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54 posts from November 2012

November 30, 2012

Florida State Injury List: ACC Championship Game

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Florida State is preparing for this weekend's ACC Championship game against Georgia Tech and fortunately for the Seminoles, they are mostly healthy. The only new addition to the injury list this week is Tank Carradine who tore his ACL against Florida.

Also the regular season has come and gone which means that Florida State has added a number of holdovers on the injury list to "missed season," by simple virtue of the fact they ran out of games. Nobody is going to be making their debut tonight from a number of players that spent the year relegated to the sidelines with various ailments. 

That leaves three players on the active injury list, the rest are done for the year.

Out vs. GT

DB Justin Bright (head)

DB  Gerald Demps (head)

RB Debrale Smiley (ankle)


Out for the Season

DB Colin Blake (shoulder)

DE Chris Casher (knee)

DE Cornellius Carradine (knee)

LB Ukeme Eligwe (hand)

OL Garrett Faircloth (hip)

OL Daniel Foose (back)

TE Dan Hicks (knee)

DE Brandon Jenkins (foot)

DT Moses McCray (head)

DT Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)

DT Derrick Mitchell (back)

RB Mario Pender (sports hernia)

OL Trey Pettis (head)

RB Chris Thompson (knee)


November 29, 2012

Chris Thompson Wins ACC's Brian Piccolo Award


The ACC announced on Thursday that Florida State's Chris Thompson was the co-winner of the Brian Piccolo award (along with Miami's Shayon Green) presented annually to the player wo demonstrates the most courage.

Chris Thompson was an absolute dynamo for the Seminoles this season, less than a year after two broken verterbrae threatened to end his career. He had always been a very fast runner, but this season he had an explosiveness and a fearlessness that made him, hands-down, the most dangerous player on the Florida State offense.

Thompson had a huge year, including going for 197 yards and two touchdowns in just nine carries during his revenge game against Wake Forest. Had he not torn an ACL on the run after a catch against Miami, he would have easily eclipsed 1,000 yards for the first time at Florida State since Warrick Dunn did in 1996 (he finished with 687 yards on 7.5 per carry).

Thompson's impact on the field paled to the way he affected his teammates off of it though. His back injury and subsequent recovery were a huge inspiration to his teammates and thanks to his leadership and congeniality, Florida State took it personally when they were blocking for Thompson this season.

It was repeated by so many different players, so many times it almost became like a mantra, 'nobody touches Chris.' 

That's what made it hurt so much for his teammates when Thompson went down after he felt a pop in his knee at Sun Life Stadium. The blockers had done their job on the play, Thompson was in space trying to make one last defender miss near the sideline. It didn't matter though, he came down in a heap and for the second time in two years was lost for the season.

But as a testament to the young man that he is, he's continued to man the sidelines, has kept vigil during practice and he continues to help mentor the young backs that now take his carries. 

I don't know if Brian Piccolo really was the benevolent, good-hearted man that James Caan portrayed him to be in Brian's Song. But assuming he was, I can think of no better representation of the values and work ethic that made Piccolo such an inspirational figure than Chris Thompson was this year.

Check below for replays from Thompson's game against Wake:

November 28, 2012

Florida State DE Bjoern Werner Named ACC Defensive Player of the Year


The Atlantic Coast Conference named Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner its defensive player of the year on Wednesday. Werner, a junior, lead the nation with 13 sacks and helped anchor the second ranked defense in the country. He is the sixth Seminole to win the honor, the first in nine years.

He joins Derrick Brooks ('93), Derrick Alexander ('94), Peter Boulware ('96), Andre Wadsworth ('97) and Darnell Dockett ('03) as the Seminoles who have earned the honor.

The 6-4 255 end– who was born in Germany and still speaks with a noticeable accent– is an absolute titan on the field. Against Florida last Saturday he notched 3.5 sacks and recovered a fumble. All season he has wreaked havoc on quarterbacks opposite Tank Carradine, the two teamed for more sacks than any other pair of players in the country. 

On Wednesday the ACC named Werner it's defensive player of the year, he received 27 votes, the next closest player was Carradine with nine.

"It's an honor, especially for me, I come from Germany I always wanted the opportunity just to play here," said Werner when asked earlier this week about the honors that would inevitably be coming his way. "And to be considered like one of the top players is just crem de la crem, I just take it like 'wow thank you.'"

In his three years Werner has 23.5 sacks and has developed into one of the consensus top players in the country. Right now Mel Kiper has Werner ranked 10th on his draft board and should the Berlin-born junior choose to leave, he could be a very high pick come April.

