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26 posts from August 2013

August 06, 2013

FSU Practice Notebook: Pettis Transferring, Foose Officially Done, More From Opening Day


Football is officially here today and with it came the first Jimbo Fisher press conference of the young 2013 college season. The presser was chock-full of classic Jimbo witticisms and hyperbole– Jimbo-perboble, as I've joking dubbed it in the past– as well as plenty of new information on Fisher's Seminoles as they head into a new year.

First and foremost OL Trey Pettis will be transferring from Florida State before the start of the season. The 6-5 350-pound redshirt sophomore from Deland, Florida struggled to gain traction on the Seminole offensive line and will look for an opportunity to play elsewhere in the future.

Florida State also lost another offensive lineman to a medical inegilibility. 

"Dan Foose, we've actually officially medicaled him," added Fisher, "But he's been medical for probably two year now. We just wanted to give him a chance to come back physically, it's just going to be a tough one. Now he'll just get his degree and [hopefully] do well."

Down two offensive lineman already on the first day of Fall camp, Fisher bristled when asked what he would do about an already thin offensive line getting thinner. 

"You know how many offensive linemen they carry in the NFL?" Fisher asked the room full of reporters. "Eight."

And while he maintained he would prefer not to get down that low on his roster, Fisher also took the opportunity to talk up some of his incoming freshman and tout the veterans he has returning. With the exception of Menelik Watson, FSU returns all four starters from a solid 2012 unit, behind that Florida State has very little experience along the line.

##- Giorgio Newberry will be moving from defensive end to tight end. I'll have a full article on that later today...

##- Fisher says he is extremely happy with the progress Dan Hicks has made as he recovers from the knee injury that kept him out during last season. Hicks had made the transition from defensive end to tight end last year before flipping back to defensive end this Spring. Now with a newfound need at tight end (following Kevin Haplea's injury and Christo Kourtzidis' transfer), Hicks appears entrenched on the defensive line. He seemed like the obvious candidate to switch to tight end given his history, but Newberry it is.

##- Fisher spoke at length about his belief in the evolution of the game towards bigger sets and more specialization. Two examples in particular were having larger blocking tight ends to help assist in rushing sets and utilizing the fullback position differently. Fisher raved about how important it would be to have big bodies on the edge given how good defensive lineplay has gotten. He also mentioned using big-bodied players (for instance DT Jacobbi McDaniel) at fullback in some sets while also using two-back sets more frequently.

##- In a preview of tomorrow's print feature: Jimbo Fisher has definitely not handed this team to Jameis Winston. Jacob Coker will be given every chance to win the starting quarterback job over the coming weeks and Fisher didn't rule out heading into the Pitt game with both quarterbacks if this battle isn't decided to his liking by September 2nd.

##- I'll have a write-up on the new Indoor Practice Facility tonight, but for now, here's a quick tidbit. Whereas a decade ago players may have had to switch cleats and go through a ten-minute transition period switching from outdoor grass to indoor astro-turf, the advent of field-turf or synthetic grass means the Seminoles will waste no time changing shoes heading between the indoor and outdoor surfaces at their practice facility. 

##- James Wilder is apparently now running a 40-yard dash in the high 4.4's. If true, this could mean the 6-2 230-pound back will be even more of a load to bring down this year.

##- Fisher said he is yet to see the race between RS Fr Mario Pender and newcomer Ryan Green, but it's between them for the fastest tailback.

##- Finally, the Twitter ban (more on that tonight, as well) came from FSU's Unity Council– comprised of players– not head coach Jimbo Fisher. 


I'll have more for you throughout the day...

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

August 05, 2013

Counting Down the Top 25 Florida State Seminoles of All Time


It's still more than a month until college football returns but that doesn't mean I don't have something to distract you in the meantime. I've compiled a list of the Top 25 Seminoles of All Time. The list is limited to football and I've taken into consideration a range of factors from the players' era and stats to their impact on and off the field and even to some extent the pro career they enjoyed.

A few disclaimers, this is far from a definitive list. While it's been thoroughly researched and considered, there's always going to be disagreement and discussion when it comes to the very subjective concept of "the greatest." 

