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    July 2010 Archives

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 30th

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor, Scott Kotick and Layne Herdt for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    The crew is back from the 2010 ACC Kickoff and has a lot to cover in this week's podcast. The guys discuss the Seminoles being picked as the favorite to win the ACC Atlantic, Christian Ponder being named ACC Preseason Player of the Year and they preview the Virginia Cavaliers.

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 30th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    The Wait

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    July is a tough month for college sports--for quite a few reasons.  First and foremost, football is still two months away from kickoff in Tallahassee.  

    Most people refer to that time as "the dog days of summer," but I take a different approach to naming that dreaded month.  Instead, I often refer to July as simply "The Wait."

    That's right.  I wait, and wait, and wait, then maybe go grab a Chick Fil A sandwich, hang out with family, and then wait some more.  Sure, I'm still a huge golf fan and it's great to be able to play a few rounds and even watch the British Open from the Old Course at St. Andrews. 

    But there's nothing--and I mean NOTHING--going on from when the College World Series ends in late June and college football season begins in early September.  If you're a college sports fanatic like me, you can sympathize with my summer issues.

    But then, like an oasis in a dry desert of my summer college football life came ACC Football Kickoff.  It was my chance to finally get a sneak preview of football season.  We actually got to talk about football again!  Hallelujah!

    Players were there, coaches were there, the big wigs from the bowls were there, and even your own Seminoles.com crew was there.  It was the first taste of what's to come in September.  You could tell it's actually close, instead of just hearing and reading about teams.  

    Now I know we're at the point in time when football season never really ends.  There's always some kind of college football news on television or online, but nothing really tangible comes out.  No one has any pads on, there are no actual practices occurring, and most importantly, games are a few months away.

    But not anymore!  

    All that summer speculation finally turned into reality at the Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C.  We got to hear from 24 players and 12 coaches.  And we even got to catch up with former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell, who's doing color commentating for ESPNU now.  (He's excited for the 2010 'Noles, by the way.)

    It was just what the doctor ordered this past weekend: a refreshing remembrance that football is just around the corner.

    As if every Seminole fan needed a reminder, our 'Noles kick off the season against Samford in Tallahassee on September 4th.  

    But what's different about August as opposed to July?  Just remember, fall practice starts on Thursday.  Now it's time to really start getting geared up.

    And if you're like me, it's time to REALLY begin the waiting game.  36 days and counting...

    Courtesy of Todd Archer, Dallas.com

    One player that has looked good early in camp has been backup offensive tackle Alex Barron.

    Picked up from St. Louis in the trade for Bobby Carpenter, Barron has shown more strength than some thought while also displaying some excellent athletic ability. He has long arms, which is a must as a left tackle, and he moves well.

    "I think he's better than we thought he was," executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

    This isn't to say he is pushing Doug Free out of a job. It means the Cowboys will go in with three tackles in which they feel comfortable, however, this things shake out.

    After seeing Flozell Adams for the past seven years, I got used to a high pass set because he is so tall and he had a hard time bending his knees as the years went on. But Barron stays incredibly low in his set for a 6-foot-8 guy.

    "And when he kicks back it's like he's on skates," said guard Montrae Holland, who was Barron's teammate at Florida State.

    The New Orleans Saints have confirmed that they have signed their first round draft pick, cornerback Patrick Robinson of Florida State, to a five-year deal.

    Financial terms of the deal have not been released.

    The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder is expected to be in New Orleans on Friday when the defending Super Bowl champions open camp.

    Robinson became the 6th first round selection to come to terms on Thursday.

    Last season for the Seminoles, Robinson registered 47 tackles and 11 pass deflections.

    Report: Celtics sign Wafer

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    wafer.jpgAccording to multiple reports, the Celtics signed free agent guard Von Wafer for the veteran minimum, adding the shooter that Celtics president Danny Ainge had been eying.

    Citing sources, Hoopsworld reported that the Celtics beat out the Cleveland Cavaliers and several foreign teams for Wafer's services.

    Wafer, 25, is well-traveled. After being drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft by the Lakers, he bounced to the Clippers, Nuggets, Blazers and Rockets. He signed a deal last August to play with Olympiacos in the Greek Euroleague, but was waived in December.

    His strengths since his days at Florida State have been his size (6-feet-5-inches) and his scoring ability. Staying power has been an issue however. The Celtics had shown interest in bringing back Eddie House, but the veteran guard signed a two-year deal with the Miami Heat. Boston is still in the market for a backup big man.

    Is it Al Thornton time?

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    Courtesy of Michael Lee, Washington Post.com

    It's pretty easy to forget about Al Thornton since he barely was around long enough to make a difference for the Washington Wizards last season. He arrived in late February, had some great games followed by some disappearing acts, missed seven games late with a groin injury, then finished quietly.

    The 6-foot-7 Thornton averaged 10.7 points in 24 games with the Wizards last season and is capable of playing at both forward positions, given his strength and physical style of play. But when next season begins, Thornton stands as the most likely candidate to start at small forward with most of the Wizards free agent targets already finding homes.

    "It's a special opportunity for me to come in and prove myself," Thornton said earlier this month. "The starting spot is open and I'm down for the challenge."

    Earlier this week, Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld seemed content entering the season with Thornton, Nick Young and possibly Yi Jianlian carrying the load at small forward. You also have to assume that Kirk Hinrich will get some time there if Coach Flip Saunders ever decides to go with a three-guard set with John Wall and Gilbert Arenas in the back court.

    "We want to get minutes for the players that we currently have under contract," Grunfeld said. "And with players getting a lot of minutes in the backcourt, with Gilbert, John and Kirk, it's going to open up more opportunities for Nick to play there. So we feel that we are covered at that position. At the same time, we are going to keep looking around."

    When the free agent recruiting period began on July 1, the Wizards reached out to the representatives for Josh Howard, Mike Miller, Josh Childress, Ryan Gomes, Travis Outlaw and Rasual Butler, believing that having a veteran wing player was important for the makeup of the team. But in the weeks that have followed, Miller decided to join LeBron James in taking his talents to South Beach (for five-years, $25-million), Childress went to Phoenix after a sign-and-trade deal with Atlanta (for five-years, $34-million) Gomes signed with the Clippers (three-years, $12-million), Outlaw moved to New Jersey (for five years, $35-million) and Butler, who snatched up Thornton's minutes last season with the Clippers, reportedly is heading back.

    To read the complete article, click here.

    Courtesy of Andrew Carter, Orlando Sentinel.com

    GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Jimbo Fisher's voice perked up when asked here on Monday about the progress of Florida State's indoor football practice facility.

    "We've made a lot of headway here recently," Fisher said.

    Fisher said there would be some meetings in Tallahassee during the coming days. The focus of those meetings would be about the indoor facility. Needless to say, Fisher is excited about the prospect. The university's original feasibility study for the facility discovered that it would cost approximately $25 million.

    Since then, though, plans have been scaled back. Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman told the Sentinel in May that current plans place the cost of the structure at around $16 million. Fisher confirmed on Monday at the annual Atlantic Coast Conference media days that the indoor practice facility would be for football only.

    "I think it's important," Fisher said. "I really do. Like for instance the first year we were here [in 2007], we played Clemson - for four straight days, we can't walk outside. I sit inside and do walk-throughs for four straight days before we played. I mean, it affects winning and losing ... it's not just rain, it's the lightning.

    "Because you're in the lightning capital of the world."

    But, from the sound of it, help could be on the way.

    Courtesy of Ryan Fagan, SportingNews.com

    GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Get ready for the intensity of two Florida State-Miami showdowns this fall.

    The first is a certainty -- Oct. 9 at Miami -- and the second is a very real possibility -- Dec. 4 at Charlotte for the ACC championship.

    "Every year Florida State is a good game," Miami defensive tackle Allen Bailey said Sunday at the ACC Football Kickoff. "Always ends up as a thriller somehow. Every year we play them with a lot of intensity." Three reasons the ACC will get its first Florida State-Miami title game:

    -- The quarterbacks. Jacory Harris (Miami) and Christian Ponder (Florida State) are experienced and capable of carrying their offenses.

    -- The maturity. This is Miami coach Randy Shannon's fourth season -- he spent much of the first three instilling discipline in a squad that now has many veterans.

    -- The continuity. After a couple seasons as coach-in-waiting at Florida State, Jimbo Fisher takes over in what he expects to be a seamless transition.

    Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/college-football/article/2010-07-25/acc-football-kickoff-fsu-miami-make-sense-for-title-tilt#ixzz0vAgSjIJ8

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Florida State Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder and defensive tackle Everett Dawkins talked with the media about the upcoming season, Ponder's Heisman campaign and the changes that Coach Fisher has brought to Florida State.

    Florida State Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo and linebacker Mark Herzlich talked with the media about the upcoming season, Herzlich's return from bone cancer and being the darkhorse in the ACC Atlantic.

    Boston College Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo and linebacker Mark Herzlich talked with the media about the upcoming season, Herzlich's return from bone cancer and being the darkhorse in the ACC Atlantic.

    Boston College Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Clemson Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Clemson offensive tackle Chris Hairston and safety DeAndre McDaniel talked with the media about the upcoming season, the return of Kyle Parker and replacing C.J. Spiller.

    Clemson Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Duke Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Duke center Bryan Morgan and cornerback Chris Rwabukamba talked with the media about the upcoming season.

    Duke Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Georgia Tech Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Georgia Tech a-back Roddy Jones and defensive end Jason Peters talked with the media about the upcoming season and what it is like to start the season as defending ACC champions.

    Georgia Tech Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Maryland Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith and linebacker Alex Wujciak talked with the media about the upcoming season.

    Maryland Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Miami Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Miami punter Matt Bosher and defensive tackle Allen Bailey talked with the media about the upcoming season and the Florida State rivalry.

    Miami Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates and defensive end Robert Quinn talked with the media about the upcoming season and the high expectations for the Carolina defense.

    North Carolina Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - NC State Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    NC State wide receiver Owen Spencer and linebacker Nate Irving talked with the media about the upcoming season and Irving discussed his comeback from a season-ending injury last year.

    NC State Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Virginia Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Virginia quarterback Marc Verica and cornerback Ras-I Dowling talked with the media about the upcoming season and the changes they expect under first-year coach Mike London.

    Virginia Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor and defensive tackle John Graves talked with the media about the upcoming season and what it feels like to be an underdog in their opener against Boise State.

    Virginia Tech Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    2010 ACC Kickoff Podcast - Wake Forest Players

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    Get geared up for football season with podcasts from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC.

    Wake Forest running back Josh Adams and center Russell Nenon talked with the media about the upcoming season and what it will be like to play without Riley Skinner.

    Wake Forest Player Interviews ACC Football Kickoff 2010

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Sometimes You Just Have To Throw Down

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    Miami's Randy Shannon

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    - Shannon talked extensively about the Miami-FSU rivalry, and how it's a great, friendly rivalry for college football 


    - It'll be different without Bobby Bowden, but he's excited to coach against Jimbo Fisher, who he believes will do a great job in Tallahassee


    - This is not a make-or-break year for Jacory Harris, and he believes that Harris has grown under Mark Whipple


    - Shannon says that the schedule is just what Miami does, and they're not afraid to schedule tough teams


    - Miami has always scheduled tough teams out of conference, and he says "That's what college football is all about"


    - He said that since he's been a head coach, this is the best defense he's had


    - When asked about ESPN's documentary "It's All About the U," Shannon said it was great for the program, and it was great for their team's recruiting 


    - Shannon talked about the depth of his running back position and how it should be a strength of their offense this season


    - He talked about some of the offensive line moves they've made, moving guards to offensive tackles


    - Shannon likes Ponder as a quarterback


    - Jacory Harris' thumb is completely fine according to Shannon


    - He mentioned how nice it is that LB Colin McCarthy is finally healthy and ready to go for this season, especially as the unquestioned leader on the defense


    - He closed with mentioning how Miami does a lot of teaching in Coral Gables, from compliance, to law enforcement, and other ways of keeping his players grounded



    That's all for Randy Shannon today, and we've only got one more interview to close out ACC Football Kickoff with UVA's Mike London coming in next. 

    Frank Beamer Discusses the Hokies

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    - Beamer was surprised that his team was picked to win the ACC Championship in the preseason voting, because there are so many good teams in the ACC


    - He said any team can win this league, and he "really appreciates the respect"


    - But he said it ultimately comes down to each week and putting your best foot forward


    - He's looking forward to opening up with Boise State, but he knows it's going to be a tough game because of the talent that the Broncos return


    - Beamer said that they've had a tough time being consistent the past few years, and now they've got good perimeter play


    - Tyrod Taylor is a dynamic quarterback


    - He's very pleased with the running back tandem that he has this year in Darren Evans and Ryan Williams, both of whom are 1000 yard rushers


    - "The challenge is seeing how quickly we can become good"


    - Beamer said they never back away from the ultimate goal of winning a national championship


    - Replacing some of his defensive personnel is the biggest issue right now for the Hokies



    Frank Beamer is now done, and Randy Shannon from Miami is up next.  

    North Carolina's Butch Davis

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    North Carolina head coach Butch Davis was the next to address the media after a brief break here in Greensboro.  Here's what he had to say.


    - Coach Davis began with an opening statement about his NCAA review and the agent controversy surrounding UNC


    - He was asked a lot of questions about agents and whether or not they should have contact with student-athletes


    - UNC was picked to finish 4th in the Coastal Division


    - Butch Davis thinks that the ACC has become a very strong conference, and he says it might be the most competitive conference in the nation


    - Davis has not addressed his team about the agent controversy, but he will talk to them next week before camp begins, and will re-assure them to do the right things 


    - Davis believes that the past 2 years have been a great learning experience for QB T.J. Yates, and he believes that Yates has learned and will play more efficiently and smart in 2010


    - Davis said it was definitely "odd" seeing Jimbo Fisher here at ACC Kickoff instead of Bobby Bowden, and that it will be different not having him on the sidelines this season


    - Bowden was an idol to Davis as a young coach, and he really looked up to him 


    - He's excited to match up against an SEC team (LSU) to begin the season in Atlanta


    - Davis was asked numerous questions about NCAA allegations, but cannot answer many of them due to NCAA rules and ongoing investigations


    - Davis believes that defensive team speed will be one of the team's greatest assets this year, and they've never had this sort of depth in the secondary and linebacker position



    That's all for Butch Davis, and we'll have Frank Beamer from Virginia Tech up next. 

