ACC: Kevin Rogers

Opening camp: Boston College

August, 3, 2012
As ACC teams begin to start practicing again, Andrea Adelson and I will have a quick preview of each team to get you caught up on the basics. Next up to open camp …

School: Boston College

Start date: Monday

Projected finish at ACC media days: Fifth in the Atlantic Division

Biggest storyline: New faces. Boston College will look a lot different when it opens the season against Miami: No Luke Kuechly. No Montel Harris. And a complete overhaul of the offensive staff. Former BC assistants Kevin Rogers and Ryan Day are now coaching at Temple, where Harris transferred after he was dismissed from the team in May for a repeated violation of team rules. The Eagles are now under the direction of first-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin. When compared to last season’s coaching staff, four of the five offensive assistants have changed. BC had one of the worst offenses in the country last season, ranking 112th in scoring offense. This overhaul will either be exactly what the Eagles need, or it will be yet another bumpy transition year.

Biggest position battle: Running back. This group is still crowded, even without Harris on the roster. Rolandan Finch, Andre Williams and Tahj Kimble will be competing for carries. Finch led the team in rushing attempts (157) and yards (705) as a sophomore. Williams is a 6-foot, 220-pound power runner who has 219 career attempts for 978 yards and six touchdowns. Kimble had eight receptions out of the backfield last season and 43 carries.

Who needs to step up: The linebackers. Kuechly accounted for 535 tackles in three seasons. The Eagles won’t replace Kuechly with one person, but senior Nick Clancy and juniors Steele Divitto, Andre Lawrence, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Sean Duggan and Nick Lifka are talented players eager to emerge from Kuechly’s shadow.

Opening camp:

Former BC RB Montel Harris to Temple

July, 9, 2012
Former Boston College running back Montel Harris has transferred to Temple and is eligible to play this season, Big East blogger Andrea Adelson has reported. Harris arrived on campus Sunday and is enrolled in classes, which began Monday.

In May, Harris was dismissed from BC's team for a repeated violation of team rules. His transfer to Temple isn't much of a surprise, considering two former BC assistants are now coaching there. Ryan Day is Temple's offensive coordinator and Kevin Rogers is the quarterbacks coach. Rogers, who was hired as BC's offensive coordinator last year, took a leave of absence last season for health reasons, according to BC coach Frank Spaziani.

And suddenly Temple isn't looking so bad. Boston College? Well, that's debatable.

I have no idea why Montel Harris isn't playing for Boston College this year, and I'm not about to speculate on that one. It is unfortunate, though, that such an accomplished player will be taking his talents elsewhere. Had Harris been able to stay on the team and healthy, he would have been chasing a 34-year-old ACC record. Harris has run for more career yards than any other ACC junior in history, and was entering the 2012 season with 3,735 career rushing yards. NC State’s Ted Brown currently holds the league's career rushing record with 4,602 yards from 1975 through 1978.

If Harris were the only one to leave BC this offseason, there wouldn't be so many eyebrows raised. But the way Boston College handled the Rogers situation, plus the departures of several other assistants raised questions about how Spaziani has handled things internally. This is a critical season for his coaching career. He should be able to win without Harris, as there are other talented, experienced running backs on the roster. But will he win enough to make BC fans forget last year's disappointing season and such a strange offseason?
Go ahead, gimme one good reason: One good reason why your team is better than all the rest. One good reason why your team will win this season’s ACC title game. One good reason why your team will get back to a bowl game.

Or, you can wait for me to give it to you.

I’m a neutral reporter, though, so I see both sides of the story -- why your team will win, and of course, why it won’t. Let the series begin today with one good reason why …

Boston College will get back to a bowl game: Only Florida State has more returning starting experience.

The Eagles return 17 starters, including a two-year starter at quarterback in Chase Rettig. It’s not like coach Frank Spaziani doesn’t have anything to work with. This is not a rebuilding year for the roster. It’s a group of hard-working players who are disappointed with the direction of the program, and are willing to do their best to turn it around.

Nine starters return on offense, including four on the offensive line. What was a major question mark at this time a year ago should now be a strength for BC’s offense. First-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin said the offensive line should be one of the most improved groups. Even without running back Montel Harris, the Eagles have depth at the position. The biggest question is, who will emerge as a dependable wide receiver? Defensively, the Eagles have big shoes to fill after the early, but expected, departure of linebacker Luke Kuechly, but there is still plenty of talent at linebacker. Also, the defensive linemen gained valuable experience last season, and should be better at stopping the run.

Why it won’t: There has been too much turnover at the offensive coordinator position, plain and simple.

Martin will be the Eagles’ fifth offensive coordinator in five seasons, as BC has replaced Steve Logan (2008), Gary Tranquill (2009-10), and Kevin Rogers and Dave Brock (2011). The players have had to adjust to yet another personality, philosophy, scheme and terminology. How much better would Rettig have been, or how much more rapid would his growth have been had he continued to progress in the same system? The entire offensive staff got a shakeup this offseason, as four of the five assistants from last season are gone. Some have wondered whether or not Spaziani is an effective staff manager. He has maintained that Rogers took a leave of absence for health reasons, and the others left for better opportunities. All that matters this season is that everyone works together well enough to win, but even the players know staff stability counts for something.

