- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Even though there are only 15 practices in the spring, there is plenty to be gained. Coaches get their first glimpse at their 2015 group and can begin to answer questions that always arise with a new team.
So which ACC teams answered the most questions? Our ACC reporters discuss.
Andrea Adelson: Virginia Tech While it is true the Hokies went through the spring without several injured defensive starters, there are never major concerns with a Bud Foster-coached unit. What has dragged the Hokies down the past three years has been an anemic offense that has been difficult to watch. So all eyes were on the offense this spring to see whether this would finally be the year Virginia Tech breaks out of the doldrums and resembles a pretty good offensive group. The answers were overwhelmingly positive. Though Michael Brewer missed a few practices with a back injury, he had much more command of the offense. J.C. Coleman, Trey Edmunds and Travon McMillian ran behind a vastly improved -- and seemingly solidified -- offensive line. There is depth at tight end. In the spring game, Virginia Tech flourished in the red zone, another sign of encouragement. If this group continues making improvement, Virginia Tech could finally contend for the Coastal again.
David Hale: North Carolina Let’s be clear here: UNC isn’t suddenly a great defense. In fact, it may not even make it to the middle of the pack in the standings in 2015. But this spring did begin to set the groundwork for a major overhaul to a unit that has been awful for virtually all of Larry Fedora’s tenure as head coach. The hiring of Gene Chizik to run the D was a terrific first step. He installed a new 4-3 defense this spring, and he was able to get a sizable bit of the scheme installed. Chizik also identified some key players to move to new positions -- Shakeel Rashad from bandit to linebacker, Malik Carney from linebacker to rush end, Malik Simmons and Donnie Miles to safety and Joe Jackson from Ram to outside linebacker. It’s a major work in progress, but Chizik is slowly, but surely, finding answers, and he’s injected new life into a unit that had been beaten down by a dreadful 2014.
Jared Shanker: Virginia The Cavaliers might not have answered the most questions, but it seems Mike London did get the response he sought at the most important position. Matt Johns backed up Greyson Lambert at quarterback last season, but Johns decidedly outplayed Lambert in the spring, London said. Johns, who started three games in 2014, is No. 1 on the depth chart. “It wasn’t close,” London said of the battle between Johns and Lambert. It will certainly be a fluid situation throughout fall camp and the early portion of the 2015 season, but it’s a positive sign London exited camp with a feeling of conviction about Johns. The junior completed 89 of 162 passes as a sophomore for 1,109 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.
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