Although offense seems poised to take center stage in the ACC with a gaggle of returning running backs and quarterbacks, coaches won't lose their defensive focus.
Statistics from the past two seasons indicate that rushing defense has been the most important statistic in the conference standings. In 2007 and 2008, Boston College led the ACC and Virginia Tech ranked second in rushing defense.
Not coincidentally, those teams faced each other in the ACC title game both those seasons.
Virginia finished third in the ACC in rushing defense in 2007 and was 9-4. In 2008, Virginia was 10th in rushing defense and went 5-7.
"I think it's universal," North Carolina coach Butch Davis said. "If you ask coaches all across the country, they would tell you that playing great run defense is almost the No. 1, paramount thing that you've got to accomplish as a football team."