Considering former Maryland assistant James Franklin recruited a significant amount of the top playmakers on the Terps' roster, it was only fitting he returned this season to coach them.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe immediately stopped the first winter workout he witnessed as the Blue Devils' new coach and asked each player to get on a scale. He also took body fat percentages that he said "were frightening."
In Tallahassee, Florida State defensive end Everette Brown has earned a reputation for his manners and community service. He recently visited the city's juvenile system to speak to the kids about the importance of education and how to use sportsmanship off the field.
When Georgia Tech senior receiver James Johnson heard that the Yellow Jackets intended to hire former Navy coach Paul Johnson, he went to his computer and did a little research to find out exactly how many times the Midshipmen threw the ball (136) and how many times they ran it (804).
After being labeled as "the other Johnson" for starting opposite 2007 first-round draft pick Calvin Johnson, this was supposed to be his year. James Johnson sat down with his new coach, who assured him they're going to do whatever it takes to win games.
"We're going to run the football if we can," Paul Johnson said. "Does that mean that we will never throw it? No. I would hope we can protect a little better with bigger guys. We may throw the ball more here because we want to, not because we have to."
That's exactly what they've been doing this spring.
"We specialize each section of practice for run and pass," James Johnson said. "One is just as strong as the other."
However, James Johnson has decided to pass on the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech confirmed on Wednesday that Johnson has decided not to play
for the Jackets during his senior season.
Clemson freshman linebacker Stanley Hunter woke up for one of the Tigers' 5:30 a.m. winter conditioning practices, but never made it out of his dorm room. A change in his medication caused Hunter to have an epileptic seizure.
Hunter, who was aware of his epilepsy before he came to Clemson in January, missed the first half of spring practices but returned on March 24 and immediately impressed coach Tommy Bowden at a position already thin.
"He's got back on medication, they've got him regulated and he's come back out and done really, really well," Bowden said. "With us losing some linebackers, he'll have to play this year for sure. Whether he starts or not remains to be seen."
There are a few openings.
Starting middle linebacker Cortney Vincent was suspended from spring practices for violating an unspecified team and athletics department policy. Reserve Antonio Clay is not in school this semester for personal reasons.
Also missing from spring practice is star running back James Davis
, who injured his shoulder in the final practice before the March 13 spring break and will miss the rest of spring practices, "just for precautionary reasons."
The X's and O's came a little fast for Miami freshman linebacker Arthur Brown, who took his playbook back to his dorm room to study it every night.
Apparently, Brown learned something this spring.
Brown had a team-high eight tackles and grabbed an interception in the Hurricanes' spring game this past weekend and highlighted a talented freshman class expected to contribute soon.
"The biggest thing that shocked me was how much we put in in a little bit of time, with the playbooks and stuff like that," Brown said. "It was a real fast pace to me, but it's something you've got to catch up to speed with. It's something I wasn't necessarily used to coming from high school, but I got the hang of it and I got adjusted. I just started off slow."
Brown wasn't the only freshman linebacker to finish fast. Sean Spence had two interceptions in the spring game, including the game-winner just outside the goal line on the final play against redshirt freshman quarterback Robert Marve
"The freshmen that came on campus this semester did a great job for us," coach Randy Shannon said. "I think that will help them out for next season. They're not true freshmen, they know the tempo
those guys will be in the mix for the plan next year."
Line Of Succession
While outsiders might want to deem Peter Lalich Virginia's next quarterback, coach Al Groh isn't as quick to put his most experienced returner at the top of the depth chart.
"Put it this way," Groh said, "The coaching staff is probably the only people who haven't anointed the quarterback yet, that have decided what we'll do it on is performance, rather than being anointed. So therefore we're giving all three quarterbacks similar turns in terms of reps and similar turns with each particular unit."
Lalich played in eight of 13 games last year, compared with senior Scott Deke
, who has played one game in the past four seasons, and sophomore Marc Verica
, who hasn't played yet.
Chris DeGeare, a two-year starter at right guard, was declared academically ineligible and will miss the spring. That will open up an opportunity for redshirt sophomore Russell Nenon, whose experience grew during the final weeks of last season.