Without a doubt, Bobby Bowden would be number one if the list included everyone who had contributed to FSU's football program. But this is players only, Bowden, Mickey Andrews, Mark Richt, Jimbo Fisher and a slew of other coaches were not eligible.

Also, feel free to chime in with your own opinions and nominations in the comments.

We'll unveil players from 25 starting at the beginning of July all the way until we get to one at the start of FSU's practice schedule in August. But first, we'll start with a few honorable mentions...


Honorable Mention (Off-Field Contributions)
Honorable Mention (On-Field, Just Missed)

Top 25
25.) Jamie Dukes, OG, 1982-1985
24.) Anthonia "Amp" Lee, RB, 1989-1991
23.) Björn Werner, DE, 2010-2012
22.) Spencer Clay Shiver, C, 1991-1995
21.) Derrick Alexander, DE, 1991-1994
20.) Samuel Cowart III, LB, 1993-1997 
19.) Corey Simon, DT, 1995-1999
18.) Andre Wadsworth, DT/DE, 1993-1997
17.) Greg Allen, RB, 1981-1984
16.) Walter Jones, OT, 1995-1996
15.) Sebastian Janikowski, K, 1997-1999
14.) Fred Biletnikoff, WR, 1961-1964
13.) Leroy Butler, DB, 1986-1989
12.) Reinard Wilson, DE, 1993-1996
11.) Ron Simmons, DT, 1977-1980
10.) Terrell Buckley, CB, 1989-1991
9.) Peter Boulware, DE, 1993-1996
8.) Ron Sellers, WR, 1966-1968
7.) Marvin Jones, LB, 1990-1992
6.) Chris Weinke, QB, 1990, 1997-2000
5.) Warrick Dunn, RB, 1993-1996
4.) Peter Warrick, WR, 1995-1999
3.) Derrick Brooks, LB, 1991-1994
2.) Charlie Ward, QB, 1989-1993
1.) Deion Sanders, DB, 1985-1988


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

August 04, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 1 - Deion Sanders


Deion Sanders, CB, 1985-1988

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1994

Was there ever any doubt? Deion Sander or "Primetime" is an NFL Hall of Famer and the greatest cover corner in the history of football in the eyes of some. Deion is not just a football player, not just a Hall of Famer, he's trascended both of thsoe titles to become a bona fide celebrity. 

Whether it's from his commercials, reality shows, working on NFL Network, undertaking a broad range of philanthropic endeavors or the virtual library of highlight-reels he assembled over the course of his career, almost everyone is familiar with Deion Sanders. The man is a true superstar and without a doubt the Greatest Florida State Seminole of all-time.

Before Jameis Winston took part in a Spring practice and then pinch hit in a baseball game, as a true freshman Deion Sanders once won a 100 and 200 meter sprint at a track event and then started in the Seminole outfield a few hours later. Sanders once played the first game of a double-header, ran a leg of a 4X100 relay and then returned to play in the night cap with the baseball team.

Sanders is as much a part of FSU lore as any player to ever don the Garnet and Gold. The stories of his athleticism are a part of Seminole mythology. Legend has it the man once ran a 4.4-40 in Timberland boots. He was blazing fast, could cut on a dime and had absolutely no interest in letting opposing receivers accomplish anything around him. 

He was Primetime.

Born in Fort Myers in 1967, Sanders had obscene athleticism from a young age and grew into a highly-touted recruit playing three sports (football, baseball and basketball) at North Fort Myers High School. 

He took just three college visits, crossing Georgia off the list quickly and coming away from Gainesville thoroughly unimpressed. He ended up at Florida State where he traded basketball for track and was quickly on his way to becoming one of the best to ever play at FSU.

For four years Deion Sanders shut down opposing receivers in the Seminole secondary. He notched 186 tackles over that time, but more impressively came away with 14 interceptions while also breaking up 27 passes. He earned back-to-back Conesnsus NCAA All-American honors in 1987 and 1988 while also being named to 21 different All-American squads. In his senior season he won the Thorpe award (given annually to the nation's top defensive back).

