Though his defense controlled things in the final scrimmage before spring break, Brent Venables didn't seem overly comfortable issuing judgment in large part because of the injuries at linebacker.
The absence of Kendall Joseph and Jalen Williams did allow others to shine, as Shaq Smith and Tre Lamar were productive. But Venables spent spring break looking forward to being healthier on defense when everyone returns. J.D. Davis was another linebacker who wasn't available for the scrimmage.
The staff isn't going to make a big deal publicly about the transition to two new assistants on one side of the ball, but there's no doubt it's been an adjustment. That's just natural when you have turnover, when you lose two coaches (Dan Brooks and Marion Hobby) who have been such a fundamental part of your program for so long.
Down in Tallahassee, the Seminoles have gone four seasons with very little turnover on the staff. Fifth-year senior linebacker Matthew Thomas remembers what it was like in the offseason of 2013, when six assistants left.
That team proceeded to rampage the ACC and win the BCS title, so you could say the Seminoles survived. But Thomas reflected in an interview with ESPN.com that the transition wasn't easy and it took some time to get comfortable. The Tigers' defensive line is undergoing such a shift with new coach Todd Bates, and the safeties are working with new assistant Mickey Conn.