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5 posts from November 14, 2013

November 14, 2013

FSU Injury Report: Week Twelve [Syracuse]



With all that's happened in Tallahassee the past couple days, it's easy to forget that there's a football game on Saturday. A big one too. The '93 FSU National Championship team will be back commemorating the 20 year anniversary of Florida State's first national title and Syracuse will be in town looking to steal a win from an FSU team that has had to contend with a lot of distractions -- or clutter as Jimbo Fisher likes to call it -- this week.

On the injury-front, backup QB Jacob Coker is now done for the season following surgery on his Meniscus this past Tuesday. DT Nile Lawrence-Stample is also going to miss Saturday as he works back from a concussion. S Terrence Brooks, C Bryan Stork and WR Kelvin Benjamin will all be in the lineup come kickoff though.

FSU Injury Report vs. Syracuse  - Nov. 14, 2013

Out for Game

WR     Isaiah Jones (foot)   
DL      Nile Lawrence-Stample (concussion)

Out for Season

QB      Jacob Coker (knee)
OL      Ira Denson (shoulder) 
WR     Jarred Haggins (knee)
TE      Kevin Haplea (knee)
DB      Tyler Hunter (neck) 
LB      Matthew Thomas (shoulder)


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Montay Brandon Playing For More Than Just Himself This Season


It was late on the evening of February 19th. Montay Brandon had his head ducked low in a visiting locker at NC State. Florida State had just lost 84-66 and Brandon was checking his phone to get his mind off going scoreless that night and the fact his team had now lost six of its last ten.

Then he saw the tweet. Josh Level was dead.

Brandon couldn’t believe it. The two had kept up with one another all season -- but they hadn’t spoken in two weeks. Now Montay was less than an hour and a half from where he’d grown up in Greensboro, NC -- where he’d know Josh since he was nine years old -- yet he couldn’t have been further away.

“We had to come right back,” said Brandon, who boarded a plane that night and headed back to Florida State with his teammates. “It was [a difficult flight], it really was.”

Level died of Myocarditis, a viral infection -- not unlike a cold -- that attacks the heart. The 17 year-old was playing a high school game for New Gardens Friends School on the road in Winston-Salem when he collapsed during a timeout. He was taken to a hospital, but could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead.

Montay was left grief-stricken, unable to even attend the funeral.

"I stayed here in Tallahassee, I talked to his parents and told them I’d have them in my prayers and everything,” recalled Brandon. “I don’t know if I’d have been able to handle it, it would have been pretty tough.”

Josh had been two years younger, but -- whether or not Montay had ever told him -- Level’s work ethic had been an inspiration to him.

“Josh is somebody that worked really hard, he was one of the players that wasn’t as good at first and he developed his game really hard,” remembered Brandon. “Me and him would be in the gym together like every day during the Summers, so he became sort of like my little brother.”

That continued into Brandon’s freshman year. The two maintained regular correspondence, Josh following Montay at Florida State while Montay tried to keep up with Josh’s high school games.

“He was a hard worker, tireless worker, played hard, competed in everything,” said Brandon. “I mean he just wanted the same opportunity to play college ball.”

He never got that opportunity.

But this season -- and for the rest of his career -- Brandon plans to honor him by wearing his number, 32. It will be a constant reminder of Level’s drive and determination.

“While I’m out there and I have that jersey on I won’t take anything for granted,” said Brandon. “I’ll play hard the whole time, no plays off, just to represent him in that way and just show like -- his thing was hard work, you could do anything through hard work -- so I want to do that too as well.”


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Jimbo Fisher Talks About the FSU Coaching Job on Sirius XM


Jimbo Fisher was on Sirius XM radio's College Sports Nation with Jack Arute and Rick Neuheisel earlier today. The interview started awkwardly enough with Arute wading into the Jameis Winston issue and asking for an update from Fisher.

“Uh, no comment on that right now, Jack," said Fisher. 

But things picked up when Fisher got on to the topic of "what makes FSU the best coaching job in the country." The premise was served up from a poll question the show was running that day where they were asking fans to give their pick for the nation's most attractive coaching gig. Arute asked Fisher why it was FSU and Jimbo let forth a very solid answer.

“Well I think you have a tremendous football tradition. Coach Bowden since he’s been here laid a tremendous tradition, I think you have a hot bed of recruiting, you’re accessible to athletes in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, there’s tons of players in the Southeast. There’s great fan support I can say -- with the tradition and the ability to have a passion to be good," said Fisher.

"And the administration here, our new athletic director Stan Wilcox is a tremendous guy and I think they have a passion to be good and they want it to be the front porch of our university where people see the university and how we do in athletics and where football is very important here. And we have a great academic institution, people don’t realize the academics here are extremely high.”

His answer really picked up steam towards the end and frankly, calling the athletic program the university's "front porch" is a really good way to look at things -- especially if you're going to be asking for more money.

