Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 3, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (1:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here. Let's get started.

Marc (DC)

Who will have a bigger impact this season for the Tigers, Ellington or Harper?

Heather Dinich
  (1:01 PM)

I'll predict Ellington. His 7.22 ypc was the second best in the ACC lsat year.

Aaron (Wilmington, NC)

If Russell Wilson is clearly the best QB in the ACC in terms of stats, intangibles, leadership, success in the classroom, and as a many wins does NC State need to have in order for the national media to care and consider him the best Heismen prospect for the ACC

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

I'm not sure that he is the best, Aaron, but I would say that the Pack has to win the ACCCG in order for Russell to get in the Heisman mix.

Colt (Winter Haven, FL)

Hey HD, what does FSU need to at camp to be successful this year? Which players have to step up?

Heather Dinich
  (1:03 PM)

Colt I think what FSU needs at camp is a rededication on defense, and I think they'll have that. Somebody needs to step up in the secondary.

zach (Hillsville, Va)

Heather, what happens if Virginia Tech beats Boise on September 6th?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

Then the Hokies' chances at playing for the NC increase and the Broncos are out of it as early as Week 1.

Chris (Miami)

Have you heard anything about how Lamarcus Joyner has been doing?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

Sounds like he's the "real deal" and Jimbo Fisher said at media he could be playing some offense. Sounds like Fisher wants to get him some snaps quickly.

Brent Austin (Kentucky)

So HD, what do you think about the replacements for the "Big 4" at GA Tech? WR Stephen Hill for Bay-Bay, RB Anthony Allen for Dwyer, DE Jason Peters for Morgan and S Jerrard Tarrant for Burnett. Hill and Peters were 4-star recruits coming out of HS and both Allen and Tarrant were 3-stars. The Jackets are going to be better off this season than most people think. The "D" is going to be much, much better and the offense will be just as productive as last year in just their 3rd season running the spread option. GO JACKETS!!!

Heather Dinich
  (1:07 PM)

Brent I think it will be a seamless transition on offense and I think there is enough talent on defense for the Jackets to contend for their division title again. The bigger question to me is how long it will take for the defense to understand and execute the 3-4 defense the way Al Groh wants them to.

Alan (South Carolina)

Living in Clemson country, what would be considered a less than stellar season for Dabo and the Tigers.

Heather Dinich
  (1:08 PM)

I don't think there's any reason why Clemson shouldn't be in the mix for the Atlantic Division title in late November. That team shouldn't finish any worse than second place with Kyle Parker back at QB and that loaded defense.

The Costal Division (SEC's Shadow)

Heather, If you were a defense, would you be more afraid of Miami or Virginia Tech's offense?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

Florida State's.

Jason (College Park)

Last year, the Terps were still adjusting under Don Brown's defense. With veteran and monster linebackers (Wujciak and Moten) can they lead this team and make up for a drop in offense that comes with a new QB? What are Wujciaks chances at ACC DPOY?

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

The defense should be better, and you're right about the loaded linebacker position, but as good as Wujciak is, UNC alone has a few players with a better chance at the ACC DPOY. And don't forget the 2008 winner is back at BC.

Luke (MD)

Not sure if Russell Wilson is the best? Let's be honest, he carries that team. Ponder is good, but if I were picking teams and had no bias, I would pick Wilson over Ponder

Heather Dinich
  (1:13 PM)

He does carry that team. We saw that in the second half of the Bowl two years ago when he was hurt and NC State collapsed wihtout him. Wilson vs. Ponder is a tough call, but I'll stick with my top 25 ranking and keep Ponder ahead.

John (GA)

Hey Heather is craig cooper gonna be ready for the ohio state game this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

Nobody has come right out and said it, but from the way everyone is talking, it sounds like Coop is doing very well. He'll definitely play if he's ready.

Troan (Columbia)

Speaking of these two "best" qb's in the ACC. When is either one of them ever going to play decent against Clemson's D? Ponder had 3 interceptions last year and Wilson has never come close to beating a Clemson team.

