The past few seasons, Notre Dame blog Blue-Gray Sky
has eschewed team-by-team previews and instead grouped opponent previews by position. I am
honoring their idea with the BC version.1. Wake Forest -- Riley Skinner. 2007: 2204 passing yards, 72.4 completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptionsJunior
BC knocked Skinner out of the season opener last year. Despite his rough start, he put together another very good season. Skinner is very effective in the offense and has led the Deacs to two straight bowls. Entering the season you have to wonder if Skinner’s strange offseason
will provide any distractions once play begins. I think Skinner will put the embarrassment behind him and be the best QB in the conference. His backup is Brett Hodges (who saw a little time against BC). 2. Notre Dame -- Jimmy Clausen. 2007: 1,254 passing yards, 56.3 completion percentage, 7 touchdowns, six interceptions.Sophomore
Clausen was the uber recruit of his class. He arrived in South Bend with almost as much hype as Ron Powlus. However an injury and a porous offensive line kept him from filling the void left by Brady Quinn. Because of the hype surrounding Clausen, fans reveled in his failure. I actually think Clausen showed potential in our game. Assuming he adjusts to the pace of the game this season and their offensive line improves, I expect him to have a much better year. Clausen can sit in the pocket and Notre Dame has added more weapons around him. He can make all the throws. Evan Sharpley returns as Clausen’s likely backup.3. Virginia Tech -- Sean Glennon. 2007: 1,796 passing yards, 60.9 completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, five interceptions.Senior
Every preview of Virginia Tech has them confidently at the top of their division. Yet no one has a clear understanding of how their QB situation will play out. After last season’s ACC Championship game win, you’d think that Glennon would be the sure incumbent. Was his late season play a sign of maturity or will he revert to the dear in headlights QB that BC saw in 2006? The backup Tyrod Taylor is the hope, savior, new Vick, yet looked very ordinary last year. Regardless if they split time or one wrests the job away from the other, I think Virginia Tech will get decent production from their QB this year.4. Clemson -- Cullen Harper. 2007: 2,991 passing yards, 65.1 completion percentage, 27 touchdowns, six interceptionsSenior
Maybe I am a little overly sensitive to all the “Harper was better than Ryan” talk, but I think Clemson’s QB might be the most overrated guy in the conference. He’s solid but unspectacular. In my opinion he’s a real beneficiary of the game-breaking talent around him and an offense that produces efficient and risk averse passing. Willy Korn is his talented backup. To me the key to beating Clemson is stopping the run game, not getting to Harper.5. Florida State -- Drew Weatherford. 2007: 2,049 passing yards, 56.9 completion percentage, nine touchdowns, three interceptions.Senior
For the first time in his career Weatherford is not in a QB controversy. Xavier Lee, his foil the past three years, is gone. Weatherford is the statuesque pocket passer with the big arm. Even as he picked BC apart last season, I’ve never been that impressed with him. If BC can actually get to him this year, we should neutralize some of his big plays. If Weatherford succumbs to injury again, Christian Ponder and super recruit EJ Manuel will be called on to fill his shoes.6. North Carolina -- TJ Yates. 2007: 2,655 passing yards, 59.7 completion percentage, 14 touchdowns, 18 interceptions.Sophomore
The lanky Yates made some all-freshmen teams last year. He doesn’t have a big arm, but was able to move the ball. He also took a beating in the pocket. As their line improves and his decision making gets better, Yates’ numbers should improve. If he doesn’t progress, look for freshman Mike Paulus to get on the field. 7. Central Florida -- Michael Greco Jr. 2007: 303 passing yards, 53.3 completion percentage, zero touchdowns, one interception.Junior
Greco is the expected starter. A one time NC State recruit, he took a detour through Junior College before heading to Central Florida. Greco moves well for his size and can tuck it and run if needed. If Greco doesn’t step up Central Florida is likely to go with Joe Weatherford – Drew’s younger brother. He’s less mobile than Greco and an untested redshirt freshmen.8. Kent State -- Julian Edelmen. 2007: 1,318 passing yards, 51.9 completion percentage, seven touchdowns, nine interceptions.Senior
Edelmen can run. He netted 455 yards on the ground last year and ran in two TDs. He suffered two big injuries in an abbreviated season last year. The rash of injuries Kent State went through last season gives them decent depth heading into this season. Anthony Magazu and Georgio Morgan will fight for the back up spot. Kent State’s QBs are asked to do many of the things BC will do this year: run, throw on rollouts, use the option. 9. Maryland -- Josh Portis 2007: Did not play.Junior
Maryland is one of a few BC opponents that will have a QB battle well into summer practice. Jordan Steffy, who suffered from concussions last year, is back and hoping to reclaim the starter role. Chris Turner, who had a career night against BC, is also back. But both are expected to step aside as Josh Portis finally takes snaps in College Park. Portis played at Florida as a true freshmen, but then bailed when Tim Tebow arrived. Despite off the field issues, Friedgen is ready to turn it over to him. His size and running ability is supposed to give Maryland’s offense a dynamic they haven’t had in years.
10. NC State -- Daniel Evans. 2007: 2,030 passing yards, 57.2 completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions.Senior
Yes, Daniel Evans is still around. The side-arming Cinderella who beat BC on a late throw in 2006 returns for his final go around. He’s yo-yo’d in and out of the lineup in his time at NC State. As BC fans know, he does just enough to beat you yet can also make real boneheaded mistakes. Justin Burke and Harrison Beck will also compete for the starting role. Mike Glennon, the first prototypical TOB QB at NC State, will also be on campus. If TOB stick to the script, Glennon will redshirt this year.
11. Georgia Tech -- Josh Nesbitt. 2007: 93 passing yards, 38.5 completion percentage, one touchdown, two interceptions.Sophomore
No offense will look more different from 2007 than Georgia Tech. We have no idea who will start either. Nesbitt is penciled in for now. Calvin Booker will also be in the mix. Neither will pass much, but that is not what they are asked to do in Paul Johnson’s system. Instead the difficulty comes in reading the D’s run defense and knowing when to hang on and when to pitch…all while taking a real beating. This year will be rough for whoever gets the call as QB.12. Rhode Island -- Derek Cassidy. 2007: 1,020 passing yards, 49.7 completion percentage, five touchdowns, six interceptions.Senior
Cassidy is experienced, having started most of the past two seasons. So he’s got that going for him. That’s about it though. His stats and Rhode Island’s success are lacking. He’s been sacked a lot. If BC can’t shut him down, then we will have some serious questions about our season.
Labels: Know your opponents