« November 2012 | Main | January 2013 »

24 posts from December 2012

December 17, 2012

Hoops: Florida State Tops ULM 63-48


Florida State handled their business against an inferior opponent on Monday, winning 63-48 over ULM, but it was hardly the kind of effort that head coach Leonard Hamilton was looking for.

"You're always happy when you come away with a win, when you don't play as well as you think you should be playing," said Hamilton after the game. "The disappointment [is] a lot of the progress we're showing in practice is not translating to the games."

The Seminoles struggled early and took most of the first half before they finally began to take hold of the game. Early on things were not running smoothly for the 'Noles, though.

Michael Snaer was not in the lineup on Monday night, instead replaced by Aaron Thomas as Snaer watched from the bench. Afterwards coach Hamilton explained that it was a disicipline issue.

"We didn't have Michael available tonight," said Hamilton. "It was a discipline issue, but it's not something that I'm overly concerned about, it's over with, done with. He'll be back to his regular position."

Florida state shot 47% in the first half but shot selection was poor initially and the team took a while to get into their offense, opting to go with a number of questionable jumpers early on rather than try and press their size advantage to get inside on ULM.

At the end of the first half it was 30-25, with Okaro White (11 points) and Thomas (8) carrying the early load.

In the second half things finally started to open up a little bit for the Seminoles, within the first media timeout they had pulled ahead by 10, but ULM quickly stormed back and got within five. 

The two teams would trade baskets for a few minutes before Florida State finally pulled away for good. Despite being able to put some distance between themselves and ULM, the Seminoles actually shot worse in the second half, dropping from 47 to 35 percent (40 on the night). Their defense improved though, as they continued to hold ULM's shooters at bay and limited their ability to get to the hoop. Florida State held ULM to just 23 second-half points, out-rebounded the Warhawks and forced a number of crucial turnovers that ended up giving them the edge.

Still, the Seminoles know they have a ways to go on both sides of the ball before ACC play starts.

"We have some challenges coming up, tomorrow we'll go back to work," said Hamilton, who will begin preparing his Seminoles for a neutral site game against 10-1 Charlotte on 12/22.

"I think we need those types of situations to challenge us to put ourselves in ACC type atmospheres we're going to have to play in [once the conference season starts]."

On the night Okaro White finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Aaron Thomas added 17 points and Devon Bookert added 10. Michael Snaer and Ian Miller did not play a single minute. 

Next up for Florida State (6-4) is Charlotte on 12/22, on 12/29 FSU will play Tulsa down in Miami.

Game Notes: Hamilton mentioned that despite the product on the court Monday night, the team's practices had been going extremely well lately, the results just haven't translated... Terrance Shannon practiced a couple times during the week, but was still rusty according to Leonard Hamilton... FSU has its next five games on the road before heading home to host UNC on 1/12... Aaron Thomas had a good offensive performance with 17 points but coach Hamilton said he felt Thomas was at times indecisive offensively, Thomas' best is still ahead of him per Hamilton... Robert Gilchrist is fighting a groin pull and is questionable for this weekend, Ian Miller is doubtful... One thing Leonard Hamilton said has to improve is his team's play against the screen, an issue he attributed to inexperience... Another deficiency Hamilton is disappointed in is his team's ability to get inside and attack the basket, as his big men (Ojo and Bojanovsky) develop, he feels that issue should take care of itself... Finally, Michael Ojo, the 7-3 center from Nigeria received a specially made pair of size 21 Nikes, it is the first pair of shoes Ojo has ever owned that fit. He arrived in Tallahassee with a pair of size 17 sneakers, he wears a 21. 

NCAA Grants Cincy QB Extra Year of Eligibility, Could Pave Way for Chris Thompson


Chris Thompson's heartbreaking ACL tear in October at Miami put an end to his incredible comeback from two broken vertebrae suffered in his junior season against Wake Forest.

Collectively the two injuries have cost Thompson a full season (14 games since 2011) but getting another year of eligibility is looked at as a long shot given recent NCAA trends. Still, despite what initially appeared to be long odds Jimbo Fisher and staff have made no secret of their desire to get Chris Thompson an extra year of eligibility.

