From the players to the coaches to the media, ACC Expansion was on the minds of everyone in attendance Sunday afternoon at the opening day of the annual ACC Media Days held in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In hearing hundreds of questions posed to players from around the league, many reporters led off by asking about the thoughts of that particular player on the newest league members, Virginia Tech and Miami.
Maryland's Dominique Foxworth suggested that with the Hurricanes and Hokies now in the mix, the league is one of the best in the country on the football field.
"It's one of the best now, if not the best, said Foxworth. "Everbody knows what those guys can do and the league has improved so much the last few years anyway."
"I don't know how it's going to be," said Miami QB Brock Berlin of the upcoming season. "You'll have to ask me after the season. I know it's a good league, and a tough league though."
In taking an informal poll of 7 players from around the league, including guys from Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Florida State, Wake Forest, and Duke, just one player listed Clemson in his top four schools when asked who the top teams were in the ACC this year.
Who was it? Florida State's Craphonso Thorpe.
Miami and Florida State were the two most popular answers.
Whitehurst, Hill Answer the Call
Charlie Whitehurst and LeRoy Hill answered the call to be the Tigers' two representatives Sunday afternoon. The two players collectively represented Clemson University with pride and class.
Whitehurst was posed several questions about the team's turnaround last year, including several pressing questions concerning Tommy Bowden's future directly after the Wake Forest game.
"You hear those sorts of things, but you don't focus on it," said Whitehurst. "You can't. I think we pretty much proved what we were capable of by the end of the year."
Meanwhile Hill was asked how could he possibly follow up a year like 2003 this season.
"I just want to win," quipped the rising senior. "I don't care about tackles for loss or none of that. I just want a 'W.'"
Around the League
N.C. State's Tramain Hall was one of the more entertaining players on hand Sunday. Hall became animated when several reporters asked him about the loss of Philip Rivers this year.
"Everybody knew how good he was," said Hall with a smile. "You can't take anything away from a guy like him, but we've got a lot of guys coming back this year that can play."
Hall also added that the best he feels like he can make a difference on the team this year will be in the return game.
Georgia Tech strong safety James Butler said that sophomore quarterback Reggie Ball doesn't need to be any more vocal than he already is, especially only two years into his college football career.
"I don't think he needs to be vocal because he's only a sophomore," said Butler. "There are other things he can do to be a leader, but being vocal isn't really one of them."
Virginia DE Chris Canty was physically one of the more impressive athletes to step into the room Sunday. He also very well spoken.
When asked how the additions of Miami and Virginia Tech fit into the ACC, the potential All-ACC selection responded, "You look at what both of those programs are like on the field, and it's perfect. You also look at what they bring to the table academically, and it's the same thing. I really feel like both of those institutions are great additions to the league."
Did You Know?
Did you know that after last year's 45-17 loss to Wake Forest, the Clemson Tigers didn't lose another game for the rest of the year. Well of course you knew that, but did you also know also that Wake Forest didn't win another game during the course of the 2003 season?
It's true, and according to Wake Forest CB Eric King, the Deacons are aiming to get back to their winning ways.
"After we beat Clemson like we did, we just didn't show up the following weeks. It started the next week against North Carolina," said King. "That loss just hurt us the rest of the season and really took the air out of us, but we want to get back where we were at the Clemson game."
"We have to be able to handle success, and we had trouble doing that when we played North Carolina."
King also added that Wake Forest has switched from a 3-3-5 defensive scheme back to a basic 4-3.
ACC Media Days Insider
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