Goodell will respect Winston's plans

March, 23, 2015
Mar 23
10:33
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he will respect Jameis Winston's decision if he stays at home with his family for the NFL draft rather than attend the event next month in Chicago.

Goodell made his comments in an interview with The MMQB.com and said that when he met with Winston recently, the Florida State quarterback "was clear that he wanted to spend time with his family."

Winston's father, Antonor, told ESPN.com last week that his son, who is widely projected to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick, does not plan to attend the draft, as he currently prefers to spend that day with family and friends in Alabama, although that "was not set in stone."

Goodell said he is not part of the invitation process for the draft, but he's "not concerned" if Winston is selected No. 1 but wouldn't be available to walk across the stage on draft day because he chose to stay home.

"I think that it's something we respect when a player says, 'I'd like to be with my family on that day.' It's an important day for them also," he told the website.

Ohio State defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, who was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1994, was the last No. 1 pick not to attend the draft.

The commissioner also discussed his recent meeting with Winston in New York City, which he said came at Winston's request.

"We certainly welcomed the opportunity to sit with Jameis and his representatives. We had several people affiliated with our office that met with him," he told the website.


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ACC morning links

March, 23, 2015
Mar 23
9:00
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The race to replace Jameis Winston as Florida State's starting quarterback was always going to be crowded enough. But De'Andre Johnson has no problem adding to the confusion early on.

Johnson has drawn early praise from the Seminoles' coach Jimbo Fisher through the early part of spring practice. The early enrollee made a number of impressive plays during Saturday's scrimmage, according to the Orlando Sentinel's Brendan Sonnone.

From the Sentinel:

“I thought De’Andre Johnson had a really nice day today – does a lot of things very instinctively, man, I think that guy’s gonna be a really good player,” Fisher said after Saturday’s practice. “J.J. and John, they responded well.”

As Sonnone notes, it's always worth reading between the lines, especially when a player is mentioned unprovoked. But Johnson seems to be doing something right so far, and he may force us all to think beyond Sean Maguire, J.J. Cosentino and John Franklin if he keeps growing throughout the spring and summer.

Here are the rest of your Monday links:

BUFORD, Ga. -- Temperatures in the 50’s on a rainy day didn’t keep more than 400 prospects from coming out to the Nike The Opening Atlanta Regional Camp on Sunday with hopes of receiving an invite to The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon.

Though the performances of the prospects were at the forefront, there were plenty of recruiting notes and some subtle messages delivered by prospects before the event began.

One of the best pictures of the day was ESPN Junior 300 wide receivers Tavares Chase and Kyle Davis. They could become rivals at the next level with Chase being committed to Clemson and Davis to South Carolina. The kink in the chain is the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Davis being a very "soft" verbal to the Gamecocks with Georgia, Auburn, and Tennessee all being in the mix. Though Chase was decked out in Clemson gear, Davis was very neutral. In this case, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words considering Davis sounded like anything but a solid pledge Sunday.

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BUFORD, Ga. - Despite the cold and rainy weather conditions, more than 400 prospects from all over the Southeast made the trip to Buford High School for the Nike The Opening Regional Camp on Sunday.

[+] EnlargeMalik Henry
Miller Safrit/ESPNFlorida State quarterback pledge Malik Henry was among the prospects earning invitations to The Opening.
With less than ideal conditions for throwing the ball, several quarterbacks and wide receivers -- including Malik Henry, David Moore, Josh Imatorbhebehe, Freddie Swain, Tre Nixon and several other players -- had standout performances at the camp.

Swain, the No. 214 prospect in the ESPN Junior 300, was one of the most impressive receivers and took home the wide receiver MVP as well as an invitation to The Opening. The 6-foot, 170-pound athlete from Citra (Florida) North Marion High School took advantage of his trip to Atlanta by visiting the University of Georgia on Saturday before attending the Nike camp. The visit turned out to be a success for the talented receiver.

“I just got offered by Georgia yesterday on my visit,” Swain said. "It was a lot of fun and I got to meet with coach Richt. He just said to keep working hard and he’ll see me in the spring.”


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ACC morning links

March, 20, 2015
Mar 20
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Could an immediate reinforcement be on the way for Florida State's re-tooling offensive line? This weekend may go a long way toward determining that.

