Dienhart: ‘Expect a breakout this fall’

A couple of years ago we highlighted various media exercises where Tom O’Brien was garnering praise and high rankings. It may be worth some of your time to do a little surfing.

As you can see from some of the previous links, Tom Dienhart was writing for The Sporting News in the past. Today, Dienhart writes for SI.com and has reprised his rankings of ACC Coaches. (Link)

You have to give Dienhart major ‘props’ for exhibiting a trait with which that most media members struggle mightily – consistency. Two years ago, Dienhart ranked Tom O’Brien #3 in the ACC…and, without any reason to make a change…he does the same thing this year.

1. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
2. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

3. Tom O’Brien, N.C. State

There are few better coaches in the nation than the perpetually underrated O’Brien, who thrives on running a smart, disciplined program. He was 75-45 at Boston College from 1997-2006. Unappreciated in Chestnut Hill, O’Brien is starting to turn around the Wolfpack, going 11-14 in his first two years. He was at his best last fall, when he rallied the Wolfpack from a 2-6 start to four consecutive victories and a bowl trip. Expect a breakout this fall.

4. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
5. Butch Davis, North Carolina
6. Bobby Bowden, Florida State
7. Al Groh, Virginia
8. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland
9. David Cutcliffe, Duke
10. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
11. Randy Shannon, Miami
12. Frank Spaziani, Boston College

Note that Dienhart – whose list includes some interesting tidbits and rationale for each coach – ranks David Cutcliffe in 9th position. This is a rationale departure from ESPN’s Heather Dinich’s love for Duke’s coach that we discussed in this related entry from last year that you should check out.

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83 Responses to Dienhart: ‘Expect a breakout this fall’

  1. Alpha Wolf 04/13/2009 at 7:54 AM #

    Spring Game is this Saturday and if you can make it, you should.

    This is the team behind which State fans can place well deserved hope and optimism, and this is a team where things are done the right way: solid professional coaching, dedication and focus from the players and consistency of effort from all.

    BTW, I doubt Spaziani stays 12th long term. Keep in mind who his coaching mentor was.

  2. Noah 04/13/2009 at 8:05 AM #

    That’s an interesting bottom three.

    I don’t think this squad will win the ACC title…but I think they’ll be in the conversation in October.

  3. old13 04/13/2009 at 8:09 AM #

    It seems rather odd to me how many relatively unstable teams are in the ACC:

    FSU – lame duck HC, underachieving players

    UVa – HC on the hot seat

    Maryland – lame duck HC

    CU – yet mostly unproven HC

    Miami – building but inexperienced HC

    BC – unproven HC

    Plus six teams (GT, UNC, NCSU, Miami, CU and Duke) with HCs who have been at their job no more than three years. Only WFU and VaT have HCs who have been there over three years and are not in some form of transition or unrest!

  4. Daily Update 04/13/2009 at 8:23 AM #

    I grew up following George Welsh’s UVA program. TOB reminds me of Welsh in so many ways.

  5. StateFans 04/13/2009 at 8:25 AM #

    I agree…but, I think that TOB has a chance of breaking the “Welsh ceiling” because of the depth of athletes he can recruit to NC State as opposed to Virginia.

  6. choppack1 04/13/2009 at 8:43 AM #

    Don’t get me wrong – I respect the hell out of Grobe. I just wonder what things are going to be like when/if the rest of the conference gets their act together.

    The last few years, Wake has taken advantage of teams playing a very stupid/careless brand of football. I really think that Wake could be in trouble, especially if FSU and/or the U get their act together. I think that UNC, State and GaTech will be tougher outs than they have been the last few years.

    If you look at Grobe’s teams, they’ve struggled when they’ve played athletic teams who execute. The last few years, only VaTech has remotely fit that description.

    This year will be very interesting on a lot of levels:
    1) Can TOB build on what was started in the second half of the season last year (where we beat 3 bowl-eligible teams down the stretch.)

    2) Can UNC live up to it’s hype.

    3) Will GaTech improve and become extremely scary w/ that offense?

    4) Can Sweeney recapture Clemson’s glory?

    5) After 2 straight title appearances – Will BC be relevant this year in their division chase?

    6) Will the “U” re-emgerge as at least a conference power?

    I really think we know what we’re going to get from VaTech, FSU, Maryland, UVa and Wake. Not so coincidentally, these coaching situations are the most stable.

  7. inhoc... 04/13/2009 at 8:56 AM #

    Hey, today is the 13th. Think we’ll be hearing anything interesting as soon as tomorrow???

  8. Thompson44 04/13/2009 at 9:02 AM #


    Would love to know what you are referring too?

  9. Daily Update 04/13/2009 at 9:07 AM #

    Statefans: Welsh’s ceiling was pretty high to begin with.

