ACC: 2013 ACC spring team wraps

Boston College spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
11:30
AM ET
2012 record: 2-10

2012 conference record: 1-7 (sixth in the Atlantic Division)

Returning starters: Offense: 8; Defense: 8; kicker/punter 1

Top returners:

QB Chase Rettig, TB Andre Williams, WR Alex Amidon, DE Kasim Edebali, DT Kaleb Ramsey, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Steele Divitto, PK Nate Freese

Key losses:

LT Emmett Cleary, RT John Wetzel, TE Chris Pantale, LB Nick Clancy, SS Jim Noel

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Williams* (599 yards)

Passing: Rettig* (3,065)

Receiving: Amidon* (1,210)

Tackles: Clancy (145)

Sacks: Pierre-Louis* (2)

Interceptions: Spenser Rositano* (3)

Spring answers:

1. The players are buying in. First-year coach Steve Addazio said the one thing he felt great about this spring was the team’s willingness to adjust to the staff and its changes. “This is a group of guys that really took well to tough coaching, to accountability, to the concept that we need to be a real team and we need to be accountable to each other, and build some physical and mental toughness.”

2. Running back Andre Williams can be a star. Addazio has made the running game a priority, and Williams is going to have to carry the load, especially after the departure of Rolandan Finch. “I thought Andre had one of the best springs of anybody,” Addazio said. “… I just really am impressed by him.”

3. Ryan Day helped ease the transition on offense. The Eagles’ first-year offensive coordinator was previously on staff as the receivers’ coach, so the players had an easier time adapting to yet another change in coordinator. For Rettig, Day is his fourth coordinator, but no introductions were necessary.

Fall questions:

1. Depth across the board. Addazio said “depth is a problem right now” and it put the staff in a predicament this spring because they wanted to promote toughness, but also keep guys healthy. While he did say the staff “developed the lineup up front,” the team can’t afford injuries to key players.

2. Can the defense get back to its traditionally stingy self? BC returns eight of its top nine tacklers from last season, but the defense has been learning a new attacking scheme under first-year coordinator Don Brown. Things can only get better, as BC ranked No. 111 in rushing defense last season, and No. 100 in total defense. How quickly the Eagles improve, though, depends upon the learning curve this summer.

3. The running game. It was nonexistent last season. While BC’s top running back proved to be dependable this spring, there are still plenty of questions behind him, and this goes back to the issue of depth in No. 1. The Eagles still have Tahj Kimble and David Dudek, but the two combined for 58 carries last season, when BC’s rushing offense was No. 115 in the country.

Clemson Tigers spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
11:00
AM ET
2012 record: 11-2
2012 conference record: 7-1 (Atlantic Division co-champs)
Returning starters: offense: 6; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners:

QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins, T Brandon Thomas, WR Charone Peake, WR Martavis Bryant, DE Vic Beasley, DE Corey Crawford, LB Stephone Anthony, S Travis Blanks, LB Spencer Shuey; K Chandler Catanzaro

Key losses:

WR DeAndre Hopkins, RB Andre Ellington, TE Brandon Ford, C Dalton Freeman, WR Jaron Brown, DE Malliciah Goodman, CB Xavier Brewer, CB Rashard Hall, SS Jonathan Meeks, LB Tig Willard, P Spencer Benton

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Ellington (1,081 yards)
Passing: Boyd* (3,896 yards)
Receiving: Hopkins (1,405 yards)
Tackles: Willard (95)
Sacks: Beasley* (8)
Interceptions: Hall (4)

Spring answers

1. Freshman phenom at tight end: Jordan Leggett enrolled in January, and not a moment too soon. Sam Cooper tore his ACL, an injury that opened the door for Leggett, who had a fantastic spring. He had seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in the spring game, and he was impressive in the last two scrimmages. He’s not listed as the starter yet, but he is good enough to get there by the opener against Georgia.

2. Beasley’s a beast. He led the team with eight sacks last year, but really showed consistency in the spring. Twice had interceptions of Boyd where he made athletic plays, and he had 10 sacks in the three scrimmages. Clemson is in need of a big-play guy on defense, and Beasley could be it.

3. Solid behind Boyd. Clemson has found a No. 2 quarterback in Cole Stoudt, who threw for 304 yards in the first half of the Tigers’ spring game. He hardly played in the second half. The depth of the position took a hit when Chad Kelly was injured, but now the backup quarterback question has an answer.

