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Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Updating spring QB competitions

By Heather Dinich

For the first time in the history of the conference, the ACC returns five starting quarterbacks who have thrown for 6,000 or more yards in their careers, by far the most in ACC history. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Wake Forest’s Tanner Price, North Carolina’s Bryn Renner, Boston College’s Chase Rettig and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas each have reached the 6,000-yard mark heading into this fall.

Those are some of the household names in ACC country, but almost half of the conference (Florida State, NC State, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Pitt and Virginia) is still in the midst of quarterback competitions. This spring didn’t provide too many answers for programs looking for new starters, as there wasn’t enough separation between the candidates. It will be an ongoing storyline to follow in the ACC this summer, but with seven spring games on tap this weekend, and spring ball wrapping up soon throughout the ACC, here’s an update on the position at each school:

FLORIDA STATE: Clint Trickett has been taking reps with the first team -- but so have Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker. Coach Jimbo Fisher has said he has no timetable in naming a starter. All three of them have fared well this spring, but it’s probably premature to say there is a true front-runner heading into summer camp.

VIRGINIA: David Watford has been the leader of the group, but Greyson Lambert had the better spring game. Watford finished 5-for-10 passing for 55 yards. Lambert completed 21 of 36 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, and Phillip Sims was 8-for-18 for 89 yards. All three quarterbacks were given a clean slate under first-year coordinator Steve Fairchild.

NC STATE: The competition is still open heading into the summer, but Pete Thomas appears to have a slight edge over Manny Stocker, as coach Dave Doeren told the Raleigh News & Observer that Thomas’ “decision making is a little further along.” Both quarterbacks have taken reps with the first team, but Thomas has gotten more.

SYRACUSE: There are still plenty of questions, but in the most recent scrimmage, Terrel Hunt got the most reps with the first team, while Charley Loeb and John Kinder were with the twos. “We’ve got a good battle going on,” said coach Scott Shafer. “All three of them have been getting a lot of reps.” Shafer said the staff wants to get as many reps as possible on tape and make a decision by the season opener against Penn State, but that they’re not in a hurry to finish. “Some days there’s a little separation,” Shafer said, “other days they narrow the gap back in.”

GEORGIA TECH: The competition will continue into August, but coach Paul Johnson has already said he expects both Vad Lee and Justin Thomas to play this year. In the scrimmage on April 6, Lee ran for a pair of touchdowns, including one 60-yard run, and Thomas rushed for a touchdown he set up with a 40-yard run of his own.

PITT: Fifth-year senior Tom Savage has taken most of the reps with the first team, and redshirt freshman Chad Voytik has mostly worked at No. 2 (with some first-team reps sprinkled in). Pitt has its spring game on Friday night. While coach Paul Chryst might not definitively name Savage the starter, it would appear he has the edge heading into summer camp. Certainly his experience over the rest of the field would give him an advantage.