Chat with Heather Dinich
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's ACC blogger Heather Dinich stops by talk some college football.
Dinich covered ACC and Big Ten football for five seasons before joining ESPN.com in November 2007. She's an Indiana grad but somehow her favorite day of the week is Saturday.
Send your questions now and join Dinich Monday at noon ET!
Heather Dinich (12:00 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here and ready to go. Let's get this started.
After Jacory Harris' performance against VT, is it safe to say that Russell Wilson is back in the lead for ACC quarterback of the year after putting up 4 TDs for the 3rd week in a row?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Wilson has been underrated this season, but his performance against Pitt combined with Jacory's bad day at Virginia Tech should change that. Wilson deserves credit for what he's done, now that he's done it against a BCS opponent.
Is NCSU a legitimate ACC championship contender after showing that it could stage a comeback win on a good team despite all of the injuries they have?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
A lot of Pack fans in here today ... Tom O'Brien is still not pleased with his team. In fact, I believe he said they weren't a good football team. That being said, the competition in the rest of the Atlantic Division doesn't look so hot, so with Wilson leading them, yes, they've definitely got a shot.
Joey (Blacksburg, Va)
Ryan Williams has more yards, rushing and recieving than Jahvid Best. They have the same amount of touchdowns and Williams has faced three formidable defenses in Bama, Nebraska, and Miami. Where is Williams in the Heisman talk if Best is getting so much hype?
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
Well, it wasn't until Saturday he really showed something - and got enough carries to show something - against a team the caliber of Miami. He looked great, and was a difference maker. He's got to continue to be an every down back if he's going to get the national recognition,and he proved on Saturday he can do that.
Ryan (Roanoke, Va)
Do you think that if the VT team that showed up on Sat. had shown up against Alabama the outcome of that game would have been different? or is 'Bama just that good?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Good question, but there is zero shame in that loss to Alabama. The Tide might be the best team in the country this year. They are that good.
Chris (Lorton, VA)
Im curious of what your prediction for VT is now HD
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
Well, I went to do my power rankings and wondered if I could get away with 1. Virginia Tech. 2. Everybody else. Until somebody proves otherwise, the Hokies are the team to beat.
Randy (Houston, TX)
Why is USC in the TOP 10 after losing to an unranked team that did not win a game last year and just winning by 21 at home to a team that won only one game last year and is not ranked??? Whats the deal????
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
I wish everyone who complained about the Top 25 had to do one every week. Considering so many teams have lost, it's not easy to find the 10 best. After Florida, Texas and Alabama it's anybody's game. But that's what USC does. They flop after a big win. But they're still one of the best teams in the country, especially when looking at the other options.
Nathan (Baton Rouge)
Hey HD I was wondering if you would agree that even though the ACC might not have the power house team this year that the ACC could boast 3 very good teams in Virginia Tech, Miami, and Georgia Tech with a sleeper team in NC state?
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
Yes, that's possible. NC State might sneak up on some people, especially with Wilson.
Todd (Greenville, SC)
Seeing what has happened to Clemson in the Red Zone this year, do you think a more experienced OC would have made a big difference?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
No. I can't say that loud enough. This wasn't Rob Spence's fault and it's not Billy Napier's fault. The players need to execute. The staff is getting the ball to Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller, and calling better plays than last year. The o-line is still a problem.
Which team is the real Florida State... the one that played BYU or the one that looked inept versus USF?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
To me, a great team is the one that's consistent, and that's not Florida State this year. That being said, I don't think South Florida is being given enough credit by anyone other than Bobby Bowden. The Bulls were the better team. And that's a problem for Jimbo Fisher.
Joey (Rutland Vt)
good afternoon heather, Ohio state looked good and Mich is doing great do u Think the rivalry game will b relavent again this yr?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
That's always a great rivalry game, but I'm still not sold on Michigan. I think there's a gap there, considering how close Ohio State played USC and Michigan beat an overrated Notre Dame team.
Heather- Ohio St. or Indiana and why?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
Seriously? Ohio State. Why? Because I went to Indiana and saw waaay too many games like the Hoosiers played last week.
Heather, Thank you, I will accept your apology along with all the media for the poor pick in VT vs. Miami. Any shame in jumping on the Miami bandwagon too early? :)
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
Ha .. first, I concede I was wrong on that pick. However, I might have been the only one who kept Miami out of my Top 10 ranking last week.
