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3 posts from November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

16 Seminoles Given All-ACC Recognition


The Atlantic Coast Conference on Monday announced it's all-conference teams for the 2012 football season and unsurprisingly the list was dominated by Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers- the two teams who dominated the conference. 

Six Clemson Tigers made the all-ACC first team, all of them on offense, but only three other players from the rest of the team made the second-team or honorable mention bringing their grand total to nine.

Florida State had five first-team selections, PK Dustin Hopkins, DE's Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, CB Xavier Rhodes and S Lamarcus Joyner.

QB EJ Manuel, RB Chris Thompson, OL's Cam Erving, Tre Jackson and Bryan Stork, DT Everrett Dawkins and LB Christian Jones were second team All-ACC. OT Menelik Watson, DT’s Anthony McCloud and Tim Jernigan and LB Vince Williams received honorable mentions.

In total, counting second-team selections and honorable mentions, 16 Seminoles were honored.

Here's the official selection video followed by the full list of players (courtesy of ACC.com)...

QB-Tajh Boyd, Clemson (86) 
RB-Giovani Bernard, North Carolina (91) 
RB-Andre Ellington, Clemson (77)
WR-DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (80) 
WR-Alex Amidon, Boston College (53) 
OT-Oday Aboushi, Virginia (53) 
OT-Brandon Thomas, Clemson (51) 
OG-Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (79) 
OG-Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (64) 
C-Dalton Freeman, Clemson (78) 
TE-Brandon Ford, Clemson (54) 
K-Dustin Hopkins, Florida State (79)
Spec.- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina (48)

DE-Bjoern Werner, Florida State (89) 
DE-Cornellius Carradine, Florida State (77) 
DT-Joe Vellano, Maryland (80) 
DT-Sylvester Williams, North Carolina (63)
LB-Nick Clancy, Boston College (66)
LB-Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (65) 
LB-Steve Greer, Virginia (58)
CB-Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (66)
CB-Ross Cockrell, Duke (50) 
S-Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State (59) 
S-Earl Wolff, NC State (46) 
P-Will Monday, Duke (73)

QB-EJ Manuel, Florida State (25)
RB-Duke Johnson, Miami (47)
RB-Chris Thompson, Florida State (31)
WR-Conner Vernon, Duke (51) 
WR-Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest (32) 
OT-James Hurst, North Carolina (50) 
TIE OT-Cameron Erving, Florida State (21)
TIE OT-Emmett Cleary, Boston College (21) 
OG-Tre' Jackson, Florida State (26) 
OG-R.J. Matttes, NC State (24) 
C- Bryan Stork, Florida State (19) 
TE-Eric Ebron, North Carolina (51) 
TIE K-Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson (22) 
TIE K-Casey Barth, North Carolina (22)
Spec.-Duke Johnson, Miami (44)

DE-James Gayle, Virginia Tech (30) 
DE-Kareem Martin, North Carolina (22) 
DT-Everett Dawkins, Florida State (34)
DT-Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest (24) 
LB-Demetrius Hartsfield, Maryland (34) 
LB-Christian Jones, Florida State (31) 
LB-Jack Tyler Virginia Tech (28) 
CB-David Amerson, NC State (46) 
CB-Antone Exum, Virginia Tech (44)
S-Rashard Hall, Clemson (43) 
S- Walt Canty, Duke (31) 
P-Tommy Hibbard, North Carolina (40)

