ACC: Rich Lapham

Ranking offensive linemen is not easy. But hey, either is being an offensive lineman. Here are your best "big uglies."

1. North Carolina: Three starters and one part-time starter return from last year’s team, and this line could be the biggest and best since Butch Davis was hired. Guard Jonathan Cooper (22 starts), center Cam Holland (20) and tackle James Hurst (12) have combined for 54 career starts. Travis Bond has four starts and is the leading candidate to take over at the other guard position.

2. Miami: The Canes return nine of their top 10 offensive linemen including four starters from last year, and Joel Figueroa was granted a sixth season of eligibility. Even with the coaching change, the Canes should be strong up front. Center Tyler Horn is a veteran, Brandon Washington is a difference-maker, and there’s enough competition that Seantrel Henderson spent most of the spring as a backup.

3. Clemson: First-year offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has four returning starters to work with in Landon Walker, Antoine McClain, Dalton Freeman and David Smith. They also have top reserve Mason Cloy, who has 19 career starts and has played in 38 games. There is plenty of depth for a dependable rotation.

4. Virginia Tech: All four returnees started every game last year, and there is enough depth that the Hokies should be able to rotate the most players up front they ever have. It’s a veteran group led by Blake DeChristopher, Andrew Lanier, Jaymes Brooks and Greg Nosal.

5. Florida State: Despite the losses of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon, there’s experience up front. This fall, the starting lineup will consist of tackle Andrew Datko, left guard Bryan Stork or David Spurlock, center Jacob Fahrenkrug, right guard Spurlock or Stork, right tackle Zebrie Sanders. Just how good they’ll be remains to be seen as the majority of them were out with injuries this past spring.

6. NC State: The Pack lost Jake Vermiglio and will be without injured left guard Andrew Wallace for about half of the season, but Zach Allen, Camden Wentz and R.J. Mattes are returning starters. There’s also a lot of talent waiting to emerge with young players like Duran Christophe, Rob Crisp, Tyson Chandler, Torian Box and Andy Jomantas.

7. Virginia: Four players return with a combined 64 career starts in Anthony Mihota, Austin Pasztor, Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses, who started the final seven games of the season as a true freshman. Pasztor is in his fourth season as a starter and has 32 career starts.

8. Boston College: Despite the losses of Anthony Castonzo, Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham, the Eagles are almost settled up front, it’s the experience behind the starters that’s reason for concern. The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen. Mark Spinney returns at center, the projected starting guards are Nathan Richman and Ian White, who started three games as a freshman, and the tackles are Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel.

9. Maryland: It’s been an injury-prone group the past two seasons and that didn’t change this past spring. Left tackle Justin Gilbert, one of the top linemen on the team, reinjured the same knee he had ACL surgery on and will be out until October. R.J. Dill was also injured this spring, though he played in the spring game, and Justin Lewis was rehabbing from offseason surgery. Pete White also missed practices, so the group needs to solidify the two-deep roster.

10. Georgia Tech: The Jackets return three starters in guard Omoregie Uzzi, guard Will Jackson and tackle Phil Smith. Sophomore Jay Finch played extensively last season and Ray Beno and Nick McRae were key reserves. Redshirt freshmen Catlin Alford and Morgan Bailey could also work their way into the rotation. Uzzi will be the leader of the line, but they were outplayed by the defense this spring.

11. Wake Forest: Four starters are back, but the Deacs will sorely miss the experience and leadership of former center Russell Nenon. Garrick Williams started the final three games of 2010 -- two at guard and one at center, but he struggled with the snaps towards the end of spring and isn’t where the staff needs him to be yet.

12. Duke: The Blue Devils should take another step forward this season under offensive line coach Matt Luke, and they need to -- Duke’s running game was last in the ACC last year and 104th in the country. Brian Moore replaces a three-year starter at center, but given his experience at right guard the past two seasons, it should be a smooth transition. That will leave a hole, though, at the right guard position, where Laken Tomlinson and John Coleman are the top candidates.

Boston College spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
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2010 overall record: 7-6

2010 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

LB Luke Kuechly, P Ryan Quigley, CB Donnie Fletcher, QB Chase Rettig, TB Montel Harris, WR Bobby Swigert, WR Ifeanyi Momah, TE Chris Pantale, DE Max Holloway, DT Kaleb Ramsey

Key losses

LT Anthony Castonzo, LB Mark Herzlich, DT Damik Scafe, RG Thomas Claiborne, RT Rich Lapham, CB DeLeon Gause

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Harris* (1,243 yards)

Passing: Rettig* (1,238 yds)

Receiving: Swigert* (504 yds)

Tackles: Kuechly* (183)

Sacks: Holloway* (4)

Interceptions: Fletcher* (5)

Spring answers

1. Starting offensive line has been rebuilt. Mark Spinney returns at center, the projected starting guards are Nathan Richman and Ian White, who started three games as a freshman, and the tackles are Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel. It’s a veteran group of starters, which is important considering the losses of three starters, including Castonzo, who had a league-high 54 starts and is a likely first-round draft pick.

2. The offensive depth and experience has improved. The Eagles return their leading rusher, passer and receiver from a year ago. They enter the fall set at every starting position on offense, and 10 of the 13 receivers who caught a pass last year return. Coach Frank Spaziani said everyone got better this spring, including Rettig, who was forced to play as a true freshman last year.

3. Two spring enrollees could contribute immediately. Four-star cornerback Al Louis-Jean really turned some heads this spring as a backup to Fletcher, and was ranked the No. 9 cornerback in the nation in his recruiting class by ESPN Recruiting. True freshman Mehdi Abdesmad also had a good spring and could see playing time at defensive end behind Holloway.

Fall questions

1. How much better is Rettig in the new system? There’s no doubt that Rettig will be better in his second season as a starter, but how will the sophomore adjust to the new scheme under first-year coordinator Kevin Rogers? Spaziani has said that the offense won’t look dramatically different, but there is new terminology involved and there will be some wrinkles.

2. Will the Eagles develop depth up front? The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen: i.e. no experience. The defensive line will be young, and so will its backups. This summer will be critical for getting the linemen more reps and finding rotations the staff is comfortable with.