    Georgia Tech- Paul Johnson

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    - Paul Johnson is excited to have Josh Nesbitt back, and believes he's a great leader and all-around great football player


    - Al Groh has a lot of energy and enthusiasm as the new Tech defensive coordinator, and Johnson hopes he'll help the team out immensely..."it was a great match"


    - His team is excited to come back in the fall after winning an ACC Championship last year


    - Johnson mentioned how good Christian Ponder is, and how he deserves the preseason ACC player of the year award


    - Johnson is more concerned about the first game of the season against South Carolina State and is not looking forward to any other big ACC games until those arrive


    - His goal is to get better on defense, which he says his team was not good at in 2009


    - Johnson likes that Georgia Tech is one of the most feared teams to play in the ACC every week


    - The nature of the Tech offense gives wide receivers chances to shine, much like Demaryius Thomas did the past few years



    Paul Johnson is through and Frank Spaziani is up next from Boston College. 

    Ralph Friedgen Recap

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    - Ralph Friedgen said that Coach Bowden always had something interesting to say to him before and after each game, and he'll miss the camaraderie with him


    - He says he's defense is inexperienced, but they should have a good opportunity to be successful this year


    - He doesn't think that his team is a 2-10 caliber team


    - Friedgen was asked about Athletics Director Debbie Yow leaving Maryland moving to NC State, and he said that it's very important that Maryland get not only the right A.D., but the right new University President as well


    - He mentioned that Torrey Smith is an unbelievable athlete, and he is equally if not more successful off the field..."If I had 85 Torrey Smiths, I'd have a very easy job"


    - He expects his team to go to a bowl game in 2010



    That's all for Ralph Friedgen and Paul Johnson is up next from Georgia Tech.

    Wake Forest's Jim Grobe

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    - "It's time to move past the Riley Skinner era," and Grobe feels like his team will move on


    - He said his quarterbacks in the spring were like "deer in headlghts" because they didn't have Riley Skinner to turn to


    - Grobe feels like Josh Adams is posed for a big year, and he said that they should have run Adams a lot more in 2009


    - His football team is not a happy group of campers, because they missed a bowl game for the first time in 4 years


    - The last time Wake was picked last in the preseason polls, they won the ACC, so Grobe joked about being somewhat upset about being picked 5th in the Atlantic instead of 6th


    - Grobe said his defense needs to improve this year for his team to be successful, they need to force more turnovers


    - And his offense needs to get better in the red zone, and his team didn't make enough plays in the 4th quarter


    - "I love Bobby Bowden, and Mickey Andrews has given us the most problems of anyone because of his blitzing, attacking style"


    - "I was more nervous about playing Bobby Bowden than anyone else"


    - He believes that Wake will be a much better defensive football team


    - He mentioned how excited to go to Blacksburg and play Virginia Tech this fall



    John Swofford will be up next, and we'll have more to come from the Grandover Resort on this final day of ACC Football Kickoff. 

    Dabo Swinney Recap

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    - Swinney is not concerned about preseason rankings, it's about how his team finishes 


    - He wasn't surprised that Parker decided to come back this coming season to play football


    - Parker has a lot of respect from his teammates


    - Swinney really likes Taj Boyd, but having the leadership from Parker back is huge for his team this fall


    - He hopes that Parker can lead the Tigers to Charlotte for the ACC Championship


    - De'Andre McDaniel "epitomizes the word 'football player'"


    - Swinney says that McDaniel can anticipate plays and "play a lot faster than he really is"


    - He's a very physical football player, a rare breed at safety with tremendous ball-hawking skills


    - According to Swinney, McDaniel has made great strides off the field, and that he's much more than just a football player as he'll graduate in December


    - "Coach Bowden has been coaching a long time, longer than I am old, and a lot of people miss him, and I certainly will miss him on the opposite sideline, what a thrill for me to coach against a man like that and get to know him"


    - "I hope that I can do half of what he's done in the fashion he did it in"


    - Swinney has a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Bowden


    - Swinney has a team on the same page and feels comfortable where they're at


    - Swinney can't believe how this agent issue is a such a big problem, because of the compliance that each school has, and he has full confidence in his team that they will not make that mistake



    Jim Grobe from Wake Forest is up next. 

    Jimbo Fisher Addresses the Media

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    - Jimbo Fisher noted how different it is to be at ACC kickoff when the media asked him about Coach Bowden


    - Fisher believes that Ponder will be one of the best QB's to ever play at FSU, and that athletically he's a gifted young man, but everything together, "He's what the NCAA stands for...the true student-athlete....he embodies athletics"


    - Fisher is anxious to have those 29 practices


    - "We've got to concentrate on how to win...if the process is right, the results will be there"


    -  The key for being a head coach is time allotment, according to Fisher


    - Ponder doesn't play the game worrying about being injured, and Fisher loves Ponder's competitive spirit


    - "I'm more interested in us playing hard...when expectations come, expectations don't win games"


    - "Do we prepare to have success?"


    - Bobby Bowden was a master of interviews, and the "class and dignity and his people skills were as fine as we've ever seen"


    - Jimbo Fisher has known Coach Bowden since the mid-1980's, and he even used to go stay over at his house


    - A lot is being made of Coach Fisher making the transition from offensive coordinator to head coach, and he has had the media laughing quite a few times


    - Fisher praised Everett Dawkins and his natural leading ability and he has been very pleased with Dawkins' progress since last fall


    - Fisher is looking forward to his 29 practices in the fall


    - He also praised Mark Stoops, and said that Mickey Andrews was "one of the best defensive coordinators in college football history"


    - Stoops has had a good background, and his players "always get results"


    - He also mentioned that Mister Alexander very well might be one of the starting linebackers in the fall


    - Fisher had a great conversation with the media and they all seemed to really enjoy him



    Dabo Swinney from Clemson is up next... 

    NC State's Tom O'Brien

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    Slight change in plans, Tom O'Brien will be going before Jimbo Fisher, so here's what NC State's head coach had to say to the media.

    - Tom O'Brien noted how different ACC Kickoff is without Coach Bowden, but that Jimbo Fisher will do a great job this year for Florida State


    - He's excited to have Russell Wilson back at QB, saying "He understood what he wanted to do...we're looking forward to getting him back on the football field"


    - "But I'm not going to count on him being here another year," meaning Russell Wilson will probably only have one year left


    - O'Brien noted the great QB's coming back in the ACC, and how it's a good thing for the conference 


    - He mentioned how huge it was for Nate Irving to be back at linebacker for the Wolfpack


    - "He'll be one of the happiest guys on the football field this year, he and Mark Herzlich both," noting that Irving feels very lucky and blessed just to be able to play football again


    - O"Brien likes what he sees out of Christian Ponder, saying he's a "very smart individual" and "he has very good ability throwing the football," saying he deserved the honor


    - A lot is still being made of the agent controversy, and O'Brien feels that the agents need to stop making contact with the players


    - NC State has a new defensive coordinator in John Tenuta, and he has "great experience and will be a great aid to us"


    - O'Brien joked about wanting an average year, one in which he doesn't have as many injuries as every other year


    - His team expects to having a "winning season and go to to a bowl game for sure"


    - When asked about the possibility of not having hitting during practice, O'Brien feels strongly that you need to have hitting during practice to simulate gamedays. 



    Jimbo Fisher is up next...

    Getting Ready for Coaches Interviews

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    We've reached Monday afternoon and all 12 ACC coaches are about to address the media.  The Seminoles.com team will be providing recaps of each 14 minute interview during this afternoon's sessions.

    And up first, none other than Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher.  

    Stay tuned, Seminole fans!

    Ponder Named ACC Preseason Player Of The Year

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    GREENSBORO, N.C. - Once again Florida State football was the ACC Football Kickoff media's choice to win the Atlantic Division and advance to the league championship game.

    The Seminoles garnered 78 first place votes from a record 98 votiers at the Grandover Resort. Monday's announcement marked the 18th time in 19 seasons of Atlantic Coast Conference membership that Florida State was selected to win either the division or outright league title.

    Florida State senior quarterback Christian Ponder was the runaway winner in preseason balloting for ACC Player of the Year honors. Ponder collected 45 votes and easily out-distanced Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams (16).

    "It's all expectation and it creates a different perspective on how you deal with having success," first-year coach FSU Jimbo Fisher said of the media vote. "I guess we're always going to be there. I don't put a lot of stock in [preseason polls] all the time because each team has its own personality."

    Fisher said he does appreciate the fact that the Seminoles enter the 2010 season as the divisional favorite, despite coming off a 7-6 season.

    "I think that's good," Fisher said. "Some people say, `Well, that high expectations.' That's what you want. You want expectations. You can't run from expectations, but you learn how to deal with it and remember that expectation doesn't win a game. It's what you do on the field, how you play and how you prepare to play. That's the message I still want to make sure we send; that we prepare to have success and we follow the process the results will be there."

    Virginia Tech was selected as both the favorite to win the Coastal Division and defeat Florida State at the December 4 ACC Championship game, which will be played in Charlotte, N.C. for the first time.

    Ponder said winning an ACC championship is something he expected to do - more than once - in his Florida State career.

    "It is where we want to be," Ponder said. "Our whole goal is to reach that ACC Championship game and win it all. That's why I'm here at Florida State, to win it all."

    The Colleyville, Texas native admitted he was a bit surprised to be tabbed as a heavy favorite to capture Player of the Year honors. Quarterback Chris Weinke was the last FSU player to claim the honor at the conclusion of the 2000 season.

    "I was a little surprised with all the great players in the ACC, especially at quarterback," said Ponder. "I definitely have to prove it. That's going to be extra motivation, that all these people have high expectations. I have high expectations myself. I just have to make sure I prepare myself and work hard to fulfill those expectations."

    Fisher echoed Ponder's feelings. 

    "I think it's a great tribute to him and a well-deserved one," Fisher said. "That's another stepping stone and learning tool for him: How do you deal with expectation? You were not supposed to be the guy and you went out and developed into the guy. Now, `How do I deal with having high expectations for being a great player?' I think he'll keep it in perspective and just play. If the team wins, he'll get those awards."

     

    Atlantic Division

    1. Florida State (78)...... 565

    2. Clemson (16)........... 479

    3. Boston College (4)..... 389

    4. NC State................. 283

    5. Wake Forest............ 203

    6. Maryland................ .139

    Coastal Division

    1. Virginia Tech (62)......532

    2. Miami (20).............. 444

    3. Georgia Tech (11)......408

    4. North Carolina (5)......379

    5. Duke..................... 169

    6. Virginia.................. 126

     

    ACC Championship Votes

    1. Virginia Tech........... 50

    2. Florida State......... ... 26

    3. Miami.................... 10

    4. Georgia Tech............8

    5. Boston College (tie).....2

       North Carolina......... 2

     

     

    ACC Player of the Year

    1.     Christian Ponder, Florida State............ 45

    2.     Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech............. 16

    3.     Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech............... 11

    4.     Russell Wilson, NC State..................... 6

    Robert Quinn, North Carolina............... 6

    6.     Joshua Nesbitt, Georgia Tech............... 4

    7.     Kyle Parker, Clemson........................ .3

    8.     Mark Herzlich, Boston College............. .2

    Jacory Harris, Miami......................... .2

    10.  Montel Harris, Boston College......... .... 1

    Darren Evans, Virginia Tech................ 1

    Bruce Carter, North Carolina................ 1

     

    ACC Championship Game Predictions

    1.     Virginia Tech over FSU..................... 35

    2.     Virginia Tech over Clemson.................13

    3.     Florida State over Virginia Tech............11

    4.     Florida State over Miami..................... 10

    5.     Miami over Florida State................... 9

    6.     Georgia Tech over Florida State............ 7

    7.     Florida State over North Carolina......... 3

    8.     Virginia Tech over Boston College....... 2

    Florida State over Georgia Tech........... 2

    10.Miami over Clemson.................. 1

    Georgia Tech over Clemson............... 1

    Boston College over Georgia Tech........ 1

    Boston College over Virginia Tech........ 1

    North Carolina over Florida State......... 1

    North Carolina over Clemson......            1                        

    ACC Football Kickoff Photo Gallery

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    Photo Gallery


    The first day of the ACC Football Kickoff is in the books and Seminoles.com was there to cover all of the excitement.  Check out a few of the pictures below from todays action and make sure to click on the link above for the entire photo gallery.

    Miami Hurricanes Talk to the Media

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    After the Cavaliers spoke to the media, it was the Miami Hurricanes' turn as the final player interviews for Sunday.


    Here's what Allen Bailey and Matt Bosher had to say.


    - Allen Bailey discussed how Randy Shannon keeps them grounded in terms of agents and access to agents.


    - Bosher said Shannon stressed compliance rules, and that they have many meetings a year to tell the players what they can and cannot do


    - Bailey said that the FSU-Miami rivalry is one of the best in the nation, and that each team has mutual respect for one another


    - Bosher said that the documentary "It's All About the U" was very entertaining and showed the history of the program


    - Both players are excited to go up to Ohio State and play the Buckeyes in the beginning of the season, and it will mean a lot of the ACC and will be a challenge for their team


    - According to Bailey, "We're up for the challenge"


    - Miami has a tough schedule, but Bosher says that you come to Miami to play the big teams, that's what they do at Miami: "Show what we're all about"


    - Bailey discussed the depth on Miami's defense and how that will benefit their season this year


    - Bosher said that everyone talks about Miami "being back," but he says Coach Shannon has done a great job making Miami "What it should be"


    - They're a tight-knit group, and now he believes they can take it to the next level this year


    - Bosher said special teams plays a big role in the FSU-Miami series: big returns, punts, kicks, etc.


    - Special teams is the one thing that sets the teams apart in the series


    - The media asked about the UNC-Miami games, and why UNC has had success


    - Bailey and Bosher responded by saying that this year is a different year


    - Bailey believes that this is the best defense Miami has had since he's been at Miami



    That's all for todays' interviews.  Make sure you stay with Seminoles.com later for much more video content as well as an all new edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    NC State Interview Recap

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    Nate Irving and Owen Spencer are the representatives for the NC State Wolfpack, and here's a recap of what they had to say to the electronic media here at the Grandover Resort. 


    - A lot is being made of Nate Irving's recovery, and how good it is to see him here at ACC Kickoff


    - Owen Spencer was asked a lot about penalties, and how important they are to the success that the Wolfpack hopes to have


    - Reporters are asking a lot of questions about the agent controversy, and both players from NC State say they rely heavily upon their complicance officers at the school and they are aware of what they can and cannot do as football players


    - Spencer says that their coaches harp on the situation


    - Spencer was asked about playing FSU, and noted that he had a lot of success against the Noles, so he hopes they don't change too much defensively under Coach Stoops


    - Nate Irving realizes that he could have died in his automobile accident, so he knows how lucky he is to be alive and take every moment in football seriously...not taking anything for granted


    - Players know that the running game is the core of their offense, and they have to learn to work around it so they can be more successful this year


    - Spencer said that Russell Wilson is an unbelievable athlete to play both baseball and football, and trusts him as the Wolfpack's starting QB again this season


    - They know they'll get "all of Russell Wilson" back this year, according to Owen Spencer


    - Spencer believes that Russell Wilson is the top QB in the nation


    - Nate Irving says it was very tough to watch his team while he couldn't play last year, knowing he could have helped


    - Irving also talked about new defensive coordinator John Tenuta, and how he's helped him out learning the game of football more


    That's all for the Wolfpack, and we've got the Virginia Cavaliers coming in next. 

