« August 31, 2013 | Main | September 2, 2013 »

5 posts from September 1, 2013

September 01, 2013

Five Things to Watch For: FSU at Pittsburgh

Heinz_Field

As Florida State prepares to square off with Pittsburgh at Heinz Field in their Labor Day season opener, here are five things to watch for:

1.) How does Jameis Winston Settle in After the First Quarter

I think somewhere between the end of the first drive and the end of the first quarter the whole swell of emotion from the start of a season will subside a bit, the adrenaline rush will taper off to a steady flow and Seminoles fans will get their first real glimpse of Jameis Winston. FSU will likely have their first drive or two heavily rehearsed, once things open up and both teams start to make adjustments it will be interesting to see how Winston settles in.

2.) Can Someone Take the Lid Off the Panther Defense Early?

Fact is, Pitt would be a little crazy not to load the box and force Florida State's redshirt freshman quarterback to beat them. That's going to make it even more important for the Seminoles to take a deep shot or two early to try and take the top off of the Pitt D and give the backs and blockers some room to breath. Kelvin Benjamin could have a huge season doing just that this year for the Seminoles. Either way, someone will need to do it early on, on Monday.

3.) How Does the Defense Morph Over the Course of the Game?

The Panther offensive line average 315 per player and it's likely with unproven receivers (outside of Devin Street) that Pittsburgh will try to attack FSU with a power run game. To counter FSU will start one of the heaviest configurations it is likely to employ all year. Eddie Goldman, normally a DT, is starting as the strongside end. Dan Hicks, usually a DE, is standing up and starting at strongside linebacker. If Pitt plans to run strong-side behind their right tackle, they are essentially attempting to do it on a 5-2 front. If FSU can go up a few scores and put some distance between themselves and the Panthers though, watch how the personnel changes and the Seminoles begin to attack differently. 

4.) What Does Gio Newberry Do?

Giorgio Newberry switched from Defensive End to Tight End this year. This transition is the brainchild of Jimbo Fisher, who believes big blocking Tight Ends are the wave of the future in light of the increasing size of the defensive fronts in college football. While Newberry possesses deceptive receiving skills, his primary function will be to set edges and block defensive ends or linebackers trying to do the same (set the edge) for the defense. If Newberry is successful in this capacity, Fisher may have a legitimate wrinkle to his run game. If not, Newberry will just serve as a 6-6 280-pound advertisement for FSU's intention to run.

5.) Any Hiccups on Special Teams?

For the first time in years Dustin Hopkins will not be booming balls through the uprights for Florida State, Roberto Aguayo will be making his debut on Monday as Hopkin's replacement. Aside from that, the Seminoles also dealt with breakdowns in punt protection and muffed punt return attempts last season. All of those issues garnered plenty of offseason attention from Fisher and his team. Monday will be the first chance to see how that phases of the game looks for the Seminoles.

 

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

Previewing the Opponent: The Pittsburgh Panthers

Pittsburgh 2005

Pittsburgh Panthers
2012 Record: 6-7
2013 Record: 0-0
Head Coach: Paul Chryst
All-Time: Pitt leads FSU 5-3

Overview: Pittsburgh debuts in the ACC by hosting reigning ACC Champion Florida State in primetime on Monday night at Heinz Field. The Panthers were better than their record shows last year and return several playmakers such as Devin Street at receiver and Aaron Donald at defensive tackle.

"This will be a tremendous game. They played very well last year," Jimbo Fisher said Wednesday. "[They] played Louisville to the heels – had them. They were up 14 on Notre Dame in the fourth quarter. The beat Virginia Tech up handily up there at home. They play at home extremely well. We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game because it’s going to be a challenging football game, no doubt."

There are plenty of questions facing the Panthers as they enter 2013, chief among them how quarterback Tom Savage adjusts to his third team. Savage has not played a snap since 2010. Behind him Russel Shell - who was going to be relied on heavily in the run-game - left the team last Spring, tried to come back and then transferred. Street was a dynamic threat in the passing game last season, but the Panthers are likely to start a true freshman opposite him.

The rush defense was ranked 31st in the country last year and should be stout again this year. Donald, a talented defensive tackle is the linchpin and should be disruptive on Monday night. 

How FSU Stacks Up: The Seminoles will counter the biggest O-line they may face all year by using DT Eddie Goldman as the left end. He will line up on the strong-side with Dan Hicks (typically an End) lining up as the strong-side linebacker. This is probably not the configuration FSU favors against smaller, spread offenses down the road, but against Pitt it will help to combat the Panthers' power run game and force Savage to beat them.