3. What is this team’s offensive identity? This spring wasn’t a good indicator of what BC’s offense will look like, as star tailback Montel Harris was held out of the scrimmages for precautionary reasons, and his backup, Andre Williams, was nursing a shoulder injury. The Eagles also hope to get receiver Colin Larmond Jr. back this summer from a knee injury he sustained before last season, and BC will be under the direction of a new offensive coordinator.

Spring preview: Atlantic Division

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
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It's that time of year, ACC fans. Duke kicks off the ACC's spring football schedule with practice tomorrow, so it's time to take a look at three storylines to watch for each program. We'll start with the Atlantic Division:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • The progression of quarterback Chase Rettig. As a true freshman, Rettig replaced Dave Shinskie as starter against Notre Dame on Oct. 2. He’ll only get better with more experience, and there’s room for improvement, as he threw nine interceptions and six touchdowns. He completed 51.3 percent of his passes for 137.6 yards per game. Two of those picks came in the 20-13 loss to Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger bowl, but he’s expected to take an important step forward this offseason and will need to if BC is going to graduate from the nation’s 109th best offense.
  • The offense under a new coordinator. Kevin Rogers replaced Gary Tranquill, who retired after the bowl game, and the Eagles will have to adjust to a new scheme and system, starting this spring. Rogers said he'll adapt his system to the personnel he has to work with, but considering he was hired on Monday, there hasn't been much time for him to evaluate film.
  • The revamped offensive line. BC has to replace three starters up front, including left tackle Anthony Castonzo, right guard Thomas Claiborne and right tackle Rich Lapham. Emmett Cleary and center Mark Spinney are returning starters, and left guard Ian White started a few games at the end of the year. Bryan Davis, Claiborne’s backup at right guard, and John Wetzel, Castonzo’s backup, are frontrunners to earn starts.
CLEMSON

Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 9

What to watch:
  • Quarterback Tajh Boyd. Prior to the arrival of two early enrollees, Boyd was the only scholarship quarterback on the roster, and his experience alone -- albeit limited -- makes it his job to lose. The staff wants him to become a little more accurate and consistent this spring. His education was accelerated at this time a year ago when former quarterback Kyle Parker spent the spring playing baseball, but that was under former offensive coordinator Billy Napier. He’s got a new coordinator -- and a new offense to learn.
  • The new offensive scheme. First-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris brings an up-tempo style similar to that of Auburn’s, and the Tigers will have to learn it as quickly as he’ll want them to execute it. Morris has said Boyd is suited just right to lead it. Morris will want to stretch the field in every direction, depend on a strong running game and include long pass plays. He’s tasked with improving an offense that ranked No. 10 in the ACC in both scoring offense and total offense.
  • Defense up the middle. It starts up front, where the Tigers have to replace defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins. Linebacker Brandon Maye, who played in the middle a lot, decided to transfer, and safety DeAndre McDaniel, who controlled the middle of the field in the secondary, has also graduated. The Tigers have the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 1 outside linebacker in the country in this year’s recruiting class, but they won’t arrive until the summer. For now, Corico Hawkins returns as a starting middle linebacker, while Quandon Christian is likely to stay on the outside. Rennie Moore will replace Jenkins, but McDaniel’s spot is up for grabs.
FLORIDA STATE

Spring practice starts: March 21

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Big holes on the offensive line. There’s depth, experience and incoming talent, but there are also big shoes to fill with the graduation of left guard Rodney Hudson and center Ryan McMahon. Right guard David Spurlock has been seen snapping on the sidelines at practices, indicating he could move to center, while recovering from concussions and going through rehab. McMahon’s backup was Jacob Stanley. Henry Orelus, Bryan Stork and Rhonne Sanderson all started at right guard for Spurlock when he was out. Junior college transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug, the No. 4 overall junior college prospect, could have an immediate impact at left guard.
  • Backup quarterback battle. With EJ Manuel a lock as the starter, the attention turns to the No. 2 spot. Clint Trickett, a redshirt freshman and son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett, and Will Secord, a redshirt sophomore, are the top two candidates. Secord was named the most improved quarterback of the spring at this time a year ago. Neither of them have thrown a collegiate pass.
  • Linebackers. The Seminoles will have to replace two starters in Kendall Smith and Mister Alexander. Nigel Bradham is the only returning starter. This spring will feature competition among Christian Jones, Telvin Smith, Vince Williams and Jeff Luc. It’s a more talented crop waiting in the wings, but inexperience is a factor. It’s a chance for Luc and Jones -- two of FSU’s top recruits in the 2010 class -- to remind everyone why they were rated the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 2 outside linebacker, respectively, in the country.
MARYLAND

Spring practice starts: March 29

Spring game: April 30

What to watch:
  • New staff, new schemes. First-year coach Randy Edsall wants to be multiple, get vertical and take advantage of quarterback Danny O’Brien’s strengths. The departure of former defensive coordinator Don Brown to Connecticut was a surprise and a blow to the defense, which will now have to make a transition under a new coordinator who has yet to be hired.
  • Competition at linebacker. Two starters have to be replaced in Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten, who were also both leaders of the defense. Demetrius Hartsfield returns as a starter, but the new staff will have to figure out who else fits into what slots. Ben Pooler has had knee trouble, but he is expected to compete with Darin Drakeford and Ryan Donohue, who were both No. 2 at their respective positions in 2010.
  • Special teams. Not only did the Terps lose a four-year starter in punter/placekicker Travis Baltz, they also have to replace their top kick returner and conference leader in all-purpose yards in receiver Torrey Smith, who left early for the NFL. Nick Ferrara handled kickoffs last year and was No. 2 behind Baltz at both kicker and punter, but he’s a placekicker first, and has to get back on track with consistency. He’ll be the only scholarship kicker on the roster until incoming freshman Nathaniel Renfro joins the team this summer. Dexter McDougle has returned kickoffs in the past, and Trenton Hughes is another option, but with a new staff, it could be a clean slate.
NC STATE