    North Carolina Interviews- Yates and Quinn

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    TJ Yates and Robert Quinn are the representatives for the Tar Heels at ACC Kickoff.  Here's what they had to say.



    - The mood on campus for UNC is that they're excited to get back to training camp, trying to focus on football


    - TJ Yates says it's tough not to know what is going to happen, and that the distractions are there to lead them away from football, and that they can't let that happen


    - Robert Quinn knows they have a big season coming up and have to stay focused on it


    - Yates believes that last season's struggles are motivation for this season, because the defense got them out of jams, but the offense should play a much larger role for next season.


    - Yates has taken a lot of heat because of his erratic play, but knows it comes with the quarterback position


    - The big game against LSU to start the season is a great test for the Tar Heels, and Robert Quinn is very excited for the challenge


    - It's a special opportunity for Yates to play in the Georgia Dome, because he's from Atlanta


    - He's never gotten the chance to play there, and believes that LSU is very similar to UNC's defense


    - Robert Quinn is excited to play Clemson, since he's from the state of South Carolina


    - Quinn says he's handling the agent controversy as best he can


    - Yates was also asked about Dean Smith and his meaning to UNC, and both players noted how important he was to the school


    That's all for the Tar Heels today, and NC State is up next...


    Virginia Tech Recap

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    Virginia Tech is up next with Tyrod Taylor and John Graves.


    - Taylor said that his career went by very fast, and this is one of the most excited teams since he's been here.


    - The Hokies are looking very forward to that first game of the year against Boise State


    - He thinks that it sets the standard for the rest of the season


    - He said they'll play hard every game, no matter what


    - The running backs will be a big strength for the Hokies this year.


    - John Graves said he's feeling fully healthy for this year


    - Tyrod Taylor said Ponder does a great job of getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers


    - The Hokies' main goal is to take one game at a time and ultimately win the national championship


    - Taylor said that both Darren Evans and Ryan Williams present big matchup issues for defenses in the backfield


    - He also believe that Evans is back at full speed after his ACL tear


    - Graves hopes that the ACC will be well represented to begin the year with some tough non-conference games


    - Graves has seen a lot of Boise State's offense and hopes his team will be prepared for the challenge on September 4th


    That's all for the Hokies today and North Carolina is up next. 

    Boston College Interviews

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    Boston College's Anthony Castonzo and Mark Herzlich spoke to the media after the Noles.  Here's the best of what they had to say.


    - Mark Herzlich is one of the biggest story lines of the ACC kickoff


    - He mentioned NC State's Nate Irving also coming back from a devastating injury


    - Herzlich expects himself to be the best he can be


    - He has embraced the role of being a cancer spokesman


    - Herzlich said that it was often "embarrassing" to go through cancer


    - But the road to recovery has been great, and that he can share his message with the world


    - Herzlich noted the humanitarian work the ACC has done over the past year for him and the cancer struggle


    - Castonzo said that Herzlich has been a great story for his team to rely behind


    - Castonzo believes that their camaraderie makes their offensive line great, and they're all seniors, so they should be a great unit in 2010


    - Castonzo noted that the game against FSU this year should be a great game, and that they love going down to Tallahassee to play the Seminoles


    -They both want to play Virginia Tech more than any other team, because they've taken "2 rings off my finger," according to Castonzo


    - Needless to say, they're fired up to play the Hokies this year


    - Herzlich said that now he can "handle anything that's thrown at me"


    We're now on a 20 minute break and we'll be back with Wake Forest. 

    Florida State Interviews- Ponder and Dawkins

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    Florida State's Christian Ponder and Everett Dawkins were fifth to talk to the media on Sunday afternoon, and here are the major highlights from what the two Seminoles had to say.


    - Ponder said that Coach Bowden was the biggest reason that he came to Florida State


    - He always feels that it's a blessing to play for Coach Bowden, but Coach Fisher has stepped into the role nicely, and he expects big things from the Noles this year.


    - But it's always tough to see Coach Bowden leave, a tough loss for college football as a whole


    - Everett Dawkins likes the new scheme and he likes Coach Mark Stoops


    - Dawkins notices the level of intensity is different between Coach Andrews and Coach Stoops


    - Ponder notices that the transition between Coach Bowden and Coach Fisher has been easy


    - Ponder says that "hype" doesn't mean much until you step on the field, and that he puts a lot of pressure on himself anyways, so he's trying to have fun with the Heisman campaign process


    - Dawkins believes that the coaching staff will help the Noles get back to national prominence


    - Ponder says that getting both FSU and Miami back to the top will be great for the conference, but that there is a lot of parody in the conference.


    - Dawkins says that other than Ponder, Ryan Mallett is his favorite quarterback in the nation


    - He alos noted the more zone scheme that Coach Stoops has brought in


    - Ponder says that the agent problem is not a problem unless "we make it a problem," and that it's not a problem for the team


    - Dawkins says that the spring really prepared the defense, but by game 1 or 2, all the corrections should be made and they should be ready to go "full speed"


    - Running the zone scheme has helped Ponder, by seeing different looks that they'll notice all throughout the ACC


    - The defense improved a lot during the 14 spring practices


    - Dawkins says that the offensive line is fast, and faster than anyone thinks they are


    - Dawkins says that everyone is happy for the Heisman campaign that Ponder is going through


    - Ponder talked about the overall offensive depth


    - He also said that Coach Fisher demands a lot out of the team


    - When asked about Tim Tebow, Ponder said he was a great competitor, and it'll make the Florida game more interesting, but that John Brantley will be a good quarterback for the Gators


    Boston College is up next...

    Here are some of the highlights from McDaniel and Hairston's interviews here in Greensboro at the Grandover Resort.

    - McDaniel was very pleased to hear that Kyle Parker decided to come back to play football.


    - While he believes that Taj Boyd is ready, Parker is the leader of their team


    - McDaniel says it's going to be different without Bobby Bowden on the sidelines, and that he was a great man


    - Hairston knows that CJ Spiller was a great athlete, and this year is going to be more of a conventional running attack with Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper


    - A lot has returned from the 2009 team, and this year McDaniel wants to get back to the ACC Championship


    - McDaniel says that last year's Ponder injury was just a football play, and that they won't hold grudges against each other for it.


    - Chris Hairston believes that toughness won't be an issue for their offensive line, but that in years past, toughness has been an issue for the Tigers


    - McDaniel said they have to treat everyone like a "top-10 opponent," and that no team will be easy on their schedule.


    - Florida State and Clemson has become a big rivalry, and every year is going to be a great game--that's what rivalry is all about


    - Everyone around Clemson seems to be very happy that Kyle Parker is back, after turning down millions of dollars to play baseball for the Rockies.


    - McDaniel knows that winning is going to take a complete team effort and that Clemson is going to give it their all to be the #1 defense in the nation


    - "The Sky is the Limit" for Clemson this year, according to McDaniel


    Duke is up next, followed by Florida State's Everett Dawkins and Christian Ponder. 


    Georgia Tech Recap

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    Roddy Jones and Jason Peters were up next at the ACC player interviews, and here were some of the highlights.

    Jason Peters and Roddy White said how big the Virginia Tech game will be for them


    - Jones says that the Yellow Jackets still have a chip on their shoulders, and still feel like the underdog


    - Losing Demaryius Thomas will be a big loss, but Jones believes they still have plenty of playmakers at wide receiver


    - Both players believe that coach Paul Johnson has a lot of confidence in his team on 4th down.


    - Georgia Tech does a great job of keeping their players grounded, and not many players get in trouble around their athletics program


    - A lot is being made of the NFL agent controversy, as well as Twitter updates


    - An ACC Championship is the main goal for the Yellow Jackets


    - Roddy Jones knows how tough it is to prepare for their offense in such a short amount of time, knowing that they will come at you "at 100 miles per hour"


    - Tech is preparing for a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Al Groh


    - Jason Peters believes that they'll have some great things prepared for this season


    - Jones mentioned how big the Georgia Tech-Clemson game is every season, a tough 4-quarter ball game.



    That's it for the Yellow Jackets, and Clemson is up next.



    Maryland Interviews

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    We spoke with Maryland's Alex Wujciak and Torrey Smith to begin the Sunday afternoon interviews, and here were some of the highlights.

    - Wujciak believes that Georgia Tech is the team to beat in the ACC

    - Both players are happy to see Mark Herzlich back for Boston College

    - Torrey Smith believes it's going to be interesting without Mickey Andrews coaching on the FSU sidelines

    - When asked about the best players under the radar in the ACC, Wujciak noted both Rodney Hudson and Andrew Datko, as well as Boston College's Anthony Castonzo

    - Smith believes that Da'Quan Bowers possesses unbelievable speed for a defensive end

    - Both players are excited to start the season and believe that Maryland could be one of those sleeper teams in the ACC


    Georgia Tech is up next, with Jason Peters and Roddy Jones.

    We're Officially Underway

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    The group pictures have been taken, lunch is finished, and we've finally started player interviews.

    First up for the Seminoles.com team are Maryland's Alex Wucjiak and Torrey Smith.  We'll have complete coverage of every interview this afternoon, and we'll start with Maryland...

    Are you ready for some football?

    Record Crowd Expected at the Grandover

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    More than 302 members of the media have registered for the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff with approximately 500 total people in attendance which will set an attendance record for the ACC Football Kickoff.  Below are a list of media attendees from recent Kickoffs.  The numbers below are media only and do not include all credentialed participants (bowls, coaches, players, staff).  The total credentialed attendees this year is in excess of 470.

    Year     Media     Total Attendees     Site
    2010     303          474                       The Grandover, Greensboro, N.C.
    2009     265          368                       The Grandover, Greensboro, N.C.
    2008     175          272                       Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, N.C.
    2007     218          344                       Pinehurst, The Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
    2006     168          317                       Sawgrass Resort, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
    2005     186          342                       The Homestead, Hot Springs, Va.
    2004      223         377                       The Grandover, Greensboro, N.C.
    The past five years, the ACC has led the nation in graduation percentage and the past four years in the APR.  That trend should continue as Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder leads a total of 56 ACC players who will be playing football this fall after earning their college degrees.  Of course, very few, if any collegians could keep up with the FSU signal caller from Colleyville, Texas, who will begin this fall with two college degrees including an MBA he will receive this August.  Ponder will be doing graduate work in FSU's Sports Management school this fall.

    My Hometown, My State

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    One of Clemson's standouts attending the Kickoff, DeAndre McDaniel, hails from Tallahassee, Fla., home of course to the Florida State Seminoles.  But one of FSU's Kickoff attendees, sophomore defensive tackle Everett Dawkins is from Spartanburg, S.C., fully within the shadows of Clemson.  Of the 24 student-athletes at this year's Kickoff, four are from North Carolina and Virginia, three are from Georgia while two are from South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida with one each from Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and of course one from Canada.
    The Atlantic Coast Conference faces the most difficult schedule of any league in the nation this fall and, with five of its own teams in the nation's Top 25, it will play 11 of the other 20 teams in CBSSports.com Top 25.  In all, ACC schools will face the top four teams in the consensus Top 25 in No. 1-ranked Alabama (Duke), 2nd-ranked Ohio State (Miami), 3rd-ranked Boise State (Virginia Tech) and 4th-ranked Florida (Florida State), as well as 9th-ranked Oklahoma (Florida State), No. 11 Southern California (Virginia), No. 18 Pittsburgh (Miami), No. 19 LSU (North Carolina), No. 21 Auburn (Clemson), No. 23 Georgia (Georgia Tech) and No. 24 West Virgina (Maryland).  
    Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com ranked five ACC teams in his consensus Top 25 Preseason college football rankings which utilized the preseason rankings of four magazines - The Sporting News, Phil Steele, Athlon and Yahoo Sports, as well as his own post-spring Top 25.  Only the SEC had more schools ranked (6).  Virginia Tech was the highest ACC team, ranked 10th followed by Miami (14th), Florida State (15th), North Carolina (17th) and Georgia Tech (20th).  Clemson ranked among teams receiving votes in the compilation and this was before Tiger QB Kyler Parker made his decision to return to play football this fall.

    The ACC Is Being Watched Nationally

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    With 13 of its standouts selected to the Lombardi Award and Nagurski Award Preseason Watch Lists, 11 on the Outland Trophy Preseason Watch List, six on the Rimington Award Watch list and five on the Davey O'Brien Award Watch List, the Atlantic Coast Conference is getting quite a bit of preseason recognition.  No fewer than 11 of those honorees are at this weekend's 2010 ACC Football Kickoff:

    Kickoff Attendees on National Watch Lists:
    Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College (Lombardi, Outland)
    Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College (Lombardi, Nagurski)
    DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson (Nagurski)
    Bryan Morgan, C, Duke (Rimington)
    Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State (O'Brien, Manning)
    Alex Wukciak, LB, Maryland (Nagurski, Lombardi)
    Allen Bailey, DT-DE, Miami (Nagurski, Lombardi)
    Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina (Nagurski, Lombardi)
    Nate Irving, LB, NC State (Lombardi)
    Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech (O'Brien)
    Russell Nenon, C, Wake Forest (Rimington)

    Toughest Non-Conference Slate In The Land

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    Sporting News college football writer Matt Hayes recently ranked the most difficult non-conference football schedules in both the Atlantic Coast Conference and the nation. Florida State emerged as Hayes' No. 1 choice in both categories, thanks in large part to a schedule which includes a trip to Oklahoma and home dates against BYU and Florida. Here's a look at Hayes' Top 10 with some bonus perspective, including the 2009 records and returning starters for all of the BCS opponents:

    1. Florida State: Samford (5-6/FCS); at Oklahoma (8-5/11 rs); BYU (11-2/11 rs); Florida (13-1/10 rs). Combined 2009 record: 37-14 (.725). Returning starters (BCS only): 32.

     

    2. Miami: Florida A&M (8-3/FCS); at Ohio State (11-2/14); at Pitt (10-3/11); USF (8-5/10). Combined record: 37-13 (.740). Returning starters: 35.

     

    3. Oklahoma: Utah State (4-8/11); Florida State (7-6/16); Air Force (8-5/10); at Cincinnati (12-1/11). Combined record: 31-20. Returning starters: 48.

     

    4. Pittsburgh: at Utah (10-3/10); New Hampshire (10-3/FCS); Miami (9-4/13); FIU (3-9/7); Notre Dame (6-6/12). Combined record: 38-25 (.717). Returning starters: 42.

