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 (1:01 PM)
Hey there, ACC fans. Be nice, or I'll get Karl Hess in here today to toss you ...
Matt (Orange, TX)
SCHEDULE! SCHEDULE! SCHEDULE!
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
Ha! Ha! Ha! Way to get it started, Matt ...
motor boating is fun (ACCylum)
With all due respect to the other Bloggers, were you happy to see that the ACCylum blog topped out at over 2K moar posts than any of the other blogs? no offense to the other Conference Blogs, but the ACC is where it's at.
Heather Dinich (1:02 PM)
I did see that you guys were very busy yesterday. Glad to see you guys kept yourselves entertained. I knew you could do it for a day.
Tres Nueve (Chino)
Heather do you see VT having an even better 2013 class than 2012 with Shane now seemingly pulling in some big time recruits?
Heather Dinich (1:03 PM)
The longer he is there, the more effective I think he'll be.
When do the (Skeds come out????)
With all due respect, I must ask how Joe Vellano was only 19th on your list. I normally agree with most of what you say, but he had 90+ tackles, as a DT! I know Kuechly will end up being the top defensive player, but I really would like to see him get90 tackles while being double teamed right off the snap every play.
Heather Dinich (1:04 PM)
Yeah, I probably could have put Vellano higher. WHat he did as a DT was amazing. You do realize it's an impossible list, right?
another nole (sunny south florida)
Heather, with all due respect, when will we get a schedule published?
Heather Dinich (1:05 PM)
Ok, I give up, what's with all of the "all due respect" questions in here today? What'd I do? I am expecting the schedule out by the end of the month, but that's just me guessing -- with all due respect.
We endured Maryland Week and you promised news on Duke. DON'T MESS UP DUKE WEEK!!!
Heather Dinich (1:06 PM)
Just got off the phone with ... CONNER VERNON!!
Clint (Greenville, SC)
True or False: With Chad Morris' offense, New DC Venables just needs to make Clemson's defense "not bad" for Clemson to really be dangerous. My thoughts: A fast paced offense puts a little more pressure on the D, so the defense doesn't have to be top 10, just not bottom 30... It has to be good enough to keep the Tigers in the game when the offense stutters...your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (1:07 PM)
Look, the truth is, Clemson's defense wasn't bad LAST year. It was downright atrocious in one game, but the rest of the season? It was good enough to win an ACCCG. Any improvements Venables can make will help, but he doesn't have to make an overhaul.
If Montel Harris is out for the season and with Kuechly gone, does BC have a realistic shot at bowl eligibility?
Heather Dinich (1:07 PM)
He's out for the spring, nobody said anything about the season.
Andrew (Charleston SC)
Boyd was the big difference for Clemson when it came to running the offense in Moore's first year. Who do you think needs to be that guy on defense to help others grasp the new defensive system?
Heather Dinich (1:08 PM)
I think Mallaciah (sp?) Goodman really has to be a leader up front on the line.
With no respect due at all, please give us your top 5 impact freshman for the upcoming season.
Heather Dinich (1:10 PM)
I'll give you two who come to mind quickly -- Duke Johnson at Miami and Stefon Diggs at Maryland.
HD, realistically this was a 2 month recovery back in December 2010. I think BC fans have come to accept we'll never see the 100% Montel again.
Heather Dinich (1:11 PM)
You might be right, considering he only made it one practice. However, Spaz did say there was no need to push Montel this spring because they already know what he can do. It could just be precautionary.
Don G L (East, ME)
How will the likely addition of a cupcake to FSU's schedule in WVU's place affect their MNC hopes?
Heather Dinich (1:12 PM)
Again, I go back to Virginia Tech's schedule last year. They played in the Sugar Bowl. You never know.
FB > Judge > Leader (Fincastle, VA)
Given that VT has to replace 4 OL this coming year, and therefore less protection, do you think Logan Thomas has the same kind of success as last year?
Heather Dinich (1:14 PM)
We'll find out. There will definitely be more pressure on him early to make plays while the younger running backs get used to their new roles. I talked to him recently and he would like more responsibility. Obviously it all starts up front, but I still think he should take another step forward in 2012.
Don G L (East, ME)
Has there been any word on the severity of Burnett's injury and if he is lost for the season how will that affect the Yellowjacket defense in year three of Groh's system?
Heather Dinich (1:14 PM)
Talked to CPJ about it recently and he had no update for me. Obviously you don't want to lose your leading tackler. It's up to Burnett, though, to update us with his status.