On Monday, Thompson got an encouraging sign as the NCAA granted an extra year to Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay.

Kay is a redshirt senior who missed 2008 (when he took the redshirt season) and 2011, but started for the Bearcats part of this season and will be eligible to lead them again next year as well.

This could potentially be the case that gives Thompson a chance at getting another year himself. Kay used his redshirt to avoid missing a year of eligibility as a true freshman and then missed most of 2011 with another injury. Coming into 2012 (when he started 9 games) he had played in just six games prior. Coming into 2012 Thompson had played in 28 games, but never used a redshirt.


There is a distinction to be made though, while Kay didn't play much in his first few years of eligiblity, that was not entirely due to injury.

Whereas Thompson played early, Kay was buried behind a couple of other QB's (Tony Pike and Zach Collaros) waiting for his turn to play. The fact Kay was already in his fifth year of eligibility, had two season ending injuries and was still able to get the extra year may make Thompson's case stronger (especially given the fact he has never taken a redshirt and would get just four years to Kay's six).

Essentially, if the NCAA holds the fact that Thompson played early against him, it could be detrimental to his case. But all things equal, Thompson played early because he had won the opportunity to, Kay did not.

While Florida State is still not likely to get Thompson the extra year given the recent precedents, this is definitely a promising sign for Seminoles fans hoping to see CT4 back next season.

Thompson lead Florida State in rushing this season with 687 yards on just 91 carries, even despite missing half the year with a blown ACL. He was easily the most dynamic player on the Florida State offense and looked more explosive than he had at any point in his career before going down for good against Miami in October. 

While Thompson has expressed a desire to stay, whether or not the NCAA allows him to will be another story.

The Seminoles should make their formal appeal on Thompson's behalf in the coming weeks and you can be sure Brendon Kay's case will be referenced as they advocate for Thompson.

"What do we have to lose, anyway?" joked Jimbo Fisher on Friday. 

Penn State to Florida State: The Odyssey of Kevin Haplea


Not too many players can claim to have had as tumultuous of a year as Kevin Haplea has these past 12 months. This time last year he was caught up in a scandal that was taking down Penn State and eliminating any post-season prospects the Nittany Lions would have for the next four years.

This year, after recording a few catches and a touchdown for his new team, he's preparing for an Orange Bowl game on January 1st. 

Kevin Haplea was originally recruited by Florida State. As a high schooler Jimbo Fisher and James Coley attempted to recruit the 6-4 250 lb. tight end but ultimately Haplea chose to stay closer to home and enrolled early at Penn State.

"I liked Florida State a lot, I kind of visited [Tallahassee] sort of late in the process and at the time coming out of high school I wasn't that keen on getting too far away from home," said Haplea. "I was like 17 years old, but I had a really great relationship with [the FSU coaches]."

That relationship proved to be vital in the days and months following the Penn State scandal. After allegations of a sexual abuse cover-up were alleged against former Penn State coach Joe Paterno and school administrators, the NCAA came down hard on PSU and gave its players the option to transfer to another school without penalty.

After some soul searching, Haplea decided he wanted to move on. Unfortunately the timing of the decision couldn't have been worse.

"It was so close to preseason camp for all these schools that were starting up, so mutual interest wasn't the only factor, scholarship availability was something you had to factor in and once that got factored in academics.

"I had to make sure I wouldn't lose half my credits. It was pretty stressful, it was a really long, but fast process."

Haplea knew he had to make a decision quickly so that he could get started at his new school, after considering his offers out of high school, he immediately thought back to his trip to Tallahassee and the coaches at Florida State.

"I just kind of was thinking about coaches I knew from recruiting," said Haplea. "I knew coach Fisher and coach Coley were still at Florida State and I had a great relationship with both of them when I got recruited, so yeah I got my permission to go talk to other schools and gave coach Coley a call just trying to feel things out. He was really excited about it, and was just on the horn back and forth with him and coach Fisher a little bit just trying to see where everything was and it worked out that the situation looked good.

"I just thought it was the best move for me."

T0930-usfbulls-jb-14Florida State had stumbled upon a few extra scholarships as a result of players either transferring or being kicked off the team. Special teams holder (and walk-on) Chris Revell got one of them and Roberto Aguayo (Dustin Hopkins' future replacement) was moved from grayshirt to redshirt. The last spot was Haplea's if he wanted it.

