- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Four ACC teams have a bye this week. Let's take a look at one critical area that must be addressed by each team.
Clemson: Improving on D. This could be a theme for three of the four teams on the list. In the case of the Tigers, they must make strides in this area if they have any hopes of winning out and getting into a BCS bowl. Clemson ranks No. 10 in the ACC in total defense and No. 96 in the nation, and is giving up an average of 27.3 points a game. We all know Clemson can move the ball on offense, but can this defense make critical stops late in games?
Georgia Tech. Did somebody say D? Georgia Tech ranks just above Clemson in total defense in the ACC (No. 9) and now gets a full bye week to prepare for life after coordinator Al Groh, who was fired on Monday. Secondary coach Charles Kelly becomes interim coordinator and coach Paul Johnson will be more involved as well. First order of business is to simplify the defense and do more live hitting in practice. We'll see if there are immediate results when the Jackets return from their bye to play Boston College.
NC State. Stay humble. You can bet coach Tom O'Brien is telling his players not to get too excited about their win over Florida State. There is still plenty of work to be done for this team, particularly on offense, where injuries have taken a toll up front and there has been inconsistency in the passing game. On defense, has David Amerson turned a corner after last week or will we continue to see him struggle?
Wake Forest. Get healthy and disciplined. This team has been really hurt by injuries and then took another whammy last week with the suspension of six players for a violation of team rules. Coach Jim Grobe truly does the best with what he has, but he has not been able to use his full complement of players. Perhaps the bye week will allow this team to re-focus in on its priorities and get a few more guys healed up for the start of the second half of the year.
1dMatt Fortuna and Andrea Adelson