Five burning questions about the ACC Atlantic

 We spent last week’s first leg of our annual Spring Football Tour in the SEC. This week we’ll spend some time looking at the ACC. I was at Florida State on Friday. Today I’ll be in Clemson and will then spend Tuesday visiting with Georgia Tech.

Let’s kick things off with Five Burning Questions about the ACC’s Atlantic Division as spring ball gets into full swing. As always, please feel free to share some questions (and answers) of your own.

 

1. Will Kyle Parker be Clemson’s starting quarterback when the 2010 season begins? There is no question that Clemson will miss running back C.J. Spiller who, for my money, was the most dynamic player in college football last season.  But with Jamie Harper (418 rushing) and Andre Ellington (491 rushing) returning, the Tigers should be fine at running back. The real question is whether or not Kyle Parker, a rising redshirt sophomore in football, will be back, after throwing for 2,256 yards and 20 touchdowns and leading Clemson to the ACC championship game. If Parker has a big year for the No. 5 Clemson baseball team, he may move up significantly in June’s Major League baseball draft (he was taken in the 24th round coming out of high school). If that happens, he will have a decision to make.  Through 24 games this season Parker is batting .396 with 10 home runs. He leads the ACC in home runs and slugging percentage. Parker has been practicing football when his baseball schedule allows and is scheduled to take part in this Saturday’s scrimmage. If Parker does not return, the job would likely go to redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd, who sat out last season but looked good in last Saturday’s first scrimmage of the spring. I believe that Parker would choose running down the hill at Death Valley and competing for an ACC championship over riding a bus in the minors but, when money is involved, you never know.

 

2. What does Mark Stoops bring to the table as the new defensive coordinator at Florida State? The Seminoles used to be a fixture among the top defenses in the nation. But last season Florida State finished dead last in the ACC in total defense (434.6 ypg) and 94th nationally scoring defense (30.0 ppg). Longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews retired and new head coach Jimbo Fisher (who replaced the legendary Bobby Bowden) hired Stoops, the defensive coordinator at Arizona. Stoops certainly has the bloodlines. His brothers, Bob (Oklahoma) and Mike (Arizona), were successful defensive coordinators before they became head coaches. Arizona was No 25 nationally in total defense (322.0 ypg) last season. “I like the energy he’s bringing over there,” Fisher said of Stoops. “I think we’re going to be okay.” Only six starters return but a lot of good athletes are waiting in the wings. An interesting note on the schedule: On Sept. 11 Florida State goes to Oklahoma and Stoops will go play against his big brother, Bob.

 

3. Will Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich be able to come back at full strength from his battle with cancer? A lot of people thought Herzlich, the 2008 ACC defensive player of the year, was done with football last spring when he was diagnosed with Ewings’ Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. He sat out the entire season but by October Herzlich was able to announce that the doctors had proclaimed him cancer free. Herzlich would join six starters from a defense that ranked 19th in scoring defense in 2009, giving up 19.77 ppg. I predict Boston College will be an inspired team and make some noise in this division. It doesn’t hurt to have Montel Harris, the ACC’s No. 2 rusher (1,457 yards), coming back either.

 

4. Will N.C. State linebacker Nate Irving regain his previous form after a near fatal automobile accident? N.C. State was hammered by injuries in 2009 but none more significant than the single car crash which almost cost Irving his life late last June. After sitting out the entire 2009 season Irving is back at practice hoping to regain his form of 2008, when he had 80 tackles and four interceptions. “He’s practicing and hoping to get back to where he was,” coach Tom O’Brien said. Only time will tell but with four starters returning on a defense that finished 11th in ACC scoring last season (31.2 ppg), the Wolfpack, sure could use him.

 

5. Who will replace Riley Skinner as the quarterback at Wake Forest? Wake Forest had one of the best four-year runs in its history (33-19, three bowls, one ACC championship) which coincided with the career of Skinner, who left the Deacons with 9,923 total yards of offense in 49 career starts. “It sure is different not having Riley out there,” said head coach Jim Grobe said Sunday. “One of the young guys has to step up but I think they miss him too.” The candidates include redshirt sophomore Ted Stachitas, who replaced Tim Tebow at Neese High School in Jacksonville. He’s talented but he’s had a couple of shoulder surgeries. Redshirt sophomore Skylar Jones and sophomore Brendan Cross are also in the mix. Right now Grobe is more concerned about the cast of characters the Deacons will put around the new QB. “It’s kind of hard to evaluate a quarterback if you’re not protecting him very well,” Grobe said.

