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2011 Spring Preview - The ACC Buzz
Virginia Tech RB David Wilson
Virginia Tech RB David Wilson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 13, 2011


The early buzz around each ACC team going into spring practices.


2011 ACC Spring Preview

The Spring Buzz

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
Head coach Frank Spaziani hopes that patience pays off in his search for a new offensive coordinator. He took more than a month to replace the retired Gary Tranquill, prying Kevin Rogers out of the NFL in the middle of February. His extensive resume includes a recent five-year stay with the Minnesota Vikings and ACC experience while at Virginia Tech. He’ll be inheriting one of the nation’s worst offenses, a unit that ranked 109th in 2010 and had all kinds of issues reaching the end zone.

Clemson
This is a huge spring for coordinator Chad Morris, his first with the program. The Tigers are in dire need of an offensive identity, and Morris was lured from Tulsa to put an immediate jolt into the attack. In his system, the quarterback must be mobile, which won’t be a problem now that Tajh Boyd is taking over as the starter. While he flourished with the Golden Hurricane, there’s concern about his resume. Prior to last fall, his entire career was spent at the prep level. Clemson is looking for reassurance that it hired the next Gus Malzahn and not the next Todd Dodge.
 
Florida State
In order to replace standout C Ryan McMahon, the Seminoles are going to promote from within. At least that’s the plan. The staff is going to shift senior David Spurlock inside from right guard and give him the time he needs to win the job. An athletic 6-4, 300-pounder, he’s been in the lineup since the middle of his rookie year in 2008. The key will be his snaps and his ability to become the leader of the group. If the move becomes permanent, it’ll mean that the ‘Noles will have a pair of new guards since All-American Rodney Hudson has graduated.
 
Maryland
The Terrapins have a permanent defensive coordinator … finally. Randy Edsall promoted Todd Bradford and hired Keith Dudzinski to coach inside linebackers after Don Brown’s sudden and ironic departure to Connecticut, Edsall’s former employer. Penn State’s Larry Johnson and former Miami head coach Randy Shannon turned down the opportunity, leaving Maryland with a limited number of options. Bradford was the coordinator at Southern Miss the last three years, while Dudzinski held the same position at Massachusetts for the past seven seasons, five under Brown.

NC State
Although nothing has been made official quite yet, the Wolfpack is preparing as if last season was the final one for star QB Russell Wilson. While most schools lose prized players to the NFL, State is taking a backseat to Major League Baseball and specifically the Colorado Rockies, who drafted Wilson last June. Head coach Tom O’Brien will always leave the door often, but the program will begin spring drills assuming that the time has finally arrived for fourth-year junior Mike Glennon to get his opportunity to lead the offense.

Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons lost their defensive coordinator at a most inopportune time of the year, just two weeks before the start of spring. Brad Lambert accepted the job to become Charlotte’s first head coach, leaving Jim Grobe scrambling for a successor. Although there are plenty of coaches who’d like to work for Grobe, the timing is such that he’d probably be well-advised to simply promote from within. It also helps that three current assistants, Steve Russ, Tim Billings, and Brian Knorr, have prior experience as a defensive coordinator.

Coastal

Duke
Blue Devil WR Donovan Varner already looks as if he plans to treat his final year of eligibility as a salary run season. Ranked in the top 10 in school history in most statistical categories, he has 146 career catches for 1,947 yards and 10 touchdowns. Yet, there’s been no resting on his laurels. The senior began spring camp in the best shape of his life, adding the muscle in the offseason needed to beat jams at the line of scrimmage and make plays in traffic. One of Duke’s best offensive weapon looks as if he’ll be even better in 2011.
 
Georgia Tech
Despite a lack of depth at the position, head coach Paul Johnson is contemplating moving QB David Sims to B-back to fill a pressing need in that area. Now that Anthony Allen is off to the NFL, the Yellow Jackets are seeking a feature runner, which some feel could be filled by the sophomore. Oh, he’s not giving up on catching frontrunner Tevin Washington behind center, but his athleticism will be tough to keep off the field. An all-around terrific athlete, he goes 6-0 and more than 200 pounds, and can get upfield in a hurry.

Miami
First-year head coach Al Golden used his initial depth chart to send a message to his Hurricanes—work ethic will go a long way to determining the pecking order. Surprises dotted the two-deep, rewarding those players who have given the most effort over the last couple of months. No move turned more heads than presumed third-string QB Spencer Whipple being listed above favorites Stephen Morris and Jacory Harris. While it’s a long way between now and Labor Day, one thing that’s clear is that Golden’s system is a meritocracy that’ll reward those players that work the hardest on the practice field and in the film room.

North Carolina
A need for more help up front on defense means January enrollee Sylvester Williams could have a shot to play immediately. A transfer from Coffeyville (Kans.) Community College, he only played one season of high school football and has a high ceiling once he gets around better coaches and facilities. North of 300 pounds and uncommonly athletic for an interior lineman, he’ll fit right in at Carolina, which continues to produce next-level defensive linemen. The decision to keep all-star Quinton Coples on the outside made the signing of Williams even more important for the Tar Heels.

Virginia
The Cavaliers’ struggles on the field in 2010 couldn’t dampen what took place in February. Second-year head coach Mike London cleaned up on the recruiting trail, piecing together one of the ACC’s top classes. After going 4-8 and missing out on the postseason for a third straight year, Virginia got a much-needed infusion of talent and boost in momentum. Although the program and the kids still need to deliver on the field, the Top 25 class addresses all kinds of needs and gives fans something to get excited about heading into 2011.

Virginia Tech
Not content with the status quo or simply winning ACC crowns, Frank Beamer shook up his coaching staff in February. Even after winning the conference for a fourth time in seven years, the coach refused to sit still, adding son Shane as running backs coach and associate head coach, and former Hokie Cornell Brown as linebackers coach. The younger Beamer is leaving South Carolina for Blacksburg, where his ability to recruit will be on display. While Bryan Stinespring will remain as the offensive coordinator, he’s relinquishing play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain.

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