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May 5, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here. Let's go ...

Rick (Richmond)

What did you think of the TT story in the Richmond Times Dispatch in which he says that he was the "most dynamic quarterback in the draft." We got a good laugh out of it here. I'm thinking he was lucky to get drafted as a QB at all.

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

In reading the comments made by Tyrod since the season ended, I have been surprised by how -- well, I'll just say it -- cocky he has been. Even watching the Year of the Quarterback show last night, when he said he was the best QB in the draft. I agreed with his coach: Prove it.

Keith (Atlanta, GA)

How would you rank the ACC coming out of spring practice?

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

Overall I think it was a great spring for the league because of the progress most of the quarterbacks made and the lack of any real damaging headlines.

TJ (Florida)

What do you think the recent arrests for serious violent crimes at Miami say about Golden, especially after the program earned a clean reputation under Shannon? Is the timing just a coincidence? What is your take on Golden's response?

Heather Dinich
  (2:03 PM)

I think the timing stinks for Golden because a lot of people are going to do what you just did and unfairly associate it with how he runs things. Miami fans don't have a thing to worry about when it comes to discipline, etc. with Golden.

Gabe Hauari (Richmond, VA)

What impact will Virginia's 2011 recruiting class have on their 2012 recruiting class? I'm hoping for another top 25 class! Thanks Heather and GOO HOOOOOS!

Heather Dinich
  (2:04 PM)

I think it could have a snowball effect, but the bottom line is that Virginia has to start winning to continue to draw top talent. The "building a program" pitch won't forever, but it should still sell to the 2012 class, especially if the current class has success and some play immediately.

CLow (Somewhere in the SEC)

Heather, any preason predicitons about the ACC beating the SEC in head to head football games like you made last year? And remember, football is the game with the oval ball, not the round bouncy one.

Heather Dinich
  (2:05 PM)

HA! I didn't get that far yet, and C-low is on vacation ... I think he needed a break from me. :)

Brian (NoleNation, USA)

HD- Big time question for you, I live in MD and own season tickets. I can only make a game or two a year and this year, my dilemma is OU. If you were me, do i travel down to Tally and perhaps witness one of the greatest victories in recent history history by taking down OU and catapulting my squad into the NC conversation, or do i sell my two seats, and make more money on one game than i paid for the seats all year hoping to avoid dissapointment, and just wait for the Miami beat down in Nov?

Heather Dinich
  (2:06 PM)

If you have tickets to the OU game and don't go, you could be beating yourself down come November.

cooltj (columbia,sc)

Is Tajih Boyd ready to lead Clemson to a ACC Championship?

Heather Dinich
  (2:07 PM)

I spoke to him this spring and was very impressed with him as a leader and a person, but he did have an inconsistent spring. That was to be expected with the offensive changes, but he is still unproven. I don't think we'll know if he's the answer until the Auburn game.

Matt (Philadelphia)

What do you expect from the GT defense in Year 2 under Groh? Possible addition by subtraction with some of their losses?

Heather Dinich
  (2:08 PM)

Yes. All three starters return up front, and I think the linebackers will be better. The secondary, on paper, seems like a concern, but I think they'll be ok there. Just being in the second season of the system alone should translate into improvement.

Todd Kelly (Nashville, TN)

Is there any truth to the rumors that Russell Wilson may go to Auburn?

Heather Dinich
  (2:09 PM)

Russell "may" do a lot of things, but I haven't heard a final decision or any frontrunners on anything yet.

Joe T (Jacksonville, NC)

with last season behind them and new guys coming in, will the Tarheels be a better team and be able to compete for the ACC Championship?

Heather Dinich
  (2:10 PM)

No doubt. I think Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech should all be considered contenders to win that division.

Curtis (Washington, D.C.)

with a solid season, can Miami's Jacory Harris get selected in the first three rounds of next years draft?

