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 guys, I'm here, let's get started.
Hi Heather, Mark Herzlich says his leg is 80-85% healthy and he picked off Tom Brady in their flag football charity game. Any thoughts on his return this year and what his return could mean for BC in the Atlantic? Also somebody had asked last week about graduation rates in college football. BC is second in the country only to Navy in graduation rates.
Heather Dinich (1:03 PM)
My only thoughts on Herzlich's return are that I hope he can live up to his own lofty expectations, which are higher than everyone else's. Nobody knows how much he'll resemble his 2008 form, but if he looks like he did then, BC's chances at the Atlantic only increase. The Eagles will be in it no matter what, though.
Lindsay (Arlington, VA)
Does Kyle Parker's selection in the first round of yesterday's draft mean his days as a college QB are over? If so, what can we expect from Tajh Boyd?
Heather Dinich (1:04 PM)
I spoke with Dabo Swinney earlier today. Check the blog later this afternoon for highlights of that conversation. He told me that he is concerned about the depth at the position -- as he should be -- if Parker leaves, but he likes the potential he sees in Boyd. Says he's a winner, but he's obviously not game-ready yet.
Neal (Lynchburg VA)
Heather, Since all the recent buzz has been about expansion and the possibilty of the SEC raiding the ACC in order to keep up with Pac 10 and Big 10 conferneces. Do you think the ACC will stay mostly intact and continue to get better in football or do you think the pouching could hurt the ACC football program (I am focused on football since bball and olympic sports are already so strong)? Also what schools do you think would be most open to an SEC invite?
Heather Dinich (1:05 PM)
Let's get this one out of the way ... if the SEC wants to pilfer ACC teams, it's going to have its pick. I'd say Florida State should top the list. Miami has expressed no desire to leave the ACC. And yes, any deflections from the conference would be a significant hit to the league.
Heather Dinich (1:06 PM)
Do whatchya want!
Ryan (Hampton Va)
So with all the other leagues talking expansion what is going on with the ACC?
Heather Dinich (1:06 PM)
Nada. All is quiet on the ACC front. It's refreshing.
Brett (Myrtle Beach)
Goodbye Kyle Parker...hello Taj Boyd. Whatcha think?
Heather Dinich (1:07 PM)
Gonna be some speed bumps, and it would be a hit to Clemson's chances at repeating as Atlantic Division champs.
Joey (Clemson, SC)
Who do you see being that "under the radar" team until the final few weeks of the season that has the potential to pop up and play in the ACCCG? Thanks.
Heather Dinich (1:08 PM)
Does everyone still consider BC "under the radar?" The Eagles definitely have a shot.
Hey Heather. Last year defense was definitely a struggle for NC State. With Nate Irving back for the Wolfpack this year, the defense is sure to be a little better than last year. Do you think having him back will affect how well the defense plays significantly, or will the immaturity in the secondary be a big factor again?
Heather Dinich (1:09 PM)
Not only will Irving's return help, but so will the addition of Jon Tenuta. I think the secondary will show improvement. Even though there are a lot of young faces back there, a good amount of them got starting experience last season.
Heather, how big is the LSU game for North Carolina in terms of national recognition and respect? Seems to me, we'll start hearing the "same old Carolina" talk if they lose.
Heather Dinich (1:09 PM)
That's because if they lose, they'll be the "same old Carolina."
James (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
HD,Thanks for hosting another great chat, I always look forward to these!If Teddy Bridgewater honors his verbal committment to the Canes, what kind of future do you foresee him having? Does he solve the Canes' QB situation?
Heather Dinich (1:10 PM)
Tom Luginbill of ESPN Recruiting told me yesterday he thinks Bridgewater could be the QB of the future there, but obviously he's got some polishing to do and needs to be developed under Mark Whipple.
Heather - It seems like Tyrod Taylor for the Hokies is not getting a lot of talk this summer with all the hype around the VT running game and the likes of Christian Ponder with FSU etc....I think he is headed for a great season barring injury and is a heck of a leader for the Hokies so he may not be getting the respect he deserves? What is your take?
Heather Dinich (1:12 PM)
Agreed, I think it's breakout time for Tyrod Taylor. He should have a great supporting cast, and youth is no longer an excuse with the receivers.