General's Cannon (Raleighwood)
FSU talking National Title Hopes? Shouldn't they worry about winning a Conference (let alone Atlantic Division) title before worrying about BCS placement?
Heather Dinich (1:15 PM)
MrBoonetownNCSU (accylum) (swagville)
How will STATE do against TN in the Chic fila kick off game? Any predictions?
Heather Dinich (1:16 PM)
Early prediction? Wolfpack wins. I know I think more of NC State than the SEC bloggers think of Tennessee in their post-signing power rankings (No. 9).
In fairness to Spaz, is there anything BC can do to get better recruits? Or does the Admissions Department scare away top coaches and players with the high academic standards?
Heather Dinich (1:17 PM)
I think BC gets good recruits -- there is something to be said for tough, blue-collar, smart players who really love the game and are easy to coach. BC gets good kids. It should win with them, and it was.
Alan (Barcelona, Spain)
Hey Heather! I feel the Atlantic Division basically comes down to FSU's defense vs Clemson's offense. It is a road game for my Tigers but FSU's ACC schedule last year was a cake walk and they still couldn't win the division. This year they play at VT, NCST, and Miami while Clemson gets GT, NCST, and VT at home. Do you think this will be the deciding factor in who will play in the ACC Championship game?
Heather Dinich (1:18 PM)
It's easy to say that now, Alan, but I thought the same thing last year. On paper, based on what we know now, yeah, that sounds right, but again, I go back to NC State. Don't forget about the Pack this year.
Michael (Dunedin, FL)
Any ACC player got a real shot at the Heisman 2012.
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
A REAL shot? I think the ACC has some darkhorse candidates, but to me there is no obvious guy who is the face of the league right now.
Papi L-Gee (Athens, GA chapter of the ACCylum)
Which coach is on the hottest seat this season? As in, "bowl or fired?"
Heather Dinich (1:20 PM)
And Edsall won't be on the hot seat?
Heather Dinich (1:22 PM)
Again, I go back to Edsall's contract. I'm not sure Maryland could afford to fire Edsall after just two seasons -- and I've already predicted they don't go bowling.
Heather Dinich (1:23 PM)
Hang on one second ... COACH CUTCLIFFE on the phone!
Colby (Bangor, Maine)
HD, who do you think will be the front runner for the starting RB position in Blacksburg?
Heather Dinich (1:24 PM)
I don't think we'll know the answer to that until summer camp.
Has there been a coach that has lost more eligible players in his first season than Randy Edsall in CFB?
Heather Dinich (1:26 PM)
24? I can't remember one, can you? It certainly makes you think that they're not exactly "buying in."
David (WPB, FL)
Heather, who's your pick for ACC Champ? Do you think the ACC will get two BCS bids again, especially with last year's debacle.
Heather Dinich (1:29 PM)
I'm back on the FSU bandwagon, but ONLY for the ACCCG, not the NC. And no, I don't think the league will get another BCS bid unless it's a no-brainer.
Ant (Clemson Sc)
How much of an impact will it be on the players this spring knowing brent venables is making every one try and earn a starting spot.
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
I don't think that's unusual. Every first-year coach, position for head coach, will tell you it's an open competition.
Danny A. Walters (missing the lettering from his icing)
HD, overall will next year be a better year for the ACC than this past season?
Heather Dinich (1:32 PM)
Yeah, I think it will, in large part because of the improvement of the quarterbacks. The question, of course, goes back to how the league fares against its nonconference opponents. That's where the perception comes from.
WeDogg (not near Sacramento)
Heather, what teams are sleepers this year for an ACC title?
Heather Dinich (1:37 PM)
I'm going with UNC for Coastal and Wake Forest for the Atlantic. I don't consider NC State a sleeper. The Pack is a contender.
The Chocolate lab of the Hokies (PA / Maryland state line)
With all due respect, K. Fuller - the Hokies may move him around a bit on D this coming year, your thoughts, will that make him even better, or limit his overall growth and potential?
Heather Dinich (1:39 PM)
No, I think we saw what he can do even when he's moved around this past season. It only shows how versatile he is.
Ty (Blacksburg, VA)
How badly will Virginia Tech beat UVA this season?
Heather Dinich (1:40 PM)
Don't see it. Not 38-0 or whatever it was. UVa won't get embarrassed like that again this year.
Who will be the best QB in the ACC next year?Renner, Boyd, Thomas, Glennon, Price,....
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
Don't forget about EJ Manuel. It's a tough call. I think Renner is going to flourish in the new offense and be even better. He and Glennon both have the most returning on the o-line.
