Noles News 08.01.11

You'll see many other sites stretching out quotes from Jimbo, EJ, and Jenkins from ACC media days to make up for the lack of news this week.  We don't do that here.  We already linked all the audio for you to enjoy.  We should have five feature stories each afternoon this week, but they won't be a re-hash of Jimbo's quotes.

UNC Football At The Crossroads " Tar Heel Fan
Just a great explanation of the Carolina situation. Worth the read.

Miami selling tickets for $19  $19 $19 $19

2011 Clemson Pre-Camp LB Analysis - Shakin The Southland
Excellent coaching in Kevin Steele and an infusion of talent/experience has STS expecting much better linebacker play from Clemson.

2011 Clemson Pre-Camp DB Analysis - Shakin The Southland
Always well coached and talented, this year should see more quality defensive back play from Clemson.

Pre-Snap Read: #35-Northwestern

If Persa is fully recovered. If the run defense can improve. If the offensive line can be more physical. If the running game can be more consistent. There are issues, and no, Northwestern is not a national title contender. Here’s what Northwestern is: a scrappy, disciplined, well-coached team with a superb quarterback, a great crop of receivers, a good secondary and enough senior leadership to be a real factor in the Big Ten hunt. It begins with the foundation built by Fitzgerald, which should have the Wildcats in bowl play every season for the foreseeable future — until someone makes him an offer he can’t refuse, though I can’t ever see that happening. It continues with a Heisman contender like Persa, who has shown an ability to put this team on his back: the Wildcats were 7-3 with him, 0-3 without. He’ll have weapons to work with in the passing game, like Ebert, Fields and Dunsmore. The running game clearly needs work, though the combination of Trumpy and Smith, with a healthy Persa, should boost Northwestern’s totals in 2011. In my mind, the biggest task facing the Wildcats is the run defense: Nebraska, Michigan and Iowa are going to pound away on the ground, so Northwestern needs to improve in that regard if it plans on sneaking up and stealing the Legends division. I don’t see that happening, even if I see Northwestern winning eight games in 2011. Nebraska’s just too good, and Michigan now has the focus along the sidelines to accompany its high talent level. Both those teams are ahead of Northwestern. But don’t count N.U. out, not for a second, as it’s when you do that the Wildcats will score the upset. There will be one or two of those in 2011, along with a few wins that are closer than they should be, a loss that hurts, an easy home win, the same old story. I’m not suggesting that the Wildcats will win the Big Ten; I’m merely suggesting you take note of a very good team, a great quarterback and a terrific coach.

Pre-Snap Read: #34-Pittsburgh

You like a lot about Pittsburgh. First and foremost, you like the Graham hire despite the fact that he wasn’t Pederson’s top choice; in fact, you may like him all the more because he wasn’t Pederson’s hand-picked successor for Wannstedt, but rather the pick after his first pick. Bear with me: Pederson does many things well, but hiring football coaches doesn’t seem to be one of them. So, in a strange way, perhaps the fact that Haywood flamed out so quickly and so memorably may end up being the best thing that could have happened to this program — outside of retaining Wannstedt in the first place, I should add. Back to this specific team: you like the backfield, the offensive line and the receiver corps’ starting pair, though depth at the position is a concern. You love Lindsay and the defensive line, both in terms of its ability to get to the quarterback, its solid interior and very intriguing depth. So there’s plenty to like, and Pittsburgh is nipping at West Virginia’s heels as we prepare for the Big East in 2011. What’s holding the Panthers back? Not that much, really, but enough to make you think twice about making this team the conference favorite heading into September. Sunseri is not built for this system, to be blunt, and while he has nice experience the offense won’t take off until Graham finds a quarterback better suited for running this attack. The back seven of the defense isn’t great, though we should include Lindsay as a piece of the linebacker corps, at least in part. And you worry about whether this team can fit Graham’s philosophy on each side of the ball: this team is built for a pro-style, 4-3 system, so look for some growing pains this fall. But there are seniors to help bridge the learning curve, which will help, and the program has a fine coach in Graham to help seal things together throughout the season. Pittsburgh’s going to be good, like 8-4 good, but I think it’ll take a year to get everything in order.

Pre-Snap Read: #33- Auburn

I know, I know. Defending champs, 14-0, Chizik, Malzahn — him most of all, and more in a moment — talent, more talent, speed, a system and more. Auburn’s not going to drop off the map, as perhaps some have suggested, but rather remain a potent offensive team, despite the changes, and a team that will just get better and better with each passing Saturday. There’s simply too much talent to ignore; the problem is that the vast majority of the talent is unproven, and while talent is talent the SEC is not kind to young teams. And that’s why Auburn doesn’t look like more than an eight-win team in the regular season, in my mind, even if I admit that the Tigers have enough talent, not to mention the coaching, to beat any team on any day. There’s Malzahn, cooking up another scheme to befuddle the opposition. Regardless of which quarterback takes the nod or whether the offensive line needs to play a freshman or two, Auburn’s going to score points. There’s Chizik, three years into his defensive system, with Roof one of the nation’s most overlooked coordinators. Defensively, much depends on how quickly the sophomores up front and in the secondary can take to their new roles. If the starters play up to their talent, not their age, Auburn could win 10 games and challenge for a B.C.S. berth. If the youngsters show their youth, struggling early and getting chewed apart by the talented, experienced, hungry teams in the SEC itching to take down the Tigers, it could be a long year. It’s only safe, considering how much Auburn has lost and how tough the road will be to overcome, to expect the Tigers to take a step back. But respect the national champs, and not just for what they achieved a year ago. Respect Auburn because of its talent, which may be young but will certainly have this team capable of beating any opponent. It’s just young, unproven and untested. Auburn’s back in the hunt in 2012; for now, this team will take a step back. Eight wins would be a success. This team will be very exciting to watch, thanks to the young talent. If all goes according to plan, this youth will be game-tested veterans in 12 months.

The Wyoming Cowboys And The Need For Three Years - Football Study Hall
A look at the 2011 Wyoming Cowboys football team. Running back Alvester Alexander is a potential stud, but third-year coach Dave Christensen still probably needs more pieces.

Steve Trachsel And The Air Force Falcons - Football Study Hall
A look at the 2011 Air Force Falcons football team. Quarterback Tim Jefferson is the face of a program that has surged in odd-numbered years recently and has an opportunity to move up in the Mountain West pecking order.

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