ACC notebook: Boone era begins at Duke

Duke quarterback Anthony Boone waited for his chance. His spring game proved he's ready for 2013.

The Anthony Boone era at Duke has officially been launched. 

It was a foregone conclusion when spring camp began that barring an injury Boone would be Duke’s starting quarterback. But it wasn’t until last Saturday when the public finally got a chance to see how the offense is being constructed to best suit Boone’s strengths, and for this new era for the Blue Devils to formally cut the cord to previous signal-caller Sean Renfree’s period. 

Renfree was integral in changing the culture of the Duke program under coach David Cutcliffe. He could have gone almost anywhere but chose the Devils and eventually led them to their first bowl game last season since 1989. 

Boone steps in and would like to make the postseason a regular experience for the program. He got off to a nice start in Duke’s spring game, completing 18 of his 30 pass attempts for 273 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. He did toss two interceptions, but few coaches in the business can teach from mistakes on video better than Cutcliffe. Boone will get better as a result. 

Also keep in mind Duke’s defense is supposed to be a strength, and the unit had some good moments Saturday. 

“Anthony suffered a couple of turnovers, but the defense was creating a little more, and that’s been a little bit of the story this spring,” Cutcliffe said. “I thought Anthony came back, and his consistency was outstanding.”

Boone isn’t green. The 6-foot junior saw plenty of action the last two seasons filling in when Renfree was hurt and also having certain schemes created just for him. He has completed 79 of his 148 pass attempts (53.4 percent) for 829 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. Boone has also run for 210 yards and six scores in the last two seasons. 

Freshman Winston impresses in FSU aerial show

Redshirt freshman Jemeis Winston made another case for himself to eventually win the starting quarterback job for Florida State by putting forth a tremendous performance in the Seminoles’ spring game last Saturday. 

With only a couple of running backs available, 88 passes were thrown by four quarterbacks in the game compared to only 33 running plays. Clint Trickett, who by far has the most experience of the signal callers battling it out, saw action for the garnet and gold. Trickett was a combined 22-for-32 for 259 yards and a score. He was picked off once. 

But many FSU fans wanted to see Winston play and see him play well. He obliged. 

The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder from Hueytown, AL, exclusively played for the Gold team and finished 12-15 for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He wasn’t intercepted. Winston also had an impressive 12-yard scamper. 

“He took advantage of opportunities,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “That’s what you got to do, you’ve got to make plays and he’s done a nice job of making plays/ He took the opportunity to take the day with the stage he had and I thought he played pretty well for the most part. ... I thought he stepped up and played well.”

Packing a punch

New N.C. State coach Dave Doeren and his staff are working to sort out an order at several position groups. Determining the depth chart at wide receiver, in the secondary and a few other spots isn’t easy give the composition of the Wolfpack’s roster. But penciling in the top two defensive tackles will be one of the staff’s easiest tasks this spring. 

Junior’s Thomas Teal and T.Y. McGill will anchor the middle of N.C. State’s defensive line, giving the team stability it needs in the interior. 

Teal (6-foot-1, 312 pounds) broke his foot and played in just seven games as a freshman, but last season he started all 13 games and finished with 37 tackles, including 12 for a loss of yardage, two-and-a-half of which were sacks. 

McGill (6-1, 293) played 243 snaps as a true freshman in 2011, starting one game. He was in on 19 tackles. Last fall, McGill started 10 games and was in on 50 tackles, 11 for a loss, including five sacks.

Both players have had excellent springs. 

“That’s big,” Doeren said when asked about the tandem up the gut of the defense. “If the middle of your defense is strong you’ve for a chance, and then you can go out to the corners and cover. I feel good about the inside and the outside part.”