Chat with Heather Dinich
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here, let's get started.
In all honesty...do you really think the whole Russell Willson/Brett Favre drama is hurting Glennon and the team? Or is it more of fans being upset that RW won't just tell them what he's going to do? Seems to me like they would just move forward with the mindset that MG will be the starter.
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Honestly, no. The team didn't have Russell at this time a year ago and wound up contending for the Atlantic Division. He was a little rusty early, but quickly shook it off. The team will do just as you say, and move forward with Glennon.
OJ (Alexandria, VA)
Does Butch Davis need to take the next step and win 10 or 11 games or will UNC stay happy with being just a consistently good team as a oppose to an elite one?
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
I don't think Butch Davis will be content with consistent eight-win teams and average bowl appearances.
BC prospects for next year? Do you see them challenging for division title? Defense should be stout and QB should have some receivers coming back off injury--larmond jr and phillips...
Heather Dinich (1:02 PM)
Wow, BC, UNC and NC State in the house today. Welcome. I like BC's chances of surprising some teams this year. A lot of young players were forced into key roles. I think I had a video on that this a.m.
2011 bowl predictions. Let's hear them. Just kidding...wouldn't do that to you..yet. But really, what are you're biggest conference games to watch next season? Will TOB handle Butch again?
Heather Dinich (1:04 PM)
Well, in the Atlantic Division I think you have to go with Florida State/NC State, but in talking about Atlantic Division darkhorses, look out for Clemson, too. In the Coastal, Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech is always critical. As for TOB vs. Butch? It's only a matter of time before that streak comes to an end.
How do you think FSU will close? Last year, they lost what I thought were leans to Auburn and Michigan. A bit of a concern.
Heather Dinich (1:05 PM)
Concern? Even if FSU strikes out on every remaining target, which it probably won't, it's still a stellar class. The only ones who should be concerned are the coaches they're recruiting against.
You're fishing for news Heather, we all know FSU is winning the Atlantic and there is no other "dark horse". FSU is a lock to win the Atlantic even if they do have injuries.
Heather Dinich (1:06 PM)
Lol ... it IS the offseason, man. But still, I wouldn't call anyone a lock at this point. Favorite? Yes.
How well do you think Clemson will do this year?
Heather Dinich (1:08 PM)
I got a chance to speak with their new OC yesterday and was very impressed. Nice guy. Said he's going to have Clemson fans on their feet with the excitment this offense will bring. If the players can learn it quickly, I think they can be a contender. I'd be surprised if they had another losing season.
Heather, do you think John Tenuta leaves for a DC position sometime here in the offseason?
Heather Dinich (1:08 PM)
NC State fans should hope not. I haven't heard anything.
Michael (St. Augustine FL)
What would you rate Al Goldens recruiting effort so far and how would you rate the players he has gotten commits from?
Heather Dinich (1:09 PM)
It's up to ESPN recruiting to rate the players, but I can tell you he's scrambling and working his tail off to get the best available. I don't think Miami fans could ask more of him when it comes to effort.
Will Frank Beamer ever win a NC?
Heather Dinich (1:11 PM)
If he can make it through the ACC schedule undefeated (which he did), I don't see why not. A lot of it depends on the noncon sked and the kind of year the ACC is having. A little luck never hurts.
Trent (Miami FL)
How about Al Golden bringing back Art Kehoe. That man IS Miami!
Heather Dinich (1:12 PM)
Lots of Canes fans excited about that hire. I like it. It will be good to have somebody on the inside who really gets it and can talk to the players about the past.
Since we all agree that FSU has clinched the Atlantic Division, who is likely to face them in the ACC championship game?
Heather Dinich (1:13 PM)
It's wide open, and I think will come down to the usual suspects, but my early prediction is a rematch of 2010.
With how strong FSU is recruiting comparies to everyone else in the acc as well as strong/stable coaching, do you see a run of FSU dominance in the ACC? Maybe not National titles every year but maybe a string of ACC titles and BCS Bowls?
Heather Dinich (1:14 PM)
Staff stability is the key. They've got the players. Now, if the staff can stick together, develop the players for a few years under one system and philosophy, I don't see why not. Virginia Tech did it.
Are there so little 4 and 5 star recruits that fit VT's system? Instead of turning 3 star guys into good players, why not turn 4 and 5 star guys into great players? When is VT going to hit the recruiting road you like other schools you mention in your blog?