Fall questions

1. Unsettled secondary. The cornerback position is a particular area of concern, but with eight true freshmen joining the team this August, the entire group could look different this summer. It wouldn’t be surprising to see at least four of those rookies earn playing time this fall, especially prized recruit Mackensie Alexander, who was the program’s highest-rated signee since former defensive end Da'Quan Bowers.

2. Center of attention: The Tigers will miss Dalton Freeman, who started 49 straight games at center. Ryan Norton is the new starter, but there’s no replacing the experience Freeman had with making all of the blocking calls and the chemistry he developed with Boyd.

3. Spotlight on Sammy: Watkins is moving to Hopkins’ old position, and all eyes will be watching to see if he looks like the same player who caught the nation’s attention as a true freshman in 2011. So far, so good. Watkins had 156 receiving yards in the spring game and looked like old Sammy.

Duke Blue Devils spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
10:30
AM ET
Duke Blue Devils

2012 record: 6-7

2012 conference record: 3-5, Coastal

Returning starters: Offense: 7; defense: 8; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

WR Jamison Crowder, RB Juwan Thompson, DE Kenny Anunike, CB Ross Cockrell

Key losses

QB Sean Renfree, WR Conner Vernon, S Jordan Byas, S Walt Canty

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Jela Duncan* (516 yards, 4 TDs)

Passing: Renfree (260-of-392 for 2,755 yards, 18 TDs, 8 INTs)

Receiving: Crowder* (1,025 yards, 8 TDs)

Tackles: Canty (102)

Sacks: Anunike* (5)

Interceptions: Cockrell* (5)

Spring answers

1. Anthony Boone is for real. People will still wonder how the Blue Devils are going to do without Sean Renfree, but Anthony Boone proved this spring he is the real deal. Boone was impressive as he took over the starting quarterback job, and allows the Blue Devils to add more option principles to the offense, which will make them much more unpredictable.

2. Receivers step up. Here is another question that coach David Cutcliffe believes has been answered this spring. The Blue Devils do lose Conner Vernon, but leading receiver Jamison Crowder returns and Cutcliffe had special praise for the way Max McCaffrey came on this spring. “The receiving corps, I thought, had a tremendous spring,” Cutcliffe said.

3. Defensive front. The Blue Devils went back to the drawing board on defense and decided to simplify the scheme, in order to have their players do less thinking and more attacking. The result, Cutcliffe believes, could be a much better group -- particularly up front.

Fall questions

1. Secondary. This unit has to be completely rebuilt, with Ross Cockrell the only returning starter in the group. And even he missed the second half of spring with an injury. Jeremy Cash, Dwayne Norman and Corbin McCarthy are the new faces that are expected to take their spots in the starting lineup, but don’t be surprised if true freshmen Evrett Edwards and Quay Mann play as well.

2. Can the run game improve? The Blue Devils appear to have great depth in their backfield with their top four rushers back. So the hope is they can have a much more consistent running game this season. Last year, Duke ranked No. 98 in the nation in this category. Boone should factor in here as well.

3. Inexperience. Though the Blue Devils do return a good many of their starters, the ones who are gone are at the key positions on the football field -- quarterback, two receivers, center and three players in the secondary. They will have to rely on players without much game experience at all those positions so how quickly they grow up will be a huge key for this team.
2012 record: 4-8

2012 conference record: 2-6 (fifth place in Atlantic Division)

Returning starters: Offense: 7; Defense: 5; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners:

QB C.J. Brown, WR Stefon Diggs, TB Brandon Ross, CB Dexter McDougle, LB Cole Farrand

Key losses:

WR Kevin Dorsey, TE Matt Furstenburg, G Bennett Fulper, DE Joe Vellano, DE A.J. Francis, LB Demetrius Hartsfield, LB Kenny Tate, S Eric Franklin, LB Darin Drakeford

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Ross* (390 yards)

Passing: Perry Hills* (1, 336)

Receiving: Diggs* (848)

Tackles: Hartsfield/Farrand* (78)

Sacks: Vellano/Drakeford (6)

Interceptions: Four players with one each (Hartsfield, Vellano, Anthony Nixon*, Matt Robinson*)

Spring answers:

1. The running game is improving. The Terps’ running backs were a highlight this spring, as Ross, Albert Reid and Joe Riddle each had their moments -- and that was without Wes Brown, who sat out this spring with injuries. Coach Randy Edsall said one of the biggest differences was the increased competition among the group. It was a welcome change, as the running game ranked No. 112 in the country at 103 yards per game last year.