Former Notre Dame center Matt Hegarty is visiting Tallahassee on Friday through Sunday, the Orlando Sentinel's Brendan Sonnone reports. Hegarty confirmed his planned FSU visit to ESPN.com.

Hegarty started 11 of 13 games last year for the Fighting Irish, at center and at guard. He had told ESPN.com earlier this month that he planned to play football elsewhere upon receiving his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame this May. Hegarty will be immediately eligible to play wherever he ends up.

Hegarty had said that he was asked to switch positions, and Irish coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday that Hegarty would have had the opportunity to be the team's starting left guard. He is presumably looking to play center at his next stop, and that is one of several positions up for grabs on the Seminoles' offensive line, which lost four of five starters from last season.

Ryan Hoefield is currently the projected man in the middle of the Noles' line, though he struggled last season in limited action as a redshirt freshman.

As for who Hegarty or any other center would be snapping the ball to at FSU in 2015, well, that storyline figures to dominate the conversation throughout the spring and likely the summer.

Here are the rest of your Friday links:

If the weatherman is correct, The Opening Nike Football Atlanta Regional is going to be cold and wet on Sunday. That will not keep the best players out of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina from attending, however. After the Dallas Regional ended a week ago with a record 13 invites to The Opening, the Atlanta Regional is set to challenge that record .

Here are five things to watch headed into Sunday.


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher walked into his opening news conference with far fewer microphones and notepads staring back. That’s because of the number of new faces glaring back at the sixth-year coach in his own football meetings.

At this meeting with reporters -- almost exclusively of the local variety -- on the first day of spring camp, there was no talk of complacency or repeats or dynasties. There were hardly any questions about that former polarizing quarterback (of course there would be some). Instead, the afternoon session’s buzzwords were rooted in education: coach, patience, teach.

There is an obvious contrast in the Florida panhandle this spring. The Seminoles will have lost more than 30 players to the NFL draft over the past three years -- chief among them Jameis Winston. The Seminoles had a 29-game winning streak -- chief reason for it being Winston -- snapped in last season's finale.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Don Juan Moore/Getty ImagesWith high-profile departures and a young roster, expectations for Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles are more modest this year than last.

So, Florida State, we’ll take that black hat from you while you exit stage left into relative (and welcomed) obscurity for the time being. The 2015 college football spring prospectus is focused on Alabama, TCU and USC. The only quarterback we’re interested in right now is the one in Columbus, Ohio -- whichever one the Buckeyes choose (or maybe don’t choose).

“I guess I’ve been in [coaching] long enough to have been on both ends of it,” Fisher said of the preseason hype, which besieged FSU last spring. “They’re relatively similar from a coaching standpoint in that you’ve still got to go develop your team. I know y’all don’t look at it that way, but we do.

“… But it does feel different.”

The Seminoles have been freed of the “media hoopla,” as Fisher referred to it, that embroiled the 2014 season. Though there is the lingering question of whether they can withstand the constant cycling and remain at college football’s summit, most of the outside pressures have been lifted as the early belief is the 2015 Seminoles will step back. (Colleague Mark Schlabach has them No. 15 in his Way-Too-Early Top 25.) The offense is being overhauled and is auditioning for a quarterback. The defense is rallying from the loss of two former five-star linemen and its starting corners. The core of the 2014 team and a dozen of its members are all off to certain NFL futures.

Roberto Aguayo, one of the few draft-eligible players that elected to remain in school, said it feels like a new era has been ushered in around campus.

“We’re forced to have that chip on our shoulder. We had it last year but now it’s more realistic,” he said. “Obviously we don’t have a starting quarterback right now. … Jameis is a one-of-a-kind quarterback and now we don’t have him.”

Florida State is embracing the challenge, which all elite programs go through every few seasons. The better the recruiting, the quicker the roster churns over and the higher the demand placed on young players to make earlier impacts. Although Florida State has recruited better than any program outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that talent is still undergoing the required maturation. Dalvin Cook and Jalen Ramsey present the freshmen exception rather than the rule as most first-year players serve as understudies. With a young roster, Florida State’s staff is tasked with molding it so the newer Seminoles are ready to contribute come September.