Atlantic Division spring previews

February, 14, 2012
For some, it might feel like the season just ended, but for others -- like Duke, Maryland and Boston College, which didn't get to play in a bowl game -- spring ball can't get here fast enough. The Eagles kick off spring practices in the ACC on Saturday, so today we'll take a quick look at the main storylines for each team in the conference heading into the spring:


Spring practice start date: Feb. 18
Spring game: March 31 (1 p.m. ET)

What to watch:
  • Yet another offensive transition. Doug Martin will be the Eagles’ fifth offensive coordinator in five seasons, including Kevin Rogers, who took a medical leave of absence early last year and never returned, and Dave Brock, who replaced Rogers. Martin said he is looking for a physical downhill running game, wants to increase the tempo and add some no-huddle elements.
  • The return of running back Montel Harris. The ACC’s leading rusher in 2010 missed most of last season with a knee injury, but he is expected to return for spring ball. How healthy and durable he is remains a question, but he’s still aiming to break a 33-year-old ACC rushing record.
  • Who will replace All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly? It’s an open competition as Kuechly is the only linebacker departing. Sean Duggan was his backup last year, but Steele Divitto put in a lot of work this offseason on his own time.

Spring practice start date: March 7
Spring game: April 14 (4 p.m. ET)

What to watch:
  • The rebuilding efforts up front. Clemson has to replace three starters on both the offensive and defensive lines. On defense, Malliciah Goodman is the only starter returning on the line, and he’ll be one of the candidates to replace the production of end Andre Branch, but Corey Crawford will be the next in line at the position.
  • The defensive transition under first-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables. After giving up 70 points to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, Dabo Swinney fired Kevin Steele and hired Venables. How quickly will he be able to make a difference and will everyone buy in?
  • The linebackers. This is the year that the outstanding linebackers in the 2011 recruiting class will finally have their chance to shine. Venables is also the linebackers coach, and he’ll have a young, talented group to work with. The lineup of the future should include Stephone Anthony, Lateek Townsend and Tony Steward, all top 100 players coming out of high school.

Spring practice start date: March 19
Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Maturation of the offensive line. FSU started four freshmen in the Champs Sports Bowl against Notre Dame, and those players will be expected to continue their improvement this spring. The most important question is who will replace the top two tackles from a year ago in Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko.
  • The kicking game. Punters aren’t usually in the spotlight, but that wasn’t the case at FSU, where All-American Shawn Powell had an impact on every game. Finding a replacement for him this offseason will be a priority.
  • The running backs. Chris Thompson, who broke his back last year, is expected to return this spring, and has been cleared for the most part, but the coaching staff isn’t likely to push him. Devonta Freeman will be the main man, but there are plenty of other candidates to emerge -- if, of course, the offensive line figures things out.

Spring practice start date: March 10
Spring game: April 21

What to watch:
  • The quarterback drama. Maryland’s two-quarterback storyline will continue this spring -- if, of course, Danny O’Brien decides to remain at Maryland instead of transferring. There has been much speculation about his future, but for now, the staff expects him to be limited this spring as he continues to recover from a broken arm. C.J. Brown should get the most reps.
  • An overhaul of schemes. Maryland hired a new offensive coordinator in Mike Locksley and a new defensive coordinator in Brian Stewart. How quickly the Terps buy into their systems and philosophies will be critical in turning around last year’s 2-10 record.
  • The running backs. This is a position where a true freshman could earn some playing time this year, but standout recruit Stefon Diggs won’t be on campus in time to compete this spring. Meanwhile, Justus Pickett returns, along with Brandon Ross, who redshirted last year. Wes Brown (who played at Good Counsel with Diggs) could also compete for major playing time when he arrives for summer camp.

Spring practice start date: March 23
Spring game: April 21 (1 p.m. ET)

What to watch:
  • Who will emerge as dependable linebackers. With Audie Cole and Terrell Manning gone, this position is a big question mark for the Wolfpack. Cole was the team’s leading tackler each of the past two seasons, and Manning was one of the defense’s most disruptive players last year.
  • The new go-to for Glennon. With T.J. Graham gone, NC State turns to a young group of receivers. Tobias Palmer and Bryan Underwood return, but there are several unheralded players who have a chance to make names for themselves by emerging as a go-to player for quarterback Mike Glennon.
  • The running game. NC State returns four of five starters on the offensive line, but will Mustafa Greene return in time for the spring? When he does, the Pack will have another new running backs coach, who has yet to be announced. NC State had the No. 109 rushing offense in the country last year. Greene would be a big boost.