2. Healthy quarterbacks. Finally, the Terps have healed. C.J. Brown, Hills and Caleb Rowe, each who missed all or part of last season with a torn ACL, are expected to be cleared to participate in fall camp. Brown was back atop the post-spring depth chart, and former fifth-string quarterback, Shawn Petty, is back at his original position of linebacker.

3. The receivers should be a strength. Diggs is back, and he should again be one of the best players in the ACC this year, but it’s not a one-man show. The Terps are loaded at receiver with Diggs, Deon Long, Nigel King, Marcus Leak and others. Long is facing high expectations after his record-setting junior college season at Iowa Western, and Diggs is coming off an impressive performance as a true freshman in which he made a push for ACC Rookie of the Year.

Fall questions:

1. Rusty quarterbacks. Not only has Brown not played since 2011, but he has yet to be a full-time starter. That season, he was in the midst of a quarterback controversy with Danny O’Brien, who later transferred to Wisconsin. Brown has proven he can run, but will he have the arm strength and accuracy to make use of all of the talent at wide receiver? And will he have the time to throw it?

2. The offensive line. The Terps have three returning starters in Mike Madaras, De’Onte Arnett and Sal Conaboy, but Edsall said finding an eight- to 10-man rotation remains a priority heading into the summer. Maryland also still needs to replace Bennett Fulper and Justin Gilbert, who combined for 36 career starts, and the group's depth is a concern.

3. New faces on defense. Maryland has to replace six starters on defense, but it’s not just their playmaking abilities that will be missed, it’s also the leadership of guys like A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano, who became the faces of the program. There is only one returning starter on the defensive line, but the group did find some depth with Andre Monroe and Roman Braglio locking up the No. 2 spots at defensive end.
Miami Hurricanes

2012 record: 7-5

2012 conference record: 5-3, Coastal

Returning starters: Offense: 10; defense: 10; kicker/punter: 0

Top returners

QB Stephen Morris, RB Duke Johnson, DL Anthony Chickillo, LB Denzel Perryman

Key losses

RB Mike James, CB Brandon McGee, LB Gionni Paul, LB Eddie Johnson

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Johnson* (947 yards, 10 TDs)
Passing: Morris* (245-of-421 for 3,345 yards, 21 TDs, 7 INTs)
Receiving: Phillip Dorsett* (842 yards, 4 TDs)
Tackles: Shayon Green* (67)
Sacks: Chickillo* (4)
Interceptions: McGee, Jimmy Gaines* (two each)

Spring answers

1. New coordinator, no problems. From the looks of things, it appears as if Miami has settled in quite nicely with new offensive coordinator James Coley. Stephen Morris had a great spring game, throwing for 256 yards and four touchdowns, and Duke Johnson had 120 yards on 10 carries. Seems as if both players are already in midseason form.

2. Malcolm Lewis is back. The Hurricanes also had one of the best stories of the spring when Lewis caught a 75-yard touchdown pass in the spring game -- his first appearance since a gruesome ankle injury against Georgia Tech cut his season short. His teammates ran out onto the field to mob him and celebrate his return. He should be a factor in the pass game this fall.

3. Henderson matures. Miami has been waiting on offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson to mature. His career in Miami has been rocky at best. But Henderson showed signs of maturation in this spring, drawing praise from teammates and coach Al Golden. He is firmly entrenched as the starting right tackle.

Fall questions

1. Defense. Everybody believes this group should be better this year with 10 starters returning. But these 10 starters also played pretty poorly at times last year. So which is it going to be? There were definite signs of growth this spring, but they have plenty to prove when the season begins.

2. Linebacker depth. Miami lost three linebackers this spring for off-the-field reasons (Gabe Terry, Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul). Paul and Johnson ranked third and fourth on the team in tackles last season, respectively. Neither participated in spring practice so the Hurricanes had a chance to develop younger players. But losing three linebackers is never good from a depth standpoint.

