We’ve reached the second week of March on the college athletics calendar. For many fans that means brackets. For the college football diehards, it means spring practice, new-look depth charts and plenty of hope for every FBS program.
Spring ball is underway for some schools and is soon to start for everyone else, so this week 247Sports is previewing every Power Five conference with a burning question for each team. From quarterback battles to offensive lines in need of major overhauls, this is the outlook for the ACC this spring.
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES
Will Phil Jurkovec and a new coordinator rev up the offense?
Boston College's offense didn't blow the doors off the ACC last season, but it was good enough -- and led to some solid wins -- and now the Eagles are shifting to a new scheme. Frank Cignetti left for Pitt in the offseason, opening the door for Notre Dame tight ends coach John McNulty to take over as offensive coordinator. He takes over an offense that must reload in the trenches. Four starting jobs are open along the offensive line with All-ACC offensive guard Christian Mahogany as the only returning starter. Redshirt freshman Drew Kendall will likely be the starting center, but everything else is up for grabs with Cignetti in charge. The good news: quarterback Phil Jurkovec is back after an early-season injury in 2021.
Will D.J. Uiagalelei hold off 5-star Cade Klubnik?
Never has Dabo Swinney replaced an offensive and defensive coordinator in the same year, and after a decade of stability at Clemson this spring is a season of change for the ACC's blue blood.
Replacing Brent Venables on defense and Tony Elliott on offense seems like the huge storyline, but let's not forget the true identity of every Clemson team over the last decade depends on the quarterback. D.J. Uiagalelei simply underwhelmed in his first full season as starter, particularly when considering how many analysts expected him to be a Heisman Trophy contender a year ago. He had the worst quarterback rating in the ACC (108.7) and threw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9). That's a quick way to get benched should he fail to improve this spring. Cade Klubnik, the class of 2022's No. 1 quarterback in the 247Sports Composite, is on campus and should get a shot at the job if more trouble arises. Still, it's too early to project such a seismic change.
"Good news for him: He's gonna get a lot of reps right out of the gate here," Swinney said last week. "He'll get a ton of work, and I'm excited to see him on the field. It's always fun to see those new mid-years when they have their first practice. There's a lot on those guys even though they're all really talented, young football players."
Meanwhile, the offensive line, which struggled last season, might get help via a rarely-traversed avenue: the transfer portal. Swinney is actively searching for an interior offensive lineman in what would be only his second addition *ever* from the portal.