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ACC Coastal Preview


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#1 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:48 AM

OK I tried not to be completely bias with Carolina, and I did write more about UNC and VT, because I know more about those teams living 30 minutes from Blacksburg and of course being a fan of Carolina....I will have an Atlantic one done sometime soon.

ACC Preview

ACC Coastal

Virginia Tech has pretty much dominated this division every year since entering the ACC, but the Coastal division showed that it is getting closer in talent top to bottom during last season. The ACC Championship game had four true contenders at the end and switched teams five different times at the end of the season. This year might have one lead runner, but with this division you could have the same four teams battling it out again for bragging rights.

Virginia Tech

Returning starters: 9 on Offense, 7 on Defense

The Hokies were a young team that some say overachieved in 2008. This team last season was a very young team in key positions. This season however you do gain experience and the expectations in the Blacksburg area are as high as ever. Last season the Hokies saw an underperforming offense and a slight lapse on Special teams. Frank Beamer prides himself in Beamerball, and he saw more from the opposing teams than his own squad in the 2008 season. I expect this to change this season with experience at key positions.

The offense will be led by returning starter Tyrod Taylor, last season he had only 923 passing yards with a 52% competition percentage. I think you will see a change in those stats, because the receivers were very young and a lot of dropped balls limited Taylor’s abilities. Running back Daniel Evans will be returning as starter for the Hokies, Evans showed some promise in a few games, and could be on the edge of a breakout season especially with more experience on the offensive line. Virginia Tech does have Senior leadership in the reliable tight end Greg Boone, who has had over 500 receptions in his career at VT, and you will see even more of a threat with Jarret Boykin who averaged alost 15 ypc during his Freshman tour.

The defense has lost one of their best in Victor “Macho” Harris, but to say the Hokies do not have one of the best defenses in the nation is an asinine comment to make. Virginia Tech is returning 7 players and almost everyone was a role player in the 2008 season. The Hokies are led up front by Jason Worilds, who has gotten better every year and could easily be first team All-ACC Team. The linebackers are led by two of the best in the league with Cam Martin and Cody Grimm. This front seven looks very solid and should help get pressure on opposing Quarterbacks and help out the younger defensive backs.

Bottom Line: If Virginia Tech can go into Atlanta and beat Alabama, then Blacksburg could be seeing a BCS National Championship Game this season, and would be the first in the ACC since 1999. They are definitely the front runners to win the ACC Championship again, and will be seeing another BCS bowl game at the end of the season.

Edited by Tweeder, 05 August 2009 - 10:54 AM.


#2 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:49 AM

North Carolina Tar Heels

Returning starters: 6 on Offense, 9 on Defense

“We will win the ACC this year!!” That was a good attitude to have by Safety Deunta Williams, but the Heels fell oh so short of doing that. Carolina had the chance to have a spectacular season, but the 2nd half collapse in the Virginia Tech game, and the 4th quarter losses against Virginia and Maryland when they could not stop the final drives hampered there chances of living up to Williams’ prediction. The only big loss happened at the hands of in state rival North Carolina State, besides that game the Tar Heels only lost all their games by a total of nine points, and that is including the loss to West Virginia in the Meineke Care Bowl in Charlotte, NC. The biggest question surrounding Carolina this season is not the health of TJ Yates, or even if he can take the next step. It is the question who is going to step up and take the place of star receivers Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate?

The offense brings back TJ Yates who has shown promise until an early season injury ended his chance at possibly having a breakout season. Yates this year is back at square one with losing almost a whole year of experience and losing all 3 of his top targets in Brooks Foster, Brandon Tate, and Hakeem Nicks. Also, Carolina is losing 3 of it’s offensive lineman to help protect Yates. There are a lot of questions on the board for this offense which last year had a lot of potential, but did not always live up to the hype in 2008. Now the questions are can Yates stay healthy? Can the offensive line keep up their blocks to protect Yates, and create holes for Shaun Draughn, Jamal Womble, and Ryan Houston? Who will step up in the wide receiver ranks? Carolina has talent at the wide receiver position, but they are young and very inexperienced. The only experienced receiver that Carolina will have will be Greg Little and Tight End Zach Pinalto. This will leave a battle between Josh Adams, Dwight Jones and Jheranie Boyd for possible starters until they find something that works.

The defense led the Nation with interceptions in 2008, and they will be returning 9 of those starters. The biggest loss will be that of Trimane Goddard, but this defense is still loaded with ridiculous talent, and is still pretty young. The front seven have been described as the fastest in the ACC and one of the fastest in the Nation. They will have to be quick to wreck havoc on opposing Quarterbacks and make the tackle so the secondary doesn’t have to like they had to do so many times last season. The secondary were very suspect at times, but a lot could be said on how much tackling they had to do, but if they show improvement this season this defense could be very special in 2009.

