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August 20, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (12:59 PM)

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

Jared (Durham)

Heather, I love the great coverage your provide on the ACC and my Blue Devils. My question is about my beloved Dukies... How do you feel Sean Renfree will handle the new starting QB role taking over for 4 year starter Thad Lewis? Can Renfree succeed at taking Duke to a bowl game this season? Thanks, and keep up the great work!!

Heather Dinich
  (1:01 PM)

Jared I think Sean Renfree proved capable of leading Duke to wins last year on the road at Army, and I think he's good enough to be a starter at any school in the ACC. He needs some time to adjust to his new role, but he'll be fine. I'm not sure all of the other pieces are in place, though, for Duke to go bowling this year.

Jeff (Seattle)

Heather, great article about Navy and the ACC, but do you think that the ACC coastal teams would want Navy on their schedules that regularly and do you think that Navy would want to become an auxilary member of the ACC coastal?

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

If I'm a Coastal coach, I'd love to play Navy the week before Georgia Tech if I could to help with the preparation. As for Navy wanting to play those teams? I don't see why not. It's not like the Mids have been afraid of playing the ACC in the past. Personally, I'd like to see PJ play his old team.

Hokiestats (The Blogger)

What does HD think VT should do with David Wilson this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

I'd wait a few weeks and see how my top two guys hold up health-wise and then redshirt him. I can't think of one time in my career I've ever heard a player say he regretted redshirting. I talked to Darren Evans today and he said DW will get his time. Raved about the kid. He will get his time, no doubt.

Steady GT Fan (Atlanta, GA)

The question is why? Why does the GT offense work, when others have had years to look at it? Yes, others can out score it from time to time but why does it continue to work? I have grown to love it but why?

Heather Dinich
  (1:05 PM)

It works simply because not everyone has the defenses talented and -- key word -- disciplined enough to defend it. Jim Grobe called it "a machine."

Doug (Charlottesville)

We beat UNC every year at home. Not even giving us a chance to continue that streak?

Heather Dinich
  (1:05 PM)

Ahem ... "So you're saying there's a chance?"

Matt (Philly)

Is there any hope at all for the Terps this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

No doubt. There's not a lack of talent on that team, and Jamarr Robinson should actually allow James Franklin to do more of what he'd like to with the offensive playbook. The defense should be better in Don Brown's second season. I can see six wins.

Seth (Miami)

After James Wilder committed to FSU instead of 2 SEC teams, did you tell C-Low to go cry in his corner?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

Ha ... I went to, but when I found him he already was so I felt bad. :)

Dan (Washington DC)

Heather, IF VT gets by Boise State opening weekend, do you see them going undefeated into November for the match-up with GT? After Boise, the only games I see as hurdles for VT are that string in November of GT, UNC, and Miami, and VT starts that string off with almost 2 weeks off to prepare for GT. Thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:08 PM)

Yes, that is definitely possible (sorry, had to look at the sked quick). It's the November sked I don't think they can get through unscathed.

David (South Carolina)

Heather, keep up the good work! My question is do you see the three headed monster of Jaime Harper, Ellington, and Rod McDowell replacing the output of CJ Spiller and Jacobe Ford at Clemson?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

I think Clemson's ground game can actually be even MORE productive this year. Part of that has to do with Harper and Ellington's impressive yards per carry last year, and part of it is the veteran offensive line.

Chris Jahn (VA)

I know Boise St has an experienced D, but how good are they against a power running team.. especially with Tyrod srambeling and big play WR threats. Its not like their safetys will be able to cheat up too much.

Heather Dinich
  (1:10 PM)

In talking to some Hokies today, they've been very impressed with Boise State's ability to stop the run. VT's o-line is going to have to be ready.

Jeremy (Raleigh)

I think Atlantic teams better pull a W on FSU this yr b/c the way they are recruiting it might be their last chance. Do you agree?

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

Good point, Jeremy. More than half the Noles' recruiting class is comprised of ESPNU 150 athletes. In a word: Loaded.

Andrew (Buffalo)

How well will FSU have to play for Christian Ponder to get an invite to NYC in December as a Heisman finalist?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

I think they've got to win the ACC title, but while I'm on that soapbox, let me say that Jake Locker shouldn't get any more attention if they're not winning either. Should be the same standard.