Savage has an excellent target in Street but not a whole lot of other proven commodities beyond that. If FSU gets out ahead look for Goldman to come off the field or at least slide inside while FSU switches to quicker personnel and tries to shut down Street and company.

Offensively, FSU is likely to try to rely on the run to set Jameis Winston up with favorable situations to throw in. Aaron Donald and the Pitt run defense are solid but the Seminoles should be able to utilize their speed to get outside. 

“I think that is a big challenge. You really can’t simulate size and speed," admitted Chryst this week. "We’ve got some guys that I think can run pretty well. The speed of the game is one thing that catches some people the first time playing. Ask a freshman in camp, and they’ll say the speed of the game is faster. When you’re playing an opponent with a lot of speed at different positions like Florida State, the best thing you can do is go with your best players and then adjust. There’s a lot of adjusting in first games.”

Three to Watch

1.) Devin Street, WR - FSU will need to know where he is at all times. He is the most proven commodity on the entire Pittsburgh offense.

2.) Isaac Bennett, RB - Pittsburgh's starting tailback has been banged up recently, the Panthers will need him to carry his share of the load to upset the Seminoles.

3.) Aaron Donald, DT - At the middle of the Panther defense is arguably its most talented player. Capable of creating havok in several ways, FSU's interior offensive linemen may have their hands full with him on Monday night.

Quote of the Week: "It’s not just because it’s Monday, it’s primetime, everyone in the country’s going to be looking at one team play. That’s us. It’s going to be two teams on the field but everyone’s going to be looking to see what Florida State has. We always have that target on our back, that’s what we like to play with.” 

- Telvin Smith, Senior LB

 

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

13 Bold Predictions for 2013

DSC_0072

To be honest, I intended to write this before things got rolling with the college football season on Thursday evening, but alas the allure of North Carolina-South Carolina was too strong and I did none of that.

So if you'll forgive me for offering these bold predictions nearly a full weekend into the season, here are 13 things I predict will happen during the 2013 college football season. Most of these are Florida State-related (since, after all, that's the beat I cover), and should be excused any scrutiny for their tardiness, the last few though, criticize away...

1.) Kenny Shaw will have a break-out year

Kenny Shaw has never caught more than 34 passes, gained more than 534 yards or scored more than four touchdowns in a season. All three of those things change in his senior year. I already expected Shaw to stand out in 2013, but with the WR corps now considerably thinned out, Shaw is positioned even better to have a break-out year. With questions at tight end and a new QB, look for Shaw's fearlessness over the middle to make him a favorite target of Jameis Winston.

2.) Devonta Freeman will eclipse 1,000 yards rushing

Nobody has run for more than 1,000 yards in a season at FSU since Warrick Dunn in the late 90's. I think that changes this year. With Mario Pender out for academic reasons, FSU will have just three scholarship tailbacks on their roster. While James Wilder Jr. grabs more of the headlines for his size and his personality, Devonta Freeman has been the more consistent back early in his career. Freeman lead FSU in rushing as a freshman and came within 40 yards of it last season too. This season, with more carries likely to come his way, look for Freeman to end one of FSU's least celebrated streaks.

3.) This will be the best Miami-Florida State game in a decade

Ok, so maybe this isn't so bold. But I think UM-FSU has a shot be one of the games of the year when we look back on 2013. FSU has been on the rise for the past several seasons, but heavily discounted by the Florida State faithful is the progress Al Golden has made at Miami. The Canes are loaded on offense and if their defense is even remotely improved Miami will challenge for the Coastal division of the ACC. They always give FSU a great game, but it's more personal than usual this year and it should make for a great game. If anything, the mind games between de-facto FSU OC Jimbo Fisher and former FSU-OC-turned-UM-OC James Coley will make this one an interesting game.

4.) Jalen Ramsey will be the Defensive rookie of the year

I'm not sure I've seen Jalen Ramsey roll with the two's since he got to Tallahassee. A five-star verbal commitment to USC, Ramsey flipped days before national signing day and headed to Tallahassee instead. Since arriving, he's been working with the first team and garnering compliments from his coaches on a regular basis. He's currently listed behind Lamarcus Joyner on the depth chart, and should see plenty of playing time in 2013.

