Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Proving ground: Atlantic Division
By ESPN.com staff
Boston College running back Montel Harris could potentially break a 33-year old ACC record if he stays healthy this fall. He’s got nothing to prove. BC’s offensive line? Now that’s a different story. There are plenty of veterans returning in the ACC, but there are also plenty of players, coaches and position groups with something to prove this fall. Here’s a look at who in the Atlantic Division has the most to prove this fall, ranked from most to least. The Coastal Division will be up next.
1. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: He can’t afford a second straight losing season, and he’s trying to avoid a third straight loss to rival South Carolina. He made a dramatic shift in offensive philosophy and that hire will have to pay dividends sooner than later.
2. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon: Former quarterback Russell Wilson set a high standard, and coach Tom O’Brien hasn’t helped matters much by comparing Glennon to former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. The expectation is for Glennon to continue the success of last year’s nine-win season in his first season as full-time starter. No pressure.
3. Maryland coach Randy Edsall: He was hired to replace the ACC’s 2010 Coach of the Year. He was hired to make Maryland a consistent Top 25 program. And he was hired to rejuvenate a dispassionate fan base and fill the seats. So yeah, he’s got something to prove.
4. Boston College’s offensive line: The Eagles have to replace three starters on the line, including Anthony Castonzo, who finished his career with a league-high 54 starts. The staff liked the progress the group made this past spring, but it’s not sold on the starting lineup. John Wetzel was listed as Castonzo’s replacement on the post-spring depth chart, but the position is still up for grabs.
5. Wake Forest center Garrick Williams: He is the undisputed heir to former center Russell Nenon, a four-year starter who started every game in his final three seasons. Williams isn’t an established player and struggled to snap the ball at the end of spring practices. He still needs to show significant improvement this summer to earn the staff’s confidence. He started three of the final four games of the 2010 season, and played a different position each time.
6. Florida State’s offensive line: It’s the one true question the Seminoles have heading into the season, as they’ve got to replace mainstays Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon up front. There were too many injuries this spring to get a good read on how the group will look without them, and it was also difficult to test the defensive line with rookie backups. Why are they last on the list? Offensive line coach Rick Trickett.