Seminoles fans should probably enjoy Werner for the next two games because there's a very distinct possibility they will be his last in garnet and gold. 

With Mark Stoops Leaving, Florida State Should Look at Randy Shannon


Yesterday Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops accepted the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky. 

After initially turning down the Wildcats' overture, Stoops opted to start his head coaching career in Lexington and will likely leave the Seminoles after the ACC Championship game. Stoops' first media availability will be on Sunday morning in Lexington, leading to the logical conclusion that Florida State will be operating without Stoops in the lead-up to its bowl game.

My guess is linebackers coach Greg Hudson will be made the interim defensive coordinator while a search can be conducted for a new one. 

One guy the Seminoles should look long and hard at during that search is TCU LB coach Randy Shannon.

I know, I know. But give me a minute.

At the University of Miami, Shannon had mixed results as a head coach but as a defensive coordinator from 2001-2006 his body of work speaks for itself. His defenses ranked 6, 7, 2, 28, 4 and 7th, he helped Miami play for two national titles, win one (and they didn't really lose the other...) all the while producing more pros as a program than any other school during that time.

It was Randy Shannon who ran the defense that Mark Stoops coached the secondary for– back when Ed Reed and Sean Taylor roamed the Hurricane defensive backfield.

Randy Shannon is a great defensive coach, even now at TCU as linebackers coach, the Horned Frogs have the 7th ranked run defense in the country.

He can also recruit. As an assistant and the head coach at Miami he helped lure major recruiting classes year in and year out, largely from the South Florida area– a place Stoops recruited well. 

Shannon's problem as a head coach was that he never had a quarterback or any kind of offense. He had defenses, he turned out plenty of NFL players on that side of the ball. The problem was offense.

As Jimbo Fisher's defensive coordinator he wouldn't have to worry about that. He could go back to recruiting and coaching elite defenses and let Fisher handle decisions about pro-style or spread and who should call plays.

The other part of why I think Shannon fits with Florida State well is that him and Jimbo Fisher have similar values when it comes to how they approach team discipline and developing young men away from the field. 

"We graduated the last two years... at 84 and 92 [percent of our players]," said Fisher. "We've got 11 guys on the current team that are graduating. We have very few off-field issues. Our guys are outstanding young men, they represent themselves very well it's not just– wins and loss are very important but it's how you conduct your program."

At Miami, Shannon ran a clean ship and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. When the NCAA throws the book at the 'Canes none of that will be on his doorstep.

According to multiple reports he avoided complete contact with Nevin Shapiro and threatened to fire any assistant coach that didn't follow suit. Seemingly in the entire decade of corruption and impropriety surrounding the Shapiro scandal the only Hurricane official publicly crying foul and attempting to steer the program clear of Nevin's influence was Shannon.

Shannon's mandate when he took over the U was to right the ship as much as it was to win.

In the wake of the fight between Miami and FIU, Shannon was hired to clean up the program. And he did. He got his graduation rates way up and had just one player arrest during his tenure (that player, QB Robert Marve, later transferred). 

A lot of die-hard Seminole fans will object to him on account of his affiliation with Miami, but Stoops was a Cane once too. So was Mark Richt. This is a business, not a fraternity.

Fact of the matter is Randy Shannon can coach and he finds and develops a lot of good pros from an area where FSU is losing some recruiting pull. 

If Florida State wants a guy who will come in, recruit well and develop players, plus has a proven track record as a D-Coordinator then they need to take a long look at Randy Shannon.

That will never happen though...

November 27, 2012

Florida State Reactions to the Departure of Mark Stoops


It's now official that Mark Stoops will become the head coach of the University of Kentucky after the Seminoles play Georgia Tech in this weekend's ACC Championship game. That news came out this morning and tonight we got the opportunity to talk to Jimbo Fisher as well as Lamarcus Joyner and Bjoern Werner, two of the leaders of the defense.

"I'm very proud of him, very happy for him," said Fisher in the rain after practice tonight. "He got an opportunity to move on and further his career and that's something he wants to do and I'm happy for him and elated for him and I like I said I think those are things that are very indicative of the players we have and the way that he's coached and our program that people want to hire our coaches."

Fisher said he was apprised of the situation in the morning and then they told the players shortly afterward. 

"I want guys to do that," said Fisher. "Like I said I wanted Mark to stay for a long time until he got what he wanted to do and he got what he wanted to do."

