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Friday, April 3, 2009
Mailblog in the morning

By Heather Dinich
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Good morning, ACC fans. With the Hokies starting their spring practices this week, one question seems to be on the minds of Virginia Tech fans:

Daniel in Wytheville VA writes: Everyone is talking about Virginia Tech possibly make a national title run this year. Do you think it is possible? Tech never seems to do well when there are high expectations.

Heather Dinich: After watching the Hokies do so much with so little last year, I'm not counting them out for anything. That said, this is still a young team. Those receivers who managed to catch a whopping eight touchdowns last year? They're sophomores now. This team will be better, but so will Georgia Tech. And Miami. And everyone else in the Coastal Division. Let's see how the Hokies fare against Alabama before we start declaring them national champs.


Kok in Putnam County, Fla., writes: If Florida State stays healthy, do you see them as a lock to win the ACC championship this year.

Heather Dinich: Nobody is a "lock," Kok, but the Seminoles are my spring pick as the favorite to win the Atlantic Division. Let's see who emerges during summer camp.


Well-informed Miami fan "Monty" writes: Heather, Here's one for ya'. Apparently Miami basketball player Jimmy Graham has been working out with the football team and is expected to play with the football team this upcoming fall. At 6-8 and 240 pounds, he's supposedly working out at the TE position. This is NOT a belated April Fool's joke.

Heather Dinich: Thanks for the tip, Monty, I'll see if I can get a post worked up on it.


Adam B. in Apple Valley, MN writes: Hi Heather. I've been a reader of your CFB/ACC blog since the Baltimore Sun days, and you're doing a great job on ESPN. I can tell by your mini-conference preview the other day (where you named the top 3 teams in each division)you're not very high on Maryland this year. I know they lost a lot, but they've got a lot of good young players coming up. Plus I think with Jordan Steffy and Josh Portis gone Chris Turner can finally settle in to the QB position knowing it's his job in his senior season. Add James Franklin being in his second year as OC, and Don Brown taking over for Chris Cosh at DC (defenite upgrade in my opinion) and I think Maryland will compete in the Atlantic Division in 2009. I was just curious about your thoughts on Maryland?

Heather Dinich: Thanks for reading, Adam. I agree with your points, but here's the thing ... Turner (at least once Steffy's thumb was injured) was the undisputed starter last season, and the Terps had one of their most veteran teams in a long time and still couldn't close the deal. They've got a knack for staying in the hunt until the final two games of the season and then blowing it. So why, when so many questions abound (linebacker, center, backup quarterback, young receivers ...) should Terps fans be any more convinced about this year's team?


Ben in Miami writes: Regarding the ACC, you said "On the verge? Florida State. Miami. Georgia Tech. North Carolina. None of which have a senior quarterback in 2009." ... Is that really cause for concern? All three Heisman finalists last year were juniors. Numerous underclassmen have succeeded in the conference at quarterback. Why do these ACC teams need a senior quarterback to succeed? Age ain't nothin' but a number!

Heather Dinich: Fair point, and you'll have a hard time finding a woman who disagrees with your last sentence. The point is, though, the ACC quarterbacks are still relatively young when it comes to playing time. Last year was Christian Ponder's first year as a starter, same for Nesbitt, and Yates, well, he threw 18 interceptions in 2007 compared to four last year. Yates, a junior now, makes my point. It's not cause for concern, and they don't need to be seniors to succeed, but more than one year as leader of the offense helps.


Chuck writes: There is a great deal of attention on Virginia Tech football this Spring. Several writers have even pegged them as being a serious national title contender. Why has so little been written about their lack of depth at the QB position. Tyrod Taylor is a very injury prone QB. If he gets hurt, the Hokies' season is over. Why have writers seemingly brushed aside this danger in the Hokies' depth chart this year?

Heather Dinich: Well, not only did Taylor get hurt last year, but so did Sean Glennon -- in the same game -- and their season wasn't exactly over. A significant amount has been written about that problem, and Frank Beamer and his staff are well aware of it. That's one reason why Marcus Davis is starting the spring at quarterback, and not receiver.