With GT's performance this year, both good and bad, and VT's performance, both good and bad, is the GT/VT game, at this point, still looking like a toss up or has it become a little more clear? Personally, I'm not putting faith in our Offense until we prove it at least 2 games straight.
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
I think that BOTH offenses need to play like they did on Saturday more consistently. And considering how well both of them played this past weekend, the only edge I'd give to Virginia Tech right now is on special teams. I think that will be a great game that could go either way.
Craig (St. Paul, MN)
How do teams avoid a USCesque let down after big wins? As a Hawkeye fan I'm a bit concerned about playing Arkansas State between the big Penn State win and Michigan arriving in Iowa City.
Heather Dinich (12:17 PM)
To me, a lot of that is coaching. Frank Beamer was just talking about it today, not letting down against Duke. The staff has to keep the players focused, but the more mature a team is, the older it is, the more leery the players are of letdowns because odds are it's happened to them before.
Will I be getting the HC job or the buyout?
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
I've heard from a lot of disgruntled FSU fans on this topic. Maryland is in the same boat. I think both schools will stick to their game plans.
Adam (Arlington VA)
Thanks for being the motivational factor for the Hokies and the Hokie fans. Do you have a different opinion of a 3:30 game at Blacksburg?
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Let me tell you this - I have never been more impressed with a crowd in weather conditions like that. From the time it took me to leave the press box and get to the interview room, I was soaked. You guys are troopers. Great crowd.
Ryan (Roanoke, Va)
If VT wins out, do you think a rematch of VT v. 'Bama could be in the works? Possibly, with the right occurrences, in the National Championship game?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
Possibly, and I think it would be a heckuva game if it happened that way. Unfortunately for the Gators, we know now Tebow isn't invincible.
Brad (Clemson, SC)
The coastal is really playing itself out and looks to be very competitive, but now that you have watched teams play who do you think is the favorite to win the Atlantic?
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
As of right this second, I like NC State. They seem to be the most complete team, and it's amazing what a difference a quarterback can make.
Good morning heather what do you think lsu,s chances are of defeating georgia ?
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
Chris Low, our SEC blogger, is up next to take your SEC questions. He'll be here at 1 p.m. But I think Georgia has been underrated and they're at home right? I'm picking UGA in that one.
Do you think that VT should do a similar deal like FSU with Bud Foster?
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
Not if the Virginia job is open in a few months :)
John (Stafford, VA)
If Groh does get fired this year (assuming UVA can afford his buyout); what are the chances Bud Foster goes to UVA? Bud did say last year he would have jumped ship for Clemson.
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
Speaking of ... If Bud got offered that job, it wouldn't suprise me in the least if he took it. He's itching to be a head coach, and while it's Virginia Tech's rival, I think it would be the perfect place for him to start.
Chad (Las Vegas)
A 1 loss VT won't have the SOS to jump a 1 loss SEC, Big 12, or any undefeated team including Boise St.
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
You're kidding, right? How many other teams haven't ZERO FCS schools on their schedule? Virginia Tech has defeated No. 19 Nebraska and No. 9 ranked Miami. No shame in losing to Bama. Their SOS is solid.
why is college gameday at the BC FSU game?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
They're going to honor Mark Herzlich, and he deserves it.
Christian Ponder (Tallahassee)
What happened to my offenssive line this weekend?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
It went backwards, man. They got eaten alive. Manhandled. You get it. Like I said before. South Florida was better.
Heather, does the GT v UNC quiet all this blueprint talk and show that the GT offense is like any offense that can suck when the players don't do it right (ie Clemson and FSU)
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
YES! It's like any other offense or play calling - genius when the players execute it, and a flop when they don't.
scott (richmond va)
Dont you think that mike london would get the uva job?
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
Ooh, great call, He's done an amazing job at Richmond and would be another perfect fit. But Al Groh is still the HC last I checked. :)
Stop letting Swinney and other coaches blame players. Do you see Jim Grobe do that? It is coaching not players.
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
I haven't seen Swinney blame any players, aside from mentioning what they might do better, but every coach does that. And until Clemson gets through this season, I'll reserve judgement on the coaching.