“To me, that’s why it’s exciting to watch these new pups develop into football players,” Fisher said. “Sometimes it can be a frustrating thing, but at the same time it’s very fun. You have to remember to keep your patience because you see the talent. … I think we have to continue to make sure we’re dotting I’s and crossing T’s and making sure they know exactly what we want. Because if we do that, I think we have a chance to be another very, very good football team.”

It’s too early to size up the picture of the 2015 season after a single brush, but Fisher was chipper following the Seminoles’ first spring practice. Redshirt junior Sean Maguire started the quarterback competition with a leg up based on his experience, but he took control of his first practice with his voice as much as his arm, said Fisher, notorious for coaching his quarterbacks hard.

“It looked like he wanted that job and was in control of things,” Fisher said. “… I was very pleased with his demeanor and execution and decision-making.”

“… Again, it’s day one.”

In more than one way.

The state of Florida is generally loaded with playmakers at wide receiver. In fact, over the last five years, the state has produced at least eight ESPN 300 prospects in every class.

This year’s group of wide receivers just might top them all. An astounding 15 wideouts from the Sunshine State are listed in the ESPN Junior 300. It’s the deepest wide receiver class to come out of Florida in recent memory.


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ACC morning links

March, 19, 2015
Mar 19
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Jalen Ramsey is on the move again.

The junior standout at Florida State, who has started all 28 games of his career, is moving to cornerback this season. Ramsey began his career at cornerback and was the first true freshman to start at cornerback since Deion Sanders, but he then moved to free safety and then nickelback as a sophomore.

Regardless of where Ramsey plays, he is going to play a significant role in Florida State's defense again. Ramsey is one of the country's elite athletes -- he finished fourth nationally in the long jump last week -- and he will continue to cover, blitz and even do a little freelancing regardless of where he is on the field.

The question is whether the Seminoles will have the productivity around Ramsey on a defense that could be tasked with carrying much of the load, a contrast to the 2014 season. The offense is being overhauled, and while the defense did lose several key contributors and former five-star prospects, it does return a good deal of experience at every level. Florida State has to improve its pass rush, and the linebacker group will have to overcome depth issues.

As for Ramsey's future, the move back to cornerback would seemingly help his draft stock, whether he enters the NFL draft after this season or 2016. More cornerbacks (nine) have been drafted in the first round the last two years than any other defensive position. Corners are annually among the highest-paid defensive players, too. Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman have all signed lucrative contracts recently.

Other links around the ACC for your morning (assuming the afternoon and evening will be dedicated to the NCAA Tournament, which begins in earnest Thursday).

  • I think the ACC blog could use a selfie stick (and a jet ski).
  • Virginia Tech had its pro day, and father was there to once again coach his son.
  • Miami received some good news and some bad news on the recruiting trail. Kc McDermott, already a member of the Canes, said he will not accept anything short of a conference championship. Miami has yet to win an ACC title since joining the league.
  • Daryl Gross said it was his decision to leave his post as Syracuse athletic director. This NCAA tournament eve (in the traditional sense) will be remembered for a long time in central New York.
  • Pitt and Tennessee announced a home-and-home series for 2021 and 2022. The first game will be played at Tennessee.
  • An interesting interview with Boston College AD Brad Bates about his thoughts on the evolving collegiate model and BC's dissenting vote to recent legislation.
  • Six takeaways from Georgia Tech's pro day includes notes on Shaq Mason and DeAndre Smelter. And Georgia Tech's Chaz Cheeks and Thomas O'Reilly are no longer listed on the roster.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It’s the question that will almost certainly define Florida State’s 2015 season, potentially dictate the Atlantic Division and could determine the entire ACC: Who is going to quarterback the Seminoles?

“I don’t have a plan,” sixth-year coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I have a plan when I see it. Let them play.”

[+] EnlargeSean Maguire
John David Mercer/USA TODAY SportsSean Maguire passed for 304 yards and a TD last season against Clemson when Jameis Winston was suspended.

The candidates entering spring practice, which opens Wednesday, are redshirt junior Sean Maguire and redshirt freshman J.J. Cosentino, although receiver/quarterback John Franklin III and enrolled freshman De'Andre Johnson will each have an opportunity to make a formal pitch to Fisher over the 15 practices. It doesn’t sound as if Fisher expects to leave the spring with a starter in place, though, a stark contrast to last spring when he returned an undefeated Heisman Trophy winner.