And let's be honest, FSU is likely going to have to pony up at the end of this year. Fisher is about to finish his fourth year as the head coach at Florida State, he's 40-10 through his first 50 games, he's built a team that is absolutely loaded with talent and has put FSU firmly back into the national spotlight.

Last year teams made overtures at Fisher when he was 12-2. This season he has a chance to improve on that mark while presiding over a team that is -- for all intents and purposes -- really built more for next season. Other schools will come calling, but don't expect FSU to let their head coach get away.

Florida State has already demonstrated they're willing to spend the money. The 'Noles opened their new indoor practice facility this past Summer and they are not done.

“We’re building a new -- not a true athletic dorm, but a dorm where we can put players and other students that we’ll mix in," said Fisher. "So I think that’s very important today, I worry about the agents, the people getting to them. So I think where they live is very critical in keeping guys together. We just built a brand new indoor facility, we’re doing upgrades on our locker-room now and stadium and things are going on. So we’re constantly adding and they’re never stopping so I mean we’re constantly trying to keep and do the things we have to do to stay on top of things.”

And that's a large part of why FSU probably won't have to worry about losing Fisher. Administration has shown a willingness to invest in the program, the Seminoles are on the rise and there's plenty of good young players currently stocking the proverbial cupboard.

As for the new dorm being built -- the one that is not a "true athletic dorm," but will house many of FSU's younger players -- Fisher was asked if he dislikes the fact that schools are no longer able to keep their players on campus.

“I think it’s very important to keep them together. I think the team unity part of the old athletics dorms is a vital part, you want us to monitor more -- there’s 100 times more things going on now than there were back then -- and now we can spend less time with them and we don’t know where they live?" quipped Fisher. "Now you explain, if that was your child how would you control him? Now give you 100 of them. I worry about the agents, the runners, all of the different people. If you know where people live and they live together and they live in one place, who’s coming in and out of the room, who’s coming in and out of the dorm, who’s hanging around the building -- you can tell what’s going on with your kids and your family if you just pay attention.”


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Mel Kiper Discusses a Trio of Florida State Senior Defenders


It's never too early to start talking a little NFL draft and Mel Kiper was doing just that earlier today. ESPN's senior draft analyst weighed in on a range of topics -- from NFL team needs to college scouting assessments -- and hit on a trio of Seminole seniors.

"Telvin Smith has had an outstanding year, I mean, he’s a kid who’s all over the field, another kid who’s an every-down player, good form tackler," said Kiper. "I like everything you’ve seen with him, he’s got a chance to be a second round draft choice."

Smith is the Seminoles' leading tackler with 56 stops, 6.5 TFL, a sack and an interception he returned for a touchdown. Keep in mind, FSU's defense has only played a full game twice all season -- so nobody on the Seminole defense has been putting up eye-popping statistics.

“It’s the whole picture of what they’re doing as a unit," said head coach Jimbo Fisher on Tuesday. "It’s not always a sack, you can get caught up in numbers and still be a bad defense. It’s what they’re doing collectively as a unit and that’s what they’re doing so well, playing selfless. They’re making plays when they have to, getting pressure and doing things. And if they get a lot of three-and-outs you’re not going to have huge numbers because you’re not going to be on the field for a large number of plays.”

Unfortunately for Smith, this is also one of the deeper OLB classes in recent years. 

"That’s the strongest position right now, I know people always say, ‘what’s the strongest, what’s the weakest?’ Right now there are more outside linebackers than I’ve seen come out in a long, long time and have high grades," said Kiper. "But it’s not going to be a case where he gets lost in the shuffle, he’s too good to be any worse right now than the fifth or sixth best outside linebacker. And you can move him and he has great versatility as well.

"The same thing goes for Christian Jones, they’re both in that mix in the top five, six, seven outside linebackers available. And that’s not even factoring the 3-4 guys, so they’re both going to both go in the first couple of rounds.”

Jones has really become more of a defensive end this season, but has lined up all over the field in his four years as a Seminole and could play end or linebacker at the next level. 

As for Terrence Brooks, Kiper is not as high on the senior safety.

“In terms of Brooks he’s in that mix at safety, it’s a decent -- not great -- safety crop, I’d say right now more fourth, fifth round for him," said Kiper.


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

The Florida State Seminoles are 'Playing For Payton'


Here's a story to brighten your day. Payton Poulis is a young man with a condition similar to Cerebral Palsy, it affects his motor skills and limits his ability to speak and move freely. 

A lifelong Seminoles fan, Poulin overcame great odds to graduate high school and was accepted to Florida State as a freshman this past year. After striking up a friendship with FSU WR Kenny Shaw in one of their classes, the Seminole football team invited Payton to become a regular fixture at practice -- a part of the team -- and he has been there, on the sidelines of the All Dunlap Practice fields, every day since.

Seminoles.com's Scott Kotick did a fantastic job on this piece, it's definitely worth watching.


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



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