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53 posts from September 2013

September 24, 2013

As Karlos Gets Comfortable, Look For His Role to Expand


Karlos Williams' transition from safety to running back has already started to produce major results. Williams took his first career carry 65 yards for a touchdown two weeks ago and finished his first game at the position with over 100 yards. He's currently second on the team with 193 rushing yards and has scored three times. 

But that's already begged the question, 'when is he going to get more playing time?'

Soon, it seems.

Jimbo Fisher has been biding his time the past few weeks, testing the junior ball-carrier to be absolutely positive that he knew what he was doing - not just with the ball in his hands but without it too. 

"It’s just making sure – it’s not like he doesn’t know – but you’ve got to know it ‘bang, bang,’" said Fisher. "He does, but now we are very comfortable."

Despite the "weird" way the game started on Saturday (Bethune held the ball for over 12 minutes in the first quarter) Fisher said he saw enough out of Williams in the 54-6 win over the Wildcats to feel comfortable increasing his role on offense.

"I thought he had a very good week of practice," said Fisher. "When we put him in the game we did some different things and I called some things on purpose to see how he would handle it and he handled the adjustments, pass protections, routes and different things extremely well.

"So, I think, I’m very comfortable that he’ll play at any time.”

“I felt a lot more comfortable, every passing play that we had the defense really gave it to me in practice all week," said Williams after Saturday's game. "There are still a couple of things that I need to work on like using my feet more and not relying on my hands as much.”

But overall, Williams is poised to take on a bigger role in the offense and he's growing more comfortable at his new position by the day.

“Of course, any running back does," said Williams. "We try to take those two to three yard gains and if you keep getting those eventually you are going to bust open and get a big gain”

There could be plenty of big gains in Williams' - and the Seminoles' - future.


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

September 23, 2013

Mondays With Jimbo: BC Week Edition


Every Monday Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher holds his weekly press conference to discuss the week's opponent, the previous weekend's film and whatever else he feels like talking about that afternoon. We cover it in a weekly piece called, "Mondays with Jimbo."

Jimbo Fisher stopped by to discuss Boston College with reporters on Monday and provided plenty of other insight about the state of Florida State football along the way. Fisher started by giving his obligatory run-down of this week's opponent before going into specifics about his own team.

BC, per Fisher, is going to bring a big physical brand of football to try to challenge Florida State in the trenches. If that sounds like the last couple games - it's because it is. 

"They had a week off to prepare well. Steve (Addazio) does a great job coaching, offense (and) defense. They’re very physical on offense – very good offensive line. Probably one of the best ones we’ve seen," said Fisher. "Their (running back) Andre Williams is averaging over 100 yards a game, is very physical, big, 230-pound guy that breaks tackles, he's strong."

Addazio announced on Monday that he has moved BC's week up a day so that they will get their work in early and be well-rested for "a very physical game" come Saturday. 

"Defensively, they cause you a lot of different looks. They trap a lot and bring a lot of different looks," added Fisher. "You’ve got to be very well prepared in order to see the looks and do things, they challenge you there."

The Eagles have changed some things up since last year defensively too, rendering last year's game-film a little less than useful. Fisher was well aware of this:

"They’ve changed defensively and they’ve changed on offense. It’s not like playing them a year ago. You can go back and evaluate the players, but not the scheme."

More From Jimbo:

##- Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield is about to take over as the primary kick returner for Florida State:

"I’ll probably leave him back there," said Fisher. "We’ve got (Lamarcus) Joyner, we can rotate Karlos (Williams) and all those guys going in the game and different things. You’ve got all those guys doing so much that it’s good to give them a break and I think Kermit is very natural at it. He’s very good at it and I think he’s mature enough and been around long enough to understand what we want.

"I’ve been very pleased with his progress; he made a very nice catch in the game. I think he’s progressing nicely and he’s very explosive and has a chance to make big plays."