For any of the four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster to establish himself as the leading candidate, there is going to have to be a consistency with each practice leading up to the Apr. 11 spring game. It won’t always be about going for the big play, Fisher said. Game manager" is too often a misconstrued asset for a quarterback, one that induces cringes from fan bases (especially ones that have watched three consecutive first-round picks at the position), but that's what Fisher seeks this spring.

Quarterback Jameis Winston elevated Florida State and re-established it as a national power, but the future quarterback is not being asked to do the same. Instead, he takes over a program with a wealth of riches at most every position, and it will be his responsibility to guide Florida State through a manageable schedule and to a fourth consecutive ACC title.

“Manage the game, get [10] guys in the huddle to believe in you, process and move down the field, make your throws and your reads,” Fisher said. “But let the [10] guys around you function and do their job. That’s the first job you have.

“If you have a chance to make plays and become ‘that guy’ then you do. You do that when you get confident and the guys around you are confident.”

Before any quarterback takes a snap, Maguire is considered to have the best chance of the group to eventually earn the starting position. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound Maguire is a step ahead of the group due to his time in the program and experience under pressure situations. While Maguire has served mostly in a backup role the last two seasons, he was thrust into the starting lineup just days before a prime time and nationally televised game against division rival Clemson. The winner of that game would likely go on to win the Atlantic Division, and Maguire was asked to step in for Winston for all four quarters less than 24 hours before kickoff.

“I see a very good leader,” Fisher said. “He’s been having a great [offseason]. I see the presence and command and he’s talking more like ‘It’s my time.’ ”

Cosentino has the prototypical pocket-passing quarterback size (6-4, 237) and comes with a strong arm. Johnson and Franklin bring an athleticism to the position.

Fisher and his staff have time to make a decision -- a little more than five months. The rest eagerly await an answer.

NOTES

  • Sophomore left tackle Roderick Johnson is going through his first offseason, and he continues to impress the staff with his maturity. Inserted into the lineup in November, Johnson helped solidify a struggling offensive line. He established himself as one of the premier tackles in the ACC in a short time. “Big Rod is really special. It’s like he’s been here 10 years the way he works,” Fisher said. “He’s a veteran already.”
  • The linebacker group won’t be at full strength this spring. While Terrance Smith has had a few months to recover from a knee sprain, leading tackler Reggie Northrup is rehabbing an ACL tear suffered against Oregon. E.J. Levenberry is transferring, and although Kain Daub is still listed on the roster, Fisher expects him to transfer. Ukeme Eligwe was dismissed from the team last fall. For former five-star recruit Matthew Thomas, who has battled injuries and suspensions, there is no time like the present.
  • The pass rush was too often ineffective for Florida State last season, but Fisher said he likes what he is seeing from the sophomore group. Lorenzo Featherston, Derrick Nnadi and Jacob Pugh all flashed productivity at points last season, and Fisher pointed those three out as players looking strong in offseason workouts. Both Featherston and Pugh have added about 10 pounds since last season based on the updated roster measurements.
  • Outside of this first week, Florida State will practice Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday each week this spring, culminating with the Saturday spring game in April.

From Florida State and Clemson to Miami and Boston College, offensive lines will be a big talking point for many ACC offenses this spring. But in Blacksburg, Virginia, Frank Beamer’s crew is actually feeling a bit optimistic.

As the Roanoke Times writes in its preview of the position, this marks the first time in the past four years that Virginia Tech has had the same O-line coach -- and recruiting, development and scheme philosophies -- which once again has the line firmly in the spotlight.

From the Times:

This group has been treading water for a few years, trying to dig out of a numbers deficiency and talent gap that's been been apparent whenever the Hokies played against even decent defensive lines.

It’s no secret that Virginia Tech hasn’t met expectations for the past three years, and while there have been plenty of areas that needed improvement, it’s hard to argue that the offensive line hasn’t been the most overwhelming problem.

For example, here are some crucial line-related numbers for Virginia Tech since 2012:

  • 42nd among 65 Power 5 teams in sack rate (6.4 percent)
  • tied for 62nd in yards per carry (4.27, not counting sacks)
  • 60th in touchdowns per rush (3.3 percent)
  • 60th in percentage of rushes going for a loss or no gain (21.5 percent)
  • 54th in yards per play on first down (5.32)
  • 60th in third- and fourth-and-short conversions (54.5 percent)

Those are all pretty atrocious results, which might explain why a line that figures to look quite a bit different in 2015 is also one that has a lot more enthusiasm surrounding it.