[FONT="]Bottom Line[/FONT][FONT="]: Butch Davis has this team going in the right direction. This has some people having Carolina high on their list with the potential they showed in 2008, but there are a lot of questions to be asked on offense before I am completely sold on this bunch from Chapel Hill? The defense is going to keep Carolina in every game, but the offense will have to slam the door shut on teams. Can the running game be more efficient? Can the offensive linemen protect better? Who will be the go to receiver? Those tasks will be tough to do with so much inexperience on the field. The good news is that the schedule is not as tough as years past. The bad news is the tough matchups are all on the road, especially at Virginia Tech on a Thursday night, where the Hokies have been completely dominate except for two games in 10 years against Boston College. Also, Carolina ends the season with Du….wait North Carolina State?? The shellacking that Carolina took from their instate rival must have really gotten under their skin to switch up the battle for the Liberty Bell for North Carolina State during rivalry week. [/FONT]

#3 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:49 AM

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Returning Starters: 9 on Offense, 7 on Defense

Talk about a wake up call!! Georgia Tech last season was supposed to be in transition, they had a new Coach, a new scheme, and were not sure if they had all the players to fill the holes in this scheme. Georgia Tech bought into Paul Johnson’s coaching strategy and almost ran into the ACC Championship….Literally!!!

The offense you are looking at no real significant losses for the Yellow Jackets. This offense while it seems like all you need to do is stop the run is much easier said than done. Georgia Tech gave teams fits all through the 2008 season only losing by a convincing margin once to North Carolina. The country will get to know the name Jonathan Dwyer if they do not already know him by now. The Yellow Jackets finished last year 4th in the Nation in rushing offense and look to do the same if not improve this season.

The defense did not lose a ton of people, but the ones they lost were huge role players for this team. Those players were Michael Johnson, Darryl Richard and Vance Walker, they made up three out of the front four. They will have to replace a line that was always in the backfield on every play. The biggest question will be can Georgia Tech disrupt things in the backfield with their front four?

Bottom Line: While the Yellow Jackets surprised a lot of teams last season, can they produce the same kind of result in 2009? Will the defense be able to stop create havoc like they did in 2008? If not, will the offense be able to outscore opposing offenses? The offense will be just as good if not better, but they will have to rely on the defense to stop other teams while they just run to victory.

#4 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:49 AM

Miami Hurricanes

Returning starters: 8 on Offense, and 7 on Defense

This might be a make or break season for Head Coach Randy Shannon. The Hurricanes at times last season seemed to get back their “swagger,” but at other times did not look nearly as good as their talent suggests. Miami had close loses last season losing one game with an interception in the end zone against North Carolina, but then got blown out by Georgia Tech. Another team that had the chance to walk into the ACC Championship game was shut down after the Georgia Tech game.

The offense has the potential this season to be explosive. Quarterback Robert Marve has transferred out which leaves only one Quarterback at the helm, Jacory Harris. Harris and Miami will benefit from only having one Quarterback running the offense. Harris showed a lot of potential at the end of the season, and will benefit from the pro-style offense Miami runs. All of the Wide Receivers will have to show more consistency, but good news is they are all young, so they will get better with experience and started showing glimpses of that at the end of the year. Graig Cooper will be returning to the Hurricanes, and if the passing game does not catch on then they will turn to him to carry the workload of the offense.

The defense is also very young and will need to look for players like Sean Spence to step up and replace the players that are gone. The defense is a work in progress, but it seems like Miami still has the talent to get back to where the program once has the defense.

Bottom Line: Miami is still a ways from being the dominant force of their past, but Randy Shannon is making strides at trying to recreate that “swagger” the Hurricanes have seem to have lost. They have the talent to be very successful, but they lack the experience. It will all depend on the arm of Jacory Harris and the defense needs to step up for this team to challenge for the coastal.

Edited by Tweeder, 05 August 2009 - 11:00 AM.


#5 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:50 AM

Duke Blue Devils

Returning Starters: 7 on Offense, 6 on Defense

Duke was a surprise team in one year under new Head Coach David Cutcliffe. He took the Blue Devils from 1-11 a year ago, to a record of 4-8. He produced a pummeling to Virginia, and a surprising road victory at Vanderbilt. They were in a few close games and only lost by a slim margin. These games included Wake Forrest by 3, North Carolina by 8, North Carolina State by 10, and Virginia Tech by 10. Cutcliffe has a little excitement stirring in Durham other than basketball.

On offense Duke will be returning starting Quarterback Thad Lewis, who has shown that he is the power behind the Blue Devil’s offense. The past two seasons he has shown great stride and thrown 36 touchdowns to only 16 interceptions. He is the most underrated Quarterback in the ACC and might be one of the most underrated in the Nation.

On defense they lack depth in every position and has very limited talent, but their front four are their biggest strength. If their front four can get into the backfield more it will create relief on a secondary that has shown they can be one of the biggest weaknesses for Duke.

Bottom line: If Duke has any chance of going to a bowl game this season, it will all depend on the health and play of Thad Lewis. David Cutcliffe has shown he has produced some of the most talented Quarterbacks to ever play the game, and now he has had a full year to work on one of the most underrated Quarterbacks in the Nation. He also has a possibly high draft pick on the defensive line. If Duke can produce the same kind of optimism they had in 2008, they might be able to muster up to of those close losses two get into a bowl game.