     

    5. Oregon State: vs. TCU (12-1/16); Louisville (4-8/12); at Boise State (14-0/18).

    Combined record: 30-9 (.769). Returning starters: 46.

     

    6. UCLA: at Kansas State (6-6/10); Houston (10-4/13); at Texas (13-1/10).

    Combined record: 29-11 (725). Returning starters: 33.

     

    7. Washington: at BYU (11-2/11); Syracuse (4-8/12); Nebraska (10-4/15).

    Combined record: 25-14 (.641). Returning starters: 38.

     

    8. Colorado: vs. Colorado State (3-9/11); at Cal (8-5/12); Hawaii (6-7/10); Georgia (8-5/12). Combined record: 25-26 (.490). Returning starters: 45.

     

    9. USF: Stony Brook (6-5/FCS); Florida (13-1/10); Western Kentucky (0-12/14); FAU (5-7/10); Miami (9-4/13). Combined record: 33-29 (.532). Returning starters: 47.

     

    10. LSU: vs. North Carolina (8-5/18); West Virginia (9-4/16); McNeese State (9-3/FCS); UL Monroe (6-6/8). Combined record: 32-18 (.640). Returning starters: 42.

    Seminoles As Favorites Again?

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    Lofty expectations follow first-year coach Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles into the 2010 season, which isn't really surprising. Florida State, the consensus favorite to represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship game according to preseason publications, should feel right at home as a marked team. ACC media members have tabbed the 'Noles as either the ACC or Atlantic Division favorite 17 times in 18 seasons of league membership during voting at the annual kickoff event. The lone exception came at the 2008 ACC Kickoff, when FSU was picked to finish third in the Atlantic. Ironically, the 'Noles tied Boston College for the best record in the division, though the Eagles advanced to the ACC title game on a tie-breaker. The 'Noles have responded by capturing 12 ACC titles, the last of which came in 2005. 

    Worth Watching

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    The Seminoles are well-represented on the preseason awards watch lists, led by quarterback Christian Ponder and offensive guard Rodney Hudson. Here's a look at the 'Noles and the postseason awards which have included them on their respective watch lists to date:

    QB Christian Ponder: Davey O'Brien, Unitas Golden Arm, Manning Award

    OG Rodney Hudson: Outland Award, Lombardi Award

    C Ryan McMahon: Rimington Award

    CB/PR Greg Reid: Paul Hornung Award, Mosi Tatupu

    Note: Hudson is a consensus preseason All-American

    At The Root Of It All

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    In their glory days the Washington Redskins' success could be traced to the stellar play of the offensive line, which carried with pride "The Hogs" moniker. Florida State's veteran offensive line doesn't have a nickname, but there is no debating its value to the Seminoles' offensive success. All five starters - LT Andrew Datko, LG Rodney Hudson, C Ryan McMahon, RG David Spurlock and RT Zebrie Sanders - bring a combined 144 career starts back for the 2010 team. Collectively, the entire unit was nominated by league coaches for All-ACC honors in 2009, when the 'Noles averaged 421 ypg. They represent one half of FSU's 10 returning starters on the ACC's second-rated total offense in 20009. Hudson a two-time first-team All-ACC selection (and a second-team choice as a freshman), has a chance to become the first offensive lineman in league history to be earn All-ACC honors four times. McMahon has started every game (39) since his redshirt freshman season and is poised to become FSU's all-time leader for career starts at the end of the 2010 season.

    CP7 Site Has Been A Hit!

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    Senior quarterback Christian Ponder, completely recovered from a shoulder injury that cut short his 2009 campaign, is garnering much attention nationally. One of the nation's leaders in virtually every statistical category prior to his injury, Ponder's exploits on the field and in the classroom are well detailed on the university-backed website www.cp7forheisman.com. Since the July 10 site launch through Friday, July 23 (at 1 p.m.), the site has had 44,705 visits (viewers) from 79 different countries. Even more impressive, it has drawn 32,716 unique viewers, who have totaled 59,090 page views. The top 10 countries for visits are: United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Cayman Islands, Spain, Japan, France, Iraq and South Korea.

    Site visitors can access all of Ponder's on-field exploits, including year-by-year and career statistics, a highlight video and links to a multitude of feature stories and interviews. They can also view a variety of other videos, including one from the Florida State business school, where Ponder has already earned his B.S. in Finance and completed his MBA this past spring. (He is currently working toward a second postgraduate degree in Sport Management).

    The site is updated daily and will continue to provide up-to-the-minute information on the redshirt senior, who recently earned the top rating among all senior quarterbacks in the country by the NFL scouting service.

    Fans can also build their own Ponder screen saver, scan his extensive photo gallery and keep up with him through Twitter and Facebook.

    The collaborative project was put together and is maintained by Seminole ISP Sports and Florida State's digital media and sports information departments, with Old Hat providing the design.

    Fisher Builds Strong Staff

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    First-year head coach Jimbo Fisher didn't waste any time assembling a dynamic coaching staff, which includes five newcomers and a completely overhauled infrastructure. The newcomers include: Associate Head Coach Eddie Gran (special teams coordinator/running backs); Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoops (secondary); Assistant Head Coach/Defense Greg Hudson (linebackers); Recruiting Coordinator Dameyune Craig (quarterbacks) and Defensive Ends Coach D.J. Eliot. They bring a combined 80 years of coaching experience and 34 bowl appearances to the table and join returning assistants James Coley (offensive coordinator), Rick Trickett (assistant head coach/offensive line), Lawrence Dawsey (passing game coordinator/receivers) and Odell Haggins (defensive line).

    Fisher also hired head strength & conditioning coach Vic Viloria, whose football-dedicated staff totals eight and includes nutritional and speed specialists. FSU has also added a dedicated mental conditioning coach to the program.

    New Beginning Vs. Old School

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    When Fisher leads the Seminoles onto the field on Sept. 4 against Samford University it will mark the first time since Nov. 22, 1975 someone other than Bobby Bowden has been at the helm of the Florida State football program.

    Fisher, however, is no stranger to the visiting Bulldogs out of Birmingham, Ala. In 1987, he was Samford's record-setting, starting quarterback and won NCAA Division III National Player of the Year honors during a season when he threw a record 34 touchdown passes. One of the most popular photos in the Fisher family album that season was him sitting on the Samford bench wearing a Florida State baseball cap. A year later, Fisher began his coaching career as a student assistant at Samford, mentoring quarterbacks.

    In a twist of irony, Fisher's first game as a head coach at any level will come against Samford, which turned out another quarterback who earned Little All-American honors as a player for then-Howard College and enjoyed a bit of success at the college level. His name? Bobby Bowden.

    Youth Being Served

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    Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Everett Dawkins is Florida State's defensive representative at the ACC Kickoff and part of the Seminoles' youth movement under Fisher. With just seven career starts under his belt, Dawkins is one of 16 underclassmen (8 each on offense and defense) projected to be in the starting lineup against Samford. That doesn't take into account FSU's specialists; none of which are seniors. With three consecutive top 10 recruiting classes, the Seminoles appear to be on the fast-track to rebuilding their once unmatched depth of talent. FSU's preseason two-deep on offense and defense includes: seven freshmen, 18 sophomores, 14 juniors and just seven seniors.

    Welcome to Greensboro

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    The Seminoles.com team has arrived in Greensboro, N.C. for the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff.  We'll be bringing you complete coverage all throughout the weekend, so make sure you stay tuned to Seminoles.com on the blog, and of course follow us on facebook and twitter.  

    We'll have plenty of video and audio interviews, photo galleries, and much more as we officially kick-off the 2010 football season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Everything gets started on Sunday afternoon with player interviews from all 12 teams.  It's sure to be a fun weekend up here in Greensboro.  

    2010 Florida State Football Outlook: Specialists

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    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    SPECIALISTS

    Sophomore kicker Dustin Hopkins emerged as a significant contributor both offensively and defensively for the Seminoles.  Hopkins became the top-scoring freshman kicker in school history with 97 points and set an FSU bowl record with four field goals against West Virginia.  His 24 touchbacks on kickoffs ranked fourth nationally.

    Junior punter Shawn Powell's first full season as the starter included an impressive 41.6-yard average. He also pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 13 times on 43 punts and contributed significantly to a unit that allowed just 136 punt return yards.  Powell also handled al placement holds for the second consecutive season.

    Greg Reid earned multiple honors for his prowess as a return specialist.  He led the nation in punt returns with an 18.4 average and proved to be a game-changer in late-season wins over Wake Forest and Maryland. Reid was also fourth in the ACC in kickoff returns (25.5 avg).

    Redshirt freshman Chris Revell enters in the fall as the leader to take over the long-snapping duties with competition coming from classmate Philip Doumar.  

    Stay Off Of The Half Pipe Pal

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    Good to see Bryant McFadden back with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Even better to see McFadden wearing the Garnet and Gold as he gets ready for the start of 2010 NFL training camp.

    2010 Florida State Football Outlook: Secondary

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    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    SECONDARY

    Redshirt senior boundary cornerback Ochuko Jenije brings 13 starts and career-highs for tackles (31) and interceptions (4) back for his final year of eligibility.  Jenije is the lone returning starter in a secondary that is making the transition in both scheme and personnel.

    Electric sophomore field corner Greg Reid spent much of the '09 season as a starter in FSU's nickel defense and performed admirably with 23 tackles, two interceptions and six pass break-ups.  Reid's ball instincts fit well with the zone scheme now employed.

    Redshirt junior field corner Dionte Allen registered three pass break-ups in an injury-marred '09 season, which included one start.  Xavier Rhodes is a tall, physical, boundary corner whose skills will allow him to push Jenije.

    FSU signed three cornerbacks in the 2010 class, including touted junior college transfer Mike Harris and USA Today national Defensive Player of the Year Lamarcus Joyner, the top-rated prep at his position.

    The Seminoles must replace both starting safeties and 2009 reserves Nick Moody and Terrance Parks are the front-runners to fill the voids at free safety and strong safety, respectively.  Redshirt freshmen Justin Bright and Gerald Demps, along with sophomore Jajuan Harley, will provide competition and depth.

    2010 Florida State Football Outlook: Linebackers

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    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    LINEBACKERS

    Junior weakside linebacker Nigel Bradham, who led the Seminoles with 93 tackles last season, was FSU's best defender over the second half of the season.  Bradham registered 10 or more tackles in four of the last five games.

    Senior Kendall Smith returns for his senior season on the heels of his most productive campaign.  Smith, one of two returnees who made 13 starts in '09, registered 85 stops from the middle linebacker position and led the segment with seven tackles for loss.

    The strongside linebacker position was one of the most competitive in the spring as two reserves - junior Nigel Carr and redshirt senior Mister Alexander - earned most dependable and most improved honors for the segment from the coaches.  Carr made 26 stops last season.  Alexander - a natural pass rusher - made 17 stops, but six of those were behind the line of those were behind the line of scrimmage, including five sacks.

    Redshirt sophomore Vince Williams, who missed last season with a back injury, was extremely productive in the spring from his weakside spot behind Bradham.  He led or shared the team lead in tackles in three or four spring scrimmages.

    Heralded freshman Jeff Luc, a January enrollee, spent the spring getting acclimated to the Seminoles' defense.  Physically mature and a punishing hitter, Luc was the top-rated middle linebacker prospect in the nation for the 2010 signing class.

    FSU may well have landed the nation's top linebacker recruiting class.  In addition to Luc, Christian Jones, Telvin Smith, Nigel Terrell and Holmes Onwukaife will immediately add talent and depth to the segment.

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 21st

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor and Layne Herdt for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    As college football season gets closer the guys continue their preview of the ACC with the NC State Wolfpack. They also pick teams from around the Big 12, SEC and Pac-10 with the best chances for turnaround seasons and they pay tribute to Major League coach Lou Brown.

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 21st

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    DEFENSIVE TACKLES

    Young, athletic and still developing physically, redshirt sophomore Everett Dawkins symbolizes the Seminoles' interior defensive line.  One of five underclassmen in the segment, Dawkins made seven starts in '09 and earned "most dependable" honors in the spring.

    No interior lineman was more productive than sophomore Jacobbi McDaniel last season.  As a true freshman, he made only two starts, but led the segment with 25 tackles, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

    The Seminoles expect to get a big lift from the arrival of redshirt sophomore Anthony McCloud from the junior college ranks.  A 300-pounder with the ability to push the pocket, McCloud earned "most improved" honors in the spring.

    Redshirt freshman Demonte McAllister, the beneficiary of extended reps in the spring, flashed his athleticism with a sack and as pass break-up in the Garnet & Gold game.  Junior Moses McCray, who led the segment with nine starts in '09, had offseason surgeries which should improve his production.

    DEFENSIVE ENDS

    Left end Markus White, the lone senior among the top four returning defensive ends, boasts a relentless motor which helped him record 10 1/2 tackles for loss last season.  That's tops among all FSU defensive returnees.

    Sophomore right end Brandon Jenkins saw action in 12 games last season, primarily as a reserve, though he led the team with four quarterback hurries.  A consistent playmaker in practice, Jenkins' three-sack spring game raised expectations of the coaching staff.

    Rangy redshirt sophomore Toshmon Stevens' lone tackle for loss in '09 came in FSU's Gator Bowl win.  The back-up to White on the left side, Stevens' physical tools fit nicely into the Seminoles' new defensive scheme.  Right side end Dan Hicks is a redshirt freshman with a huge upside and a physical frame that fits FSU's needs.

    Are You Committed?

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    With the start of the 2010 Florida State football season just six Saturday's away we want to know how you are getting ready for the upcoming season.  Have you bought your tickets?  Are you getting your RV ready to tailgate in Tallahassee?  Are you telling your co-workers that FSU is back?  Watch the video below and then tell us how you are committed to the Seminoles this season.

    When Fireworks Displays Go Bad

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    This courtesy of the Hudson Valley Renegades baseball team.  Thankfully no one was hurt when these rouge fireworks headed for the press box:

    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    OFFENSIVE LINE

    The Seminoles return their entire starting line from 2009, which helped pave the way for the ACC's No. 2 total offense (421.4 ypg).  Combined, the quintet brings 142 career starts to the table and forms one of the most formidable units in the nation.  All five were nominated for All-ACC honors a year ago by the  league coaches.

    Senior left guard Rodney Hudson, a consensus pre-season All-American, was the ACC's 2009 Jacobs Blocking Award winner and is poised to become the first offensive lineman in league history to earn All-ACC honors for four seasons.

    Redshirt senior center Ryan McMahon is the Iron Man of the unit.  With 29 consecutive starts over the football, the three-time Rimington Award candidate could become FSU's all-time leader in career starts this season.

