The ACC’s turn at talkin’ season began Thursday. The league’s Atlantic Division teams took turns answering questions on Thursday. On Friday, it’s the Coastal’s turn.
Boston College coach Steve Addazio is apparently really, really excited about his team’s chances in 2017.
Where the two parts of our program, offense, defense — I should say three in special teams — we may have an opportunity to bring them all together now at the same time, and that’s exciting,” Addazio said. And so I’m really jacked up looking forward to the whole deal to be honest with you. Are we a finished product? No. I think the one piece that has to be told, the story has to be told, while we know that our quarterbacks are highly talented right now, they have not done that in the heat of the battle in the ACC yet, and that’s a pivotal position. But their surrounding cast, their supporting cast is significantly improved and different.
“I think the one piece that has to be told, the story has to be told, while we know that our quarterbacks are highly talented right now, they have not done that in the heat of the battle in the ACC yet, and that’s a pivotal position. But their surrounding cast, their supporting cast is significantly improved and different.”
BC returns eight starters to an offense that was one of the worst in college football in 2016. The Eagles averaged just over 20 points and less than 300 yards per game. Some massive improvement must be needed to fulfill Addazio’s excitement.
The defense carried BC to a bowl game in 2016. And star defensive end Harold Landry is back too. He had 16.5 sacks in 2016 and should be one of the best defensive players in college football.
But even if the defense continues its excellence and the offense improves, the ceiling may be a bit lower than the roof for the Eagles. With Clemson, Florida State and Louisville also occupying the ACC Atlantic Division, Boston College has a tough task on its hands to improve on a 2-6 conference record.
NC State: Samuels to see more of the ball?
All-purpose-threat Jaylen Samuels was North Carolina State’s top receiver. Expect to see him get even more touches in 2017 thanks to the departure of a key rusher.
North Carolina State needs to replace running back Matt Dayes, who was quietly one of the most productive rushers in college football last season with 1,166 yards and 10 touchdowns.
While Dayes touched the ball over 270 times last year, Samuels had 33 carries and 55 catches. His catch number could stay the same while his rushing workload increases.
“Obviously for Jay-Sam, you’d love to see him having the ball in his hands as many times as you can and not having Matt there creates that void for him and others to take advantage of,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said.
Dayes is just one of two starters that NC State has to replace on offense. Quarterback Ryan Finley also returns after his first season with the Wolfpack following a transfer from Boise State.
Clawson: Kendall Hinton enters fall camp as starting quarterback
Wake Forest QB Kendall Hinton is the team’s starter. For now, anyway.
Coach Dave Clawson said Thursday that Hinton would be the team’s starter when fall camp opened. Hinton threw just 19 passes in 2016 before missing the rest of the season because of injury.
“Kendall will go in as the starter, and when he got hurt last year, he was the starter,” Clawson said. “But John [Wolford] will get reps with the ones, and we’ve got to keep those guys healthy. I mean, we don’t want to be a two-quarterback system. We don’t want to shuttle guys in and out. Unfortunately John and Kendall, neither of those guys have been able to stay healthy the past two years. So I think we’ve got to keep them healthy, and they’ve got to keep themselves healthy, and that will play itself out.”
Wolford ended up being Wake Forest’s primary quarterback in 2016. He was 166-299 passing for 1,774 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Like Boston College, the strength of Wake Forest’s team in 2016 was its defense. It was so good that defensive coordinator Mike Elko became the DC at Notre Dame. Clawson said he’s happy with how the offense has progressed in the offseason and that the team should be better balanced in 2017.
“We have played — this is just — in our three years there, I believe, I believe we’ve had 10 players sign NFL contracts,” Clawson said. “Nine of those players have been defensive players. The one player on offense was a graduate transfer. So when we got to Wake, certainly the talent level we inherited on defense was significantly better than what we inherited on offense. “Because of that, we’ve been a better defense. We’ve been a lot younger on offense. We have played at times conservatively to make sure our defense wasn’t going to play too many snaps, and that was the way to stay in games. I think we’re finally at a point that the talent level on the offensive side of the ball has caught up with the defense. For two years our practices were almost non-competitive. The offense would struggle to make a first down. Last year it became more competitive. The spring
“Because of that, we’ve been a better defense. We’ve been a lot younger on offense. We have played at times conservatively to make sure our defense wasn’t going to play too many snaps, and that was the way to stay in games. I think we’re finally at a point that the talent level on the offensive side of the ball has caught up with the defense. For two years our practices were almost non-competitive. The offense would struggle to make a first down. Last year it became more competitive. The spring it was back and forth.”
Babers: Offense is no Ford Pinto
Syracuse coach Dino Babers had a hilarious analogy to describe quarterback Eric Dungey’s role within Babers’ offensive system.
Dungey threw for nearly 2,700 yards in nine starts in 2016 and became the first Syracuse QB to run for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game. Plus, it was his first year in the offense.
It’s not crazy to think Dungey could challenge the 4,000-yard mark if he stays healthy all year.
“When you talk about Eric Dungey, Eric Dungey is the quarterback of an up-tempo, fast, NFL-style offense,” It is not a Ford Pinto. It is a racing car, okay. Don’t get Ford mad at me. I know Ford doesn’t make the Pinto anymore. When I was in high school, I drove a Ford Pinto, hatchback, baby blue in color, hatchback. But he’s not driving a Pinto; he’s driving a racing car. And when we go around corners, the tires need to sing, and that’s the way we handle our offense.
“He’s an extension of the coaching staff, and if you’re not ready for that responsibility, then you probably need to go play quarterback somewhere else. Because it’s a big-time job for a big-time individual, and if you can handle it, good things will happen to you. Just ask the people before him.”
Babers also had an interesting solution as a way for college football to help speed up games. Offenses like Syracuse’s — which push to get as many plays off as possible within a game’s 60 minutes — have been blamed for the lengthiness of college football games.
“I know we’re having an issue with football games being too long, and we’re talking about shortening the halftime, kicking the ball off when it hits 0:00 to make sure that the game shortens,” Babers said. “I know another way they could speed up the game, if the official just marks the ball and gets the heck out of the way, I think we can speed the game up and make the game a whole lot shorter.”
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