Offense a priority this spring for ACC's Atlantic Division
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Some teams in the ACC's Atlantic Division kept their offenses humming this spring.
Others simply tried to get them started.
There was little middle ground last season in the Atlantic Division, which had three of the league's best offenses last season along with three of its worst.
No surprise, then, that in the teams' end-of-spring scrimmages, there were a wide range of offensive showings - from Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson's 519-yard, eight-touchdown bonanza, to Boston College's spring game ending with a 6-2 score.
For North Carolina State and Florida State - which ended last season ranked third and fourth in the league in scoring - the goal was to maintain that offensive production with some new faces.
The Wolfpack are adjusting to new offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz and lost two-year starter Jacoby Brissett and three offensive linemen to graduation. The Seminoles kept the focus on their young QBs with Sean Maguire out for the spring with a broken ankle.
''We can see the direction which we're going,'' coach Jimbo Fisher said.
And then there's Clemson. The Tigers' offense looked like it hadn't missed a beat - despite not having injured receivers Mike Williams or Deon Cain - with 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson taking snaps in the spring for the first, and maybe only, time in his college career.
''I don't really have ... a major concern,'' coach Dabo Swinney said. ''I just think that we've got a lot of work to do, and we need that commitment this summer. I mean, I think championships are won when people aren't looking. Championships are won when the stands are empty.''
At the other end of the spectrum, BC, Wake Forest and Syracuse had plenty of room for growth.
The Eagles ranked 126th in the nation last year in total offense and 121st in scoring. Wake Forest wasn't much better at 114th in total yardage and 120th in scoring in Dave Clawson's second season. And the Orange brought in Clawson's replacement at Bowling Green - Dino Babers - to revive a program that went a combined 7-17 the past two years.
''I thought the entire spring period was a rebirth,'' Babers said.
A look at the top priorities each Atlantic school had this spring:
BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles brought in Scot Loeffler, who coordinated offenses at Virginia Tech, Auburn and Temple, to run an offense that averaged just 275 yards and 17 points last season. ''Football is attention to detail and being a great fundamental football coach,'' coach Steve Addazio said. ''Scott is all of that.''
CLEMSON: Swinney said Mike Williams - who suffered a season-ending neck injury while scoring a touchdown on the first series last year - went through skeleton drills this spring while working on his timing with Watson, and ''if we were playing a game today, he'd play. He'd be ready to roll.''
FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles groomed their eventual replacements for Maguire, with redshirt freshman Deondre Francois and freshman Malik Henry showing promise. Fisher said all three have talent and ''you have a lot of scrimmages and things to put in place, and whichever gives us the best chance to win will be the guy who plays.''
LOUISVILLE: Coach Bobby Petrino said Jackson, a dual-threat QB who rushed for 186 or more yards in each of the last two games last season, showed improvement in his decision-making and in his throwing accuracy. ''I've always felt like preseason polls and early season polls are based off how you finish the year and what you have coming back,'' Petrino said, ''and obviously Lamar finished the season very, very strong.''
NORTH CAROLINA STATE: The Wolfpack wanted to grasp the fundamentals of Drinkwitz's offense. Drinkwitz came from Boise State to replace the fired Matt Canada. Jalan McClendon and Jakobi Meyers are competing to replace Jacoby Brissett as the starting QB. ''We're not going to announce anything until we feel like it's a done deal, and we're not there yet,'' coach Dave Doeren said. ''And I thought both of them made strides.''
SYRACUSE: The Orange's top priority was figuring out how Babers wants to play on both sides of the ball. He says he's learned not to set unrealistic goals for new teams. ''We just want to try and make sure we get better every day,'' he said. ''And hopefully by getting better, somewhere when the season ends, we're good enough.''
WAKE FOREST: After winning six total games in two years with minimally experienced players, the Demon Deacons are starting to grow up. ''For the first time in three years we have some legitimate competitions going on,'' Clawson said. They've got plenty to sort out between now and the opener at virtually every key position, including quarterback - where John Wolford and Kendall Hinton return.