2009 overall record: 8-5
2009 conference record: 5-3
Offense: 8, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 1
LT Anthony Castonzo, TB Montel Harris, LB Mark Herzlich, LB Luke Kuechly, FS Wes Davis, CB DeLeon Gause, RG Thomas Claiborne, RT Rich Lapham.
WR Rich Gunnell, C Matt Tennant, RE Jim Ramella, LB Mike McLaughlin, DT Austin Giles
2009 statistical leaders (* returners)
Rushing: Harris* (1,457 yards)
Passing: Shinskie* (2,049 yds)
Receiving: Gunnell (880 yds)
Tackles: Kuechly* (158)
Sacks: Ramella (3)
Interceptions: Davis* (3)
1. Shinskie is older (he’s 26 now) and a little wiser. He has become a smarter player since he walked off the minor league baseball bus last year as a 25-year-old pitcher. Coach Frank Spaziani said his quarterback situation has survived a trip to the emergency room, but is still in “intensive care.”
2. The offensive line should live up to the tradition this year. Even with veteran Castonzo out this spring with a broken foot, it was clear this group has the ability to return to its old standards. With four starters returning, this line should pave the way for another outstanding year for Harris.
3. Kuechly still hasn’t reached his potential. The freshman All-America selection finished second nationally in tackles last year, but Spaziani still wants Kuechly to improve. Kuechly thinks he can and he wants to. He practices with a lot of intensity despite leading the ACC in tackles a year ago.
1. At what level will Herzlich be able to play? That’s the great unknown. He’s back and has been conditioning, but he hasn’t done any hitting. There seems to be a fairy tale vision of what it’s going to be like when Herzlich returns -- and anyone who has followed his story should be hoping for that storybook ending -- but it’s a lot more complicated and unclear just how much he’ll look like the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.
2. Will Shinskie hold onto his job? Despite his progress, the quarterback job is still open heading into summer camp. Will the other two quarterbacks -- Chase Rettig and Joshua Bordner, both who enrolled early -- be able to challenge him for the starting job? Redshirt sophomore Michael Marscovetra is also in the mix.
3. Who will Harris’ backup be? It’s one of the thinnest positions in the conference, as Rolandan Finch, who had mononucleosis last year, tore his ACL in mid-April. Freshman Sterlin Phifer is an option, but it was hard to tell from the scrimmages because there wasn’t a lot of rushing with the hopes of keeping everyone healthy. Phifer had 15 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown in the first two scrimmages.