Honorable Mention [Name, School, Position, Points]: Kenny Anunike (D), de (13); Jeremiah Attaochu (GT), lb (26); Brandan Bishop (NCS), safety (20); Travis Bond (NC), og (14); Tre Boston (NC), safety (29); Darryl Cato-Bishop (NCS), de (12); Emmett Cleary (BC), ot (21); Jamison Crowder (D), wr (15); Stefon Diggs (MD), spec. (33); Jay Finch (GT), c (16); Jon Feliciano (MI), og (16); A.J. Francis (MD), de (12); Kyle Fuller (VT), cb (16); Mike Glennon (NCS), qb (10); Malliciah Goodman (CL), de (16); Dave Harding (D), og (14); Seantrel Henderson (MI), ot (13); Antoine Hopkins (VT), dt (10); Derrick Hopkins (VT), dt (15); Will Jackson (GT), ot (14); Timmy Jernigan (FS), dt (15); Alexander Kinal (WF), p (12); Gerald Levano (BC), p (13); Brandon Linder (MI), og (21); Ross Martin (D), pk (11); Anthony McCloud (FS), dt (10); Jake McGee (VA), te (12); Demetrious Nicholson (VA), cb (12); Denzel Perryman (MI), lb (12); Kevin Pierre-Louis (BC), lb (14); Bryn Renner (NC), qb (15); LaRoy Reynolds (VA), lb (10); Tim Scott (NC), cb (10); Perry Simmons (D), ot (11); Orwin Smith (GT), rb (13); Kenny Tate (MD), lb (12); Bruce Taylor (VT), lb (19); Sammy Watkins (CL), wr (19); Menelik Watson (FS), ot (13); Camden Wentz (NCS), c (12); Brennan Williams (NC), ot (13); Vince Williams (FS), lb (11)


Manuel is Good to Go for Next Week, Until He's Not


News out of Jimbo Fisher's press conference this morning was that after what looked to be a pretty violent helmet-to-helmet collision– one that caused a fumble– EJ Manuel is ready to go for next weekend's ACC Championship game.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher said Manuel was fine and would play on Saturday and moments later, Manuel himself echoed those sentiments. 

"I'm fine," said Manuel. "I took a hard hit, it's a part of the game. It was a physical game throughout the whole 60 minutes, we got some hits on them, they got some hits on us, so I'll be fine."

There was some confusion in the moments after the game as to where the blow actually landed, some said he was a hit in the ribs and his wind was knocked out, others contended it was a helmet-to-helmet shot.

"My head. Basically like my jaw, so yeah I got hit in the head," said Manuel this morning. When he was asked whether trainers checked for a rib injury or went through a concussion test on the sideline, he responded: "I think they went through something, some preliminary tests and I was able to pass them and go back in there and play. So, whatever test they did do, I don't know for sure, but I passed it so I was able to go back and play."

That last part sounded curious.

Now, it's very possible EJ tripped up semantically and simply meant to say that he didn't know the official name of the test administered him on the sideline. If that's the case, he probably is fine and ready to go on Saturday.

But later in that same answer EJ admitted they would have had to hold him down not for him to return to the game, that he didn't want to go out like that– injured on a brutal hit– in his final game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

My point isn't to delve into whether EJ Manuel actually had a concussion on Saturday night and should have returned to the game. I agree with Corey Clark's point that Fisher would never wittingly play a guy with a concussion.

My point is this, that even if EJ Manuel some how did play when he shouldn't have gone back in, even if he was badly concussed and cannot play next weekend, there is absolutely no reason Jimbo Fisher or EJ Manuel would admit that this early in the week.

Nor should they.

Even last season after Oklahoma nearly tore Manuel's shoulder from its socket and Clint Trickett had to finish the game, Fisher went through the week leading up to Clemson maintaining the appearance that there was a reasonable possiblity Manuel would start– or at the very least play.

He was never going to, he was too injured. But just like it will force Georgia Tech to do, Clemson had to prepare for a broad range of contigencies on defense and couldn't focus or hone in on any one thing. That's because EJ Manuel provides a lot of different playcalling options, his versatility makes him hard to defend. 

Just the final few plays of Saturday night's game when Manuel scrambled for a last-second touchdown against UF are enough to give a defensive coordinator fits when he's scheming to stop a balanced offensive attack. It's just one more wrinkle to worry about and prepare for.

Right now EJ Manuel is completely fine and set to go for Saturday. Until he's not. 

And he probably will play, I'm not trying to insinuate I have reason to believe otherwise. But even if he wasn't, it's not like they would have told us today anyway.