And Deion's stats are a bit misleading too. 14 interceptions count. Three from bowl games do not. His official 14 is still good enough for third all-time in Florida State history but really he's second. But that number is low anyway because teams just stopped throwing on Sanders after a while. That was Deion's specialty, he didn't just pride himself on shutting down a team's ace receiver, he could more or less close off a half of the field when he was on his game.

And Deion was almost always on his game.

Three of Sanders' 14 interceptions went as touchdowns and he scored another three times on punt returns. Not only was he capable of shutting a passing game down, he was a threat to score from anywhere on the field if the ball came his way. 

Before opponents were kicking away from Petter Warrick, they were kicking away from Deion.

Sanders had everything you look for in a legend. He had the stats, he had the swagger and he shined brightest in the biggest moments, like when he intercepted a pass late in the 1988 Sugar Bowl to seal a win over Auburn.

He even had the charisma. You can't go by Primetime if you don't. Sanders was never short of some good trash talk or a great one-liner. He once said to Steve Marriuci that at FSU he majored in eligibility.

As funny as that sounds, there was little doubt from the moment most folks laid eyes on Sanders and his athletic gifts that he was destined for greatness in the world of sports.

He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round in 1985 but didn't sign. He was drafted again by the New York Yankees in 1988. He was also drafted by the Atlanta Falcons fifth overall in the 1989 NFL Draft.

Whereas Charlie Ward would later be forced to pick between one sport or another in the pros, Deion played both. In 1989 as a rookie he homered and then scored a touchdown in the same week. That had never happened, hasn't happened since. He's also the only man in history to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series. 

Sanders best sport was always football though. Despite once hitting .302 for the Atlanta Braves and leading the NL in triples in 1992, what he did on the gridiron dwarfed what he accomplished on the diamond.

Sanders played 14 seasons and hauled in 53 career picks- nine of which he returned for scores. Between interceptons, kick returns and other scores, he ended his career with 22 touchdows. Eight times he was an All-Pro and eight times he was a Pro Bowler. He won two Superbowls and is the only player in NFL history to record both a reception and an interception in one. 

He was a two-time defensive player of the year and was inducted into the NFL and College Football Hall of Fames in 2011.

Deion Sanders is not just the best player to ever come out of Florida State, he could be the best player to ever come out of the state of Florida. His place in NFL history is secure as is his place atop the list of the greatest players to ever play at FSU.

Deion Sanders is the greatest Florida State Seminole of all-time.


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

August 03, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 2 - Charlie Ward


Charlie Ward, QB, 1989-1993

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1999

The name "Charlie Ward" has power amongst the Florida State fanbase. It's almost magical at this point 20 years removed from Ward's last snaps as a Seminole. Ward is a part of Florida State mythos, a part of the school's lore. His memory has become larger than life.

That's what happens when you're the kind of transformational player Ward was at FSU, they deify you.

After several years of knocking on the door, Ward was the guy who piloted Florida State to prominence. He was one of the first dual-threat quarterbacks in the current iteration. A talented thrower who could terrorize opposing defenses in the air or on the ground with his legs. This wasn't an option offense, this was an offense that could attack vertically. The questions that have been turned over in defensive coordinators' minds for a couple decades by now, were just being asked back then. Being asked about Charlie Ward.

Do you blitz him or try to make him throw to beat you? Do you key on Ward himself or try to take his weapons away? How do you defend a player who doesn't fit into any of the molds that had been cast up to that point? Sure there had been mobile quarterbacks before and option quarterbacks before. But this one felt different.

This was Charlie Ward.

Born in 1970 in Thomasville, Georgia, Ward grew up playing football, baseball and basketball. He accepted a scholarship to attend Florida State in 1988 but didn't officially qualify until the following season in 1989.

By the 1992 season Florida State was in its first year in the ACC and Charlie Ward was in his first season as the team's starting quarterback. Ward threw for 2647 yards that year with 22 touchdowns and 17 picks. He completed 55.9 percent of his passes that season and Florida State went 11-1, falling to Miami in the second Wide Right game and beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. 

