What I Learned From Spring Football in the ACC

Just about every team in the ACC has reasons to feel good and reasons to worry after spring drills. Here's my take on all 12 teams in the league and we enter the long, seemingly endless summer months.

Virginia Tech Hokies

- The defense is going to be OK (again). Tech has a talented, athletic and versatile secondary that will compensate for the linebackers' deficiencies in pass coverage. I think the defense will struggle against the run early in the year because of youth, but will eventually be the solid front seven we expect from a Bud Foster defense.
- The offensive line could submarine our loaded backfield. The O-line has five capable cogs, but if they don't learn to move together or one of those cogs tears a pectoral muscle in a freak weight-room injury, the whole offensive machine could go kaput. Lack of depth on the line could again hurt Tech.

The rest of the ACC is after the jump.

Boston College Eagles

- Mike Marscovetra needs to be BC's starter. Marsco was outstanding in the Eagles' spring game, made tough throws and confidently led the offense. David Shinskie did the exact opposite of all three of those things, but is still BC's starter until he loses the job to Marsco.
- BC will again have a stout defense. It's defensive line is improved and with Luke Kuenchly and Mark Herzlich are linebacker it yards will be tough against the Eagles. If they get better play from their QB they could very well win their third Atlantic title in four years.

Clemson Tigers

- The Tigers are the Atlantic's answer to North Carolina. Clemson has a stout defense, but an offense that isn't going to light up scoreboards like it had last year. Clemson is another team that lacks depth on the offensive line, but unlike the Hokies have a lot of unproven skill position players.

Duke Blue Devils

- The Blue Devils are ahead of schedule under David Cutcliffe. Their speed and depth are improved, but not quite up to BCS standards. Their run game will be vastly improved with an offensive line that is no longer clueless and a capable running back in Desmond Scott.

Florida State Seminoles

- Christian Ponder is still the best quarterback in the league. Ponder lit up a defense that isn't lost anymore under its new coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. The new staff has FSU fans back to their optimistic selves and it will likely be selected as the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

- There will be no dropoff at the B-back position from Jonathan Dwyer to Anthony Allen. While Dwyer got most of the headlines last year, Allen was the one who was consistently ripping off long run after long run from his A-back spot. Can he do the same now that he's primarily running between the tackles instead of outside? I think he can. The guy is a fantastic all-purpose back.
- The Yellow Jacket defense lost a lot of talent from last year and will need some time to adjust to Al Groh's 3-4 defense. GT could be involved in a lot of high-scoring games this year.

Maryland Terrapins

- The Terps aren't going to be as bad as people think. Their defense was fine last year and they have a lot of talent at the skill positions on offense. They could contend in the Atlantic if they get improved play from their quarterback and offensive line.

Miami Hurricanes

- Miami's loaded at the skill positions (again), but will need consistency from Jacory Harris and will need to be better on the road to get over the hump in Randy Shannon's fourth season.
- The Canes' secondary got torched in their spring game, but they have a very front seven that will be tough to run against.

North Carolina Tar Heels

- The Heels will be one of the most-discussed teams going into the season. A lot of this will be because ESPN wants to hype its season-opener in Atlanta between UNC and LSU. The Heels have an outstanding defense loaded with NFL talent, but will it be able to live up to the headlines and will its offense be able to provide enough firepower to get them to Charlotte? I don't think it will.

NC State Wolfpack

- The Pack may not have a quarterback controversy (Russell Wilson is THE starter), but Mike Glennon has earned playing time thanks to an outstanding spring. Remember, if you have two good quarterbacks, you have no good quarterbacks.
- NC State's defense is going to give up a lot of points, especially through the air.

Virginia Cavaliers

- The Hoos' defense is going to be much better now that it's in a 4-3, but Mike London's lack of confidence in his quarterback probably means that position is going to be a weakness when the season starts. And with the way the running game struggled this spring, points may be hard to come by for UVa.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

- The Deacs will need time to convert back to an option-oriented offense like Jim Grobe initially tried to install when he came to Winston-Salem. I don't think they'll get good enough quarterback play to compete in the Atlantic division.

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