Dave (Quincy, MA)
HD: do you think Spaz will really open up the QB competition or is it Rettig's job all the way?
Heather Dinich (1:43 PM)
Their OC told me it was open, but it's obviously Rettig's job to lose.
Don GL (East, ME)
If UNC is the sleeper in the Coastal, are there really any contenders outside of Virginia Tech?
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
I think with all that GT is returning they should be considered a contender. I just don't think many of you guys are expecting much outta UNC because of the overhaul of the staff and schemes.
mike (miami )
Noone seems to be talking about Miamis QB competition and is naming morris the starter. Do you expect this to be a hige off season story like last year?
Heather Dinich (1:45 PM)
Yeah, I think it will be just as much of a story. It's a pretty similar situation, but just like last year with Jacory, I wouldn't consider Morris a lock just yet. The coaches haven't even seen what the other guys can do yet.
Chris (like all the others) (Duluth, GA)
It may be way too early, but who do you see leading GT's offense? Washington had good moments, but I'm thinking that Days and Lee will be fighting (and I think one of them will start in at least one game this coming season). Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (1:47 PM)
My best bet is Washington. CPJ has made it clear it's Washington's job to lose, but that he'll get some good competition. You might be right in that Lee or Days earns a start, but I don't think this is a situation like, say, Miami's.
HD, how high do you see the VT defense when it comes to the best d's in the country? I see them being in the top 5...
Heather Dinich (1:47 PM)
Yep. Definitely the potential to be that good.
Exactly why is it so hard for FSU to get a game on Sept. 8th? Weren't there rumblings of this awhile back, shouldn't they have been a little more prepared?
Heather Dinich (1:48 PM)
Didn't you read the mailbag on Friday?! C'mon! FSU didn't get the letter from WVU until earlier this month. Also, conference realignment has screwed up a lot of schedules, namely the Big East. Trust me, the ACC is doing everything it can to wrap this up.
Who replaces Chris Givens as WF's breakout star?
Heather Dinich (1:49 PM)
Jumping Ship (College Park, MD)
Is 'buying in' over rated??
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
No way. If Clemson's players didn't "buy in" to what Chad Morris was selling last year, no way they would have won the ACCCG.
T.C. (Richmond, VA)
Hey HD, curious why you are so high on NCSU? I kind of view them as a potential thorn in the side of FSU and Clemson, at best.
Heather Dinich (1:52 PM)
Well, because they've got four starters back on the offensive line -- which is a group that seems to be an issue for a lot of teams in the ACC, especially in the Atlantic Division (Wake, FSU and Clemson). Also, I like Glennon at QB. Plus, Mustafa Greene should be back at RB, which will really help them. Defensively, the entire secondary returns, including one of the best in the country in David Amerson.
Sal Lizard (switching phone companies)
Why can't FSU just play somebody from the Big East and be done with it?
Heather Dinich (1:54 PM)
Because the Big East doesn't have it's stuff together right now.
Ghost of the Fridge (MD)
Coastal or Atlantic; Pick your Poison
Heather Dinich (1:55 PM)
The Atlantic should be stronger this year, hands down.
Could you please name a quarterback in the ACC you DON'T like. You like them all so much that you can never consistently tell us that one will be the best.
Heather Dinich (1:57 PM)
Isn't that a good thing? I honestly believe it will be a position of strength for the league this year. I'll make you a deal ... at some point between now and the start of summer camp, I'll do a preseason ranking of the QBs and you'll have your No. 1. Promise.
Michael (Dunedin, FL)
HD, you keep getting on the FSU bandwagon. So, did FSU under acheive or was it really and injury (EJ out along with others) issue last year.
Heather Dinich (1:58 PM)
I think it was a combination of both, but only offensively.
Maryland1206 (you know)
Honestly I dont think losing DoB kills us TOO much on the field. Last year he looked really bad, and although I did expect him to bounce back, maybe it wouldn't have happened. So, do you think CJ Brown can be a legit ACC QB. He has the physical skills(Speed, Arm Strength) to do it, just want to know if you think he will.
Heather Dinich (1:59 PM)
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT to C.J. Brown, and I really mean that, I don't think he's the answer at QB for Maryland. Right now, though, he's the only answer they have. DOB is a better passer.
Who's gonna be the best RB in the ACC this year you think?
Heather Dinich (2:00 PM)
I think it will either be Giovani Bernard or Andre Ellington. I'll go with Bernard because I think UNC's offensive line should be outstanding.
Heather Dinich (2:01 PM)
Ok, guys, my time is up here. Sorry about the interruption with the interview. Thanks for your patience and see you next week!hd