For Fisher, life just got complicated though. The timing isn't ideal on a Tuesday during preparation for a conference title game, but it is what it is. Now Fisher has to juggle finding a replacement, contacting and assuring recruits from this year's class and preparing a team to try to win its first conference championship in seven years.

I also wouldn't expect Stoops to coach the bowl game. It's likely Greg Hudson will take over interim duties while Stoops moves along to start his new job. Florida State doesn't let media talk to assistants, the first availability Stoops will have is Sunday morning Lexington. Have you ever seen a guy go to a school, get introduced as a head coach and then turn around and go back to being an assistant for another month? No.

If Brian Kelly didn't coach Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl to take another head coaching job, I really don't see Stoops coordinating in the Orange Bowl.

When we spoke to the players they didn't seem too caught off guard.

"I was more happy for Coach Stoops than anything," said Lamarcus Joyner. "He's a coach that put in work and after he explained it's what's best for him and his family and it will set him up then that's a blessing for him, he's a great man and he deserves it."

Joyner and Bjoer Werner were informed before the rest of the team. Stoops pulled Joyner aside personally, the two share an extremely close relationships and Stoops has acted as a mentor to Joyner at times. Werner found out at Unity council.

"We're happy for coach Stoops, everyone knew he wanted a head coaching job and it's going to be Kentucky and everyone was happy for him," said Werner. "Nobody was sad that he's leaving, everybody has to look out for themselves at some time and he did everything he could have done [while he was here]."

One thing that both players said would make Stoops successful, that worked with them at FSU, is that Stoops treats his players like adults. Just listening to both of them talk about the move, they had mature and realistic perspectives that sounded more like Stoops had been honest with them along the way than they were caught off guard.

As Werner said, they're my coaches but they're people too. That's a healthy perspective and it should serve Stoops well in Lexington.

Both players also realize the relationship was symbiotic. They helped Stoops get his first head gig and he helped them towards realizing NFL potential.

"Him being a great coach and us being a few great players on that defense, we all get to eat from the situation," said Joyner. "He gets to move on to better blessings and so do a few guys from the defense so it's a blessing for a lot of people."

Florida State falls to Minnesota in ACC-Big Ten Challenge 77-68

SG1L5452 (2)

Florida State was measured and found wanting on Tuesday night against Minnesota. 

The Seminoles, fresh off four straight wins and a Coaches vs. Cancer tourney championship, came back to Earth tonight against a very talented Golden Gopher team 77-68.

No. 21 Minnesota was just better than Florida State tonight in every phase of the game tonight, they shot better, defended better and rebounded better than the Seminoles and it showed as the Gophers lead wire-to-wire and looked the part of the better team.

"I like this team, I think we have the potential to be a good basketball team," said Hamilton. "I just hope we can keep winning while we develop. But we got beat by a better basketball team, I expected them to be a little further along than us at this point. 

"But you also want to die with your boots on and I didn't feel our effort was where it needed to be early."

Much like the Seminoles teams of old, FSU hung just 25 first-half points. While FSU actually out-played Minnesota 43-39 in the second half, the hole they dug early was too big to get out of.

That being said, this is actually a good learning experience for this Florida State basketball team. You never want to drop a game, but early in the season against a ranked opponent this was an excellent measuring stick to gauge where FSU is and where they need to improve before ACC play starts in January.

Now the Seminoles have until Mercer comes into town on Sunday to make adjustments, live in the film room and go hard at practice. This is the sort of loss that helps a team improve itself.

"We'll go back to the drawing board," said Hamilton. "Thank goodness we have another game on Sunday and another game on Wednesday. That's one thing good about basketball, you can't wallow in self-pity too long because you've got another team coming right around the corner.

"We always seem to bounce back when we falter, it's just disappointing that we just didn't give them the same kind of effort that they gave us. That's part of the challenge you'll face sometimes though with a team that's trying to find itself. We just need a few more games under our belts but we also need to not lose games while we develop."

Terrance Shannon lead the way for Florida State with 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, Michael Snaer added 12 points and both Okaro White and Terry Whisnant had 10, but Florida State's offense was out of rhythm for most of the night and it wasn't until late that the baskets really started falling. 

"Everybody's mad, upset at the game, but it can still have a positive effect, we can definitely learn from this," said Terry Whisnant. "It brings us closer, we'll stick together and so on. Now we'll have meetings and practice, work hard and just fix the things we need to fix."

