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Friday Mailblog

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Offseason? What offseason? Welcome to the Mailblog ...

eli poughkeepsie writes: Heather, As a Clemson fan i am confused. Was the safety part a misprint, is the position thin because McDaniels is staying at lb or is he is going back to safety were he was recruited, played and is listed as a db on the roster. Could u clarify or research better.

Heather Dinich: Starting linebacker DeAndre McDaniel has been moved from linebacker to strong safety because the position is thin, but I asked Chris Chancellor how McDaniel did this spring at safety, and he said, "He wasn't really a linebacker, he was a safety down in the box, that's all that was. He's real good. He's fast, big, he's a hitter. He's got great football instincts. He finds a way to get around the ball and make plays."


David in Raleigh writes: Now that some of UNC's top recruits from this past season are dropping like flies, where would you rank their REAL recruiting class in the ACC. I remember you acknowledging that it would likely change by the time Butch is forced to deal with his over-recruiting.

HD: Well, let's see which players actually wind up at prep schools first. And let's be honest -- the best evaluation of a recruiting class doesn't come until after they've had a chance to play. No doubt it's worth revisiting, though, after the dust has settled. I'm heading to Amelia Island on Sunday for the ACC spring meetings, and one of the topics on the coaches' agenda is over-recruiting, so check back for more on that next week.


Phil from Hamburg writes: Hey I am an avid FSU fan. What do you think their chances of winning the league and ultimatley competing for a national championship will be this year? Can FSU return to the promise land that seemed so automatic just a decade ago?

HD: Florida State is still a very talented football team, but this isn't the year for national title talk in Tallahassee. Aim high, but aim for the Atlantic Division title first. There is too much inexperience at wide receiver and running back, and FSU lost six starters on defense. Christian Ponder made progress, but he struggled last year with passes that were longer than about 12 yards. Can the Noles get the deep passing game going with young receivers? Let's see if they get past Miami, first.


Calvin in Silver Spring, Md., writes: Heather, What about the terps. It seems when the ACC is discussed the terps are not talked about.

HD: Well, I've talked about the Terps this spring, and was impressed with new defensive coordinator Don Brown during my visit to College Park. The staff loves him, and the players responded to the new press coverage. The bottom line is this: Maryland had a veteran team that let it slip away (again) last season. Now it has a young, talented team that isn't facing as high expectations because nobody in the conference lost more starters (13) than the Terps.


Tim in Athens, Ala., writes: HD, I was hoping that maybe you had insider on who the go to reciever @ Florida State was going to be. My pick is between Fortson and givens... Maybe easterling if he stays healthy. What do you think?

HD: You made good picks -- no doubt Givens had a great spring. My pick is going to be Bert Reed. Despite his suspensions, he is a super kid and a great player to talk to. I think he'll have a great season.


Marshall in Burlington, NC writes: Realistically how many games do you think Duke wins this year! Any upsets, like VT, Kansas, or NC state? Does Duke beat UNC and finally get the victory bell back where it belongs in Durham?

HD: My spring prediction is that Duke is going to win at least one game it's not expected to this year. I don't think it's unreasonable for Duke to win four or five games. I know this, there is legitimate confidence in Durham, and it starts at the top.


And finally, Chris in Atlanta has a fair response to my comment in Thursday's chat that Georgia Tech's crowds could have been better last fall:

I'd agree with your thoughts in the chat room that student attendance was definitely lacking at Georgia Tech at the start of the season, but if you look at the games, it is easy to see why. Jacksonville St, Miss St, Duke, Gardner-Webb, Virginia. That's not a line up that's really going to bring in the crowds. As for the FSU game, our old paper ticket system had some serious problems in dealing with high demand games. The AA caps student tickets for sold out games. Combine this with block seating (where 1 person gets tickets for 100 and only 75 show up), and you get empty seats even though people are camping out to get tickets. The new electronic system will hopefully fix this problem.

HD: There are two more issues in the Mailbag that I'll address at a later time: The ACC bowl lineup, and the possible NCAA sanctions against the Hokies. It doesn't sound like the latter is anything to be concerned about, but I'd like to do some reporting before I comment on that.