As ACC teams begin to start practicing again, Heather and I will have a quick preview of each team to get you caught up on the basics. Next up to open camp ...
School: Florida State.
Start date: Today.
Predicted finish at media days: First, Atlantic Division.
Biggest storyline: Can the Seminoles match increased expectations this year? It seems like we have been waiting on Florida State to return to its rightful place among the elite for ages now. Many thought last year was going to be the year, as the Seminoles were picked to win the Atlantic and started the season ranked No. 5 in the coaches' poll and No. 6 in the AP poll. But Florida State faltered to an 8-4 record in the regular season and went 5-3 in conference, tied with Wake Forest for second in the Atlantic. Not exactly the return everybody imagined. Headed into this year, expectations are high once again not only in the ACC but nationally as well. Florida State starts the season ranked No. 7 in the coaches' poll, so there clearly is confidence that THIS will now be the year of the Seminole. Florida State has 17 starters returning, including quarterback EJ Manuel and one of the most talented defensive fronts in the nation. The time is now for this team.
Biggest position battle: Cornerback. With the dismissal of three-year starter Greg Reid, that position is now up for grabs headed into fall camp. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, this position went from one of strength to one of major question marks. None of the potential replacements has much in the way of game experience. Among the options: sophomores Tyler Hunter and Nick Waisome, who were expected to compete for the top nickelback job. There also is freshman Ronald Darby, who ran track in high school. As for returner, where Reid excelled, potential options include Darby, freshman Marvin Bracy, sophomore Karlos Williams and safety Lamarcus Joyner.
Who needs to step up: The receivers. Coach Jimbo Fisher said during ACC media days that while he loves all the depth he has at receiver and tight end, what he really wants to do is identify the playmakers he can count on the most for this season. Who will make the big plays and big catches on a consistent basis in the group? Rashad Greene? Rodney Smith? Christian Green? Willie Haulstead? And where does Bracy fit in? It will be interesting to see whether the Seminoles need a few receivers to emerge as the go-to targets or whether they will continue to throw to a wide variety of players.