ACC Kickoff: Offense w/Audio

HOT SPRINGS, Va. -- Read and listen to what some of the the other 11 offensive players had to say ACC Kickoff on Sunday.

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WR/CB Will Blackmon, Boston College

  • Named a preseason second team All-America selection at kick returner and the No. 2 kick returner in the nation by The Sporting News.

  • Second Team All-Big East in 2004 at kick/returner and cornerback.

  • With his 71-yard punt return for a touchdown in the West Virginia game, he became the first player in Boston College football history to return a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same season; returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in the season opener at Ball State.

  • Ranked eighth among Division I-A players in kickoff returns, finishing with 28 returns for 762 yards (27.2 avg.) and one touchdown.

    QB Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson

  • Has thrown for 7,182 yards in his career, more than any other active Division I quarterback entering the 2005 season.

  • Preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award.

  • First player in ACC history to pick up wins as a starting quarterback over nine different ACC schools.

  • Ranked 15th in ACC history in career total offense (second on Clemson's list behind Woody Dantzler) and 17th on the ACC's career passing yardage list.

    LISTEN (1:42)

    "If we could've figured out what was happening (offensively) last year, we could've turned it around. I don't think we ever did. I don't think anyone on the offense was very good. Nobody had a big year for us. That was pretty obvious on my part. No position really stood out. This year, I think it will happen. We're a little more experienced at some vital positions. We've been through the ups and downs and we know how to handle just about every situation. Of course we're extremely hungry, coming off a bad year.

    "Individually, I didn't play very well in 2004. Again, I don't think we were very good as an offensive team. I think after last season, everybody on offense has to look in the mirror. I think we've done that this offseason.

    "I appreciate Coach Bowden taking responsibility for my struggles last season. But I think everybody needs to take responsibility. He does, I do, and everyone on the offense does. It's a team effort. We took it as a learning experience and now we just need to move forward. We need to store it in the back of our brain so it doesn't happen again. You have to move forward, and I think we are.

    "We showed some improvement coming out of spring ball. A lot of the procedures and formations that Coach Spence brought in, we already knew. We had to pick up the new terminology quickly, of course. We still have a lot of work to do, that's pretty obvious. We were better offensively this spring than at any time last season."

    TE Andy Roland, Duke

  • Duke's active leader in pass receptions (56), receiving yards (855) and touchdown catches (6).

  • Nominated for John Mackey Award, presented annually to the nation's top tight end.

  • Owns a career average of 15.3 yards per catch.

  • One of just four Blue Devils to have played in all 35 games over the last three seasons.

    LISTEN (3:22)

    On playing at a perceived "basketball school:"
    "It puts absolutely no pressure on me. North Carolina and Duke have had very successful basketball programs for years. So I can understand why people say that. As far as fan turnout, it's a lot easier to fill a basketball stadium – especially the size of Cameron – than a football stadium. At the conference level, I don't think you can say it's not a football conference with all the teams we have now. When people say that, I don't agree. We would like more fans to come out for football. Who wouldn't?"

    Does it bother you when you look around the room and see other players getting more media attention today?
    "Not really. I guess it is something that will change with our primary goal of winning games and going to a bowl. But that's our job and one day we'll have more people lined up here for interviews and asking more questions."

    TB Leon Washington, Florida State

    What's the most fun thing you did this summer?
    "Memorial Day I went to the beach in Tampa, which was fun."

    What's one thing you are looking forward to this season?
    "Just starting off on the right note, building camaraderie with the team and getting to know each other even better."

    If you would change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
    "My height. I'd like to be a little taller. Instead of 5'7", I'd like to be like 5'9". I guess I do what I do well at this height, but I'd still like to be a little taller.

    What goals did you set for yourself this summer?
    "This summer, I wanted to relax, to have fun. Most seniors tend to get complacent and content heading into their last year. I wanted to rest and have fun so when the season got here, I wanted to be here and not dragging it out. That was the main thing to relax and get focused so I could put all my energy into this last year and have the right frame of mind."

    Who is the most versatile player on the team?
    "Me and (Antonio) Cromartie, we can do multiple things. I would probably say me. I could actually play defense, play cornerback, return kicks, tackle, I can catch, so either me or Cromartie."

    Which player on the team would be just as good playing offense as defense?
    "Antonio Cromartie's name comes up again. He's a great cornerback but I think he would be really good at wide-out, playing wide receiver."

    What has been the highlight or greatest moment of your FSU career?
    "I've got several of them. Obviously, the NC State game when we won in overtime, that was big. Beating Chuck Amato my freshman year, beating Florida as a freshman and doing pretty well. I would say though, the Clemson game, when I returned that kick. I think that was a big momentum changer in that game. It was a Thursday night game, it was alive and it was the most fun game I've ever had."

    What other sport do you wish you excelled at or pursued?
    "Baseball. I played baseball in high school and I did really well at it without any coaching. I didn't really start playing it until my junior and senior year. I didn't really know the rules to baseball and I wish I would have played it younger because I did pretty good even without any coaching."

    Who is the best player you have played against while at FSU?
    "I thought [former NC State QB] Phillip Rivers was awesome. He was extremely competitive. He does anything to win."

    TB P.J. Daniels, Georgia Tech

  • All-ACC tailback who enjoyed one of the top rushing seasons in Georgia Tech and ACC history in 2003, but was hampered by injuries in 2004.