Heather Dinich (1:15 PM)
I've talked to Bryan Stinespring about this before, and his answer has always been that they go for the guys they like, regardless of how many stars are by their name. They've made quite a run through the ACC with those players, and there certainly hasn't been a shortage of NFL talent on their roster.
Clemson has one of the largest fan bases in the conference along with a great upcoming recruiting class. Isn't it time for them to step it up and stop making the acc look worse than it already is?
Heather Dinich (1:16 PM)
Clemson's letdowns are often inexplicable, but I'd hardly blame the Tigers for the ACC's image. If you're in Blacksburg, you probably heard about another loss that didn't exactly help the league ...
what can noles fans expect to see from ej manuel in his first season as a starter?
Heather Dinich (1:17 PM)
I'd say gradual improvement in the passing game, an added dimension with his ability to run, and a quick maturation process as a leader.
Brenton charlotte [via mobile]
Cmon the acc needs some respect. The coastal division can very well be the toughest division in all of football next year right?(obviously besides the sec west). I mean no one wants a conf schedule with unc,vt,mia,gt and possibly a non division foe in clem,bc,mary,or fsu. Cmon thats gotta be the 4 th best conf in the nation. Maybe competing with the big 12 (10) for 3rd. Plus what the percentage points that unc; 1) will win acc; 2) get savon huggins; 3) start marquise williams over brennan. Love your articles and thanks.
Heather Dinich (1:18 PM)
Thanks for joining us, Brenton. Last year, I made the argument in the blog that the Coastal Division WAS one of the toughest divisions in the country (or maybe it was the year before, can't remember, sorry). But with all of the turnover at the quarterback position, I just don't see it being as deep OR as strong this year. And last year it didn't live up to the hype. The Atlantic was better.
Maxwell (Tallahassee Fl)
Heather i wanted to apologize to all the Clemson fans out there because it appears that the contest for LB Tony Stewards services is coming to an end, his mother accompanied him to both FSU and Clemson and while at Clemson she refused to leave the hotel room. another victory for FSU!
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
Where do you guys get this stuff?!
Mike (Frozen in Upstate NY)
Who will have the biggest break out season in the ACC?
Heather Dinich (1:21 PM)
Hmm. Tough question to answer on the spot. Could be one of the new quarterbacks, or one on the verge of something good, like Duke's Sean Renfree. Could be Andre Ellington at Clemson, or one of the Miami backs.
Danny Coale (Blacksburg, VA)
20+ td catches next year to my rec. corp from LT next year?Gill
Heather Dinich (1:22 PM)
You guys are always asking me about Logan Thomas, but we haven't seen him enough in a game situation to know how he's going to handle it.
HD, have you been reading your blogs comments today. Most FSU posters seem way overly cocky about next year. I"m not so optomistic. Can you please tell them to simmer down a little?
Heather Dinich (1:23 PM)
Well, don't forget there are two HUGE losses up front. The receivers need to get better. And I'm telling you, BC, Clemson, NC State and Maryland aren't going to roll over. Wake needs to get better, though.
Mike D. (Lake Wales, FL.)
Do you think we'll see Jeff Luc start for the noles this year?
Heather Dinich (1:24 PM)
I think he's got a chance to earn that spot this offseason. He had a bit of a learning curve this past season, but the staff really likes his potential.
In hindsight, was the move from Fridge to Edsall really worth it? Both seem like good coaches - is there a real difference/upgrade there?
Heather Dinich (1:25 PM)
The biggest differences I see are in Edsall's youth and energy. He's going to inject some enthusiasm into the program. Both ARE good coaches. We'll find out just how much better Edsall is there.
Frank (Boston, MA)
Who will be BC's new OC?
Heather Dinich (1:27 PM)
Still no word, and I've got no guesses for you, but I wrote earlier that if it were somebody from within, I would have thought they would have announced it by now.
Heather, I have heard a lot about how bad the Wolfpacks recruiting class is this year. However in recent days they have picked up a couple of good commitments. TOB has always gone after players he likes, as oppsoed to their ranking so do we really have anything to worry about?
Heather Dinich (1:28 PM)
TOB has recruited some pretty good players in his day. Look at what he left at BC. As long as they get a kicker/punter, NC State fans shouldn't worry too much.
Rodney (Colorado Springs)
Has the Virginia staff given any insight on the QB competition this year?
Heather Dinich (1:29 PM)
Last time I talked to London, he said it was going to be wide open, but obviously there were some guys who got some playing time last season who will have a slight edge in experience.
With a good group of OL returning, do you think NC State will become more of a running team this year? Lots of the WRs are gone off this years team.
