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. Let's go ...
Colt (Winter Haven, FL)
I have another quesiton for ya, heather. As a FSU fan, I have an opprotunity to go to either the Wakeforest or Clemson away game. Which would you suggest over the other?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Ooh, Wake has had its way with the Noles the past three seasons, and I think FSU is bound for a comeback there, but the Clemson game is the one that is most likely to determine the Atlantic Division winner. I'd go to that one.
Would you say that your blog is about as good as Jacory Harris on thursday night?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
Haha ... I wish. He gets the edge. Besides, we don't get Heismans for blogs.
Kenny (North Carolina)
Hey Heather, What does Va Tech need to do to beat Miami this weekend. Miami has looked very tough the first two games.
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
Just asked Frank Beamer that and when he said Miam, he said, "wow." They've got to run the ball on them and put pressure on Jacory.
Danley (Bristol, Fl)
I seem to remember there being some talk of Duke upsetting an ACC team, if you had to make a prediction right now as to who that team would be, who would you say?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
I'm not sure I'd call it an "upset" right now, but Duke should beat Maryland if the Terps keep this up.
David (Manassas, VA)
What more will it take for Virginia to fire Al Groh?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
More losses. They've got the bye week to regroup, and there were some improvements on the road last week, but I don't see any changes being made before the season is over. Let's see what happens after the bye week.
HD, I did not get to see the game, only heard it on the radio. Was the Hokie O that bad, the Nebraska D that good, or somewhere in bewteen?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
Somewhere in between, but it better get better because Miami's d-line is better than Nebraska's. I'll tell you this, I've NEVER seen a DT make as many plays as Suh did on Saturday.
Casey Underwood (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
What do you think of all the hype Miami has gotten over the weekend? And your thoughts on the big ACC game this week in Blacksburg?
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
I think - and so does Beamer - that Miami deserves all the hype it's getting. As for this weekend, Virginia Tech needs to find its offense in order to stand a chance.
George P. Burdell (Atlanta, GA)
What are the chances that Dwyer, Derrick Morgan or Morgan Burnett will leave after this season now that the Jackets' season is shaping up the way it is?
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
I'd say the chances are pretty good. Having talked to Dwyer and Morgan about it this summer, those guys would LOVE to play in the NFL. They said they're concentrating on this season first, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least so see them go. However, if GT keeps this up and they continue to struggle, it might serve them better to stay.
Connor (J-Ville, NC)
So, why doesn't Russel Wilson get a coveted helmet sticker after breaking the record for most consecutive passes without an INT? I know TT made some big plays, but almost half of his yards came in two plays at the end of the game.
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
Because he did it against Gardner-Webb, not a ranked opponent, or even an FBS opponent. Russell will get his due, trust me.
Stefan (Chapel Hill, NC)
Can John Shoop start getting some credit for developing some great receivers? First there was Nicks, Tate and Foster, and now Pianalto, Highsmith, Boyd and Little are also quietly developing into a solid unit.
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
I've always said Shoop was a pretty good coach, and he definitely deserves credit for getting that offense going, but so does Butch Davis for bringing in freshmen who can contribute like that right away.
How much easier was the work environment today with the ACC getting a couple big wins out of conference?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
Haha yeah, thank goodness there weren't any blogger company picnics the first two weeks or I would've been toast, but FSU's win over BYU and VT's win over Nebraska helped. At the same time, though, you lose to Middle Tennessee at home and GT drops out of the rankings? It seems to have evened out a bit.
GT Rick (Atlanta, GA)
You do think the polls are a joke don't you? GT falling out completely?? BYU ahead of FSU??? Complete lunacy -
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
My thoughts on the polls coming this afternoon, but I did disagree with a few things, yes.
VT and Miami: biggest ACC game of the year?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
To date, yes. But then another huge game will be the winner vs. UNC. GT/UNC also a huge game this weekend, especially for the Jackets.
