ACC Notebook

Wolfpack moves Dontae Johnson to boundary corner

August 13, 2012 

Dontae Johnson figures to be the

busiest target on N.C. State’s defense.

The junior cornerback will line up

on the opposite side of the field as Da−

vid Amerson, who led the country in

interceptions last season.

And that’s fine with Johnson, who’s

making the transition from safety to

the boundary corner, or short side of

the field.

“I see it as an opportunity to make

plays,” Johnson said. “The coaches

trust me to put me out

there and make plays

and that’s what I want to

do.”

Johnson started two

games at the end of the

2011 season and recorded three sacks

in the final three games, playing pri−

marily as a nickel defender.

Johnson was used as much as a

pass-rusher as he was in pass cover−

age. He will still be used situationally

at nickel, but his job will be to inter−

cept the quarterback, not hit him.

“I got to blitz like a linebacker last

year,” Johnson said. “That can be fun.”

Johnson expects to be tested often

on the opposite side of Amerson, who

set a new ACC record with 13 inter−

ceptions last season.

At 6-3 and 190 pounds, Johnson has

a similar build to Amerson (6-3, 194).

N.C. State is hoping like Amerson,

who played safety in high school,

Johnson will make a smooth transi−

tion to the corner.

Johnson said Amerson has been a

good example in practice of how to

play the outside position.

“I’m starting to catch on to what

he’s doing,” Johnson said. “Hopefully,

I’ll just do the same thing on the other

side.” – J.P. Giglio

UNC freshman wide receiver Davis

close to being cleared to practice

Quinshad Davis couldn’t practice

but there he stood on Monday morn−

ing on the North Carolina practice

fields, wearing a pair of receiving

gloves and his No. 14 jersey. He looked

the part, anyway.

Davis, perhaps the

Tar Heels’ most antici−

pated incoming recruit,

hasn’t yet been cleared to practice be−

cause of an unspecified medical issue.

But his clearance is coming soon,

UNC coach Larry Fedora said.

“I think we’re real close,” Fedora

said. “I mean, it’s really good. I think

there’s a couple signatures to be made

and then we’re ready to go. So I’m an−

ticipating him being out here on

Wednesday is what I’ve been told.”

The Tar Heels won’t practice on

Tuesday but will resume on Wednes−

day.

Davis, a 6-foot-4 receiver from

Gaffney, S.C., earned Parade All-

American honors a season ago, and

also was South Carolina’s Gatorade

Player of the Year.

Once he’s cleared to start practic−

ing, he’ll be a welcome addition to a

receiving corps that is already experi−

encing depth woes.

Erik Highsmith, the senior who is

the Heels’ leading returning receiver,

is the latest to battle an injury. He

wore an orange jersey in practice on

Monday, signifying his limited partici−

pation in practice. Two other receiv−

ers – Reggie Wilkins and Sean Tapley

– have both missed

practice time due to mi−

nor ailments.

“We’ve been looking at Quinshad coming back for a while now,” quarterback Bryn Renner said. “He had a great summer. The kid worked his butt off with [strength] coach [Lou] Hernandez and really deserves to be out here and playing with us. I think he’s chomping at the bit.” – Andrew Carter

Blue Devils to capitalize on 4-2-5

scheme for second year in a row

Through the opening days of the

Blue Devils’ preseason, head coach

David Cutcliffe singled out his defen−

sive unit as a group that was ahead of

schedule from years prior.

“Where aour defense is mentally, schematically, I just see a different defense than we’ve seen out here,” he said. “We’re able to do more things, do more things effectively. With the defense, every little part effects the other, and there’s just cohesiveness beyond what we’re had.”

This will be the Blue Devils’ second

year in the 4-2-5 scheme. After study−

ing which formations they most often

faced, Cutcliffe and his staff found

that, far and away, Duke saw some

type of three wide receiver set.

“We are in an era of spread offense,” he said. “What we think is that we can find those versatile athletes at the safety positions that can play like linebackers and cover like DBs.”

Currently, the starters at safety for

Duke are Brandon Braxton, Walt Can−

ty and Jordon Byas. Braxton moved

over from wide receiver last year, and

Canty switched spots to take over for

the graduated Matt Daniels, who is

currently in camp with the St. Louis

Rams. – Laura Keeley

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service