Nick (New Jersey)
Now that BC has found a quarterback and shored up some of its offensive lines issues, is there hope of BC competing for the division? The talent might not be there but they always find ways to pull out tough wins, and why should we think this year will be any different?
Heather Dinich (12:29 PM)
If I've learned one thing covering the ACC it's to not count out Boston College. That being said, the Eagles still have issues, and I think a team like NC State will expose it, as did the Clemson defense.
Ya Boi Dot (Auburn AL)
Will Miami still win the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
Virginia Tech has to lose in order for that to happen, but it's possible.
HD, As a fan who sat through a miserable rain storm on Saturday and an even more miserable showing from Clemson's Offense, what changes can Clemson make to improve the red zone scoring? Is this a coaching issue or simply a lack of talent/execution by the O-line? WR? QB?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
The offensive line has to protect better so they can run the ball in the red zone. Defenses don't respect the passing game there. Until they do that, they're going to be spinning their wheels inside the 20.
Andy (Blacksburg, VA)
Wouldn't you say that Virginia Tech played with more "swag" than "Da U"? It might be easy to play with "swagger" when you aren't playing a Bud Foster defense, but this past weekend, Miami just looked like a lost puppy in Lane Stadium. I will give credit, Jacory can put the ball wherever he wants, but like we learned with Tyrod, one man can't do it all by himself every game.
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
I don't think of swagger when I think of the Hokies. I think of the lunchpail. And VT went to work on Saturday.
Jeremy (Albany NY)
Why not more David Willson for VT? Not that Josh O. did not have some nice runs... but would love to see some of the athletic true freshman when it counts.
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
It could be for the same reason we didn't see Ryan Williams last year - blocking. Billy Hite knew Ryan was good enough to run, but he wanted to see more blocking. That could be a reason.
Do you think Miami Has a Shot of Beating OU on Sat.
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
Yes, with or without Bradford. They should get some injured guys back, and they're confident they're better than how they played at Lane.
Jason F. (Greensboro, NC)
Wow is it tough to be a Seminole. Just wondering if you can make sense of this team, Heather. Our weakest link is obviously the pass defense and I'm wondering, do you have any ideas on why it's not being corrected? Mickey Andrews is infamous for being a great defensive coach, but at present, I'm doubtful that our secondary woes will be corrected prior to being out of the ACC Championship running. What are your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Jason I think FSU showed it has more problems than just the secondary. Yes, the defense has given up big plays, but the offensive line got beaten soundly on Saturday. How the players AND coaches respond now will determine if they can contend in the Atlantic.
Which is closer to the true Miami? The team people were hyping last week, or the team we saw on Saturday?
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
I still think Miami is a very good team, but Jacory Harris made some mistakes - some on his own, some the VT defense caused. I think the Canes are somewhere in between. They're learning, still growing, getting much closer.
Heather, talk to me about John Shoop. Doesn't he have to open up the offensive playbook in an attempt to take some of the pressure off of the Carolina D?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
The Carolina D has to get itself off the field before he can.
Why Clemson and FSU over UNC in your power rankings?
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
Because Clemson has an ACC win, FSU has a win over a top 10 team, and UNC? UConn and ECU?
How much longer do you see Bowden coaching?
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
Heading into this year, I thought he'd go until Jimbo had to take over. Now, if the Noles keep this up, I wouldn't be surprised if this were his last season. I think he'll stay as long as he can if they're winning and the future is bright.
can you break down the big differences between the PAC-10 and the ACC. and why the PAC-10 is considered by some the better conference? they only seem to have USC, the ACC has VT, Miami, FSU, and occasionally GT, UNC, or BC
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
I'll tell you one big difference not only with the Pac-10, Big 10, Big 12 and SEC - they've had a legitimate national title contender when the ACC hasn't. And don't tell me VT in 2007. That was a crazy season that pushed the Hokies up to No. 3 in the BCS Standings. The Pac-10 might be USC top heavy, but at least the Trojans are in the mix consistently, and that's something the ACC lacks.
3, 3, 3, 3 5, 10, 3, 1, 4, 4. Those are the number of plays for each drive the Carolina offense had on Saturday. And you're blaming the defense?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
The defense was on the field for 42 minutes. At some point, you have to make a stop. A tackle. Something. Yes, UNC's offense left much to be desired in that game. I agree with that. But it was hardly the only problem. And last week on this chat, after the ECU game, everyone was loving Shoop.