##- Both Jalen Ramsey and Matthew Thomas have made an early impact on the defensive side of the ball. Ramsey made his third career start on Saturday and Thomas notched his first career sack. On Monday, Fisher took a moment to commend both:

“Matthew Thomas had a really nice game – got a couple sacks and some pressures. He’s a natural in space. See, Jalen his versatility and size at corner or safety and he can play both and we’ve been training him at both very easily. He’s so smart. He’s got a chance to be a very good player – he and Matthew both.”

##- Fisher took a minute to joke about three of the next four teams Florida State faces receiving bye weeks prior to the week they play the Seminoles:

“That’s not very nice, is it? It gives teams more time to plan on you and watch film and learn tendencies and things like that. You have to be aware of those as a coach and make your adjustments and do the things you’ve got to do, but they’ll be rested up and healed and they’ll bring their ‘A’ game, there’s no doubt. That’s another challenge we have to face. But, that’s the name of the game.”

##- Fisher thinks that the first few opponents have prepared the Seminoles for BC by virtue of the power run games they've attempted to attack the Seminole defense with:

“I don’t think it hurts. You definitely get used to playing on the blocks and taking things on and being physical and we do “good-on-good” every day and try to be physical. From that standpoint, it does help.”

##- Fisher also talked at length about Devonta Freeman, the highlight came when he discussed Freeman's love of the game:

"That kid, now, there is not one play that isn’t full speed. I’ve never, ever seen him take a play off. If he does, you call him over and say ‘what’s the matter?’ Something is wrong and something isn’t right because it’s obvious because he isn’t going 1,000 miles an hour and having fun – he’ll be running and smiling and hit something and be like, ‘hey, I love it, Coach.’

"He and (Lamarcus) Joyner will run into each other and be laughing, two knuckleheads.”

##- Finally, it took him 20 minutes (once again) but here's what Jimbo Fisher said about his redshirt freshman QB:

“I’m very proud of the plays he made. I thought he competed well in the game. I thought he started the game well. He got balls to where he needed to get them to," said Fisher. "Again, we had a couple of balls that we put on the ground by guys who have been playing off the charts. That’s ball. It’s like sometimes you shoot a basketball and it goes in and then it kicks out. That’s part of it.

"I thought he played well. There were one or two things I thought he tried to get a little too aggressive with. But I would rather say ‘whoa,’ than ‘giddy up.’ I like the aggression, the going at it. I thought he kept his poise in the game. Every time he came to the sideline he was articulating what was going on in the game, what he saw or ‘hey, we can do this, or we can do that.’ He had his ideas, but I thought he played a very solid football game. I did not think he played poorly at all. I thought he played very well."

"A couple things – I’d rather have a decision on this side instead of that side. I say that all the time, with quarterbacks and the decisions they make in the game and as many passes you give them, that’s always going to happen. You’re never going to be, that’s exactly the right read 100 percent of the time because there are so many options they have. There could be better options than the ones you use, but that’s part of it. I thought he played well and competed well in the game. Kept his poise. For a young guy sometimes when they don’t make a play they’re used to making, they just move on to the next play and he played the next play and moved on. Proud of that.”


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

September 22, 2013

Going Polling: FSU Holds Steady at 8th in Both Polls


Both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls were just released and Florida State is still ranked 8th in both of them. In fact, there's very little movement in the top ten of either poll this week.

The AP's top five holds steady with Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford while the Coaches have 'Bama, Oregon, Ohio State, Clemson and Stanford as their top five. 

Miami now sits 15th in both polls, Florida is 19th in the Coaches and 20th in the AP and Maryland - still of the ACC for one more season - is now receiving votes in each. Clemson, FSU and Miami are the lone ACC schools represented. 


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

Thoughts From the Morning After: FSU 54 Bethune-Cookman 6


Florida State handled its business last night against Bethune-Cookman, racking up nearly 500 yards of offense and holding the Wildcats to just 60 passing yards. After the game head coach Jimbo Fisher wasn't completely satisfied with what he saw, but encoraged nonetheless.