Floyd (Clemson, SC)
Heather, we all know that Ponder is the best QB in the ACC (one of the tops in the country) and we saw just how Manuel stepped up to the plate, so to speak, in the last 4 games of the season last year. What do you think of the Ponder/Maunel duo this year and the Manuel factor once the team is his?
Heather Dinich (1:13 PM)
I don't think there is a "duo" this year -- it's a one-man Ponder show. As for Manuel once the team is his? Should be a very smooth transition for the Noles and a great situation for Jimbo.
Keith (Atlanta, GA)
Any chance that Josh Nesbitt can be a Heisman contender this year in the option offense?
Heather Dinich (1:15 PM)
First, a friendly reminder it's JoshUA these days. Second, sure there's a chance - especially since it sounds like GT will throw the ball more this year and get the A-backs more involved in the passing game. I think it's going to be very tough, though, and his chances are slim because of the absurd passing numbers some of the other QBs will put up.
Is the hype about FSU getting out of control? Maisel said they are a team to watch, Feldman said they are a dark horse for the nc. Im not saying Jimbo won't succeed in the long run, but dont we need to give the guy time? Unless our defense makes a miracle turnaround, I dont see us doing any better than 8-4, 9-3 at best. Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (1:17 PM)
Fair or not, Jimbo was hired to do better than 8-4, 9-3. And Bobby Bowden was pushed out so Jimbo could do it NOW. Those are the expectations. He's got the offense to do it.
Danny (Columbia, SC)
The only reason I can think Kyle Parker might would stay would be if he has the potential to become a QB in the NFL. Your thoughts about that please.
Heather Dinich (1:18 PM)
Dabo told me today that he thinks Kyle could be a very special pro quarterback, but the baseball draft came first. If baseball can give Parker the kind of money he's looking for, I doubt his potential as a football pro would outweigh that.
Jack (Coral gables, FL)
Hey any update on Graig Cooper's rehab and whether or not he'll be ready for the season, and do whose role do you think will be more important to Miami's running game Damien Berry or the stable of young inexperienced backs?
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
I checked a few days ago on Coop and there was no news to report on his status. I think if Berry picks up where he left off, he'll be integral to the Canes' success.
Bill (New York)
Heather, if you had to pick right now, who starts at QB for Boston College against Virginia Tech on September 25?
Heather Dinich (1:20 PM)
I'd say Shinskie. He's got the experience, and that's tough for a rookie to overcome.
HD, which other qb's might you compare Tajh Boyd to?
Heather Dinich (1:21 PM)
I asked Dabo that too, and the only name he gave me was Kyle Parker because of his arm strength. He couldn't compare him to any other ACC QB.
Carlos (Coral Gables, FL)
Heather: With Randy Shannon signing a 4-year extension, do you think he will be able to bring in a high quality class? It has been reported that his lack of a contract resulted in a solid, but, less than stellar class this year. Can you confirm that, one way or another?
Heather Dinich (1:23 PM)
Obviously the uncertainty in his contract was used against him in the recruiting process, but it's hardly as if the Canes are getting killed in recruiting. I see no reason for Miami fans to panic, especially considering they just lured in a few highly touted players.
Travonte (Seat Pleasant)
who do you have winning the Coastal and Atlantic divisions, and who do you have winning the ACC
Heather Dinich (1:24 PM)
As of right this second, I'm going with an old-school pick: FSU vs. Miami. As for who wins? The team that lost during the regular season.
If Tyrod Taylor plays well, is it an automatic ACC title for VT?
Heather Dinich (1:25 PM)
Heck no. The offensive line needs to show up. The defense needs to show up. And other teams have to lose. Nothing is automatic in the ACC.
Heather, do you think Ponder has a legitimate shot at the Heisman? Does FSU need to win the ACC for him to finally, seriously be in the talks for it?
Heather Dinich (1:26 PM)
Yes and yes. There are plenty of other candidates out there. Ponder knows the Noles need to win in order for him to have a shot.
Mike S (Orlando)
Heather, I would have to disagree and I think we will be seeing a good amount EJ Manuel this year. I think he will be running a lot of option as CP7 running as much as he used to it too risky.
Heather Dinich (1:27 PM)
No doubt they need to keep Ponder healthy, but if FSU is going to win, they need their best players on the field, and right now, Ponder is No. 1 on the depth chart for a reason.