Spring practice starts: March 17

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Mike Glennon. The team is moving forward as if starter Russell Wilson won’t return, promoting Glennon to No. 1 on the depth chart. The offense will have a new look, as the plays will be suited to Glennon’s strengths. At 6-foot-7, he’s much taller than Wilson, a more prototypical drop-back passer with a strong arm. While the plays might look different to the fans, they’re the same ones Glennon has been practicing since the day he arrived on campus. He’s a smart, unflappable player scheduled to graduate this May, but we haven’t seen enough of him to know just how good he is.
  • A new crop of receivers. NC State will have to replace three seniors in Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams and Darrell Davis. Spencer and Williams led the Pack in receiving last year, combining for nine touchdowns and over 1,600 yards. NC State will turn to Jay Smith, who had 10 catches in 12 games, Steven Howard, Quintin Payton, and T.J. Graham, who had four touchdowns and played in all 13 games. Payton played a little more toward the end of the year, and he’s a tall, big target (about 6-foot-4) and comparable to Williams. Bryan Underwood, who redshirted last year, could also contribute.
  • Running back competition. James Washington had taken over the starting job at the end of 2010, but he’ll be pushed this spring by Dean Haynes and Mustafa Greene, who led the team in rushing in 2010 as a true freshman. They’ll also be under the direction of a new assistant coach, as Jason Swepson is now the head coach at Elon. It will be the first time Greene has been in a spring practice, and Washington, who was hurt last year, is finally healthy.
WAKE FOREST

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Progress of quarterback Tanner Price. The maturation of Price, who started nine games as a true freshman last year, will be crucial to the Deacs’ hopes of returning to the postseason. Price was forced to play earlier than expected and finished with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. He completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 1,349 yards.
  • A defense in transition. Coach Jim Grobe has said the staff is committed to making the transition to a 3-4 defense. The Deacons used that scheme to defend the triple option against Georgia Tech and Navy, and continued to experiment with it as the season progressed. This linebackers in this year’s recruiting class were brought in specifically with the 3-4 defense in mind.
  • Redshirt offensive linemen. There were three true freshmen who redshirted last year who are expected to give four returning starters some legitimate competition -- Colin Summers, Dylan Heartsill and Daniel Blitch. The Deacs will also have to replace starting center Russell Nenon. Chance Raines was his backup last year.

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 4, 2011
2/04/11
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The official list for the NFL combine has been released. A total of 48 players from the ACC have been invited to audition for the NFL from February 23 – March 1. When categorized by school, it's somewhat of a reality check to see how many of the best players in the conference are moving on, and which programs will take the biggest hit. It's impossible not to wonder how good North Carolina could have been had all of the following players remained eligible. The Tar Heels will send the most players to the combine with 11.

Here are the players who will represent the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE (3)
  • Anthony Castonzo
  • Rich Lapham
  • Mark Herzlich
CLEMSON (7)
  • Da'Quan Bowers
  • Marcus Gilchrist
  • Chris Hairston
  • Jamie Harper
  • Jarvis Jenkins
  • Byron Maxwell
  • DeAndre McDaniel
FLORIDA STATE (3)
GEORGIA TECH (3)
MARYLAND (3)
MIAMI (9)
NORTH CAROLINA (11)
NC STATE (2)
VIRGINIA (2)
  • Danny Aiken
  • Ras-I Dowling
VIRGINIA TECH (5)
It’s time to reload in the ACC. Here’s a look at the position needs for each team in the Atlantic Division for the 2011 signing class:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Offensive linemen: Six players on the final two-deep roster for 2010 were either juniors or seniors, and the Eagles will have to find replacements for Anthony Castonzo, Rich Lapham and Thomas Claiborne. There were two juniors at center in 2011, and the recruiting overall at this position hasn’t been as strong in recent years.

Defensive linemen: The Eagles have been thin at the position to begin with since the departures of Ron Brace and B.J. Raji. The interior line should be a priority, as tackle Damik Scafe will graduate, and Kaleb Ramsey will be a senior. Defensive end Brad Newman will also graduate.

CLEMSON

[+] EnlargeDa'Quan Bowers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesReplacing Da'Quan Bowers is a top priority for Clemson.
Defensive line: The early departure of defensive end Da’Quan Bowers and the loss of Jarvis Jenkins makes this group a priority. Seven of the eight players up front on the final two-deep roster were either juniors or seniors.

Quarterback: Prior to the early enrollees, Clemson only had one scholarship quarterback on the roster -- projected starter Tajh Boyd. The depth needs to be rebuilt after the loss of starter Kyle Parker and transfer of backup Willy Korn.

Running back: The early departure of Jamie Harper to the NFL left a hole in the Tigers’ lineup. It’s not completely empty, as Andre Ellington remains the best back on the roster and Roderick McDowell was a redshirt freshman backup to Harper.

FLORIDA STATE

Offensive lineman – The departures of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon will leave gaping holes up front, and A.J. Ganguzza and Antwane Greenlee aren’t expected to return. Overall, the staff is looking for bigger, better players. With the exception of right guard, this was a veteran group.

Running back: Despite the current depth, the coaching staff still wanted to sign about three more running backs in this class.

Wide receiver: This would be the third priority for the staff. Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling will both be seniors, but the team has lacked some dynamic playmakers at the position.

Linebacker: The Noles lost two starters from last year’s Atlantic Division championship team, and there are several young players on the rise like Jeff Luc and Telvin Smith, but the staff wants more numbers at the position.

Safety: The Noles need an upgrade at this position.

Defensive line: This is a matter of mostly building depth and size and continuing to get better.

MARYLAND

Kicker/ Punter: Nick Ferrara has the ability to do both, but he also struggled at both in 2010. Travis Baltz was a four-year starter at punter who has to be replaced. The kicking game should be a top priority in this class, and a concern if Ferrara doesn’t become more consistent.

Wide receiver: The early departure of standout Torrey Smith to the NFL leaves quarterback Danny O'Brien without a favorite target. Seven of the nine receivers listed on the most current depth chart for 2010 were either juniors or seniors.

Running back: The Terps have to replace starter Da’Rel Scott, and Davin Meggett will be a senior. There is some talent behind Meggett in D.J. Adams, but the position could use more depth.

Secondary: Six of the top 10 players in the secondary were either juniors or seniors in 2010, including safety Antwine Perez, who will graduate. Kenny Tate and Cameron Chism will both be seniors, and the corner position is the biggest need.

Defensive end: Defensive coordinator Don Brown would like to bring in at least one player who can really bring some speed off the edge.

NC STATE

Kickers: The Wolfpack lost their starting punter and place-kicker, easily making kickers the biggest need in this recruiting class.

Defensive linemen: With the exception of sophomore Brian Slay, the entire 2010 line was comprised of juniors and seniors. The Pack have to replace two starters, and two returning starters, Jeff Rieskamp and J.R. Sweezy, will be seniors.

