What to watch in the ACC: Week 2

September, 10, 2009
9/10/09
8:00
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


It was only the first week, and like Frank Beamer keeps saying, there’s still a lot of football left to play. Here’s a look at what to watch in Week 2 of ACC football:

1. Drops, fumbles and turnovers. Clemson receivers dropped four passes. NC State’s dropped five. Virginia had seven turnovers, Wake Forest four. Let’s see if the ACC can’t cut down on the sloppiness in Week 2.

2. The nonconference scorecard. It’s not exactly a blockbuster lineup in the ACC this week, but there are still opportunities for the conference to pick up some statement wins. UNC travels to Connecticut, Virginia hosts No. 16 TCU and Wake Forest hosts Stanford, a team Jim Grobe says is better than Baylor. Can the ACC pick up some big wins and avoid more embarrassing losses?

3. Electric returns. Can the ACC keep this up? There were four punt returns and two kickoff returns for touchdowns in Week 1. The four punt returns for touchdowns matched the ACC’s entire total for 2008.

4. ACC defenses vs. triple option. Clemson isn’t the only team that will face the confusion of a triple option offense this weekend. Duke travels to Army, where the Blue Devils will face the same.

5. Struggling starting quarterbacks. Riley Skinner. Russell Wilson. Tyrod Taylor. The entire Virginia three-deep. None of them played up to their potential last weekend (even with some of the blame shared by those around them).

6. Pass protection. Speaking of struggling quarterbacks, several coaches throughout the ACC are looking for drastic improvement up front. Maryland’s Chris Turner was sacked six times, Wilson was sacked six times, Taylor was sacked five times.

7. Jonathan Dwyer vs. C.J. Spiller. Coaches and players throughout the conference couldn’t agree this summer on who was the better back, but tonight their performances will speak for themselves.

8. UNC linebacker Bruce Carter. Carter blocked three punts last year in the Heels’ 38-12 win against Connecticut. UNC will travel to Storrs, Conn., this weekend, but the Huskies have changed their punt coverage scheme and will no doubt key in on Carter.

9. Georgia Tech A-back Roddy Jones. He missed the season opener against Jacksonville State with a dislocated wrist, but will return to the starting lineup tonight against Clemson.

10. BC’s quarterback situation. It’s still a toss-up as to whether Dave Shinskie or Justin Tuggle will emerge as the Eagles’ leader on offense, and coach Frank Spaziani has said Saturday’s game against Kent State will be another audition.

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