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 (1:00 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here. Let's get started.
Hi Heather keep up the good work! If FSU can land maybe one or two more 5 star recruits do you think we can beat out Texas for the number one recruiting class?
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
Thanks, Jim. Yes, I do, and I'm not the only one. I asked our recruiting guru, Tom Luginbill, the same question last week and he said he'd be surprised if FSU doesn't finish it out No. 1.
Jamie Harper's diving catch against Auburn was a top ten moment in my book. Should have made your list! Regardless, your list was good.
Heather Dinich (1:02 PM)
Oooh, yeah, that was a great play for a guy his size. I was at that game and remember it. I'll do another post this afternoon, so that might be included there, thanks.
Hurricane (Fairfax, VA)
Hi Heather - love your blog! Al Golden seems to have hit the ground running so far. How do you rate his performance thus far in terms of 1) staff hires, most of which tend to steer very young and 2) recruiting given the very short window of time he has this year? Thanks so much!
Heather Dinich (1:03 PM)
Thanks, Hurricane. I've got a video blog coming right after the chat with some more thoughts on the OC, but overall, I think Golden has done everything right on the recruiting trail. He's such a go-getter. I could see him winning over the players easily. As for the hires? Only time will tell.
What are you hearing about Clemson's incoming class?
Heather Dinich (1:04 PM)
It's a top 10 class, from what ESPN Recruiting thinks, and it's filling a major need at wide receiver. Recruiting has never really been a problem at Clemson,and this class should be another great one.
Heather, you are of the mindset that until you see results on the field, you will not be giving Miami props. Which I can understand. But, can you at least entertain the thought that Golden and crew have done a pretty good job at saving this recruiting class and that their message appears to be getting through to some kids? Thanks.
Heather Dinich (1:06 PM)
No doubt. Look at our "On the Trail" updates on the recruiting page and Miami has two of the latest headlines, bringing in two ESPNU 150 players. Golden is doing a great job recruiting, and that's where it had to start. Fans couldn't ask for much more from him in that aspect. But yeah, until Miami starts to win consistently in the ACC, I'm holding out on mad props.
I seen that you had posted that you see the Seminoles having 2 losses. To whom may that be?
Heather Dinich (1:07 PM)
Yeah, that was in the Friday mailblog I think. The reader said "don't think" so I didn't and assumed they'd lose to Oklahoma and somebody in the ACC. I don't know who.
Cameron (Greenville, SC)
Heather, do you realistically think that Clemson can win 9 games this season? As of late, the tigers have struggled in College Park, Blacksburg and Atlanta, but traditionally fare well in Raleigh and Columbia. Can they win the big ones at home vs UNC, FSU and Auburn?
Heather Dinich (1:08 PM)
I'll believe it when I see it for two main reasons: New quarterback and new offensive coordinator. I'm not saying those guys aren't good, I'm just expecting a transition year at Clemson offensively.
With basically the entire offense leaving for VT (Taylor, Evans, and Williams), do you see the Hokies extending the 10-win season streak to eight? Its clear NC hopes are pretty much out of the picture, but with what should be a better defense, Wilson, and the receiving corps, can I at least expect an ACC title run?
Heather Dinich (1:09 PM)
I'm one of the people who counted VT out after it's 0-2 start last year. I'm the one who said they'd never go undefeated in the ACC. So I'll be the last one to doubt them heading into this year. I still say they're the team to beat in the Coastal.
Logan Thomas (Blacksburg)
Yo Heather, I'm about the same size as that heisman winning QB Cam Newton, I'm also athletic like he was, and I can throw a decent ball. Do you think I could end up doing some of the same things for my Hokies as Cam did for those Tigers?
Heather Dinich (1:11 PM)
Ha, that's pretty brave to be in the same sentence before starting a game, no? Jury's out on Logan. Nobody has seen him play enough as a starter for Virginia Tech to say he'll be the answer.
Heather, the ACC seems to be getting back to the old days of Florida State and everyone else. Va Tech always finds a way to not reach the upper echelon. Does FSU dominate the next 5 years?