    2 conference titles and a couple of major bowl games.

  10. choppack1 04/13/2009 at 9:21 AM #

    DU – You are correct. I think he took them to at least one Sugar Bowl.

  11. Alpha Wolf 04/13/2009 at 9:22 AM #

    Chop, the truth about “Clemson’s glory” is that it’s as old as our hoops glory.

    Won’t be long before archeologists are digging it up.

  12. choppack1 04/13/2009 at 9:44 AM #

    Alpha – I agree 100%. There are lots of parallels between the two programs and fanbases.

  13. Greywolf 04/13/2009 at 10:04 AM #

    Looking in from the outside you have to think that NCSU is a couple of years away from making noise in the ACC. Looking from the inside it looks more like this year is the year we influence outcome of the ACC football champion — or at least in our division. Like our neighbors across the parking lot, the Canes, we are NOT a team anybody wants to play this year. South Carolina may think about it before they try to take out our QB with a cheap shot with Glennon or Wilson on the sideline chomping at the bit to get in the game. Fall behind this year and Wilson go out with an injury, we won’t be bringing in Harrison Beck to “punt” on 2nd down by throwing an INT.

    The only thing I like about the Holes being in the other division is we get the chance to beat their ass in the Conference championship when we both get to that point. Not a whole lot their BOT can do to sabotage us in that event.

  14. WolftownVA81 04/13/2009 at 10:05 AM #

    ^^Thompson44 – I believe inhoc is referring to the Fowler rumour. Some are hoping that the shoe would drop after his charity golf tournament. Wish I could go to the Spring game Saturday. My daughter and her husband to be have other plans ….. wedding at 5:00 PM. Best of luck to the Pack, hope CF is jam packed for the event.

  15. Daily Update 04/13/2009 at 10:14 AM #

    Welsh also had 5 ACC coach of the year awards and 3 National coach of the year awards. He had 13 straight seasons of 7 or more wins at one of the worst division 1 program in the country that REALLY DOES have higher academic requirements than 99% of its competitors.

    His success at Virginia was pretty amazing considering all of the obstacles he faced.

    I just read that Welsh finished 3rd in the voting for the Heisman when he was at Navy. Didn’t know that…

  16. Sam92 04/13/2009 at 10:37 AM #

    we’ll know pretty soon what this season holds for us — the South Carolina game first up will be very telling. if we can’t muster a victory against them, i still think we’ll show improvement, but not really a *breakout*; on the other hand, if we can beat SC, then we can beat anybody else on the schedule and have a 9/10 win season

  17. GoldenChain 04/13/2009 at 10:44 AM #

    I swear I hope we have a ‘breakout year’ in some sport…..it’s only been since like 1986 since that happened.
    Seems like the years we’re supposed to be good we fizzle (ie CtC). And when we get a good recruit he just doesn’t quite work out (there’s a long list of names, Wilkins….).

  18. choppack1 04/13/2009 at 10:53 AM #

    What gives me hope is that at the end of the year, we were playing better football than anyone in the conference. We absolutely destroyed UNC and we beat the “U” pretty well. We then followed up this performance w/ a very solid 1st half performance vs. Rutgers.

    A look at our last 4 or 5 games like a look like Russell Wilson’s year – the tools were there early – and when everyone learned what they were doing AND what we were capable of – we became a very dangerous team.

  19. CStanley 04/13/2009 at 11:32 AM #

    I don’t think this squad will win the ACC title…but I think they’ll be in the conversation in October.

    I hope we’re in the conversation in November, :).

  20. Thinkpack17 04/13/2009 at 11:37 AM #

    I know it’s off topic. But I thought you guys would like to know that Fells did pretty well at the Senior’s invitational. Well at least day one.


  21. choppack1 04/13/2009 at 11:45 AM #

    Interesting – I’d love to see him have a great NBA career.

  22. Noah 04/13/2009 at 11:49 AM #

    I grew up following George Welsh’s UVA program. TOB reminds me of Welsh in so many ways.

    Wasn’t O’Brien Welsh’s OL coach?

  23. Greywolf 04/13/2009 at 11:55 AM #

    Wasn’t the only job he had with Welch but yes.

  24. Daily Update 04/13/2009 at 12:16 PM #

    Noah: 7 years with Welsh at Navy coaching tackles and tight ends. Went with Welsh to UVa in 1982 for 15 years. Coached OL for about 9 years IIRC and then became OC in his last six.

    He didn’t get the UVA job and took the BC head coaching job afterwards where he spent 10 years.

  25. Greywolf 04/13/2009 at 12:23 PM #

    7 years at Navy, 15 years at UVA and 10 years at BC. Moves around a lot, dosen’t he? (sarcasm alert)
    Some of you Mofas are holding out on what’s happening at Spring Practice. Come on now, give it up. 😉

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