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Introducing ACC Week: The State of the Conference Address

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Delivered by Kyle Wright, Quarterback, University of Miami
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Coaches, athletic directors, distinguished guests, and fellow players: the Atlantic Coast Conference this evening is a conference called to great responsibilities. And we are rising to meet them.

Tonight, members of the conference can take pride in the great works of scoring defense and head coaching reform that skeptics had thought impossible. You're raising the standards for our offensive coordinators, and you are giving our quarterbacks adequate coverage under groundbreaking anti-blitz legislation. (Applause.)

We have faced mounting obstacles together, and now we face a choice: We can push forward with confidence and resolve, or we can revert to the dangerous illusion that writers are not mocking our failure to place a team in the top 15 of any major poll, or that outlaw mid-major conferences are no threat to our prestige around the country. We can press on with offensive growth, and reforms in short-to-intermediate passing schemes, or we can turn back to old strategies and predictable, run-first prejudices that eventually put our quarterbacks at risk.

We've not ventured all this way -- through expansion, and turmoil and a 1-8 record in BCS bowl games -- only to falter and leave our work half-finished. ACC defenses are rising to the tasks of history, and they expect the same from their teammates and coaches. In their efforts, their enterprise, and their impressive number of touchdowns directly off of turnovers, these defenses are showing that the state of our conference is confident and strong. (Applause.)

As we look to the future, however, change is underway, and it is a necessary change. At North Carolina State and Boston College, new leaders are prepared to build on the impressive success of their predecessors, both of whom remain in our fine conference at other schools. Our most substantial addition, Miami, has not only recruited highly-prized propects such as myself but committed to their development and effective implementation by putting in place an unsmiling disciplinarian who pledges in the tradition of the program to crush the rest of you like the insolent bugs that you are (minus the string of disturbing violence, of course). And in North Carolina tonight, challenges are being met by a man of integrity, perseverance, courage and, most of all, non-life-threatening mouth cancer. Butch Davis is here tonight, in the balcony...(applause) ...would you stand please, Butch, so we can present you with a token of our respect and appreciation for what you've endured, and what you still must endure. Truly, you are a survivor. (Standing applause)


The number of conference games North Carolina will win this fall.
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The work of building a new ACC is hard, and it is right. And the ACC has always been willing to do what it takes for what is right. Last December, our championship was won by a team without a winning conference record in nearly 15 years, which averaged 20 points and was outgained overall in conference games, which was forced to start a lightly regarded backup redshirt freshman quarterback, scrambled to beat the conference's last place team by a single point and was led in rushing by a wide receiver. And not a converted wide receiver, I hasten to add, but a slot player who formed the bulk of the ad hoc running game on speed sweeps and reverses. Today our coalition is working to draft a basic standard of competence, with a loosely stratified but generally predictable order of finish, so that out of the chaos of crippling parity might emerge a champion that represents the best of the ACC.

But the status quo always has defenders. Some want to undermine the staff overhauls at Miami and Florida State by claiming there remains a lack of accountability. Yet the results FSU requires are really a matter of common sense: the ACC should expect blue chip recruits to run and block at the blue chip level -- and that's not asking too much. Coaching and philosophical overhaul is the only way to identify and help the proud programs who are falling behind. This conference will not go back to the days of simply shuffling the cards and allowing a champion to fall out of the deck like a lamb to the slaughter. As democracy takes hold in our conference, the enemies of prosperity will do all in their power to spread conservatism and diminished scoring. They are trying to shake the will of our conference and our fans, but the Atlantic Coast Conference will never be intimidated by thugs and erratic quarterbacking. (Applause.) The mediocrities will fail, and the ACC champion will stand a chance in the Bowl Championship series. (Applause.)

May God continue to bless the Atlantic Coast Conference. (Applause.)