  • Fifth in school history with 2,146 career rushing yards.

  • Has 10 career 100-yard games and two of the top three rushing games in Georgia Tech history.

  • Enters the 2005 season eighth in the nation among active rushers.

    LISTEN (3:44)

    On the progress you've seen from UNC's defense:
    "It's a lot better. They have a confidence about themselves. I think their confidence level will be much higher this year, like, ‘We are North Carolina and your not going to run over us. We don't care who you are.' They did the same thing with Miami. A lot of people doubted them and they came out and gave 100 percent. The outcome was shocking. They were like, ‘We're North Carolina; we're going to put our foot down and make a change.' You have to give them their respect."

    We're you surprised UNC beat Georgia Tech last year?
    "Surprised…yeah, in a sense; I'm not going to lie. But at the same time, I wasn't as much surprised as I was disappointed in some of the decisions that we made early in the game. It seems like we gave up at times and missed out on opportunities and they took advantage of it. But there is so many possible outcomes to games and you might want to point the finger, but you never get anything done by pointing the finger."

    On UNC red zone stops in the first quarter:
    "I felt like if we had punched it in twice, or three times, it would have demoralized them. But the held us to a field goal. And then they thought, ‘If we stop them to a field goal, pretty soon we're going to stop them period."

    OL Stephon Heyer, Maryland

  • Enters 2005 season as Maryland's top returning offensive lineman.

  • Highest graded lineman for Maryland in 2004.

  • Second on the team with 18 "big blocks."

  • Enters the season with 24 straight starts, the best such mark on the team.

    OL Eric Winston, Miami

  • Member of several preseason All-America teams.

  • Position coach Art Kehoe compares him to Bryant McKinnie and Leon Searcy as the three best offensive tackles in Miami history.

  • Winner of the 2003 Offensive Lineman of the Year Award for the Hurricanes (voted by coaching staff).

    LISTEN (2:15)

    Do you have anything special for North Carolina when they come down there this year?
    "It's definitely a sore spot. That's the ACC. North Carolina was a bowl team last year and everybody wants to act like they were 2-10. They're a good team. They could run the ball and they have good players. We've got to come to play. It's not their fault that we didn't come to play."

    WR Tramain Hall, N.C. State

  • Third-leading receiver on the team with 28 catches for 324 yards.

  • Ninth in ACC in punt returns with 6.5 average.

  • Had a career-best 58 receptions in 2004.

  • Preseason candidate for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.

    LISTEN (2:19)

    Thoughts on freshman tailback Andre Brown:
    "Andre Brown... Whew! I have seen him during our seven-on-seven workouts this summer, and just the explosion he has, at 230 pounds. He wants to work and he wants to learn. There is just something about a guy who wants to learn. He has a passion you feed off of. He is not one of these guy who just comes in chilling during seven-on-seven. He wants to know: ‘Jay, what do I do?' You can't help but think ‘This kid is going to be good.'

    What do you think about Toney Baker so far?
    "Baker is good. He's a good back. He catches it out of the backfield. He has a little move in him. He's a smart player and he wants to learn. He stays out there and he talks to Jay.

    "Those two players, Brown and Baker, you'll be talking to them real soon. They are real good players."

    What do you want your legacy to be at NC State?
    "When you talk about NC State you talk about Torry Holt... you talk about the Koren Robinson's. That guy Tramain Hall, ‘he was a great player.' That's what has to happen.

    "I'm working harder than I've ever worked. I want people to remember me as a great player. A great player that gave all he's got... all the time."

    Thoughts on West Coast Offense:
    "This is the West Coast offense. We've got six great backs. The four of them... the two newcomers. It's going to be a great offense. Everybody can't touch the ball but coach Trestman will make sure everybody gets the ball. This offense will put up points. That's what we plan on doing."

    Thoughts on Depth:
    "The thing is these guys are hungry. You know that if you go down, somebody is behind you that is going to take your spot. That's the way it has to be. Somebody has to push you.

    "I know that if I go down, there's a young guy behind me, Levin Neal. A young guy, a real good athlete. He can probably come in and fill my role. That's going to push me. It's good to be pushed."

    QB Marques Hagans, Virginia

  • Led Virginia to eight wins, tied for most in school history by a first-time starting QB.

  • His 2,204 yards passing in 2004 were sixth in school history by a first-time starter and 12th overall.

  • Led the ACC in pass completion percentage with a 62.8 mark in 2004, the fourth-best in school history.

  • Rushed for 324 yards last fall, the most by a Virginia quarterback since 1989 and the fourth-most ever.

    LISTEN (1:19)

    TE Jeff King, Virginia Tech

  • Nominated for the John Mackey Award.

  • Second team All-ACC in 2004.

  • Caught 25 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns in 2004.

  • Played with the Virginia Tech basketball team this winter.

    LISTEN (1:41)

    OL Steve Vallos, Wake Forest

  • Named second team All-ACC.

  • Graded out at a team-best 87 percent in 2004.

  • Led Wake Forest with 144 knockdown blocks in 2004, 43 more than any other Deacons lineman.

  • Named third team Freshman All-America and first team All-ACC by The Sporting News in 2003.

    LISTEN (1:20)

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