Originally Published: July 26, 2010
Geoff Burke/US PresswireVirginia Tech was voted as the media's choice to win the ACC in 2010.

Hokies Set Their Sights On Ultimate Prize

By Heather Dinich

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Unprompted, Duke coach David Cutcliffe mentioned Virginia Tech as a team that has a chance to win this year's national championship.

"I certainly will tell you that Virginia Tech is at a point they can win a national championship," Cutcliffe said. "They can win one this year. They've got the ingredients to do it. They've got the program, they've got a coach that's a proven winner. It's just things bouncing right."

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Paul Abell/US PresswireRyan Williams is part of the reason expectations are high for Virginia Tech this season.

Without former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden in the league, Beamer is the ACC's most-tenured coach. He's also one of the winningest coaches without a national title to show for it. Beamer is tied for second among active FBS coaches in victories with 229 in 29 seasons. The Hokies were picked by the media on Monday to win their fourth conference title in seven seasons, but Beamer said the program is always aiming higher.

"If you're in the hunt enough times, one of these days it's going to work out," Beamer said of a national title. "That's our plan. There's no denying that's our goal at Virginia Tech."

The Hokies have accomplished everything else under Beamer. Seventeen straight bowl appearances. Three ACC titles. Three Coastal Division crowns. Three Big East titles. Two BCS bowl wins and an appearance in the national championship game. Beamer has won 10 or more games for six straight seasons -- a feat matched only by Texas.

Can Virginia Tech creep up the BCS standings with a defense that must replace six starters?

"The pieces have got to fit," Beamer said. "How quickly our defensive pieces fit is a big question mark. How our kickers answer the bell -- I don't want to say it's a question mark -- but until a guy kicks in a big ballgame, you really don't know how he's going to respond.

"I think we've got a chance to be a really good football team," he said. "There's some things we've got to fix. We've got to get better. We're working our way there."

UNC Waiting For NCAA Process To Play Out

By Heather Dinich

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Butch Davis was willing to talk on Monday about just about anything other than the ongoing NCAA investigation into whether two players received improper benefits from agents.

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Brian Utesch/US PresswireButch Davis wouldn't comment on the NCAA investigation into whether two of his players received improper benefits from agents.

"The most prudent thing I can probably say is that I know there are a lot of people who would like to ask an awful lot of questions about the NCAA review," he said. "As I have redundantly said throughout the course of today, there's just no way I can comment right now."

That didn't stop reporters from asking Davis his thoughts on agents, and the importance of educating his players about improper contact with them. Davis said he doesn't think there's "any one single group" that can solve the problem of policing athletes' contact with agents. He said programs need help from the agents, the NFL, and the NFL Players Association.

"I don't think this is something that just manifested itself in the last 60 days," Davis said. "It's probably a by-product of things that potentially may have been going on for the better part of at least 2003 as in the one case that's already been adjudicated."

Davis said his staff has tried to be proactive "multiple times throughout the course of the season" and educate the players about compliance issues. He said they're looking at ways they can do it better.

"I think our institution has done absolutely everything we can from a compliance standpoint," Davis said. "We've cooperated with the NCAA. The feedback we got from them was the more cooperative, the more help you can provide, the faster these things move along.

"The only instruction we gave the players was 'tell the truth,'" Davis said.

He wouldn't answer the question, though, about whether or not he was confident that they did.

Receivers No Passing Fancy In GT's Offense

By Mark Schlabach

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson believes the Yellow Jackets have dispelled at least one myth about his triple-option, spread offense.

In the past, rival coaches liked to tell prospects that Johnson's system wasn't wide receiver-friendly.

But then Demaryius Thomas was the first receiver selected in April's NFL draft. Thomas, who led the Yellow Jackets with 46 catches for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009, was the No. 22 pick in the first round by the Denver Broncos.

"All these recruiting stories that say you can't get to the NFL playing wide receiver in that offense are a myth," Johnson said. "One of the things the NFL scouts told us was that they really liked the way [Thomas] blocked."

With opposing defenses focused so much on stopping Georgia Tech's potent running game, Johnson believes wide receivers can flourish in his offense.

"If you're really good, you're going to put up huge numbers like [Thomas]," Johnson said. "You're not going to get doubled. Nobody's going to cut under you. You might not catch 100 balls, but on the 40 or 50 balls you catch, you're going to have more yards than anyone else."

Maryland's Friedgen Knows The Heat Is On

By Heather Dinich

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After a disastrous 2-10 season, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen knows his job is on the line this fall, but he said he's not worried about the current uncertainty within the administration, which needs to hire both a new president and an athletic director.

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Josh D. Weiss/US PresswireRalph Friedgen is feeling the heat at Maryland after a 2-10 season.

"It doesn't really concern me," Friedgen said. "If I do well in the next two years, I think I'll be at Maryland, and if I don't, I probably won't, so it really won't matter about the administration. I think we have an opportunity at Maryland right now to really get the right people to reach our potential. That's what I'm hoping we do because I still think we have a lot of potential."

Friedgen said he was relieved he wasn't named a part of the search committee to find a replacement for former athletic director Debbie Yow because he has to focus on winning games. He said that until the university hires a president, the athletic director search won't gain much traction.

Before Yow left for NC State, she said her expectation for Friedgen this year was to win at least seven games.

"I'm going to do the best I can do, and whatever happens, happens," he said. "I don't know if that's still what the new AD is going to expect. I plan on winning seven games or more because that's what I want to do. I'd like to go back and start winning 10 or 11 again. Right now I'm more worried about winning the first one."


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