The next season Ward and the Seminoles broke through.

Ward showed dramatic improvement from his junior season, increasing his completion percentage nearly 15% to 69.5. He decreased his interceptions from 17 to four and threw 27 touchdown passes. He also added over 300 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. All in all 3032 yards with 27 touchdowns and just four picks was the best season any Florida State quarterback had ever had to that point. It's still up there to this day too.

Ward won every award he was nominated for in 1993. Earning selections to nine different All-American teams along with consensus NCAA All-American honors, while also winning the Davey O'Brien trophy, the Maxwell award and the first Heisman trophy in Florida State history. 

FSU won their first national title that year too, finishing 11-1 and defeating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl once again to seal the deal. After nearly 20 years at the helm, Bobby Bowden finally had the Seminoles on top of the college footaball world and Charlie Ward was the guy who got them there.

But Ward's athleticism extended far beyond the football field. He was an integral part of three consecutive NCAA Tournament teams in basketball, playing guard and averaging 8.1 points per game over the course of his career.

In fact, it was basketball that Ward opted to turn pro in. After NFL teams were scared off by Ward's indecision over which sport to play (and his pronouncement that he would not play football unless drafted in the first round), the Knicks selected Ward in the first round of the NBA draft and he went on to play an 11-year NBA career. 

But stories of Ward's athletic prowess extend beyond even the hardwood and the gridiron. Despite never playing an inning of baseball at Florida State, Ward was drafted twice by the Major Leagues in 1993 and 1994. In 1994 the New York Yankees took him in the 18th round. 

He also was an avid tennis player, going deep into the 1994 Arthurt Ashe amatuer tennis tournament. 

In his time at Florida State Ward was also highly involved in student government, even serving as Student Body Vice President as a senior. He also was integral in helping a young Warrick Dunn in the months after his mother's murder during his first year at FSU. Dunn was a Florida State signee and Ward approached Bobby Bowden about mentoring Dunn when the freshman tailback first arrived in Tallahassee.

Ward, along with Bowden and the rest of the Seminoles helped Warrick flourish.

As a true freshman Dunn featured on that 1993 National title team, earning All-Freshman honors and eventually becoming the all-time leading rusher in Florida State history. By that time though Ward was well into his career as a New York Knick. 

When you look back at the history of Florida State University, not just in sports but as an entire institution, there are few students in the school's history or athletes in the history of the athletic program that can compete with the impact Ward had on FSU. He was the first Heisman, the first National Title winning QB and he's still number one in the hearts of many Seminoles fans.

Without a doubt Charlie Ward is one of the greatest Florida State Seminoles ever- the greatest some would argue.


But we still have one playr left in our countdown...

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

August 02, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 3 - Derrick Brooks


Derrick Brooks, LB, 1991-1994

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2000

There's a very good chance that next year Florida State will double its NFL Hall of Fame total. Fred Biletnikoff and Deion Sanders are currently the lone Seminoles in Canton. OT Walter Jones has a good chance to be inducted in his first year of eligiblity next season.

Derrick Brooks is more or less a slam-dunk.

Brooks isn't just one of the best Seminoles of all-time or one of the best Bucs of all-time. He was one of the best players in all of football over the past two decades. Arguably one of the best of all-time, anywhere. 

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Derrick Brooks starred as a high school football player at Pensacola's Washington High School. He was so dominant as a high schooler that in 2007 the FHSAA named him one of the 33 greatest players in the 100-year history of Florida high school football.

Think about all the players Florida churns out that go on to become great collegiate athletes, great pros, even Hall of Famers. Derrick Brooks is considered one of the best ever to come out of that group. 

He signed at Florida State where as a 6'0 205-pound incoming freshman he assumed his best shot to go to the pros would be by converting to defensive back. 

And he did spend his first season in Tallahassee at safety. He notched 22 tackles in reserve duty on the 1991 Seminole team. But after his freshman season, Mickey Andrews and Bobby Bowden had a different idea about how to best use Brooks, instead optiong to ulitlize his speed and ability to deliver a vicious blow at outside linebacker.

