Monday, August 30, 2010

ACC Thumb Nails; Seven Ate Nine



Going into his third season, Coach David Cutcliffe seems to have the passing game pointing in the right direction. He has a bevy of young, talented, and proven wide receivers, and a talented group of young quarterbacks from which he’s plucked sophomore Sean Renfree to replace the departed Thaddeus Lewis. Renfree looked good in limited action last year, although he was hurt against Georgia Tech.

It’s the other three-fourths of football the Devils have trouble with: running the ball, stopping the run, and stopping the pass. Duke’s ability to run the ball will be helped by an improving offensive line, which was woefully undermanned in 2009.

Defensively' Duke isn’t going to stop many people, though they may be better against the pass. If the Devils can run the ball adequately they could quickly become very dangerous.

Meta Narrative:

You are Larry the Cable Guy. A case of mistaken identity finds you teaching weenie rich kids at an exclusive boarding school. At first you clash, but then they learn the wisdom of your redneck ways. You laugh, you learn, you take on the kids from the military academy across the lake in a series of bizarre physical challenges. You lose, but through trying your best you’ve earned the respect of Col. Dick, who runs the military academy.

Players to Watch

Kyle Hill-Left Tackle-#79-Junior

2008 Second Team Freshman All American

Bryan Morgan-Center-#62-Senior

2010 Remington Trophy Candidate

Undersized, but widely considered one of the best centers in the ACC

Donavan Varner-Wide Receiver-#26-Junior

2010 Preseason First Team All ACC

2009 All ACC First Team

Varner leads perhaps the second most talented wide receiver group in the ACC after Miami


Duke is playing a home and home series with Alabama. Alabama was expecting Duke’s home game to be moved to a neutral site. It didn’t get moved, and Duke has sold out its season tickets. Wallace Wade Stadium might be host to the smallest crowd to watch Alabama football in the last thirty years.

Spirit Guide

8-NC State


People seem to have forgotten about NC State, a faddish choice as dark horse contender to win the ACC last year. The Wolfpack maybe caught in a classic over correction. While they weren’t as good as people expected last year, they may not be as bad as people think this year.

While junior quarterback Russell Wilson gets all the attention, it's another player whose presence in the line up seems to impact more whether or not the Wolfpack win or lose. Linebacker Nate Irving missed parts of the 2008 season with injuries, but when he played the Wolfpack won. Last off season, Irving injured his leg in a one car accident and missed all of the 2009 season. He’s back for 2010, and his presence could raise the play of the defense enough to move NC State to the top of the Atlantic and to flirt with the top 25. Of course they have to replace all four starters on the defensive line this year.

Meta Narrative

A promising engineering career is brought into question by a series of unforeseen disasters and delays. Whispers begin to circulate that the disasters weren’t so unforeseeable, and you have one last chance to recoup your reputation and save the project.

Players to Watch

Russell Wilson-Quarterback- #16-Junior

Wilson is closing in on many NC State passing records

2008 First Team All ACC as a freshman

Owen Spencer-Wide Receiver-#13-Senior

In 2009 set an ACC record for yards per reception at 25.5

Leader in Receiving Yards among all active ACC Players

George Bryan-Tight End-#84-Junior

2010 Preseason First Team All ACC

Fourth among active ACC players with 11 touchdown receptions

Nate Irving-Linebacker-#56-Senior

2008 All ACC Honorable Mention

Spirit Guide



Sophomore Quarterback Kyle Parker did sign a minor league baseball contract in the off season but will be back for 2010. Good news for the Tigers, but Parker’s role last year was to not loose the game and let Clemson’s explosive play makers, wide receiver Jacoby Ford, tight end Michael Palmer, and particularly do-it-all CJ Spiller, make the plays to win the game. This is not to take anything away from Parker. As a true freshman “not messing it up” is a tall order to fill, and he did it well, finishing in the middle of the ACC statistically.

This year Parker is going to have to make some plays. Playing as a freshman suggests he can. Teaming with Parker will be a strong offensive line, and two good young running backs, Andre Ellington, a player who can break off a long play, and junior Jamie Harper who has more of a working class style.

Meta Narrative

You’re on date with an incredibly hot woman. Way to hot for you. Way, Way to hot. Things are going well. You’ve just farted. Does she notice?

Players to Watch

Kyle Parker-Quarterback-#11-Sophomore

2009 Second Team Freshman All American

2009 First Team All-ACC Freshman

Chris Hairston-Left Tackle-#61-Senior (actually a graduate student)

2009 Second Team All ACC

Leads a unit with four returning starters, Junior Mason Cloy steps in to play Center, a position at which he has started in the past.

Jarvis Jenkins-Defensive Tackle-#99-Senior

2010 Preseason Second Team All ACC

Jenkins leads the deepest tackle corps in the ACC

DeAndre McDaniel-Strong Safety-#2-Senior

2009 First Team All American

2010 First Team All ACC

102 tackles in 2009

8 interceptions in 2009


Boise State has finished the season in the Top 25 five times after not being ranked at all to start the season. Four teams are tied for second, having done it four times. Two are from the ACC. Clemson is one of them. With Parker back, and a solid defense, they could do it again.

Spirit Guide

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