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2011 Spring Preview - ACC Key Positions
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 13, 2011


The positions to watch for each ACC team going into spring practices.


2011 ACC Spring Preview

The Spring Position Concerns

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
The offensive line. Throughout the years, whenever Boston College has been successful, it’s had superior line play. However, that was not the case in 2010, especially when the Eagles had problems with pass protection. Three starters have graduated from that group, namely next-level LT Anthony Castonzo. The foundation will be built around Emmett Cleary, Nathan Richman, and Mark Spinney, but that trio is going to need support. Opportunities abound for John Wetzel and Ian White, who were wide-eyed underclassmen a year ago.

Clemson
The secondary. Clemson never seems to have much trouble developing defensive backs, which it hopes will continue to be the case this fall. Three of last year’s starters are gone, including first team All-ACC S DeAndre McDaniel. The other safety, Rashard Hall, will represent an important building block. Fortunately, he’ll be surrounded by a nice mix of veterans. Senior Coty Sensabaugh and junior Xavier Brewer are first in line at cornerback, and junior Jonathan Meeks has the upper hand at McDaniel’s old strong safety spot.
 
Florida State
Wide receiver. How long has it been since the Seminoles boasted one of the nation’s—or even the conference’s—best receiver corps? Too long. Besides protection, QB E.J. Manuel’s best friend will be a more reliable set of hands. Last year’s group was inconsistent, dropping too many passes and generally not making the quarterback’s life any easier. The good news is that everyone who caught at least 10 passes is back. However, all of the receivers, from WR Bert Reed to TE Beau Reliford, need to become more accountable.
 
Maryland
Wide receiver. Yeah, the linebackers have also been gutted, but the receivers are particularly thin. Adrian Cannon graduated and Torrey Smith left early, leaving little-used Quintin McCree and Kevin Dorsey as the top two returning pass-catchers. Although TE Matt Furstenberg is a reliable option in the passing, the Terrapins need more hands and field-stretchers in order to further the development of QB Danny O’Brien. The franchise in Maryland, he debuted as a rookie with 22 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions.

NC State
The receivers. If Mike Glennon is going to fulfill his potential in 2011, he’ll need a lot of help from his supporting cast. Unfortunately, last year’s top four receivers, including all-star WR Owen Spencer and TE George Bryan, have run out of eligibility. The tattered corps will be built around senior T.J. Graham, who caught 25 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns last fall. Steven Howard and Jay Smith are also veteran options, but some of the kids, like Quintin Payton, will get a chance to assume a much bigger role.

Wake Forest
Quarterback. Life after Riley Skinner was even harder than most expected, as the Deacons produced just nine touchdown passes all year. Of course, that’s liable to happen when your starting quarterback, Tanner Price, is just a rookie. He had all kinds of problems, but displayed some of the athleticism that the program likes and now has a season of experience to call upon. If he fails to show progress, the staff might look in the direction of one of last year’s holdovers or even true freshman Kevin Sousa.

Coastal

Duke
The defensive line. If the defense is going to have any hope for respectability in 2011, it’s going to need more pressure at the point of attack. Last year’s team averaged one sack a game, which left a leaky secondary exposed. Ends Patrick Egboh and Wesley Oglesby are gone, which opens the door for Justin Foxx, Kenny Anunike, and others to earn more reps when the season begins. On the inside Sydney Sarmiento has an exciting future for a line that’s hungry for more production.
 
Georgia Tech
The offensive line. This has been a suspect area for Georgia Tech for the past couple of seasons, too often failing to hold up at the point of attack. The situation is further muddled by the graduations of all-star C Sean Bedford and T Austin Barrick, and the early departure to the NFL of Nick Claytor. G Omoregie Uzzi is a good one and T Phil Smith and G Will Jackson have starting experience. Around that trio, others, like inexperienced Jay Finch and Tyler Kidney, will be asked to assume much bigger roles.

Miami
Cornerback. The ‘Canes have lost three good ones to the NFL, Brandon Harris, DeMarcus Van Dyke, and Ryan Hill, leaving a gaping void in the secondary. While there are all kinds of young talent at safety, the cornerbacks are going to be green and a little ripe for the picking in the early. All of that depth at safety has enabled the staff to shift to corner, where he’s already in the lead for a starting assignment. Junior Brandon McGee, a backup in 2010, is another defender who’ll be counted on heavily to pick up the slack in pass defense

North Carolina
Running back. How long has it been since Carolina has had a true workhorse to carry the load on the ground? Heck, it’s been 13 years since the program had a 1,000-yard rusher. Johnny White, Shaun Draughn, and Anthony Elzy are gone, meaning there isn’t a back on the roster who carried the ball more than five times in 2010. Devon Ramsay is the veteran, having been reinstated by the NCAA, but he’s more of a fullback than an every-down runner. Now that he’s returned from an ACL tear, the ceiling is high for last year’s mega-recruit Giovanni Bernard.

Virginia
The running backs. Keith Payne, last season’s breakout star, has graduated, forcing the Cavs to search for a successor in the running game. Fortunately, the cupboard isn’t bare, which should make for heated competition right up until the spring game. Perry Jones ran for 646 yards in a reserve role, and the young kids are itching for an opportunity to get touches. Kevin Parks, in particular, isn’t very big, but has playmaking ability and a knack for providing a jolt of energy to an offense.

Virginia Tech
Special teams. Rarely a problem in Blacksburg, the Hokies will have to replace both an All-ACC punter and kicker this fall. Brian Saunders and Chris Hazley are gone, opening up the competition in the spring and the summer. If the end of last season counts for anything, a couple of Pennsylvania natives, Scott Demler and Justin Myer, respectively, will have an edge of filling the openings. Beamer, however, likes competition and wants to be sure these two areas are solidified before the opener.
  
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