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
NC State has to get its running game going. Mustafa Greene showed potential last year and was fun to watch, but you're right, there's going to be some turnover in the passing game. I think the Pack graduates its best lineman, though, Vermiglio.
Is this finally the year Duke makes a bowl game or is Cutcliff still a few years away?
Heather Dinich (1:31 PM)
It depends on the defense and the running game. Rick Petri HAS to get that line going after quarterbacks and bring more pressure, and they've got to establish a running game and not turn it over. I think they're much closer.
As far as breakout players are concerned HD, keep an eye out for the following two guys from GT: QB Synjyn Days and B-Back Charles Perkins. Many people simply assume that Tevin Washington will be the starter, but Days is a natural option QB that the GT offensive coaches have raved about. Charles Perkins was arguably the top H.S. RB in the talent rich state of Georgia two years ago.
Heather Dinich (1:32 PM)
Thanks for the heads up. Is Days the kid from Durham? There's a player on their roster whose name escapes me right now I know they're excited about.
Edsall is 52 - not 37
Heather Dinich (1:33 PM)
Still, that's about a decade on Ralph, and with all due respect to the Fridge, he's in better shape.
Nole fan (Greensboro. NC)
We're not cocky at all, HD. We have just had to defend our confidence against Miami fans that believe we have no reason to be confident. I HOPE we do well and the foundation is there to for us to do well, but what should we be saying "man, we suck."?
Heather Dinich (1:34 PM)
Lol, no, and if I were a Florida State fan and not the unbiased reporter that I am, I'd probably be a little cocky, too. FSU is loaded this year. In 2012, be cocky.
Who do you see winning the Hurricanes starting QB job?
Heather Dinich (1:35 PM)
Morris. Just a hunch. I really like Jacory Harris. He's a great guy. Super nice. But he's a turnover machine.
looks like FSU and vt to the acc for years to come. i would put clemson in there as they know how to recruit but lack of coaching is the problem for them as stats have shown. do you agree?
Heather Dinich (1:36 PM)
Definitely not a lack of talent.
Synjyn Days is from Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, GA. Vad Lee is the incoming recruit from Durham that you are thinking about. He's a member of the ESPN 150.
Heather Dinich (1:36 PM)
YES! Lee, thank you.
Mike (Atlanta, Ga)
HD, what's you're gut feel for who will be GT's starting QB next year? Seems like all the buzz is around Washington, but while he did ok this year, I'd rather see Days in there since (from what I heard) he would bring more athleticism to the position.
Heather Dinich (1:37 PM)
Well, the buzz is around Washington because Paul Johnson has said that he goes into the spring as the starter based on his experience, but by no means do I think he's a lock for it.
Nathaniel (Bristol, TN)
Heather, who is the most underrated team in the ACC going into next season?
Heather Dinich (1:38 PM)
I would say Boston College. The Eagles are used to it, but I think their linebackers are again going to be solid, and Rettig will get better.
Yo Dinich! at this point, what chance would you give FSU against Oklahoma? It's at home and we'll be better, but I can't shake the idea that Stoops is playing against big brother, and I still have nightmares of the beatdown in Norman. BUT if we do win...sky's the limit?
Heather Dinich (1:40 PM)
Yo T.C. ... you snuck into the mailbag this week, too. Sorry to be the downer, but my preseason pick is the Sooners. I think they'll play MUCH better than they did a year ago, especially at home on defense, but I don't think they're quite there yet. But yes, if they do win that game, I'll probably call them a NC contender earlier than I had expected to.
Jonathan (Washington DC)
admit it, you'll miss Fridge.
Heather Dinich (1:41 PM)
It's mutual, I'm sure.
David Wilson (Bburg)
Im the man... right?
Heather Dinich (1:41 PM)
You've got no choice.
I know T.C.! HA!
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
Do I need a separate chat room for you two? ;)
When FSU and Clemson played this past season I was expecting Clemson to use Boyd in option sets but it was FSU instead who used Manuel in that manner and FSU squeked by on a nice FG. Based on your talk with Chad Morris do you think Boyd will be running more in 2011?
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
Yes, Morris said Boyd is perfect for what he wants to do.
Adam Foldes (West New York, NJ)
Hi HD,With this new coaching staff and with the recruiting that coach Golden has done. Can Miami make it back to a bowl game this year and within the next 2-3 years, challenge for an ACC title.
Heather Dinich (1:43 PM)
Oh I think the Canes can win the Coastal Division THIS year. There are a lot of positives on that roster, but some of the young receivers have to step up, and like I said, they've got to cut down on the turnovers.