Heather Dinich
  (2:10 PM)

Let's see him win the starting job, first.

terrence (waycross)

Heather, if Miami can win it's first four games and stay healthy, do u think they have a chance against VT and FSU?

Heather Dinich
  (2:13 PM)

Miami should have a chance against both of those teams regardless of how it starts the season because those players who were around last year should want to redeem themselves.

Duff-dog (Austin, Texas)

Who would you say is the toughest ACC player? Someone who really grinds through each play?

Heather Dinich
  (2:14 PM)

The first player who comes to mind is gone ... Joshua Nesbitt.

Daniel (Raleigh)

I hear Logan Thomas being compared to Cam Newton... any truth to that?

Heather Dinich
  (2:15 PM)

Physically, definitely. I asked the Hokies' staff this spring if the comparisons were legit and they said yes, as far as his physical build. We'll have to wait to see if his game compares, but he had a great spring.

Boomer (Delray Beach)

who's going to win the Miami QB job?

Heather Dinich
  (2:15 PM)

I think it's going to be Jacory because of his experience.

Jason (Cleveland)

Heather, there's boat loads of hype for EJ Manuel this off-season based on his MVP in their bowl game. Is this another case of a QB having some success due to lack of material for defenses to plan for? Or is there more evidence to support the hype?

Heather Dinich
  (2:16 PM)

I think there's enough evidence out there to back the hype. What is he, 5-3 as a starter, completed over 60 percent of his passes?

Daniel (Raleigh)

A lot of NC State people around here are really hyped over Mike Glennon, which, with how high he was rated seems understandable. However, with what happened with Sean at VaTech, should that enthusiasm be a bit tapered until he proves anything on the field?

Heather Dinich
  (2:18 PM)

Yes, but it has nothing to do with his brother and everything to do with the fact that he hasn't seen enough significant snaps yet. And don't forget, Sean did lead his team to an ACC title. I've heard Mike is better.

Brian (Boston)

Todd McShay's first 2012 mock draft is out and has Luke Kuechly going off the board as the 1st LB and 14th overall - does the BC defense have a strong enough year to catapult Kuechly into a potential Butkus award and top-15 draft pick?

Heather Dinich
  (2:19 PM)

BC's defense is always good, I don't see why this year would be any different, though they've still got questions up front. Kuechly should be a Heisman candidate. I know, I know ...

Bryan (Raleigh)

Do you think TOB made the right call with respect to Russell Wilson?

Heather Dinich
  (2:19 PM)

No. I think he should have let him come back and compete for the job, but I completely understand why he did it -- to be fair to the rest of the team.

BK's Broilers (Hamden, CT)

If there was an ACC fantasy football league, who would be drafted first?

Heather Dinich
  (2:20 PM)

Ooh. Tough call. Really tough. I might pick Kuechly.

Sparky (Greensboro)

Is this more of a rebuild or reload year for North Carolina?

Heather Dinich
  (2:21 PM)

Reload. I think they've still got significant NFL potential on their roster, and so many players got valuable experience last year that wouldn't have otherwise gotten thanks to the NCAA investigation.

Tran (Orlando, FL)

Every week I like to remind you that I am picking Duke to beat Miami. With the rate Miami is going, they might not be able to field a team.

Heather Dinich
  (2:22 PM)

Disagree about Miami. They're still loaded with talent. The question is whether or not Golden can do more with it than his predecessor. As for Duke, though, you might be right. They are going to beat somebody they're not supposed to this year and it very well could be Miami.

Paully D (Seaside Heights, NJ)

How overrated is FSU coming into the season? I've seen them ranked as high as 3 in the post spring top 25. There's nothing to support those claims

Heather Dinich
  (2:23 PM)

FSU fans are tired of hearing me agree with you. I think they're a top 10 team. I'll believe they're a top 3 team if and when they beat the Sooners.

Jimbo Fisher (Tally)

Heather, what's up with my offensive line? I don't even know what the starting lineup is going to look like! Care to help me out?