Linebackers: This was another veteran group for NC State, with five of the six players on the two-deep either juniors or seniors. Nate Irving’s graduation will be a big hit and Audie Cole will be a senior.

Quarterback: If Russell Wilson leaves early, the position will be even thinner, but backup Mike Glennon will be a junior, so the staff needs to build more depth.

WAKE FOREST

Offensive linemen: The Deacs will have four redshirt juniors returning up front, and have to replace redshirt senior center Russell Nenon. The staff is looking to increase the depth and talent up front.

Linebackers: The position hasn’t been the same since the 2008 class (Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux). They were both drafted and two of the fastest players the program has ever seen. The staff needs to bring in more talent and speed here.

Opening camp: Boston College

August, 9, 2010
8/09/10
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Schedule: Practice starts at 3:30 p.m. and is closed to public.

What’s new: The unis. Boston College switched to Under Armour after a long-standing uniform contract with Reebok.

Sidelined: Defensive lineman Damik Scafe is out and day-to-day with back problems, and Kaleb Ramsey is home in Pittsburgh and has not yet reported to camp for personal reasons. His status with the team remains uncertain.

Key battle: Field corner. DeLeon Gause and Donnie Fletcher will both play a lot. Gause has started 23 games and Fletcher has played in all 27 games since his true freshman season in 2008. Offensively, tight end will feature two players with starting experience in Lars Anderson and Chris Pantale. Pantale started every game last year and caught 25 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown. Anderson was used mostly for his blocking.

New on the scene: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jonathan Coleman has cracked the two-deep. He came to BC from the Bronx, N.Y., and was a top wide receiver at Radnor High in Pennsylvania.

Breaking out: Receiver Colin Larmond Jr. He led BC’s receivers with 20.6 yards per catch last year and was second on the team with 29 receptions, 596 yards and five touchdowns. Former receiver Rich Gunnell was one of most underrated players in the conference, and the Eagles will need somebody to prove as dependable.

Don’t forget about: Right tackle Rich Lapham. He started 11 games last year and all 14 in 2008. Anthony Castonzo gets most of the attention on this line, but Montel Harris wouldn’t have racked up all of those yards without Lapham’s help.

All eyes on: Linebacker Mark Herzlich. He’s made a miraculous recovery from Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer and is looking to play as good as or better than he did in 2008 when he was named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year. It’s a remarkable story and one even non-football fans across the country should be watching.

Quotable: "Last year, it was all new. No matter what you say about being an experienced coach, being a head coach is all new. It was the first time. So I’ve got that under my belt and just like anything else, I’ve got to move forward. You can’t teach experience, so I’ve got one year under my belt." -- Coach Frank Spaziani.

Boston College spring wrap

May, 7, 2010
5/07/10
11:30
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BOSTON COLLEGE

2009 overall record: 8-5

2009 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 1

Top returners

LT Anthony Castonzo, TB Montel Harris, LB Mark Herzlich, LB Luke Kuechly, FS Wes Davis, CB DeLeon Gause, RG Thomas Claiborne, RT Rich Lapham.

Key losses

WR Rich Gunnell, C Matt Tennant, RE Jim Ramella, LB Mike McLaughlin, DT Austin Giles

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Harris* (1,457 yards)

Passing: Shinskie* (2,049 yds)

Receiving: Gunnell (880 yds)

Tackles: Kuechly* (158)

Sacks: Ramella (3)

Interceptions: Davis* (3)

Spring answers

1. Shinskie is older (he’s 26 now) and a little wiser. He has become a smarter player since he walked off the minor league baseball bus last year as a 25-year-old pitcher. Coach Frank Spaziani said his quarterback situation has survived a trip to the emergency room, but is still in “intensive care.”

2. The offensive line should live up to the tradition this year. Even with veteran Castonzo out this spring with a broken foot, it was clear this group has the ability to return to its old standards. With four starters returning, this line should pave the way for another outstanding year for Harris.

3. Kuechly still hasn’t reached his potential. The freshman All-America selection finished second nationally in tackles last year, but Spaziani still wants Kuechly to improve. Kuechly thinks he can and he wants to. He practices with a lot of intensity despite leading the ACC in tackles a year ago.

Fall questions

1. At what level will Herzlich be able to play? That’s the great unknown. He’s back and has been conditioning, but he hasn’t done any hitting. There seems to be a fairy tale vision of what it’s going to be like when Herzlich returns -- and anyone who has followed his story should be hoping for that storybook ending -- but it’s a lot more complicated and unclear just how much he’ll look like the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.

2. Will Shinskie hold onto his job? Despite his progress, the quarterback job is still open heading into summer camp. Will the other two quarterbacks -- Chase Rettig and Joshua Bordner, both who enrolled early -- be able to challenge him for the starting job? Redshirt sophomore Michael Marscovetra is also in the mix.

3. Who will Harris’ backup be? It’s one of the thinnest positions in the conference, as Rolandan Finch, who had mononucleosis last year, tore his ACL in mid-April. Freshman Sterlin Phifer is an option, but it was hard to tell from the scrimmages because there wasn’t a lot of rushing with the hopes of keeping everyone healthy. Phifer had 15 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown in the first two scrimmages.

Offensive lines stronger in Atlantic

May, 5, 2010
5/05/10
4:30
PM ET
For the past few years, the Atlantic Division has been the weaker of the two divisions and nobody has been afraid to say it.

The same is expected this fall, but there's one area where the teams in the Atlantic Division appear to be stronger, and that's on the offensive line.

Here's a look at the top three contenders in each division and how their lines look after this spring:

ATLANTIC

Florida State: All five starters return, and they have combined for 142 career starts -- the most of any line in the ACC. Guard Rodney Hudson was an All-America selection last year, and he'll be back along with center Ryan McMahon, guard David Spurlock, and tackles Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders.

Clemson: Four starters return to a group that got progressively better last year and should finally be reaching its peak. Tackle Chris Hairston was a second-team all-conference selection last year, and he'll be joined by tackle Landon Walker, guard Antoine McClain and center Dalton Freeman.

Boston College: The Eagles return four starters, including Anthony Castonzo, an Outland Trophy candidate who has made 41 career starts, guard Thomas Claiborne, tackle Rich Lapham and guard Nathan Richman. That's three seniors and a junior, all of whom have started at least 25 career games. This group should get the Eagles back to their rich tradition of powerful offensive lines.

