ACC spring football notebook: Easy on E.J. Manuel

Published Apr. 4, 2012 9:39 a.m. ET

Florida state senior quarterback E.J. Manuel has been limited this spring after suffering a broken leg in the Champs Sports Bowl in December.

Amazingly, Manuel finished that game – a win over Notre Dame -- after sustaining the injury. The media didn't learn about it until a pre-spring practice injury report was released in the middle of February.

Coach Jimbo Fisher hasn't taken chances with Manuel this spring, especially during a recent scrimmage.

"With that leg injury, we didn't do a lot of our screen game," Fisher said. "We stayed in the pocket, Basically it was physical, downhill run, play-action pass, very conventional. There was no quarterback runs."

FSU spent the early part of this week simulating the regular season, hoping it would speed up the learning process from last Saturday's scrimmage.

The Seminoles had their first scrimmage of the spring Saturday, took off Sunday, as they do in the regular season, and then returned Monday correct the mistakes made two days earlier. They also put in some additional schemes on both sides of the ball.

Overall, Fisher was pleased.

"I liked out intensity, especially coming off a scrimmage," he said. "We put in a bunch of new stuff, blitzes and different things on offense in the second half of spring that we're really got to start force-feeding in and working situations better.

"I liked (Monday's) practice about as well as I've liked any of them so far."

Where's Mustafa?

N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien opened up a little bit Tuesday morning regarding the mysterious absence of sophomore running back Mustafa Greene from practice. According to, O'Brien indicated a week ago that Greene was working out with the team. But on Tuesday, the coach came clean, somewhat.

"I guess there are great rumors that he was kicked off the team, but there is nothing new that way," O'Brien said. "He's not practicing right now."

Greene ran for 597 yards and four touchdowns as the starting tailback as a true freshman in 2010 but missed last season because of a foot injury. The coach, however, said the foot or any other body part doesn't seem to be the issue.

"Yeah, I think he's healthy," he deadpanned.

N.C. State officials won't say exactly what the deal is with Greene, but he's still in school, so that's a positive, and he's still a part of the team, so that's another positive. Goodness knows the Wolfpack will need him next fall.

Young Hokies Showing Maturity

Rarely has Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer looked into his backfield not knowing what he will get out of the tailback position. The few times his team has lacked experience back there the worries were allayed quickly, as almost every year or two a star emerges behind the quarterback.

That may happen again this season. And while all Beamer sees are a bunch of kids hoping to win David Wilson's old job, he hasn't exactly discouraged by what he's seen.

"J.C. (Coleman) and Mike (Holmes) both, in my meeting room, they're up in the front row hanging on to every word you say," Beamer told the Roanoke Times.. "J.C. is writing every word you say. Very professional. Very businesslike in what they were doing. And then I thought they showed it on the practice field."

Coleman, who is just 5-foot-7 and 176 pounds, enrolled in January after earning Al-American honors by SuperPrep and PrepStar. Holmes, 5-11, 208 pounds, is a redshirt freshman, who was the Virginia AA state Player of the Year in 2010. Had Wilson been sidelined last season, Holmes likely would have had the redshirt removed.

It's conceivable both players can share the workload, as it wouldn't be the first time. Just two seasons ago, Tech essentially used three backs: Darren Evans, Ryan Williams and Wilson split up 374 carries among them in 2010, gaining 1,843 touchdowns and scoring 25 touchdowns.

So a precedent for success has been set several times in Blacksburg, and don't be surprised if it happens again.