Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ACC Insider; News and Notes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ACC Insider; News and Notes

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union sports writer

AMATO'S FRAME OF REFERENCE

N.C. State coach Chuck Amato understands just how difficult it is to put together a perfect football season. Saturday's 24-17 loss to Georgia Tech denied the third-year coach and the Wolfpack of that opportunity, but won't halt his pursuit of perfection.

"Bobby Bowden had an empty picture frame on his desk from the day he got there," Amato said of his FSU boss for 18 seasons. "Everybody who walked in would tell him, 'Your picture fell out.' He would say, 'No, that's for the first undefeated football team I have.' It took him 24 years to get it."

Asked if he had an empty picture frame in his office, Amato smiled and said:

"No, no I don't. I have two of them."

CLEMSON QB SWITCH DIFFICULT

For three seasons Clemson QB Willie Simmons patiently waited his turn behind Woody Dantzler. Undone by his own turnovers through eight games, Simmons is a backup again; this time to redshirt freshman Charlie Whitehurst.

"You feel disappointment because of what [Simmons] has invested," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. "It is a high-profile position, to quarterback a school like this, and also in the style of offense like this."

Whitehurst assuaged Bowden's feelings with a school-record 420 passing yards and four touchdowns in his debut start at Duke on Saturday, a 34-31 Clemson victory.

"As a 6-foot-4 guy in the pocket, [Whitehurst] has has better vision, but we did not make the change because of that," Bowden said. "He brings a pretty productive package to the table."

BIG BACK, CROWD WORRY GROH

Second-year Virginia coach Al Groh has so many concerns heading into Saturday's game at Penn State he doesn't know where to begin. If his Cavaliers aren't overwhelmed by the Beaver Stadium crowd of 107,000 -- which they might be, considering 13 true freshmen figure to play -- they might be overrun by 230-pound Penn State TB Larry Johnson.

Johnson ran for a school-record 279 yards against Illinois last week, breaking his week-old record. Those numbers are a far cry from the 39 yards he gained last season in a 20-14 loss at Virginia.

"That one particular facet of their team alone has the potential to set the whole tone of the game," said Groh, whose Cavaliers rank 106th nationally in rushing defense.

BOWDEN ALMOST SPEECHLESS

With Florida State trailing Wake Forest by 14 points in the first half on Saturday, coach Bobby Bowden couldn't help but wonder how he might answer questions if the Seminoles had lost.

"You'd come up to me and say, 'Where's your team now?' And I'd say, 'Lord, I don't have any idea,' " Bowden said.

"You'd come up and say, 'What's the matter with this team?' and I'd say, 'I haven't got any idea.' "

The 'Noles rallied to win 34-21, saving Bowden from offering those difficult responses. …

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