Notebook: Tubby Smith was very complimentary of Terrance Shannon in particular... Smith also said FSU, like all Leonard Hamilton teams should mature into a very talented ball-club by the end of the season... Florida State went with a smaller rotation for this game than they have previously, Leonard Hamilton has said his team needs to get guys experience while still being competitive, tonight FSU played 10 guys but Michael Ojo and Robert Gilchrist both didn't get minutes... Many of the mistakes Leonard Hamilton alluded to were technical issues that can be addressed quickly in practice... Hamilton said he doesn't see a lack of leadership, rather his team is going through a growing up process and learning the frame of mind they need to be in to play at an ACC level... Boris Bojanovsky showed plenty of growth under the hoop for Florida State tonight, he blocked three shots and had three rebounds while responding well to Minnesota's physical play at the basket... FSU trailed by as many as 21, but were able to cut it to single digits in the final minutes. Unfortunately the rally came up short as Minnesota was able to hit enough shots to run the clock out down the stretch... Terry Whisnant is quickly becoming a bigger part of the Seminole rotation, he started, had 10 points and played 19 minutes on Tuesday night...

Mark Stoops is "The Guy" at Kentucky, Leaving FSU


A day after saying "no" to Kentucky, it appears Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops may have changed his tune and could be accepting the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky as soon as today. 

Yesterday Stoops' name was rumored to be in the coaching mix up at UK, but Jimbo Fisher denied the rumors at his morning press conference and then a number of "sources" close to Kentucky had Stoops declining the Wildcats' overture.

I said jokingly last night that Stoops 'No' could have been more of a, "not-while-my-friends-are-around" kind of no that really meant 'call me later...'

That may have actually been the case though.

Stoops is still on campus at Florida State, and per FSU SID's will be at practice today. Despite Florida State's attempts to contain the story though, Kentucky is making arrangements. The Seminoles still have games to worry about, the Wildcats do not.

Mark Stoops will be the next head coach at Kentucky. At this point that's been confirmed by multiple people in the know and it's now just a matter of making it official.

We'll find out later today how long Stoops stays on for and get comments from him and Fisher. But this is obviously going to be a new wrinkle to consider as FSU prepares for GT in their conference championship game and then a bowl game. Fisher and staff also need to go contact recruits and try to avoid losing any players during the coaching turnover. 

Keep checking back for updates...

Hoops: Seminoles Set to Host Minnesota for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge


The ACC-Big Ten challenge is here again. It's time for the Atlantic Coast Conference to take the floor over the next couple of nights and compete with the country's most numerically challenged athletic conference– one that hasn't actually had ten teams in well over a decade and grows larger by the season.

Unlike in football, where the ACC is the new Big East in the same way animal print is like so the new black, basketball is still a strong point for the Seminoles' conference. And though it doesn't mean anything in the greater scheme of things, you know Leonard Hamilton and the other ACC coaches would love to win some bragging rights.

Minnesota, coached by Tubby Smith, is a veteran team ranked in the top 25 that will attack the boards and could potentially exploit some of this young Florida State team's weaknesses.

"This is a good basketball team and they're extrememely athletic," said Hamilton. "Anytime you're averaging over 16 offensive rebounds per game that means you're getting work done on the boards. We're really inconsisten there ourselves. That's been part of an emphasis [for this game], but it's been part of the emphasis since day one and still somewhat of a challenge for this team."

Minnesota has had a year to adjust and learn to play in their system, young guys are maturing on their team and they will represent a legitimate NCAA tourney-caliber test tonight for the 'Noles at the Tucker Center.

"From what I hear this probably [Tubby Smith's] best team since he's been there," said Fisher. "When Tubby says this is probably his best team, and he's usually a little conservative with his praise, that's a huge statement."

Florida State is going to need to avoid shooting itself in the foot with a lot of mistakes and their defense will need to be technique-sound against a very athletic Gopher squad. One way coach Hamilton plans to do that is to taper down his rotation. He said after UNF he couldn't substitute so liberally against tough competition and that will be in effect tonight.

"I think what we're going to do is probably coach the game a little differently because we have so many young guys now that I've got to try to be careful not to put them in situations they're unfamiliar with," said Hamilton. "I'd like to get guys as much playing times as possible– because we're preparing for the ACC schedule in January– but games like this you've got to be a little more cautious in how you utilize players and we won't be able to play through as many mistakes because you're playing a high caliber team."