5.) Florida State will have another excellent draft class

FSU had more players drafted than any other school last season, and while I wouldn't necessarily wager they'll repeat that this year, I'd be comfortable asserting they'll be amongst the top five, probably top three. The Seminoles' defense is littered with future pros and there are several players on offense (Rashad Greene, James Wilder Jr.) that could be drafted if they leave early too. All in all, don't be surprised if somewhere between seven to ten 'Noles hear their name called next Spring at the NFL draft.

6.) Tim Jernigan will see a significant spike in national attention by year's end

Florida State fans have known Tim Jernigan was something special for the past two seasons, this year the nation will discover it too. Alabama has produced more than its share of first round defensive tackles the past few years, with Pruitt having been recently plucked from the Bama/Saban coaching tree, Jernigan will get some hype on the basis of that fact alone. His play will back it up though. If he stays healthy, Jernigan might have a tough decision to make come January.

7.) Florida State may not be past a QB Crisis

May not be? That's not even a prediction, that's more of a vague hypothetical. You're right, and I'm offering it anyway. I think Jameis Winston will have enough leash this season that only injury or a blowout will be enough to get Jacob Coker into a game. If an injury does happen though, look out. Not because Florida State can't win without Winston, but because it's possible it could never miss a beat without him. Both QB's are legitimately talented signal callers that would be day one starters at probably 100 other schools right now. Winston won the fanbase over largely due to the fact Seminole fans never saw Coker at full strength. If they do, and he lights it up, Jimbo Fisher inherits a media-and-fan-driven headache.

8.) Seminoles fans will miss Lonnie Pryor

This is in no way, shape or form a slight at Pryor's replacement, Chad Abram, it's simply pointing out that a player of Pryor's versatility is rare. Pryor made the Jaguars this past weekend, and as excited as Seminole fans will be to see him on Sundays they will miss him on Saturdays. Pryor was an underrated blocker who was able to draw defensive attention for his ability as a ballcarrier and receiver. Until a player lining up at fullback can prove he's capable of the same, opponents have one less thing to gameplan for.

9.) PJ Williams will lead the team in interceptions

Admittedly this is more of a hunch than anything based on hard empricial data, but Williams is a ball-hawking sophomore who won the week-one start at corner. He had a great Spring and is by all accounts one of those players that just has exceptional football instincts. Whether it's in practice or in scrimmages, you always hear about Williams making a play. If that translates on to the field, look for him to lead the team in picks.

10.) At Wake Forest, the week after Miami, will be the 'Noles most unexpectedly difficult game

Wake Forest has been a team that has given FSU fits over the past decade, especially on the road. A week after a tough game against Miami, this game has trouble written all over it. If FSU drops the game to the Canes, expect them to go to Wake focused and pick up a win. If FSU beats the Canes, the next week at Wake has all the makings of a classic trap game.

Non-FSU Predictions

11.) Johnny Manziel will end up getting injured

All of the hub-bub over Johnny Football and his air-autographs, money sign gestures and the whole preseason circus that followed him into Saturday will be silenced for at least a few weeks when Manziel gets hurt. This isn't because I wish Manziel any ill-will, not because I'm cynical either, I'm just not feeling good about that odds that a 6-1 200-pound QB can scramble around the SEC like he does for two straight seasons without taking a lick that at least knocks him out of commission for a week or two. I think Manziel will end up getting hurt and ESPN will have to find a new person to talk about non-stop for a few weeks.

12.) Alabama won't three-peat

Admittedly, VT-Bama confirmed this for me, but Alabama won't three-peat. They lost too much on offense along their line and - despite unparalleled success on the recruiting trail since Nick Saban arrived - one or two SEC defenses will be good enough to pressure the Tide offense and knock off Alabama this year.

13.) In the last year of the BCS, the SEC's streak will end

I don't think there's an SEC-alpha this year like there was the past few seasons (see above), each team has their issues this year. Meanwhile, Ohio State likely skates by to an unbeaten season while the SEC canabalizes itself. Whether you think it's the Buckeyes or maybe even a team from another conference, I think the SEC's streak ends in 2013.

 

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

Florida State Defensive Preview

DSC_0590

The Seminoles are scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh today for their season opening matchup with the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field tomorrow night. While Florida State fans have had several seasons to get used to the offense that head coach Jimbo Fisher runs, this will be their first opportunity to get a look at new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's scheme. 