Loving life as a Nole fan right now. It is great to see FSU and Miami looking so good, because I want another chance to pound them in December. Here's my question: Does Grothe being out taint a win over USF (if we win)? How does this years USF team stack up in the Big East? Also can you write something negative about Dustin Hopkins so he can prove you wrong? Our O-Line did it last year our whole team did it this week, now we need Dustin to step up and make all his PAT's.
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
I wouldn't say it taints it, but sure, it takes away from it a bit. And yes, I tend to have motivated a few players before, but if FSU plays the way it did against BYU, they won't need it.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Who decided on the the divisions in the ACC? There seems to be no rhyme or reason and the division names are horribly redundant. Big 12 has North/South. SEC has East/West and the teams are assigned in meaningful ways. For some reason this bothers me, but surely I'm not the only one, right?
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
Ivan Maisel? Is that you? No, you're not the only one, and you're right, there is no rhyme or reason for it. I've asked the ACC and they've got no explanation for it.
DJ (South Carolina)
Do you see Clemson upsetting TCU next weekend? Hairston was injured saturday and if he doesnt play our offense may be even more inconsistent than it is now. Do you think our defense is strong enough to get the ACC another strong out of conference victory?
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
It's definitely possible. I watched TCU play Virginia, and it was hard to evaluate them because they were playing, well, Virginia. I expect a good defense and a scrappy offense, but Clemson's defense is so good it can be the difference this year for them.However, it will be tough to stop Hughes w/o Hairston.
Arthur (A UNC fan stuck in, DE)
UNC shuts down GT's rush on Saturday, and UNC wins, right?
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Hang on, T.J. Yates just called, let me ask him ...
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
He said "That's one of the things we're hoping to do."
Heather, after that come-from-behind against Nebraska, what are your thoughts on Tyrod Taylor? I'm not sure what to make of him. While he was very unimpressive for most of the game, he made the plays when they counted on the last drive.
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
I felt like after the game some were ready to annoint TT as the next Michael Vick, but I don't think he's where he needs to be yet in the passing game. He needs to run, that's what he does best, and it seems like he's been limited in that.
Justin (Orlando, FL)
Heather, what's your take on the PITT-NCST game? Pitt has looked good so far, especially on offense, and NCST looked bad against the other USC and then had two creampuffs.
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
I think this game will finally tell us what to expect from NC State's offense. Pitt is a decent team, and like you said, NC State has racked up all its yardage against the little guys. They'll need to get their offensive linemen back to be at full strength.
Zach (Chapel Hill, NC)
Let's say Carolina struggles to stop the run against GT, do you see the offense being good enough to win a shootout against the Jackets? Or is defense the only way we could get a win in Atlanta?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
No, if the offense plays the way it did against ECU, the Tar Heels should be fine. Georgia Tech's defense has struggled up front, and the Jackets' secondary hasn't looked as impressive and their experience heading into the season would lend you to believe.
Brian (NY, NY)
What do you make of BC's defense holding Clemson to 0 touchdowns (1 special teams TD
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
I wasn't surprised, considering it's still a Spaziani-coached team, but the Tigers still have issues up front, and Spiller got nicked up again. It's not BC's defense that's the problem right now, that much is obvious.
Now that we are into the third week, which two teams in your opinion will meet for the ACC Championship game?
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
Ooh, I'm torn between FSU and Clemson in the Atlantic. I'll go with FSU/Miami based off of this past weekend.
Heather - I feel like the Terps can lose the rest of their games and Fridge would still be there. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what he has done for the program, but come on!!!! How are we so bad with so much athleticism? How can Chris Turner still be making the same mistakes?
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
Poor ashamed. Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. And it wasn't just Turner, don't forget Scott fumbled, what, twice? And Turner needs some help up front. Maryland is in for a long, painful season. Sorry, man.
Mike (Richmond, VA)
If you had to pick the top 5 QB's in the acc who would they be
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
Jacory Harris, Russell Wilson, Christian Ponder, Riley Skinner, Thaddeus Lewis.