"We had those plays on offense, we had two-dropped touchdowns and fumbled inside the five (yard line). Those things got to get cleaned up and those are things that our players don’t do," said Fisher. "But you have to focus. Very proud of our guys. They continue to come back and score, and score, and score, and score and we did it again."

Florida State reeled off 33 first half points despite having the ball for less than three minutes in the first quarter. At times the offense looked highly potent, but it didn't click with the same rhythm as it has in the first two games.

After the game redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston took the fall for that one, “Everything was going our way today, [but] I was making bad decisions out there and I was just so unfocused and making a few bad decisions but the team as a whole did great.”

He had help, all three of Winston's main receivers had drops and there were several other miscues as well. But credit Winston for being able to own his mistakes. At the start of his interview one reporter asked him what was up with Rashad Greene dropping a near-perfect deep pass that should have resulted in a touchdown, Winston responded, "what's up with me overthrowing Nick [O'Leary] in the back of the endzone?"

That's just another reason Winston has ingratiated himself to his teammates so well. He doesn't throw anyone under the bus, he worries about his own mistakes and expects his teammates to do the same. 

Another reason he's ingratiated himself was on display in the second quarter on a play that ended up being wiped out by a penalty. On a broken run, Devonta Freeman began to improvise and cut backwards to try and find space, that left Jameis Winston between Freeman and several Bethune defenders. Winston didn't shy away, he sold out to give the block and actually popped one defender's lid off as he did it.

On second review the block wasn't quite as solid as it looked in real time, but the defender went on to get flagged for illegal participation for continuing without his helmet and it bailed out Freeman who had a two-yards loss erased on the play.

When Florida State watches the film together, that play will stand out. That's just another way a QB earns the loyalty of his team.

More Thoughts From the Morning After:

##- Chris Casher finished second on the team in tackles and couldn't have been happier after the game, "Oh man, it' feels good, it feels real good, because to be honest these last two games have been my first time playing football in two years."

Casher lost his senior year in high school after an eligibility snafu that came from switching schools and then was injured last year, he's feeling better now though.

"I feel like I had a good game but in a lot of situations I feel like my footwork was off - I still made the plays - but I have a lot to work on. But I'm feeling [good], I'm 100 percent."

##- Terrance Smith lead the team with 12 tackles and also picked up his first career sack. CB Jalen Ramsey and LB Matthew Thomas (both true freshmen) also picked up their first sack as well. Ramsey made his third start at corner as a true freshman - with one more he'll have as many as Deion Sanders' made in 1985 - and also saw time at safety late in the game.

Thomas had three tackles and did a lot of rushing off the edge, after the game Fisher was highly complimentary: “Matthew Thomas coming off the edge, now that’s the other thing, we’ve got to tackle in space better. I wasn’t happy the way we tackled in space at times tonight and we’ve got to do a better job, maybe switch some guys around a little bit and do some things, but [Thomas] really tackled in space well and made some nice plays.”

##- Speaking of the tackling, Telvin Smith spoke about that in his post-game interview:

“I feel like as a defense as a whole we didn’t tackle that well. That’s day one football – you’ve got to tackle. That’s one of the biggest things we are probably going to get in trouble for when we go into the meeting room on Monday just because that’s such a big emphasis on the game.”

##- Karlos Williams continues to look good as a runner for Florida State, finishing with 83 yards on nine carries. He also scored twice in the second half. 

“I felt a lot more comfortable," Williams said after the game. "There are still a couple of things that I need to work on like using my feet more and not relying on my hands as much.”

##- You may have heard Florida State players use the expression "we've got to get those crumbs," and thought, 'that sounds interesting.' Well, here's an explanation from Karlos Williams of just what that means:

"Coach Graham preaches the crumbs, those crumbs of bread are going to end up getting those slices of bread into loafs of bread."

I don't think that's how bread is made...

##- Finally, Levonte Whitfield made an impressive catch for the second week in a row during mop-up duty - this time hauling in a 42-yarder. The speedy freshman has yet to make it into the regular WR rotation but has looked explosive when given chances in late in ballgames. It will be interesting to see how he develops this year.


