Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 2, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (1:00 PM)

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

Scott (New York)

Do you think O'Brien will progress or regress at QB at Maryland?

Heather Dinich
  (1:01 PM)

I have no doubt he'll be better. I say that because he is such a true student of the game. He was talking with Torrey Smith this summer about the NFL playbook, what's similar, what's different, etc. He'll be fine.

Ted (Atlanta)

How many wins are you predicting for UNC this year in light of the Coaching change?

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

Haven't given it too much thought, honestly, but off the top of my head I'd say seven or eight. The usual, unless it unravels.

John (Charlotte, NC)

Everyone make a big hoodoo over lost and/or new skill position players, but Clemson seems to be pretty solid on both the OL and DL this time around, which seems to cover up skill weaknesses. Given the returning experience and talent on both lines, and a passable RB, is everyone sleeping on Clemson?

Heather Dinich
  (1:03 PM)

You make good points, but they lost a pretty important player up fron in Da'Quan Bowers on the DL. Offensively, they return four starters, but yes, I think Clemson will be strong up front, but doubts will and should remain until we see how well the offense executes the new scheme against a legit opponent.

Tim (Lechtig, SC)

Which team is more likely to not live up its preseason expectations, Va. Tech, or Fl. State?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

Virginia Tech. I say that because the Hokies have more questions than I think a lot of fans are willing to concede, but moreso because the Coastal Division is so wide open with new starting qbs.

Dave (NJ)

H-bomb,Why is it the ACC can't move beyond having just 2-3 top teams and football and bball every year? Is it coaching, competition from SEC, lack of talent in the southeast, commitment from schools, etc? The conference expected to be more of an overall power and it just hasn't materialized.

Heather Dinich
  (1:05 PM)

I don't think that's the problem, Dave, I think the problem is getting those 2-3 teams to reach another level -- the national one.

Zack (ashville al)

If Everett Withers doesn't make the cut next year what are the top coaches to take over a unc?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

Instead of giving you names, let me give you qualifcations: 1. An effective manager who will clean up quickly and 2. Someone with a spotless track record.

Scott (New York)

Which new coach will do best in their first year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:08 PM)

I think Al Golden will because he's got the most to work with, and it's a more stable situatin than what UNC has and more talent across the board than what Maryland has.

DAVER (TN)

Which receiver for the Seminoles will actually step up and be a playmaker this season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

Great question and plenty to choose from. I spoke with Bert Reed this season and if nothing else, he's ready to be the leader of the group.

Rich (New York)

There has been a lot of buzz this year about Keuchly and Harris this season, who is BC's 2nd best offensive player this year and who is their 2nd best defensive player?

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

Wow, tough one. You guys are on today. I would say BC fans will be impressed with Kaleb Ramsey at DT, and they should HOPE that Chase Rettig is the answer to No. 1.

Sam (Houston)

Do you think the players at UNC will respond favorably to their new coach and if so do you think they still have a shot at the Coastal Division Championship?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

Absolutely. So much so in fact that I think it will be hard for UNC officials to replace Withers. I mentioned before he didn't get enough credit for what he did with that depleted defense last year. If he held that together, he can hold this together.

mike (dc)

How much easier is miami's toughest 3 week stretch (@VT, @NC, GT) now that Butch is gone? Any? also, with that and the Ohio State game everyone seems to be downplaying, do the canes have the toughest schedule in the conference?

Heather Dinich
  (1:14 PM)

Honestly, I don't think it got much easier. By Oct. 15, North Carolina will know it's identity. They're either in survival mode, or they're competing. And no, I think Clemson makes a case for the toughest sked in the ACC with Auburn, South Carolina, and both defending ACC division champs.

Joe (Anchorage)

HD, I have no idea how well GT is going to do this year (tons of unknowns), but Tevin has really impressed a lot of the players with his off-season work. Do you see a big improvement in his play this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

I'm hearing the same thing you are, Joe. Based on what those within the program are saying, yes, I would expect him to surprise some people. At the same time, the pressure is still on him to keep his job.

Greg (North Carolina)

How surprised were you when you heard about Butch Davis last week?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

Shocked. Stunned. Etc.

Chris (North Carolina)

Heather,While the ACC probably isn't going to be the cause of future alignment, it seems like we have a lot of teams that are poachable targets to the big ten/SEC. What is the ACC doing to prevent/plan for this? You could imagine the Big 10 going after Duke/UNC for basketball, Miami for Notre Dame bait, Maryland/BC for their populations. Conversely, any team in the south is SEC fodder.