    Junior left tackle Andrew Datko, one of the nation's finest pass protectors, brings a streak of 25 consecutive starts into the season.  He allowed just two sacks in '09 and was ACC Lineman of the Week with a silencing performance against UNC's vaunted pass rush.

    Junior right tackle Zebrie Sanders and junior right guard David Spurlock ranked first and second on the squad with 39 and 36 knockdown blocks, respectively, and have started side-by-side in 19 of the last 20 games.

    Posey gets kudos for game-calling skills

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    Courtesy of Cash Kruth, MLB.com

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Much has been made about the transition of having Buster Posey behind the plate full time, and so far the Giants pitching staff hasn't missed a beat.
    Aside from the numbers -- 3.45 ERA in 14 games, including two shutouts in the past three games -- the starters also said Posey has been challenging them by calling different pitches than they're accustomed to.

    "He's a guy who's not afraid to throw different pitches in different counts," Matt Cain said after Saturday's game. "He really gets you to go ahead and be comfortable in yourself and go ahead and be aggressive with pitches that might not seem like the best ones at the time, but just be confident and just throw them."

    Posey said he wasn't knowingly calling different pitches in different situations than Cain and Friday starter Barry Zito were used to, but said, with a few more starts together, he hopes to continue to get to know the pitchers better.

    As far as which stat line Posey's more proud of -- his personal July numbers at the plate (.481, seven homers entering Sunday) or the Giants' recent success on the mound -- Posey said, "Probably the catching. I mean, if I don't catch a good game there's a good chance we're not going to win. I could not have a good game at the plate and we could win, so that takes precedence."

    Douglas a (Young) Knicks Perennial

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    Courtesy of Dennis D'Agostino, NYKnicks.com

    Douglas is proving to be a leader on the Knicks' 2010 Summer League team.


    Exactly one year ago, Toney Douglas hadn't even played one official NBA minute.

    Now, at his second NBA Summer League, he just about qualifies as one of the Knicks' elder statesmen.

    If you really want to know how much the face of the Knicks has changed over the past few months, just realize this: Of all the players the Knicks currently have under contract, only three --- Wilson Chander, Danilo Gallinari and Eddy Curry --- have more seniority in orange and blue than Toney Douglas.

    That's Toney Douglas, who's played in exactly one NBA season.

    And an eventful season it was. Over 56 games (12 starts) as a rookie, Douglas averaged 8.6 points --- 14th among NBA rookies -- shot .458 from the floor and nailed a team rookie record 68 three-pointers. His biggest impact was felt in the season's closing weeks, when he put up 13.6 points over the campaign's final 20 games, including 10 starts.

    Now, just months removed from his NBA baptism, he sees a Knicks landscape that has completely changed around him.

    "I feel like I'm going to be ready," says the 24-year-old Douglas. "The organization is doing what's best for it; I feel like we're going to be at least a top five team in the East."

    One in which Douglas' role, in his second season, will be clearly defined.

    Pressley + Leroux = GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Toni Pressley was up to her old tricks in the USA's 5-0 win over Switzerland this weekend.  Pressley had the long assist on the goal by UCLA's Sydney Leroux.  Click on the link below and fast forward to the :51 second mark to see the play:


    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    RECEIVERS

    Bert Reed enters his redshirt junior season as the Seminole's most productive returning receiver.  He latched on to a career-high 60 catches for 710 yards in '09, which ranked second on the team.  With 83 career receptions, Reed is fast moving up FSU's list of all-time pass-catchers.

    Junior Jarmon Fortson broke loose for a career-high 45 receptions last season, good for 610 yards and four TDs.  A six-game starter, Fortson is a formidable target, as evidenced by his leaping, one-handed grab to set up the Gator Bowl winning score.

    Redshirt junior Taiwan Easterling returned from Achilles tendon surgery in time to post career-highs for receptions (35) and receiving yards (442) in 2009.  Easterling, whose 65 career receptions rank second on the roster, spent the spring with the FSU baseball team.

    Sophomore Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith saw limited action last season but were significant  contributors in the spring, as was redshirt sophomore A.J. Alexander, who joins the corps after spending '09 at cornerback.

    The Seminoles heralded 2010 recruiting class includes five receivers - Greg Dent, Christian Green, Jarred Haggins, De'Joshua Johnson and Kenny Shaw - who will have an opportunity to play their way into the rotation.

    TIGHT ENDS

    Junior Beau Reliford started the final five games of the '09 season following an injury to Caz Piurowski and came into his own with 11 receptions for 101 yards and five TDs, including the fourth quarter game-winner at North Carolina.

    Ja'Baris Little, a junior, has been primarily used in blocking situations over the past two seasons and has seen action in 20 games.

    Signees Will Tye and Tank Sessions will have the opportunity to compete immediately with walk-on redshirt sophomore Johnathan Johnson as the Seminoles build depth at the position.
    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    RUNNING BACKS

    Junior tailback Jermaine Thomas led the Seminoles with 832 rushing yards and nine TDs in 2009, highlighted by four 100-yard performances, including 121 yards and two scores against West Virginia. Despite posting 1,342 yards and a 5.7 ypc career average, Thomas is locked in a battle for playing time.

    Sophomore Chris Thompson emerged from spring practice atop the depth chart at tailback.  As a freshman, Thompson ran for 120 yards on just 23 carries (5.2 ypc), though he missed two games.  He ran for two touchdowns against NC State and posted the second-longest rush of the season by the 'Noles with a 49-yard burst against Georgia Tech.

    Junior tailback Ty Jones made three starts and appeared in six games for the 'Noles in '09.  His 251 rushing yards included a 108 yard performance in FSU's impressive road win at No. 7 BYU.  He was second on the team with five rushing TDs.

    Versatile sophomore Lonnie Pryor was the only freshman on offense to appear in all 13 games for the 'Noles last season.  Pryor made four starts at fullback but also provides a big-back option from the tailback spot.  He rushed for 156 yards and four TDs and collected 10 receptions for 132 yards and a score.

    Junior college transfer Debrale Smiley, a 235-pounder, provides the Seminoles with a power back capable of hammering out third-down conversions or rumbling through opponents as he did when he broke off a 48-yard run in the spring game.

    Christian Ponder At The Manning Academy

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    Christian Ponder participated in the Manning Passing Academy last weekend.  Here is a shot taken of Archie Manning watching over Ponder during the skills competition.


    There's a synergy working within the Florida State football program as the Jimbo Fisher era unfolds with the start of the 2010 season.  Fisher has energized the Seminoles with sweeping changes, from the infrastructure of the program to the addition of five new assistants, all of whom bring impressive credentials as teachers and recruiters.

    On the field, the Seminoles welcome the return of 10 offensive starters from a unit which ranked second in the ACC in total offense, led by veteran quarterback Christian Ponder and the entire offensive line.  There are proven playmakers among specialists and a renewed optimism on defense with the introduction of a new, zone-based scheme.

    Factor in the season-ending Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia, a record turnout for the 2010 spring game and a palpable buzz among the fan base, and the pieces to Fisher's first season puzzle seem to be fitting together nicely.

    With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:

    QUARTERBACKS

    Fifth-year senior quarterback Christian Ponder enters the 2010 season as one of the most highly regarded signal-callers in the nation.  Despite suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in the ninth game of the 2009 season, Ponder posted the sixth-best season for total offense in ACC history (321.8 ypg).  With 22 starts and 23 career appearances, Ponder begins the season among the top 10 statistical quarterbacks in FSU history.

    Redshirt sophomore EJ Manuel's rapid development in Ponder's absence last season gives the Seminoles two explosive options under center.  Manuel directed FSU to a 3-1 record, securing the school's 33rd consecutive winning season and 28th consecutive bowl appearance along the way.  He earned Gator Bowl MVP honors by leading the 'Noles past No. 18 West Virginia, 33-21.

    Ponder received all of the work with the first-team offense during spring practice, just four months removed from shoulder surgery.  While Manuel missed following shoulder surgery, a pair of young quarterback prospects benefited greatly from the added work.  Redshirt freshmen Will Secord and freshman Clint Trickett, a January enrollee, shared quarterback duties for the Garnet team at the spring game.

    Does this movie look awesome.....YES!

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    Due Date in theaters this November:

    Hard Working Man

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    Courtesy Jason Friedman, Rockets.com

    HOUSTON - "I just want to be a beast. That's it. Every time I go out on the floor I want to be a beast."

    Beast mode - that is the goal Alexander Johnson has set for himself and he does a heck of a job achieving it whenever he gets a chance. Watch him play for just a minute and you can't help but notice the non-stop motor, the toughness and the desire to own the paint and snatch every rebound.

    With that sort of mentality, if he stood just 3 inches taller the Florida State product would be the proud owner of a multi-million dollar contract and job offers would be pouring in for at least a decade. As it stands, however, the 6-9 Johnson is just a journeyman busting his butt for his next gig.

    That's the thing about summer league - and Vegas for that matter: it's not simply about the glitz and glamour of lottery picks and high rollers. It's also about the people grinding away while trying to make a name for themselves. They're a dime a dozen in this town, both on the court and off, and while some strike it rich, the vast majority are left behind to lurk on the shadows.

    As someone who's 4-year pro career has taken him to Memphis and Miami before a pair of D-League stops in Arkansas and Sioux Falls, the 27-year-old Johnson knows this as well as anyone. And so he works. Tirelessly. Relentlessly. Doing everything he can to catch the coaches' eyes in an effort to ensure that, this time, he sticks.

    Seahawks expect Leon Washington back for camp

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    Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tweeted Wednesday that he expects Leon Washington (compound leg fracture) to "be practicing in camp."

    "He's coming back strong," Carroll said. Carroll and the entire Seahawks organization have been optimistic about Washington's recovery, repeatedly predicting he'll return for training camp. We're hesitant to expect him to be the Leon Washington of old, but he's worth a late-round flier in most leagues. Carroll also indicated that the team's top tailback job remains wide open.


    Seminoles.com will your source for live coverage from the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff starting July 25th in Greensboro, NC.  Below is a list of those players who will be attending the event.

                Boston College:     Anthony Castonzo, Offensive Tackle, Senior, Hawthorn Woods, Ill. 

                                              Mark Herzlich, Linebacker, Senior, Wayne, Pa.

                Clemson:               Chris Hairston, Offensive Tackle, Senior, Winston-Salem, N.C.

                                              DeAndre McDaniel, Safety, Senior, Tallahassee, Fla.

                Duke:                     Bryan Morgan, Center, Senior, Hoover, Ala.

                                              Chris Rwabukamba, Cornerback, Senior, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

                Florida State:         Christian Ponder, Quarterback, Senior, Colleyville, Tex.

                                              Everett Dawkins, Defensive Tackle, Sophomore, Spartanburg, S.C.

                Georgia Tech:         Roddy Jones, A-Back, Junior, Stone Mountain, Ga.

                                              Jason Peters, Defensive End, Junior, Baton Rouge, La.

                Maryland:              Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver, Junior, Colonial Beach, Va.

                                              Alex Wujciak, Linebacker, Senior, West Caldwell, N.J.

                Miami:                   Matt Bosher, Placekicker/Punter, Senior, Jupiter, Fla.

                                              Allen Bailey, Defensive Tackle/End, Senior, Sapelo, Ga.

                North Carolina:      T. J. Yates, Quarterback, Senior, Marietta, Ga.

                                              Robert Quinn, Defensive End, Junior, Ladson, S.C.

                N C State:              Owen Spencer, Wide Receiver, Senior, Leland, N.C.

                                              Nate Irving, Linebacker, Senior, Wallace, N.C.

                Virginia:                Marc Verica, Quarterback, Senior, Lansdowne, Pa.

                                              Ras-I Dowling, Cornerback, Senior, Chesapeake, Va.

                Virginia Tech:        Tyrod Taylor, Quarterback, Senior, Hampton, Va.

                                              John Graves, Defensive Tackle, Senior, Richmond, Va.

                Wake Forest:         Josh Adams, Running Back, Senior, Cary, N.C.

                                              Russell Nenon, Center, Senior, Memphis, Tenn.

    Nice First Round JD

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    John Daly came to play in this years British Open.  The 1995 Open Champion shot a -6 under 66 in the first round at St. Andrews.  Had he known how he would play on Thursday he may have smiled in this picture taken Tuesday:

    Ponder graces the airwaves in Kansas City

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    CP7ForHeisman.com is one week old and Christian Ponder continues to make the media rounds. Late last week he took time to talk with the crew from 3 Guys in a Garage on 1510 KCTE in Kansas City.

    Christian Ponder joins 1510am 3 Guys In A Garage

    Posey wins NL Player of the Week

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    ANAHEIM -- Giants rookie Buster Posey was rewarded for his stretch of torrid hitting by receiving National League Player of the Week honors for the period beginning July 5 and ending last Sunday.

    Posey, 23, hit .556 (15-for-27) with nine runs scored, five home runs and 14 RBIs as he helped the Giants win six of their last seven games. He also collected a double, a triple and three walks, as well as being hit by a pitch. That helped inflate Posey's on-base percentage for the week to .594 and his slugging percentage to 1.222.

    "I'm not surprised," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was a great week for Buster. Not just at the plate, but he also did a great job catching."

    Posey's surge increased his overall batting average to .350 with seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 38 games. He also owns a .389 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage. Posey's production has reinforced the notion that not only has he reached the big leagues to stay, but also possesses the potential to be an impact player.

    "I really felt from early on that you could feel his sense of confidence and belonging," Bochy said.


    Courtesy of Jim Henry, FanHouse.com

    METCALF, Ga. -- This small country town, four miles from Florida's state line, is Ernie Sims' sanctuary. This is where Sims can relax and enjoy life at a slower pace with his new bride and their menagerie of beloved animals. Monday afternoon was one of those welcomed days.

    "I am exhausted, but it's all worth it," Sims told FanHouse

    Sims, the ninth overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Florida State and one of the newest Philadelphia Eagles, enjoyed a whirlwind weekend in nearby Tallahassee, Fla. Sims zigzagged nonstop from Friday morning to Sunday night, fulfilling obligations for his popular and expanding The Ernie Sims Big HITS Foundation

    Many professional athletes provide mere lip service to making a difference in the lives of youth. Sims and his family deliver in a big way. The word "HITS" means "Helping to Instill Tools For Success."

    It began with a youth football and cheerleader camp, followed by a celebrity flag football game that saw the NFLers score late to avoid being shutout. Saturday featured a youth track meet, a silent auction and black tie party. Sunday capped the three-day event with car and dog shows. More than 800 youth participated in the events. 

    Sims, 25, took a deep breath Monday morning, and trained for two hours in preparation for the start of training camp in less than two weeks. 

    Derrick Brooks tackles politics

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    By Bill Vilona, PNJ.com

    His tenure serving on the Florida State University Board of Trustees provided Derrick Brooks some insight into navigating a political minefield.