Spring practice start date: March 1
Spring game: April 14 (1 p.m. ET)

What to watch:
  • The revamped offensive line. The Deacs have to replace four starters up front. Coach Jim Grobe has played only one true freshman there in 11 years. He has several redshirt freshmen and sophomores who are expected to fill in.
  • The next playmakers. Wake Forest is thin at running back (Josh Harris returns, but has a history of hamstring injuries), the Deacs lose two starting wideouts -- including record-setter Chris Givens -- their top two tight ends and 2011 leading rusher Brandon Pendergrass.
  • Solidifying the secondary. The Deacs have to replace starting free safety Josh Bush and starting strong safety Cyhl Quarles. There is still plenty of talent at cornerback, but the safety position is thin.

2011 ACC grades: Atlantic Division

January, 24, 2012
With the 2011 season behind us, it’s time to hand out the report cards. We’ll start with the Atlantic Division today and finish up with the Coastal Division on Wednesday:


Overview: We should have known this would be a troubling season from the start, when the Eagles lost at home to Northwestern’s backup quarterback. It’s one thing to struggle, though, and another to start out 1-6 and winless in league play. Granted, there were injuries, there was the loss of leading rusher Montel Harris, and there was the unexpected leave of absence of former offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers for health reasons. There were plenty of excuses BC fans didn’t want to hear as the Eagles wrapped up their worst season since 1995. The defense was respectable and the offense continued to struggle, but BC never quit and won three of its last five games.

Grade: D


Overview: The Tigers’ offense flourished quickly under first-year coordinator Chad Morris, as Clemson shocked the college football world with its 8-0 start. Quarterback Tajh Boyd was in the Heisman conversation, and true freshman receiver Sammy Watkins became a household name. The loss to Georgia Tech on Oct. 29 was simply a matter of Clemson running into a team that played its best game of the year against the Tigers. The loss at NC State? That was Clemson pulling a Clemson. The Tigers lost three of their final four regular-season games, including to rival South Carolina, but they managed to play their best game of the year against Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game. That performance, though, in typical Clemson style, was followed by a flop -- a face plant of monumental proportions against West Virginia in the Discover Orange Bowl. Still, this was a team that was unranked heading into the preseason, and it won the school’s first league title since 1991. In the big picture, this season was a success.

Grade: A


Overview: The final impression of the 2011 team is one that didn’t live up to the preseason hype (again), but won with one of the nation’s best defenses and special teams units. There was no shame in the home loss to Oklahoma, but it was the start of a three-game losing streak which prompted many to call the Seminoles the country’s biggest disappointment in the first half of the season. Injuries added up for the Noles, and the inconsistency on the offensive line was too much to overcome. The Noles rebounded from the loss to Wake Forest, though, with a five-game winning streak, and beat rival Florida for a second straight season. They finished the season with the No. 4 scoring defense in the country. The Atlantic Division favorites beat Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl as a consolation prize, and they did it with four freshmen starting on the offensive line. Yes, it could have been better, but that three-game losing streak also could have spiraled into something much worse.

Grade: B-


Overview: The 2011 season was as ugly as the Maryland Pride uniforms unveiled in the Labor Day opener against Miami. And it turned out that was the highlight of the season. Randy Edsall’s first year was a disaster, as Maryland finished 2-10 and went backward after a nine-win season and bowl appearance in 2010. Edsall wasn’t embraced by his players, many fans or members of the local media, as the Terps lost eight straight games and sank to the bottom of the ACC. Maryland had one of the country’s worst defenses, and a quarterback controversy in the second half of the season despite returning the ACC’s 2010 Rookie of the Year in Danny O’Brien. As a result, both coordinators were fired and at least eight players decided to transfer. The good news for Maryland? It can only get better.

Grade: F


Overview: Coach Tom O’Brien might be the unluckiest coach when it comes to injuries. Expectations were high for NC State after a strong finish in 2010, but the Wolfpack got off to an underwhelming 2-3 start and suffered one of the league’s most embarrassing losses in a 44-14 nationally televised Thursday night drubbing by Cincinnati. As the team got healthier, though, it also got better, and NC State poured every ounce of effort it had into becoming bowl eligible down the stretch. The Pack won five of their final seven games, including a shocking upset of Clemson and the biggest comeback in school history against Maryland. They finished the season strong with a win over Louisville in the Belk Bowl, and quarterback Mike Glennon showed measurable progress down the stretch and eventually shook the shadow of Russell Wilson.

Grade: B-


Overview: This team was picked to finish last in the Atlantic Division and instead came within a field goal of winning it. The Deacs exceeded expectations after their 3-9 finish in 2010, and were able to exhale after becoming bowl eligible with a win over Maryland. Wake struggled to run the ball, but made great strides in the passing game in the second season of starter Tanner Price. Despite their success, it could have been better, but Wake Forest faltered down the stretch and lost four of its final five regular-season games and lost to Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl.