 

 

BONUS QUESTION

Can Maryland’s Da’Rel Scott stay healthy? Scott was a first-team All-ACC running back in 2008 and, with the return of quarterback Chris Turner, Maryland thought it would be a division contender in 2009. But Scott stayed banged up most of the year and played in just seven games. With Turner gone, Scott needs to be on the field for most of the season for the Terps to bounce back from a 2-10 record (1-7 ACC) in 2009.

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79 comments Add your comment

lanier

March 29th, 2010
8:21 am

Tech will win the ACC again count on it.

Law Dawg

March 29th, 2010
8:30 am

Who cares!!??!!

Mikey

March 29th, 2010
8:47 am

Always Complaining Conference

leland

March 29th, 2010
8:51 am

You just wait ’till Clempson plays the Crimpson Tide.

SaintsLSU

March 29th, 2010
8:53 am

I know one thing about the ACC, they will lose again in the Chick-Fil-A Atlanta season opener to a SEC team. Geaux Tigers, beat the Heels! The season is only 5 whole months away, LOL

Let's Go

March 29th, 2010
9:00 am

Kyle Parker could choose football and still not be the starting QB. Tajh Boyd may give Clemson the best chance to win and Dabo will start the player who gives the team the best chance to win. He’s that kind of coach, team first. Just like last year when Willy Korn and thousands of the Tiger faithful assumed he was the starter but something funny happened along the way to the 1st game, a better player stepped forward. Look for Boyd to do that this year.

Kiffinisatosser

March 29th, 2010
9:02 am

Boise State will lay the wood on eventual ACC champ VT. Now that is a sad commentary on a sad conference.

mike

March 29th, 2010
9:05 am

Any improvement FSU makes will be better than last year’s team. Grob is a good coach. He will find a QB. If Parker leaves Clemson is going to be hurting, but I think he will stay. GT really needs this spring to work on new offensive linemen, a new defense and a good back-up to Nesbitt. Jordon Luallen might surprise some people.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

March 29th, 2010
9:22 am

thought Parker is going to stick with baseball- hear he’s better at that than QB and could go into MLB draft this year.

Mike Hunt

March 29th, 2010
9:28 am

Shouldn’t we call this “Five moderately interesting questions”

Dog Dawg

March 29th, 2010
9:36 am

Why not just say “6 burning questions…”?

South Georgia Nole

March 29th, 2010
9:45 am

With a half decent defense the Atlantic is the ‘Noles to lose. Out offense is going to be solid again and Ponder could be in the run for the Heisman. I can’t wait for the season to start.

Also, a note to SEC dirt road alumni, if you hate ACC football so much why do you comment? Losers.

CatsFly

March 29th, 2010
9:51 am

Most burning, “will UNC finally have some offense? If they do, since they have one of the best defenses in the country, then they can be a player on the national scene in 2010. Their receivers are very talented and highly-rated, and Yates has the potential to be a very good qb. And the backup Renner, was a highly-recruited qb out of hs. S. Draughn has shown flashes as a rb.

collegeballfan

March 29th, 2010
9:52 am

One can’t say enough about the contribution Riley Skinner made to Wake football.

I agree, FSU should be the favorite for the Division going into the season.

Dostoyevskiy

March 29th, 2010
9:53 am

So, Tony, do you not any questions about the Tar Heels? If not, then how have you assessed them?

PJ

March 29th, 2010
10:15 am

PJ

March 29th, 2010
10:15 am

PJ

March 29th, 2010
10:16 am

PJ

March 29th, 2010
10:16 am

Chris

March 29th, 2010
10:26 am

Yup Tech will win the ACC – Virginia Tech – Buzz gets stomped 11/4 – Blacksburg is waiting…………..

30-24 – Is that the latest Criminal Code that some UGA football player broke?

winterDawg

March 29th, 2010
10:29 am

Boring…….. I’d rather have AAAAA state football information.

Dostoyevskiy

March 29th, 2010
10:40 am

winterDawg, how many ACC teams are ranked ahead of the Dawgs going into upcoming season?

Ramblin Wrecker

March 29th, 2010
10:48 am

I disagree Tony, I think Kyle Parker is more likely to choose baseball over football. Why? Because he’s way better at baseball. Parker was ok as a QB but he’s not headed for a professional job as a QB. But he could be a professional in baseball. So I’d expect him to choose baseball if he gets drafted in the first couple of rounds this time.

Ramblin Wrecker

March 29th, 2010
10:50 am

And he can always go back to football. You can’t stop playing baseball and then regain your form. Football is different, cause he’d probably sit around not playing football for years anyway, since he aint going to be a 1st round pick. And there are plenty of stories of guys picking baseball then returning to football after the baseball didn’t pan out (chris Weinke, Quincy Carter come to mind), but what guy ever choose football and then went back to baseball 3 or 4 years later?