Stacy Searels has a track record of success building lines. Wyatt Teller was a revelation in the second half of 2014. Depth, for the first time in years, is an asset. And, of course, this year might also represent the best cast of skill-position players surrounding the line in years.

In other words, while FSU is hoping Wilson Bell can emerge as a star and Miami is excited to have Kc McDermott back in the fold, there may not be any ACC team with more focus on the offensive line this spring. And if that unit really does take a big step forward, there’s reason to think that Virginia Tech can, at long last, return to that 10-win plateau that had once been the norm.

A few more links:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gone is former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and his two most reliable receivers. Departed are four offensive linemen with more than 160 combined starts. Off to the NFL early are Florida State's two former five-star talents along the defensive line and its starters at cornerback.

So, heading into the 2015 season -- spring practice opens Wednesday for the Seminoles -- what's left in the Florida panhandle?

"We got some talent and some youth," sixth-year coach Jimbo Fisher said, "and I'm anxious to see them grow."

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Don Juan Moore/Getty ImagesJimbo Fisher will be looking at a lot of new faces on offense this spring.

Talent and youth are in abundance at Florida State, as only Alabama has recruited better than the Seminoles since Fisher took over in 2010. Inexperience is too, though, especially on offense. No player with double-digit career starts will return on that side of the football.

When all of the 2015 class arrives, nearly the entire roster will be comprised of juniors, sophomores and freshmen as a significant chunk of the 2012 signing class is no longer enrolled at Florida State. Elevating through the system are players often ranked among the top 10 at their position in high school, but that prep prestige loses its shine after about a year pacing the sideline as a redshirt or reserve. Now the expectation is to turn promise into production.

Fisher said it's too early to get an accurate read on what this roster is capable of in the fall, having lost the core of a team that won 29 of its last 30 games. So the offseason focus was to develop this young group's intangibles because "you recruit talent," Fisher said.

"When you see them do it right, it's special," he said. "They need to do it more consistently and develop that and their attitude."

The Seminoles still have key pieces to build around. Offensively, sophomore left tackle Roderick Johnson could end up being a four-year starter. The same goes for secondary star Jalen Ramsey, who could be playing his final season in Tallahassee.

The roster was revitalized in January, too, with the addition of eight early enrollees. Among them are five-star signees George Campbell, Derwin James and Josh Sweat (who will miss the spring rehabbing an ACL tear). Five of the Seminoles' top seven signees are already on campus, and Fisher said the group has adjusted well. If previous years are any indication, much of the 2015 class should see the field as freshmen with several asked to play significant roles in the pursuit of a fourth consecutive conference championship.

"I'm very proud of a lot of the true freshmen," he said.

This week marks the beginning of a transition year at Florida State, which is expected at the college level every couple of seasons. Now it just comes after one of the best eras in school history and a lot more eyes on the Seminoles.

Boston College fans who'd been eagerly anticipating the team's annual spring game are probably a bit disappointed with news that the team has nixed the exhibition in favor of an open scrimmage. Most fans, on the other hand, probably aren't sure what the difference is regardless.

For the second time in three years, the Eagles have opted against holding a traditional spring game, a decision coach Steve Addazio explained as a necessity to get his team ready:

[+] EnlargeSteve Addazio
Michael Shroyer/Getty ImagesCoach Steve Addazio prefers his team hold an open scrimmage instead of just the annual spring game.

"These adjustments are meant to best serve our team," Addazio said in a statement released by the school. "We understand that our fans have received this information on short notice, but we know that ultimately they are dedicated to support us as we strive to win as many games as possible this coming season."

While the move comes a bit late in the spring for BC, the Eagles are hardly the only team making changes to their spring calendar.

Duke, of course, has started a trend of early spring practices, and this year the Blue Devils didn't hold a spring game at all due to stadium renovations.

Repairs to Kenan Stadium meant North Carolina had two separate spring "events" -- including one in Charlotte, North Carolina -- rather than a traditional spring game.

