AA in the house with a fresh mailbag. Who has questions?
Christopher Koch in Charlottesville, Va., writes: I liked your observations in the Best of the ACC blog. As a Hokie, I enjoyed the mention of Brandon Facyson in your early enrollee section. He really did have a great spring. Not to take away from anyone else's spring, but what do you think of Jonathan McLaughlin as the best early enrollee? He had a great spring also and was not as high (nor sought after) of a recruit as Facyson or Leggett. I even read he took over the starting left tackle position.
Andrea Adelson: Thank you, Chris. I should have included McLaughlin in that group as well for what he was able to accomplish this spring. He is No. 1 on the depth chart right now at his position. Facyson is not. While it is true the Hokies' offensive line is in need of an overhaul, it is extremely impressive for a true freshman to come in and start at one of the most challenging positions on the offensive line, after just 15 practices. Remember, the vast majority of offensive linemen redshirt their freshman seasons. So to see McLaughlin starting the spring game says something about him and his potential. We'll see if he can maintain that position headed into the opener vs. Bama.
Brad in Charlotte writes: In reference to your blog post on the Best of ACC's Spring, how can Jameis Winston's spring game performance be better than Cole Stoudt's 304-yard and four-touchdown passing performance, all of which was in the first half? I realize Winston is the talk of the town in Tallahassee, but let's face it he is essentially the default starter after (Clint) Trickett left. Even though Stoudt is a backup, he killed it against the first team defense with (Tajh) Boyd watching on the sidelines. Let's give credit where it is due.
Adelson: Stoudt did have a good game; you are not going to get an argument from me there. But he is the backup. He has no shot of winning the starting job. Winston was in the middle of a competition to win the starting job -- with Trickett -- in that spring game. The importance of that performance, with the starting job hanging in the balance, made Winston the selection in that category.
Ron Davis in Lexington, Ky., writes: So, with the 2014 mock-draft having Teddy Bridgewater in the Top 2, do you think the pull of playing in the ACC as a senior against stronger competition might compel Teddy to return for his final year?
Adelson: Highly doubt that, but it really all depends on what type of season he has. If he is a surefire Top 2 pick, there is no compelling reason to turn down millions upon millions of dollars.
Tim in Blacksburg writes: RE: Top ACC prospects for 2014 draft. Umm.. No mention of LT? Not even in the players who may rise in those rankings? Funny stuff!!
Alan James in South Boston, Va., writes: Logan Thomas will be drafted higher than any of those mentioned in your "top draft prospects for 2014" blog.
Adelson writes: So the quarterback everybody loves to hate is all of a sudden a first-round NFL draft pick after a junior season in which he was roundly and soundly criticized as being unable to throw the ball? I think I am living in a bizarro world right now. The bottom line is this -- Thomas has a lot of work to do if he is going to get his name back into the first-round conversation. Last season did a number on his stock. Big reason why he came back.
B in NYC writes: Hi Andrea, Where does Stephen Morris fall on your 2014 NFL draft list? Considering the Canes will have the best OL in years, have a talented receiving core, and not to mention Duke (Johnson) to keep D's honest, he's in a great position to improve upon his already record breaking year last year. It's still QB U until somebody says it ain't. Was he an oversight?
Adelson: Is it still QB U? Because last I checked, Miami had two quarterbacks drafted since 1999, and both were seventh-round picks. As for Morris, he certainly is in a position to improve his draft stock, but I'm not sure he's a first-round selection at this point. Guys like Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd, Aaron Murray, Derek Carr and AJ McCarron are rated higher than him right now.
Mike Lawrence in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Winning championships is also about coaching and attitude. Good teams believe they can win every game; great teams expect to. Players at FSU did not improve during the final decade of (Bobby) Bowden's tenure, but that seems to be improving. But the attitude has to develop, and that is a work in progress. It seems to be better than it was - these teams are winning games that we used to find a way to lose. But we ain't there yet. Thanks for your article!
Adelson: Florida State is such a fascinating program to me. People expect greatness year in and year out. When it doesn't happen, well, something must clearly be wrong. But as you pointed out, this program was a long way away from being a winning program when Bowden left. Jimbo Fisher has needed all the time he has had to get the ship headed in the right direction.
Cody in Syracuse writes: Andrea,I have a bit of a rivalry with one of my current friends who is a student at Virginia Tech and I attend Syracuse University. Him and his roommates like to talk a lot of smack about how much better Virginia Tech is in football than S.U. and in recent times they have had some more successful years. The recent NFL draft I think is a strong indicator of where both of these programs currently stand. Three S.U. players and two V.T. players were selected in this year's draft. Not only did S.U. have one more player taken in the draft than V.T., but S.U.'s players were selected in the first and fourth rounds, meanwhile both V.T.'s players were both selected in the 6th round. I'm glad that S.U. and V.T. belong to the same conference again. My greatest memory at the Dome was the 2002 triple overtime win over V.T. and who could forget the 1998 classic that the game winning touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb? Aside from having a better draft this year than the Hokies, I always remind them that S.U. actually has a national championship in football, basketball and 15 national championships in men's lacrosse. Number of V.T. national championships in any sport: 1...in bass fishing.
Adelson: I think the performance on the field this year will be a much more accurate assessment of where both programs stand. I wouldn't just look at last season and say Syracuse all of a sudden is in better shape than Virginia Tech. The Hokies just had a string of eight straight 10-win seasons snapped. Syracuse hasn't won 10 games since 2001. In fact, the Orange have lost 10 games more recently than they won 10 games (and they did it twice). One year does not make a trend. Gotta wait on the results from this season.