COASTAL

Virginia Tech: Left tackle is a position of concern. The Hokies turned to sophomore Nick Becton this spring and he did well in place of Ed Wang. Virginia Tech also has to replace Sergio Render, who had 52 career starts.

Miami: The Canes have to replace three starters up front, and center was one of the biggest concerns for coach Randy Shannon this spring. Tyler Horn took over for A.J. Trump there and brings some experience. Orlando Franklin moved to left tackle and will be the leader of the group.

Georgia Tech: The Jackets have to replace three starters, including the transfer of Joseph Gilbert. New faces are working their way into the rotation, and the second team was composed entirely of freshmen in the spring game.

Checking in with BC's Castonzo

March, 19, 2010
3/19/10
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Boston College began spring practices yesterday, and the Eagles are confident they can contend for the Atlantic Division -- again. I caught up with offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo earlier this month for his take on BC’s outlook this season. Castonzo is one of those super-smart offensive linemen -- his classes this semester include Biochemistry 2, Developmental Biology, Physical Chemistry, and Advanced Research in a Biochem Lab -- and he hopes to have a cure for cancer some day. I think he knows what he’s talking about. Here are the highlights of our conversation:

[+] EnlargeAnthony Castonzo
Ric Tapia/Icon SMIAnthony Castonzo is confident BC can contend for the ACC title in 2010.
You guys were able to do a lot with a little last year. What’s the outlook heading into spring ball, and what are your expectations for this season?

AC: Our expectations are an ACC championship. I’ve been a part of two teams that have gone to the ACC championship [game], and we lost it both years, which was really frustrating. But I know personally, seeing what we’ve got, seeing what we have had in the past, I think we’ve got a legitimate shot to get there and win it.

What are some of the things you see that make you say that?

AC: We’ve got a lot of veteran guys in key spots. Obviously Montel [Harris] at running back, you open up a little hole for him and the kid’s gone. He’s a real solid player. The fact that last year Dave [Shinskie] was really raw at the quarterback position, he was about as raw as you can get, having not played football in about seven years. He’s going to be much better. We’ll have some competition at the quarterback position, which will boost his game and whoever’s game is going to be our starter. At the wideout position, we have some really good playmakers. Colin Larmond is prepped to have a real breakout season and make some real big plays. I like having him as a deep threat out there. Our whole line -- with me, [Thomas] Claiborne, [Rich] Lapham, [Nathan] Richman -- we’ve got four out of five starters coming back. That speaks for itself.

Our defense, we’re pretty strong at every position. Our cornerbacks, we have DeLeon Gause, at safety we’ve got Wes Davis coming back. At linebacker we’ve got superboy [Luke] Kuechly coming back, and his counterpart, superboy [Mark] Herzlich. Our defense is pretty stout. I look around at different positions and I can’t find a glaring weakness in our team, which is why I feel like we’re solid all around.

Do you think you guys as an offensive line lived up to the reputation last year, in terms of the strong BC tradition of the position in the past?

AC: I think we could’ve been better than we were. I’m not sure what the reason was why we didn’t live up to what we expected out of ourselves. On the road, we had some problems, especially, but even having said that, we definitely re-established ourselves in the run game, which I felt was a big hurdle for us to overcome. We had heard a lot from the media and such that we weren’t the road graders, the guys who can open up holes in the run game. We felt that getting Montel almost 1,500 yards last year, we thought that we regained a little bit of swagger with the run game and we really want to take that into this year and open up some big holes for him.

Check back later for the second half of this interview.

ACC injury reports: Week 11

November, 13, 2009
11/13/09
9:00
AM ET
Jameel Sewell, Marc Verica, Chris Turner, Christian Ponder and Thaddeus Lewis are all on this list. Not a good week for ACC quarterbacks. Duke will need everyone healthy in order to beat Georgia Tech, and while several key offensive players are listed as probable, they're still listed:

BOSTON COLLEGE

OUT FOR SEASON

LB Mark Herzlich (illness)

FOR VIRGINIA GAME

RB Rolandan Finch (illness) - OUT

DE Alex Albright (ankle) – DOUBTFUL

LS Jack Geiser (foot) – DOUBTFUL

WR Billy Flutie (head) - PROBABLE

OT Rich Lapham (shoulder) - PROBABLE

LB Mike McLaughlin (leg) - PROBABLE

CLEMSON

Out

DaQuan Bowers, DE, knee

Probable

Coty Sensabaugh, CB, toe

Cleared to play

Kantrell Brown, DB, concussion

DUKE

QB Thaddeus Lewis (leg) -- Probable

LB Damian Thornton (neck) -- Probable

WR Donovan Varner (knee) -- Probable

WR Conner Vernon (head) -- Probable

WR Johnny Williams (knee) -- Probable

LB Abraham Kromah (leg) -- Questionable

OG Mitchell Lederman (foot) -- Questionable

LB Vincent Rey (leg) -- Questionable

K Will Snyderwine (leg) -- Questionable

DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- Doubtful

RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

WR Tyree Watkins (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON

FLORIDA STATE

Out

76 OT Garrett Faircloth (hip)

70 OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)

51 LB Aaron Gresham (knee)

44 LB Maurice Harris (neck)*

97 DT Demonte McAllister (knee)

94 DT Justin Mincey (knee)

81 TE Caz Piurowski (knee)*

7 QB Christian Ponder (shoulder)*

74 OT John Prior (knee)

27 CB Xavier Rhodes (thumb)

11 LB Vince Williams (back)

Questionable

28 CB Dionte Allen (thumb)

9 WR Richard Goodman (groin)

Probable

89 WR Louis Givens (hand)

72 DT Budd Thacker (knee)

* - out for the season

GEORGIA TECH

Out

Austin Barrick, r-Jr., OT (heel)

Kevin Cone, r-Jr., WR (ankle)

Robert Hall, r-Jr., DE (knee)

Out For Season

Kyle Jackson, r-So., LB (foot)

Cooper Taylor, So., S (undisclosed)

MARYLAND

Out for season:

Tyler Bowen (foot)

Nolan Carroll (leg)

Bennett Fulper (shoulder)

Isaiah Ross (knee)

Out:

Da’Rel Scott (wrist)

Doubtful

Chris Turner (knee)

Questionable

Ronnie Tyler (upper body)

Austin Walker (lower body)