Last year, it was Pittsburgh cutting the spring game from its schedule as former coach Paul Chryst suggested more practice time benefited a young team.

In the big picture, it's easy to wonder why any of it matters in the first place.

Yes, there are some fans who enjoy the game — which is usually a chance to get an early look at the team for free. And some schools pack out the stadium for these spring exhibitions, too. But the vast majority of programs could probably add up the costs and benefits and come to the same conclusion Addazio has this year: There's just not much reward for the investment.

On the plus side, spring games are good recruiting tools, as Syracuse.com notes in its story about the hefty number of recruits planning to be on campus for the Orange's spring game this season. And more and more, these exhibitions are broadcast -- either online or on TV -- to give schools even more of a wide net for recruiting.

But for the players already on the field, the spring game isn't much help. Because it's played under game-like conditions, there's limited opportunity for coaches to work on nuanced issues. Because the crowd is in the stands, coaches typically water down the playbook and stick to vanilla schemes. And because of injury concerns, plenty of stars never take the field in the first place -- limiting depth and setting up the game as a showcase for walk-ons as much as next year's key players.

With practice time limited by NCAA rules and coaches forced to limit hands-on contact with players once spring practice ends, Addazio's plan to maximize his opportunities to get his team better makes a lot more sense from a practical standpoint. And for the fans, the rare spring-game highlight probably doesn't make up for the often monotonous conditions that drain any drama from the exhibition.

Certainly there could be tweaks made to improve the spring games — whether it be playing other teams or adding some celebrity entertainment value — but really, these are relics that seem unnecessary at best and wastes of time and money at worst. So don't be too surprised if Addazio's plan becomes the norm at more than a few schools moving forward.

A few more links:

Jameis Winston may not attend draft

March, 16, 2015
Mar 16
10:01
AM ET
video

Jameis Winston, who is widely projected to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick, does not plan to attend the 2015 NFL draft, as he currently prefers to spend that day with family and friends in Alabama, his father told ESPN.com on Monday.

Antonor Winston told ESPN.com's David Hale that the plan for now was for his son not to attend the draft, but the decision "was not set in stone." The draft will be held in Chicago from April 30 to May 2.

Ohio State defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, who was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1994, was the last No. 1 overall pick to not attend the draft.

Winston, the Florida State quarterback who won the 2013 Heisman Trophy, recently flew to New York to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials.

Several draft experts, including ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, have Winston being selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The story was first reported by TheMMQB.com.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan and ESPN.com's David Hale contributed to this report.


(Read full post)


ACC morning links

March, 13, 2015
Mar 13
9:57
AM ET
Before the ACC tournament starts up, check out what is going on in football across the league.

1. Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler gave an extensive interview to Roanoke Times beat reporter Andy Bitter, and discussed how much better he feels about the offense headed into Year 3. Primarily, that has to do with so many returning players -- especially quarterback Michael Brewer. Rather than install his offense and run a quarterback competition, this spring the focus can be on getting the entire offense vastly improved. Loeffler told Bitter: "Year 3 you know exactly what you’ve got. There’s no walking into spring football and walking into training camp trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do. You’ve got an idea of exactly who you are. ... It’s a refreshing feeling in comparison to [Years] 1 and 2." Given all the experienced players returning, pressure will be much higher to produce on offense. Loeffler knows all that. "We should be much, much, much improved." There is plenty more insight in the interview about competition across each position.

2. Florida State opens practice next week, and one of the big areas to watch will be on the offensive and defensive lines, which suffered heavy attrition. The Seminoles lose four starters from the offensive line and two from the defensive line -- two groups that did not really live up to expectations a season ago. But there is some good news. Florida State returns Rod Johnson to anchor the offensive line, and he has the potential to have an All-ACC season as a sophomore. The defensive line is where Florida State must make significant improvement, even with Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Goldman gone. There was nothing to brag about for that unit last season as it struggled to contain the run and get a pass rush going. There are some players with experience here, including Nile Lawrence-Stample, Derrick Mitchell and Chris Casher.

3. Georgia Tech holds its Pro Day today. Here are Synjyn Days and Shaq Mason getting measured. You can watch on ESPN3.

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Here are a few more links:

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ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates discusses Roger Goodell's meeting with presumptive No. 1 draft pick Jameis Winston.
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