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

September 21, 2013

Devonta Freeman Carrying the Load for FSU


"I don't really care about the stats, I just want to win," said Devonta Freeman after Saturday night's 54-6 win over Bethune-Cookman. "I don't care who gets 100 [yards] as long as we're putting points on the board. I'm not a selfish player so whatever the outcome, I'm just down with it."

Devonta Freeman might not care about 100 yard games and eclipsing 1,000 yards for the first time at Florida State since Warrick Dunn did it in 1996, but he sure doesn't run like it. Through three games, Freeman has compiled 273 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. That's good for a 9.75 yard average.

He also hasn't lost a yard on a carry all season.

Now that's a little misleading, a two yard loss was negated during tonight's game after an illegal participation penalty was called against the Wildcats, but - that aside - Freeman has been the most consistently productive player in the Florida State ground game. He's now gone over 100 yards for two straight weeks and seems positioned as the Seminoles go-to guy on the ground when push comes to shove.

Against Bethune-Cookman he has 10 carries for 112 yards and a score. That being said, he wasn't satisfied:

“I left a lot out there, I’ve got to get better, I think we’ve got to get better as a whole unit,” said Freeman after the game.

So I asked him, 'you just ran for over 100 yards, you're not satisfied at all?'

“You may be satisfied [with your performance] for maybe a day but after that I’ve just got to find what I’ve got to get better at,” he responded.

Freeman is on pace for 1,183 yards this season - that would be the third highest total in Florida State history.


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

Rapid Reaction: FSU 54 Bethune-Cookman 6


Florida State ran away with this one in the second half as most people believed they would. It wasn't a perfect effort by Florida State but it was certainly enough to beat Bethune-Cookman and improve Florida State's record to 3-0 on the young season.

After a first half that saw him miss more passes than he completed, Jameis Winston went 3-for-3 in the second half to finish the day 10/19 for 148 yards and a couple of touchdowns. It wasn't a spectacular day for the redshirt freshman but he also didn't get the kind of help he's used to either. At least three of his passes were dropped, one seemingly by each of his top three receivers, and Florida State's offense never looked in sync like it did in each of the past two games.

That's not to say Florida State still didn't put up some impressive numbers though. Devonta Freeman is well on pace to beat 1,000 yards at Florida State for the first time since Warrick Dunn in 1996. Freeman ran for 112 on Saturday - the second straight week he's eclipsed 100 - and is now on pace to rush for 1,183 yards this season. 

So far this year Freeman has run for 273 yards on 28 carries, that's 9.75 yards per carry and he hasn't had a negative carry all year - meaning he's not had a single hand-off that lost yardage. That's impressive. 

The Seminoles finished with 492 yards of total offense, including 266 on the ground.

Defensively this was a solid effort from Florida State, they had some issues getting off the field early on due to some shaky tackling but by the time that the 2nd quarter rolled around they had started to get things under control.

Terrance Smith was an absolute monster today. While his responsibilities weren't exactly the same as what Christian Jones is typically asked to do, that doesn't make what he did any less impressive. Smith lead the way with 12 tackles and a sack and set the tone with five alone (and one for loss) on the very first series of the game.

Florida State absolutely wasn't giving up anything in the air to Bethune, forcing the Wildcats to try and move the ball on the ground and harasssing their receivers and quarterbacks all game. BCU finished the game with just 242 total yards, including just 60 through the air.

All in all it was a good evening for Florida State. S Tyler Hunter left early with a "neck contusion" and RG Tre Jackson continues to favor his ankle but for the most part the Seminoles remained healthy and got some younger players some reps. 

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (10/19, 148, 2 TD)
Rushing: Devonta Freeman (10-112, TD)
Receiving: Kenny Shaw (4-89)

I'm about to head down to the post game interviews to talk to players and wrap up, keep checking back for updates and reaction...


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

Halftime: FSU 33 Bethune-Cookman 0


It was a sloppy evening in terms of weather and Florida State's tackling early on in this one. The Seminole defense found itself in good position with regularity on their first several defensive stands but failed to make key tackles at or around the line of scrimmage and ended up surrendering extra first downs.