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

When all of the expansion talk was going on, ACC officials said they had a plan. I believe Swofford said they didn't have their head in the sand, but at the same time, they weren't expecting anything. So if something were to happen, I don't think they'd be caught off guard by it, but they never detailed how they would respond.

Jeff (Milwaukee)

HD - I don't get how you rank EJ #25 and then say he could be the ACC POY... a pretty safe bet. Even if the list is based solely on previous performance, he's played plenty - 2 bowl wins!!! - to show what we can expect this season.

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

You have no idea how many players were left OFF that list, Jeff. I still agonize over it. It's an impossible list. But here's the thing ... Manuel has fared well in the situations he's been in, agreed, but he has A LOT to prove. The players ranked ahead of him -- at least most of them, but not all of them -- have accomplished more. There is a lot of hype surrounding Manuel right now, but he still has to make his case on the field. I have no problem moving him from 25 to 1 if he's THAT good.

Laura (Va)

Each week the subject of getting an ACC team getting to that elite level is discussed. The only way to do that is to win a BCS game against an elite opponent. One of the biggest frustrations that Hokie fans have had over the years is not that they can't beat elite programs (Tech has beaten LSU, Alabama, Tenn, Nebraska, Texas, Miami and Texas A&M), the problem is that in the biggest games when the entire spotlite of the country is on them, they can't get over the hump...i.e. BCS/Nat Chmp games. What is it going to take??

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

If I knew the answer to that, I'd be making Beamer cash. Seriously, at some point, as cliche as it is, a little luck is involved, but in the games I've seen Virginia Tech lose in person -- Boise State, Stanford come to mind first -- the other team had the better quarterback. As good as Tyrod Taylor was, the other team was better. Against Stanford, the entire team was better. So they've got to have the BEST team on the field, which goes back to recruiting, and then they need a little luck.

mike (dc)

I wont argue that Ellington is the better back (I'll let Lamar's play do that) but who will have better combined stats? The Canes RBs or the Tigers? I have a feeling that guy in Boston might top em all by himself. Go canes.

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

Ha, Montel Harris just might do that. Overall, I think Miami's RBs might produce better numbers and my instant reaction to that is because I think they'll have the better o-line.

Earl (SC)

How much of Stoudt do you think we will see at Clemson this year? If Boyd isn't able to perform up to the standard's of Dabo or Morris do you think they will thrust a True Frosh into the game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

I would think Boyd has to seriously struggle, but yes, it wouldn't surprise me to see him get some snaps because they need a backup. Stoudt played well this spring and gave Boyd some good competition. That will continue.

Matt (Blacksburg)

Heather, how likely is that VT goes undefeated this year with how easy the schedule is and Butch Davis getting fired?

Heather Dinich
  (1:26 PM)

Ok guys, listen ... just because Butch Davis got fired doesn't mean an automatic W for all of your teams. UNLESS the players just fall apart. I really don't see that happening, but I also don't see UNC contending for the Coastal. I think it will be similar to what happened last year -- they cobble together a respectable season despite everything.

Shane (Miami )

Who do you think has the edge in the running game? Miami or Florida State? Who has the QB edge Miami or FSU?

Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)

Running game - FSU.QB - FSU. At least they know who their starter is right now.

Bren (Durham)

Do you think Duke's defense will be improved from last year's? How do you think Jim Knowle's 4-2'5 scheme will work for the Devils?

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

It has to be if they want to get to a bowl game. I talked to Cutcliffe extensively at ACC media days and he believes it will be. As for the scheme, I think it's a great use of the personnel they have. Smart move.

Josh (San Diego)

Heather, I've heard a rumor that Blake DeChristopher is injured...have you heard anything about this?? This could be devastating....

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

Yes, here is the official word I haven't had time to post yet:Senior offensive tackle Blake DeChristopher has a strained left pectoral muscle. He has received PRP therapy and will be out 4-6 weeks, per head athletic trainer Mike Goforth.

Jim (Tallahassee)

Hey Heather. Have you heard anything about what Jimbo & his wife will be talking about on Fridays press conference? I do know its going to be about their youngest sons illness.

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

Yes, that's exactly what it's about.

James (Tallahassee)

Is there any realistic way that FSU doesn't win the ACC title this year, other than the game being played in a snowstorm again?

Heather Dinich
  (1:30 PM)

You just want to give them the trophy now? Yes, there are several realistic ways, two of which are named NC State and Clemson.

TW Stone (Miami Beach - SoBe)

Who is the backup for EJ?