That also means Florida State's veterans will have to lead by example and help mitigate Minnesota crashing the boards. The Gophers are an excellent offensive rebounding team and the Seminoles can ill-afford to lose possessions by giving back the ball on that end of the court.

"The best thing to do is when you've got some big guys who are going strong to the offensive glass, an offensive rebounder doesn't like you blocking them out and hitting their legs," said Okaro White. "When they're constantly getting hit in the legs when you're boxing them out they're going to eventually stop going.

"You know when you're averaging so many offensive rebounds [though] they can get hit and they're still fighting for those rebounds so sometimes you're going to have to faceguard, block them out, make sure your guy doesn't get the ball. It's all about taking pride in rebounding."

Florida State will have to take pride in rebounding if they want to pull out a win tonight and improve to 5-1. This is certainly a winnable ballgame for the 'Noles, but only if they put their best foot forward like they did up in Brooklyn.

The game tips at 7 PM at the Tucker Center and will be televised by the ESPN family of networks...

November 26, 2012

16 Seminoles Given All-ACC Recognition


The Atlantic Coast Conference on Monday announced it's all-conference teams for the 2012 football season and unsurprisingly the list was dominated by Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers- the two teams who dominated the conference. 

Six Clemson Tigers made the all-ACC first team, all of them on offense, but only three other players from the rest of the team made the second-team or honorable mention bringing their grand total to nine.

Florida State had five first-team selections, PK Dustin Hopkins, DE's Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, CB Xavier Rhodes and S Lamarcus Joyner.

QB EJ Manuel, RB Chris Thompson, OL's Cam Erving, Tre Jackson and Bryan Stork, DT Everrett Dawkins and LB Christian Jones were second team All-ACC. OT Menelik Watson, DT’s Anthony McCloud and Tim Jernigan and LB Vince Williams received honorable mentions.

In total, counting second-team selections and honorable mentions, 16 Seminoles were honored.

Here's the official selection video followed by the full list of players (courtesy of ACC.com)...

QB-Tajh Boyd, Clemson (86) 
RB-Giovani Bernard, North Carolina (91) 
RB-Andre Ellington, Clemson (77)
WR-DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (80) 
WR-Alex Amidon, Boston College (53) 
OT-Oday Aboushi, Virginia (53) 
OT-Brandon Thomas, Clemson (51) 
OG-Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (79) 
OG-Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (64) 
C-Dalton Freeman, Clemson (78) 
TE-Brandon Ford, Clemson (54) 
K-Dustin Hopkins, Florida State (79)
Spec.- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina (48)

DE-Bjoern Werner, Florida State (89) 
DE-Cornellius Carradine, Florida State (77) 
DT-Joe Vellano, Maryland (80) 
DT-Sylvester Williams, North Carolina (63)
LB-Nick Clancy, Boston College (66)
LB-Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (65) 
LB-Steve Greer, Virginia (58)
CB-Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (66)
CB-Ross Cockrell, Duke (50) 
S-Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State (59) 
S-Earl Wolff, NC State (46) 
P-Will Monday, Duke (73)

QB-EJ Manuel, Florida State (25)
RB-Duke Johnson, Miami (47)
RB-Chris Thompson, Florida State (31)
WR-Conner Vernon, Duke (51) 
WR-Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest (32) 
OT-James Hurst, North Carolina (50) 
TIE OT-Cameron Erving, Florida State (21)
TIE OT-Emmett Cleary, Boston College (21) 
OG-Tre' Jackson, Florida State (26) 
OG-R.J. Matttes, NC State (24) 
C- Bryan Stork, Florida State (19) 
TE-Eric Ebron, North Carolina (51) 
TIE K-Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson (22) 
TIE K-Casey Barth, North Carolina (22)
Spec.-Duke Johnson, Miami (44)

DE-James Gayle, Virginia Tech (30) 
DE-Kareem Martin, North Carolina (22) 
DT-Everett Dawkins, Florida State (34)
DT-Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest (24) 
LB-Demetrius Hartsfield, Maryland (34) 
LB-Christian Jones, Florida State (31) 
LB-Jack Tyler Virginia Tech (28) 
CB-David Amerson, NC State (46) 
CB-Antone Exum, Virginia Tech (44)
S-Rashard Hall, Clemson (43) 
S- Walt Canty, Duke (31) 
P-Tommy Hibbard, North Carolina (40)

