July 23, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Seminoles.com’s coverage of EJ Manuel and Brandon Jenkins at the 2012 ACC Football Kickoff event will continue over the next several days but I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some information provided by players from the other 11 teams in the conference.
Here are the highlights:
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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VIRGINIA TECH (QB Logan Thomas and DB Kyle Fuller)
I asked Thomas several questions about the Seminoles. He said that the you have to respect Florida State’s defense and the amount of talent the ‘Noles have on that side of the ball.
Thomas said that the November game against FSU has the chance to be special and that it’s one you circle on the schedule. He mentioned that it’s tough for anyone to come into Lane Stadium and win because of the atmosphere.
Fuller said he started at boundary corner against the Seminoles and had a rough game against FSU. He said he learned a lot from that experience playing against Manuel. Fuller said his primary memory from that game was “getting beat on a double move by one of [FSU’s] receivers.
Thomas talked about Virginia Tech’s four senior receivers that are coming back and that helps cushion the blow of losing Danny Coale and Jarret Boykin to graduation.
WAKE FOREST (QB Tanner Price and NG Nikita Whitlock)
Price commented that Wake Forest has a lot of tough road games this year, specifically mentioning the trip to Tallahassee to face FSU in September.
Whitlock talked about the team’s transition from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 that started last year. He mentioned that the 3-4 really helps the Demon Deacons because they don’t have great depth on the defensive line.
Both players talked about how fast running back Orville Reynolds runs. They said he can be a home run threat for the offense.
The Wake Forest defense hasn’t had much turnover in the coaching staff so that has helped tremendously, Whitlock said. Price said that new offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch has “done a great job with the offensive line — especially some of the young guys that have to step up this year.”
Price on replacing some offensive players that have graduated: “I think everybody is excited about this year. I think there are a lot of guys that can step up and fill the shoes of the ones we have lost … it’s going to be fun to watch.”
NORTH CAROLINA (QB Bryn Renner and LB Kevin Reddick)
Renner said that it was very important for the team to have spring ball together with new head coach Larry Fedora and his staff. “They established what they wanted from us,” Renner said.
Renner on UNC’s up and down play last year: “We had spurts last year. we are trying to correct that this year. Each player has made concerted efforts in the offseason to look at their mistakes and correct them.”
Reddick talked about how the team has more leadership this year as more guys speak up when they need to do so.
Renner said the team feels more stable after some of the issues that faced it with Butch Davis as head coach. “You could say that,” said Renner when asked if it feels like the team is just getting started.
Reddick on having a new coaching staff and new mindset in Chapel Hill: “Feels like I’m a freshman all over again.”
“The end goal is to play smart, fast and physical. Try to go out and win 12 games,” Reddick said, when asked what the team’s goals are since the Tar Heels are not eligible to play for the ACC title. Reddick said he also tells the young guys that it’s all about showing what this program is about now moving forward.
The North Carolina offense is switching to be more fast paced. Big adjustment in the spring but the team really enjoys it. Renner said it’s going to be fun for people to watch and in turn good for the program. Renner said he ran the spread in high school so he is comfortable with the change.
GEORGIA TECH (QB Telvin Washington and LB Jeremiah Attaochu)
Washington said the Yellow Jackets’ focus entering the 2012 is to finish better.
The team has “9-3” on the bulletin board in the locker room, referencing the Labor Day game against Virginia Tech to open the season.
Attaochu on defensive coordinator Al Groh: “We trust him because of his knowledge, expertise and commitment. You can’t rival it to other coaches.”
DUKE (WR Connor Vernon and DE Kenny Anunike)
Vernon talked extensively about playing the Seminoles. Being from Florida he looks forward to playing FSU. He mentioned Brandon Jenkins as being one of the best defensive players in the nation and that you “always know what you’re going to get” from the ‘Noles’ defense.
Anunike said that the defense’s main goal this year is to stay in position and not play outside themselves. He spoke about how important it is to be sound.
Anunike has had injury concerns but said that he is “100 percent healthy” now. Credited the trainers at Duke with helping him bounce back from a torn ACL.
