Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Lessons to be learned in the ACC
By ESPN.com staff
It's time to move on in the ACC.
Players and coaches come and go. Graduation, injuries -- ahem, "retirement" -- all reasons for new faces on the sidelines this fall. Several programs in the ACC will be missing key components of their 2009 success, and Week 1 will help shed some light on how they plan to move forward without them.
This week, we'll finally learn a little bit more about ...
Clemson without C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford: Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper have proven to be capable backs -- they combined for over 900 rushing yards and a 6.2 average behind Spiller in 2009 --but consistency has lacked in the past at wide receiver and the Tigers still aren't sure who their go-to player will be. The loss of Spiller and Ford will also be evident in the return game.
Florida State without Bobby Bowden and Mickey Andrews: The Jimbo Fisher era begins against Bowden's former team, Samford, but the biggest focus will be on the defense, which is in dire need of improvement. There were nine freshmen listed on the most recent depth chart, including two at cornerback, where Xavier Rhodes is backed up by Lamarcus Joyner.
Georgia Tech without Derrick Morgan, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett: Offensively, the Jackets should make a seamless transition with Anthony Allen becoming the next 1,000-yard B-back, and a receiver-by-committee effort to compensate for the loss of Thomas' production. Defensively, Morgan will be missed and it could take some time to transition into Al Groh's 3-4 defense.
Boston College without Colin Larmond Jr.: He was slated to be the starter and the top playmaker at wide receiver before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Ifeanyi Momah is the next man up and redshirted last year because of injury. The other starter at receiver is Billy Flutie, who caught five passes last season. Freshmen will likely contribute.
Wake Forest without Riley Skinner: The offense is in the hands of Ted Stachitas, and for the first time since 1957, the Deacs don't have a quarterback who has thrown a collegiate pass. Stachitas is more mobile, though, which could provide some added opportunities. If not, the staff isn't afraid to turn to true freshman Tanner Price.
Duke without Thaddeus Lewis:S ean Renfree had a productive summer and has completely healed from a torn ACL. He's also got one of the better receiving corps in the ACC to work with. He's the only quarterback on the roster who has played in a collegiate game. He led Duke to a comeback road victory over Army in the second week of the season, throwing for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-8 passing.