So Kevin packed up and moved to Tallahassee the day before camp was set to kick off. The team got his living situation set up in the 11th hour, got his credits all to transfer and enrolled him. The next day he showed up to FSU and met his new teammates.

But Haplea was further behind than just learning a new offense. He was joining a team that had already had a chance to gel and grow close over the summer. He would have to develop a camaraderie with his teammates quickly in order to assimilitate on to his new roster.

"The summer is the time when a team will bond and gel the most," said Haplea. "It's 12-14 weeks, whatever it is and there's not really people around, there's some kids taking classes but you're pretty much with your team everyday. You know you're working out together, you're eating together, you're hanging out in your apartment.

"So it was tough to come in just right before camp started and I'm showing up 'oh yeah, hey guys I'm here now too.' But all the guys have been awesome, they've been really receptive of me and made me feel part of the team which is really important. Just getting the extra time in the spring to gel with the guys will be really important for me."

Haplea will likely be in a better position to contribute next season after a full year in the Florida State offense and with more time to form close bonds with his teammates. He's contributed three receptions and a touchdown already, but has played primarily in two tight end sets as a blocker this year. 

"The biggest thing for me is I was trying to learn the playbook as fast as I can, anytime you're learning a Division I offense it's not going to happen overnight," said Haplea. "That was my first priority, I'm still not even all the way there yet but I've made progress every day I've been here."

For now though, even as a player on a learning curve, the junior tight end is much better off than he was a year ago.

On January 1st Haplea will play in the Orange Bowl. Meanwhile his teammates at Penn State will watch bowl season from home.

"It's just really kind of unfortuante the way it's had to play out," said Haplea. "But I think it's worked out for the best."

December 16, 2012

New FSU D/C Rumored to be Alabama's Pruitt


Though it is as of yet unconfirmed, Florida State's next defensive coordinator is rumored to be Alabama defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Pruitt, a a 38-year old assistant on Nick Saban's staff reportedly has accepted the offer to be FSU's new defensive coordinator according to a couple of college recruiting sites (via conversations with high school players).

Jimbo Fisher, for his part, has been very tight-lipped about who the choice could potentially be. Fisher has maintained that he kept a running short list of coaches and already had an idea of who he wanted to tab when Mark Stoops accepted the head coaching gig at Kentucky.

Fisher is going to need likely hire a couple more assistants, but the Pruitt hire would represent a strong grab from a good coaching tree, and one which Fisher has a lot of familiarity.

The downside to a hiring like this is that Florida State fans can look forward to this conversation again in another two-three years. Jimbo Fisher likes having coaches hired off of his staff because of what it says about him and his program, while the upside of that is you get hungry young coaches the downside is it's not long-term.

Pruitt reportedly interviewed on Friday and Fisher hinted at the time it could be him, but as of yet there is no official statement from FSU to confirm the hire. 

Part of this issue is negotiating the roles all the coaches will play leading up to the Orange Bowl. With Stoops, Eliot and Gran likely to continue helping out with coaching, Pruitt would only be allowed to recruit while the former assistants are still on-field. 

I'll be back to update with details later today as they become available...

December 14, 2012

Seminoles Get Back to Work After Break


You may have noticed the lack of updates lately, that's partially because I took a week off and partially because Florida State's football team hasn't practiced since the ACC Championship Game.

Instead, after heading home from Charlotte with a conference title, the Seminoles took some time off to recuperate and take their finals. On Friday they got back out on the practice field for the first time in ten days.

"Fun to get back to practice," said Jimbo Fisher. "Exams are over, [players] should be happy, so we're ready to roll."

There's plenty on Fisher's plate between now and the Orange Bowl on January 1st. 

Mark Stoops is taking a couple of assistants with him to Kentucky and though they will assist with the bowl prep, for recruiting purposes and stability Fisher is working to finalize his coaching staff for next season in addition to prepping his team for the bowl game and putting in work on the recruiting trail.

While the team had ten days off, Fisher was hard at work.

"I'm about done," said Fisher. "I've had a great week, I know exactly what we're going to do and how we're going to do it and I've known the whole time."