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

TBD. Trickett and Secord will continue to battle it out this summer, but Trickett got more opportunities this spring and made the most of them.

Max (Richmond)

Team with the most surprising recruiting success at this point?

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

I'd have to go with Carolina. How they're keeping those guys is beyond me.

Chris (Atlanta)

Where do you think GT's rushing attack will be ranked at seasons end in terms of total yards.

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

Leading the ACC and somewhere among the top five in the country.

David (Raleigh)

Let's say Glennon lives up to the hype going in to the ACC schedule (after the WF game) what are the chances State goes down to Tallahassee and beats FSU?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

Wouldn't surprise me one bit. Glennon has a great arm. If he's as good as advertised, it's possible.

Jason (Charlottesville)

Mike London hasn't named a starting quarterback with about a month until the season starts. Is this simply a case that all four possible starters are just mediocre and too alike in their skill set? What does this say about the future at the QB position? It looks like London is a little apprehensive about the situation.

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

I wouldn't say he's apprehensive, I'd say he wants more time to evaluate them when they're going good-on-good at summer camp. I think they're different in their skills, but similar in that none of them have really shown the leadership the team needs.

Armaania (AMC theatre)

Why will 2012 be better for FSU football than 2011?

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

Because Manuel will be better, for starters, because everyone will be a year older and some of the top talent they've recruited can contribute more.

David (Raleigh)

We all know GT has the best rushing attack in the ACC. However, they didnt win much last year because they couldnt pass the ball. IT that going to be the same this year or will they be able to pass the ball better?

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

Another TBD. Washington has to make major strides there for that to be better, but Paul Johnson told me at media days that he WILL throw the ball more if his players prove capable of it.

Gary (greenville)

Some think this year Clemson could be the dark horse of the ACC. What do you think?

Heather Dinich
  (1:37 PM)

Boston College is a darkhorse. So is Maryland. Clemson is a contender. It all depends on that offense.

Corey (Tampa)

Do you think if UNC has a good year and if Coach Withers can hold things together, would he be a good candidate for the permanent coaching job?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

Too early to determine that. He's got my vote when it comes to the defense, but we need time to see how he responds publicly, how he manages things, discipline, works with the staff, etc. Lots of questions.

Grant (Atlanta)

Don't you think GT's defense is underrated going into the season? They have some very talented players at LB and it is year 2 in the 3-4. Do you think they will have as much growth from year 1 to year 2 as the offense did when CPJ took the job?

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

Yes. ACC fans, listen up: Georgia Tech's defense will be better. Some of those guys juuuust missed the cut for the Top 25. But they will be better.

chad (wythevill va)

HD,If he's anywhere as productive for VT this season as last does Hosley get any Heisman love?

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

I don't see it. And the main reason is because I don't think he'll put up similar numbers. Not because he's not as good, but because teams won't give him as many opportunities out of respect for his abilities.

Stan (Chestnut Hill)

You constantly mention FSU, NC State and Clemson (for some reason) as the top contenders in the Atlantic....What do you see of those three that separates them from BC....If BC's offense turns around, how do you see them fairing in the division?

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

Well, part of it is the way FSU and NC State finished the season last year, and because they're expected to build on that this year and have the pieces in place to do that. As for Clemson, I think they're better up front and deeper than BC this year, but if Rettig makes the kind of progress he's capable of and I think he will, BC can be a contender, too. I think I just need to be convinced in that offense again.

Mike D. (Lake Wales Fl)

Who would you pick, Rhodes or Reid?

Heather Dinich
  (1:43 PM)

Rhodes.

Brent (Washington, DC)

What does this mean for VT and young Logan Thomas now with DeChristopher being out to start the season? O-Line has always been a soft point for tech (lack of big boys). He is a key element in the protection of our young, learning QB.

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

The good news is that the Hokies have time to prepare his backup, and also that this is one of the deeper lines the Hokies have had. They've got a few options. Not sure which way they'll go yet.

Zack (B-more)

HD, more offense or defense on the top 25 list?

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

Haven't added it up yet but I'm guessing defense.

soonerhokie (Howell, NJ)

Two questions: If Logan Thomas is as good as advertised, what is the Hokies record? If he is a normal sophomore-1st-time-starting QB, what is the Hokies record?

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

I think VT is still a 10-win team.

Jason (VA)

Does VT have another possible JMU game in its schedule?

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

Not in listening to Frank Beamer talk at media days. He'll remind them of it. And show them the App State-Mich game.