Probable

Demetrius Hartsfield (hand)

MIAMI

Probable

DL Eric Moncur – Lower Extremity

DB DeMarcus Van Dyke – Lower Extremity

Out

DB Ray-Ray Armstrong – Lower Extremity

FB Patrick Hill – Lower Extremity

DB JoJo Nicolas – Upper Extremity

LB Sean Spence – Lower Extremity

Surgery and Out for the Season

DL Dyron Dye – Lower Extremity

DL Marcus Forston – Lower Extremity

LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity

TE Richard Gordon – Upper Extremity

LB Shayon Green – Lower Extremity

DE Gavin Hardin – Upper Extremity

DB Ryan Hill – Upper Extremity

DE Adewale Ojomo – Jaw

NORTH CAROLINA

Out

Joshua Adams WR Shoulder

AJ Blue RB/QB Knee

David Collins OT Foot

Shaun Draughn TB Shoulder

Carl Gaskins OT Knee

Matt Merletti S Knee

Trevor Stuart DS Knee

Ryan Taylor TE Knee

Jamal Womble TB Wrist

Questionable

Brennan Williams OT Wrist

Probable

Cam Holland C Shoulder

NC STATE

OUT FOR SEASON

Mario Carter, TE - knee

Ryan Cheek, LB - hip

Denzelle Good, OL – shoulder

T.J. Graham, WR – stress fracture/leg

Nate Irving, LB - leg

Colby Jackson, FB - knee

R.J. Mattes, OG - knee

Everett Proctor, QB – shoulder

Jeff Rieskamp, DE – sports hernia

Rashard Smith, CB - knee

Javon Walker, S – knee

James Washington, HB - knee

PROBABLE

Ray Michel, LB - ankle

VIRGINIA

Out

Raynard Horne (back)

Quintin Hunter (ankle)

Questionable

Darren Childs (neck)

Jameel Sewell (shoulder)

Marc Verica (head)

Probable

Javaris Brown (ankle)

Aaron Clark (knee)

Matt Conrath (ankle)

Colte Phillips (leg)

VIRGINIA TECH

Out for Season

Darren Evans (ACL)

Doubtful

Beau Warren (knee)
Tags:

Boston College Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, North Carolina Tar Heels, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers, Miami Hurricanes, Justin Mincey, Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner, Damian Thornton, Christian Ponder, Vince Williams, Garrett Faircloth, Vince Oghobaase, Rich Lapham, Marc Verica, Alex Albright, Will Snyderwine, Adewale Ojomo, Jack Geiser, Jamal Womble, Caz Piurowski, Aaron Clark, Mike McLaughlin, Chris turner, Kyle Jackson, Billy Flutie, DaQuan Bowers, Demetrius Hartsfield, Marcus Forston, Ray Michel, Raynard Horne, Xavier Rhodes, Jeff Rieskamp, Javon Walker, Matt Conrath, Carl Gaskins, Sean Spence, Robert Hall, Darren CHilds, Ryan Cheek, Richard Gordon, JoJo Nicolas, Louis Givens, Javaris Brown, Mario Carter, Austin Barrick, Johnny Williams, Antwane Greenlee, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Nolan Carroll, Budd Thacker, Vincent Rey, Abraham Kromah, Dionte Allen, Ryan Taylor, Joshua Adams, Coty Sensabaugh, Jameel Sewell, Nate Irving, T.J. Graham, Cam Holland, Mark Herzlich, Maurice Harris, Tyree Watkins, Thaddeus Lewis, Matt Merletti, Cooper Taylor, Aaron Gresham, Colby Jackson, Ronnie Tyler, Shaun Draughn, James Washington, Eric Moncur, Richard Goodman, Tyler Bowen, Anthony Young-Wiseman, Da\'Rel Scott, Demonte McAllister, Ray Ray Armstrong, Rashard Smith, Kyle Griswould, Gavin Hardin, Shayon Green, John Prior, Denzelle Good, Everett Proctor, R.J. Mattes, Trevor Stuart, Mitchell Lederman, Patrick Hill, Kantrell Brown, Kevin Cone, Rolandan Finch, Bennett Fulper Isaiah Ross, Austin Walker, Jordon Futch, David Collins, Brennan Williams, Quintin Hunter, Colte Phillps

ACC injury reports: Week 9

October, 30, 2009
10/30/09
9:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

I think I actually have them all this week ...

BOSTON COLLEGE

Questionable

DE Alex Albright (ankle)

Doubtful

OT Rich Lapham (shoulder)

LB Mike McLaughlin (leg)

Out

WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee)

RB Rolandan Finch (illness)

CLEMSON

Out for Season

J.K. Jay, OT, back

Probable

Scotty Cooper, LB, Concussion

Doubtful

Michael Palmer, TE, Concussion

Out

Kantrell Brown, S, Concussion

DUKE

RB Re'quan Boyette (knee) -- Questionable

CB Lee Butler (leg) -- Doubtful

LB Abraham Kromah (leg) -- OUT

WR Tyree Watkins (leg) -- OUT

RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON

FLORIDA STATE

Out for the season

44 LB Maurice Harris (neck)

81 TE Caz Piurowski (knee)

Out

28 CB Dionte Allen (thumb)

76 OT Garrett Faircloth (hip)

70 OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)

51 LB Aaron Gresham (knee)

97 DT Demonte McAllister (knee)

74 OT John Prior (knee)

72 DT Budd Thacker (knee)

11 LB Vince Williams (back)

Questionable

27 CB Xavier Rhodes (thumb)

21 CB Patrick Robinson (ankle)

Probable

9 WR Richard Goodman (groin)

26 RV Korey Mangum (shoulder)

94 DT Justin Mincey (knee)

36 LB Dekoda Watson (groin)

GEORGIA TECH

Out

Kevin Cone, r-Jr., WR (ankle)

Robert Hall, r-Jr., DE (knee)

Cooper Taylor, So., S (undisclosed)

Questionable

Julian Burnett, Fr., LB (knee)

Out For Season

Kyle Jackson, r-So., LB (foot)

