CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on ACC media days (all times local):
Georgia Tech has long been known as a run-first team under coach Paul Johnson. That doesn’t seem to bother Ricky Jeune.
The wide receiver said Friday at ACC media days that “when you are playing in an offense like this, you get a lot of one-on-one coverage — and that is a wide receiver’s dream.”
And when the Yellow Jackets run the ball?
Jeune said he takes pride in his ability to block, adding, “You just have to be committed and ready to help out.”
Georgia Tech’s passing game will undergo a little more change this year. Three-year starter Justin Thomas has graduated and the Yellow Jackets are expected to turn to Matthew Jordan, who led Georgia Tech to a big win at Virginia Tech last year. Johnson isn’t worried so much about the change at quarterback given his team’s returning experience on offense.
Johnson said whoever ends up playing quarterback will be surrounded by a lot of guys who have played, so he feels good about that position.
Miami has produced some top level tight ends over the years including Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, Kellen Winslow II, Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and, most recently, David Njoku.
Second-year Hurricanes coach Mark Richt believes he has another good one in Chris Herndon.
Herndon had 28 receptions for 334 yards and two touchdowns last season while playing in the two tight end set opposite Njoku, who was selected 29th overall in this year’s NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. Njoku became the fifth tight end in Miami history to be drafted in the first round.
Richt said Friday at ACC media days he has a lot of faith in Herndon and believes “he’s one of the better tight ends I have been around. The coach said Herndon is very physical at the point of attack and has good ball skills.
Richt said his tight ends are asked to decipher more information than position on the field, including quarterback.
He said the tight end has to understand where he has to be and line up. Rich added, “We put a lot of burden on the tight end positon.”
Pitt cornerback Avonte Maddox is looking forward to a rematch with Syracuse this season. Although the Panthers won the game 76-61, he was a little embarrassed the Panthers gave up so many points.
Maddox said Friday at ACC media days, “We’re not going to let them score 60 points this time.” The cornerback said he and his teammates will watch film and “see what we have to do, make our corrections, and make a better game of it.”
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi isn’t sure what to expect from this team this season after losing 21 seniors from last year.
Narduzzi said the interesting thing will be to see how players approach this season, and not only mentally. The coach will be looking at how they approach the season physically, their leadership, the chemistry, adding that the competition for spots is open.
Virginia Tech wide receiver Cam Phillips certainly made himself stand out.
The senior put together quite a look for Friday’s interviews at ACC media days. There was the bronze double-breasted velvet jacket. There were the flip-up shades over round eyeglass frames. And there was the ankles-exposed sockless look to his shiny black shoes.
It didn’t take long for a reporter to ask Phillips about the look, followed by a series of camera clicks throughout the room as Phillips flipped up his shades.
“I just like to have fun with stuff like this,” Phillips said. “I think it’s a way to show my personality, show fans and other players I’m a laidback and cool, fun guy. I’m having a great time at this event.”
Duke coach David Cutcliffe is hoping he can move past a “nightmare” during preseason camp.
The Blue Devils managed an ACC-low three made field goals last season. Starter A.J. Reed made 3 of 10 field goals with none longer than 38 yards.
Duke was also near the bottom of the league in net punting.
Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils have “always been great in the kicking game and our specialists have been outstanding, but a year ago, it was somewhat of a nightmare.”
The 10th-year coach said there’s plenty of open competition throughout special teams. Reed is listed as the No. 2 kicker behind punter Austin Parker on the preseason depth chart.
Cutcliffe said Duke got a lot of it done in the spring, but for him that’s a big part of preseason camp, “and we’re going to come out of camp being outstanding in that area.”
Bronco Mendenhall surprised many when he left BYU after 11 seasons to take over a Virginia program with 15 wins in four seasons.
But to listen to Mendenhall at the start of Friday’s interviews at the ACC media days, he was ready for a rebuild after what he described as “an intentional choice.”
Virginia went 2-10 in Mendenhall’s first season with one ACC win. By comparison, Mendenhall never won fewer than six games and had five seasons with at least 10 wins at BYU.
Still, Mendenhall said it was “gratifying, invigorating, challenging all at the same time.” The coach it was what he was ready for at this stage of his coaching career and he’s “getting exactly what I wanted and what I chose.”
The league’s Coastal Division teams are on the schedule for Friday’s interviews in Charlotte.
The Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division will take center stage on Day Two of the ACC media days on Friday.
The Coastal Division hasn’t had a repeat champion since 2011, with an underdog often winning the title.
There is even more uncertainty heading into this season with five of the seven teams having lost their starting quarterbacks — Mitch Trubisky from North Carolina, Miami’s Brad Kaaya, Jerod Evans from Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas from Georgia Tech and Nathan Peterman from Pitt.
Duke’s Daniel Jones and Virginia’s Kurt Benkert are the only Coastal Division starting quarterbacks returning from last year.
However, the division does feature some of the longest-tenured coaches in the league, including Duke’s David Cutcliffe and Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson.
The day will also include coaches and players from the Hokies, the defending Coastal Division champions.
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