That let the Wildcats move the ball beyond the 50 on both of their initial two possessions and they dominated the first quarter time of possession battle 12:06-2:54. 

A large part of that was due to the pick-six that Telvin Smith hauled in to stop Bethune's first possession. It was the first since Terrance Parks did it at Florida in 2011, but it also gave the ball right back to the Bethune. The Wildcats again drove to midfield before the Seminoles stopped them. It wasn't until the 4:07 mark in the first quarter that the Seminole offense even took the field.

Early on FSU's offense was a bit incosistent too. Dropped passes, missed assignments and a fumble by James Wilder Jr. inside the Bethune five yard-line limited the Seminoles to just a field goal on their first two drives, but after a Wildcat holding penalty in their own endzone awarded Florida State a safety, the Seminoles drove for a touchdown on their ensuing possession. The drive culminated in the play you see above (an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin on an impressive scramble). 

Florida State also added scores on runs by James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman, but all in all I don't think Jimbo Fisher and his coaching staff are going to be thrilled with some of the sloppiness of the first half. FSU left points and stops on the field and that's going to need to be corrected before the level of competion gets ramped up.

The receivers in particular had a number of drops after being nearly perfect through the first two games of the season. Winston also had nine incompletions in the first half after throwing just five of them through two games to start his career. 

Look for Florida State's starters to get a few more series in the second half before they give some playing time to the younger guys.

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (7/16 112, TD)
Rushing: Devonta Freeman (9-79, TD)
Receiving: Kenny Shaw (2-45)


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

Pregame: Bethune-Cookman at FSU


It is pouring in Tallahassee on and off right now and the weather looks as though it could be a factor throughout the evening. As you can see from the above picture, the press box windows are a bit... unclear.

As for how that affects things on the field, both teams feel like they can run the football so this shouldn't be much of a problem for the rushing attacks. Airing it out was never going to be easy for the Wildcats but the wet conditions will make it that much tougher. Meanwhile Seminoles fans will get their first glimpse of how Jameis throws a wet ball. 

Check back at halftime and after the game for rapid reaction, stats and wrap-up.


Game Capsule

Game Preview (From print)
Previewing the Opponent: Bethune-Cookman
Five Things to Watch

Player Profile: Jalen Ramsey
A Little More on Jalen Ramsey


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

Five Things to Watch For: Bethune-Cookman at FSU


Florida State hosts Bethune-Cookman later today, here are five things to watch for:

1.) Air it Out

Jameis Winston said Wednesday that with Bethune playing plenty of cover four and blitzing frequently he expects there to be plenty of deep opportunities available for him this evening. Considering the absolute lack of hesitation to air it out on Winston's part so far this season, FSU's offense could be looking at a big passing day. That's good news for fans and the Florida State run game which should see the box loosen up if Winston can hit a deep ball or two.

2.) Karlos 2.0

Last week Karlos Williams eclipsed 100 yards on the ground - including gaining 60 and a touchdown on the first carry of his career. 

"I’m big, very, very big. I realized how big I was in the backfield [when I watched the film]," said Williams earlier this week. "I’m just a big guy overall I would guess, I see James on the film and I think, “James looks really big with the 32 on him, I have a small number, I wonder how I look.” But the film looked good, looked like I have plenty of things I need to work on.

That may be true, but Williams also runs like he's been shot out of a cannon and has elite top speed. Coupled with his physicality and a shoulder that continues to both James Wilder, Williams could finish with over 100 for the second straight game.

3.) Terrance Smith's first start

With Christian Jones out, Terrance Smith will make his first career start. The redshirt sophomore has seen more and more time as a back-up this season and has drawn rave reviews from Jimbo Fisher since arriving in Tallahassee a few years ago. This will be the first chance Seminoles fans have to see Smith in more than just spot duty. Don't be surprised when he impresses.