    Good thing, too. Brooks, who recently returned to Pensacola, is helping minority businesses partner to help with the Community Maritime Park project.

    Now that Brooks -- a Washington High and FSU grad -- is retired from the NFL, the future Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackling many business ventures at the same time. His company has expanded throughout Florida.

    But he'll readily admit the challenge to get Pensacola to work together for a common goal in anything is tougher than sacking Drew Brees.

    "It's been very interesting," Brooks said, with a wry smile. "This is a very complex puzzle and trying to get it all to fit together is not easy."

    That said, Brooks expects the project to happen and it will enhance Pensacola.

    Courtesy of Bob Ferrante, Palm Beach Post

     -- George Steinbrenner's passion for the New York Yankees was obvious, but he also had a love of college sports and quietly gave money to support Florida State athletics.

    Steinbrenner provided the FSU baseball program with a $50,000 check in the mid-1980s, money that was used to add lights to the stadium.

    The Yankees also played exhibition games in Tallahassee in 1978 and 1985.

    "George was one of the first gentlemen in the major leagues that showed a tremendous interest in college baseball," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "He just was a tremendous humanitarian. He genuinely cared about the growth of college baseball."

    Martin can also attribute his ascent from assistant coach to head coach at FSU to Steinbrenner.

    In November 1979, FSU was holding fall baseball practice when a Yankees front-office official called the dugout phone asking to speak with Dick Howser, who had just finished a 43-17-1 season in the spring.

    Steinbrenner hired Howser, and FSU then promoted Martin.

    Howser served just one season as Yankees manager and in the end was part of The Boss' revolving door of managers. Martin, meanwhile, has won more than 1,600 games at FSU since 1980.

    Steinbrenner also donated annually to Seminole Boosters, Inc., since at least 1984 (which is as far as the club's records go back).

    But Charlie Barnes, the Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Seminole Boosters, said Steinbrenner had contributed to the club well before 1984.

    Steinbrenner also owned a Yankees-themed Ramada Inn in Ocala, which is where then FSU coach Bobby Bowden and Barnes would stay on Bowden's spring booster tour.

    The Yankees' owner, who was an assistant football coach at Northwestern and Purdue in the 1950s, always wanted to talk football with Bowden.

    "Steinbrenner would wait in the lobby to say hi to Bobby when we drove in late at night," Barnes said. "Very, very impressive man."

    Ron Simmons Training Video

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    Here is a flashback for all of you FSU and pro wrestling fans.  Back in 1991 when Ron Simmons was preparing to face Lex Luger for the WCW World Heavyweight title he came back to Florida State to train.

    Unfortunately Simmons was not able to take down "The Total Package" and lost the title to Luger in a best two out of three falls match.

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 14th

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor, Layne Herdt and Scott Kotick for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    As college football season gets closer the guys continue their preview of the ACC with the North Carolina Tar Heels. They also pick teams from around the ACC, Big East and Big 10 with the best chances for turnaround seasons and they make their picks for the British Open.

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 14th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    NCAA Football 11

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    NCAA Football 11 is now available and we want to know from those of you who have purchased or played the game if it is worth buying.  Let us know your thoughts below in the feedback section.


    Join FSU Alumni as they meet FSU Baseball great and San Francisco Giant Buster Posey at a reception on Saturday, July 31 in San Francisco. As one of FSU's most loved baseball players, Buster has made it to the big leagues and we want to take this opportunity to welcome him to the Bay Area.

    Register today and join former FSU football Star and KGO sportscaster Mike Shummann, along with the FSU Alumni Association for this exciting event.  Tickets are only $10.

    This event is sponsored by the FSU Alumni Association and the San Francisco Bay Seminole Club.

    Florida State in Transition

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    Courtesy of Michael Bradley, Athlon Sports.com

    As diplomatic challenges go, Jimbo Fisher's mission to move Florida State football forward while still paying proper respect to Bobby Bowden and what he accomplished is as delicate as they come. We're talking Cold War delicate. Middle East peace process delicate. Nick Saban press conference delicate.

    The final years of Bowden's reign in Tallahassee featured a slow atrophying of the Seminole brand. What was once robust and feared had become soft and vulnerable. FSU inspired dread in few opponents. A program that was expected to tear through the ACC was repeatedly knocked around by the "basketball schools" it was supposed to dominate. Over the past five seasons, FSU lost to all but two -- North Carolina and Duke -- of its conference rivals. The program that had achieved an unprecedented run of 14 straight seasons with 10 or more wins and rankings in the top 5 of the final AP poll had become a toothless power, losing 27 games in Bowden's final five years in Tallahassee. By comparison, the Noles dropped only 19 from 1987-2000.

    The statistics spoke loudly about the need for a change, but those who understood what Bowden had accomplished were understandably loath to demand his ouster. His football success had helped define the institution, which had before Bowden's arrival in 1976 been an inferior brand to the University of Florida and was known more as the alma mater of Burt Reynolds than as a first-rate university. By winning big, Bowden legitimized FSU on the national stage and elevated it to a status it had never enjoyed. For all of that, many remained extremely loyal to him and believed he had earned the right to leave coaching on his terms. That didn't happen -- to the anger of many and the relief of others.

    Fisher kept quiet throughout the tumultuous 2009 season, which featured calls from trustees for Bowden to retire, a 2-4 stagger out of the gate and a four-TD loss to the Gators in the regular-season finale that appeared almost too easy for UF. Fisher had been hired as FSU's offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting and was expected to take over for Bowden after the 2010 season, largely because he would be due a $5 million payday if he weren't elevated by then to the top spot.

    He has Florida State 'Ponder'ing Heisman

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    Courtesy of Matt LeBlanc, Houmatoday.com


    THIBODAUX -- Christian Ponder attended the Manning Passing Academy as a high school freshman, so it's only appropriate he would wrap up his final summer as Florida State's starting quarterback by coaching at the same camp last weekend at Nicholls State.


    "It's just cool being on the other side of it," Ponder said of coaching at the camp, which concluded Sunday. "I was excited when they asked me to come do it. It was kind of a no-brainer. I was excited the whole summer, looking forward to coming out here."

    Based off the fanfare surrounding Ponder leading into this season, he is aware of the impact the camp can have on a quarterback.

    Florida State announced last week its decision to promote Ponder as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

    The school launched a website -- www.cp7forheisman.com -- highlighting Ponder's credentials, something the Colleyville, Texas, native says is exciting.

    "It's kind of a surreal experience," he said.

    "If you would have told me a couple years ago that I'd have my own website promoting me for Heisman, I wouldn't have believed it. It's crazy stuff."

    To win the Heisman, Ponder will have to improve on some impressive numbers he posted last season before suffering a shoulder injury after nine games.

    Before the injury, Ponder had thrown for 2,717 yards (302 yards per game), 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while completing 68.8 percent of his passes in nine games.

    Now he's back fully healthy with most of the offense returning, so things on the field should be back to normal.

    There is going to be a change off the field, though.

    A new head coach.

    Coaching legend Bobby Bowden has stepped down after 34 years and will be replaced by offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher.

    "He definitely is a legend," Ponder said of Bowden.

    "I was granted the greatest opportunity. My dad played for Florida State back in the early '80s, so I always had the dream of playing under Coach Bowden. I've just been living a dream."

    While it will be different with a new head coach, Ponder said the adjustments under Fisher have been easy since Fisher has been in Tallahassee, Fla., since 2007.

    "We lucked out. If we would have brought in a new guy from outside the program, it would have been difficult," Ponder said.

    "All of us are used to (Fisher's) coaching style and knew what he was bringing to the table, so it was an easy adjustment for us. He demands a lot out of us, but he gives us a lot."

    So far, Ponder can call his time at Florida State a success.

    Not only is he a Heisman candidate, but he has two degrees and is working toward a coaching certification.

    "Football's going to end at some point," he stressed.

    But for now, Ponder is focused on his senior season and beyond.

    "It's right around the corner," he said.

    "We always have high expectations. We have a good team. If we don't win the ACC, we'll be disappointed. We expect to do good things."

    Five questions for Cardinals' Darnell Dockett

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    Courtesy Ryan Fagan, Sporting News.com

    With more than 30,000 Twitter followers -- and, oh yeah, a couple of Pro Bowl nods -- Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett is a star on and off the field. Dockett, a 2009 SN first-team All-Pro, took a couple of minutes out of his busy offseason to answer questions from Sporting News readers.

    Q. Are there any offensive linemen in the league who can block you one-on-one? James Melvin, Manhasset, N.Y.

    DOCKETT: Yeah, I think so. I think an offensive lineman could block me one-on-one. I haven't run across them yet, though. Not every time are you going to make every play, but having effort and heart and consistency is something that will always take over a lot of things. That's my approach on everything.

    Q: What's the feel around Cardinals camp since the retirement of Kurt Warner? Does the team have faith in Matt Leinart? Kenny Wambolt, Phoenix

    DOCKETT: Yeah, we do. That's our quarterback, man. Kurt taught Matt a lot, and I think it's Matt's time. Matt sat back and learned all those things. He knows the pressure that's riding on him. He knows where we've been with Kurt, and he knows how to get us back there. It's all about preparing and getting his mind right to prove people wrong. Our coaches are going to do a great job of putting the best product out there and winning ballgames. And the leaders of the team, including myself, we're going to do what we've got to do to stick behind him.

    Q: I know you put a lot of your thoughts out there on Twitter for your fans to see. Are you going to be more reserved in what you say or do through social media in the future, or will we continue to see Darnell Dockett unplugged no matter what? Scott Allen, Mesa, Ariz.

    DOCKETT: You're going to see Darnell Dockett unplugged no matter what. I've got to be smart with what I do, but I've got to continue to be myself. That's the thing I love about Twitter and the thing I love about social media. I can be myself. I don't have to front. I don't have to fix my hat in front of a camera or tuck my shirt in or fix my tie. I am who I am, and that's what people enjoy about me. I'm going to be me. I have a good time, and I appreciate all the fans out there that support me for being me and not being a fake person. Being who I am, when I post something on Twitter, they don't have to be wondering, Oh, is this really Darnell ? or, Did he really do this? Nah, I live my life on the edge. I have a great time, and I enjoy life. I'm thankful to be at the point of my career that I am, and I'm going to have fun with it.

    Q: As a Florida State guy who played for Bobby Bowden, what do you think of the football program's direction now that the legend has retired and Jimbo Fisher is the head coach? Bryan Gaston, Pensacola, Fla.

    DOCKETT: At first I didn't know. My feelings were mixed about the situation. I'm only used to Bobby. But I went down to Florida State for the Garnet and Gold Game, their spring game, and I met with Fisher , sat down in his office for an hour or two, and he showed me everything they're trying to do and his outlook on things. I think they're going to do good, man. I don't agree with them letting Bobby go the way they did. I never agreed with that. I thank Bobby Bowden for putting me in the position that I'm in for my career. He's still my favorite coach of all time, a good person. I hope Jimbo puts Florida State back on the map where they belong, contending for ACC titles and making national championship runs and finishing in the top five and competing like we did when I was in college.

    Q: I am so looking forward to you and Joey Porter being on the field together. Talk about some crazy energy. Have you had a chance to hang out with Joey at all? Brad O'Neill, Tucson, Ariz.

    DOCKETT: Me and Joey are next-door neighbors. Don't know if many people know that. We're work-out partners, and we value the same things when it comes to football. It's our life. It's like the new Batman and Robin, trying to get there and make things happen for us. I've got a lot of respect for Joey, for everything he's done in his career. I'm proud of him, proud to be a part of his career.

    Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/article/2010-07-11/five-questions-for-cardinals-darnell-dockett#ixzz0tZW8EkkL

    Courtesy of Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk.com

    Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims is a pit bull lover whose foundation says part of its mission is to "assist organizations that support animal humanity." 

    So how does he feel about being traded to Philadelphia, where one of his new teammates, Michael Vick, used to get his kicks by treating pit bulls in a manner that was anything but humane? 

    Sims said at a pit bull parade hosted by his foundation in his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, that he looks forward to talking to Vick. 

    "I really want to get on the same page with him to assure the pit bull community that he really is trying to help our breed and what he did is in the past," Sims told WCTV. 

    Sims sounds like he's ready to accept at face value Vick's claims that he's a changed man. But it's hard to square Vick's former practice of electrocuting, hanging, and drowning dogs with the way Sims feels about pit bulls. 

    "It's a different kind of love," Sims said of the way he feels about dogs. "I mean I've got love for my mom. I've got love for my wife but all those loves are different than the love I have for a animal. It's almost like they're helpless and always so kind and gentle. And they're always so happy to see me, that's what I love about them."

    Raider Reclamation 2010: Kamerion Wimbley

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    Courtesy of Carl Cockerham, Bleacher Report.com

    The Oakland Raiders are known for their reclamation projects. Any time the Raiders are doing well, there are one or more reclamation projects making big contributions. 

    Former first round outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley is a Raider reclamation project I am very excited about. Wimbley had 11 sacks in his rookie season. From there, his numbers fell to nine sacks in his next two years.

    That happens when you become the only marked man on your defense. Opposing teams found it rather easy to game plan for him as no one else could hurt them.

    Shawn Rogers only playes when it's not too hard on his lungs. Outside of Rogers, what other threat did the Cleveland Browns have? You can also put that together with the fact that Wimbley went from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker.

    In 2009, Wimbley came back with a solid season from his outside linebacker position. He posted 69 tackles, one pass defensed, one forced fumble, and 6.5 sacks.


    Courtesy of Art Garcia, NBA.com

    LAS VEGAS -- Toney Douglas went from potentially being the Knicks starting point guard to the backup role he held as a rookie. That's fine with Douglas, who opened New York's desert stay with 27 points in a 10-point setback to Denver.

    "I played real well, but at the end of the day we didn't win," Douglas said. "It's all about winning. I'm going to do all it takes to win."

    Douglas didn't just light up the gym with his shot -- five of his eight field goals were 3-pointers -- he filled the rest of the stat sheet. Six rebounds, fives assists and four steals were part of the 35-minute outing.

    "I'm working on my all-around game," Douglas said, "shooting, penetrating, pick-and-roll, conditioning, explosiveness. I don't just work on what I need to work on. I work on everything. Even what I'm good at."

    The 2009 first-rounder from Florida State also had a spirited back-and-forth with the Nuggets' Ty Lawson, a North Carolina product and another of the Vegas standouts. There's history in the rivalry between the two playmakers, so the competitive juices were flowing.

    "We played against each other in college and the NBA," Douglas said. "We know each other's games. It's fun out there. We're out there on the free-throw line talking to each other. We both want the ball in our hands."

    Douglas should have the ball in his hands plenty, even with recent addition of Raymond Felton. New York coach Mike D'Antoni won't hesitate to use both 6-foot-2 Douglas and 6-foot-1 Felton in the backcourt together for stretches.