The ACC also has a terrible BCS bowl record.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
Well, that, too. But you get my point.
Bill (Yorktown (VA))
If Ryan Williams continues his stellar play, and David Wilson develops into a star, how will the Hokies fit Darren Evans back into the lineup?
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
I'm getting a lot of questions like this today. This is only a good problem to have. Ask Miami fans how worried they are now about having "too many receivers." Billy Hite will give the ball to the best players.
Can we just get the fact out there that VT's opponents thus far are 12-0 when they're playing teams not named VT (or including VT too w/ Bama....)
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
Yes, we can, and Beamer mentioned that today on his teleconference.
Darius (Sheboygan, WI)
After the fallout and bitterness that marked the end of two coaching tenures at BC in fairly rapid succession, how much leash do you think an unsuccessful Frank Spaziani (BC) would have before AD Gene DeFillippo would dare to consider dumping him?
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
Considering what Spaziani has to work with this season, and that Gene is a football guy who understands that, I think Frank will be given plenty of time to do things his way there.
Isnt this a rebuilding year for BC? They are incredibly young and will return the entire offense next year not too mention the LBs will have another year of experience, and someone might be returning. If im a BC fan im happy with how things haven gone. What do you think?
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
Yeah, if you're a BC fan looking at that 3-1 record, you should be ecstatic. And you're right, lots of talent returning.
even though he only gets the ball thrown to him 3 times a game, is D. Thomas at GT the best wide receiver in the ACC? where does he stand nationally? the guy seems to me to be a slightly shorter Calvin Johnson.
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
Off the top of my head, I'm having a hard time thinking of who might be having a better season. Only Torrey Smith at Maryland has more receiving yards per game.
Mark W (Wilmington, NC)
3 cheers for Bryan Stinespring anyone?? I thought he called a great game..something many Hokie fans have been waiting for! Light bulb moment? More to come? What you think HD?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
Yes, finally some positive recognition for that guy. He called a great game on Saturday, and Beamer acknowledged it in his post game press conference. I still think they were holding out for conference play, but Beamer told me that's not their style.
Doug (Blacksburg, Va)
Who was the most impressive player on the field in on Saturday in Blacksburg?
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
I gave two Helmet Stickers out to Hokies on Saturday night - Ryan Williams and Bud Foster.
Roger G. (Blacksburg, Va)
Obviously all year people have been complaining about Tyrod not running. VT wants him to improve as a passer but he ISN'T a passer. Coming out of high school he was known for his arm but that's just not the case anymore. Stinespring called a good game and you could just see how Tyrod and the offense made great plays with Miami worrying about Taylor's feet. Do you think VT will run Tyrod more after what happened on Saturday?
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
I think they have to if they want to keep winning. You saw what a difference it made. Stiney said it opened other things up. It forces defenses to go 11-on-11.
Tony (Roanoke, VA)
Hey what about Cody Grimm!!!
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
He played the game of his life.
Chris (Charlotte, NC)
Who now has the best chance of beating the Hokies this season in the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
I'm looking at their schedule and thinking Georgia Tech and NC State.
The ACC Report (Boston)
Will you be at BC for Gameday and the Gold-Out to raise money for cancer research? Keep up the good work!
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
Thanks, but I am actually heading to Miami. It will be nice to see Herzlich honored this weekend, though. I'll be watching.
Maryland would be 3-1 right now if they had a combined 2 or 3 turnovers the past two weeks rather than 9 that lead to about 40 points off turnovers. Also in both losses penalties have been a big issue. You covered the Terps for two years. Ralph team' generally our about average on turnovers and team discipline, not great, but this seems unusual. Two questions. 1) Do you think the Terps can turn these issues around. 2) Hypothetically, if the Terps can turn it around quickly on turnovers and penalties, do you think the Terps could reach 5-3 in the ACC and qualify for a bowl considering they have a favorable ACC schedule (their coastal draws are Duke, UVA, and VT)
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
You're right, turnovers and penalties have kept Maryland from even having a chance so far. If they can get those things corrected, they will be better, but still not good enough for a bowl this year. Doubtfully, anyway.
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Alright guys I'm out. Chris Low up next with your SEC questions. Thanks.