Heather Dinich
  (2:24 PM)

Oh the starting lineup will be set: LT Datko, LG Bryan Stork or Spurlock, C-Fahrenkrug, RG - Spurlock or Stork, RT Sanders.

Andy (Hokie Nation)

Toughest ACC player? Remember this? The guy got his finger ripped off, put it on ice, and continued playing

Heather Dinich
  (2:25 PM)

Oooh, good call, Andy. I remember that. Eew.

Jake ((Midlothian, VA))

Top offensive playmaker in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (2:26 PM)

Let's be honest -- there's a lot of names, a lot of hype, but no clearcut frontrunner for ACC Offensive POY. EJ Manuel? Danny O'Brien? Sean Renfree? Lamar Miller?

Stanley (Jacksonville, FL)

HD, who has the best offensive line going into the 2011 season.

Heather Dinich
  (2:27 PM)

I think it might be North Carolina. Clemson should be very good, too.

Daniel (Raleigh)

Lots of talk about Miami and UNC being good this year. Are they finally ready to step up, or are the Hokies once again still in control of the Coastal?

Heather Dinich
  (2:27 PM)

Until proven otherwise, it's Virginia Tech's to lose.

Leslie (Atlanta, GA)

so from 1-12, who is the best and worst ACC teams going into the summer?

Jacob ((Richmond))

So this is the year of the Virginia QB....Logan Thomas, Tajh Boyd, EJ Manuel, and Bryn Renner all hail from VA. Which one has the best season? (UVA's probably is from Virginia but no one cares.)

Heather Dinich
  (2:28 PM)

Whoops, somehow that last answer didn't print ... I said that the post-spring power rankings should be out later today ...

Heather Dinich
  (2:29 PM)

As for Jacob's question, yes, it's the year of the commonwealth connection for QBs. And yes, it's possible the Hoos have an in-state starter as well. As for who has the best year? I know Bryn Renner and Mike Glennon will have a fun competition going on to find out. Glennon beat him last in high school I think.

Keyser Söze (Turkey)

Is Butch Davis going to be on the hotseat after this season?

Heather Dinich
  (2:30 PM)

It depends on what kind of season they have, if he loses to Tom O'Brien again, what more comes of the NCAA sanctions. If he's made it this far, I'm not sure why his job would be in any jeopardy with another eight-win season.

Dave Kowal (Boston)

Does the ACC need its own Larry Scott to inject energy nationally into this conference - it's not like the pac-11 1/2 is better than the ACC in BB or FB?

Heather Dinich
  (2:31 PM)

No. The ACC needs a national title contender to spice it up.

Slurpee (7-11)

Which freshman will make the biggest impact this season?

Heather Dinich
  (2:32 PM)

NC State fans should hope it's not Tyler Brosius. He's not ready for it.

Ben (FL)

I am an FSU fan and very optimistic about the season, but I think preseason polls are a waste of time.

Heather Dinich
  (2:32 PM)

Are you kidding me? What would Schlabach and I argue about? :)

anthony (hokie in carolina)

Does David Wilson have a shot as POY

Heather Dinich
  (2:33 PM)

No doubt. He's good enough to carry the load by himself. He should be fun to watch.

Tim (Charlotte)

Hey Heather, love the blog. Just saw Todd's 2012 mock draft, he has 3 UNC defensive players in the 1st round. Thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (2:34 PM)

That's why I said reload to the previous question, not rebuild.

Jay (Florida)

Does Clemson have any kind of chance this year with som many rookies and an uproven 2009 jr class.

Heather Dinich
  (2:34 PM)

It all depends on how quickly the offense comes together. I think the line could really help the transition because of their run-blocking skills. Clemson is going to spread the field to run, not pass, based on what we learned this spring.

Bob (NYC)

What impact will the Tarheels' success in the NFL Draft have on their recruiting?

