ACC Kickoff: Sunday Notebook

PINEHURST, N.C. --- One of big changes in the ACC comes in the form of turnover of offensive coordinators among seven league teams. Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, and North Carolina State all have new leadership on that side of the ball.

Here's some of what we learned from speaking to offensive players on those teams:

* Matt Ryan says you don't realize how much of a change in routines come as a result in a change in offensive coordinators. He adds that he is "excited about working with Steve Logan," and that he believes Boston College will field an aggressive offense. Ryan has also been given the ability to audible at the line of scrimmage by Logan.

Tashard Choice
* Duke's Tielor Robinson, a senor fullback, says that the offense under new offensive coordinator Peter Vass will be more "wide open," looking for receivers downfield more often. Vass was the quarterback coach at Notre Dame, working with Brady Quinn for Notre Dame head man Charlie Weiss. He says the team is excited about returning eleven starters back on offense, and also about the return of Zack Asack.

* Antone Smith indicates that the Florida State offense is enthusiastic about the change in offensive coordinators from Jeff Bowden to Jimbo Fisher. Smith is also quick to credit new offensive line coach Rick Trickett, and indicates that Fisher and Trickett "work as a team." He says the one of the biggest changes has been the increased tempo of practice. Smith thinks the entire offense will be better, and says that "now, the linebackers are scared of the wide receivers (blocking)."

* Tashard Choice indicates that it may be a change in personnel rather than in schemes under new offensive coordinator John Bond that will be most noticeable at Georgia Tech next fall. He said, "I don't know if the offense (scheme) will be noticeably different." He added that last year "the focus of the offense was Calvin Johnson," and that he expects the Yellow Jackets to run the ball more.

* Derrick Morse, who plays offensive guard and center for the Miami Hurricanses, hinted at big changes in the Miami offense. He says that new offensive coordinator Patrick Nix has "totally changed the entire offense. Everything is new." He likes both quarterbacks in contention at Miami, Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman, and says both are "picking the defense apart."

Joe Dailey
* At North Carolina, Joe Dailey used the adjective "educated" several times in describing the change in offense under new offensive coordinator John Shoop. Dailey also stated in several different ways that the new offense will strive for balance. He expects there will be open competition at the quarterback spot, and did not rule out the possibility that true freshman Mike Paulus could find himself in that mix.

* N.C. State wideout Darrell Blackman stated that the new offense under coordinator Dana Bible will be "a lot more spread out." He said that they practiced multiple receiver formations – four and five wides – often. Blackman indicated that – like at a number of ACC schools – the starter at quarterback is yet to be decided, but thinks an announcement could be made at or near the start of fall camp so that the starter at quarterback and the rest of the offense could get on the same page.

Seen and Overheard

Antone Smith
* Last year's ACC title is paying some dividends to Wake Forest – they had one of the busiest and most crowded tables at the ACC Kickoff event for player interviews.

* Several of the league's players mentioned that Wake Forest will now have a "target on their back," as they enter league play this year.

* New this year to Florida State, those not giving 100 percent effort are shipped off to dress out of the visitor's locker room. As many as ten or twelve started out in the new "dog house," but according to Antone Smith, there are none there now.

* Darrell Blackman spoke about the head coaching change as the difference between having a head coach who focused on practicing fast and finishing hard (Chuck Amato), and one who focuses more on technique (Tom O'Brien).

* Players representing Miami and Florida State were questioned by media members about the lack of national success they've experienced compared to previous teams from those programs, but the players deny there has been a drop off in talent at those schools.

Chris Long
* Matt Ryan took special care not to speak ill of Tom O'Brien's decision to change jobs. He stated on several occasions that he had a lot of respect for O'Brien and wished him well.

* Antone Smith earned the "most personable player" award in this session – he was funny, engaging, and candid in his comments – Matt Ryan of Boston College earned the "most polished" award;

* Chris Long of Virginia is a very large man

* There was only one quarterback brought to represent their school at this year's ACC Kickoff, thought by some of the older reporters to be a league record – and a statement about how weak this position is overall in the ACC.

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