wide receiver in the ACC.

NC State has a problem. They have some experienced quarterbacks, but those quarterbacks only have experience playing poorly. Daniel Evans and Harrison Beck were turnover machines last year, and r-freshman Russell Wilson is, well, a r-freshman. Justin Burke could be the sleeper pick to win that starting job. If they get good quarterback play, I'd bet that Tom O'Brien will coach them into a bowl game.

Virginia would have returned 2-year starter Jameel Sewell. Instead they'll be starting true sophomore Peter Lalich, because Sewell has been lost to academic issues. Lalich is the traditional pocket quarterback that has success at UVA, but he is very inexperienced. He'll get experienced quickly, as the Hoos host the USC Trojans in their first game of the season.

Virginia Tech has two quarterbacks with starting experience. Sean Glennon has started most of the last two seasons, and he's a r-senior. He has completed 58.6% of his passes in his career, for 4,124 yards, with 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He has a lot of experience, and he proved down the stretch last year that he can make plays. Tyrod Taylor is talented sophomore quarterback who got Frank Beamer his first win against Florida State in 2007. They'll both probably play for the Hokies, and the quarterback position should be one of Tech's strengths.

Wake Forest returns r-junior Riley Skinner. Skinner led Wake to the ACC Title in 2006, and to another bowl game in 2007. He is a talented quarterback, and a winner. He completed 72.4% of his passes last year, a great mark. If he can cut down on his turnovers, Wake could potentially challenge for the Atlantic Division again, with a few breaks. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week
Friday Football Q&A: April 25, 2008
April 25, 2008
After taking last Friday off because we were busy preparing for the TSL Spring Game Tailgate, we are back with another Q&A session with Raleigh Hokie and Chris Coleman. This week they'll discuss the 2-quarterback system, pass protection by running backs, and offensive line recruiting.

TSL Audio: The Final Word, 4/23/08
April 25, 2008
EDITORIAL NOTE: The TSL Audio of Chris Coleman's regular Wednesday appearances on ESPN Radio 1430AM are now free features, available to subscribers and non-subscribers alike. On Wednesday's show, "The Final Word With George Hunsicker", Chris and George discussed last Saturday's spring game, the Hokie defense, basketball recruiting target Tyshawn Taylor, VT's two-quarterback system, and other topics (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.4 MB, 14:23).

Wilson's Recruitment Flourishing
April 25, 2008
George Washington (Danville, VA) running back David Wilson is not just one of the top running backs in the state of Virginia's 2009 class. He is quickly becoming one of the top overall prospects in the state, having received nine Division 1A scholarship offers including Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

2008 NFL Draft Preview
April 24, 2008
This weekend is the 2008 NFL Draft, and more Hokies than ever have a chance to be selected. Virginia Tech had a team-record nine players selected in the 2006 NFL Draft, and they have a chance to break that record in 2008. The Hokies' crop of seniors this past year won two ACC Championships in their careers, and was Tech's all-time winningest class. There was a lot of talent in that group, and that will show up this weekend.

All-State DL Enjoyed Tech's Spring Game
April 24, 2008
Varina (VA) star defensive lineman DeAntre Rhodes made yet another trip to Blacksburg this past weekend, when he attended Tech's Spring Game on Saturday. The 6-3, 265-pound junior, a VHSCA Group AAA second-team all-state selection on offense and defense this past season, has been to Tech numerous times and has enjoyed his experiences. And this was no different.

Photo Gallery: 2008 Spring Game
April 23, 2008
TSL brings you the biggest, baddest spring game gallery available, with 90 photos from Tech's latest April extravaganza. These aren't any wimpy photos, either: they're 1000 pixels wide (or high) and will fill your tiny, girly computer screen with the thrill and excitement of college football. Okay, SPRING college football. Good stuff, nonetheless. (TSL tailgate pics coming tomorrow in a blog, by the way.)

Norman a Top In-State Athlete
April 23, 2008
6-3, 185-pound Theron Norman, a smooth, athletic safety/wide receiver prospect out of Hermitage High School in Richmond, Virginia, sits at four official Division 1A scholarship offers at this point in his recruiting process. Intent on building upon last year's success both individually and team-wise, Norman is focused on preparing for his senior season but he has also made some college visits to explore potential suitors.

Hill's Recruitment Set to Take Off?
April 22, 2008
Lafayette (Williamsburg, VA) defensive end William Hill continues to hold two Division 1A scholarship offers, but that total could increase significantly by the end of the Evaluation Period. The 6-4, 255-pound junior recently sent out more of his 2007 season film and so far the response has been very good.

2008 Spring Football Wrapup: The Defense
April 22, 2008
Virginia Tech's defense finished first nationally in total defense in 2005 and 2006, and second nationally in 2007. Most of those players are gone. Vince Hall, Carlton Powell, Xavier Adibi, Brandon Flowers, etc. are no longer on the team. They'll have to be replaced, but their shoes will be tough to fill. Of course, the Tech defense still has defensive coordinator Bud Foster, arguably the top defensive coordinator in the country. If we've learned one thing over the years, it's to trust in Foster. There generally aren't any problems on defense, and if there are, he fixes them.

Morgan Moses Talks VT, UVa Visits
April 22, 2008
Meadowbrook (Richmond, VA) star offensive lineman Morgan Moses, considered one of the top overall prospects in the state of Virginia's 2009 class, attended Virginia Tech's Spring Game this past Saturday. We caught up with the 6-7, 340-pound prospect, who discussed the overall experience at Tech and provided the latest on his recruitment.

Box Reflects on Time in Blacksburg
April 21, 2008
Collins Hill (Suwanee, GA) junior quarterback Michael Box was in attendance for Virginia Tech's Spring Game on Saturday, and he greatly enjoyed his time in Blacksburg. The 6-4, 195-pound signal caller still does not hold an offer from the Hokies, but he will have an opportunity to impress the coaches later this spring.

The Latest on OL Andrew Miller
April 21, 2008
Bassett (VA) offensive lineman Andrew Miller has picked up another official scholarship offer for football, while another school is interested in having him play two sports on the next level. The 6-5, 275-pound senior discussed the latest developments in his recruitment as well as when a college decision could come.

2008 Spring Football Wrapup: The Offense
April 21, 2008
All 15 practices are in the books, and we can take a look back and see what transpired at each position throughout the spring. Progress was made at some key positions like tight end and offensive line, while the injuries at running back have muddied the water at that position. Today we'll recap each position on offense, and tomorrow we'll do the same with the defense.

Snyder Reflects on Recent Visits
April 21, 2008
6-4, 235-pound Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) defensive end/tight end Jake Snyder could well be subject of one of those key recruiting battles between Virginia and Virginia Tech, although he remains very open to checking out any program that is interested. In the last two weekends, though, he has taken unofficial visits to Virginia and Virginia Tech. This past Saturday, he attended Virginia Tech's Spring Game and seemed to enjoy the experience.

Behind Glennon, White Team Downs Maroon Team in 2008 Spring Game
April 19, 2008
Senior quarterback Sean Glennon threw two touchdown passes and led the White team to an easy 24-3 win over the Maroon team in the Maroon-White Game in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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