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ACC Offensive Lines Expected to Improve in 2010
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #438, June 25, 2010

In previous TSLMails this summer, we've seen that there are a lot of good quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers returning to ACC schools this season. However, football starts at the line of scrimmage, and no offense can be effective without a good offensive line.

The ACC should have some good lines this year, with five of the 12 schools returning four or more starters. Three more schools return three starters up front, while just four return two starters.

Returning OL
Team OL Ret.
Florida State 5
Boston College 4
Clemson 4
Duke 4
Maryland 3
Virginia 3
Virginia Tech 3
NC State 2
Wake Forest 2
Georgia Tech 2
Miami 2

Some teams have a good mix of talent returning at all of the offensive positions. One such team resides in the state of Florida.

Florida State: The Noles will have the best offensive line in the ACC this year. These guys can run block and pass block. Left guard Rodney Hudson and center Ryan McMahon will anchor the line, and with quarterback Christian Ponder under center, Florida State will be expected to have the best offense in the ACC this year.

Boston College: The Eagles will bring back four offensive line starters, the second leading rusher in the ACC in Montel Harris, and unlike last year they will go into the season with a quarterback who has taken a snap in a college game. Look for BC to take a big step forward on offense.

Clemson: The Tigers should be better blockers up front, but will Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper combine to produce the numbers that C.J. Spiller put up? Tajh Boyd, a r-freshman will also likely be the new starting quarterback, since Kyle Parker was selected in the first round of the MLB Draft.

Duke: The Blue Devils lost one of the best players in the ACC in quarterback Thad Lewis. However, new starter Sean Renfree has talent. He'll be playing behind Duke's most experienced offensive line in years. However, the Blue Devils will need to run the ball better in 2010.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels have some experience up front now, but are they tough enough? That is the question. They will have a senior quarterback, and their wide receivers should be much improved. However, whether or not the offense takes a big step forward will depend on the improvement of the offensive line.

Maryland: The Terps do return three starters up front, but they lost their most impressive physical specimen in offensive tackle Bruce Campbell. Maryland's line will need to be a lot better this year, because they couldn't block anyone last year, even with Campbell in the lineup.

Virginia: Virginia returns three starters up front this year, but who will they be blocking for? The Hoos have question marks at tailback. Even their returning starters up front are questionable, though left guard Austin Pasztor has a bright future. Don't look for this to be one of the ACC's stronger lines in 2010.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies bring back starters at center, right guard and right tackle, as well as a part-time player at left guard. With basically 3.5 starters returning, Virginia Tech should have a good starting group this year. Depth is the big question mark, as three key backups missed most of the spring with injuries. Despite that, this should be one of the top three or four lines in the ACC this year.

NC State: Russell Wilson has decided to keep playing football rather than pursue his baseball dreams. However, he's coming back behind an offensive line that must replace three starters and all of their experienced running backs. Wilson is going to have to do it all for the Wolfpack in 2010.

Wake Forest: It's going to be a long year for Wake Forest up front, and a long year for the offense in general. Quarterback Riley Skinner is gone, along with three starting offensive linemen. Whether or not the Demon Deacons have the talent up front to anchor the running game is a serious question. In all likelihood, they don't.

Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson returns just two starters on his offensive line this year. The good news is that the new starters are entering their third year running his unique offensive system. Despite the losses up front, the more critical losses to the Yellow Jacket offense are B-back Jonathan Dwyer and wide receiver Demaryious Thomas.

Miami: Miami has a good quarterback and talented receivers, but they return just two starters on the offensive line. To top it off, Orlando Franklin will move from guard to left tackle. The Canes play Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Florida State between September 11 and October 9. The offensive line will have a lot of growing up to do in that stretch.



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