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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Five biggest ACC spring questions

By Heather Dinich

Every team has questions heading into spring practices, and the specific ones for each team were addressed in the spring previews. The conference as a whole, though, has a few questions to answer. Here are five of the biggest storylines facing the ACC heading into spring practices:

Jacory Harris
Jacory Harris will face competition to be Miami's starting quarterback next season.
1. Who will be Miami’s starting quarterback? Before Al Golden makes any major progress, he’s got to name his starting quarterback, and arguably the biggest position battle this spring will be between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. Regardless of whether it’s winning or losing, Miami is a national story, and so is its quarterback.

2. How quickly can new staffs and coordinators adjust? Four of the six teams in the Atlantic Division will have new coordinators, along with two teams in the Coastal Division. Wake Forest just lost its defensive coordinator, Brad Lambert, who left to become head coach at Charlotte. There are two new head coaches, at Maryland and Miami. The speed at which the players learn the new terminology and playbooks will be critical.

3. How much better will Georgia Tech and Clemson look? Both programs were playing for the ACC title in 2009, and fell flat last year with losing seasons. How much progress they make this spring will be key to their turnarounds. Clemson has to adjust to a new offense under a new coordinator with a first-year starting quarterback. Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington has the edge in the competition, but nothing is a guarantee. Al Groh’s defense must take another step forward in his second season.

4. How will the new quarterbacks adjust to their roles? All eyes will be on Logan Thomas at Virginia Tech, Bryn Renner at North Carolina, Mike Glennon at NC State, Tajh Boyd at Clemson and EJ Manuel at Florida State. Virginia will also have a quarterback battle this spring. With so much turnover at the position, who will lead the learning curve?

5. Is FSU really that good? The hype has returned. The expectations are soaring for Jimbo Fisher in just his second season. The Seminoles have been mentioned in the same sentence as “national title” and should be a preseason top-10 team. So what’s their weakness? The Noles need to replace two outstanding starters on the offensive line in Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon. The receivers need to be more consistent. And there will be new starters at linebacker. Nothing major, but all still important if FSU is going to live up to the hype.