Go. Git. Quit working. Enjoy the holiday -- after you read the mailblog, of course ...
Colt Evans in Blacksburg, Va., writes: Good morning Heather. I have always lived here in Blacksburg, VA amongst Hokie nation but have always and will always be a GT Yellow Jacket fan! What is your opinion on CPJ as a coach overall and his future with the team? And also, how he manages to keep GT relevant with the weak recruiting classes and the emerging FBS schools getting more comfortable with the triple option?
HD: My take on Paul Johnson is that he is a very smart but surly man with a lucrative contract, and as long as he continues to win more than he loses he'll be safe, but a new athletic director could make things interesting. There's no question that rival Georgia has blown by the Jackets in recruiting, but I disagree with the notion that teams have "figured out the spread option." Clemson is sticking with its offensive philosophy, regardless of whether or not Chad Morris is on the sideline. Would you make the same argument that opposing defenses have "figured out" Clemson's offense? Has the rest of the ACC "figured out" Florida State's offense? Isn't the rest of the ACC "comfortable" against Virginia Tech's offense by now? (Don't answer that.) You get what I'm saying, though. If you have the players to execute it, it works. The bottom line is not the offense or the coach, it's the recruits.
Jon in Atlanta, Ga., writes: Hey Heather, in regards to GT's search for a defensive coach. Does CPJ's controlling nature automatically make really good potential coaches kind of steer away from GT?
HD: No, but his offense might. I know, you say, 'but the defense doesn't practice against the spread option every week, it practices against the opponent's offense.' Well what does it practice against all spring and summer? Clemson? Paul Johnson doesn't micromanage the defense. He's hardly involved in it at all. He needs to hire somebody who can run it by himself.
Sean in Raleigh, NC, writes: OK, I think I'm late to the game here, but with Syracuse and Pitt who is Atlantic and which is Coastal? Also with the commitment to an 8 game ACC schedule, will the ACC remove the permanent rivals or just remove one of the cross conference games?
HD: No worries, this is all going to take some getting used to, especially for Big East fans not used to the divisions. Syracuse is in the Atlantic, just remember they're in the same "neighborhood" as BC. Pitt is in the Coastal, the same "neighborhood" as Virginia Tech. The traditional rivals were preserved.
Hank in Durham, NC, writes: Heather, I have really appreciated your coverage on FSU this season. I agree that FSU should not have lost to NC State. I also think that FSU was a better team than UF and lost because of some poor decisions by Manuel. Anyway, my question is regarding next season. With three coordinators leaving, a crop of def players leaving (Werner probably as well), Manuel leaving, and no top ten class in recruiting (I feel like Stoops and the other two coordinators will keep us out of the top ten) at this point do you think next season we have the potential of going 11-2? That seems like a stretch at this point. Or at least the deck is stacked against us. I feel like if we won the ACC and went to a BCS bowl I would be more excited than this year. (Esp. since we should be playing Notre Dame in the National championship and be 13-0) What are your thoughts? Thanks, Hank
HD: I spoke with Jimbo Fisher about that this week, and he reiterated that even with the staff changes and the departure of EJ Manuel, the program is still heading in the right direction. He emphasized the philosophy of building a program, not a team. I don't think FSU is doomed next year by any means, but I think Clemson should be ranked ahead of the Noles heading into 2013.
Shelton Leverette in Lexington, NC, writes: The loss of Gio Bernard may not be too much for the Heels as they have a committment from the #3 all purpose back in the nation- TJ Logan. If you are interested to see what Carolina has in store next year, take a look at his recruiting videos. They are very impressive!!!!
HD: Ok, but who's gonna block for him? Not Jonathan Cooper. To me, the questions up front on the offensive line should be even more of a concern than the loss of Bernard. Look at what happened to the Hokies this year after losing David Wilson and four of their starting linemen. Ouch.