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College Football in the Carolinas
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View from the East
Thursday, August 30, 2001

By Al Myatt
Pirate Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Appetizers Whet Hunger for Entrée

©2001 Bonesville.net

After a whiff of college football last weekend, the full aroma of a main course is on its way as six of the seven Division I-A teams in the Carolinas play on Saturday. Only N.C. State, which opens at home against Indiana next Thursday, is idle.

Wake Forest makes its third trip to Greenville to play East Carolina.

North Carolina, with a 41-27 loss at Oklahoma last week, begins its ACC schedule at Maryland while Duke hosts Florida State in what could be the poster game for classic mismatches.

South of the Border, Clemson hosts a dangerous Central Florida team and South Carolina coach Lou Holtz is groping for the panic button against — gasp! — Boise State.

Let’s put the matchups under the microscope.


WAKE FOREST at EAST CAROLINA
Saturday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m.

THE BARE BONES:

ECU has been building for this season since quarterback David Garrard and inside linebacker Pernell Griffin were true freshmen five years ago. This isn’t just a game, it’s the start of what could be a very special season.

Wake has spent one diligent offseason under a new coaching staff and is optimistic about improving.

NUTS AND BOLTS:

It’s doubtful the Deacons can generate much offensive continuity considering they haven’t even decided on a quarterback. In Wake’s favor is an uncertainty about what they will do offensively.

New coach Jim Grobe used a lot of triple option at Ohio but the personnel he inherited at Wake is more effective in a passing mode. Wake ran some no huddle in its spring game and will likely use Tarence Williams in a one-back set at times. Williams is small (5-10, 170) and had some big moments last season running behind big fullback Ovie Mughelli (6-2, 248) in the I.

Shotgun? Wing T? Who’s exactly sure? ECU defensive coordinator Tim Rose will start basic and adjust on the fly.

Garrard has been smiling a lot in the preseason. Maybe he’s been thinking about Wake’s youthful cornerbacks, sophomore Quintin Williams and freshman Marcus McGruder. If they don’t grow up fast, they’ll be seeing more traffic than Greenville Boulevard. Garrard, back Leonard Henry and a gang of receivers can give them big problems.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

Wake may be able to stay close for a span but at some point ECU’s talent and experience feeding off the home crowd will result in a scoring explosion the Deacs won’t match.

PREDICTION: ECU 41, Wake 17.


NORTH CAROLINA at MARYLAND
Saturday, Sept. 1, Noon

THE BARE BONES:

Just how the Tar Heels react to the Oklahoma experience is important here. Quarterback Ronald Curry should have something to prove. If he doesn’t produce this week he may be taking a seat on the bench to watch freshman Darian Durant.

Maryland hired favorite son Ralph Friedgen as its new coach, a proven offensive whiz who probably lacks the personnel to utilize his full bag of tricks just yet.

NUTS AND BOLTS:

What appeared to be lackluster play from Curry can be attributed to a poor performance from a young and overmatched offensive line. Curry still has all the reliability of Chuck Knoblauch when it comes to making short throws.

Defense is going to have to carry the Tar Heels this season and it will be good enough to keep Carolina in a lot of games.

UNC will have trouble driving the ball but receivers Bosley Allen and Sam Aiken are deep threats.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

A lot of folks will go to sleep during ABC’s broadcast as play-by-play man Mike Tirico struggles to make a defensive-oriented game appear entertaining. UNC’s defense is good enough for a 1-0 ACC start and a new supply of Julius Peppers highlights.

PREDICTION: UNC 15, Maryland 14.


FLORIDA STATE at DUKE
Saturday, Sept. 1, 6 p.m.

THE BARE BONES:

Know what happens in a race between a greyhound and a dachsund? It’s not much of a race and this one won’t be much of a game. Pirates fans can listen to the start of this one on their radios before ECU’s kickoff, but there won’t be but about 20 minutes of suspense before the outcome is decided.

NUTS AND BOLTS:

Duke does have an edge in terms of experience at quarterback. D. Bryant led the Blue Devils in offense as a sophomore with 1,352 yards and wasn’t a fulltime starter.

FSU will be breaking in redshirt freshman Chris Rix as Chris Weinke’s replacement and North Carolina product Nick Maddox (Kannapolis Brown) will be at tailback. The Devils should get a lot of looks at the back of his No. 20 jersey.

Even though Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden has 14 new starters, there are huge advantages in depth and quickness. The experience factor may affect the ’Noles later in the season — but not this week.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

Florida State will score often. Duke will punt a lot.

PREDICTION: Florida State 45, Duke 14.


CENTRAL FLORIDA at CLEMSON
Saturday, Sept. 1, 1 p.m.

THE BARE BONES:

The Golden Knights return just four starters on offense, including sophomore quarterback Ryan Schneider, who threw for 2,334 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. The Knights made things happen defensively last season with 27 takeaways and five blocked kicks. There are six starters back from that unit.

NUTS AND BOLTS:

This is not a gimmee for the Tigers. Central Florida has been a tough road show in recent years and they certainly don’t have to go far to find athletes.

Quarterback Woodrow Dantzler and running back Travis Zachery spearhead Clemson’s run-pass balance under Coach Tommy Bowden. They’ll have to have good days to buy some time for a defense that is adjusting to a new scheme with only four returning starters.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

Central Florida will hang around longer than expected.

PREDICTION: Clemson 28, Central Florida 17.


BOISE STATE at SOUTH CAROLINA
Saturday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m.

THE BARE BONES:

The Gamecock fans are pumped, Coach Lou Holtz is acting like the Broncos are the second coming of the San Francisco 49ers, and the bottom line is that South Carolina is going to be pretty good, especially on defense where eight starters are back from a unit that allowed just 15.0 points per game in 2000, sixth nationally.

NUTS AND BOLTS:

Holtz has been in a near-frantic state citing Boise State’s offensive production last season. The Broncos did lead the nation in scoring at 44.3 points per game but they lost their quarterback, and their old conference, the Big West, is hardly the SEC now is it?

South Carolina’s skill personnel are back for the most part. Same with the offensive line.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

Lou will pace and fret but the throng at Williams-Brice Stadium will have a lot to yell about.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 38, Boise State 10.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.
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02/23/2007 01:02:58 AM

 

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