PINEHURST, N.C. - A few basic observations from this year's ACC football kickoff:
BC linebacker Luke Kuechly is huge. Those within the program used to joke he looked like Clark Kent because of his short dark hair and glasses, but the dude is seriously busting out of his shirt these days like Superman. I asked him how much weight he has gained since his freshman year and he said 20 pounds. The funny thing about Kuechly, though, is that he still doesn't really look intimidating. It's the glasses. You know, Clark Kent?
The ACC has gotten taller at quarterback. They might not have much experience, but they've got the height. Duke's Sean Renfree, Maryland's Danny O'Brien, and Florida State's EJ Manuel are all towers. And of course, Logan Thomas at Virginia Tech, who's not here, has about six inches on his predecessor, and Mike Glennon is also a height upgrade. O'Brien really looks a lot stronger. It's hard to believe he's the same player who started his first game last year. He's going to be harder to bring down this fall.
ACC commissioner John Swofford is pushing change. He's repeatedly said phrases such as "crossroads" and "tipping point" here when referring to the state of college football. His main area of reform has been with scholarships, in that he's a proponent of the full cost of tuition. But when it comes to talking about the NCAA investigations and allegations against Georgia Tech and North Carolina, Swofford only really scratches the surface. It's impossible to tell what he really thinks about both situations.
The players here are great representatives of the conference. Georgia Tech's Roddy Jones? His smile is contagious. UNC lineman Jonathan Cooper is a terrific interview. Virginia's Kris Burd and Chase Minnifield had a great time turning the tables on me for a video interview. They did their research and found out I was an Indiana grad. Who will win that game this year? They're trying to take my job I think. Danny Coale is first class. Every one of the players here has been great to talk to. I can't remember coming to this event when they weren't.