Jack (South Carolina)
Clemson's defense held BC to 54 total yards of offense. Is Clemson's D that good, or is BC's offense that bad?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
Both, absolutely both.
Ryan (Roanoke, VA)
HD, after being at Lane Stadium for that ridiculous game this weekend, where do you rank Blacksburg on your hardest places to play list? Top 3 at least?
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
In the ACC? Definitely. Night games are better there, though. Nationally? It's up there, but I'd have to think about it more. Lane is definitely underrated nationally though.
Archie (Raleigh, NC)
As of now who looks to be the best team in the state of North Carolina. I would say UNC.
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
I would have to agree, but I see NC State improving every week. They've sort of fallen off the radar, but Russell Wilson is still a very good quarterback and the D is solid. Let's see what they do against Pitt.
Cisco (Raleigh, NC)
Hi Heather, can MD woes ultimately be attributed to the coaching? Fridge just doesn't seem to be doing much to assert himself. And I've been an avid supporter of Friedgen over the years, but I'm not so sure anymore if he even has control over the team. He always has the "I don't know" response to the questions about the team's inability to produce. Well, why doesn't he know? And if he doesn't know, why isn't he getting to the bottom of it to assert himself and make improvements? Do you think it may be time for him to step down and let James Franklin take over?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
It all starts at the top, Cisco, but I don't see any changes being made immediately at Maryland. It's easy to spread the blame around there, though, and there are so many more issues to address than I've got the space for here.
Russell O'Brien (Raleigh, NC)
Simple request: For the power rankings can you add what you had each team at in the previous week? Then maybe at the end of the year some chart that shows the rankings for every week? It really just helps me be lazy, since I like to look at trends. Thanks and go pack!
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
Sure, will do.
Brian (Columbus, OH)
Hi Heather, How do you think the Wake Offense will do against BC's Defense Saturday?
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
I said before the season that the Deacs had the potential to have one of the most productive offenses in the Atlantic, and I still believe it. I don't think it will be easy, but Riley Skinner is a veteran and they'll figure it out.
Can a one loss ACC team play for the National Championship taking into account the perceived notion that other conferences are more competitive.
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
Yes, just look at what happened in 2007.
If Dwyer is out on saturday who wins the unc-gt game?If Dwyer plays who wins?and how good of a season do you think erik highsmith has?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
If GT can beat Clemson with Dwyer being held to 66 rushing yards, they can beat UNC with him on the bench, especially if Anthony Allen, Roddy Jones and crew pick up the slack. And if Highsmith keeps racking up 100 yards per game, he could obviously have a tremendous season. I think he'll run into some tougher defenses though.
Hey Heather, Why wasn't David Wilson used more against Nebraska? Will he see more plays called for him this Saturday against Miami?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Why wasn't Ryan Williams used more? Stinespring told me he needs to be more patient with the running game. I say turn both of those guys loose.
Scott (Columbia, SC)
What do you think of Clemson's chances to become a national power with Dabe Swinney at the helm. We saw him make halftime adjustments against GT which is something Tommy Bowden never could do. The defense looks pretty solid and should be for the next few years while the offense has some great potential to put up some serious points. Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
I think Clemson fans should be waiting for that ACC title before they starting thinking "national power."
How much of a disadvantage is it for Bud Foster to try and scheme against a system/guy he does not know well in Whipple
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
It's not so much that he doesn't know Whipple well, it's that Whipple's playbook consists of a bazillion plays from every NFL and college stop he's made. Who CAN prepare for that? Foster will look at the film he's got and have those guys ready to play, and we all know he's a good in-game coach who will try to adjust.
Where did this Miami OLine come from and what did they do with the old one? Jacory Harris seems to have forever to stand back there and read the defense. Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
You are absolutely right. They've been protecting him like a newborn baby, and they have to, because if he gets hurt, their season is toast. That o-line has been doing a terrific job.