ReptilesRule

March 29th, 2010
10:50 am

FSU at Tallahassee is one of the games on the schedule for UF that concerns me this year. Ponder will be a senior and I believe they should be improved overall this year. They’ll probably win 9, maybe even 10 games this year and they will be my pick for the ACC champ this year. Hopefully we can put 6-in-a-row on ‘em this year but it will be a battle.

[...] post by Tony Barnhart and software by Elliott [...]

what do we have here on our blog?

March 29th, 2010
12:19 pm

we have the dawg carpet cleaning crew using the pc’s at their urine stained library. shouldnt you boyz be cleaning them carpets instead of using pc’s meant for students?

Sugar Hill Dawg

March 29th, 2010
12:26 pm

“Five Burning Questions…” How ’bout what schools are in the ACC AD? I understand why the ACC set up the divisions originally, but the time has come to go North/South. Miami, FSU, Tech, Clemson, Public NC school, Private NC school in the South, BC, UMD, UVA, VA Tech, Public/Private in the North. At least that split would make sense, Tech could reset its schedule to have Miami and UGA at home one year, Clemson and FSU the next (or some other combo) in order to sell a few more seats at The Joke by Coke (at least the Varsity’s next door). As an SEC alum (UGA ‘75), I’m aware the ACC’s football rep took a major hit last year. Something like this realignment could generate some interest in the ATL regarding Tech. (I grew up a Jackets fan, but they don’t have a journalism school, so….GO DAWGS!)

Trent

March 29th, 2010
12:31 pm

5 burning questions is becoming the biggest cliche in journalism. I could have written this — and better — in 5 burning minutes.

Kiffinisatosser

March 29th, 2010
12:33 pm

know Dwyer = know championship
no Dwyer = no championship

JC in Powder Springs

March 29th, 2010
12:33 pm

Here are some more burning questions about the ACC:

1) If a tree fell on the ACC, would it make a sound?

2) If a westbound train with 4,000 passengers is traveling at 45 mph and an eastbound train with 3,000 passengers is traveling at 50 mph, why won’t any of them buy GT season tickets?

Bonus SEC question: If Tim Tebow had a party and nobody showed up, would he cry?

Hellofanengineer

March 29th, 2010
12:34 pm

SEC, with the exception of Vanderbilt, is full of 2-bit, junk schools that are nothing more than life support systems for football teams.

pacisback

March 29th, 2010
12:34 pm

Are you UNC fans too stupid to read the topic. It says ACC ATLANTIC, Unc is not in the atlantic.

Hellofanengineer

March 29th, 2010
12:39 pm

Burning question about the SEC:

Does the IQ of the average student at an SEC school exceed the IQ of that school’s mascot?

Sugar Hill Dawg

March 29th, 2010
12:41 pm

pacisback…see my previous post. ACC football is often disrespected in part because of their idiotic divisions. When will the PAC 10 grab Colorado and one of the Utah schools and split up? (UofA, ASU, UCLA, USC, BYU/Utah and Colorado? Call then the Sun Division. Wazzu, U Dub, OSU, UO, Cal and Stanford? Call them the Monsoon Division. Yeah, I know – Spokane gets less rain than Phoenix, but it sounds cooler to make fun of the Pacific NW.)

GT

March 29th, 2010
12:43 pm

FSU is back. They have real coaches on both sides of the ball. We could barely beat them with the soap opera they had now they will be a constant pain. We are better than the sleep walkers we were in the old days, but they will be there once they have a quarterback which may be next year but certainly in the next two.

BuzztheKiller

March 29th, 2010
12:44 pm

Ahhhhh, starting to feel like football again. Barnhart talking ACC and all the SEC fans claiming its irrelevant, yet they are on here reading every word. Isn’t the doggieblawgie up and running today?

BuzztheKiller

March 29th, 2010
12:48 pm

Chris- remind me again what happened last year when The Tech played the one that claims to be Tech?? Oh yes, I recall now, Josh Nesbitt tightropeing for 39 yards and the winning TD! Blacksburg, wow thats scary.