It seems to me that the Heisman has become a quarterback driven award, given all the Playstation like numbers some of the QB's in pass happy offenses put up. What will it take for a RB to win the award again? Will it take a Barry Sanders 1988 type of season?
Heather Dinich (1:28 PM)
Mark Ingram won it last year, right?
Sam (Atlanta, GA)
Heather last year going into the season we saw CJ Spiller going in with a lot of Heisman hype and it really ended up going nowhere in the end. Do you see the same happening with Christian Ponder?
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
I'm not sure it went nowhere. Spiller's name was still in the conversation late in the season. Again, it all depends on how big FSU wins. If it's an average season, I'd say yes.
"As for who wins? The team that lost during the regular season." That prognostication strategy didn't work out too well for you last year did it Heather?
Heather Dinich (1:31 PM)
Sigh, no, it did not, Ben ... but either did my pick for the Orange Bowl ...
Hey Heather, love the blog. Contrary to Mark's prediction, I think FSU can be really, really good this year. Granted, they will probably lose to oklahoma, but if they can get past Miami, I think it is realistic for them to be 10-1 going into the Florida game. Am I crazy?
Heather Dinich (1:32 PM)
Thanks Jared. I'm with you on that. It's realistic. I thought I was crazy when I looked at the schedule and said that to myself, too. But I think that road trip to Oklahoma will get them.
I am worried about Ryan Williams' Heisman shot this season because of splitting carries. But can the VT coaching staff really justify not giving him the ball 20-25+ times a game? I know Evans was good before, but surely Williams is the man.
Heather Dinich (1:33 PM)
I'd guess Billy Hite starts the season with them sharing the carries. That should change if one is out-performing the other, no matter who it is.
Adam (Springfield Va)
Heather, Every year all the hype is around Miami and FSU. Until they prove it on the field with a ACC title how can anyone honestly say they are back? The U has has its moments but haven't been worthy of neing on the national scene since all of Butch Davis's recruits were gone.
Heather Dinich (1:35 PM)
Fair point, Adam, nobody CAN say those programs are back until they do prove it on the field. I don't think anyone has gone so far to say they ARE back, just on the verge. They're close.
Clemson has signed two 4 star RB recruits. With Harper and Ellington as former 4 star recruits themselves on the roster I find myself wondering if Clemson will ever have the O-line it needs to block for the loaded backfield we'll seem to have for future.
Heather Dinich (1:35 PM)
You're not the only one wondering, Shelby ...
VT played 1 team with a offense ranked in the top 40 last year. Is VT D as good as VT fan think or did they just play dad O teams and end up with great stats?
Heather Dinich (1:36 PM)
I'd have to go back and look at the stats, but Miami's offense seemed to be pretty high-flying when the Canes came to Blacksburg last year, and I think Bama's offense was pretty good ... Yeah, historically speaking, VT's D is that good.
Ray (Boston) [via mobile]
What do you think of BC's chances if Marscovetra is the QB? To me, he stood out at the spring game.
Heather Dinich (1:39 PM)
I'd look at his mop-up time against VT over the spring game, and he played well against the Hokies. I think BC starts over again if they don't go with Shinskie.
Do you expect the Hokies to redshirt David Wilson?
Heather Dinich (1:40 PM)
I do, but there's nothing official yet. Decision won't be made until summer camp.
Ben Worthy (GA)
Is this the year FSU finally beats UF again?
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
Seriously, what's up with all of the FSU fans on the chat today? Where's Wake? Duke? Virginia? ... The Noles have home field advantage and that counts for something, but there's still a gap in where those two programs are. I give the edge to the Gators right now.
Michael (Albany GA)
HD...we know FSU's offense will be solid and FSU will go only as far as the Defense takes them. With that said, who needs to step up on FSU's defense for them to really take-off
Heather Dinich (1:43 PM)
Somebody in the secondary. Anybody.
Billy (Washington, DC)
How long will Bud Foster remain a defensive coordinator at Virginia Tech before he takes a head coaching job elsewhere?
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
Oh I think his contract will keep him happy there until Frank Beamer decides to retire.
Ray (Boston) [via mobile]
Start over with whom? Don't mean to harp on the spring game, but Rettig didn't really impress either.
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
I just mean start over at the position in terms of breaking in a new starter. They've already got Shinksie in the system. He should only get better.