MIAMI

Probable

OL Joel Figueroa – Upper Extremity

K Matt Bosher - Illness

Out

DB Ray-Ray Armstrong – Lower Extremity

FB Patrick Hill – Lower Extremity

RB Javarris James – Lower Extremity

DL Eric Moncur – Lower Extremity

DB JoJo Nicolas – Lower Extremity

LB Sean Spence – Lower Extremity

Surgery and Out for the Season

DL Dyron Dye – Lower Extremity

DL Marcus Forston – Lower Extremity

LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity

TE Richard Gordon – Upper Extremity

LB Shayon Green – Lower Extremity

DE Gavin Hardin – Upper Extremity

DB Ryan Hill – Upper Extremity

DE Adewale Ojomo – Jaw

NC STATE

OUT FOR SEASON

Mario Carter, TE - knee

Ryan Cheek, LB - hip

Denzelle Good, OL - shoulder

Nate Irving, LB - leg

Colby Jackson, FB - knee

Everett Proctor, QB – shoulder

Jeff Rieskamp, DE – sports hernia

Rashard Smith, CB - knee

Javon Walker, S – knee

James Washington, HB - knee

OUT

T.J. Graham, WR/RET – leg

Ray Michel, LB - ankle

Jesse Riley, DB - knee

Dwayne Maddox will start at middle linebacker in place of Michel; Clem Johnson, Jamelle Eugene and Donald Bowens will return punts/kicks.

VIRGINIA

Out

Aaron Clark (knee)

Matt Conrath (ankle)

Probable

Oday Aboushi (knee)

Landon Bradey (knee)

Darren Childs (leg)

Nate Collins (leg)

Cam Johnson (knee)

Corey Mosley (shoulder)

Brandon Woods (shoulder)

WAKE FOREST

Out for Season

WR Terence Davis (knee)

Questionable

DE Kyle Wilber

Week 2 predictions

September, 10, 2009
9/10/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


Raise your hand if you predicted William & Mary to beat Virginia last weekend. Mmhm. That’s what I thought. With the exception of the two FCS losses, and the losses to Baylor and South Carolina, I survived the first round of picks last weekend, correctly calling seven of 11 games. Let’s see if I can fare better this week:

Georgia Tech 21, Clemson 17: Both teams only had four days to prepare for this game, so each should have their share of moments, both good and bad. But the Yellow Jackets have more answers on offense right now, Paul Johnson has been calling plays much longer than Billy Napier and home-field advantage means something.

North Carolina 28, Connecticut 24: This is the pick I’m least sure of, but this is where I think UNC’s stellar defense will make the difference. UConn is 1-13 against ranked opponents, and quarterback Zach Frazer has struggled with the turnovers. Keep an eye on UConn defensive end Lindsey Witten, a veteran pass-rusher who will be making his way to T.J. Yates.

Army 21, Duke 20: Army will control the clock for most of the game with its triple option, and Duke’s miscues on special teams and its inability to run the football will be exposed. Army is trying to start 2-0 for the first time since the 1996, and first-year coach Rich Ellerson has implemented new offensive and defensive schemes that have those within the program believing they can win.

Virginia Tech 42, Marshall 7: The Hokies have won their home opener in 20 of 22 tries under coach Frank Beamer. Virginia Tech has won 30 straight nonconference home games and is 4-0 against Marshall at home. This is a perfect chance for the Hokies to regroup from their loss to Alabama.

Boston College 31, Kent State 10: If they did it last week, there’s no reason the Eagles can’t do it again and start off 2-0. It will help to have starting right tackle Rich Lapham back, as he missed last weekend’s game against Northeastern with an injury. That makes four of five starters back up front from a year ago, and the Eagles’ offensive line has an average height of 6-foot-6 and they weigh an average of 306 pounds -- a total of 1,530 pounds.

TCU 28, Virginia 10: This one could be embarrassing. No. 17-ranked TCU has earned its spot in college football’s national picture under respected coach Gary Patterson, as the Horned Frogs are 11-3 in their past 14 games against teams from leagues with automatic BCS bids. For Virginia’s offense to struggle the way it did against William & Mary doesn’t bode well against a team that has not allowed a touchdown in each of its past two season openers.

Florida State 41, Jacksonville State 14: Even with former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux back in the lineup, the Noles should overwhelm Jacksonville State with their speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball. As long as FSU put the Miami game behind it, there should be no reason for an upset watch here.

Maryland 21, James Madison 17: This game, however, might be a different story. The Terps took the loss to Cal hard, and JMU is well-coached. The Dukes, ranked No. 6 in the FCS preseason poll, have yet to play a game and return 11 starters from a team that finished 12-2 last year and won the CAA with an 8-0 record. This one is worth keeping an eye on.

NC State 28, Murray State 3: This is a chance for the Wolfpack to correct their mistakes on offense and fine-tune the defense, though the Racers scored in seven different ways last week against Kentucky Wesleyan, including setting a new school record with two safeties in the first half. Still, Murray State was a 5-7 team in the Ohio Valley Conference last year, so there should be no excuses.

Wake Forest 21, Stanford 20: Jim Grobe said Stanford is an even better team than Baylor, but the Demon Deacons know their four turnovers contributed to their loss last weekend. If the Deacs cut down on their mistakes and don’t give up as many big plays on defense, they should be able to rebound.

MIAMI: OFF

Checking in on BC: QB situation 'status quo'

September, 9, 2009
9/09/09
10:50
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said his quarterback situation is "status quo" heading into Saturday's game against Kent State. Justin Tuggle was 3-of-5 for 56 yards and a touchdown, and Dave Shinskie was 7-for-10 for 110 yards and a touchdown in last weekend's 54-0 romp of Northeastern.

"They improved and made some progress and I think we'll stay the way we are and figure it out at the end of the week," Spaziani said. "Eventually we'll get to the point where one is standing by himself and then we can go that way, but right now we don't have one, so we'll see what we have.

"The ideal situation would be to have one quarterback and then have one guy backing him up that gets some playing time and be ready to go in a third and emergency, but we're not in an ideal situation and we have to do what we feel is best to give ourselves the best chance to win."

The bad news for the Eagles is that linebacker Mike McLaughlin isn't ready to practice yet, let alone play, but senior wide receiver Clarence Megwa, who injured his finger in the Northeastern game, will return to practice this week. Starting right tackle Rich Lapham (neck) is also back this week.

