Scan over the offenses and defenses and get a read on what's new for 2006

Checking off on the ACC

Conference preview

August 29, 2006|By HEATHER DINICH

WHO'S HOT

Clemson

The Tigers return 15 starters, including the Atlantic Coast Conference's top returning wide receiver (Chansi Stuckey), the No. 2 returning rusher (James Davis), the top returning scorer (Jad Dean), the top tackler (Anthony Waters) and the top sacker (Gaines Adams).

Florida State

The defending ACC champions have eight home games this season and have a reliable group of receivers in De'Cody Fagg, Greg Carr and Chris Davis. Senior running back Lorenzo Booker, who had 552 yards and four touchdowns last season, will anchor the running game and also has good hands out of the backfield.

WHO'S NOT

Virginia

Three defenders were dismissed from the team, and linebacker Kai Parham, who led the Cavaliers with 8 1/2 sacks, left school early to turn pro. Also gone is Virginia's all-time scoring leader, kicker Connor Hughes, and running back Wali Lundy, the ACC's all-time touchdown leader.

North Carolina State

Eleven starters are gone from last year's 7-5 team that finished with a win in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Returning quarterback Marcus Stone has yet to prove himself as a playmaker after six games as a starter.

KEY GAMES

Florida State at Miami, Monday

A meeting of the conference favorites in the season opener raises the question: Can the loser of this game still win a division title?

Clemson at Boston College, Sept. 9

It's the first league game of the season for the Tigers and is followed by another road trip to Florida State. It could set the tone for the rest of the season.

Florida State at Mary land, Oct. 28

The Terps blew a 24-14 lead in Tallahassee, Fla., last year, but have proved in recent years they're capable of winning this game.

Boston College at Florida State, Oct. 21

The Eagles will be looking for revenge, and their loss last year propelled the Seminoles to the conference title game.

Virginia Tech at Miami, Nov. 4

This game could determine the winner of the Coastal Division.

BIG SHOES TO FILL

Brandon Flowers

The sophomore is first in line to take over for Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams.

Willie Young

The redshirt freshman is fast, but it won't be easy to replace N.C. State defensive end Mario Williams, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

Will Proctor

The fifth-year senior, who has thrown just 34 passes in his career, is taking over for former Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

Rich Olsen

The Miami first-year offensive coordinator is faced with the task of revamping an offense that was held to its lowest point production (27.1 ppg) since the 1998 season, and he has to do it with four new starters on the offensive line.

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