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What we learned this spring in the ACC

5/7/2013

The final spring games are in the books, and spring practices in the ACC have officially come to a close. The biggest news in the ACC this spring was the grant of rights agreement, which further solidified the league's future. On the field, though, there was much less certainty.

Here's a look back at three lessons learned in the ACC this spring, in no particular order:

1. Virginia Tech's new offense looks a lot like the old offense: It was ugly. Virginia Tech gained a total of 23 yards on the ground. Quarterback Logan Thomas threw three interceptions -- including two that were returned for touchdowns. [Insert cringe here.] While the spring game was hardly a revelation of the playbook under first-year coordinator Scot Loeffler, the Hokies struggled to even execute the basics -- against a second-string defense that was spotted 13 points. Thomas was selected by the coaching staff as one of the most improved players of the spring, but it wasn't reflected in the spring game.

2. Quarterback questions remain. While some separation began to take place across the ACC, the programs with quarterback questions still hesitated to name a starter. At Pittsburgh, Tom Savage took the most reps with the first team, but Chad Voytik was the star of the spring game. At NC State, Pete Thomas received the most meaningful reps this spring, but the staff will let the competition with Manny Stocker play out into the summer. Florida State quarterback Clint Trickett decided to transfer not long after Jameis Winston had a strong performance in the Noles' spring game. Syracuse might have had the least amount of separation, and the transfer of Oklahoma quarterback Drew Allen further muddled the picture. Virginia is still looking for a starter, which has become a theme under coach Mike London.

3. Transfers have changed the picture. Pittsburgh dealt with the transfer of leading returning rusher Rushel Shell, Florida State lost Trickett, and Syracuse was the beneficiary of the transfer of Allen. All three of them affected key positions and the two-deep, if not the starting lineup. Shell was next in line to take over for Ray Graham, Trickett was right in the mix to replace former starter EJ Manuel, and Allen isn't even expected to enroll until the summer. Shell left little experience behind at the running back position at Pitt, but in the long run it could be addition by subtraction, because the players there want to be there. Trickett's departure hurt the depth at the position at FSU, and he did have game experience as Manuel's backup each of the past two seasons. Overall, all three of these transfers should continue to resonate this summer with each team.