Contrary to the popular party-line originating in Tallahassee, this is not Mark Stoops' defense with new terminology. As senior linebacker Telvin Smith tells it:

“As soon as everybody was saying we were going to get Coach Pruitt we knew what we were in store for, that he was going to bring that Alabama-type swag defense to [Tallahassee]," Smith said. "So we were kind of expecting that, but now that we’ve learned it and now that we’re growing into it we can really now see that this is a great defense, it’s a play-stopping defense.”

That's not to say Stoops' defense wasn't stellar in its own right, rather FSU's defense will now have the benefit of learning concepts from two different coaching philosophies that have produced some exceptional NFL athletes.

“It’s a great blessing in disguise, we had gotten Stoops’ defense and we felt like we had just started mastering it, but they tell us we’ve got to learn this new defense," admitted Smith. "But then we learned this is what a lot of NFL teams run so they could see us in [both of] these schemes and they’ll know exactly what they’re going to get, you know, fast, intelligent guys. That’s what we’re excited about.”

“Definitely, there is times where we sometimes try to apply it to Stoops’ defense just to learn it a little bit better. But I mean it’s totally different so you can’t do that," added senior safety Terrence Brooks. 

This is a defense that will morph week-to-week and allow the Seminole coaching staff to attack offenses in unique ways with different packages and looks. It's now harder to distinguish which players are truly safeties and which are truly corners. Some ends may be asked to play more like linebackers, some linebackers called on to rush like ends. On back-to-back plays at any given Seminole practice you may see a player like DE Mario Edwards stunt inside on one snap and then drop into coverage the next.

Versatility is the name of the game. 

Coaches may say this is the same defense as last year with a few new wrinkles, but the players are telling a much different story. 

"This defense is something new to us. We’ve never run anything like this or anything close to it," said junior safety Karlos Williams. "We just take hold and grasp it and we’re going after it, installing it day by day. We’re falling in love with it, I’ll put it that way.”

Williams will line up some at safety this season, some at linebacker. Like almost every player on this defense he will have a number of different roles across a number of different packages, the aim being to put him in the best position possible - as often as possible - to make plays.

It's tough to name true starters on this defense for exactly the reason I stated, it's going to morph a lot. This first game agaisnt Pittsburgh will have Florida State going up against one of the biggest - in terms of sheer weight - offensive lines than it will square off against all year. As a result, Mario Edwards is starting at right end, but Eddie Goldman, who often plays inside, is at left end and Dan Hicks – who is typically an end - will be starting at strongside linebacker. 

Dan Hicks Listed as Starting Linebacker: Click Here

On weeks where Florida State plays an offense with a smaller line that will rely on more of a spread, expect to see Hicks back at end, Goldman sliding back inside and an extra DB (possibly Williams) to find himself in the starting 11. 

Fortunately, despite having lost a lot of talent to the NFL last season, the Seminole defense is loaded with talent again this season. 

Grading the Florida State Seminoles: Click Here

Along the defensive line, the rotation will be stout again. It's tough to make a claim about this year's line being better than last's when there were two top-40 drafted NFL ends starting on it. But the potential is there for it to be down the road.

Dan Hicks will see some time at end, but the star of the group may be sophomore Mario Edwards, who appears to have sorted out some freshman growing pains and has had a good camp. Chris Casher is healthy again this year and should provide a solid speed-rushing presence when called on. DeMarcus Walker is a talented true freshman that enrolled early but missed the Spring for NCAA clearinghouse reasons, he has also received good reviews in camp and should be in the rotation some too.

Tim Jernigan, Demonte McAllister, Eddie Goldman, Jacobbi McDaniel and Niles Lawrence-Stample can all play the nose but are capable of lining up at other techniques as well (as will be evident all year). 3-4, 4-3, FSU has the kind of versatility inside to show a wide variety of looks and attack from them effectively.

The two linebackers that will provide the bulk of the leadership for the entire defensive unit are seniors Christian Jones and Telvin Smith. Jones is an NFL-caliber linebacker who could be taken as high as the first round of next year's draft. Smith is more of a tweener but his speed and versatility should both be be major assets in Pruitt's scheme. Both linebackers can cover and rush the passer and will be called upon to do both quite a bit this season. 

Behind them a group of talented freshmen and sophomores are competing for limited reps. While it's possible one of the young players from the group can make an impact by the end of the season, early on look for the role of the third linebacker to be played by versatile guys from other position groups, like Dan Hicks will be doing in week one and Karlos Williams will likely also do throughout the course of the season.

