Spring Football Capsules Print
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Friday, 06 March 2009 08:09
NCAAF Headline News

 What to watch for during spring practice around the Atlantic Coast Conference:
ACC
Boston College (9-5)
Practice starts: March 17.
Spring game: April 25.
All eyes on: Frank Spaziani, in his first head coaching job after replacing Jeff Jagodzinski, who was fired for pursuing an NFL job. Sophomore QB Dominique Davis, who filled in for injured Chris Crane at the end of last season, will compete with redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle and incoming freshman Michael Marscovetra. The Eagles also have to fill in for two defensive linemen expected to be drafted, B.J. Raji and Ron Brace.

Clemson (7-6)
Practice starts: March 9.
Spring game: April 11.
All eyes on: Can C.J. Spiller throw the ball, too? Clemson's star runner returned for his final season and figures to be the Tigers' main offensive threat, particularly with the departures of QB Cullen Harper, TB James Davis and WR Aaron Kelly. Sophomore Willy Korn and freshman Kyle Parker should battle to take Harper's spot.

Duke (4-8)
Practice starts: March 18.
Spring game: April 18.
All eyes on: The Blue Devils are looking for leadership on defense after the graduation of third-team AP All-American Michael Tauiliili, who led the ACC with 140 tackles. With seven seniors from last year gone, coach David Cutcliffe wants someone to step up and lead, and senior DE Vince Oghobaase is a likely candidate.

Florida State (9-4)
Practice starts: March 16.
Spring game: April 4.
All eyes on: Rebuilding a secondary and receiving corps where graduation, injury and disciplinary sanctions have left the field open for replacements at both positions. Coach Bobby Bowden, who is preparing for his 34th year at Florida State, must also replace punter-placekicker Graham Gano, who won the Lou Groza award in 2008 as the nation's best placekicker, and pass rush specialist Everette Brown, who is entering the NFL draft a year early.

Georgia Tech (9-4)
Practice starts: March 23.
Spring game: April 18.
er were both picked for the All-ACC first team, while Richard was a second-team choice.

Maryland (8-5)
Practice starts: March 24.
Spring game: April 25.
All eyes on: The Terrapins lost 13 starters and 31 lettermen, no one of more significance that WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who left early for the NFL draft. Coach Ralph Friedgen also has to find replacements on the OL for C Edwin Williams, G Jamie Thomas, T Scott Burley and TE Dan Gronkowski.

Miami (7-6)
Practice started: Feb. 24.
Spring game: March 28.
All eyes on: The Hurricanes have two new coordinators, with Mark Whipple taking over for Patrick Nix on offense and John Lovett becoming the fourth man to lead Miami's defense in the last 28 months. QB Jacory Harris takes over as the starter after Robert Marve left the school, but Miami must find a reliable backup. Other priorities include rebuilding the offensive line, developing depth at linebacker and improving the secondary.

North Carolina (8-5)
Practice starts: March 4.
Spring game: March 28.
All eyes on: The Tar Heels are searching for someone to replace WR Hakeem Nicks, who set 14 school records before skipping his senior season for the NFL draft. Expect Dwight Jones, a blue-chip recruit two years ago, and Greg Little, who has dabbled at running back, to get the longest looks.

North Carolina State (6-7)
Practice starts: March 20.
Spring game: April 18.
All eyes on: The hospital and, eventually, the baseball diamond. QB Russell Wilson has spent much of his time lately waiting for medical clearance after missing the second half of the Papajohns.com Bowl loss with a knee injury. The ACC's offensive player of the year doubles as an infielder on the baseball team, and keeping him healthy is a top priority for a team crippled by injuries in 2007 and '08.

Virginia (5-7)
Practice starts: March 21.
Spring game: April 18.
All eyes on: The battle for the quarterback job will have a returning starter in Marc Verica and a couple new players in Jameel Sewell and Vic Hall. Sewell, the starter for two years, returns after a year away from the team because of academics; the 5-foot-9 senior Hall, was one of the nation's most productive dual threat quarterbacks in high school and has been playing cornerback for the Cavaliers. and offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon, an innovator of the spread offense. He replaces dispatched OC Mike Groh, one of three assistants fired after last season.

Virginia Tech (10-4)
Practice starts: April 1.
Spring game: April 25.
All eyes on: Defensive coordinator Bud Foster always finds players to fit into his system, and this spring he'll be looking for two linebackers to replace Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant in the middle of the unit, and a cornerback to take over where Victor Harris played the last four seasons. But the newbies will join seven returning starters on an Orange Bowl-winning defense. Eight returning starters on offense.

Wake Forest (8-5)
Practice starts: March 24.
Spring game: April 18.
All eyes on: Ten seniors are gone from the two-deep on defense, so coach Jim Grobe must find a way to replace a pair of probable early round NFL draft picks in LB Aaron Curry and CB Alphonso Smith. That is sure to put Grobe's patient schedule of developing players over five years to the test, and look for a pair of rising seniors - CB Brandon Ghee and DT John Russell - to take leadership roles early.

 

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