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13 posts from May 2013

May 06, 2013

How Much of a Factor Did James Coley's Departure Play With Matthew Thomas?

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If you haven't had a chance to check out the reporting done by Manny Navarro earlier today on Booker T. Washington LB Matthew Thomas asking for his release from FSU, read it here.

One facet of Thomas' request that didn't get a lot of attention in Navarro's write-up was the departure of one of the key cogs in Thomas' recruitment to Florida State, offensive assistant James Coley.

In recruiting, you're not always recruited by your positional coach in college, oftentimes knowledge of a community or geographic area dictates which coaches will pursue which players. When Coley departed Florida State it was a coup for the University of Miami because of the strong south Florida ties the Hurricanes were gaining.

Not only did Miami get one of the best South Florida recruiters in the nation, they did it at the expense of one of their rivals. Coley was a closer at Florida State. 

You saw the first signs of the impact on National signing day when Stacy Coley (no relation)- a player many figured was destined for Tallahassee- opted to stay home and sign with the U.

James Coley also helped recruit Matthew Thomas.

Behind a strong sales pitch from the former FSU Offensive Coordinator- and coupled with the fact his brother is at FSU- Thomas made a last-minute decision to sign with the Seminoles in February.

But when he came to campus for a visit, things felt different.

"I always had [FSU] high because of the recruiting situation. Coach Coley. My brother was up there," Thomas said. "But when I got up there I saw it wasn't for me."

Translation: The person Thomas built the closest relationship with at the school was now gone and he wasn't sure he'd made the right decision. 

It was an interesting combination of factors that got the 6-3 205-pound LB to this situation. He was still undecided come national signing day but a scheduled TV appearance on ESPN had set a deadline and he had to make a call. His mother liked FSU, time was running out, so he signed.

Then he had time to think about it and the doubts started to creep in.

Now keep in mind this is still a young man, a teenager. Nobody is especially decisive at that age. But Thomas seems very certain he doesn't want to be at FSU. He told Jimbo Fisher he has no intentions to report when that day comes and he wants a full release- though at this point he has yet to hire a lawyer.

He cannot go to Miami (not that he was ever that high on the U to begin with). FSU has the right to decide whether to release him at all and also where he can transfer without penalty. He wants to go to Georgia or USC. Being that both of those schools are in other conferences in other states, that could potentially happen.

But the Seminoles aren't going to just give up without a fight either. FSU intends to try and come to South Florida to smooth things over. If anyone in their athletic department comments I'll update you with it here, but for now, this is a pretty bizarre situation and it may still get weirder.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Special Thanks to Manny Navarro for additional quotes)

May 03, 2013

Seminoles Hold Off Knights 4-2 in Series Opener

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With graduation ceremonies commencing on the other side of campus and many of their teammates and classmates set to finish college, Florida State (37-9) looked noticeably distracted as they committed a number of errors and blew a two-run lead in the 8th inning before pulling out a 4-2 win over the University of Central Florida. 

"That was one of those [ballgames] that we got key hits," said FSU manager Mike Martin. "Yeah, we made some mistakes but we will strive to improve on them. But it was a good win. We did a few things right in the 8th [inning], I'm just proud of our ballclub."

Luke Weaver and Jameis Winston paced Florida State early on, but sloppy play and mental gaffes allowed Central Florida to claw their way back into the game and very nearly steal one late.

Fortunately for the Seminoles, Senior C Stephen McGee came through when they needed it most.

"There's no way I could have thought he would hit a home run in tonight's conditions," joked Martin. "I could not have hit a three-wood out of here tonight. That wind was really coming in and Stephen, I mean that takes exceptional power and it couldn't have come at a better time for his team."

With a 2-1 count and the Seminoles locked into a tie game just moments after squandering a lead in the top of the 8th inning, McGee crushed a ball over the leftfield wall to deliver the game to Florida State for good. It was just another example of the senior leader coming through in the clutch for the ninth-ranked Seminoles.

"I got a fastball. I went up there just trying to see the ball deep and hit it right back up the middle," said McGee. "He just left a fastball on the inside corner and I just turned on it."

Luke Weaver was excellent for the Seminoles on Friday night, working both sides of the plate and coming right after the UCF hitters on his way to one of his best outing of the season.

The sophomore from DeLand threw 99 pitches over seven strong innings, striking out nine, walking one and giving up six hits while holding the Knight offense scoreless. It was another lights out performance for the Seminoles' ace.

