Never Underestimate the Value of Team Speed
Posted July 22, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
LAKE LANIER ISLANDS, GA — Yesteryear in the Atlantic Coast Conference meant high scoring games. One of the graduates from the ACC's softer defensive days is now ACC Commissioner.
"The quality of play is so much better now," explained Commissioner John Swofford. "I couldn't compete on the field in today's world."
"Ten years ago, the ACC was all offense, no defense," UNC coach Carl Torbush said. "That's all changed. The last few years we've had as good a defense as any conference in the country."
Like the boats that sit quietly on Lake Lanier, there is little fanfare surrounding ACC football. But the conference has the audacity to suggest at the ACC kickoff in Georgia, the heart of SEC country, that it can compete with the best. The reason is team speed.
"It's a very fast game," says NCSU's Torry Holt. "The speed is incredible."
No team in America brings more team speed than Florida State. The Seminoles began burning ACC secondaries and overpowering ACC quarterbacks when they joined the league in 1992. Now everyone else is chasing them.
"You have to be down on the field to really realize it," says Virginia's Anthony Poindexter. "They really move. If you don't watch your P's and Q's, they'll get behind you."
Last place Duke has more team speed now than most of the conference had five years ago. In the ACC, you can never have enough of this.