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

I think Ponder had four INTs in that game, actually.

jander75 (the blogs)

Scarier prospect: Having to run down and tackle Ryan Williams or being chased by Da'Q Bowers?

Heather Dinich
  (1:17 PM)

I'd rather be the one chasing somebody down than being pursued by a 280-pound DE, no?

Bryan (Bradenton)

I know James Coley has proven to be a heck of a recruiter for FSU but how about an offensive coordinator? I'm kind of worried about lack of experience.

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

I don't think Jimbo would give anyone responsibilities he didn't think they could handle in his first season, and from what I understand, Fisher will still have a role in how the offense unfolds.

Jeremiah (Tallahassee, FL)

Is Christian Ponder really the ACC's only hope for a Heisman?

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

Definitely not. Ryan Williams, Joshua Nesbitt, Jacory Harris ... and if he has any say about it, Robert Quinn.

greg (tn)

Will Tyrod be allowed to run more with a good backup now in places?

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

Beamer said that would be the case. They're more confident in the backups now.

MJ (my office...daydreaming about the upcoming season)

Hey, Heather, if UNC beats LSU by 21, will people start to believe they are a little better than 4th in the division?

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

They certainly should (my office, doing the same ...)

joel (atlanta)

Thoughts on the 3 huge Nonconf games for the ACC? UNC-LSU, VT-BSU, and UM-OSU.

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

I see the ACC going 2-1 in that stretch, with the loss coming at Ohio State. I'm not entirely convinced the Hokies' D will be ready for the Broncos, though. That pick might change.

Kevin (Cambridge, MA)

Hey Heather, Which Streak Will be broken first, BC's streak of 18 straight home wins against non-conference opponents, or FSU's streak of being overrated preseason?

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

I'm going to say the streak of BC's home wins, since VT comes to town on Sept. 25.

Phil (VA)

I bet you a turkey leg that Tech has a top 20 defense....

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

By mid-season, probably. By Labor Day? Doubt it.

Rustin (Tallahassee)

Does Glen Stanley have a chance to start for Florida State since Nigel Carr is gone?

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

From what Bruce Feldman has told me there might be some issues complicating Stanley's arrival. Conflicting reports on that one. I'll get back to you. But yeah, if all goes well, it seems that would be perfect timing and the perfect spot for Stanley.

Michael (Mobile, AL)

Heather, Is it just me, or is FSU's Jenije just not very good? I think Dionte Allen or Joyner could step in and play better.

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

Jenije will be pushed for his starting job this summer.

Mike (Charlotte)

Is TJ Yates the UNC starter for the full season or do you think Brynn Renner takes over at some point?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

Renner will definitely see some playing time, but I think Yates holds onto the starting job.

Jerry (TN)

Wake Forest doesn't seem to be getting a lot of preseason press and they are not projected to finish very well. However, I think Jim Grobe is an outstanding coach that will have them ready to play well. Any chance that Wake will surprise the pundits and finish better that expected?

Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)

Absolutely. They've got good depth at running back, talented wide receivers, and an improving defense. If they can solve their problems up front and, you know, find a quarterback, they should be back in a bowl game.



Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)


Derrick (miami, FL)

When the U goes to OSU and wins, they'll surprise the world (including you)

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

Yes, that would be a surprise. Call it an upset, even.

Zach (Kholer, WI)

Transplant Nole Fan here! HD, I will be visiting family in the Tallahassee area this Thanksgiving. Should I book my Tickets for the UF/FSU game now? I have a feeling it could be epic.

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

Epic? Let's see FSU win at Oklahoma first.

Nick (Miami, FL)

I think Miami and OSU are a lot closer than people give them credit for. I only think OSU has a better chance of winning because its on the road. If OSU came to Sun Life, I'd bet Miami came out with the win. What do you think?

Heather Dinich
  (1:30 PM)

Yeah, the road trip has a lot to do with it. I could be swayed if that game was at Miami. Home field advantage is one of the reasons I'm thinking Miami will avenge last year's loss to VT.

Benjamin (Durham/NC)

HD, what are the chances Duke beats unc this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

Depends on what kind of a season unfolds for UNC. I definitely wouldn't count David Cutcliffe out for that one, but if UNC is having the season it's capable of (contending for the Coastal), it's not going to lose that one.