No position group will benefit more than the defensive backs in Pruitt's new scheme. His unit will bring a lot of pressure with the secondary while also giving the DB's plenty of chances to make big plays.

“I feel like with this defense we’re around the ball all the time, I feel like. Like I don’t know how, but I mean, I feel like it’s unstoppable," said junior CB Nick Waisome. "There’s always an answer for something. I feel like if a play is made on us it’s because of a miscommunication [on our part] or something like that.”

Lamarcus Joyner will be in more of a jack-of-all-trades kind of role this year. Saying he's switched from safety back to corner full time isn't entirely correct, rather he'll be moved around quite a bit and be given chances to impact the game in a variety of ways this year. Much like defenses have to account for offensive players in some cases, offenses may have to account for Joyner this year in his own right - depending on how he is deployed. 

The rest of the secondary features arguably the most talented groups to play at Florida State in years.

“A lot of guys can play a lot of different positions and [Pruitt's scheme] puts us in a spot where a lot more DB’s can get on the field," said Karlos Williams. "That’s pretty much it, the defense puts us in those positions where we can have a lot more speed on the field.”

Tyler Hunter and Terrence Brooks will be key players at safety, along with Williams.

At corner, sophomore Ronald Darby (last year's defensive ROTY) is finally healthy again and will play along with PJ Williams, talented true freshman Jalen Ramsey, Joyner and Waisome. 

Method to the Madness: Chances are Seminole fans won't see this defense at its full effect for a few weeks. That's fine too, as long as it's humming on all cylinders by Clemson week. The most likely issue early on will be players thinking more than reacting as they adjust. With two defensive schemes still in their heads from the course of the last 12 months, there may be the occasional mental error or missed assignment early in the year.

"Pruitt’s whole scheme is just amazing. It puts you in position to make a lot of plays and - as long as you just apply yourself to learning it," admitted Terrence Brooks. "Because it is difficult and it’s a lot of key terms and different checks and a lot more checks than what Stoops’ was."

The Seminoles have been installing their new defense since last Spring, but the learning curve is different for everyone. Expect a little bit more of a tailored approach as Florida State eases into things the first few weeks of the season, by midseason though expect Pruitt to have his unit going full speed.

 

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

Florida State Offensive Preview

DSC_0219

Florida State is slated to kick off its season tomorrow night against Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. It's a tough road tilt for a Seminole team that is breaking in several new players at key positions.

On the basis of talent the Seminoles should be the best offensive team on the field for most of its season, regardless of its experience level. Clemson, Miami, and maybe Florida, will be able to match the level of athleticism the Florida State offense will possess this year.

The bigger question will be offensive depth at three key positions.

Grading the Florida State Seminoles: Click Here

Ironically, the position that seemed to have the biggest questions associated with it coming into August may also be the deepest. Back at the start of FSU's camp Phil Savage, a former NFL GM and the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, tweeted that FSU's QB situation was similar to Oregon's in the late 90's with Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and AJ Feeley, and that as far as young arms, FSU may have one of the best 1-2 combos in the country

That's certainly the same refrain that Jimbo Fisher has been singing since last Spring, that he would be comfortable playing either guy while peppering in compliments about Sean Maguire as well. Winston is the starter, Coker will back him up. That much has been written about ad nauseum. 

At this point though, QB is probably the deepest position on the offense. A fact that could cause the Florida State offense to struggle mightily given one or two key injuries. 

Along the offensive line the team is as talented as it has been in years. Redshirt senior center Bryan Stork seems destined for a good NFL draft slot and Cam Erving has settled in to become a solid left tackle after making the transition from defensive tackle last season. The two guards, Tre Jackson and Josue Matias, are also back and will look to continue their evolution as two of the top guards in the Atlantic Coast Conference. 

The lone question along an extremely veteran offensive line is at right tackle where 19 year-old junior Bobby Hart (Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) looks to replace Menelik Watson. Watson was a mauler last season, an absolutely brutal run-blocker with a vicious first punch and a very high ceiling. Hart's ceiling is just as high, but at 25, Watson's maturity made all the difference.

So far Hart's teammates have talked up his maturation, if true he should be fine as the right tackle. If it's not - or if injuries befall the unit - look out.

Behind the starters there is no shortage of uncertainty.

