ACC Coastal Division Mid-Season Awards Roundtable Part 1.

Did you think we were done discussing the Mid-Season in the ACC? Nope this is our ACC Coastal Division roundtable discussion put together by our good friend @HokieGuru.  A big thank you to all the panelists for participating!

Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coastal Midseason Awards Football Roundtable #1

 It’s Coastal Division midseason awards time and we are happy to have our Twitter panel back and ready to go.  We’re happy to have @akosnitzky, @ztevans, and @DukeBlogMKline give their thoughts.  @hokieguru is the moderator here today at @TalkinACCSports for this great panel.

First up is @akosnitzky.  He has attended most Miami Hurricanes home games since 1979 in addition to several key away games over the years.  When he is not bleeding Orange and Green, he is a school administrator, as well as a college professor assisting master’s, specialist and doctoral students. He has published several scholarly in education.  He is also blogs about the use of Blackberrys.  In his spare time, he is a moderator on a large smart phone site.  LET’S GO CANES!!!

Next, we have @ztevans.  He is the Daily Tar Heel Multimedia Editor by day, tweeting too much about sports by night (e.g. dude is a student at UNC). NOTE: He is not a sportswriter; he merely tweet/talk about sports from the perspective of a lifelong ACC fan “for fun.” The opinions presented are his alone and do not reflect the views of management or staff at The Daily Tar Heel.

Last, but not least, we have @DukeBlogMKline.  He has been a Duke fan since age 7 or 8 and that includes the football team. He has a background in print journalism but left the business to become a teacher and have been teaching middle school for eight years. He got back into writing a few years ago at Bleacherreport.com but left to start his own blog the Duke Sports Blog about all things Duke, including football.

 Well, let’s get right to our questions…

 Who is the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coastal Division Midseason Most Valuable Defensive Player?

@akosnitzkySean Spence – Miami – Going into the Virginia Tech game, Spence was the only defender in the ACC Coastal averaging more than 10 tackles a game.  Unfortunately, he has not received the necessary support from others on the field.

@ztevans:  I’ll get my homer card out of the way and name Zach Brown (UNC).  First off, his name is Zach, which immediately makes him one of the most awesome individuals in the conferences.  Secondly, he has 42 tackles (five tackles behind the line of scrimmage), 2.5 sacks, and four defended passes (including an interception against Louisville).  Really, the only downside to Zach Brown is the incessant references on Twitter to fried chicken and cold beers on the weekend because of a musician of the same name. 

@DukeBlogMKline: Quinton Coples: There is a reason this guy is near the top of Mel Kiper’s Big Board. He is big fast and strong and nobody short of Georgia Tech likes to run anywhere near the guy. Reason enough to have him as the defensive player.

 Who is the ACC Coastal Division Midseason Most Valuable Offensive Player?

@akosnitzkyTevin Washington, QB – Georgia Tech.  This player may not be on the top of the leader board, but the Yellow Jackets are not 6-0 by accident.  Washington is not only a game manager which has facilitated success, he averages 175 yds passing and is the team’s third leading rusher.  With 10 TD passes, and only 2 INT from a heavily run-oriented offense, his balance on the field provides little debate.

@ztevans:  I named David Wilson my preseason Coastal MVP, and there’s no reason to abandon that ship at all.  Wilson is over 1,000 all purpose yards and has five touchdowns to his name.  That said, cases could definitely be made for Orwin Smith of Georgia Tech, Sean Renfree at Duke, and Bryn Renner or Giovanni Bernard at UNC. 

@DukeBlogMKline: As a Duke guy I hate to say Bryn Renner who is completing and obscene 77.9 percent of his passes for 897 yards and 7 touchdown passes. But since he has 6 interceptions I’ll say I’d give the award to Teven Washington who has thrown for 821 yards and 8 touchdowns plus four rushing to only one interception. Washington is leading the most potent offense in the country at 53.3 points per game and he is doing it without having to rely on just he legs like many of Paul Johnson’s past quarterbacks.

Who wins the ACC Coastal Division Midseason Coaching Award?

@akosnitzky: Paul Johnson – Georgia Tech.  From 6-7 to 6-0.  Need I say more?

@ztevans:  Full disclosure: I HATE Coaching Awards, because they often are a veiled way of saying “This team outperformed expectations.” It could be that nobody properly evaluated the incoming talent of the team and have very little to do with coaching: it essentially becomes a way to pat someone on the back instead of acknowledging the prognosticators failed in the first place.  Roy Williams was the ACC Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2011, but not 2005 and 2009. Just saying.

