Following Commissioner John Swofford's comments on the state of the ACC today, we've been turned over to some of the ACC's best players. Or, to be more accurate, they've been turned over to us. Here's a quick summary of what some of the players have had to say.
Miami Quarterback Stephen Morris
Morris spoke at length about his experience at the Manning Passing Academy where he shined. He said that his biggest takeaway from the camp was confidence from performing so well in direct competition with other quarterbacks from around the country. He stated that he truly feels the ACC quarterbacks in 2013 are the best in the country and mentioned Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and North Carolina's Bryn Renner by name as examples of the quality at the position. He said he's looking forward to playing behind such a talented and experienced offensive line.
Boston College Quaterback Chase Rettig
Rettig stated that he's really excited to play for new head coach Steve Addazio. He said that with former coach Frank Spaziani, the only time they'd really meet with him would be in more formal settings in his office. With Addazio, however, he sees him far more often and he's always very enthusiastic when he sees him. He also said that it's been rough having five different offensive coordinators in his 3.5 years on campus, describing it as "being a freshman every year".
North Carolina Quarterback Bryn Renner
Renner said the biggest difference now in year two under Larry Fedora is that the team can focus solely on football and their responsibilities and not on getting into good enough physical shape to play in Fedora's extremely fast paced offense. He also said he's feeling much more comfortable in the offense and is able to help other guys recognize their responsibilities more quickly.
Miami Defensive End Shayon Green
Green said he can't wait to get on the field for 2013. He said all the players feel confident that the Hurricanes' defense will be much improved because of all the returning experience from last year.
Boston College Linebacker Steele Divitto
When asked what it means to "Be a Dude" (Addazio's catch phrase for Boston College football this year), Divitto replied to our John Mundy of Blogger So Dear, "You either are a dude, or you're not. If you're a dude, you know what it means to be a dude. And if you don't know what it means to be a dude, you're not a dude. You should be a dude."
Syracuse Offensive Lineman Macky MacPherson
MacPherson was asked if he watched a lot of ACC football and how he feels about the move to a new conference. "I'm one of those guys who does. I watch a lot of football. I'm looking forward to playing against some of the best players in the country in the ACC."
Maryland Defensive Back Dexter McDougle
McDougle said he feels like a lot of how the defense fares in 2013 will come down to how well he and Jeremiah Johnson play. He said he knows there's a lot of responsibility on them since they're the starting corners. He added that the two of them are constantly together and really feels like they're on the same wavelength, which translates well onto the field. They both said they're looking forward to some continuity and playing in the same defense for the first time in consecutive years. When asked if he felt like they wanted to send a message to the ACC in their final year in the league, he said they didn't feel any special incentive to stick it to the league. They just want to get back to winning and getting to the postseason.
Maryland Quarterback C.J. Brown
Brown said that his recovery from knee surgery has been great. He says he's feeling fine. Brown said he feels very comfortable with where he is in rehabbing his injury. Getting used to pushing off or transferring weight has been no problem. Brown said he feels like he can move fluidly now and thinks he'll be ready to go when the season starts.
Georgia Tech Defensive End Jeremiah Attachu
Feels the biggest difference between the defense now under Coach Ted Roof is that he relates very well, especially since he has experience at Georgia Tech. Attachou likes that he feels like the defense is far more aggressive now than it was in year's past and that the aggressive style fits his playing style. He said with the new system, sometimes he feels like a freshman in terms of knowing his assignments. He said that he was getting yelled at for the wrong assignments for the first time in years. He said that he didn't get a lot of feedback from NFL people in making his decision to stay in college for his senior year. It was more of a decision based on his discussions with his current coaches.
Virginia Tech Linebacker Jack Tyler
Felt that the team needed a "culture change" with the coaching staff changes. In some ways they might have been complacent, thinking that they would just roll out and win ten games. Now they know that won't be the case and they've redoubled their efforts to get back to where Virginia Tech has been. He said he can tell that there is a renewed sense of urgency to have an elite defense again. He said that coach Foster doesn't set, necessarily, numerical goals, but that they expect, because it is the tradition, to be a top 5-10 defense nationally. Their goals this year are to be the best defense in the ACC and to be a top 5 defense against the run. Tyler thinks the defense lacked leadership early in the season and it lingered all year.
Tyler said that earning a scholarship as a walk-on was a special moment for him. He said he could recall just hoping to be on kickoff tea by the team he was a senior. Instead, he worked himself into a starting role and a scholarship. He said he was forced into duty because of injuries to others and that he was was fortunate to play well and show what he was capable of for the team. He said he learned more from Bruce Taylor than any other person in the program.