Heather Dinich (1:12 PM)
Guys, I get the excitment for FSU heading into 2011. I really do. They're going to be loaded. But win the ACC first. Then we'll talk about dominating the league and national titles and all that good stuff.
Ben (Chicago, IL)
Hi Heather! Is there concern in Miami that Al Golden doesn't have more recruiting momentum, especially in South Florida?
Heather Dinich (1:13 PM)
Ben, I appreciate the question, but you're the only one in here today not falling over Golden for what he's done so far out there. He's moving quickly and there shouldn't be any concern right now with the direction Miami recruiting is headed under his watch.
Jennifer (Worthington OH)
I know it's way way early but if the suspensions hold up do you see Miami pulling the upset on O$U in Sept?
Heather Dinich (1:14 PM)
It's never too early, Jennifer. Miami could win that gamed IF ... it settles on a quarterback quickly AND ... that said quarterback doesn't turn it over four times.
I think EJ Manuel is overrated and in the end FSU will lose more than 2 games because he can't throw.
Heather Dinich (1:15 PM)
Any rookie QB who leads his team to two bowl wins over ranked teams isn't overrated. And he can throw. He'll get better at it, too.
Do you feel that TOB has reached the level at NC State that he did at BC where 7 or 8 wins should be a regular occurance?
Heather Dinich (1:16 PM)
Yes, and if he hasn't, he should, but I think that with the numbers being better, the depth improving, things are finally in place for him to have the program where he wants it -- a contender. Only one question ... who's the QB?
How much do you see FSU recruiting class helping the team in 2010? Filling some needed positions are just depth? Anyone going to make a dramatic impact in 2011 like lattimore for SC?
Heather Dinich (1:17 PM)
Jimbo's thing has been to play the athletes who are good enough as soon as he needs them, so yes, much as he used some of the true freshmen from last year's class, I expect him to do the same with this one. As for which one will have the biggest impact? Your guess is as good as mine.
Davis (Newport News, VA)
HD, as for top moments what about Russell Wilson's desperation throw that was tipped and caught by Owen Spencer for a touchdown in the NCSU/UNC game?
Heather Dinich (1:18 PM)
Or Christian Ponder's fumble against the Pack?
OBA (Maryland )
Hi Heather youMaryland # 8 team in the ACC for 2011 why we won 9 games, have alot of talent back ,O'brien, kenny Tate.Don brown is back. What give? i think Edsall can take the Terps to the Orange bowl and win it. FEAR THE TURTLE Heather.
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
I get it, but again, I go back to Maryland's strength of schedule last year. Yes, they deserve a ton of credit for that turnaround. But they didn't find a way to beat Miami, or West Virginia.
I feel Miami has the talent to win the Coastal division. Our only weakness was at the quarterback position. I also feel Lamar Miller will win the ACC rushing title because Andre Ellington (his only threat) can't stay healthy.
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
Only? It's a pretty important position, man.
Ty Hodges (Blacksburg, VA)
Heather, where do you rank Tyrod Taylor among Virgnia Tech's all-time QB's? Is there a chance that he is/was more talented than the legendary Michael Vick?
Heather Dinich (1:21 PM)
Frank Beamer, when I asked him, said the comparisons with Vick were legit. Considering what Tyrod did and the improvements he made this year ... and he IS the winningest quarterback in school history ... I think he left his mark as one of the top two if not the best qb the school has ever seen.
Heather,Got to start making my plans for fall travel. When does the ACC schedule come out?
Heather Dinich (1:21 PM)
It's usually out in February.
What do you think of Marylands new OC?
Heather Dinich (1:22 PM)
I thought he did a good job early at LSU and then over the past two seasons was unimpressive. How much of that had to do with their quarterback situation? Probably some, but last year's numbers were pretty bad, as were 2009 stats.