"It was a little shaky at first," said Weaver. "But then I settled down, the fastball was there most of the game and then later in the game the slider was going for strikes, that felt good. That changeup was there consistently throughout the whole game."

"Luke Weaver was outstanding," added Martin. "He pitched beautifully."

Jameis Winston produced the first run of the game with a single and some extremely aggressive base-running in the bottom of the 2nd. After dropping the ball in front of the rightfielder, Winston rounded first hard and put UCF RF Erik Hempe on the spot. The throw came in behind Winston- to first base- and the 6-4, 220-pounder easily took second on the play.

"That's one of my all-time favorite plays in baseball," said Martin. "He literally walked to second, it was just beautiful baseball. J-Boo can think on his feet, let's just put it that way it. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing. He's a baseball player."

The next batter, 2B John Sansone, hit a hard grounder to short, but Winston dallied in the basepath, dodging the ball at the last possible moment and causing the Knights' shortstop and thirdbaseman to collide as they grasped for it. Winston trotted into third and Sansone reached first on what was ruled a single.

Winston continued to press the issue on the basepaths moments later when he broke home and scored the game's first run as UCF threw down to second to catch Sansone stealing.

An inning later the Seminoles pushed their advantage to two runs after Marcus Davis and Jose Brizuela manufactured a little offense of their own. After walking and stealing second, Davis scored when Brizuela roped a two-out liner to right-center to make it 2-0.

That was all the support that Weaver needed, but things got dicey as soon as he left the ballgame. Billy Strode came on to start the 8th and sandwiched an out between a single and a walk to put two Knights on with one out. Gage Smith relieved Strode, but just as quickly gave up a run-scoring single to LF Parker Webster that cut the lead to 2-1.

Seminole closer Robby Coles came on with one down and two on as Florida State clung to their one-run lead and quickly got ahead of 1B James Vasquez 1-2, but ran a fastball too far inside and hit him to load the bases. That brought 3B Austin Johnson up to the plate, he stood stoicly as a close 1-2 fastball sailed past him for a ball but was rung up a pitch later when he didn't offer at another ball near the zone.

DH Erik Barber worked the count more successfully the next batter when he drew a walk to tie the game and erase Weaver as the pitcher of record. Coles managed to strike out 2B Bret Gordon the very next hitter, but the damage was done, Florida State's lead erased.

The tie score didn't hold for long though. Four pitches to be exact. 

Just moments after the tying run walked home in the top of the 8th, McGee drove the fourth pitch of the inning, a 2-1 offering from RHP Spencer Davis, over the leftfield wall to give the Seminoles the lead back, 3-2.

"I wasn't positive about that wind," admitted McGee. "I don't want to say I was for sure I got it off the bat, but I mean off the bat I felt really good about it and it got out."

The Seminoles tacked on one more in the bottom of the 8th just for good measure. John Nogowski drew a walk, stole second, advanced on a throwing error and then Sansone drove him in on a hard grounder to make it a two-run Seminole advantage.

Coles stayed on to work the ninth and pick up his third win of the season.

 

For all the lastest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)

May 01, 2013

Clint Trickett Headed for West Virginia

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After asking for and receiving a release from his scholarship following Florida State's Spring practice, Clint Trickett will transfer to West Virginia where he will compete to replace Geno Smith at quarterback next year.

Trickett is set to graduate this weekend and under NCAA rules is not required to sit out a season before resuming his career. As such he has two years of eligibility remaining and could potentially start for two seasons for the Mountaineers.

Trickett's ties to West Virginia are many. He was born in the state, his father coached at the school and he has a very good shot to be the team's starting quarterback heading into the Fall.

At Florida State Trickett's issue was less about 2013 and more about beyond. With Jameis Winston impressing in practice and during the Spring game, Trickett may have held him off at the start of the 2013 season but keeping Winston seated for two years while Trickett played out his junior and senior seasons would have been extremely difficult.

Trickett is not the kind of QB who is going to turn pro early and as the fans made it more and more known who they preferred, you can't blame a young man for reading the writing on the wall and making a decision that would put him in a better situation.

West Virginia seems like a good fit for the 6-3 185-pound QB. If he can beat out junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress he could have a chance to pilot a Big 12 offense for the next two seasons.

In 17 games at FSU Trickett completed 62.3% of his passes for 947 yards 7 TD's and 4 picks. 

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)


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