Grade: C+

BC's Spaziani optimistic after 4-8 season

December, 16, 2011
Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said he’d like to hire an offensive coordinator “the sooner the better,” and that he is considering both internal and external candidates. Spaziani hired Kevin Rogers to replace Gary Tranquill, who retired after the 2010 season, but Rogers will not return from a leave of absence he took for health reasons earlier this year.

While Spaziani said that the recent turnover at the coordinator position has obviously been “a disruption,” it wasn’t the factor that defined their 4-8 season. Spaziani also said there weren’t any internal issues among the staff, despite speculation to the contrary. A disappointing 4-8 finish had some BC fans calling for change, but Spaziani said he is confident he still has the program heading in the right direction.

“I’m hired to do a job and I’ve got to focus on the job,” he said. “Were fans, alumni, administration, team members, coaches disappointed? Yes. Should we be discouraged and gloom and doom? No. We’ve got to win and I understand where I started and I understand where we’re at. I have all the information to do what has to be done. I have to focus on doing the job. Certainly 4-8 was not what is expected, but let’s move forward.”

Spaziani is doing that right now by recruiting, and said the staff has made “tremendous progress.” Probably the area most in need of it was on the offensive line where Spaziani said the numbers are finally where they want them to be, though the group is still young. The defensive line remains a recruiting priority.

“We’ve had two classes we feel very good about,” Spaziani said. “ … As we go through the evaluation process and see what your classes are like, we like our two that we’ve had here. We’ve addressed a lot of problems and we’re getting back to where we need to be. And we’re well on our way, hopefully this one will be just like the first two.”

Spaziani said the Eagles will likely remain under the 85 scholarship limit, but that’s normal for the program, which typically saves a few to reward walk-ons and for late recruiting. The priority for the team this offseason, Spaziani said, is to pick up where it left off – on a winning note. BC began the season 1-6, but finished by winning three of its last five, including the regular season finale at Miami.

“I think we have to continue making the progress we made,” Spaziani said. “The most disappointing thing about this year was that it ended. We were developing as a football team. We were getting better. We need to pick up where we left off. Obviously we have a ways to go. We have to get some stuff solidified and the coaching staff, and move forward with our kids. I think our kids understand what it takes and they have a better picture of how competitive it is and what they have to do. We’re still going to be young next year, but it’s a situation we’re working ourselves through.”

Season wrap: Boston College

December, 7, 2011

Record: 4-8, 3-5 ACC

Overview: Boston College wasn’t expected to win the ACC this season, but it also wasn’t expected to be home for the holidays. BC snapped its streak of 12 straight seasons in bowl games, and once again struggled for answers offensively. Part of the collapse can be attributed to injuries, as BC lost the ACC’s 2010 leading rusher, Montel Harris, for the season, and a total of five players had season-ending injuries. Injuries resulted in three different running backs at the top of the starting lineup, and there was also the surprising decision in early September of first-year offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers to take a leave of absence for health reasons.

It all added up to a dreadful 1-6 start for Boston College, with the lone win coming against Massachusetts. The Eagles finally stopped the bleeding with a 28-17 win over Maryland, but a loss at Florida State the following week ended any hopes of reaching a bowl game. BC found a way to win three of its last five games, though, including road win on Miami’s senior day. Four of BC’s losses this season were by eight points or fewer. Despite the late improvements, coach Frank Spaziani heard the wrath of the most passionate BC fans, but athletic director Gene DeFilippo told the Boston Herald that he still has the right man for the job in Spaziani.

The bright spot in the Eagles' season, of course, was linebacker Luke Kuechly, who had another record-setting campaign and won the Butkus Award. Kuechly couldn’t do it all himself, though, and the Eagles were left searching for answers this offseason.

Offensive MVP: C Mark Spinney. He earned the Unsung Hero Award at this year's banquet, and with good reason. Spinney was a consistent anchor on an offensive line that showed steady improvement throughout the year. The fifth-year senior graduate student was one of two seniors on the two-deep.

Defensive MVP: Kuechly. He has 532 career tackles, including 299 solo tackles, in 37 career games and is averaging 14.0 tackles per game and 7.9 solo tackles per game. All four standards are unmatched among active collegiate football players. Kuechly broke the school's career record of 524 tackles in his 37th collegiate game and had the top two single-season tackle totals in ACC history (191 in 2011 and 183 in 2010). He has had 10 or more tackles in 33 (of 37) games since making his collegiate debut against Northeastern on Sept. 5, 2009.

Turning point: The 28-17 win at Maryland. An ACC road win still counts, even if it is against a struggling Maryland team. This game proved that BC hadn’t folded, and it was the first step in finishing the season on a positive note. Rolandan Finch ran for 243 yards against the Terps, and it gave the Eagles some confidence heading into the final month of the season.

What’s next: Spaziani will have to evaluate his staff and personnel and see what if any changes he wants to make, but recruiting and improving will again be the focus in the offseason.