3. Open competitions remain. Three of the four starting jobs in the secondary remain up for grabs. Safety Deon Bush is the only one who has locked down a starting job. The others feature competition at one cornerback spot between Ladarius Gunter and Tracy Howard; the other cornerback spot between Antonio Crawford and Nate Dortch; and the other safety spot between AJ Highsmith and Rayshawn Jenkins.
North Carolina Tar Heels

2012 record: 8-4

2012 conference record: 5-3, Coastal

Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

QB Bryn Renner, OT James Hurst, DE Kareem Martin, S Tre Boston

Key losses

RB Giovani Bernard, OG Jonathan Cooper, DT Sylvester Williams, LB Kevin Reddick

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Bernard (1,228 yards, 12 TDs)

Passing: Renner* (276-of-422 for 3,356 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs)

Receiving: Quinshad Davis* (776 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles: Boston* (86)

Sacks: Reddick (6.5)

Interceptions: Boston, Tim Scott (four each)

Spring answers

1. Offensive line. Though the Tar Heels are losing three starters on the offensive line, including All-American guard Cooper, they do already have their starting five pretty set going into fall camp. Landon Turner and Kiaro Holts have playing experience, and Caleb Peterson is a redshirt freshman taking over for Cooper. The good news is the Tar Heels have two terrific players helping them in tackle James Hurst and center Russell Bodine.

2. Strong secondary. There are some key faces the Tar Heels have to replace on their defense, but their secondary returns nearly all of its key contributors. Safety Tre Boston has an opportunity to be an all-conference player, and this unit should be much better than it was a season ago.

3. Watch for Kareem Martin. By all accounts, Martin had a terrific spring as the leader of the defensive line with Williams gone. Martin had four sacks and six tackles for loss in the spring game, and is motivated to have a monster season.

Fall questions

1. Running back. We did get a few more answers this spring about A.J. Blue and Romar Morris, but it’s still unclear how the Tar Heels are going to use him and true freshman Khris Francis, who was in for spring. They might use a running back-by-committee approach as they try to replace Bernard’s productivity.

2. Offensive line depth. While the Tar Heels feel certain they know what their starting offensive line is going to look like, they are not so sure about who the next three men into the rotation are going to be. So depth is one key area that has to be built in the offseason and into fall camp.

3. Receiver. At this point, North Carolina has three known commodities in Quinshad Davis, Sean Tapley, and tight end Eric Ebron. The Tar Heels are waiting on T.J. Thorpe to get healthy and some other guys to really start being more consistent and defining their roles, because there are plenty of opportunities for making big plays in this offense.
2012 record: 7-6
2012 conference record: 4-4 ACC (third in Atlantic Division)
Returning starters: offense: 5; defense: 5; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners:

WR Quintin Payton, OT Rob Crisp, OT Tyson Chandler, DE Darryl Cato-Bishop, CB Dontae Johnson PK Niklas Sade, P Wil Baumann

Key losses:

QB Mike Glennon, WR Tobais Palmer, OG R.J. Mattes, C Camden Wentz, CB David Amerson, S Earl Wolff, S Brandan Bishop

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Shadrach Thornton* (694 yards)
Passing: Glennon (4,031 yards)
Receiving: Palmer (781 yards)
Tackles: Wolff (119)
Sacks: Cato-Bishop* (6.5)
Interceptions: Amerson (5)

Spring answers

1. QB Pete Thomas is next in line. Thomas edged out Manny Stocker for the majority of first-team reps this spring, and while the staff isn’t ready to name Thomas the starter, it became clear he is the front-runner to take over for Mike Glennon.

2. Picking up the pace: First-year coach Dave Doeren and his staff didn’t install the entire offense, but the Wolfpack did begin to make the switch to an up-tempo, no-huddle offense this spring. Doeren wants to snap it every 15 seconds, and the players began to adjust to a different pace of play.

3. Solid specialists: If there is one area the Pack shouldn’t be concerned about this fall, it’s the kicking game. The holder, punter and place-kicker are all true juniors who have been playing since they were true freshmen. Doeren said all of them had a great spring.

Fall questions

1. Unproven quarterbacks: While Thomas took the majority of reps, Doeren has stressed this remains an open competition into summer, and none of them have yet to compose a résumé comparable to Glennon’s.

2. Shuffling on the offensive line: NC State has to replace three starters up front, and the new staff spent this spring experimenting with different combinations to try and find the best fits. The linemen have also had to adjust to different blocking schemes in the faster-paced offense.