Mike D. (Lake Wales Fl)

Do you think Jimbo seems just a little too confident about this season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

Interesting question. I have been kind of surprised by how confident he has been, but at the same time, I think it's genuine and he has reason to be. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy to sugarcoat.

Dan (Boston)

Kuechly is already an unanimous All-American that puts up crazy numbers - what's a bigger stumbling block to his Heisman campaign, the side of the ball he plays on or the team he plays for...?

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

Yikes, equally troubling obstacles. I'd say playing for BC because at least Suh got some Heisman love.

John (Boston)

Hi Heather - will BC continue its tradition of strong OL play, even with the players who have moved on? Also, where does Luke Kuechly rate amoung ACC linebackers? Thanks!

Heather Dinich
  (1:49 PM)

I think their starting lineup is fine, it's the depth BC fans should be concerned about and the rotation. Kuechly is the best right now.

matt (ny)

more likely to still be working for their current employer in 6 years, edsall or golden

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

How long is Golden's contract? Edsall's is six years. I'm guessing Maryland can't afford to get rid of him before then.

Steven (Atlanta)

Other than FSU-OKL, are there any games you are really excited to see in person this fall?

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

Tons of them. Seriously. FSU-NC State, Clemson/FSU, Ohio State/Miami, VT/Clemson, VT/Miami, any game UNC plays because of the turmoil, and whatever game gets Duke to six wins.

matt (ny)

golden has a 4 year deal

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

Thank you.

Brent (Washington, DC)

HD, have you had the pleasure of seeing any of David Wilsons shenanigans in person?? He is quite a character with high energy (back flips, goal post sitting, catching rabbits and birds on the field). If not... you will definitely see some on the field this season!! That guy is an Athletic FREAK!

Heather Dinich
  (1:52 PM)

Ha .. .I interviewed him this spring but did not ask him to backflip or bird catch for me, but I have heard all of the stories. What's the over-under on the backflips we see from him this year?

TW Stone (Miami Beach - SoBe)

By the time we chat again, the Camps will have started, what kind of daily updates have you got planned for us HD?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

I will give you whatever updates each school provides. Not every school does it, and I'll also be checking in with each school for news and notes. Should be a busy month, plus lots of preview content coming for you.

David (Raleigh)

Will there be any heisman finalist in the ACC this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

No.

Nathan (Kingsport, TN)

The last defensive ACC POY - E.J. Hendersn 2001

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

Sounds about right.

Michael (Charlottesville)

How many batteries does it take to shock VT? I-AA That joke never gets old. lol

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

HA ... sorry, Hokies, I hadn't heard that one before. Any good comebacks from the Commonwealth before we sign off?

Butch Davis Runs With Scissors (The ACCylum)

If hWilson back flips Heather--won't that be excessive celebration??

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

Depends if he does one or 20. :)Yes, it probably would be.

Seth (Miami)

Why do you and so many "experts" talk about the turnaround Golden made at Temple but forget to mention: The "turnaround" occured because of the move to the MAC. Despite that, Golden never won the worst conference in FBS. Never beat a ranked team. Never won a bowl game. Didnt even go to a bowl game last season. He will get exposed big time this season.

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

I don't see it. I did, however, go to Temple when Golden was there to do a story on him and see what he had to work with. Not much. I'm from NE PA. Maybe you have to be to understand how bad Temple football was. Does Golden have something to prove amongst his ACC peers? No doubt. But he deserves credit for what he did at Temple.

Dan (VA)

Which ACC quarterback could possibly take a step back this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

There are so many new QBs and second-year starters that we should see vast improvement across the board as the season rolls along. The only one who might be the exception would be Jacory Harris at Miami. To NOT start as a senior? I'd say that's a step back or three.

jander75 (the ACCylum)

How long as the commonwealth cup been in Blacksburg? That one never gets old either...

Heather Dinich
  (1:58 PM)

There you go, Jander, I knew somebody would come through ...

Ike (PA)

The timing of the Davis move is the surprise. Do you hear there are major violations/penalites coming down the pike that the school wanted to get ahead of?

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Nobody knows what to expect, but chancellor Holden Thorp said the timing of the decision was NOT made with the hopes of lessening NCAA sanctions. And I don't think it will.

Kyle B (Blacksburg)

Why does UVA not have an official website for their football program... because they can't three w's back to back to back!

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

Hahaha you guys are cracking me up today. I love it when Hokies and Hoos go at it. Ok Ok that's it. Enough messing around. Somebody's gotta work today ... thanks for joining. See you next week.hd