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February 1, 2010

Rivals.com Spring Practice Primer: ACC

We're two days from National Signing Day, and that also means the start of spring practice is just around the corner.

The first team to open spring ball? It's Duke, on Feb. 15. (Uhh, that's two weeks from today.)

To get you primed for spring practice, here's a look at the start dates for all 120 FBS teams plus the overriding problem each program must deal with during spring drills.

ACC Spring Practice Primer

BOSTON COLLEGE
Practice begins: March 18.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: The Eagles have a history of producing outstanding interior offensive linemen, but that area is a major concern heading into the spring. BC is seeking a replacement for departed C Matt Tennant, who started for three seasons and was a Rimington Trophy finalist this past season. The front-runner for the assignment is Mark Spinney, who backed up Tennant last season.

CLEMSON
Practice begins: March 8.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: Clemson must find a way to replace the production of do-everything RB C.J. Spiller, but the return of Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper leaves the Tigers set in the backfield. The bigger question is at wide receiver, since Jacoby Ford's departure leaves the Tigers without any proven wideouts. Don't be surprised if redshirt freshman Bryce McNeal makes a major impact.

DUKE
Practice begins: Feb. 15.
Spring game: March 27.
Biggest task: Duke must find a replacement for departed four-year starting QB Thaddeus Lewis, and the process became more complicated when likely replacement Sean Renfree tore his ACL Nov. 14. Renfree will sit out spring practice, so redshirt freshman Sean Schroeder and early enrollee Brandon Connette will get a chance this spring to show they deserve a shot at the job.

FLORIDA STATE
Practice begins: March 16.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: New defensive coordinator Mark Stoops arrives from Arizona to help retool a defense that ranked 108th in yards allowed per game (434.6) and 94th in points allowed per game (30). He should benefit from the addition of linebackers coach Greg Hudson, the former defensive coordinator at East Carolina.

GEORGIA TECH
Practice begins: March 29.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: New defensive coordinator Al Groh will oversee a transformation from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme. Groh will need to find pass rushers after All-America DE Derrick Morgan decided to bypass his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

MARYLAND
Practice begins: March 23.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: Maryland is moving from a West Coast offense to more of a multiple scheme reminiscent of Ralph Friedgen's early years with the offense. The new offense's success likely depends on the improvement of QB Jamarr Robinson, who took over for an injured Chris Turner late last season. Robinson's mobility gives him a dimension most recent Maryland quarterbacks have lacked.

MIAMI
Practice begins: Feb. 23.
Spring game: March 27.
Biggest task: Miami will have plenty of competition across the board on defense as it looks to upgrade a unit that gave up an average of 31 points in its four losses last season. The Hurricanes specifically need to boost a pass rush that ranked just 74th in the nation in sacks.

NORTH CAROLINA
Practice begins: March 15.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: Redshirt freshman QB Bryn Renner will get a chance this spring to show whether he deserves the right to challenge incumbent T.J. Yates for the starting job. The Tar Heels also are counting on Shaun Draughn's return from a shoulder injury to spark their rushing attack.

N.C. STATE
Practice begins: March 9.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: North Carolina State has plenty of work to do on both sides of the line of scrimmage, as the Wolfpack have no returning starters on the defensive line and only two returning starters on the offensive line. The Wolfpack will have to make do without starting QB Russell Wilson, who will spend this spring playing for North Carolina State's baseball team.

VIRGINIA
Practice begins: March 15.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: This will mark Virginia's first spring practice of Mike London's coaching tenure. London previously worked at Virginia as defensive coordinator, but the Cavaliers' biggest concerns are on offense. How London will address those worries will become more apparent after he hires an offensive coordinator.

VIRGINIA TECH
Practice begins: March 31.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: Virginia Tech returns plenty of talent at the skill positions on offense, but the Hokies need to find a pass rusher to replace Jason Worilds, who chose to bypass his senior season to enter the NFL draft. The Hokies must replace three of their four 2009 starters on the defensive line.

WAKE FOREST
Practice begins: March 16.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: Wake Forest must adjust to life without Riley Skinner, the Demon Deacons' starting quarterback each of the past four seasons. Top contenders for the job include redshirt freshman Brendan Cross and sophomore Ted Stachitas.

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