Brandon (Indiana)

If GT's offense is such a machine, then what happened last year in Miami? Did the machine break?It's been debated on here way too much; but there's some truth to the fact that PJs offense will make an average team good, but never make his teams good enough to actually contend for a title.

Heather Dinich
  (1:13 PM)

No, it didn't break, Miami played very well and learned a lesson from the year before. Iowa also played very well against it. His teams haven't only contended for a title in the ACC, they've won it. Now, can they win a NC with it? I still say they've got to pass it more for that to happen.

Justin (Boston)

If Dave Shinskie can minimize the turnovers, do you think BC has a shot at winning the Atlantic?

Heather Dinich
  (1:13 PM)

Absolutely, so long as Colin Larmond Jr. and Billy Flutie step up at WR. (or anyone else for that matter).

Scott ((NC by way of Tallahassee))

Heather, enjoyed your article about FSU and Jimbo Fisher. In the article you really illustrate a program that seems to be getting it's structure back. What is the vibe you get from the players? Do they believe they can go deep into the ACC this year or is Jimbo really making everyone take it day by day, game by game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:14 PM)

Thanks, Scott. My vibe is both. These guys are confident. The defensive players like the system and can see results, but they've also got a ways to go and Jimbo isn't afraid to remind them of that.

Eric (Denver, NC)

Play Mike Glennon ASAP or rely as much on Russell Wilson as you can?

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

Rely on Russell while he's here and get Glennon some snaps when you can.

Jason (green valley ga)

Hey, what about coach Paul Johnson, will he stick around if a big time program starts calling him?

Heather Dinich
  (1:17 PM)

I think Georgia Tech has taken pretty good care of him financially to keep him there.

Jared (Winston-Salem)

Who do you see winning Wake's QB battle, and do you think they will keep the job for the majority of the year, or will it be a revolving door replacing Riley Skinner?

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

I think Stachitas will be the guy, though Cross had a great scrimmage yesterday. Sounds like Skylar is slipping in the competition and Tanner Price has been impressive, but not enough to convince Grobe to go with a true frosh.

Connor (Raliegh, NC)

My general thought process on the is that with Russell Wilson, the Pack have a chance to compete in the ACC Atlantic. Whether this is foolhardy or not, I don't know, but I feel confident in this team as long as he's the starting QB. What do you think?

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

I think if it were that simple, they would have won the Atlantic last year. Russell is great, but he can't do it by himself. That defense needs to help out. Very similar situation to FSU.

Evan (Durham, NC)

Hey Heather - Do you think That Duke can win these 6 games (Elon, Wake Forest, Army, MD, Navy, UVA) and make it to a bowl this year? Or do you not see it happening this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

CAN, yes. Will they? I don't know. I've still got my doubts about that running game.

Andy (Florida)

Hey Heather, do you think if Boston College can run through their schedule only losing to Va Tech and they win the ACC, would they have any shot at the National Championship? Or would their easy schedule hurt them too much?

Heather Dinich
  (1:20 PM)

I think their SOS would hurt them. They're in the weaker of the two divisions and VT is the one they'd have to win. In order to even have a shot, they'd have to go undefeated.

Patrick (Virginia Beach, Va)

Do you think Tennessee looking to drop UNC from their schedule is more a commentary on the rise of the Tar Heel program or the drop of the Vols fortunes?

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

I think it's more a statement on Tennessee's part, though it is a sign of respect.

John T (Irmo, SC)

Hey Heather, what does Clemson have to do to get back to and win the ACC this year, and how realistic of a shot do you think we have?

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

I'd say find some dependable receivers and play more consistently on defense. There's plenty of talent on that side of the ball, but they've got to go four quarters, unlike in the ACCCG.

JL (Marshall, VA)

Are injuries in practice a factor for any team so far?

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

Yes, teams are banged up all across the conference. Nick Becton at VT stands out, Herzlich at BC ...

thomas (los angeles)

i'm a pac 10 guy, but i have to say the best story of the week is tennessee being afraid of the tar heels. sec! sec! sec! classic!

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

Ha, funny ...

Bob (Boston)

I'm a BC grad and season ticket holder but how is it that Bud Foster doesn't have a head coaching gig. He's got to be the most underrated coordinator now that Spaz is leading the Eagles?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

Foster, like RB David Wilson, will definitely get his time. And I definitley don't think he's underrated. Just ask the Hokies.

cam (boston)

what is the realistic time table for herzlich

Heather Dinich
  (1:26 PM)

I know he'd play in Week 1 if the coaches let him, but it's a matter of how conditioned he'll be after missing so many practices. It could also cause problems down the road if it's not given the proper time to heal now.