Sugar Hill Dawg

March 29th, 2010
12:50 pm

Hellofanengineer – Bizarre story of 2010: My son will enter Auburn (pre-pharmacy) this fall after being rejected by UGA, getting an offer from South Carolina for an academic scholarship that he didn’t apply for, and admission into Tech. (My wife and I decided the out of state costs are preferable to the likelihood of our # 2 son getting mugged/shot if he matriculated at The Flats. His older brother will be a third year member of the Auburn University Marching Band (he’s an epidemiology major), so the decision was easier than I expected. I’m not declaring UGA is now the public version of Harvard, but if you’re a Caucasian male from suburban Atlanta, you’d better have a 2400 SAT and a GPA above 4.0 to get into UGA. I was told by a highly reliable source in the UGA admissions office if we had an address outside of the metro area he would’ve been admitted with no problem. Times are a-changin’ in the SEC!

SaintsLSU

March 29th, 2010
12:55 pm

BuzztheKiller, The ACC is okay, FSU, Miami, UNC, VA Tech, BC, Clemson and GT are all good programs. It’s just the SEC is better, even in a down year. Better talent and better coaches. I know LSU will have its hands full with UNC’s Defense in the Atlanta opener. But, the ACC will always be a basketball conference.

Laughing at Trent

March 29th, 2010
1:21 pm

Trent:

“I could have written this — and better — in 5 burning minutes.”

Easy to be critical but I sure don’t see anything in your post to support your juvenile claim.

Trent = Tool

March 29th, 2010
1:35 pm

Written in ten burning seconds.

Hellofanengineer

March 29th, 2010
1:37 pm

One should not confuse oddball admissions requirements with actual educational excellence! :-) In all seriousness, I wish your son all the best of luck at Auburn Sugarhilldawg.

SEC Fan

March 29th, 2010
1:40 pm

When the Johnson running game was on with Dwyer following his blockers, they were devastatingly effective. Too bad about that bowl game implosion though.

TechDan

March 29th, 2010
1:53 pm

Sugar Hill Dawg: It’s actually widely known that GT is now easier to get into than UGA is. The HOPE scholarship helped to raise the standards of UGA (from Tier 2 to Tier 1) and all the other state schools (excluding GT, which has been Tier 1 for decades). The problem with Tech is staying in the school. Even our crib majors are nationally ranked programs. That’s not to say that UGA is as bad as we Tech fans like to pretend it is, though it is still ranked lower ;p

the real Old Gold

March 29th, 2010
1:59 pm

“Law Dawg”

Don’t you have enough to worry about with your own pitiful QB “race?”

Sugar Hill Dawg

March 29th, 2010
2:17 pm

Hellofanengineer and TechDan: I took Logic (a God awful course!) to avoid Calculus at UGA – I have tremendous respect for the Techsters. I know the course offerings/majors have been expanded at the Trade School, but every kid I taught (34 years in the classrooms of Gwinnett County) had to take Calculus when they got to Tech. Say what you will, Tech is still Tech (an engineering school, first and foremost). I had less than no interest in their math/science curriculum, which is why I began at UGA as a Journalism major. Auburn’s much more similar to Tech than to UGA, only more women than Tech. I think the fact his brother’s already there (and the more bucolic college town setting) was the deciding factor to go to Auburn rather than Tech. (Also, we drove over to Columbia to check out USC – if you’ve never been to their campus, take a Saturday and drive over – its really a beautiful place.) I love the back-and-forth we Dawgs fans have with y’all, but I’ve always loved going to Grant Field to take in a game.

Actually...

March 29th, 2010
2:29 pm

“I grew up a Jackets fan, but they don’t have a journalism school”

Well we do, sort of…you’d just need to be interested in writing about technological issues. Come back to the Flats for your Masters?

Actually...

March 29th, 2010
2:42 pm

Auburn and Tech are historically similar with a few exceptions. Foremost among which is agriculture. Auburn (if I’m not mistaken) was an Agricultural and Machinery-style school (like LSU, VT, and, of course, Texas A&M) while Tech was conceived on the model of RPI and MIT which are more purely to the technological side (this is probably because this state’s agg school was already in Athens).

That said, Auburn is probably more all-encompassing that Tech. Though, admittedly, GT is planning to grow into a more rounded curriculum that includes the arts and some more human-centered sciences. I’ve even heard rumblings of Tech eventually opening a medical (instead of just Biomedical engineering) division. I’ve also heard higher-ups talking about getting a Law school one day…very interesting.

Charlie Bama

March 29th, 2010
2:54 pm

I think Clemson under Dabo has a shot this year at ACC fame, as dubious as that notion might be (certainly a better shot than it ever had with T. Bowden). The flaming, uh, burning question is whether Kevin Steele’s defense can build on its limited success last year and be all it can be in 2010. I don’t see any teams other than Clemson, VaTech, and maybe FL Tech (uh, I mean, State) and MAYBE Miami being in the mix.