ACC injury reports

September, 4, 2009
9/04/09
2:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


Here are the injury reports that came in from around the ACC this week:

BOSTON COLLEGE

LB Will Thompson (shoulder) - OUT

LB Mike McLaughlin (Achilles) - OUT

FB James McCluskey (Achilles) - OUT

WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee) - OUT

DT Kaleb Ramsey (ankle) - DOUBTFUL

OT Rich Lapham (neck) - DOUBTFUL

FB Alexander DiSanzo (shoulder) - QUESTIONABLE

QB Dave Shinskie (rib) - PROBABLE

CLEMSON

Out for the Season

J.K. Jay, OT, back

Doubtful

Daniel Andrews, LB, hamstring

Probable

Xavier Dye, WR, hamstring

Dalton Freeman, C, hamstring

DUKE

DT Kinney Rucker (foot) -- probable

RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT

CB Randez James (hand) -- OUT

S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON

NORTH CAROLINA

Sophomore wide receiver Dwight Jones will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday at UNC Hospitals and will not be available for Saturday's game vs. The Citadel. Jones began experiencing knee pain earlier in the week and did not practice on Wednesday. A determination of his recovery time will be made after the surgery Friday afternoon.

Out (Season)

Gaskins, Carl OL Knee

Merletti, Matt S Knee

Out (Game)

Jones, Dwight WR Knee

Taylor, Ryan TE Knee

VIRGINIA TECH

Bruce Taylor (ankle) - out

Ranking the ACC units: Offensive lines

July, 20, 2009
7/20/09
11:07
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Position rankings today will include who has what up front. While it's not exactly glamorous, it wins games.

Let's start with the offensive lines.

1. Florida State -- Ah, it's amazing what a year can do, no? At this point last season, I had the Noles ranked No. 12. That's right, and I'd do it again. There wasn't a senior in the group, and they were the youngest O-line in the FBS with a lot to prove. It was a work in progress, and the tight ends had to help out, but Rick Trickett did a heck of a job, and I take partial credit for the motivation. You're welcome, coach. Now this group, led by Rodney Hudson, Ryan McMahon and Andrew Datko could be one of the best in the country.

2. Boston College -- Four starters return who started all 14 games last year, including potential All-ACC candidates Anthony Castonzo and Matt Tennant. It took some time for this group to come together after Castonzo moved from right tackle to left, Thomas Claiborne was a defensive lineman who moved to the right guard spot and Rich Lapham came off the bench in nine games in 2007. Once they got comfortable, they were a major factor in the success of true freshmen running backs Montel Harris and Josh Haden. It should only be better this year.

3. Wake Forest -- This should be a much-improved group, and deeper, especially with the return of Chris DeGeare, who missed last fall for academic reasons, at left tackle. Seven players with starting experience return to the offensive line and they have combined for 95 career starts. Russell Nenon, who moved to center after Trey Bailey broke his ankle last year, has solidified the position, and Jeff Griffin, who had been a starting tackle, is now comfortable at right guard. Barrett McMillin returns at guard.

4. Clemson -- This is where the problems began last year, and it should be part of the solution in 2009. In 2008, Clemson had to replace four starters. This year, all five starters return. Since 1963, Clemson has had a winning percentage of 76 percent when it returns five starters on the offensive line. Thomas Austin has starting experience at center and guard and should be one of the top offensive linemen in the 2010 NFL draft.

5. Virginia Tech -- The Hokies should be more athletic up front, and this unit goes eight deep, which might be the best depth they've had in the past two seasons. Ed Wang, who is entering his third season as a starter and Sergio Render, who is entering his fourth, are the veterans of a group that includes seven redshirt freshmen and sophomores on the two-deep. Beau Warren is expected to replace Ryan Shuman at center and Jaymes Brooks took over the right guard position and played well in the Orange Bowl in place of an ineligible Nick Marshman.

6. Miami -- Depth remains a concern, but veteran tackle Jason Fox is as dependable as they come, with 36 career starts. There were some tweaks to the line this past spring, as Matt Pipho will be the new starter at right tackle, and the staff is eager to see how he handles that role. A.J. Trump moved from right guard to center, and Joel Figueroa took over at right guard. The health of the starters will be key through the tough stretch to start the season.

7. Georgia Tech -- There is definitely potential here, but first the Jackets have to replace Andrew Gardner and David Brown, which they started to do last season when that duo got hurt. Then they have to keep everyone healthy, which didn't happen this spring. With Dan Voss, Nick Claytor and Cord Howard back for summer camp, and Joseph Gilbert having started 12 games last year, this group should improve and be more consistent this fall, but it will get even better as Paul Johnson's staff begins to recruit more athletic linemen.

8. Virginia -- There are no athletic freaks on the line like coach Al Groh usually finds, but it should still be a solid group. Four starters return, including senior right tackle Will Barker, who has 37 starts. Junior B.J. Cabbell at right guard was a solid blocker last year in his first season as starter, as was Jack Shields, who improved as the season progressed. Sophomore Austin Pasztor moved into the starting lineup against Maryland and sophomore Landon Bradley was Eugene Monroe's backup.

9. NC State -- The good news is that the Pack have plenty of upperclassmen to depend on, and four of the five starters have combined to start 60 games. The only player listed as a current starter who has never started is redshirt senior Andy Barbee, who has spent the previous three years as a reserve center but has now moved to guard. Behind those veterans are several players who redshirted last year and will be given an equal opportunity for playing time.

10. North Carolina -- The Tar Heels took a hit early last month when starter Aaron Stahl decided to forgo his final year of eligibility to "move forward with the next phase of [his] life." His experience will be tough to replace, but there are a handful of players who had a good spring and will compete for his spot. Kyle Jolly, who is entering his third year as a starter, Alan Pelc, who earned a starting job at guard last year, and Lowell Dyer, who has started at center each of the past two seasons, will be the leaders of the line.

11. Maryland -- The Terps lost five of their top seven offensive linemen, including three starters, and the development of their replacements will go a long way in determining how their season unfolds. Despite the graduation of longtime center Edwin Williams, it's the position of least concern as the staff is confident in the leadership and playing abilities of Phil Costa. There are also high expectations for left tackle Bruce Campbell, a physically gifted athlete.

12. Duke -- This has been a trouble spot for the Blue Devils for years, and it's a work-in-progress for coach David Cutcliffe. This year should be another challenge as Duke has to replace three starters after making some progress last year. Center Bryan Morgan is the anchor of the group and enters his second season as a starter and is the only player back in his original position. Kyle Hill moved from left guard to left tackle, so this group will have a whole new look.

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