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2011 Spring Preview - ACC Attitudes
Virginia RB Keith Payne
Virginia RB Keith Payne
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 13, 2011


The attitude for each ACC team going into spring practices.


2011 ACC Spring Preview

The Spring Attitudes

Click for each team's spring preview
Atlantic Boston Coll | Clemson | Florida St | Maryland | NC St | Wake Forest
Coastal Duke | Georgia Tech | Miami | North Carolina | Virginia | Virginia Tech

2011 ACC Spring Preview 
- 2011 ACC Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 ACC Spring Buzz   
- 2011 ACC Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 ACC Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 ACC Positions To Watch  
- ACC Spring Rankings 

2011 ACC Pre-Spring Preview
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On
   
Atlantic

Boston College
After using a slew of inexperienced players on offense, yet still making it to a 12th straight bowl game, Boston College enters 2011 optimistic. There’s a stalwart on both sides of the ball, RB Montel Harris and LB Luke Kuechly, and a staff that’s entering its third year together. Obviously, the key for the upcoming season will be to get more from an offense that’s been stuck in neutral since Matt Ryan graduated. There are some skill players to build around, including WR Colin Larmond, who’s expected back from a season-long injury.

Clemson
After sinking to below .500 in 2010, Clemson has no intentions of rebuilding; the program expects to retool on the fly and get right back into the Coastal Division hunt. Even with defections, the defense should be fine. It usually is. The offense is a different story, which is why Morris’ arrival has been treated with top billing. The key to the season will be unleashing Boyd in order to maximum the talents of RB Andre Ellington, WR DeAndre Hopkins, and TE Dwayne Allen. If Boyd sputters, it’ll be felt throughout the rest of the program.
 
Florida State
After delivering a smashing debut as the head coach, Jimbo Fisher is hoping to live up to the hype. Florida State is hot again after winning 10 games, destroying rivals Miami and Florida, and amassing an outstanding recruiting class. Unlike the tail end of the Bobby Bowden era, the ‘Noles will enter a year expected to win the ACC and compete on the fringe of the national title chase. There are the usual holes that need to be filled, but nothing that can’t be addressed in the offseason. The key will be to make the transition to Manuel behind center a smooth one.
 
Maryland
Randy Edsall’s challenge will be to keep the momentum going and begin instilling his philosophy into the Terrapin players he inherited. Maryland isn’t expected to compete for an Atlantic Division title, but after going 9-4 in the Fridge’s final year, anything less than the postseason will go down as a rough start. While there’s not a lot of can’t-miss talent, the defense has potential and O’Brien is the type of young passer a program can build around. In an inevitable transition year, the new staff is hoping to make it as smooth as possible.

NC State
After finally breaking through under O’Brien, the Wolfpack hopes to maintain that momentum in 2011. Even if the program doesn’t have the services of Wilson, it feels as if the offense will continue to move the ball effectively and put points on the board. The concern, as is often the case in Raleigh, rests with the defense. While there were clear signs of improvement last year, the secondary remained spotty and the graduation of LB Nate Irving leaves a gaping void that’ll be tough to fill.  

Wake Forest
Back-to-back losing seasons, a rarity for Jim Grobe, have the Deacons eager to rebound and climb back to .500 in 2011. After using so many younger players a year ago, there’s hope that the roster will feature better depth and more experience this fall. All but a single starter is back on defense, and skill position openings on offense are something that can be addressed during the offseason. Fair or not, the fate of this year’s team could rest with the quarterbacks, which piles pressure on Price to evolve from a rough debut in Winston-Salem.

Coastal

Duke
It’s Year No. 4 for David Cutcliffe and it’s time for the coach to start delivering more results. The Blue Devils regressed in 2010, winning just a pair of games against FBS opponents and never threatening for that long-awaited bowl-eligibility. At a school that already doesn’t genuflect to the football team, Duke has to do something to generate a little interest in the program. The offense, specifically the passing game, has potential, but reaching goals will hinge on the development of a feeble defense.
 
Georgia Tech
After making it look easy in his first two seasons on the Flats, winning 20 games and an ACC crown, Paul Johnson wants to get the Ramblin’ Wreck back on the rails. The Yellow Jackets slipped to 6-7 a year ago, losing five of their final six, with the lone win coming versus Duke. With no designs on rebuilding, the coach hopes to get right back in the Coastal Division race, aided by a manageable schedule. Doing so will require the new backfield to come up big now that Nesbitt and Allen have graduated.

Miami
Just how much difference does a new coach make? Miami is about to find out, as Al Golden begins his first season as the successor to Randy Shannon. His no-nonsense approach has already begun to reverberate throughout the locker room, and anyone not toeing the line will pay the price in the form of reduced playing time. Regardless of who’s on the sidelines, the Hurricanes have enough talent to win the ACC, which is exactly where they’ll be aiming. There are the typical holes and the quarterback situation needs to get resolved, but Golden will have a shot to bust out of the gates in his debut.

North Carolina
More than anything else, Carolina is craving a quiet offseason after last year’s high-profile suspensions and off-field headaches. The silver lining of 2010 was that a lot of young players saw action about a year earlier than expected, good news for the 2011 squad. The defense will continue to be the catalyst in Chapel Hill, especially the front seven, leaving the offense as the perennial point of emphasis. Bryn Renner’s development is going to make the most headlines and draw the most attention throughout the year.

Virginia
Mike London’s first season was predictably rocky, losing his final four games and finishing in the ACC cellar. It’s cliché, but from here, the only way is up. The Cavaliers don’t have a lot of all-league talent, but they do have a growing number of quality young playmakers itching to make a mark on the program. Even if the coach can lead this team back to .500 and a middling bowl game, it’ll qualify as a big step forward and a nice encore to the signing day success.

Virginia Tech
It’s a new season, but the goals are the same in Hokie-land—win an ACC championship and, with a break or two, stay on the fringe of national title contention. Although the backfield is being retooled, there’s a ton of returning talent on both sides of the ball. And RB David Wilson just might make folks forget about Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. Winning ten games for an eighth consecutive year will hinge on the maturation of Thomas, who’ll need to limit his mistakes and keep defenses from stacking the line on the backs.

Click for each team's spring preview
Atlantic Boston Coll | Clemson | Florida St | Maryland | NC St | Wake Forest
Coastal Duke | Georgia Tech | Miami | North Carolina | Virginia | Virginia Tech

2011 ACC Spring Preview 
- 2011 ACC Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 ACC Spring Buzz   
- 2011 ACC Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 ACC Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 ACC Positions To Watch  
- ACC Spring Rankings 

2011 ACC Pre-Spring Preview
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On