Unfotunately Florida State isn't about to make any announcements on their decisions just yet, but Fisher has maintained all season that he keeps a running short-list of replacement coaches and, at least according to him, he's already made most of his staffing determinations.

A few other quick notes:

-Dameyune Craig, who was linked to Auburn by some reports, will be staying at Florida State. DJ Eliot will be heading to Kentucky with Stoops though and Eddie Gran will be the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati next season. Fisher has not listed a time-table for naming replacements but was quick to point out that FSU was one of just three schools in the entire nation that retained its entire coaching staff from 2011 to 2012. 

-All three departing assistants will be back in town on Sunday to help Florida State with some of its bowl preparation, though Fisher compared the first few practices back from the break to more of fundamental refresher than as legitimate game prep.

-Bjoern Werner had the line of the day when he spoke about the awesome irony of being a German-born All-American. 

-Karlos Williams, who played two weeks ago for the injured Nick Moody and lead the team in tackles, was unsure where he would be lining up from here on out. The sophomore has been a safety for almost two seasons at FSU but played his best game at linebacker in the ACC Championship Game. He has the size and athleticism to play either.

I'll be back tomorrow with a couple features and another practice report.

December 02, 2012

Going Polling: Florida State Remains 12th in Final Regular Season Coaches' Poll, 13th in AP Poll


The final regular season polls come out today and though they matter very little to Florida State at this point, we'll take a look anyway.

None of the polls will affect Florida State's standing, they are assured of a BCS trip to the Orange Bowl. The polls could affect who the Seminoles play if a non-AQ team can jump up above 16 in tonight's BCS release. That would mean FSU could play NIU as opposed to Louisville.

That could be a possibility...

Florida State stays 12 in the final coaches poll. The top five shifts a little with Georgia dropping from three to five after losing to Bama in the SEC Championship game. The top five is now Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon, Florida, Georgia. Boise State is ranked 15, NIU is ranked 16, Louisville is ranked 18.

Good news for BCS busters, bad news for schools from AQ conferences.

The ACC is poorly represented with Clemson at 13 and no one else receiving votes.

In the AP poll FSU held steady at 13. The AP five looks different with Notre Dame, Alabama, ineligible Ohio State, Florida and Oregon rounding out the top five. Georgia drops from three to six. 

As for the BCS crew, Boise is outside looking in at 20, but NIU is 16th. The AP doesn't factor into the BCS (and their votes are inferior to the coaches according to Jimbo Fisher) but it's still worth pointing out. 

Clemson is up a spot to 14, no other ACC schools were considered.

I'll be back with Harris poll rankings when they release...

Thoughts From the Morning After: Congrats on the Title FSU, Your House is Collapsing


That headline may be a little melodramatic (it is) but it underscores a greater point, there's a ton of stuff to get taken care of this week as Florida State moves towards the Orange Bowl.

This week will be vital to the future of the program.

Last night FSU beat Georgia Tech 21-15 and won their first ACC Championship since 2005, it was their 13th total since joining the conference back in 1992, Florida State trails only Clemson [14] for the all-time lead. While this is a big triumph for the program in their quest to return to college football's elite it's important the people running things remember the 24-hour rule they impart to the players after games.

Enjoy this one for 24 hours because there's a ton of work to be done.

As soon as Jimbo Fisher gets going this week he's likely going to need to spend some time recruiting. Last week Fisher lost ground with the news his DC was leaving and the preparation for the ACC Championship game preventing him from hitting the road.

Will Muschamp– who had the week off while his Gators watched the SEC Championship game– hit the pavement and made visits. So did Al Golden. Fisher was in Tallahassee answering questions about Mark Stoops and preparing for Georgia Tech.

Meanwhile a lot of the verbals that FSU has locked up are getting new attention from opportunistic coaches who may smell blood in the water with Stoops leaving.

Recruiting is absolutely vital to the long-term success of a program. I personally find it boring trying to delve into the thinking of an athletically gifted 17 year-old, but that doesn't change the fact that programs are built on a coach's ability to recruit.

A huge part of that is having a power structure in place and a sense of stability.