Heather Dinich
  (2:35 PM)

Huge. Can you imagine being a 17-year-old prospect watching the draft? If I'm one of those kids, I'm watching and taking note of who's got the most players going and moving that school up my list.

Jason (Cleveland)

HD, what is the biggest factor you look for to evaluate a team pre-season. Returning starters, previous record, recruits, stats?

Heather Dinich
  (2:36 PM)

Personally, one of the first things I look at is the quarterback situation. It's imperative to the team's success. Is it a rookie? Is it a veteran? Is it a guy like Danny O'Brien who has yet to reach his max? I think it's one of the biggest factors in the conference race.

Daryl (Da Burg, SC)

What the top 3 biggest difference making players for Clemson this year?

Heather Dinich
  (2:37 PM)

Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington and Malliciah Goodman

Gunner (Gainesville, FL)

If Manuel starts out poorly (not going to happen)... how short of a leash is he going to be on?

Heather Dinich
  (2:38 PM)

Not very. If the staff was that confident in his backup, it wouldn't still be a question heading into summer camp. EJ is the guy. And he's not going to have a disasterous start.

Bluto Blutarsky (Faber College)

What player has to fill the biggest shoes this season in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (2:39 PM)

Might be the aforementioned Goodman, who is taking over for Da'Quan Bowers.

Adam (Reston)

Heather, love your blog. But have an interesting question, everyone keeps talking about "when Miami returns to glory." I get that because I'm old :( but for recruiting, these HS players have not really known Miami as a power, save a couple of Ken Dorsey years. Wouldn't they see VT as the "traditional" power in the ACC (and old Big East)????

Heather Dinich
  (2:41 PM)

Interesting question, Adam. I'm old, too, but you're right -- anyone who only recently started paying attention to the ACC should be most plugged into Virginia Tech's success. That being said, the recruits in Miami and South Florida, I would imagine, still grow up with the Canes. The truth is, VT has owned the ACC since expansion.

Tim (Charlotte)

Have you had many chances to talk to B. Renner this spring? If so, does he give you the impression he's ready to take the lead?

Heather Dinich
  (2:42 PM)

I only spoke with him once, but was impressed with him. And I'm sure a lot of Tar Heel fans have seen the YouTube video of his crazy shot. He's a personality, but he's also humble and I think he'll be a good leader. He certainly had a good spring and seems to have the potential to be a special QB.

jerry (ATL , GA)

How do you think GT do this year?

Heather Dinich
  (2:42 PM)

I'm thinking 6 or 7 wins.

James (Chattanooga)

Heather, who do you predict will win the starting QB and BB spots for GT?

Heather Dinich
  (2:43 PM)

I think Tevin will get it together and keep his job, as for B-back, I predict a group effort. I think that TOGETHER they will combine for 1,000 yards, but it will look different than it has in the past under CPJ.

LifeLongNole (Tallahassee, Fl)

Looking at the secondary for FSU, I think they could potentially be the best in the conference this year. But I don't hear anyone talking about them pre-season. Your thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (2:45 PM)

Actually, could be one of the best in the country. All four starters return and the CBs combined for 33 passes defended last year, the most of any CB tandem in the nation.

C Sheen (Las Angeles, CA)

How do you think the Randy Edsall era will begin this season?

Heather Dinich
  (2:46 PM)

With a thud? I think Miami wins the Labor Day game. The Canes have more talent. BUT ... the Terps have the better QB and home field advantage. I don't know if they can stop Miami's RBs though.

Daunte (Mobile)

Which ACC program (not team) is underachieving the most?

Heather Dinich
  (2:46 PM)


Steven (NYC)

Which conference will be better this season: ACC or Big East? Or are they about even?

Heather Dinich
  (2:47 PM)

ACC. Again.

Marc (Charlotte)

Is that the same FSU secondary that TJ Yates and Dwight Jones torched?