Eric (Dothan, AL)

Do you think that FSU could be looking past Samford to Oklahoma, just like they over looked Jasksonville State last year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

I would think they learned a lesson from last year. A lot of lessons.

Ellison (SC)

If Miami and FSU end up in the ACC championship, which could easily happen this year, what are the chances of the title game being moved back to Florida from Charlotte next year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

Nope, Charlotte's the place for the next two years.

Mike (Roanoke, VA)

Which would be a bigger win for the ACC. VT beating Boise, or Miami beating OSU?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

Miami beating Ohio State. The Buckeyes will give the Canes a better SOS.

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

I am not lying when I say that it's hard to find any questions in here today that don't have Florida State or Miami in them. Trying to spread the wealth around the league here, guys, but you're making it tough ...


Heather, in your opinion which ACC defenses are disciplined enough to contain CPJ's option this year? (Note: UNC's wasn't last year, or Va Tech's, or Clemson's)

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

Surprise, but I think Wake Forest will be a good test for the Jackets again. Especially with facing Navy the following week.

Hokiestats (Ann Arbor)

Do you read our comments on your blog entries?

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

Yes, does your mother know you talk like that?

Tyler (Louisville, KY)

Who's your sleeper contender in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (1:37 PM)

I'll go with NC State. We've talked about Russell Wilson and he's a big reason why. They've got lots of issues, including in the secondary, at DL, and RB, but if they didn't have issues, they wouldn't be a sleeper, right?

Mark (Fredericksburg)

With the defensive scheme change at UVA, is there any chance performance will diminish? Or since London was previously DC should we have confidence it will be at least as good?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

Anytime there's a change in philosophy and terminology it's going to take some time to work the kinks out. Because of London's defensive experience, it should eventually be a strong point, but the whole team needs time to make the transition.

Dennis (NYC)

Could the ACC get 2 or even 3 teams into the BCS if Miami, VT and UNC go 11-1 (only beating each other along the way)?

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

Stick with two to start, since the ACC hasn't accomlished that feat yet, but yeah, it's definitely possible. Came close at one point last year.

Seth (Miami)

Why is a VT-Boise matchup a bigger conference test than FSU-OK. For the record, the Noles will beat the Sooners in Norman

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

It's bigger because Boise returns all but two guys from last year's undefeated team and because the Broncos will likely be ranked higher. Also because expectations are higher for the Hokies than for FSU right now when it comes to the national picture.

Chris (Atlanta)

Heather, do you think Paul Johnson will retire at GT or should we be worried that his continued success will lead him to greener pastures?

Heather Dinich
  (1:41 PM)

If Dan Radakovich keeps paying him like he is, I don't see PJ going anywhere.

Chip (DC)

Do you get a chance to get out among the fans prior to the game? If so, which teams fans have the best tailgate experience?

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

I usually walk around a bit if I have time. Enjoyed Clemson's scene, and Virginia Tech is tough to beat.

Chris (DC)

Heather, let's be realistic: Miami couldn't even beat Wisconsin, who the Buckeyes regularly beat. If Miami can't beat a middle of the road Big Ten team, how can anyone possibly think they're gonna take down the Big Ten NC contender? GO BUCKS!

Heather Dinich
  (1:43 PM)

Fair point. Though I really thought the Canes would win that one. Randy Shannon was right: So much for Power vs. Speed.

Steve (NY)

Which school has the most improved offense in the conference? Defense?

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

I think Virginia Tech's offense will take a huge leap this fall. As for defense, the Terps or NC State might show the most improvement. They need to.

Joe (RVA)

With all of this talk surrounding NCAA infractions, do you think the NCAA needs to simplify its rules, or perhaps more effectively enforce the ones on the books?

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

I think the NCAA needs to reevaluate its entire rulebook.

Sami (Blacksburg)

HD and Dennis, You can only get two teams into the BCS! One of those is already reserved for my Hokies. 2010 ACC Champs! YEa

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

Yes, correct, sorry. Once the ACC expands to 16 teams it can get three in. Kidding. Maybe not.