Midseason report: Boston College

October, 11, 2011

Record: 1-5, 0-3 ACC

It’s been a woeful first half of the season for the Eagles, who lost the ACC’s returning leading rusher, Montel Harris, for the first three games with a knee injury; one of their top receivers, Ifeanyi Momah, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game. It only got worse this past week when Harris and defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey were deemed out for the season with injuries. First-year offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers also took a leave of absence in mid-September, and coach Frank Spaziani has said there has been a leadership problem, which stems in part from injuries and a lack of upperclassmen. The problems run deeper than that, though, as attendance is down and fan frustration is up. Athletic director Gene DeFilippo has said Spaziani’s job is safe for this year, and turnover at the head position has been a problem for a program that has had three different coaches in the past five seasons. It’s no wonder the Eagles have struggled on the field. BC got off to a poor start when it lost the season opener to Northwestern and the Wildcats’ backup quarterback, and it snowballed into an 0-3 start. Statistically, BC has been one of the worst teams in the country. The Eagles are last in the ACC in total offense, scoring offense and total defense. Their lone win came against Massachusetts. It’s not going to get any easier in the second half of the season. The Eagles have a bye week before facing a stretch that includes four of the final six games on the road. So far, all signs point to BC having its worst season since 1998.

Offensive MVP: Quarterback Chase Rettig: He is No. 10 in the ACC in passing average per game with 196.8 yards, and he has six touchdowns and five interceptions. He has completed 53.4 percent of his passes for 1,181 yards.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Luke Kuechly: He’s still an All-American and one of the best linebackers in the country. He leads the nation in tackles with 99 and 16.5 per game.
Boston College first-year offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers has asked for a leave of absence for health reasons, and will be out indefinitely, the school announced on Monday.

Tight ends coach Dave Brock has been named acting offensive coordinator and will coach the quarterbacks. Graduate assistant Ben Johnson will be elevated to tight ends coach on an interim basis.

“Our football program operates as a family unit, and we are totally supportive of Kevin,” coach Frank Spaziani said in a prepared statement. “I would like to ask our fans and followers to support Kevin and respect his privacy. I have the utmost confidence in Dave Brock, and we will begin the transition immediately.”

This is most unfortunate for Rogers, who is a well-respected, well-liked coach and one of the good guys in the business. Whatever it is, hopefully it won't sideline him for too long. BC's offense, which has only averaged 10 points through two games, didn't need any more bad news, but obviously Rogers' health is the bigger concern for the Eagles.

BC giving fans reasons for concern

September, 12, 2011
I'll give it to them -- BC has been one of the more consistently underrated programs in the country.

Not this year.

This year, the Eagles' predicted fourth-place finish in the Atlantic Division is looking like an overstatement.

There was a buzz surrounding the program this summer following the hire of offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers and because of the expected improvement of quarterback Chase Rettig in his second season as a starter. However, after the program's first 0-2 start since 1994, expectations have been tempered. Mental mistakes and injuries have piled up in losses to Northwestern and Central Florida, and it's only going to get more difficult.

If you think BC is guaranteed a home win against Duke this weekend, think again.

Both programs have struggled, but there's no reason to believe that Boston College has any edge going into this game other than home-field advantage. If Duke put itself in position to have a lead on Stanford at the half, it can do the same against BC. Wake Forest and Maryland have also shown capable of throwing the Atlantic Division predictions out of whack this season, and have both looked better than BC.

Both the Terps and Deacs, though, were picked to finish behind Boston College in the division standings.

It looks like somebody will be underrated again, but so far, it's not BC.

What to watch in the ACC: Week 1

September, 1, 2011
There’s always something worth watching in the ACC, but Week 1 is usually one of the most interesting Saturdays of the season because of the anticipation that has been building since the end of the Orange Bowl. Here are 10 things to keep an eye on this week in no particular order as the ACC starts the season:

1. Debut of three new head coaches. Maryland coach Randy Edsall and Miami coach Al Golden will kick off their first seasons against each other on Labor Day, while North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers takes on James Madison. Golden and Withers have both had trying off-field incidents to deal with, as NCAA investigations at both schools have added extra challenges.

[+] EnlargeAl Golden
Joel Auerbach/Getty ImagesNew coach Al Golden is ready to shift Miami's focus onto the field.
2. Rookie starting quarterbacks. Five first-year starters will be introduced this weekend in Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, NC State’s Mike Glennon, North Carolina’s Bryn Renner and Virginia’s Michael Rocco. FSU quarterback EJ Manuel is entering his first season as a full-time starter, along with Georgia Tech’s Tevin Washington. There are bound to be a few plays they’d like to have back this weekend, but there should also be some signs of a promising future at the position.

3. Miami’s replacements. With eight players sidelined because of the NCAA investigation, Miami’s backups have been promoted to critical roles. Players like Andrew Smith, Marcus Robinson and Jordan Futch will have to elevate their games quickly.