    "[D'Antoni] told me I'm going to be just fine," Douglas said. "I'm going to play the point and some 2. He told me that's a good situation for me. I can help the team at the point and the 2-guard, because I'm versatile. Raymond Felton can do the same thing. He did the same thing when he played with D.J. Augustin."

    Alabi Back To Blocking Shots

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    Not much has changed for former Florida State Seminole Solomon Alabi.  Now with the Toronto Raptors, Alabi was brilliant in the Raptors win over the Suns this weekend:


    Courtesy Ryan Fagan, Sporting News.com

    The first Florida State football campaign in more than three decades without Bobby Bowden at the helm started last week with another campaign -- promoting quarterback Christian Ponder for the Heisman Trophy.

    Ponder, a redshirt senior who already has an undergraduate degree in finance and his MBA, was averaging 301.9 yards per game when his 2009 season ended in Game 9 with a shoulder injury against Clemson. Healthy now, Ponder took a couple minutes to chat with Sporting News' Ryan Fagan about his Heisman website (cp7forheisman.com) and life with new coach Jimbo Fisher.

    SN: How's life? Imagine things are pretty crazy right now. 
    Ponder: It's pretty crazy with the launch of the website and everything. The whole Heisman campaign -- although we don't really like the word 'campaign' -- is crazy stuff. As a kid, you dream about trying to win the Heisman, so this is pretty amazing stuff. It's definitely an exciting time. The season will be here before you know it; the summer's flying by, and for me it's my last go-around, and as a team we have high expectations.

    SN: Do you get to help design the website? 
    Ponder: I never really had any input with the specifics, but they showed me what was going into it as they progressed and they made sure I was comfortable with it as they went on. And another thing they did was they had to go through Coach Fisher and he had to approve it. They did a heck of a job. The site looks great.

    SN: Be honest. Having your own Heisman website has to be at least a little surreal. 
    Ponder: Oh, yeah. If you would have told me a couple years ago that I'd have a website of my own, I wouldn't have believed it. It's pretty crazy.

    SN: How do you make sure all this hoopla doesn't get in the way of the bigger picture of what you guys want to accomplish this year? 
    Ponder: For me, that's how I've grown up and developed. I've always been humble, and I know exactly what's gotten me here. I can't read too much about myself; it's hard work that's gotten me here and I know if I want to keep improving and play as well as I did last year, I have to work harder than I ever have before. And all this preseason stuff doesn't really mean anything; it's all how I perform during the season, and one bad game can ruin it all. I know that's how it goes.

    SN: You guy are our pick to win the ACC Atlantic title. That sound about right? 
    Ponder: Oh, definitely. Our expectations are always high for this team. I feel like if we don't win the ACC we'll be disappointed. And I'm sure that's how everyone else feels in the Atlantic division, too. The ACC's always a close race because there are a lot of good teams out there.

    SN: What's been the biggest difference between the way Coach Fisher runs things and the way Coach Bowden ran things? 
    Ponder: I think the biggest thing is Coach Fisher has a lot of control with what goes on, and Coach Bowden believed that you were only going to be as good as your assistant coaches are, and he gave a lot of control to the assistants. Coach Fisher's kind of the opposite. He's taking the Nick Saban approach, a guy he coached under, where everything has to go through him. And it works for him, it definitely does. He's doing a heck of a job. For us, what he's realized and we've realized is we've always had the talent to win a lot of ballgames, but it's the little things, the discipline and things like that that haven't been there. That's what he's emphasizing right now -- discipline on the field, discipline in the classroom and in the cafeteria, even. It's those small things that are going to win us the extra ballgames we need to win a championship.

    Ponder: I think a lot of guys were hurt to see Coach Bowden go, and that's what the players felt who were on the team when it happened. For me, one of the biggest reasons I came to Florida State was Coach Bowden, and to have the opportunity to play for him was unreal, something I've always dreamed of. And I think a lot of people were frustrated with the way it happened and a lot of people didn't want to see Coach Bowden go. I mean, he was here for 34 years and everyone was used to seeing him here. Anytime you have a change like that, it's hard to take. But the way Coach Fisher's handling things and the things that we're doing and he's doing and the things he's implementing, that's allowing us to progress and to keep taking those extra steps we need to take to move forward.

    SN: What was the worst part of rehabbing your injury after that Clemson game last year? 
    Ponder: Rehab's a very, very frustrating process. For four or five weeks after the surgery, I was in there for three or four hours a day, doing easy range-of-motion stuff, and it was frustrating not being able to lift your arm, and frustrating to be out. The Gator Bowl was one of the most frustrating things, to be on the sidelines for Coach Bowden's last game. The things like that were pretty hard. Just the whole process of getting back was a pretty long and grueling process and I'm definitely happy to be done with it. The trainers and doctors did a great job helping me get back. It's a tough process to go through.

    Ryan Fagan is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at rfagan@sportingnews.com, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryan_fagan.



    Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/college-football/article/2010-07-11/florida-state-qb-christian-ponder-one-bad-game-can-ruin-it-all#ixzz0tZOlBhKn

    Doak Insider Podcast - Lebron James Reaction

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor and Layne Herdt for this special edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    Lebron James announced to the world on Thursday that he will be playing the next six seasons in south Florida for the Miami Heat. The guys offer their reaction to the news, applaud the moxy of Cav's owner Dan Gilbert and issue a warning to the Orlando Magic.

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 9th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Courtesy Jenny Vrentas/The Star-Ledger 

    Antonio Cromartie was so excited to get the phone call he was traded to the Jets, he's pretty sure passersby at the Atlanta airport thought he was crazy. Here's the cornerback's summer questionnaire:

    What are your plans for the break?

    Working out and spending time with my family and my kids. That's the biggest thing for me right now, because when the season starts, that's going to be hard for me to do. I'm going back out to L.A. to spend time with them (He also got married last Friday and tweeted a video of his and wife Terricka's first dance at their wedding).

    What are your individual goals for this season?

    You know what, I don't have any true personal goals besides playing the way I'm capable of playing and playing within the defense. Those are my biggest goals: Just playing the way I'm supposed to and playing within this defense, and having fun.

    When you say "the way you're supposed to," what do you mean? Are there changes you'd like to make from last year?

    When I say that, it's just having fun. Going out there and enjoying the game, enjoying my teammates and being out there on the field with them. Last year was last year. It's a new beginning. I don't try to look at anything I did wrong last year, I try to just improve on things that I see from now. That's the biggest thing for me.

    What was your reaction when you first found out you would be a Jet?

    I was hooting and hollering, to tell you the truth. I was in the airport, and people were looking at me crazy. I was coming back from Atlanta, and my agent called me. He was just like, "I got some good news for you: You're out of San Diego. You're going to be a Jet now." I was excited about that.

    Doak Inisider Podcast - July 7th

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor, Layne Herdt and Scott Kotick for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    Christian Ponder is the special guest on this week's podcast. The guys also break down the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC preview and discuss the spectacle of the 2010 Nathan's hot dog eating contest.

    Doak Insider Podcast - July 7th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    July 8, 2010

    ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) have reached a 12-year agreement for exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men's basketball game, plus women's basketball and Olympic sports matchups, and conference championships. The agreement, which begins in 2011-12 and continues through 2022-23, was announced by George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, and John Swofford, ACC Commissioner. It will result in approximately 4,800 ACC events over the 12 years on ESPN's television outlets, digital and mobile platforms, syndication and more.

    Among the entities included are: ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3.com, the new ESPN 3D network, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and ESPN.com. Numerous events will be produced in high definition across ESPN HD, ABC HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPNU HD.

    Additionally, through a new sublicense arrangement with ESPN, Raycom Sports will continue its long-standing position as the syndication home of ACC content for over-the-air and regional cable network distribution in the ACC market and beyond. Raycom Sports will also continue to manage the ACC's official corporate partner program and the exploitation of its digital assets, including www.theACC.com, the official conference web site.

    ESPN has been televising ACC content since the first year of the network in 1979-80. Highlights of the new agreement include:
    • Football on national TV: Regular-season action on Saturday afternoon and nights, primetime Thursdays, Labor Day Monday and the ACC Football Championship Game;
    • Men's basketball on national TV: The most games ever across the ESPN networks, highlighted by both regular-season matchups of the storied Duke-North Carolina rivalry each year; for the first time, full national telecasts on all games televised on an ESPN platform (had been local market blackouts on handful of telecasts); a new weekly Sunday franchise on ESPNU; every regular-season intra-conference game and the entire conference tournament produced and distributed via ESPN and Raycom Sports;
    • Women's basketball: A record number of women's regular-season basketball games and the addition of the entire conference tournament;
    • Olympic sports: An expanded commitment to the league's 22-sponsored Olympic sports with regular-season and championship telecasts, highlighted by baseball, softball, lacrosse, and men's and women's soccer;
    • Syndication: Syndication rights for ACC football, basketball and Olympic sports action for over-the-air and regional cable network distribution in ACC markets and beyond via an agreement with Raycom Sports and through potential sublicense agreements with other national outlets;
    • Digital media: Exclusive ACC football, men's and women's basketball, and Olympic sports games as well as simulcasts on ESPN3.com. Live ACC games, including football and basketball, on ESPN Mobile TV;
    • ESPN 3D: Live ACC action on ESPN 3D, ESPN's newest network and the first 3D network to launch in the industry;
    • Additional outlets: ACC action on ESPN International, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes; and extensive content rights for ESPN.com.

    "Some of ESPN's most memorable moments have featured the ACC and we're proud to extend our long-term relationship with this great conference and Raycom," Bodenheimer said.

    ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, "We are excited to be continuing our partnership with ESPN and Raycom Sports. This agreement allows our schools to reach significantly new financial heights while also showcasing more ACC content and coverage than ever before across traditional and new media platforms."

    "We are very excited to continue our 30 year partnership with the ACC and ESPN," said Ken Haines, President and CEO of Raycom Sports. "Throughout the ever-changing landscape of sports television, we have always prided ourselves on the long term relationships we have with both the ACC and ESPN."

    Following are the key details of the new agreement:

    Football 
    With exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football game, ESPN will serve as the national cable and broadcast TV home for the conference and distributor of syndication telecasts via an agreement with Raycom Sports. With the agreement granting rights to every matchup, there is flexibility where games can be distributed on a weekly basis throughout the season. Outlets will include:

    ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC: The networks will televise ACC games each week, including Thursday, Saturday and a Labor Day Monday telecast each season. The ACC Football Championship Game will continue to be televised each year on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. 
    ESPNU: The 24-hour college sports network, currently distributed in more than 70 million households, will continue to televise ACC football. Syndication: ESPN will sublicense games to Raycom Sports and potentially to additional national outlets. As part of the agreement, Raycom Sports will produce and distribute a package of games for over-the-air syndication and for the first time, an additional package of games through regional cable syndication in the ACC markets and beyond. 
    ESPN3.com: Exclusive ACC game presentations as well as simulcasts will be offered on the broadband network. 
    ESPN 3D: ACC matchups will be part of the live schedule of games offered on the new service. 
    ESPN Mobile TV: Extensive ACC content, including highlights and live game simulcasts will be presented on mobile phones. 
    ESPN International and ESPN Deportes: The deal includes global rights to present live games and encore presentations across ESPN's International platforms and domestic Spanish-language rights for ESPN Deportes, ESPN's 24-hour, U.S.-based network. 
    ESPN GamePlan: The out-of-market college football service will continue to offer an extensive weekly schedule of ACC games. 
    ESPN Classic: The network may televise live ACC games as well as historic and immediate encore presentations. 
    ESPN.com: Extensive ACC content, including highlights, will be presented online.

    Men's Basketball 
    As the exclusive rightsholder to all conference-controlled men's basketball games, ESPN will offer more ACC men's basketball than ever before, including every intra-conference matchup and an extensive schedule of inter-conference action on one of its platforms or through sublicense agreements with Raycom Sports or other national outlets. The deal also includes the continuation of the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge event. Similar to football, as a result of the acquisition of exclusive men's basketball rights, there is flexibility where games can be distributed. Outlets will include:

    ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU: The networks will combine to offer numerous intra-conference games, highlighted by top showdowns, including both Duke-North Carolina contests, plus several conference controlled inter-conference matchups with no blackouts (the previous agreement included select blackouts in the ACC market). Highlighting the schedule will be a new weekly ESPNU Sunday telecast and the continuation of ACC action on ESPN's Super Tuesday, Wednesday Night Hoops, Thursday Night Showcase and Saturdays. ESPN will also retain the rights to all ACC Tournament games for distribution across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU (with no blackouts). 
    Syndication: Similar to football, ESPN will sublicense games to Raycom Sports and potentially to additional national outlets. As part of the agreement, Raycom Sports will produce and distribute a significant package of intra-conference games through over-the-air syndication and a series of matchups through regional cable networks. ESPN3.com: Exclusive ACC game presentations as well as simulcasts will be offered on the broadband network. 
    ESPN 3D: ACC matchups will be part of the live schedule of games offered on the new service. 
    ESPN Mobile TV: Extensive ACC content, including highlights and live game simulcasts will be presented on mobile phones. 
    ESPN International and ESPN Deportes: The deal includes global rights to present live games and encore presentations across ESPN's International platforms and domestic Spanish-language rights for ESPN Deportes, ESPN's 24-hour, U.S.-based network. 
    ESPN FULL COURT: The out-of-market college basketball service will offer extensive weekly coverage of the ACC.
    ESPN Classic: The network may telecast live ACC games as well as historic and immediate encore presentations. 
    ESPN.com: Extensive ACC content, including highlights, will be presented online.

    Women's Basketball 
    ESPN will expand its coverage of regular-season women's basketball across its platforms and televise the conference semifinals and championship for the first time on an ESPN network. In addition, ESPN will sublicense games to Raycom Sports.

    ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU: ACC teams will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. In addition, ESPN will acquire the rights to the women's conference championship game for coverage on ESPN or ESPN2, while the semifinals will be aired on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. 
    ESPN3.com: Exclusive ACC game presentations as well as simulcasts will be offered on the broadband network. Syndication: Through an agreement with ESPN, Raycom Sports will produce and distribute a series of regular-season games and all early rounds of the conference tournament to regional cable networks.

    Olympic Sports 
    ESPN will televise more of the 22 ACC-sponsored Olympic sports than ever before, increasing its coverage to include regular-season and conference championship events.

    ESPN and ESPN2: The networks will have first selection of regular-season events each year (events are to be determined). 
    ESPNU:
     A package of regular-season events will be televised annually, highlighted by lacrosse, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer and others. 
    ESPN3.com: Numerous, exclusive regular-season events plus simulcasts will be offered annually, including lacrosse, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, and others. 
    Championships: ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU will televise the conference championship games in softball and baseball while ESPNU will offer the men's lacrosse semifinals and championship, and men's and women's soccer championship matchups. Other championships may be selected for ESPN platforms or distributed by Raycom Sports to regional cable networks.