Who from the ACC is going to build things the right way to be sustainable? We saw Wake's few good years, Va Tech's seeming consistent inability to win the big games against top 10 competition, Clemson's perennial underachieving, Maryland's flip flopping, etc. Is FSU building this thing right? Is Miami? Who seems to be putting together the staff, ethos, and strategic organization to produce a consistent top 15 or higher team year in and year out in the ACC? Anybody??? Please!
Heather Dinich (1:24 PM)
Wow. Great question, and when you put it all together like that, I think Jimbo Fisher has a business model plan that could be pretty special. He's got a great staff, great recruiters, and there's no question he's got control. He's changed the way the players eat, work out, everything.
Hi Heather!! Snow day up here in Boston so i decided to check out this chat. But anyways, whats up with the Hokies recruiting??? they havent had a top class really since they got Tyrod. This year they arnt even in the Top 25 classes!! Whats going on??!!
Heather Dinich (1:25 PM)
Ice day here in Maryland, Steve, and you're sending me a VT question from up there? No love for the Eagles? Virginia Tech's staff has built a reputation on developing talent and winning with it, regardless of how many stars are next to the kids' names. So far, it's been good enough to win ACC title year after year. If they want more, they might want to start looking at the stars.
After the 2011 ACC championship game, does Jacksonville get back into the rotation of hosting the game or will it remain in Charlotte? I believe that when the top tier teams in the ACC are good, the game will sellout in Jacksonville. Having Wake, BC, and Ga. Tech in a three year span didn't help to sell tickets.
Heather Dinich (1:27 PM)
No, it didn't, and it's no secret it's a matchup sensitive game, but I'd be surprised if Jacksonville was back in the mix. It wasn't a good fit. The league will consider other options, though, after the 2011 game. If it's another VT-FSU matchup and another good crowd, I'd be surprised if it moved.
ken (doha, qatar)
hi heather long time follower first time poster my question is do you think randy edsall was the right hire for my terps? and if not who do you think should it be?
Heather Dinich (1:28 PM)
Thanks for joining us. I think he was a GOOD hire. He's a good coach. He's young, enthusiastic, a good recruiter. BUT ... I'm not sure he'll do what Kevin Anderson wanted him to (aside from winning). I think he'll make Maryland a Top 25 team and ACC contender, but I'm not sure if he'll fill the seats or have people doing flips over Maryland football. Mike Leach might have gotten people a little more excited even if in name only.
do you really think FSU will lose to someone in the ACC? com'on HD get real, there's not a team that could compete thats on FSU's conference schedule.
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
Weeeellll ... here is my past haunting me. I said Virginia Tech couldn't do it last year. They did it. If FSU fans are lucky, the same thing will happen to them and I'll be wrong. Won't be the first time. But look at how often it has happened ... VT became the FIRST team to do it in a decade. And you think it'll happen two years in a row?
How many days till the ACC kicks off?
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
Way too many.
Will Maryland knock of ND, prooving once and for all the the Irish, haven't had a decent team since the past 20 years?
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
You mean the same Notre Dame team that beat Miami and Boston College this past year?
Hey Heather, many people were saying Bryn Renner was better than TJ Yates before the season, and we saw the year TJ yates had. If Renner is that good can Carolina have a special year next year? The recievers are pretty awesome with Jones, Highsmith, Adams and Boyd
Heather Dinich (1:31 PM)
I think UNC fans should be cautiously optomistic. A lot of it depends on Renner, but the truth is, nobody has seen him play enough. UNC will be good up front and as you mentioned at WR. The running game needs help.
D. (San Carlos)
Hi Heather:Do you think that BC's offense will become at least solid as the young skill position players (mostly frosh) develop or is the talent not there? thanks
Heather Dinich (1:32 PM)
No, I think the talent is there, especially at quarterback. Those young guys were forced to play before they were ready. They'll be ready, and they'll have a new offensive coordinator.