I’ll now step off my pulpit and actually answer the question the only way it can be answered: Paul Johnson.  I suppose you could make a case for Everett Withers on the sympathy card of his sudden thrust to head coaching along with his 5-1 record.  Regardless of which measuring stick you use for determining these awards, though, Paul Johnson wins: Georgia Tech has the best record in the division, and they were projected by the ACC media to finish fourth. I refuse to exert more effort than that into this. To be The Man, you have to beat The Man, and right now Georgia Tech is leading the charge.

@DukeBlogMKline: Everett Withers. While he still has a lot to prove he has made a team many wrote off after the oddly timed dismissal of Butch Davis, a contender in the Coastal Division or at the very least relevant. Of course he may not get the opportunity to keep the job full time at UNC but he is making a case. And if he doesn’t get the job he certainly is auditioning for his own head-coaching job somewhere else.

While assistant coaches don’t get awards I feel I’d be remise if I didn’t give some recognition to Duke assistant Rick Petri for the job he has done turning around the Blue Devils’ defensive line. They were a sieve last season against the run and this year they are holding opponents to 105 yards rushing per game. Sans the one outlier against Stanford, they have only allowed 77 yards per game in the other three games.

Who is the ACC Coastal Division’s surprise team?

@akosnitzkyGeorgia Tech.  After finishing 6-7 last year, the Yellow Jackets are already bowl eligible at 6-0.  While ranked #1 in FBS in rushing and points scored, this team still averages over 200 yards per game in passing under the leadership on the field of QB Tevin Washington.  Holding Maryland to 87 yards passing in their last game indicates this team’s skills on both sides of the ball.

@ztevans:  Georgia Tech.  I’m not sure which is more surprising about them, their 6-0 record or their double-digit touchdown passes.  Sure, nobody will be confusing Georgia Tech with SMU anytime soon, but they can at least make opposing defenses respect the pass now.  Spoiler alert: Quadruple Option offenses are harder to defend than Triple Option offenses.

@DukeBlogMKline: Georgia Tech: After last season some were beginning to doubt Paul Johnson’s offense working long term in a BCS conference. Well no team in the country has been as potent on offense as the Yellow Jackets and they have a surprising affective passing game. Quarterback Teven Washington already has thrown for more than 800 yards passing. And wide receiver Stephen Hill is a star in the making. How does Johnson get these talented and big receivers again?

Who is the ACC Coastal Division’s most disappointing team?

@akosnitzkyMiami.  Despite the early return of most players from Shapiro-Gate, the gallant effort against Virginia Tech, and the surprising performance of Jacory Harris, the Hurricanes were not expected to be 2-3 and winless in the ACC.  While all 3 Miami losses were by no more than one score, their defense is last in the division in allowing over 402 yards per game.  With their home wins against Bethune Cookman and Ohio State losing luster, many feel the Canes will struggle to finish 6-6 this season. 

@ztevans:  I guess, by default, the answer has to be Miami.  Georgia Tech and Duke are exceeding expectations.  Virginia Tech does have the loss to Clemson, but would still be in the driver’s seat for a trip to Charlotte if they take care of business in the division.  I don’t even know what North Carolina’s expectations were after all the upheavals in Chapel Hill.    Miami was the team that was supposed to keep Virginia Tech honest, and they are 0-2 in conference play.  

@DukeBlogMKlineMiami, through no real fault of Al Golden who inherited a team where underachievement was ingrained, the Hurricanes are doing what they do best, underwhelm. With a loss to an increasingly unimpressive Maryland team and now Kansas State, the Hurricanes are in a big 1-2 whole with the only win against another disappointing team, Ohio State. Golden will turn it around it just won’t be this year and depending on the NCAA who knows how long it might be with possible sanctions on the horizon.

To close, here’s your chance to change your ACC Coastal Division preseason pick.  Who is going to win the ACC Coastal Division?

@akosnitzkyI am sticking with Virginia Tech.  Despite one game behind Georgia Tech and playing the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta on a Thursday Night, the Hokies through Bud Foster will have several additional days to prepare for this game.  Georgia Tech will host Clemson after traveling to Miami prior to this 11/10 matchup and is due to lose a game or two.  

@ztevans: I joked in the Preseason Roundtable about the convenience of having the opportunity to change an opinion each week when it comes to football.  Thus, it’s probably all too fitting that I’m tempted to jump into the rumble seat of the Ramblin’ Wreck, as you may have noticed by my responses.  I’m going to stick to my guns and stand by the Hokies, though.  I can’t wait for the GT-VT meeting to see the battle between the Hokie defense (294.5 yards, 16.3 points allowed per game) and the Yellow Jacket offense (553).

@DukeBlogMKlineGeorgia Tech appears to be the team to beat. Best offense and a defense that is just good enough.

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