    ESPN, Inc. 
    ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic & ESPN Deportes), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU & ESPNEWS HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (46 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN3.com (Broadband, formerly ESPN360.com), ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

    ACC 
    The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 58th year of competition, is one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate athletics conferences in the country. The ACC sponsors competition in 25 sports for its 12 member institutions: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Since the league's inception in 1953, ACC schools have captured 120 national championships, including 64 in women's competition and 56 in men's. In addition, NCAA individual titles have gone to ACC student-athletes 130 times in men's competition and 91 times in women's action.

    Raycom Sports 
    Raycom Sports is a leading independent sports sales & marketing, syndication, event management and production firm. Raycom is the current television rightsholder of ACC men's basketball and syndicated football telecasts through 2011. Raycom Sports' parent company Raycom Media, located in Montgomery, AL, owns and operates 39 television stations covering over 12 percent of the United States across 18 states.

    "Get Off The Roof"

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    With summer in full swing here is a friendly Seminoles.com reminder to stay in the pool and stay off the roof!


    EMBED-Rooftop Dive Ladder Fail - Watch more free videos

    Buster Posey Enjoys Career Night

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    Buster Posey was white hot at the plate on Wednesday evening, yet this time, he took his game to an entirely new level.

    Posey connected on not one, but two home-runs against the Brewers, including his first career grand slam.

    He finished the night going a perfect 4-4 with 6 RBI's and became just the fourth San Francisco Giant in history to record 4 hits, 2 home-runs, and 6+ RBI in a road game.  Two of the other three Giants included Willie Mays and Barry Bonds...pretty impressive stuff for Mr. Posey.  
    Courtesy of Paul Durham, The Wilson Daily Times

    WILSON - A As a gorgeous Saturday morning turned into a spectacular afternoon, Everette Brown stood in the middle of the football field where he spent many a Friday night early in the decade starring for the Beddingfield Bruins.

    Brown, who now makes a living on the fields of the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, was back at Beddingfield to conduct the inaugural Everette Brown Franchise Football Camp and Family Field Day. The event drew more than 100 campers from middle and high school while another 100 or so guests enjoyed the beautiful weather, inflatable toys and scrumptious desserts for sale.

    "I feel like today was a success. The first time around you have high expectations but at the same time, you don't know what to expect," Brown said after the camp and after patiently signing autographs and posing for photographs for almost an hour.

    "But we had a great turnout, over a hundred kids. The volunteers were great here at Beddingfield. The family is here, friends are here -- it was just great."

    Brown said that almost 50 members of his extended family -- including father, Odell; mother, Jenai; brother, Tobias and sister, Deandra, -- were there to lend a hand.

    "He loves it. He was excited about it and we are all so excited," Jenai Brown said. "He just wanted to make sure everything goes smooth and, so far, it has."

    Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/07/05/1545950/everette-brown-franchise-makes.html#ixzz0t0ed95Gm
    Courtesy of Jim Henry, FanHouse.com

    There's no need for a calculator or fancy math. Heisman Trophy winners from the Atlantic Coast Conference have been few and far between.

    Ready?

    There have been just two -- quarterbacks Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke, both, of course, from Florida State. Ward won it 1993 and Weinke in 2000.

    The ACC has a few loose ties to the Heisman, however. 

    Doug Flutie of Boston College (1984), Vinny Testaverde of Miami (1986) and Gino Torretta of Miami (1992) each won the Heisman Trophy, but that occurred before their respective teams joined the ACC. On the flip side, George Rogers of South Carolina was the 1980 Heisman winner, nine years after the Gamecocks left the ACC. 

    Enough stretches. Can the ACC end its Heisman drought in 2010?

    This much we know for certain:

    Eight of the past 10 Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks, with only USC's Reggie Bush (2005) and Alabama's Mark Ingram (2009) as the lone non-signal callers. Additionally, only one Heisman Trophy winner in the history of the award has ever won with a losing record -- Notre Dame quarterback Paul Hornung in 1956. The Irish were 2-8 that year. 

    With those tidbits to nibble on, let's take a look at some of the ACC Heisman Trophy candidates -- some obvious and some not-so-obvious. 

    SIX OBVIOUS CANDIDATES

    Christian Ponder, senior quarterback, Florida State

    What's not to like about Ponder? Want smart? He's already completed his undergraduate degree in finance, earned his MBA and will be halfway through a master's degree in sports management this fall as a senior. Want talent? He was on pace to throw for more than 4,000 yards last season -- and was having the best year of a Seminole quarterback since Weinke won the Heisman in 2000 -- before he injured his throwing shoulder on a tackle following an interception at Clemson on Nov. 7. Want motivated? Ponder is fully recovered and should put up some big numbers behind a veteran offensive line. 

    To continue reading, click here.

    By Chris Steuber
    The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

    Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder wears the number seven for one reason -- it's the number Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway wore.

    The fascination with Elway started at a young age, and Ponder wore the number as a way to show his appreciation for Elway.

    "The way that he played the game and his overall competitiveness were the reasons why I admired him," Ponder said. "He made everyone else around him better, and I just loved watching him play."

    Ponder's ability to improvise could help his draft stock. (Getty Images) 
    Ponder's ability to improvise could help his draft stock. (Getty Images) 
    The admiration sprouted during the Denver Broncos' Super Bowl years (1997 and '98). And, luckily for Florida State, Ponder didn't pay much attention to the path that Elway followed to the NFL.

    Elway was a standout at Stanford and the No. 1 overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. But, while Elway created his legend at Stanford during the early 80's, another Ponder, Christian's father David, established a legacy at FSU as a defensive tackle for the Seminoles during the same period.

    The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Ponder wasn't out of the football hotbed of Texas. He didn't receive scholarship offers from the major programs in the state -- Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech -- but Baylor and TCU did offer him, as did four other schools outside of Texas -- Georgia Tech, Iowa State, North Carolina and Florida State.

    What would have happened if Elway's alma mater offered a scholarship?

    "Stanford recruited me a little bit, and they tried to get me to go out there for a camp," he said. "I never really grew up a Stanford fan. I grew up a Florida State fan, because of my dad. Although, if Stanford showed more interest [at the time], I would have considered it, especially with their academics and since their football program is on the rise. But, Florida State is where I always wanted to be."

    It took Ponder a couple of years to make an impact at Florida State. He redshirted during his first year on campus and was the backup to starter Drew Weatherford the next season. But entering his third year, Ponder replaced Weatherford as FSU's starting quarterback. Starting all 13 games in 2008, Ponder showed great promise, but he also displayed his inexperience, completing just 55.7 percent of his passes for 2,006 yards with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

    Ponder made huge strides in 2009. He was on his way to a breakout year. Through the first eight games, he completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 2,453 yards, 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions. In his ninth start of the season, Ponder, who entered the game with severely sore ribs, had his worst performance of the year throwing just one touchdown and four interceptions against Clemson. If that wasn't bad enough, Ponder suffered a season-ending (separated) right shoulder injury when he tackled safety DeAndre McDaniel following an interception late in the fourth quarter.

    After a disappointing end to his junior campaign and an offseason full of rehab and self-improvement, Ponder said, "My arm feels great, the shoulder doesn't hurt anymore, and I'm not holding back during weight training; it's back to its normal strength."

    10 observations on National grades

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    According to Andrew Perloff of Sports Illustrated.com a quarterback duel is brewing between Florida State's Christian Ponder and Washington's Jake Locker.  Both senior quarterbacks are poised for big seasons.

    Washington's Jake Locker and Florida State's Christian Ponder are tied for the top rating among senior quarterbacks, but they present very different packages to the NFL. Locker stands out for his physical skills, a strong arm and running ability. Ponder has been called more NFL ready despite not possessing prototypical size.


    Locker showed under coach Steve Sarkisian that he can be more of a passer and that he doesn't have to take off as often. The NFL has shown little interest in running quarterbacks at the top of the first round, so Locker will have to keep developing in the pocket to be a top-10 pick. Even though his numbers improved last season (21 TDs, 11 INTs, 58.0 completion percentage), he's not there yet.


    Meanwhile, Ponder scored a 34 on a preseason Wonderlic test and has already earned his MBA. He completed 68 percent of his passes last year and seems like he could adjust quickly at the next level. One of the potential negatives for Ponder is that his coach, Jimbo Fisher, made JaMarcus Russell look a lot better than he was at LSU. Ponder clearly doesn't have Russell's work ethic, so it's not fair to compare the two quarterbacks.


    Why do I have the feeling we'll be revisiting this debate next April? Don't be surprised if the lower-profile Ponder is the one who ends up hearing his name called first.



    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andrew_perloff/07/06/2011.draft/index.html#ixzz0svDRWwVm

    Posey Homers Again

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    Former Florida State and current San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey hit his third home-run of the 2010 MLB Season on Monday afternoon against the Milwaukee Brewers.  

    What makes this shot to right field even more special was the fact that Posey seemed to injure his wrist on the swing prior to his opposite-field homer. 

    Check out the video here

    Q&A With Raptors Rookie Solomon Alabi

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    Source: Raptors.com


    Report: Tigers have interest in Stephen Drew

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    Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Tigers have shown interest in former Florida State Seminole and current Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew.

    The question is will they fork over the prospects that it is going to take to land him. Drew is 27, under control through 2012 and boasts a strong bat at a position where such a thing is rare. The Tigers are looking to upgrade from their current shortstop duo of Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth.

    By Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout.com

    SEATTLE -- Washington quarterback Jake Locker is the early consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, according to fans and the media, but scouts have given Florida State's Christian Ponder an identical grade as both players enter their senior seasons.

    Florida State's Christian Ponder 'looks and carries himself like an NFL quarterback,' says one scout. (US Presswire) 
    Florida State's Christian Ponder 'looks and carries himself like an NFL quarterback,' says one scout. (US Presswire) 
    Scouts from many of the NFL's 32 teams convene in Florida each May to review the incoming senior class of prospects. National Football Scouting, an organization comprised of roughly half of the league's teams (including the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints) and the organizers of the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, gave Locker and Ponder grades of 6.7 on a scale of 1.0-8.0. The late-first to early second-round grades are similar to ones given to last year's top-rated quarterbacks -- Florida's Tim Tebow and Texas' Colt McCoy.

    Locker's high grade comes as no surprise after he chose to return to the Huskies for his senior season. Scouts of several teams in the top 10 of last April's draft told me he warranted that high of consideration. Locker, remaining healthy for the entire season for the first time in his career at Washington, completed a career-high 58.4 percent of his passes for 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. Some league insiders believe the St. Louis Rams would have strongly entertained the idea of taking Locker over Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick.

    The 6-foot-3, 231-pound Locker offers a tantalizing combination of athleticism, a strong, accurate arm and grittiness rare for the position. It is a combination that has led to incredible hype for the soft-spoken Locker, even drawing comparisons to Hall of Famers John Elway and Steve Young -- though in three seasons as the Huskies' starting quarterback, Locker has yet to earn even honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors or lead UW to a bowl game. In 28 career starts, Locker has thrown for 36 touchdowns against 26 interceptions and holds a career completion percentage of only 53.4 percent.

    However, as one front-office executive told me on the condition of anonymity, Locker can't be analyzed strictly on numbers.

    "Locker is an exciting talent. Every year there is a running quarterback you have to consider because he has an arm," the executive said. "With Locker, he has the arm and the accuracy -- and his running ability is much different than a Tebow or Pat White. He can put his shoulder down like Tebow or make guys miss like White, but he can also run right by them. He's even faster on the field than he looks. And the gains he made last year as a thrower ... He stills misses too many throws for starting as many games as he has, that's true, but he showed in the USC and Notre Dame games [in 2009] the ability to make big-time throws in critical situations. That's why he's the higher rated guy on my board -- this kid played his best when the lights were brightest. He could be special."

    With talent like Locker's, scouts from other sports were bound to notice. Locker has twice been drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, most recently signing a six-year deal with the baseball club after being selected in the 10th round of the 2009 MLB amateur draft. He's technically considered a walk-on by UW, as the Angels (and not an athletic scholarship) are paying for his time with the Huskies. Locker has stated on numerous occasions that football is his priority -- he hasn't played organized baseball since 2008 -- but his dual interests are sure to make him a riskier proposition in the eyes of NFL scouts.

    Ponder, 6-2, 220 pounds, isn't as big or athletic as Locker. And his rather pedestrian career numbers (28 touchdowns/20 interceptions in 22 career starts) hardly opens eyes, but he's considered the more polished passer. It doesn't hurt that he has taken his academics incredibly seriously. While Ponder's academics hardly compare to former teammate Myron Rolle's Rhodes Scholar award, Ponder has already finished his Master's Degree in finance and is taking classes toward his Doctorate this fall.

    And, as another longtime NFL evaluator argued, Ponder's underrated combination of accuracy, athleticism and intelligence makes the FSU quarterback's high grade well deserved.

    "I like Ponder," the scout said. "Obviously, he went down with the injury late in the year and that has to check out OK, but he's got legitimate talent."

    Ponder's 2009 season ended prematurely when he suffered a Grade 3 separation of his throwing shoulder Nov. 7 against Clemson. The injury, which occurred when Ponder tackled safety DeAndre McDaniel following an interception, cut short a breakout campaign in which the Seminoles quarterback was leading the ACC in passing yards (301.9) and total offense per game (321.8) while completing 68.8 percent of his passes. He had thrown 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

    Ponder provided evidence he has healed from the shoulder separation and subsequent surgery with his play this spring. He was named FSU's Most Valuable Offensive Player for the spring camp and completed 16 of 34 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns, as well as rushing for a 3-yard score in leading the Gold over the Garnett in the spring game.

    Like Locker, who made significant gains as a passer and student of defenses under Steve Sarkisian in 2009, Ponder has made consistent strides working under Jimbo Fisher. Before taking over as head coach for the legendary Bobby Bowden this spring, Fisher had served as FSU's offensive coordinator. He previously held the same title at LSU, where he coached, among others, former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell.

    In Ponder, Fisher says he has a talent capable of matching Russell's meteoric rise up draft boards.

    "I'm not trying to put pressure on [Ponder]," Fisher said. "But he has the talent and ability to -- by far -- be better than anyone I've ever coached at the position."

    The scout agrees.

    "Ponder is more accurate than Locker. He's not the same athlete as Locker, of course, but he can hurt you with his legs, too. I'd personally rate him below Locker, at this point, but based on last year's tape, I'd give him a second-round grade. He looks and carries himself like an NFL quarterback. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him move into the first round."


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