Jessica (South Carolina)
Ellington WILL stay healthy! And he will be the best in the ACC! Heather, Chad Morris?? Kind of nervous but maybe he is the change we needed! Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (1:34 PM)
I think you probably summed up the thoughts of a lot of fans. A little nervous, but .... willing to give him a shot. I think he was a good hire, Jessica, and having seen Auburn's offense, it's going to be a fun model for Clemson. But like I said before, change takes time. He'll bring in new terminology the players have to learn, a more up-tempo style. I think it will take some time for them to get in sync.
Maryland was a completely different team when they played WVU in the beginning of the year. I mean Jamar Robinson was the starting QB. You can't base the overall success of that team on that one game. Yes, they lost the Miami game, on the road in Miami, on a last minute touchdown, but that team is a lot better than people are giving them credit for, and you definitely have them underrated going into next year.
Heather Dinich (1:34 PM)
And I will take full credit for motivating them to prove me wrong when they do.
Michael V (Philly)
Awhile ago Frank Beamer called David Wilson "the next Reggie Bush," so obviously he has talent, and now since he is by far the best RB on the roster for the hokies, how big of an impact do you think he will have?
Heather Dinich (1:35 PM)
I don't think he has much choice to have a HUGE impact. With RW and Darren Evans gone to the NFL, and a rookie QB taking over, it's time for Wilson to put on a real show. He could be the best RB in the ACC.
I know the big question for State is whether or not Wilson returns, but honestly Glennon is should be able to lead that team to a 7 win season. He is extremely underrated and they return 4 out of 5 starters on the o-line with Top OL recruit Crisp taking over as the 5th.
Heather Dinich (1:37 PM)
TOB has always expressed confidence in Glennon, which is why he never seems to stress out about Russell's baseball commitments. HOWEVER, any time a new quarterback takes over, there's a learning curve.
LifeLongNole (Tallahassee, Fl)
If Florida State loses to OU but otherwise runs the table, do they have a shot at the National Championship game? Or will it take an undefeated season?
Heather Dinich (1:38 PM)
I'd never count out a one-loss team entirely. Remember 2007?
HD, why can't the ACC ever match up with elite competion from other conferences? I don't think it's a product of lesser talent as the ACC is well represented in the NFL. What can they do to fix this?
Heather Dinich (1:40 PM)
I'm not sure the NFL is the best measure. Yes, it's loaded with former ACC players, but how many quarterbacks? Wide receivers? Running backs? In most of the games I've seen, the ACC lost to the better team. Stanford included.
Mike Fox (Charlotte)
Heather the ACC football championship should always be in Charlotte. It fits geographically and sold out this year despite it being 35 degrees with hail and sleet.
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
It was a great crowd. Personally, I had a good time and thought the city was great. Still, I think the ACC should seriously considering the schools hosting the game.
Rob (Savannah, GA)
Heather - great blog. Do you have any insight into why Jamie Harper is leaving Clemson early? He was the 2nd string running back, and simply great. Why not return for another year?
Heather Dinich (1:43 PM)
Baffling. My guess -- and it's only a guess -- is that the wrong people were in his ear. Whether it was friends, family, and agent, who knows. He could have boosted his stock and helped the team by returning. Ellington is the better of the two, though.
Vinnie (Freezing in America)
Why does Butch Davis still have a job? It is too late for a coaching change now. With all the turmoil surrounding NC this year, I am surprised a conservative school like NC did not fire him. Are you hearing anything as to why this did not happen?
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
UNC officials continue to say that through their investigation and the NCAA's, they never found evidence that Davis contributed to any of the problems.
Do we get a picture with the new helmet on your desk?
Heather Dinich (1:45 PM)
Ha ... it's in the videos this week. Welcome to the desk, Hokies.
Adam (Portland, OR)
Who do you think will have the best offense and who the best defense in the ACC next year?
Heather Dinich (1:46 PM)
Don't laugh, but I think one of the best offenses could come from Duke, where they've got two of the top receivers in the league and a potential star at QB. Problem is they can't run the ball very well. So Florida State gets the nod for offense. BC has been pretty darn good on defense and I don't see that changing.