Right now Florida State has question marks with both, which is why Fisher's not going to have much time to spare in his search for a new defensive coordinator. 

Fisher can try to retain DJ Eliot by offering him a promotion from within or he may end up looking outside the program for a replacement. There are a number of good candidates out there but Fisher needs to think about how ambitious his next pick is or else the Seminoles could be dealing with this situation again in a few years.

Either way, the sooner a decision can be made the sooner Fisher can sell that certainty to the kids he's recruiting. Right now other schools are using that against Florida State.

Where the headache for Seminoles fans will start to get worse is with the potential pursuit of Jimbo Fisher by an SEC program. Right now Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas have vacancies and there have been calls to look at Fisher from all three fan-bases.

Fisher is rumored to be on both the Tennessee and Auburn short-lists.

For his part Jimbo has remained adamant that he's happy where he is, he loves Tallahassee and he isn't looking for another job. But anything is possible.

It's likely at least one school comes at Fisher with a substantial offer and that will only inject instability and muddy recruiting and the search for a replacement DC more.

Personally, I don't think Fisher would go. He just broke ground on a 15-million dollar practice facility, he's got the backing of the school, Florida State is a good job and thus far he has been able to bring a few very good recruiting classes in.

But there is a flip-side too, a devil's advocate card to play. Nobody knows how Fisher really thinks, even amongst the media he's friendliest with he keeps it very close to the vest. If he's not confident in next year, if he believes this was the year to take the shot and that things may take a step back next season (after all, Clemson is loaded, UF is trending upwards and the 'Noles will be breaking in a new QB), then he could sell high.

This would be the time to do it.

Fisher says he's happy at Florida State but everything about him screams SEC, he recruits like an SEC coach, runs a program like an SEC coach, he's from the SEC, if the right offer came along– with him coming off a conference title knowing how things could regress next season– he absolutely could jump at it.

Now, again, that's not what I think happens. FSU is pretty loaded talent-wise and I tend to take Fisher seriously when he says he likes what he's building here. I think worst-case for Florida State fans he leverages an offer for a nice fat raise.

But would it shock me if he left?


So think about that potential turmoil swirling around up top while the Seminoles try to replace a defensive coordinator and potentially several assistants and make up ground in-state on the recruiting front all while defending their verbal commits from the Sabans and the Meyers of the world. 

Then add the fact that Athletic Director Randy Spetman is going into the last year of his contract (he received a one-year extension earlier this year) and his status for the future is potentially tenuous. So if the house of cards collapses he may not even be the guy the school wants picking the cards back up.

That only makes the FSU power structure appear murkier and raises a potential nightmare scenario where in the absolutely-worst-case the 'Noles could be without a head coach or a viable AD.

Oh, but congratulations on the ACC Championship.

The Early Read: Karlos Williams Breaks Out


Last night on the opening play of the ACC Championship game senior LB Nick Moody suffered a head injury covering the kickoff and didn't play another snap all night. 

"I was behind [Nick] Moody all week in practice," said sophomore Karlos Williams, who replaced Moody. "[I was] getting good reps, making sure I knew my assignments and alignments, and after he went down the first kickoff my name was called and I was kind of nervous, but it's the game of football, you've got to go out there and step up and it was my time and I think I played pretty well tonight."

That is an understatement.

Filling in for Moody all Williams did was lead the team in tackles and clinch the game with an interception in the final minutes to give Florida State the win. 

A week after losing the team's leading tackler to an ACL tear when Tank Carradine went down against UF, it was an unlikely hero who stepped in and picked up the slack. 

Williams finished the night with 11 tackles, eight of them solo, but perhaps no play was bigger than his interception. With Georgia Tech down by six and driving late in the game Williams snagged a deflected pass and returned it 41 yards down to the Georgia Tech goalline. 

"I just broke on it and tried to tip it up and bat it down," said Williams. "But luckily it tipped up in the air and I just tried to make a sure catch and that's what happened. I'm just happy I got the call and we're ACC champs."

Karlos Williams is Vince Williams' younger brother and as soon as they open their mouths you can see the relation. Both of them are exceptionally quick-witted, engaging young men and both of them can bring the lumber on the field come Saturdays.

