Sunday, April 29, 2007

ACC Spring Review

All the ACC Spring Practices are complete. Nothing is really ever decided in Spring ball, but it is always fun to make some predictions and take a look at the position battles.

Miami
Spring Headline:
New head coach Randy Shannon and new OC Patrick Nix

Offense:
The Hurricanes were hoping to have one QB emerge as the starter after Spring ball, but it appears that neither Kyle Wright nor Kirby Freeman distinguished themselves. Wright ended last season watching Freeman lead the Hurricanes to wins over Boston College and Nevada, while the battled former starter was nursing an injury.

Defense:
Miami always has speed and talent on their defense, but they will have to replace a number of starters. With Shannon still on board, you wouldn't expect a big drop off this year.

Top Incoming Freshman:
DL Allen Bailey, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB Doug Wiggins, QB Robert Marve

Knee - jerk Prediction:
8-4

Florida State
Spring Headline:
A revitalized FSU offense with the hiring of Jimbo Fisher from LSU

Offense:
The Seminoles should be able to rush the ball this year with Antone Smith at running back. Drew Weatherford has another year under his belt and is still the starter, but Xavier Lee will again challenge for the starting position.

Defense:
Injuries decimated the Noles last year keeping some players out of spring practice. Chuck Amato is back on the FSU sideline and the Seminoles speed will make them tough to score on as usual.

Top Incoming Freshman:
OL Antwane Greenlee, CB Dionte Allen, CB Bernard Brinson

Knee Jerk Prediction:
8-4

Georgia Tech
Spring Headline:
Taylor Bennett takes over under new offensive coordinator John Bond

Offense:
Bennett showed flashes of brilliance in the Gator Bowl, but will have to find a new target with Calvin Johnson gone to the NFL. Look for Tashard Choice to have a break out season under Bond who coached Garrett Wolfe at Northern Illinois.

Defense:
The Yellow Jackets should be pretty stout again on defense under Jon Tenuta. The secondary is thin, but could be bolstered by some incoming freshman - that is if the offense doesn't get them first.

Top Incoming Freshman:
QB Josh Nesbitt, RB Jonathan Dwyer, DL Derrick Morgan, S DJ Donley

Knee Jerk Prediction:
9-3

Clemson
Spring Headline:
Freshman Willy Korn arrives on campus

Offense:
The Tigers will again rely on their talented tandem of backs James Davis and CJ Spiller while the QB position develops. Cullen Harper exited Spring with the starting job, but watch for Korn to get more reps and push Harper in the fall.

Defense:
The Tigers lost the stars off their defense, but they have recruited very well in the last few years. Look for Ricky Sapp to step into the Gaines Adams role at defensive end and have a very good year.

Top Incoming Freshman:
QB Willy Korn, CB Marcus Gilchrist
Knee Jerk Prediction:
8-4

Virginia Tech
Spring Headline:
The Hokies are the favorites to win the ACC, but were hoping to get a solid starter going into fall.

Offense:
Despite many thinking that Ike Whitaker would overtake the starting position, Sean Glennon made some big strides and held onto the QB position.

Defense:
The Hokies defense had a down year last year for them, but was making improvement during the Spring. However, the Spring Game was cancelled after the tragedy at Virginia Tech. We all hope the Hokies can use football as way to recover and heal.

Top Incoming Freshman:
QB Tyrod Taylor, OL Will Alvarez, RB Darren Evans

Knee Jerk Prediction:
10-2

Other ACC Schools:
Boston College:
Tom O'Brien is gone to NC State. Matt Ryan returns as the starter and the Eagles have enough talent to compete for a bowl, but it will be interesting to see how the new coach fares:
Knee Jerk Prediction: 7-5

NC State:
Boston College's loss is the Wolfpack's gain. O'Brien will bring much more discipline to a talented, yet mistake prone squad
Knee Jerk Prediction: 6-6

North Carolina:
There is a new sheriff in town and he has all the tools to take the Tar Heels to the top level in the ACC. The question is how long it will take to rebuild Carolina and how long Davis will stay after that.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 5-7

Wake Forest:
Defending ACC Champs. Riley Skinner is just a sophomore. Don't completely count out Wake Forest.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 7-5

Duke:
The Devils will look to win a Division I-A game this year. Next challenge is an ACC game.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 2-10

Virginia:

The Cavaliers are stuck in mediocrity. They looked they would challenge Duke for conference worst early on, but Marques Hagans really improved throughout the year giving fans hope for this year.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 5-7

Maryland:
A fashionable pick to win the Atlantic with FSU after finishing strong last year. The QB position will be a question mark with Sam Hollenbach gone, but Ralph Friedgen has options in Florida
transfer Josh Portis and Jordan Steffy.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 8-4

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