How important is the NCSU vs Pitt game not just for the whole ACC but for NC State going into conference play?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
It's big for both reasons, and Maryland also has Rutgers. Some Big East fans have been given some fuel this season in the ACC/Big East debate. The Pack will have to travel to Wake Forest next, and if they want to win that "state championship," some momentum would help.
Evan (Coral Gables, FL)
Heather, how do you think playing at Lane will be for the Canes. Are they lucky its a day game? Playing their at night seems like it would be much worse.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
Yeah, it really is a different atmosphere at night, and I'll be honest, I thought it was pretty quiet at times against Nebraska. Miami beat VT last year, beat FSU on the road this year ... I don't think Lane will change the outcome of this game.
Jon (Atlanta GA)
Heather, do you think that the name of a school comes into play where ranking is involved? I mean Miami to jump to #9 and GT to be tossed out of the top 25? Clearly the pollster are going off the name vice the talent. Your thoughts....
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
I watched the GT game, and the Jackets didn't look like a top 25 team.
Allen (Wilmington NC)
Any word on the health of the Wolfpack's offensive line?
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
TOB press conference later today. Check the blog for an update, if there is one.
I dont get to see many UNC games (being in Colorado) but I hear all about the speed and athletecsim on the defense and I know they are a young unit. Which players have the most pro potential on that defense?
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
Marvin Austin and Quan Sturdivant come to my mind first. Austin was a beast against ECU.
Gatsby (Gainesville, GA)
Is GT in trouble now that Defenses know how to defend there Offense? I just don't see how Tech can be a factor as long as Johnson is coach and running this offense. And there Defense, Lord help!
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
Whoa, let's not give up on PJ's offense just yet. They won nine games with it last year, and he's got decades of wins that prove it works. GT played two of the best defenses in the ACC - Miami and Clemson. Both of them began preparing for that offense in the SPRING. Miami had 10 days to get ready for it. That makes a difference. Ask LSU.
I know BeamerBall is built on great D and special teams, but what will it take to bring in some new blood to help the offense? Another year ranked outside of the top 100?
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
It depends. If they're ranked outside the top 100 and win the ACC title again, will it still matter?
Jon Montgomery (Atlanta GA)
Do you see the ACC being able to fulfil the bowl slots this year?
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
At this rate, with no Maryland, no BC, no Virginia and no Duke ... No.
James (Charlottesville (Unfortunately))
Another question, why was Tyrod so hesitant to make plays with his legs on Saturday? Was the coaching staff holding him back for fear that he might get injured or was it Tyrod's desire to prove that he can produce with his arm or some combination?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
I don't know the exact number, but there couldn't have been that many called run plays for him. I think the staff is scared to death of him getting hurt, but that's just my opinion.
John (Aiken, SC)
Clemson's offense was able to move down field on BC's defense, but only came away with field goals in the red zone. Do you think coach Dabo can resolve this problem and give FSU a run for their money?
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
This is a great question, and it all goes back to the big question at the beginning of the season - whether or not the Tigers made the right coaching moves on offense. In order to win the Atlantic, they've got to get more out of those guys than they did against BC.
What game besides UF and maybe Clemson would be the biggest "snare" game for FSU?
Heather Dinich (12:56 PM)
That Thursday night road trip to UNC. First Thursday night game for the Heels.
HD, how bad do you think that RB for VT hurt his ankle? Do you think it will effect him this weekend?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
You're talking about Ryan Williams, and judging by the fact he didn't have it iced or taped after the game, I think he'll be fine.
So all I heard last week was how great Max hall is and how BYU would "run away with this one." Then we dominate from start to finish, and barely get mentioned during sportscenter, etc. What's up with that?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
Well, I'm the one who was yapping about BYU. Noles' showed me ...
Trey (Havelock, NC)
DO you think Jacory Harris could win the heisman
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Yes -- next year.
Heather, True or False. The winner in Blacksburg this weekend represents the Coastal in Tampa in December.
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Alright guys, Chris Low is up next to talk SEC. I'm back to the blogosphere. See you there.