Early in his career Karlos Williams has stood out for two things, he's incredibly potent on kickoffs and he has a knack for blowing up the ballcarrier (or blockers, or just guys in the way) and drawing roughness flags. Case in point, this was Williams' most memorable contribution against UF a week ago:


But last night was essentially Karlos Williams' coming out party. With some spots opening up on defense next season he made a very big play– on a national stage no less– for why he'll be a big part of the Florida State D next year. 

And from the looks of it he could be quite a force.

James Wilder Jr. won the MVP honors, I question whether Williams wasn't more deserving.

It's interesting, all week you've heard players and coaches say someone was going to need to step up. Mario Edwards did a good job replacing Tank Carradine last night but nobody stepped up like Karlos Williams did. 

And in the end that may have made just enough of a difference.

Wrapping Up: FSU 21 GT 15


There's plenty to look at in the wake of Florida State's 21-15 win over Georgia Tech to claim their first ACC crown in seven years. 

"We knew the road was going to be hard any time you win the championship and our kids fought hard and overcame circumstances and our offense played a great first half, our defense played a great football game overall," said Jimbo Fisher afterward.

We'll start with the good. Florida State's defense was able to clamp down on an offense that it was incredibly unfamiliar with. In the midst of all the distractions circling around this week and with starter Nick Moody getting knocked out on the opening kick the Seminole defense made good on its stated intent to send Mark Stoops out with a bang.

The Yellow Jackets still managed 301 yards of total offense but their run game stalled out early and it wasn't until an EJ Manuel fumble that they managed a touchdown. Things were interesting late, but a Karlos Williams interception solidified the 'Noles' win.

"I was behind [Nick] Moody all week in practice," said Williams. "Getting good reps, making sure I knew my assignment alignments, and after he went down the first kickoff my name was called and I was kind of nervous, but it's the game of football, you've got to go out there and step up and it was my time and I think I played pretty well tonight."

With the game on the line in the waning seconds Williams caught a deflected pass and raced up the sideline to assure Florida State of their first ACC crown in years.

"Coverage was called, they're trying to get the ball downfield, really spread the ball out, trying not to really so much milk the clock, but try to run a little hurry up and I was covering 3, 3 to the field," said Williams. "He came across and the quarterback threw a pretty bad ball. I just broke on it and tried to tip it up and bat it down, but luckily it tipped up in the air and I just tried to make a sure catch and that's what happened. I'm just happy I got the call and we're ACC champs."

This was a game where Florida State's defense entered at a disadvantage but they managed to turn in a solid performance. That made all the difference.

NC State All Over Again

Midway through the fourth quarter when it was 21-15 and Florida State had to drive and run out the clock, things started to feel eerily similar to the game in Raleigh. That's because this game was extremely similar to the NC State loss. After scoring a few times in the first half the Florida State offense got conservative, a little sloppy and failed to add to its 21 points in the final two corners. 

The only difference between Raleigh and Charlotte was this time the Seminoles had enough of a lead.

Make no mistake about it though the Florida State offense was not in rhythm in the second half and it almost cost the Seminoles. After the game Jimbo Fisher also saw the similarities, but also saw growth:

"Exactly right. As I said, you find ways to win games. Good teams win games in different ways. The Clemson game we outscored them. This game we played great defense," said Fisher. "The NC State game we couldn't make enough plays either way. But again, that goes part of being a champion. There's a point in time you point back and you look at it and you say, that was it. That's the time that you got over that hump and you got there and you didn't let the circumstances blur your vision, and they did that.

"The defense -- and we were able to make that play. They were determined, they said at halftime we're going to do whatever we've got to do, and they did."

While I see Fisher's point about the defense stepping up, I don't see the same progress Fisher is lauding. Push came to shove and the offense disappeared again, the play-calling got conservative and the Seminoles found themselves holding on for dear life in the final minutes. 

The only difference on the offensive side of the ball was that Florida State won.

The Early Run

Florida State got just enough offense out of its rushing game in the first half when it ran for 147 yards and all three of their touchdowns. 

"You couldn't play a better first half than we did offensively," said Fisher. "We scored three out of four drives, we had the ball, ate the clock up, ran the ball, scored 21 points, missed a 3rd and inches, which is ridiculous.

