Buck: Around the ACC, Part IV

GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Inside Carolina's Buck Sanders highlights additional themes that emerged from talking to the conference's head coaches at the 2009 ACC Kickoff.

It was reported that the ACC coaches supported an early signing period for football in meetings this spring. From some of the comments of the coaches this week in Greensboro, however, it seems that support is far from unanimous, and some coaches are still shaping their opinions. Tom O'Brien of N.C. State may have been the most outspoken in support of the early signing proposal.

"My thing with the early signing period has always been that I think kids are making reservations, they're not making commitments," O'Brien said. "I think that's bad. I think we're saying the wrong thing when we allow them to break commitments. If 1,500 kids, or whatever it was last year, had made their mind up by Christmas, well, go ahead and sign and get it over with.

There are also potential cost savings with an early signing period. The idea is that an early signing period would prevent coaches from having to "re-recruit" verbally committed players in January, rolling up flight, hotel, and rental car costs for entire staffs. In today's economy, any proposal that might reduce costs to athletic budgets gets attention.

"(The cost savings) would be huge," Miami's Randy Shannon said. "I don't have to go back out in January to recruit 17 guys? If you don't go out and see those 17 guys, somebody else is going to go out and see them. The cost-saving measures would be huge."

Other coaches, like Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, aren't sold on the idea, yet.

"I used to think that I definitely wanted to get an early signing period, and then, nothing is smooth about it," Beamer said.

A lot of the issue has to do with the timing of an early signing period. Some coaches like an early date, like August, while others prefer a date sometime in December. Both dates have their downside.

"I wouldn't even mind a signing period in August," Beamer said. "But then when you do that you're probably going to wind up with more people on campus during the summer, and so forth. We've had a couple (recruits) come through and then I haven't been there, or something.

"Then you say, well then do you have a December signing period? Then if you do that you're probably going to be involved more with recruiting, having official visits, during the season and I'm not sure that's a great official visit because you don't get as much time. You've got a game, the next day you're grading the video, so it just makes it helter-skelter a little bit."

The devil, as they say, is in the details, and some coaches want to see those details before they weigh in.

"In principle, up front, it makes some sense, but there are so many unforeseen consequences that are involved, that I would have to know more," Virginia's Al Groh said.

O'Brien Doesn't Like UNC As Last Game

What does Tom O'Brien think of playing North Carolina in the final game of the season?

"I think it is a dumb game to play at that point of the year because you're crossing divisions," he said. "When you have two divisions, you should play across divisions the last game of the year, because you may be playing again the next week, a game that's important. You should be playing someone on your side of the bracket so it's a meaningful game to get to the championship game to play somebody else."

Back-Ups To See Action

Both Tom O'Brien and David Cutcliffe will see that their No. 2 quarterbacks, Mike Glennon and Sean Renfree, respectively, get some snaps this year, and for the same reasons.

"Glennon's going to play," O'Brien said. "He's going to go in the game somewhere in the first half. It's a situation where he's never been in a college football game, so he's got to play. If Russell goes down, you don't want somebody going in the game who has never played."

Cutcliffe said, "I'd like Sean Renfree to play, and I've told Thad(deus Lewis) this so I'm not letting the cat out of the bag. It's a work in progress to build a program and I don't want to go into a year next year when we don't have anybody that's ever played in a game."

Quarterback Unsettled at UVa

Though they have two quarterbacks that both have started for the better part or all of a season, Al Groh says the Cavs don't have a timetable for announcing the starter for the 2009 season - a mix that includes Vic Hall, who played cornerback most of last season for the Wahoos.

"We've had one-third of the allotted amount of practices by the NCAA from the start of spring practice until the first game, and if need be we'll use every one of them to determine the rotation," Groh said.

Miami vs. UNC a Rivalry?

Randy Shannon was dismissive of the idea that Butch Davis's presence at North Carolina creates something of a rivalry with Miami.

"It's always going to be North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Duke, will always be the rivalry games," Shannon said. "I think Virginia Tech is probably our rivalry just because of the Big East days, that's a team we've always played, and Florida State."

Inside Carolina Top Stories