Edited by Tweeder, 05 August 2009 - 11:02 AM.


#6 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:50 AM

Virginia Cavaliers

Returning Starts: 6 on Offense, 5 on Defense

Al Groh is another coach that might be on the hot seat, some people have kinda scratched their head and asked why just now? Virginia as a team lost a lot of players from last season. They will need people to fill major holes on both sides of the ball. Also, Groh has fired and hired a bunch of different assistant coaches. This is not a good year to possibly be on the hot seat.

Offense have lost Cedric Peerman, but they will gain Mikell Simpson, who has shown a lot of potential before he got injured. Also, Jameel Sewell will be back after sitting out the season because of Academic reasons. That should spark some excitement on the offensive end.

The Defense does have some players to work around, but running a 3-4 defense requires athletic linebackers, and Virginia lost them at the end of the season last year. They will have to rebuild and plug in holes on the linebacker crew, but if the front line can get pressure in the backfield that may give Virginia an easier chance with the other positions. The secondary is stout with Dowling and Hall creating havoc, but it will all depend on how much pressure they can get in the backfield.

Bottom line: There is some excitement with the return of Simpson and Sewell, but there are a ton of unanswered questions at key positions like wide receiver, linebackers, and defensive line. This is going to be a tough season for the Cavaliers and head coach Al Groh.

#7 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:51 AM

Final Predictions

Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
Miami
Duke
Virginia

I had Miami and Carolina switched at first, but I like Carolina's schedule more than Miami's

#8 Falcons1stPanthers2nd

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:14 AM

Georgia Tech


Overrated!

#9 jkeough

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:17 AM

the death toll for randy Shannon will be when Miami loses to the "#4" team in Florida

#10 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:19 AM

Overrated!


Defense might have been last season, but their offense showed to be fits for opposing teams, I would holdoff on that overrated chant until after the game in Atlanta this season


a lot of people are saying overrated about Carolina this year with all the hype they are getting, it is hard to fill the roles of skill positions like Carolina will have to, GT on the other hand really do not have many holes to fill and aren't nearly as young.

#11 chbright

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 12:53 PM

gt d line lost 3 starters to the nfl, including m. johnson. i am not sold they can play as good a D this year with that much turnover at what was the ACC best line. same for BC they lost the interior wall.

#12 Falcons1stPanthers2nd

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 02:48 PM

Defense might have been last season, but their offense showed to be fits for opposing teams, I would holdoff on that overrated chant until after the game in Atlanta this season


a lot of people are saying overrated about Carolina this year with all the hype they are getting, it is hard to fill the roles of skill positions like Carolina will have to, GT on the other hand really do not have many holes to fill and aren't nearly as young.


I'm going to be at Bobby Dodd when we play them :) Got some friends at GT.

What hype? I haven't seen anyone predicting us to be ACC champs or anything. We are loaded with talent at the WR position we just lack experience (which is very key). Our defensive front 7 is going to carry us. I'm not too worried about GTs offense. Everyone's riding it's nuts but the only reason that's happening is because they beat UGA. If UGA wins GT wouldn't get NEAR the hype they're getting.

#13 chbright

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 03:00 PM

dude gt roled miami at miami. worst defensive performance in cane history last year. wasnt it 400+ rushing yards allowed????? THAT is what made people ride the GT offense's nuts.

#14 Tweeder

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 05:12 PM

I'm going to be at Bobby Dodd when we play them :) Got some friends at GT.

What hype? I haven't seen anyone predicting us to be ACC champs or anything. We are loaded with talent at the WR position we just lack experience (which is very key). Our defensive front 7 is going to carry us. I'm not too worried about GTs offense. Everyone's riding it's nuts but the only reason that's happening is because they beat UGA. If UGA wins GT wouldn't get NEAR the hype they're getting.


CH is right, GT played a very surprising season, and the win against Miami just showed that they could go off at any minute. You have to remember this was a new system, new coach and they adapted well. now think what they can do with a year under their belt. The losses on defense were huge, but I have seen teams in the past plug in people at on the front line and be just as successful. You have to remember while their offense was potent, their defense at times was very suspect.

With the hype regarding Carolina, have you been reading anything during the offseason? While every writer and expert is still on the Hokie train, most people are saying that Carolina is the only team in the ACC that could derail them. You say that Carolina has a ton of talent at the WR spot, but one question are you are going by stars not actual on field play? These guys are freshman and will be going a whole different speed then they are used to from the High School ranks, and they are trying to replace one first team all ACC, and probably could have been one of the best all around athletes Carolina has seen on offense in the history of the program with Brandon Tate. Also, you have the new found love for Carolina football that has deveolped and there is a lot of confidence and hype among fans.

That is a very tough task that lies ahead of a bunch of 18 and 19 years olds.

#15 unicar15

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 06:01 PM

The good thing about VaTech is that Tyrod Taylor can either make them a top 10 team or he can just take a back seat to Darren Evans and they can be a solid top 20 team. They are by far the best team in the ACC IMO because of their ability to run the football and play defense...

I don't see anything I disagree with in your rankings. I think this division is very cut and dry as to who the top 3-4 teams are.


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