Heather Dinich
  (2:47 PM)

Ahem, yeah, that's the one ...

tom (Atlanta, GA)

What are your thoughts on Butch Davis being Coach of the Year next year?

Heather Dinich
  (2:48 PM)

Not if he loses to TOB again. Look out for David Cutcliffe to earn that title this year.

Evan (Oxford, MS)

over/under 7 wins for UVA this season. and could they have not gotten a better game for the labor day night game?

Heather Dinich
  (2:49 PM)

Under. Oh c'mon, two first-year head coaches? You'll watch it.

Jabroney (San Quinton)

Butch Davis hasn't had great years and hasn't had terrible years. BUT, he is putting players in the NFL at a clip. Will that eventually make them a real contender?

Heather Dinich
  (2:50 PM)

Sure, they would have been last year had they all been eligible. Key word there.

Tyler (Blacksburg)

Most people have the Hokies ranked roughly 19 in the pre-season top 25. Don't you think that's a bit underrated?

Heather Dinich
  (2:50 PM)

No. From the outside looking in you see a new QB, one proven running back, and three new starters on the defensive line. They've got something to prove. They'll work their way, though.

Chuck Norris (Dallas, TX)

Can the ACC ever catch-up with BCS conferences like the SEC, PAC 10/12, and Big 10/12?

Heather Dinich
  (2:52 PM)

I don't think it will catch up with the SEC, but yes, look at the Big Ten this year ... does it really have a true NC contender? One great team? Miami can beat Ohio State. FSU can beat Oklahoma. Those things have to happen in order for the balance of power to shift, and eventually, I think it will.

Mike (Boston)

What does BC need to do to bring in bigger recruits? I know the program does well with developing talent, but we could take the program to the next level with better recruits. We have been so close to winning the ACC the last couple of years.

Heather Dinich
  (2:53 PM)

I don't think there's a problem with BC's recruiting. They get the kids that fit the program -- tough, physical, blue-collar guys who aren't afraid to work and will win. Of course, the more you win the more attractive your program is, but the players also have to be the right character fit for the program.

Greg Reid (Tally)

Same secondary that knocked Lattimore out of a bowl game?

Heather Dinich
  (2:54 PM)

Lol ... yep, that one, too ...

Adam (Boston)

When will the ACC finally become nationally relevant again?

Heather Dinich
  (2:54 PM)

2012. Mark your calendar.

Bill (Seattle, WA)

Heather, on College Football Live during their top 25 Countdown, they gave major props to Virginia Tech and said they should be ranked higher (#6) and even talked of a possible National Championship run. What does that hinge on(Logan Thomas) and how likely do you think that is?

Heather Dinich
  (2:56 PM)

Yes, a lot of it hinges on Logan, but the defense canNOT afford to give up as many plays over 20 yards as it did last year. They've got to be better up front, and Thomas and Wilson MUST stay healthy. The noncon sked is easy, but I disagree about the NC because I think the SOS will hold them back -- and so will one or two league losses.

Charlie (Raleigh, NC)

Any thought on NCSU defense this coming season?

Heather Dinich
  (2:58 PM)

Audie Cole is going to finally be recognized as one of the better players in the league. The secondary will be better, as all four starters return. They made significant improvement last year with Tenuta being added to the staff and I think they'll take another step forward this year.

Clay (Mobile)

Heather? Are you listening? I believe that this is the 3rd year in a row i've heard that FSU is gonna be back. But every year after 5 games they are clearly not. Why is this year any different?

Heather Dinich
  (2:59 PM)

Because Jimbo Fisher is the head coach and in his first season he won the Atlantic Division and now has almost every starter returning from that team.

Bob (Atlanta, GA)

So who's going to represent the Coastal and Atlantic in the Championship this year

Heather Dinich
  (3:00 PM)

Final answer: Virginia Tech and Florida State repeat. This time, FSU wins. Thanks for joining me today, guys. See you in the blogosphere.