The latest ACC team to start up spring practice also happens to be the defending ACC champion. The Clemson Tigers take up arms Wednesday, with their spring game scheduled on the very crowded April 14.
The Tigers aren't without questions, and not just because they gave up 70 points to the West Virginia Mountaineers in their last game. On defense, Brent Venables from the Oklahoma Sooners takes over as coordinator, while Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson are gone to the NFL Draft, and the offense must replace the nation's reigning Mackey Award winner, Dwayne Allen.
It's still a very young defense, which sounds sort of horrifying when you think about how last year ended. But that could be a good thing. Fresh slates! Dabo Swinney, naturally, is pretty upbeat, despite linebacker Tony Steward seeing the NCAA deny his request for a medical redshirt. (Former NFL tight end Wesley Walls' son Colton Walls, a reserve linebacker, is leaving the team.)
The offense shouldn't cause quite as many worries, as Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins return, along with very rich coordinator Chad Morris. Offensive line will be the biggest point of fretting, as it's also mighty inexperienced. If a patched-together front line can give Boyd time to operate, Clemson could be right back to getting in really exciting shootouts that end in improbable fashion, which is what almost all of us want out of Clemson games, Clemson fans excluded.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.