Honorable Mention [Name, School, Position, Points]: Kenny Anunike (D), de (13); Jeremiah Attaochu (GT), lb (26); Brandan Bishop (NCS), safety (20); Travis Bond (NC), og (14); Tre Boston (NC), safety (29); Darryl Cato-Bishop (NCS), de (12); Emmett Cleary (BC), ot (21); Jamison Crowder (D), wr (15); Stefon Diggs (MD), spec. (33); Jay Finch (GT), c (16); Jon Feliciano (MI), og (16); A.J. Francis (MD), de (12); Kyle Fuller (VT), cb (16); Mike Glennon (NCS), qb (10); Malliciah Goodman (CL), de (16); Dave Harding (D), og (14); Seantrel Henderson (MI), ot (13); Antoine Hopkins (VT), dt (10); Derrick Hopkins (VT), dt (15); Will Jackson (GT), ot (14); Timmy Jernigan (FS), dt (15); Alexander Kinal (WF), p (12); Gerald Levano (BC), p (13); Brandon Linder (MI), og (21); Ross Martin (D), pk (11); Anthony McCloud (FS), dt (10); Jake McGee (VA), te (12); Demetrious Nicholson (VA), cb (12); Denzel Perryman (MI), lb (12); Kevin Pierre-Louis (BC), lb (14); Bryn Renner (NC), qb (15); LaRoy Reynolds (VA), lb (10); Tim Scott (NC), cb (10); Perry Simmons (D), ot (11); Orwin Smith (GT), rb (13); Kenny Tate (MD), lb (12); Bruce Taylor (VT), lb (19); Sammy Watkins (CL), wr (19); Menelik Watson (FS), ot (13); Camden Wentz (NCS), c (12); Brennan Williams (NC), ot (13); Vince Williams (FS), lb (11)


Manuel is Good to Go for Next Week, Until He's Not


News out of Jimbo Fisher's press conference this morning was that after what looked to be a pretty violent helmet-to-helmet collision– one that caused a fumble– EJ Manuel is ready to go for next weekend's ACC Championship game.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher said Manuel was fine and would play on Saturday and moments later, Manuel himself echoed those sentiments. 

"I'm fine," said Manuel. "I took a hard hit, it's a part of the game. It was a physical game throughout the whole 60 minutes, we got some hits on them, they got some hits on us, so I'll be fine."

There was some confusion in the moments after the game as to where the blow actually landed, some said he was a hit in the ribs and his wind was knocked out, others contended it was a helmet-to-helmet shot.

"My head. Basically like my jaw, so yeah I got hit in the head," said Manuel this morning. When he was asked whether trainers checked for a rib injury or went through a concussion test on the sideline, he responded: "I think they went through something, some preliminary tests and I was able to pass them and go back in there and play. So, whatever test they did do, I don't know for sure, but I passed it so I was able to go back and play."

That last part sounded curious.

Now, it's very possible EJ tripped up semantically and simply meant to say that he didn't know the official name of the test administered him on the sideline. If that's the case, he probably is fine and ready to go on Saturday.

But later in that same answer EJ admitted they would have had to hold him down not for him to return to the game, that he didn't want to go out like that– injured on a brutal hit– in his final game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

My point isn't to delve into whether EJ Manuel actually had a concussion on Saturday night and should have returned to the game. I agree with Corey Clark's point that Fisher would never wittingly play a guy with a concussion.

My point is this, that even if EJ Manuel some how did play when he shouldn't have gone back in, even if he was badly concussed and cannot play next weekend, there is absolutely no reason Jimbo Fisher or EJ Manuel would admit that this early in the week.

Nor should they.

Even last season after Oklahoma nearly tore Manuel's shoulder from its socket and Clint Trickett had to finish the game, Fisher went through the week leading up to Clemson maintaining the appearance that there was a reasonable possiblity Manuel would start– or at the very least play.

He was never going to, he was too injured. But just like it will force Georgia Tech to do, Clemson had to prepare for a broad range of contigencies on defense and couldn't focus or hone in on any one thing. That's because EJ Manuel provides a lot of different playcalling options, his versatility makes him hard to defend. 

Just the final few plays of Saturday night's game when Manuel scrambled for a last-second touchdown against UF are enough to give a defensive coordinator fits when he's scheming to stop a balanced offensive attack. It's just one more wrinkle to worry about and prepare for.

Right now EJ Manuel is completely fine and set to go for Saturday. Until he's not. 

And he probably will play, I'm not trying to insinuate I have reason to believe otherwise. But even if he wasn't, it's not like they would have told us today anyway.

(The above .gif courtesy of Big Lead Sports)



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