(The above .gif courtesy of Big Lead Sports)

And Then There Was One, Florida State Now Without Two Elite DE's


It's tough to know what to take seriously during summer camp and the start of fall. Players and coaches talk everyone one up and with a limited body of work to evaluate and the compliments flying like they're going out of style, you start to take everything with a grain of salt.

One thing that definitely wasn't camp-speak heading into the season though was what Florida State had on it's defensive line.

"It's not only me and Brandon [Jenkins], it's me, Tank Carradine and Brandon," Bjoern Werner told me in August.

"Tank's playing on a level that's just amazing, for him to be called a backup is just crazy because he's as good as me and Brandon. All three of us know that and it's going to a three-way sack [race]."

Sadly that was never to be, but not because it was untrue. Rather after notching just one sack in the team's first game against Murray State Jenkins suffered a season-ending Lisfranc fracture and never played another down.

At that point Florida State had lost arguably its most nationally recognizable player, it's best draft prospect and a defensive leader at a crucial position.

In stepped Tank Carradine.

Carradine proved this year that Florida State really wasn't lying about having three elite ends, three first-round caliber defensive ends. It lost one this season, and another just stepped right in for him. There are NFL teams that can't say they have three first-rounders in their defensive line rotation.

Unfortunately, Seminoles fans never got to see what would have been a truly wicked rotation with three top-shelf ends cycling in fresh and terrorizing opposing passers. Jenkins' early exit sent that ship sailing after week one.

Instead Florida State fans were treated to arguably the best tandem of ends in the country. They combined for 24 sacks in 12 game. Carradine stepped up to the tune of a team-leading 80 tackles, 13 TFL and 11 sacks. A truly elite year that sent him on a mercurial rise up draft boards and had NFL scouts and TV draft gurus alike buzzing.

SG1L4913 (2)That is until late in Saturday night's game when Tank Carradine tore his ACL.

Now the Seminoles have lost two first-round caliber defensive ends this year. There might be two or three teams in the whole country who wouldn't trade their right arm for the duo FSU has standing on crutches on the sideline for the next two games. 

And frankly, Florida State can probably absorb this most recent blow too because they still have arguably the best defensive end in the country leading their defense.

You want to know who the real heart and soul of that Seminole defense is? It's Bjoern Werner. 

He's the guy who stood up after the NC State game and told his teammates not to check out on the season. Who kept on them to stay invested. He's the guy who got after his teammates when Florida State trailed Clemson at haltfime and needed a spark to come back in the second half. 

Last night he stood up at halftime in the Florida State locker room and rallied the team again. And much like he's done all season he backed his words with his actions on the field. He followed up two first-half sacks with a a sack and a half, plus a huge fumble recovery that helped the Seminoles briefly take the lead in the third quarter.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough. Florida had 30 minutes of possession time at the start of the 4th quarter and the Gators ran away with the game late.

"We lost a lot on technique, coaches always talk about 'just play your technique and the run defense will be there.'" said Werner. "A lot of people at criticial times lost their technique and tried to do too much and that's how you allow big runs.

"You feel every game when you play every snap at 100 percent it doesn’t matter if they have 10 more minutes of possession. Everyone was fighting hard and this is when you need young guys to step up too, especially where you’re this late in the season and in the fourth quarter."

This season Werner has 39 tackles, 18 TFL and a nation-leading 13 sacks. Nobody has been more disruptive than Florida State's Berlin-born junior this year, he is the leader of his defense.

And that's going to be especially big over Florida State's final stretch.

Next weekend in Charlotte without their leading tackler and his battery-mate, Werner will likely draw even more attention against Georgia Tech's option-style offense. And with younger guys like Giorgio Newberry and Mario Edwards Jr. pressed into more service, Florida State needs Werner's leadership more than ever.

"Next week we have the ACC Championship and I can’t wait to play that," said Werner. "I’m moving on right now. I can’t wait to play Georgia Tech and have a great game there and hopefully come out on top.”



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