"And then the second half come out with self-inflicted things. I thought we played a great first half offensively and a great defensive first half, then the defense continued to play well in the second half and on offense we just shot ourselves in the foot."

Devonta Freeman started things off in the first quarter before James Wilder Jr. turned in a dominating second quarter. Wilder finished with 10 carries 69 yards and a couple touchdowns, good enough for MVP honors.

Stoops is Gone for the Bowl Game

Mark Stoops confirmed after the game that he will not stay on with FSU through the bowl game. The writing was on the wall about that when Kentucky announced his availability in Lexington tomorrow back in the middle of the week, but now it's official. 

No word yet on who will run the defense in his absence.

"[I've got] some different thoughts and how we do things, and we'll get organized and I'll get back on that trail tomorrow," said Fisher. "Thanks. I was trying to enjoy something for five minutes. I can't even enjoy --now I'm back to that mode."

On to the Orange Bowl

FSU is 1-5 in BCS games. They last played in one in 2005 when Joe Paterno beat Bobby Bowden in a triple OT game 26-23. The result was later vacated though, so technically I guess FSU is 1-4 or 2-4, but really 1-5. The Seminoles lone BCS victory was at the end of their 1999 National title campaign when they beat Virginia Tech (then of the Big East) for the BCS Championship. 

It's likely FSU will get Lousiville in the game. The Cardinals joined the ACC this past week, FSU and Louisville haven't met since 2002 when the Cardinals upset the Noles on a Thursday night.

Check back tomorrow morning for more...


December 01, 2012

Rapid Reaction: FSU 21 GT 15


Florida State is taking home its first ACC Championship since 2005 tonight after beating Georgia Tech 21-15. The Seminoles got off to a fast start– going up 21-3 at one point in the first half–and coasted the rest of the way. 

It got a lot tighter at the end than Florida State would have liked though.

After reeling off 147 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in the first half, the Florida State offense got a little conservative in the second half. Jimbo Fisher was content to hold on to the ball, convert a few first downs and keep handing the Yellow Jackets a long field to work with in the third quarter.

On the other side of the ball the Seminole defense bent some but never broke, limiting the GT offense to field goals rather than touchdowns and keeping the Florida State lead comfortable along the way. 

At the start of the 4th quarter, EJ Manuel made things interestin though.

After attempting to elude pressure Manuel fumbled the football at the Georgia Tech 30. GT quickly connected on a pass to midfield and started driving. A few plays later they were down inside the Seminoles ten knocking on the door and punched it in on a one-yard run to make it 21-15 (the XP failed).

The Seminoles got the ball back with about six minutes left and EJ Manuel, after a taking a couple of unneccesary sacks and committing the turnover, was asked to manage arguably the most important drive of the game. He did just enough on third down to keep the Seminoles moving and the Tech offense off the field until around two minutes when he threw an interception (that was essentially an arm-punt) that gave the Yellow Jackets one last shot at life.

Manuel has not had a good past couple of games for Florida State, he made lots of crucial mistakes, turned the ball over and helped make sure this game went all the way down to the wire tonight. Manuel is a good guy and generally a talented quarterback, but for a fifth-year senior QB you have to expect more in a big-game situation.

After the Manuel INT Georgia Tech made an attempt at one final drive to take the lead at the end of regulation but their offense was hardly geared for the sort of drive they needed. After struggling to make it out to their own 30 a tipped pass found its way into the arms of Karlos Williams and the threat was over. 

Florida State escaped 21-15.

This game was won in the trenches, where Florida State dominated Georgia Tech most of the night. The defensive line in particular was unforgiving until they were strapped with a turnover.

And even after Georgia Tech got some momentum it still took them 13 plays to make their way to the Florida State endzone and make it a game again. By then time was not on their side. The Seminoles still didn't turn in the kind of performance they could have, but a win is a win and for the first time in seven years the Seminoles are BCS-bound.

Check back later tonight for lots more news and analysis from tonight's Florida State win...

Statistical Leaders

Passing: EJ Manuel (16/21, 134, INT)

Rushing: James Wilder Jr. (10-69, 2 TD)

Receiving: Rashad Greene (9-82)



Powered by TypePad