Jordan (Cary, NC)

If Tom O'Brien only wins 6 or 7 games, does new AD Debbie Yow keep him around?

Heather Dinich
  (1:26 PM)

If he's in a bowl game? I'd be really surprised if she didn't. His contract goes to 2015 I think.

Jimmy (Chapel Hill)

HD - The longer the "investigation" drags on in the NCAA Headquarters and in Chapel Hill, to me looks more and more like the two main culprits will not be in Atlanta in a couple of week. Agree?

Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)

Not necessarily. I've learned not to jump the gun on these kinds of things. You really, really, never know. I wouldn't assume anything. Now, if it drags on and Butch doesn't want to play guys who could later be deemed ineligible, that's a different story.

Chris (Durham)

how close do you think the duke vs. alabama game will be?

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

Yikes. Does "not close" cover it?

joe ((tampa))

hey heather do you think ingram will win his second heisman

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

No. He's got a backup who might be better than he is, and much like Evans and Williams at VT, it will be hard if they're sharing carries.

Zach (Cincinnati)

HD, how much momentum do you believe wilder will give to FSU recruiting? Do we have the possibility to finish as the top class in recruiting this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

I think it could be huge for reeling in some more of the top prospects, Zach. And yeah, I would imagine it's possible.

Dave (Richmond, VA)

Where do you think the Hokies offiense will rank this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

I think in the upper half of the conference and country. It should be one of the best in a while, but the passing game still has room to grow. I think it will.

James Botti (Rehoboth Beach, DE)

reply to Dave (Richmind, VA) behind Miami's offense!

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

Very possible.

Steven (Lexington, SC)

Who do you think will have a better year, Ryan Williams or Darren Evans?

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

I think it will be a lot more even than some people might think.

Shane (savannah)

Do you realistically think we can have a winning record against the SEC this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

Yes, I do think it's possible. The Clemson-SC game was the one I was the most torn over. Georgia Tech-Georgia should be interesting. Not ready to give the Noles the nod over the Gators yet. Vandy is definitely beatable.

Benton (Danville, VA)

HD, you keep raving about how Clemson has the ability to replace Ford and Spiller and even IMPROVE on the running game, but I think you're overlooking what Spiller did on special teams. He averaged over 32 yards per kick return with 4 TDs and took a punt return to the house as well. That's not only straight up scoring, but winning the field position battle too. And, as Beamerball proves, that's what wins a lot of games.

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

You are absolutely right, and it's one thing Dabo has pointed out as an area where they'll be missed possibly the most.

Travis (Pulaski, VA)

What are the chances Miami, VT, and FSU ending the season in the top 10? Who do you think wins the ACCCG?

Heather Dinich
  (1:35 PM)

All three of them is pushing it, especially since they're playing each other. I think the winner of the ACCCG is the loser of the regular season game between FSU and Miami.

Jordan (Cary, NC)

I really don't understand the Ponder-Heisman talk. It seems that if Russell Wilson was playing for anybody except NC State, he would at least get in the conversation. Do you agree?

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

I do think that Wilson is one of the most underrated players out there, and if he were playing for FSU (or if NC State could get to a bowl game and win it) people would be talking about him more.

Tyler (757)

Which FSU rb has to step up to take some of the weight off of Ponders shoulders?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

There are certainly enough of them that he shouldn't be feeling that much weight in the first place. Chris Thompson looks to be the guy this year.

Shane (savannah)

Which defense is better against the option? 3-4 or 4-3?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

Interesting you ask that because I asked a defensive coach in the league that same question yesterday. He said it doesn't matter. I asked because of the Georgia Tech-Georgia game with Georgia switching to the 3-4.

Marc (Charlotte)

Hi Heather, how's your summer going?

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

It's over, man. It's over.

Eric (Miami)

Who has the best stable of RB's in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (1:41 PM)

If you're talking about depth, Miami. If you're talking about the best backs, Virginia Tech. To me the Hokies win because of their experience.

Jordan (Cary, NC)

Do you think Northeastern transfer David Akinniyi is the league's most influential newcomer? It looks like he has already won a starting job on the Pack's defensive line.