NC STATE (QB Mike Glennon and DB Earl Wolff)
Glennon thinks it’s a great opportunity to open the season with a primetime game against Tennessee in Atlanta.
Wolff said NC State’s defensive secondary is really good because of its athletes and its terrific coaching. Wolff added that David Ameron, who led the nation in interceptions last year and has the potential to be a top-10 NFL draft pick, has great instincts and can find the ball better than any one he has ever seen.
I asked Glennon about his relationship with Manuel, whom he knows from growing up in Virginia. Glennon said the two are great friends but don’t talk to much during the season. Both roomed together recently at the Elite 11 Camp in California.
Glennon added that playing against the FSU defense makes him a better quarterback because the Seminoles are so good on that side of the ball.
VIRGINIA (RB Perry Jones and LB Steve Greer)
Virginia has added Phillip Sims as a transfer from Alabama and with Sims eligible to play right away, Jones said the Cavs have embraced the situation of having a fall-camp competition for the starting quarterback job. “I think it’s going to bring the best out of everybody,” said Jones, who played high school football with Sims.
Jones said that Virginia is looking to build off its big wins from last year and use the momentum from a good campaign to push them forward in 2012.
Greer talked about how important it is for Virginia’s young defenders to step this season after losing several key contributors in the off-season.
MARYLAND (WR Kevin Dorsey and DT Joe Vellano)
Randy Edsall has taken a lot of flack since he took over the program but both players spoke highly of Maryland’s head coach, saying that the team loves playing for him. “It’s the opposite of everything that’s been said [in the media about Edsall],” said Dorsey.
Vellano said that the entire team has bought in to Edsall’s coaching philosophy.
Dorsey said that quarterback C.J. Brown is trying to become than just a running threat but is also working to become a better passer and more balanced signal caller.
BOSTON COLLEGE (OT Emmett Cleary and DT Kaleb Ramsey)
On replacing star linebacker Luke Kuechly, Ramsey said that the Eagles have several guys waiting in the wings that will help Boston College deal with the loss of one of the country’s best defensive players.
Cleary talked about quarterback Chase Rettig’s improvement and how Boston College is expecting improved play from him this season.
Both players talked about using last year’s down season as motivation. “People are a little angry about the way it played out last year,” Cleary said. “We started off slow and that’s something we don’t want to do this year,” Ramsey added.
Cleary has switched from right to left tackle and admitted there is “a little something extra” with being on the blindside.
MIAMI (RB Mike James and DB Brandon McGee)
James talked about taking over for former starting running back Lamar Miller. James said that it’s a lot of pressure to take over for a proven player but that he is ready for the challenge.
James also said that Miami quarterback Stephen Morris continues to improve and that it helps that the Hurricanes’ offensive line has the chance to be very good. “We have a massive line,” James said.
“Collectively as a unit we have to step up and pull our weight,” McGee said about replacing safety Ray Ray Armstrong, who was recently dismissed from Miami’s football program.
James said that he thinks Miami’s tight end depth chart has the personnel capable of being like so many of the great players at the position in the Hurricanes’ history.
I asked McGee about the Nov. 20 game against FSU. He said that when you go to Miami or Florida State you always circle that date on the schedule as one you look most forward to playing. But at the same time, he preached not looking past any teams before that game.
Clemson (C Dalton Freeman and DE Malliciah Goodman)
I asked Freeman about Clemson’s star receiver Sammy Watkins, who burst on to the scene as a true freshman. Dalton said that him and his fellow players knew the day Watkins stepped on campus how special he was.
Goodman said that the team’s goals remain the same year after year: compete and play every game one game at a time. “If we do that, we’ll do just fine,” Freeman said.
Freeman said the worst game — high school and college — he has ever been a part of was Clemson’s loss to South Carolina last season.
“I think we’ll have a more high-energy defense,” Goodman said, when asked about Clemson’s change at defensive coordinator.
Freeman was asked about the importance of the Sept. 22 game between the Seminoles and Tigers. He said that it’s important but that every team in the Atlantic Division has the ability to make it to the ACC Championship game.