The rest is history.

Brooks went on to become a three-time All-ACC first team selection over the three years he started at linebacker for the Florida State defense. As a sophomore Brooks pulled down 98 tackles and 3.5 sacks playing alongside future NFL first-round pick Marvin Jones. He earned All-Sophomore honors from the AP and quickly established himself as one of the top defenders on a very good FSU defense.

The next season, with Jones now in the NFL, Brooks flourished as the anchor of Florida State's first national championship defense. He lead the Seminole defense for both the 1993 and 1994 seasons, notching 77 tackles each year, earning 17 selections to various All-American teams over those two seasons and achieving back-to-back consensus NCAA All-American honors.

The numbers lie when it comes to Brooks though.

With some players you can open up an old media guide or a stat-book and the numbers just pop out at you. Marvin Jones is a great example of that, he made so many tackles in three years that you couldn't help but understand the ways in which he affected the game.

Brooks is different because there is no statistical measurement for how disrputive a player can be. 

If there were he'd likely be FSU's all-time leader. There's a reason a guy can win back-to-back All-American honors at linebacker without ever going over 100 tackles or 10 sacks in either season. It has to do with sleepless nights spent by offensive coordinators and the ways in which opposing teams had to scheme around number 10 just to have a shot at moving the football against Florida State.

Put it this way, nobody was trying to go anywhere near Derrick Brooks' side of the football field. 

He could tackle, he could get to the quarterback and his coverage skills were impeccable. Over the course of his final two seasons Brooks broke up 11 passes, intercepted five and scored three defensive touchdowns. 

He hit like a linebacker, rushed like an end and covered like a safety.

He was also a stud in the classroom, earning All-American academic honors as a senior and continuing to do charitable work with an academic mission to this day.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Brooks 28th overall in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft and he played his entire 14-season career in Tampa, notching 2118 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 25 career interceptions while helping the Bucs to the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. Brooks earned Pro Bowl honors 11 times in 14 years and was named an All-Pro nine times.

Next year he will likely be one of the first two or three names read off when the NFL announces its Hall of Fame class for 2014. 

But much like his teammate- both in Tallahassee and in Tampa- Warrick Dunn, just discussing football would be a disservice to the other things Brooks has accomplished away from the game. Brooks was named the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2000 for his extensive philanthropic work off the field.

That work continues to this day.

The Derrick Brooks foundation or "Brooks' Bunch" has been taking local kids from Boys and Girls clubs on travel excursions since Brooks' third year in the league. They focus on providing educational opportunities by using a "mobile classroom" model and annually take children on trips across the contintental US and to Africa.

Brooks' focus on education has also expanded to other avenues as well, including the co-founding of a collegiate prep high school in Tampa in 2007.

Brooks was recently honored by Governor Rick Scott with the state's "Great Floridian" award and was named a member of the Board of Trustees at FSU in 2003.

On and off the field, Derrick Brooks is one of the greatest Seminoles of all-time.


Only two to go, who's next? Can you guess it?

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

August 01, 2013

Going Polling: FSU Opens at 12 in First Coaches Poll


The first USA Today/Coaches Poll came out today and the Florida State Seminoles will open the season ranked as the 12th best team in the country.

A year after going 12-2 and winning the ACC, Florida State was hit hard by graduation and the draft. Defensively the Seminoles lost Bjoern Werner and Xavier Rhodes a year early (both were first round selections) and must also break in new players along their line and at linebacker. 

Offensively there are questions at quarterback, where EJ Manuel has moved on and- despite a strong showing from Jameis Winston in the Spring- Jimbo Fisher insists a competition will unfold at the start of Fall camp between Winston and Jacob Coker. 

Florida State should still be favored in most of their games this season but road dates with Clemson and Florida could prove challenging to a team breaking in a new QB. Clemson, who starts the season ranked 8, was picked to win the ACC during the conference's recent media weekend. 

Clemson and Florida State were the lone ACC schools ranked. UF opens the season ranked 10th. Miami received 101 votes and is just two spots outside of the top 25.

Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Georgia were ranked one through five in the preseason poll.


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



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