FSU OT Sues NCAA for his Senior Year of Eligibility: Click Here 

Daniel Glauser was lost to an NCAA snafu over eligibility, junior center Austin Barron is out to start the season with a fractured bone in his foot. That leaves Sterling Lovelady, Jacob Fahrenkrug and Ruben Carter as the lone experienced scholarship linemen on the depth chart. Jonathan Wallace, a redshirt senior walk-on, is the backup right tackle while true freshman Wilson Bell is listed as Cameron Erving's back up at left tackle. True freshman Ira Denson has been banged up throughout camp but could also factor in if needed.

In all likelihood, any injury at tackle would result in Stork shifting positions and the team using a either Lovelady or Barron at center. But with Barron banged up to start the season, this unit is thin and an an injury or two could be all it takes to shelve the Seminole run-game.

The skill positions have also thinned out quite a bit as well. At running back, the loss of Mario Pender to an academic issue may force the Seminoles to get a little bit inventive. James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman both enter their junior year looking to share the workload for Florida State. Each is more than capable of shouldering the load himself. But behind them, true freshman Ryan Green is the next man up. Then – at least based on Spring – walk-on Will Burnham would appear to be fourth.

In reality though, that's unlikely to happen.

“We have a contingency plan," said Fisher on Saturday. " [Fullback] Chad Abram has done a nice job back there. He can run the ball. Bobo [Wilson] and Kermit [Whitfield] – they’ve been back there. Those guys can take snaps and be back there.”

Both Wilson and Whitfield are also true freshman. Fullback is just as tenuous. Behind senior Chad Abram, walk-on Cameron Ponder is listed as the back-up. The team has also been working out different defensive tackles for short-yardage jumbo personnel situations. Lonnie Pryor is in the NFL now, world.

Tight End is a position the Seminoles knew would be thin heading into the season. Christo Kourtzidis has decided to transfer, Kevin Haplea's torn ACL will force him to miss the season and miraculously Nick O'Leary is the lone healthy option returning from last year – despite the now-infamous video of his Summer motorcycle accident that sent him sliding down 150 feet of pavement.

Defensive end Giorgio Newberry has flipped to tight end as a result. Newberry was a high school basketball player and does possess a bit more pass-catching ability than one would expect from a man of his size, but don't look for him to be a whole lot more than a glorified offensive tackle early on.

Then at receiver, Florida State has gone from having a group of talented upperclassmen crowding the position to suddenly having a group of true freshman positioned for solid first-year playing time. Last Spring Marvin Bracy missed the start of the team's camp before announcing his decision to withdraw and pursue a professional track career.

Then over the summer senior Greg Dent was suspended indefinitely for sexual assault allegations, at the start of Fall camp senior Willie Haulstead's career ended after he was ruled academically ineligible. A couple weeks later it was announced senior Jarred Haggins is out for the year as well. 

That leaves a duo of talented, proven receivers, two guys looking to prove themselves and then a trio of true freshmen. Senior Kenny Shaw is amongst the most workman-like receivers in the ACC. A good route-runner with solid hands and no hesitation about going over the middle, he could be in line for a huge season. Rashad Greene is a proven commodity, if not for Sammy Watkins, he would likely be the consensus top receiver in the conference. Since he stepped on campus, the former STA-standout has impressed and he should continue that this season as well.

Behind them are Kelvin Benjamin and Christian Green. Both come highly-touted but have been unable to stay on the field consistently. If they can, they will have plenty of chances to make plays this season. If they can't, Jesus "Bobo" Wilson, Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield and Isaiah Jones are the next three up. All three are true freshman, and while Bobo and Kermit possess track speed, their inexperience and the number of reads Jimbo Fisher's offense requires a receiver to make could spell trouble for the 'Noles.

Method to the Madness: FSU has the potential to hang 40 points any time they go out, but how they choose to do it may depend on how healthy they are. Early on, look for Fisher to ease Jameis Winston into things by relying heavily on the run to put his young signal caller into favorable passing situations. 

Of course, a rolled ankle or an ill-fated step could potentially change that philosophy instantly. While the run game is the strength of the team at the outset of the stadium, keeping the blockers and backs healthy will be the key to keeping it that way. FSU would be better off in the first half of the season if they aren't forced to rely on the passing game to win. The defense should be good enough to hold their early opponents at bay and keep things close, the run game should be solid as the team's bread and butter (if healthy).

FSU's offense should have time to let Winston get his legs under him before the intensity cranks up at Clemson for the sixth game of the season.

 

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


Categories


Archives


Powered by TypePad