3. New faces at safety. It’s been almost three and a half years since anyone besides Wolff and Bishop had to play safety at NC State. Replacing that experience will be difficult. Hakim Jones was a backup last year who has been penciled in as a starter, and Jarvis Byrd, a fifth-year redshirt senior who has been injured for most of the past two seasons and was a former cornerback, is another top option. Finding a rotation at safety will be a priority this summer.

Pitt Panthers spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
7:00
AM ET
Pittsburgh Panthers

2012 record: 6-7

2012 conference record: 3-4, Big East

Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 9; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

WR Devin Street, DT Aaron Donald, S Jason Hendricks, CB Lafayette Pitts

Key losses

QB Tino Sunseri, RB Ray Graham, C Ryan Turnley, S Jarred Holley

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Graham (1,042 yards, 11 TDs)
Passing: Sunseri (256-of-393 for 3,288 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs)
Receiving: Street* (975 yards, 5 TDs)
Tackles: Hendricks* (90)
Sacks: Donald* (5.5)
Interceptions: Hendricks* (six)

Spring answers

1. Bennett is the man. Following the surprising news that projected starting running back Rushel Shell would transfer, all eyes turned to Isaac Bennett, who now gets his chance to start. Bennett had 114 yards rushing and a touchdown in the spring game, and will now have to transfer that type of production into a game. Malcolm Crockett figures into the mix as well.

2. Starting D solid. The Panthers are adjusting to yet another defensive coordinator, but the good news here is Matt House was promoted from within the staff. So there was not a huge change in scheme or philosophy. With nine starters returning -- including big man up front Aaron Donald -- this group has the potential to shut some teams down.

3. T.J. Clemmings switch. Clemmings made the switch from the defensive to the offensive line to help bolster a group that has struggled the past several seasons. That move looks as if it has paid off, as Clemmings left spring with the starting right tackle job. Clemmings also was selected the team’s most improved offensive player this spring.

Fall questions

1. Quarterback. No word yet on a starting quarterback, so the competition between Chad Voytik and Tom Savage will keep going into fall camp begins. Savage is the senior with game experience (albeit several years ago at Rutgers), while Voytik is the up-and-comer. Savage did take more reps with the first team during the spring, if that gives you any hints.

2. Offensive line. Though Clemmings is at least one answer, the group as a whole still has major question marks after the spring. New center Gabe Roberts had his struggles with the shotgun snap during the spring, and the Panthers are going to have to rely on some inexperienced players to start. Depth also is an issue again.

3. Team depth. The offensive line is not the only position on the team where there is a lack of depth. Just about every position is thin, from running back to receiver, to defensive line and linebacker. Work still must be done to develop the second unit before the season begins.

Syracuse Orange spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
6:30
AM ET
SYRACUSE ORANGE

2012 record: 8-5
2012 conference record: 5-2 Big East (tied for first)
Returning starters: Offense: 5; Defense: 6; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners: C Macky MacPherson, TE Beckett Wales, RB Jerome Smith, NT Jay Bromley, LB Marquis Spruill, LB Dyshawn Davis, CB Keon Lyn, CB Ri’Shard Anderson, FS Jeremi Wilkes, PK Ross Krautman, P Jonathan Fisher

Key losses: WR Marcus Sales, WR Alec Lemon, QB Ryan Nassib, LG Zack Chibane, LT Justin Pugh, DE Markus Pierce-Brewster, DE Brandon Sharpe, DT Deon Goggins, LB Siriki Diabete, SS Shamarko Thomas

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Smith* (1,171 yards)
Passing: Nassib (3,749)
Receiving: Lemon (1,070)
Tackles: Thomas (84)
Sacks: Sharpe (7)
Interceptions: Lyn* (3)

Spring answers:

1. Deep stable of running backs. Offensive coordinator George McDonald compared this group to the talent he saw while an assistant at Miami. It’s a good mix of experience, with a 1,000-yard rusher in Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley (617 yds), and youth, sophomores George Morris III, Ashton Broyld and Devante McFarlane.

2. Replacing Thomas by committee. It will take more than one player to compensate for the loss of the first-team All-Big East safety and team’s leading tackler. The good news is three starters return to the secondary, and there are plenty of options to see playing time, including juniors Ritchy Desir and Durell Eskridge at safety.