Why do recruiting rankings come out now and not post-qualify time? As a BC fan, I know we very rarely if ever lose recruits as academic non-qualifiers, so our class is our class. I also know some of the other schools sign players that never have a chance of making it on campus. Shouldn't that be factored in?
Heather Dinich (1:45 PM)
That's a great point, Matthew. Oversigning is a factor, and the kids who don't qualify won't be much help. I'm sure you're not the only one who would like to see rolling rankings factor that in.
Tyler (Los Angeles)
Hey HD, I noticed that Clemson hired Robbie Caldwell to take over the O-line job, how do you feel about Caldwell replacing Scott?
Heather Dinich (1:46 PM)
It's not official yet, Tyler. Do I think it's going to happen? Yes, but Caldwell has to go through the paperwork and everything. That's why I haven't posted anything on it yet. But if it does happen, it's a great hire for Clemson.
Hokiestats (Ann Arbor)
I know VT has been successful with 3* and the occasional 4* players by coaching them. But like some one pointed out in the blog, that may be good for the ACC. Is lack of star talent one reason for our 1-27 record against top 5 teams?
Heather Dinich (1:48 PM)
I've said before that if VT wants to beat elite competition it needs elite players. But here's the thing ... Had Ryan Williams stayed one more year, he would have been one of those players. And I promise you that if I say VT hasn't had enough talent to win the big games, Hokies fans everywhere will remind me of the countless players who are in the NFL right now.
Does Dabo need 8 wins and a split in their 2 SEC games to save his job?
Heather Dinich (1:49 PM)
That doesn't sound like an ultimatum, it sounds reasonable. That's what Clemson should be doing every year ... at least.
Clint (Pelzer, SC)
Coach Swinney has put one heck of a coaching staff together. As well as they recruit and if Morris' offense put up the points it promises, can Clemson finally get back to winning ACC titles?
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
I've talked to other coaches in the ACC, and everyone seems to agree there's no reason Clemson shouldn't be a contender with the talent it brings in.
Does the ACC have in early Heisman candidates?
Heather Dinich (1:51 PM)
My top choice right now would be BC linebacker Luke Kuechly. But they've gotta promote the hell outta him and win big in order for him to even have a shot. But he's that good.
James (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
How much do you see the Miami passing attack struggling this year without Leonard Hankerson? This unit was so plaqued by drops last year...
Heather Dinich (1:51 PM)
You're right, I counted enough of them. The veteran guys on that roster finally need to produce this year and help out whomever might be the QB.
A LB will never win the Heisman...NEVER. It has become an offensive award, more specifically a QB award.
Heather Dinich (1:52 PM)
DT Suh at least made the trip to NY. But you're right.
What are Maryland's chances of contending for the ACC Title this year like they did last year?
Heather Dinich (1:54 PM)
Equally as good. They're going to need somebody to replace Torrey Smith at WR, but they've got some talent at the position. Defensively, they'll be fine with Don Brown staying on staff. They also have to replace Travis Baltz. But I think the Fridge left Edsall in position to win.
Seems like the ACC will be lacking some star power next year. The three biggest names to hit the national scene will be ...
Heather Dinich (1:56 PM)
David Wilson, Lamar Miller and ... ???
do you see a team this year going undefeated in the acc conference? not overall just conference
Heather Dinich (1:56 PM)
Well, I said it wouldn't happen last year and Virginia Tech proved me wrong. I don't think it will happen again, but if anyone proves me wrong, it will be FSU.
I FELL RUSSELL WILSON NEEDS TO MOVE ON AND GET MIKE IN AT THE QB SPOT FOR STATE.RUSSELL HAS ONE YR LEFT AND MIKE HAS 2 YEARS.WE HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING OUR YOUNG QB'S READY FOR PLAYING TIME IN 2 YEARS AND MY OPINON MIKE IS A BETTER QB THEN RUSSELL.DO YOU AGREE ?
Heather Dinich (1:58 PM)
Please don't shout. I'm right here. How do you know Glennon is a better QB? He hasn't had even close to the same amount of playing time Wilson has had. And Wilson is one of the best in the country. If Glennon IS better, I'd be surprised if he played like it early.
Will this be the year that the ACC finally earns a bit of respect?
Heather Dinich (2:00 PM)
IF it can win its tough nonconference games (i.e. Oklahoma, Ohio State), than yes.
Heather Dinich (2:00 PM)
Ok guys, I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me today. See you next week.