4. Georgia Tech’s B-backs. This could be the first season under coach Paul Johnson that the Jackets don’t produce a 1,000-yard rusher in their run-based offense, only because the B-backs work more by committee. David Sims will start against Johnson’s alma mater, Western Carolina, but Charles Perkins and Preston Lyons could both get some carries.

5. Florida State’s offensive line. This group has had injury problems all offseason, and if there’s one question about the Seminoles this year, the offensive line is it. How this group looks intact remains to be seen.

6. New schemes. Clemson’s offense made sweeping changes under first-year coordinator Chad Morris, and Boston College will have some wrinkles under first-year coordinator Kevin Rogers. Maryland should also unveil a new look under first-year coordinator Gary Crowton.

7. Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. If he starts against Troy as expected, Watkins would be just the 14th Clemson first-year freshman to start the season opener since freshman eligibility returned to college football in 1972. Watkins would be the first wide receiver to start the opening game as a true freshman since Roscoe Crosby started the opener of the 2001 season against Central Florida.

8. Wake Forest placekicker Jimmy Newman. He’s on a serious streak. Newman has made 12 straight field goals, currently the longest streak in school history. He has also made all 65 PAT attempts in his career, the second-longest streak of extra points in school history behind Sam Swank with 121.

9. The Roccos. Michael Rocco will be making his debut as Virginia’s starting quarterback the same day his uncle, Danny, takes on NC State as the head coach at Liberty. Rocco enters the season with 25 career passing attempts, and his uncle is entering his sixth season at Liberty with a 40-16 record.

10. Revamped secondaries. Georgia Tech and North Carolina have both undergone significant transition in the secondary, and Boston College has also had some turnover. The Yellow Jackets had to replace all four starters in the secondary, and the Tar Heels have to replace three starters. At BC, senior safety Dominick LeGrande decided to transfer, and projected starter Okechukwu Okoroha was dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons.

ACC power rankings: Week 1

August, 29, 2011
Before you read this, keep one thing in mind: These power rankings are based on what each team looks like right now, and right now, Miami has 13 players suspended, according to a source. If that changes by Labor Day and Miami is at full strength for its game against Maryland, I would bump the Canes up to the No. 3 team in the conference. But without 13 players, Miami is going to struggle. Regardless of what Miami looks like, one thing is for sure: Beyond the front-runners in each division, this conference is up for grabs, and this list will fluctuate as the season goes to reflect that.

Here are your first official power rankings for the 2011 season:

1. Florida State: The Seminoles are the preseason favorite to win the ACC in only Jimbo Fisher’s second season, and with good reason. Florida State returns the majority of talent that won last season’s Atlantic Division title, and this looks like a championship team. If there’s one question mark lingering, it’s on the offensive line, which has been injured almost all offseason.

2. Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer enters his 25th season and is by far the conference veteran. First-year starting quarterback Logan Thomas will go through some growing pains, but he has a veteran supporting cast to help him through the transition. The Hokies have been warned about Appalachian State’s ability to upset.

3. North Carolina: The best thing interim coach Everett Withers has going for him is the team itself, a talent-laden group more than capable of contending for the Coastal Division if it can block out all distractions and get the leadership and coaching it needs without Butch Davis. The offensive and defensive lines are among the best if not the best in the conference.

4. Clemson: There is plenty of talent to challenge Florida State for the Atlantic Division title, but how far the Tigers go depends on how quickly first-year starting quarterback Tajh Boyd and his teammates pick up the new offense in game situations. Boyd made significant progress in summer camp.

5. NC State: The Russell Wilson era is over, but those within the program are confident in the abilities of Mike Glennon. The question is who besides T.J. Graham will help him out at wide receiver. With true freshmen at kicker and punter, the kicking game is also still a concern, though both rookies fared well in summer camp.

6. Maryland: The Terps have new uniforms and a new coach but the same goal -- to win the Atlantic Division. Whether they do that under first-year coach Randy Edsall depends on how the team adjusts to the new terminology and schemes of the new staff. Maryland’s biggest asset is quarterback Danny O’Brien, the ACC’s 2010 Rookie of the Year.

7. Miami: If Miami’s roster is decimated by suspensions, its season isn’t over, but its championship hopes under first-year coach Al Golden will definitely be derailed. There are a few teams on the schedule Miami might be able to beat with its backups, but not enough to win the Coastal Division. The good news for the Canes? Stephen Morris is a more-than-capable option at quarterback, and some of their backups are outstanding. Not ready to write the Canes off yet.

8. Boston College: The Eagles have been raving about their offensive improvement this month, some of which can be attributed to the progress of quarterback Chase Rettig in his second season as a starter, and because of the hire of offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers, who has made an immediate impact. Was the offense that good this summer, though, or does the defense have a few weaknesses? Northwestern should provide a better clue.

9. Georgia Tech: Just how much improvement the Jackets have made since last season remains to be seen. Quarterback Tevin Washington was pushed this summer by Vad Lee and Synjyn Days, and the defense is still working to generate a pass rush.