3. Familiarity on staff eased transition. Scott Shafer was Syracuse’s defensive coordinator for four years before he was promoted to head coach, and he surrounded himself with a staff that had worked together before at previous stops. Their familiarity with each other and their philosophies and personalities transferred to the players as everyone adjusted.

Fall questions:

1. Quarterbacks. The transfer of former Oklahoma quarterback Drew Allen added even more competition to an already-wide open race for the top job. While some think Allen is the Answer, the position is still a question, as Charley Loeb, Terrel Hunt and John Kinder have more experience in the system and went through the spring in it.

2. Replacing receivers. Cuse lost the Big East’s best receiver in Alec Lemon, and veteran Macus Sales also has to be replaced. Senior Jarrod West (43 catches) had a good spring and leads a group of candidates including seniors Chris Clark and Adrian Flemming, juniors Keenan Hale, Jeremiah Kobena and Arkansas transfer Quinta Funderburk. “Yeah, Jarrod West had a good spring game and had a good spring,” Shafer said. “He did a nice job. Then we have a handful of kids that are in a fight. It's a good fight.”

3. Depth on the defensive line. Syracuse has to replace three of its starting front four, but it is also looking for an eight-man rotation up front. Competition for those will continue this summer to see who gets the most reps.
2012 record: 4-8
2012 conference record: 2-6 (sixth in the Coastal Division)
Returning starters: Offense: 7; Defense: 7; Kicker/punter: 1

Top returners:

QB David Watford, QB Phillip Sims, RT Morgan Moses, TE Jake McGee, TB Kevin Parks, C Luke Bowanko, WR Tim Smith, WR Darius Jennings, DE Jake Snider, CB Demetrious Nicholson

Key losses:

LT Oday Aboushi, QB Michael Rocco, TB Perry Jones, LB Steve Greer, LB LaRoy Reynolds

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Kevin Parks* (734 yards)
Passing: Michael Rocco (1,917 yards)
Receiving: Darius Jennings* (568 yards)
Tackles: Steve Greer (122)
Sacks: Chris Brathwaite* (3.5)
Interceptions: Maurice Canady*(2)

Spring answers

1. Born to blitz. The defense embraced first-year defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s aggressive style with enthusiasm. There were 14 sacks in the spring game. Senior Brent Urban seemed to flourish at defensive tackle. At 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds, he was disrupting the run and creating havoc in the passing lanes with his long reach.

2. Reshuffling the O-line. The staff made some changes up front in order to give the running game a much-needed boost. UVa moved walk-on center Jackson Matteo to the starting spot for the week of practices following the spring game and slid last year's center, Luke Bowanko, to left guard. Sean Cascarano moved from right tackle to right guard and Jay Whitmire took over at right tackle.

3. Morgan Moses is The Man. He decided to return for his senior season, and if this spring was any indication, Moses is on the way to a monster of a finale. The coaching staff was very pleased with his play at left tackle, and he’ll be the anchor of the line.

Fall questions

1. Quarterbacks (again). David Watford, Phillip Sims and Greyson Lambert continue to battle it out. Coach Mike London has said the staff will decide upon a starter in early August. Lambert is more of a drop-back passer, and Sims and Watford are more dual-threat quarterbacks.

2. Linebackers. The loss of Steve Greer, who finished his career with 376 tackles, looms large, but LaRoy Reynolds was also a big-play linebacker who will be missed. Henry Coley switched from the outside to the middle and will be responsible for more line calls. He has big shoes to fill in the tackle department.

3. The running backs. Can Clifton Richardson stay healthy and give UVa a big-back option? UVa lost versatile tailback Perry Jones. Parks returns, along with Khalek Shepherd, but UVa ranked No. 96 in the country in rushing offense last season.
Virginia Tech Hokies

2012 record: 7-6

2012 conference record: 4-4, Coastal

Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 9; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

QB Logan Thomas, CB Kyle Fuller, DE James Gayle, LB Jack Tyler

Key losses

WR Marcus Davis, OT Vinston Painter, LB Bruce Taylor, LB Alonzo Tweedy

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Thomas* (524 yards, 9 TDs)

Passing: Thomas* (220-of-429 for 2,976 yards, 18 TDs, 16 INTs)

Receiving: Davis (953 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles: Tyler* (119)

Sacks: Taylor (5.5)

Interceptions: Exum* (five)

Spring answers

1. Secondary. Depth in the secondary was already thin, and the group got much thinner when starting cornerback Antone Exum tore his ACL during a pickup basketball game. But this spring revealed a rising star in true freshman Brandon Facyson, who enrolled in January. He, Donovan Riley and Donaldven Manning all played well this spring, easing some concerns.