Mike (Las Vegas)
What are the odds Fridge ends up on Virginia Tech's coaching staff?
Heather Dinich (1:48 PM)
You're the one in Vegas, you tell me! I wouldn't be surprised. Beamer said he'd consider it, but it has to be the right time. I think it would be a great move.
Kendall (Sumter SC)
HD,Don't you think that next season is a bit early for Dabo to be on the hot seat? I mean it took the Old Ball Coach 6 years to finally start seeing improvement in Columbia. Shouldn't fans be willing to give Dabo at least another couple of years?
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
Personally, yes, especially considering that he won the Atlantic Division in his first season. With that said, the staff should've done more with the talent it had on the 2010 roster and back-to-back losing seasons don't fly in Death Valley.
Heather, who do you think will be Miami's break out player next season? I personally think Aldarius Johnson.
Heather Dinich (1:51 PM)
I thought that like, two years ago, Nick.
With Clemson's hire of Chad Morris, do you think Tajh Boyd would be able to become the dual threat QB this fast-paced spread offense requires?
Heather Dinich (1:52 PM)
Clemson fans should hope so. I do think Boyd's mobility will add another dimension to the offense and give Morris what he needs to work with.
Do you keep us up to date on draft projections for players in the acc? or is there somewhere else we should look?
Heather Dinich (1:53 PM)
I don't get into draft projections on the blog, no, but if you go to our NFL page, there is a separate tab for the draft. You can look up any school, player, position in our database.
Wait you would take FSU's offense over NC State if Wilson returns?
Heather Dinich (1:54 PM)
How many leading receivers does NC State lose?
Heather Dinich (1:55 PM)
(seriously I have to look it up)
Can Ga. Tech bounce back after a mediocre season without making a change to the offensive scheme?
Heather Dinich (1:55 PM)
First of all, as long as CPJ is there, there won't BE any change to scheme. Second, yeah, I think they can. Should be better in the second season under Al Groh. But they've got to get better at passing the ball. Not pass it MORE, just be more productive when they do.
What do you do between now and football season? IS this a full time gig in the summer?
Heather Dinich (1:56 PM)
You bet. Blog never sleeps. Keep reading please! We've got signing day, spring football, summer camp ... season never ends, my friend.
Do you think 2011 is the year the ACC ha sa big win over a big OOC team?
Heather Dinich (1:57 PM)
I hope so. I'm tired of writing about the other end. FSU-Oklahoma is the big one everyone will be watching, but if you want my early pick, it would be the Sooners.
Josh (Fredericksburg, VA)
How can UNC officials say they have seen no evidence of Butch Davis' involvment? He did hire Blake, right? He recruited the player, right? He seems quick to take credit for "building the program", but pretty quick to say he's not involved in it as well...
Heather Dinich (1:58 PM)
Took long enough ...
David (Greenville, SC)
Tajh Boyd the next Cam Newton?
Heather Dinich (1:58 PM)
I thought that was Logan Thomas?
Greg S (Piscataway, NJ)
Heather, is there any talk of ACC expansion any time soon? Rutgers and Syracuse would be excellent fits and BC would enjoy some company.
Heather Dinich (1:58 PM)
If BC wanted the company of the Big East ...
Nathan (Morganton, NC)
Based on talent alone how do you rank the Atlantic?
Heather Dinich (1:59 PM)
1. Florida State. 2. Florida State. 3. Florida State.
Soflabeachbum (taking my talents to South Beach)
Hello Heather, love you work (sometimes) when your not bashing Miami (J/K). What do you think about the recent recruits that have jumped on board with Miami and the GOLDEN Era? Where do we stand as a team in the Coastal this upcoming season? Do you believe we are "BACK" yet? Just thought I would ask. . .
Heather Dinich (2:01 PM)
Thanks (kind of). You can't go wrong with two ESPNU 150 recruits. As a team in the Coastal? Everyone has a chance because everyone is down. And no, you're not back.
Heather Dinich (2:01 PM)
Alright guys, my time is up here. Thanks for joining me this week.