10. Duke: Quarterback Sean Renfree has improved in every facet of the game, according to coach David Cutcliffe, and the entire team has shown enough promise this offseason that Cutcliffe said he thinks they could get to a bowl game. First-year defensive line coach Rick Petri has made an immediate impact on the area most in need of improvement, but the offensive line remains a question after some offseason reshuffling.

11. Wake Forest: Those within the program are convinced this year’s team is better than last year’s 3-9 finish, but the Deacs’ schedule will make it tough to prove it. Quarterback Tanner Price is more comfortable in his second season as a starter, and running back Josh Harris has been impressive.

12. Virginia: The defense is going to present some problems for opponents, but offensively, questions remain. If Michael Rocco is the answer at quarterback, he still has to prove it in a game situation, and while explosive, the Hoos’ running backs are undersized. Mike London isn’t settling for his program taking baby steps in his second season, but considering he has to depend on some true freshmen and a rookie quarterback, there are bound to be some growing pains.

Summer summary: Boston College

August, 22, 2011
The summer is almost over. Next week is game week, when the teams will shift their focus to their Week 1 opponents, if they haven't already. The goal of this series is to quickly catch you up on what has happened at each ACC school during summer camp, a quick-hit recap of the main storylines and most notable injuries. We'll go in alphabetical order, starting with Boston College:
  • There has been significant change on offense. There is an excitement around first-year offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers, and for the first time in three years, the Eagles know who their starting quarterback will be for the season opener -- Chase Rettig. In the first two scrimmages, the offense dominated the defense, and that doesn't happen at BC. In the two years prior to this year, BC's offense had never scored a touchdown in a scrimmage. Linebacker Luke Kuechly made it a point heading into the third scrimmage to make sure his teammates knew that scrimmage would be about the D, but the main storyline out of Chestnut Hill this month has been the offense.
  • Running back Montel Harris underwent another arthroscopic knee surgery last week, and will miss three to four weeks, and then his backup, Andre Williams, sprained his ankle in Sunday's scrimmage. Still, the staff is confident in the depth and talent at the position, and Williams was walking around today and looked fine, according to a school spokesman, who added that Williams said it wasn't too swollen.
  • The depth on the offensive line remains a question. There have been a few nagging injuries, but John Wetzel has taken over for Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, and the staff has been pleased with his progress. Mark Spinney has been working with the first team at left guard, and redshirt freshman Andy Gallik has been taking most of the first-team reps at center.
  • Defensively, the Eagles are still looking for who will emerge as their starter at strongside linebacker, and Steele Divitto appears to be the frontrunner, but Nick Clancy had a good scrimmage.
  • True freshman defensive end Mehdi Abdesmad has played well enough that he likely will see some meaningful snaps this fall.
  • One lingering concern is the No. 2 quarterback position. If Rettig is injured, Josh Bordner is the likely backup, but he has been slowed by some back problems.

ACC media days notebook, Day 2

July, 25, 2011
Boston CollegeBoston College: The inconsistency of the quarterback position has been at the heart of the Eagles' recent struggles, but with the maturation of Chase Rettig and hire of Kevin Rogers, coach Frank Spaziani said they're in a much better position than when he was hired. "We're moving forward there. Certainly, we're light years ahead of where we were two years ago when I was sitting here. … Chase has separated himself a little, if you will."

ClemsonClemson: There are several positions freshmen will have a legitimate chance to earn playing time at this summer, starting with wide receiver. "We need some help there," Dabo Swinney said. He also said the team needs immediate help at linebacker, and running back Mike Bellamy will "really spice things up for us." The defensive line is another area of opportunity and possibly one in the secondary. Clemson redshirted 15 players last year and will use 12 to 13 freshmen this fall.

DukeDuke: David Cutcliffe's three-year record with the Blue Devils is 12-24. That's not great -- but it's a heck of an upgrade from the three previous years, when the program went 2-33. "I'm not writing home to my mother about 12 wins in three years," Cutcliffe said. "But we've won six times as many games [as from 2005-07]. There's a lot to be excited about for the future. … I'm glad people talk about [Duke not playing in a bowl since 1994]. They should question it. I tell our players, 'Quit talking about it and go do it. Win more than you lose.' "

Florida StateFlorida State: The Seminoles are among the programs that officials of the Chik-Fil-A Kickoff Game would like to bring to Atlanta for a season opener in the future. (The game is currently booked through 2014.) When someone casually suggested to coach Jimbo Fisher that Florida-Florida State would make a nice season starter instead of the traditional season ender, Fisher was not overly opposed. He pointed out the difficulty of playing an emotional rivalry game, then -- if either team is good enough -- turning around a week later and playing with peak intensity in the league title game. Fisher also opined that the Florida State-Miami game should be anchored in a permanent spot on the season schedule, instead of being moved around. He favors the midseason slot the rivalry enjoyed in its heyday during the 1980s and '90s.