4.) The Defensive Line

Last week against Nevada the Seminoles blitzed roughly 50% of the time yet tallied only a handful of pressures and their lone sack was wiped out on an illegal participation penalty agaisnt Tim Jernigan. Take out both of Florida State's starting defensive ends and it will be interesting to see how the defensive line looks. This is a new defensive scheme so it's fair to say some of the reduced production could be chalked up to the new system, but it's also fair to say that early on the Seminoles have struggled to replace the production they lost from Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine last year - both were picked in the top 40 of April's NFL draft.

5.) Devonta Freeman's Quest for 1,000

I wrote in my preseason preview that I thought Devonta Freeman would run for 1,000 yards this season. So far he's on pace for 1,046 yards after running for a team-best 161 yards and a touchdown through FSU's first two games. He could be looking at another 100 yards against Bethune if Florida State can establish the run game tonight too. FSU might have to contend with a loaded box early in the game, but if Winston can connect on a couple of deep passes things should loosen up and the 'Noles should have plenty of space to run.


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

September 20, 2013

Previewing the Opponent: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats


Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
2013 Record: 3-0
Head Coach: Brian Jenkins
All-Time: 0-0 (First Meeting)

Overview: The Seminoles host the Wildcats on Saturday for the first time in the history of both programs. Despite being an FCS opponent, don't sleep on Bethune on Saturday. If FSU sleeps on them, the Wildcats could give the Seminoles a tough game. The Wildcat defense has surrendered an average of just 220 yards and 9.7 points per contest, and that includes a win over an FBS school, FIU. 

Last week in that 34-14 win over FIU - their first over an FBS school in the program's history - the Wildcats ran for 311 yards and four touchdowns. They are averaging 244 yards per game this year and will likely try to control the pace of the game and attack the Seminoles on the ground this week.

Last Saturday Nevada had success by changing their tendency and trying to attack FSU with two tight ends, big sets and ball-control, power run offense. They held the ball for 17 minutes and averaged 4.1 yards per carry in the first half too. FSU had two late drives that scored touchdowns, otherwise you see Nevada go into the tunnel up 7-3 on the 'Noles last weekend. 

Look for Bethune to try to capitalize on that strategy to control tempo and keep Florida State's offense on the sideline. If they can move the ball consistently, they have a solid foundation for an upset. If not, they have struggled to throw the ball early on this season and could be in for a long afternoon.

How FSU Stacks Up: It would take a perfect storm for the Wildcats to beat the Seminoles, but to pretend it's not possible would also be naive. If FSU sleeps on Bethune and the Wildcats can grind out first downs on the ground then you could see the Seminoles get taken into the 4th quarter. 

And keep in mind FSU will be without both of their starting defensive ends and senior LB Christian Jones for this one. 

That being said, Florida State should be fine in this one if they don't beat themselves. The 'Noles have their opponent outclassed in terms of talent and with the way the Seminole offense scores the Wildcats could be forced to abandon the run early if FSU has some success in the air. 

“They play a lot of cover 4, and that’s going to give us some big shot opportunities," said QB Jameis Winston. "We’re just going to keep preparing for them and we’re going to know they’re going to come with it. They’re not going to be scared. It’s not the fact that we walk on the field and they’re scared. We know they’ve got some great players and they’re going to come with it, but we got to bring it harder.”

As long as FSU sticks to that mindset and plays a smart football game they should handle their business against Bethune-Cookman. 

Three to Watch:

1.) Anthony Jordan, RB - MEAC Offensive player of the week for his 21-150 TD performance against FIU.

2.) Whoever is at QB - Three players have been under center for Bethune this year, they have totaled almost as many rush yards as pass yards, have thrown as many picks as TD's and could be in trouble if FSU gets up big. 

3.) Jarkevis Fields, LB - The Wildcats' leading tackler has 23 stops and a sack so far this season.

Quote of the Week: "I got to have a positive voice and my voice has to be strong, I can’t say a play weak with no confidence. I have to be strong and set the tempo because those guys will follow the person they think they can trust."

-Jameis Winston


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



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