2. Depth up front. The other area defensive coordinator Bud Foster wanted to work on was building depth on his defensive line. He believes he started to accomplish that this spring with younger players like Kris Harley, Nigel Williams, Alston Smith, and Woody Baron coming along.

3. Offense has a ways to go. That might not be the answer fans want to hear, but there is no doubt this group still has gains to make between now and the season opener against Alabama. Anybody who watched what happened in the spring game knows that. More on that down below.

Fall questions

1. Logan Thomas' growth. Just about everybody associated with Virginia Tech says Thomas made some significant strides this spring while working under new coordinator Scot Loeffler. But everybody wants to talk about what happened in the spring game, when he threw three interceptions, including two returned for scores. Thomas made way too many mistakes last season. No matter what other improvements he might have made this spring, he has got to learn to take care of the football.

2. Running back. The Hokies had nobody to shoulder the load last season, and after the spring, they still have nobody to shoulder the load. The ground game didn’t show much in the spring game. J.C. Coleman and Trey Edmunds appear to be the top two guys, pending what happens with Michael Holmes, suspended after he was arrested last month.

3. Offensive line. This group is not a finished product by any stretch, as players were shuffled in and out of the lineup this spring to try and find the right group. Or at least a group that can perform better than a season ago. One player to note is true freshman Jonathan McLaughlin, who ended the spring as the starting left tackle.

Wake Forest spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
5:00
AM ET
2012 record: 5-7

2012 conference record: 3-5 (fourth in the Atlantic Division)

Returning starters: Offense: 8; Defense: 8; Kicker/punter: 2

Top returners:

QB Tanner Price, WR Michael Campanaro, TB Josh Harris, G Frank Souza, G Antonio Ford, CB Kevin Johnson, CB Merrill Noel, FS A.J. Marshall, LB Justin Jackson, LB Mike Olson, NG Nikita Whitlock, DE Zach Thompson

Key losses:

FB Tommy Bohanon, C Garrick Williams, LB Joey Ehrmann, LB Riley Haynes, CB Kenny Okoro

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Harris* (608 yards)

Passing: Price* (2,300)

Receiving: Campanaro* (763 yards)

Tackles: Jackson* (81)

Sacks: Jackson* (4)

Interceptions: Johnson* (3)

Spring answers:

1. Camp’s complement: An ankle injury to Campanaro opened the door for Orville Reynolds to emerge as a dependable No. 2 receiver. Reynolds was voted by his teammates as the most improved player on offense this spring. The staff is trying to get the receivers more involved in the running game, and Reynolds, a converted running back, could be the perfect match for it.

2. Depth on defense: The defensive line found a solid rotation two-deep, and the linebackers emerged as a group that should be the strength of the defense this season. Inside linebacker Brandon Chubb had a particularly good spring and got some first-team reps at the expense of Olson, who had some nagging shoulder issues.

3. Opting for the option: The Deacs have changed their offense to incorporate more option and get Price running more. Offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke said the staff is interested in integrating standard spread-option runs, zone reads and quarterback draws.

Fall questions:

1. The offensive line. It’s the biggest concern on the team, and was the weak link last season. With so many injuries in 2012 that carried into the spring, there was little time for a five-step drop, and Price was constantly making throws under pressure. Until this group is solidified, Lobotzke won’t rest easy.

2. Impact freshmen. The redshirting policy is on hold for now, as the staff has made it clear that they are willing to play whomever is capable of helping the team win now. True freshmen will be given a legitimate chance to contribute immediately, but until they arrive this summer, nobody knows who or how many will contribute.

3. Can running back Josh Harris be consistent? Harris made a name for himself in 2010 when, in his first career start, he ran for 241 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries against Virginia Tech. Since then he has battled injuries and his durability has come into question. Now, as a redshirt senior, he has a chance to lead the Deacs’ ground game, but can he stay healthy enough and be consistent enough to reassert himself as one of the ACC’s best backs?

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