Friday mailblog

Here we go ...

Conor in Tallahassee, Fla., writes: Oops... it looks as though Fisher's vague plans for the future of the OC position in regards to play calling has come back to haunt him in the form of a departure from one of the most important recruiters/assistants the Noles had, James Coley. With signing day approaching, do you see this vacancy hindering a strong finish by FSU in recruiting. Also, please give us Seminole fans some hope... do you see a new play caller being hired/named in the near future?

HD: I refuse to try and figure out the minds of teenagers, so I don't know how it will affect their decisions this year. You would think the fact that FSU has lost six assistants would factor into some decisions, but you never know. Jimbo Fisher is still a heckuva closer, but in the future, I think it will definitely have an impact -- unless, of course, Jimbo finds an assistant who can recruit as well, and Billy Napier was certainly a good hire in that regards. The issue of the play calling is critical, and there's little doubt that it will factor into the hire. Who out there would be willing to do all of the other grunt work required by a coordinator, and yet relinquish the power of calling plays? Sometimes it works. It works for Paul Johnson. It wasn't working for Jimbo Fisher.

Jason in Miami, Fla., writes: Coley is a GREAT hire, no doubt. Would have to argue that Cristobal is the bigger hire though. He basically bridged the gap between Golden and Coley.

HD: You might be right. I'd be willing to go with that, but the reason I said Coley was bigger was because Al Golden got him from his rival's staff. That's HUGE. Miami found a way to help itself while giving FSU a kick in the shins. In Jimbo Fisher's words, that's a "double whammy."

Alan Squires in Raleigh, N.C., writes: Hey Heather i was just wondering why Carolina is not getting a little more respect going into next season, i understand that Gio is gone but they have a 4 star running back coming in next year in TJ Logan along with the 2 running backs they had last year coming back, you picked Miami to win the coastal next year and Carolina beat Miami last year, i was just wondering your thoughts on that.Thanks

HD:Yes, you're right, UNC has lots of talent returning, but Miami has more, especially up front on the offensive line. To me the Heels have a lot to prove because of how much they lose on offense and in the return game. It's not just Giovani Bernard, it's his lead blocker -- Outland finalist Jonathan Cooper -- and a total of three starters on the offensive line. And Bernard's impact in the return game was huge. The offensive line will return tackle James Hurst (three-year starter) and center Russell Bodine, but the other three spots will need to be filled. Guard Landon Turner started the last four games after Brennan Williams got hurt. At running back, UNC returns senior A.J. Blue (433 yards, 9 touchdowns) and sophomore Romar Morris (386 yards, 2 touchdowns). They have recruited well at that position, but those guys are unproven.

Trenton Tovar in Nashville, Tenn., writes: Dear Heather,I'm sure you're going to get a lot of emails condemning the NCAA over the Miami investigation, so I want to play devil's advocate and take the NCAA's side. Given the lack of subpoena power, it sounds like the NCAA just got fed up and decided to shell out money to someone in the know to actually tell them the truth. Is that really so bad?

HD: Yes!

Matthew in Atlanta, Ga., writes: Heather, why is it that all of the sudden, due to one bad season in 20 years, VT falls off the map? All I read or hear about is FSU, Clemson and Miami being the top teams in the ACC. How is that? FSU and Miami have a string of bad years but each year I had to hear FSU and Miami are back!! VT has ONE bad year and it's like they never existed. Come on, are we that desperate to prop these schools up that we forget our history? Why not give credit where credit is due?

HD: Because Virginia Tech doesn't deserve much credit right now? That offense was painful -- painful -- to watch this year. It was the program's worst season in 20 years. Virginia Tech was barely bowl eligible. Frank Beamer has gotten plenty of credit for his success there. Florida State and Miami had better seasons this year. That's just how it goes, but I expect Virginia Tech to be the most improved team in the ACC in 2013.

Scott in Beckley, W. Va., writes: Hi HD, opinion question, do you think with Maryland leaving the ACC that WVU would have got an invitation to join had they been available?

HD: It's an interesting question. One of my first reactions after the ACC announced it would add Louisville was, "well, then, why didn't they just add West Virginia in the first place?" It's a moot point now, but I think the answer would be yes, it would have gone after WVU had it been available because the decision to add Louisville was a concession on the ACC's part that a strong athletic program -- in this case -- was more important than the previous academic standard.