Countdown to kickoff: No. 24

There are 24 weekdays left until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. We’re counting down with 25 reasons to be excited about ACC football this year. This list features coaches, players, games, themes, position groups -- 25 things for you to look forward to.

The countdown to kickoff continues with …

No. 24: Brent Venables. Clemson’s first-year defensive coordinator has some work to do this summer, but Clemson fans -- and ACC fans, for that matter -- should be thrilled they don’t have to watch “the Orange Bowl defense” again. Clemson lost 70-33 to West Virginia in what was an historically bad defensive performance. Kevin Steele was not a bad coach or person, but the hire of Venables generated some excitement in Death Valley. There is a new attitude and a new philosophy, and it can only get better since the last time Clemson’s defense took the field. Venables coached the past 16 seasons in the Big 12, including each of the past 13 at Oklahoma, where he helped Bob Stoops to seven BCS bowls.

No. 25: A fresh start at Maryland