Heather Dinich
  (1:41 PM)

And the Pack's defensive line is in dire need of some help. He could be, but there are a lot of newcomers who could have an impact.

Cody (Madison)

How do you think Dave Shinskie will do in his second year Qbing at BC?

Heather Dinich
  (1:43 PM)

Reports out of BC have been positive. I think he's matured into a better quarterback, but we won't know how much better until the third week or so.

David (Durham)

How many ACC games can and will Duke win this year? I think if they can win 3 out of conference and 3 again in conference this may be Duke's year.

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

That's the whole key to their bowl hopes, is they have to win the ACC games that are winnable - Wake, Maryland and Virginia. I think they can do it.

William (Farmville, Virginia)

Looking at Virginia's schedule, and seeing your comment that they could upset UNC at home would it be totally unrealistic to say 6 wins for them this season? Wins coming against Richmond, VMI, Eastern Michagan, UNC, Duke and Maryland.

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

No, it wouldn't be totally unrealistic, but I don't see it happening because of all the transition the program is going through. We're talking about a senior class that hasn't won a home opener. That game against Richmond is hardly a given.

Mike Doty (Cocoa, Florida)

Who would you say is going to be the most impacting freshman that will be playing in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

Hmm. Could be Storm Johnson at Miami if they don't redshirt him. He's had an unbelievable summer.

CanesPundit.com (Miami, FL)

Heather, who is your pick for ACC Freshman of the Year? P.S. If you say anyone but Storm Johnson, I must respectfully disagree with you.

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

See? There you go.

packbandgeek (Raleigh)

I believe that NC State's receiving corp should be rated in the top 3 in the ACC this year. Miami is the only corp i see that could best state's this year. Thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:49 PM)

Very possible. Maryland is actually pretty loaded at that spot, though, and Wake Forest has a great trio.

David (Sydney, NSW)

Morgan Moses at UVA will definitely make an impact.

Heather Dinich
  (1:49 PM)

Ooh, yes, he will. Thanks for reminding me. Mike London was just talking about him.

Greg (Barnesville, OH)

What do you think the chances are that we see Logan Thomas on the field in a position other than QB at VT?

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

Definitely wouldn't surprise me, since there's been talk of him at tight end, but it doesn't sound like the staff has really talked about it that seriously yet.

Lee (Washington DC)

Prediction for the Maryland/Navy Game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

Predictions will come on game week, but I have a feeling that's going to be a very close one just like it was last time. Decided in the fourth quarter.

Casey (Virginia)

Why is everyone saying that FSU or UM need to return to national prominence in order for the ACC to be relevant? What happens if a non-FSU Atlantic team goes undefeated? Wouldn't that lend MORE credibility to the ACC as being more balanced than other conferences?

Heather Dinich
  (1:52 PM)

If the ACC isn't getting any credit NOW for being more balanced than the other conferences (which I think it is, as evidenced by five teams in the preseason top 20) than it's clearly going to take more than that.

Allen (Wilmington, NC)

Will Nate Irvings return make a drastic impact on NC State's deffense this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Let's see him play first. It's been a while since he's lined up against anyone other than his own teammates. As far as leadership goes, definitely. He was their best player on defense. I would expect him to be a huge boost.

Kevin (Naples, FL)

do you think FSU at Miami will be another shoot-out this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

I hope so.

PBG (NC)

UNC or NC State.... who wins this year? Does UNC's Seniors finally get a win against State this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

I would think it would be some time for revenge, but it won't happen if Russell plays the way he did last year.

KC (Boston)

What ACC teams do you see finishing in the Top 25 at the end of the season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

Same ones that started it, with the possiblity of Clemson sneaking in.

Ryan (Virginia)

What do you think Torrey Smith's chances are of being a Heisman candidate at the end of the year? He was 6th last year in all purpose yard avg, and he's only a junior this year.

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

Excellent player, but you know how it goes -- you gotta win to get the Heisman love.

Greg (Barnesville, OH)

Who has the best DB's in the ACC this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

UNC comes to mind first.

Jeff (High Point, NC)

Does Kyle Parker really have an NFL shot, or is that Dabo being a salesman?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

He does, but he's not a first-round draft pick. His height will hold him back a little.

Heather Dinich
  (1:58 PM)

Alright guys I gotta cut it a tad short today. Got some work to do. Thanks for joining me today and hope you enjoyed the preview stories. See you in the blogosphere.