Burt (Va)

What were your favorite things about the ACC media days? Interview? Press Conferences?

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

Talking to the players, definitely. And of course the food. They had a sampling of ACC tailgating food, one thing from each school.

Nathan (Kingsport, TN)

Ralph Friegen still coaching at Maryland in 2011?

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

Not if he doesn't win at least seven games this year. Just a prediction.

Kevin (Cambridge)

Why does the NCAA Need to reevaluate the rulebook when most schools find a way to compete and follow the rules? Or are we just going to do whatever it takes to get FSU back into national title contention?

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

A lot of the rules are outdated, don't make sense and are too difficult to follow. You need more compliance people than coaches.

Harry (Tallahassee, FL)

HD - Considering their offense is solid (not great) and improving, how far is Miami from being "back"...on the defensive side of the ball?

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

I think it starts up front, and that defensive line should be the deepest it has been in a while. Expectations are definitely higher for the whole defense, and it will help that they've had the same coordinator now for two years.

Joe (NY)

Heather, the question was about a non-conference home loss for BC. Trick question though, since FSU will never stop being overrated. Does BC take back the Holy War throne from ND this year? Lets face it, if Shinskie doesn't throw 5 picks they win that game last year.

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

Ah, noncon home games, sorry, I misread that one. I like BC's chances against Notre Dame. They've got more pieces in place right now, play great at home, and yes, Shinskie should be better -- or somebody will replace him.

Laura (Va)

Be honest, is there anything that gets you more pumped up than Lane Stadium, at night, with Enter Sandman blasting and 66000 fans going insane?? This has to be the best atmosphere in the ACC, and most likely college football. Is this your favorite stop on the tour each year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:52 PM)

I love Thursday night games at Lane, love 'em. One of the best atmospheres in college football.

Jason (Asheville)

Heather, You should do a blog entry on the tailgaiting foods of the ACC.

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

I'm trying to get back down to my playing weight, man. Almost there. Almost.

Daniel (NC)

The Tigers started the season 2-3 last year, but somehow turned it all around. Do you think Dabo & the coaching staff will have the Tigers better prepared for a such competitive conference

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Having been to the ACCCG and lost, I think this group of players now understands there's no room for inconsistency.

Joey (Clemson)

Your Offensive and Defensive POYs?

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

I'd go with Ponder and Quinn.

Alex (cincy)

My bearcats travel to NC State this year. How do you see that game playing out and who should I learn about from NC States roster before making the trip South?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

That's going to be a tough game for NC State. You need to know about Owen Spencer, one of their wide receivers, qb Russell Wilson, and linebacker Nate Irving. Spencer avg. 25.5 ypc last year. Big play capabilities.

Kerry (DC)

We've seen the worst case prognostications for UMD....what do you think is their ceiling in terms of number of wins?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

Six or seven.

Bob (Utah)

Hello Heather! What ever happened to Graham? Who is now the voice of the Non-AQ's?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

Welcome Andrea Adelson, formerly of the Orlando Sentinel. You can find her in the College FB Nation blog.

Jeri (VA Beach)

If FSU doesn't play to thier hype, then will he still be your POY?

Heather Dinich
  (1:58 PM)

He was my first team QB last year and they weren't great. Depends on how he plays, how Ryan Williams and everyone else plays.

Seth (Miami)

I think one of the more overlooked OOC games this year is Pitt-Miami. Especially coming off the high or low of the OSU game. Pitt is a very good team and very underrated. There is a real chance Miami goes 2-2 or worse when FSU comes to town

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Yeah, and remember how we were all doubting Miami in its first four games at this time last year? FSU, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and VT. Lost one of those. But you're right, that Pitt game is going to be big.

Zack (Baltimore)

I know you're predicting otherwise, but if VT and 'Bama advance to the BCSCG, who wins the rematch?

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

That would be fun, very fun to cover. Those two backfields against each other? I'd give the win to the Hokies in that one. They played Bama very well last year.

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

On that note, my time is up. Thanks for joining me this week. See you next Tuesday and in the blogosphere.