Nathan (San Francisco)
HD how long do you see the cuve being for the Yellow Jackets to really start playing well in the new 3-4 defense?
Heather Dinich (1:45 PM)
It NEEDS to be working well by week three, that road trip to UNC.
Hokie James (Hooville)
I noticed that you said if UNC loses to LSU, then they are "same old Carolina". I have to disagree, and I am in no way a Carolina fan. If UNC plays LSU close, then I think there is reason for Tarheels to be optimistic. I mean I've seen LSU ranked as high as #8 preseason.Back to my Hokies, how much do you think the "home game" atmosphere at FedEx will help out VT--obviously it's not Lane?
Heather Dinich (1:47 PM)
First, LSU isn't Alabama. I think the Tigers are a beatable team. In fact, I'll give UNC the edge in that game. As for the Hokies, I think location will be huge. DC is a huge Hokie market.
Can Miami win at the Shoe? I remember the USC game at the Shoe last year, and I expect the same environment when the Canes play there.
Heather Dinich (1:49 PM)
I am really hoping that's a great game. It's going to be an uphill battle for Miami. Ohio State is a national title contender. Miami hasn't even won the Coastal Division yet. Miami is the team with something to prove in that game.
Matt (Washington, DC)
Do you think a win for the Hokies against Boise St. would greatly improve people's perception of the ACC or would it just be "expected" that we beat someone from a Non-AQ conference?
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
I think people forget that Boise State will be ranked higher, and that even though some think VT is "expected" to beat the non-AQ team, it's the Broncos who were undefeated last year. But yeah, a win would only help the perception of the ACC.
Stephen (Fort lauderdale)
Which ACC team do you feel has the hardest schedule and who has the easiest?
Heather Dinich (1:51 PM)
Miami has the toughest. BC the easiest.
Michael St. Pierre (Atlanta)
Revisiting your earlier expansion question... You said if the SEC wanted to add teams for the ACC they'd have their pick. Do you really think a Virginia or North Carolina would go if invited. I say thee, "no".
Heather Dinich (1:52 PM)
You're probably right, but at the end of the day it's all about money and where you can make the most of it. That's a question the ADs and presidents have to answer.
Do think Miami's running game will improve now that Damien Berry is the starter and they have depth at the position?
Heather Dinich (1:53 PM)
Sure, as long as the o-line holds up its end of the deal.
Deante (Louisville, KY)
HD, I have heard that Tajh Boyd is no where near ready to be the starting QB at Clemson, and Michael Wade may be the starter come Fall. Have you heard any of this?
Heather Dinich (1:54 PM)
No. Dabo and I spent most of our phone call today talking about Boyd. He said Boyd isn't ready to start a game, but I wouldn't expect him to be, either. That's what summer is for.
Any ACC teams you feel will get some National Championship buzz with a strong season start?
Heather Dinich (1:54 PM)
Miami could be in the picture by the end of September.
Will clemson be able to put a complete season together w/o parker...and will there defeanse fold in tough games?
Heather Dinich (1:55 PM)
Clemson is not going to implode with a new quarterback, guys, and no, I think the defense learned a lesson last year.
HD, what's the word out of Chapel Hill regarding their Offensive Line? If they can put it together do you see Shawn Draughn getting to the 1000 yard mark?
Heather Dinich (1:58 PM)
Word is that they're healthier, they've got some young players who can contribute immediately and overall should be better. Yeah, Draughn can reach 1,000. He almost had 900 in 2008.
Peter (Shri Lanka)
Heather, What in your opinion is holding GT back? With equal talent at A/B Back and a core of talented receivers lead by Stephen Hill, the general consensus is that GT's offense will be just as good, if not better than last year. Now, we all know the defense had nowhere to go but up, so where's the love for GT? GT vs FSU at the ACCCG. Is that so unbelievable?
Heather Dinich (1:59 PM)
No, it's not unbelievable. Not at all. I agree the offense shouldn't miss a beat. It's the defense that remains a question. New coordinator, new scheme ... let's see how long it takes them to adjust.
Is Paul Johnson as intense in person as he is on the sideline?
Heather Dinich (2:00 PM)
Ha! Intense, surly, very, very funny ...
Heather Dinich (2:00 PM)
Alright guys my time is up here. See you in the blogosphere.