Georgia TechGeorgia Tech: Even after 32 years of marriage, Paul Johnson still doesn't wear his wedding ring. So the absence of his 2009 ACC title game ring is hardly a surprise, even after the NCAA forced him to vacate the title. Johnson said the school hasn't decided yet if it will appeal the sanctions, but because there was no loss of scholarships he said it won't affect his program moving forward.

MarylandMaryland: The NCAA has cut 2.5 hours of practice time per week from first-year coach Randy Edsall, so he has adjusted by cutting down film time on Sundays and shortened his practice plan in anticipation of the sanctions. "It's not going to affect us," he said. "We're not going to make any excuses. We're just going to go play. I have a schedule put together for what we need to get done and what we need to comply with, we'll comply with it."

MiamiMiami: Coach Al Golden said offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson has a back injury that has been bothering him since mid-March, and defensive tackle Marcus Forston had surgery. "I don't know what the timetable on them is, but I do know they're probably not going to be full-go as we kick off camp." Golden said Henderson was 388 pounds in January, but is 341 now and has responded well to the adversity and developed maturity.

UNCNorth Carolina: Coach Butch Davis said a leadership committee was formed by the players to help those within the program make good decisions. They meet every Wednesday, and Tony Dungy has been a guest speaker for them. Davis said they were going to start it a year ago, but it was tabled until this spring because of the NCAA investigation. The coaches chose the initial leaders.

NC StateNC State: Coach Tom O'Brien said the decision to release former quarterback Russell Wilson from his scholarship was probably the most scrutinized decision he's ever made as a head coach. Still, he said "we're happy with the decision. … We're confident with the team we have coming in with the decision we made, and certainly we wish Russell the best. I hope he wins a Big Ten championship. I think that would be great for him."

VirginiaVirginia: Defensive end Cam Johnson has a sickle cell anemia trait, coach Mike London said, and it could be affecting his cardiovascular performance. "You can go, go hard for two or three plays and then on that fifth or sixth play be gassed," London said. The staff will closely manage how many snaps Johnson gets and rotate him after fewer plays. It's something Johnson has been aware about for a few years, London said.

Virginia TechVirginia Tech: Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said he's still not sure who his punter is going to be, but he's got one advantage in the uncertainty of the position:

"The only thing we know is people will not return punts against us because [if] we don't know where it's going, they don't know where it's going," he said. "There's not a chance in the world for guys to be returning punts on us. That's the only good thing I see out of it."

Wake ForestWake Forest: Coach Jim Grobe said he is still looking for a go-to receiver, and based on this past spring, Michael Campanaro could be the guy. Chris Givens is one of the fastest players on the team, but has been inconsistent and needs a better work ethic. The Deacons could use as many as four receivers this fall, but Grobe said if they don't earn the playing time, "we're going to have a fullback and a tight end on the field all the time."

Coaching em' up: Boston College

July, 13, 2011
I’m stealing an idea from SEC blogger Chris Low, and will begin a series highlighting one assistant coach from all 12 ACC teams.

This will feature the one assistant on the staff who has the most difficult task this fall. It could be because he was just hired, because the group he is coaching is inexperienced, or because his players will have an integral role in determining the team’s success. Or, it could be all of the above (see below). Regardless of the reason, all eyes will be on him and his players in 2011.

We’ll start with Boston College:

Coach: Kevin Rogers

Position: Offensive coordinator

Experience:He spent the past five seasons as quarterbacks coach of the Minnesota Vikings. He is entering his 37th year in the coaching profession, including 28 of which have been spent at the collegiate level. His resume includes stints at Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Notre Dame, Navy and his alma mater, William & Mary.

Of note:When it comes to coaching quarterbacks, Rogers can name-drop with the best of them: Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Bryan Randall and Marcus Vick. Randall ended his career in 2004 with ACC Player of the Year honors. Vick led the ACC in pass efficiency and the Hokies led the conference in scoring offense at 33.8 points per game with a league-best 51 touchdowns. During Rogers' tenure, the Hokies compiled a 39-14 record, won the ACC title in 2004 and played in the first ACC Championship Game in 2005. Rogers’ career began as a graduate assistant at Ohio State under the legendary Woody Hayes in 1977-78.

His challenge:Inject life into BC’s offense. It wasn’t exactly a mystery what Boston College was going to last season. With inconsistency and inexperience plaguing the quarterback position, the offense has literally run through Montel Harris. Even with the ACC’s leading rusher, though, Boston College ranked No. 90 in the nation in rushing offense. The Eagles finished No. 97 in passing offense, No. 109 in both scoring offense and total offense. There’s only one way to go: up. Boston College should take a natural step forward at the quarterback position now that Chase Rettig, who was thrown into the fire as a true freshman last season, has some experience. BC’s defense was once again outstanding last season, among the best in the country. It could and did win games for Boston College. But it needs more help from the offense, and that’s what Rogers was hired to do.