The time has finally come! While the Florida State Basketball team continues their efforts to push deeper into the tournament and have garnered more attention than normal after winning its first ACC Championship, the FSU football team is prepared to hit the fields for Spring camp on Monday afternoon. As with any team, in any year, FSU has its share of questions that are lingering as preparation for a new season wages on. Naturally, after these questions are presented, you may have a few of your own that I look forward to discussing with you in the comment section.
#5, How will the FSU backfield establish itself as reliable?: This is a tough question, because on paper it is very obvious that Florida State has some talented players with unique skillsets at running back. The problem here is that the team's career rushing leader is returning to the field from a broken back suffered just six months ago, the team's leading rusher from 2011 has been limited to date because of a nagging back issue of his own, the 5-star bruiser back who desperately needs a full Spring of reps under his belt in order to grow at the position is facing an unfortunate off the field issue and the remaining talent, although outstanding, is a true freshman.
Chris Thompson is a great kid and has worked extremely hard since arriving at Florida State in 2009. He represents the school well both on and off the field and Seminoles everywhere are rooting for his successful return to the field after breaking his back against Wake Forest in 2011. As of now, he has been cleared to play, which is obviously good news. The scary part is that how he will react to being pushed and how much he should be pushed at all is still very much in question. It is difficult to assume that he is 100% full go after such an injury. Devonta Freeman, entering his sophomore season and second spring camp, has the ability to be a very good back. He rushed for 579 yards as a true freshman behind a less than stellar offensive line and led the team in rushing touchdowns with eight. James Wilder Jr. has power and strength that is unmatched by anyone else the Noles could hand the ball off too. He proved as a freshman that he is still raw at the position and though many people feel he is better suited at LB, I actually believe he has the ability to establish himself as a good running back. If he is allowed to practice, it will be huge for his development and good for the team overall.
Mario Pender is the incredibly talented true freshman that many people have high hopes for. Pender may be the most talented back on the roster and perhaps the most talented FSU has signed in nearly a decade. He played questionable competition in high school, so how he adjusts to the pace and talent level around him and picks up the playbook will determine a lot this spring.
#4, Who emerges to provide depth in FSU secondary?: The Seminoles return several very talented, experienced and proven pieces to their secondary in Lamarcus Joyner, Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes. The fourth piece to the puzzle appears to be rising junior Terrence Brooks at this time, but he will have to fight off the uber talented sophomore Karlos Williams. Behind the first four mentioned, the Seminoles have talent, but very little experience. Expect competition in this group to be a pretty big story over the next month leading up to the Spring Game. Rising sophomore Keelin Smith, Tyler Hunter and Nick Waisome are all solid candidates for taking over the third cornerback role. Waisome may have the inside edge on the other two, but two advantages Hunter and Smith have over other DB's is their size and versatility. Both spent their first years practicing as corners, but at 6'1 and 6'3 respectively, have the tools to play safety as well if needed. If all three of these young players are able to get the most out of this spring from a development standpoint, the Noles will be in very good shape depth wise. The other interesting piece here will be Lamarcus Brutus, high school teammate of Keelin Smith. Brutus was the less touted of the two, but is effective both in run support and coverage and will have his chance to compete as well.
#3, Can Willie Haulstead return to form?: It's been over a year since Seminole fans have seen Haulstead play. He's a big body receiver who many felt was going to be the Seminoles' best going into the 2011 season. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion during a scrimmage game during the fall, which would be his second in one year. The previous one came in his career best game against UNC where he snagged 10 catches for 154 yards and one touchdown. The question here is how quickly he can get back into the swing of things, especially at a position group where FSU has plenty of players that have proven they can get the job done. It will be an uphill battle for Haulstead, but his talent is as good as any man's on the roster. The legitimate concern is that if he suffers another concussion, it could delay or maybe even end his career. Concussions are strange in that they impact every player differently and some prove to be more susceptible to them than others. Hopefully Mr. Haulstead has seen the last of his.
#2, Can EJ Manuel rebuild his confidence and command of the FSU offense?: As the Seminoles leader, Manuel endured injury and an inexperienced offensive line for much of the year, but ultimately it began to take its toll on him towards the end of the 2011 season. Manuel is a good quarterback, but he has the tools and ability to be great, especially at the college level. A lot of this will depend on his comfort level with the guys in front of him. The offensive skill guys around him are capable, but he will have to work on the recognizing the easier opportunities to get the ball to them in space. Having coach Fisher around for the entire spring will be a huge help.
#1, Can Florida State build a solid 8-10 deep offensive line?: No surprise here. Florida State's biggest issue last season was an injury decimated offensive line. During the year, literally 10 of Florida State's top 13 offensive linemen would miss significant time throughout the 2011 football season. David Spurlock, a three year starter, was never able to return to form after suffering multiple concussions. Starting LT and all-conference player Andrew Datko missed his entire final season with shoulder problems. Key reserve Henry Orelus missed the entire season as well and eventual starters Bryan Stork and Garrett Faircloth would miss time at one point or another as well.
There is the perception among many FSU fans that the situation is far more dier than it actually is, talent wise. The Seminoles brought in an impressive bunch in 2011, who is still working to gain experience. This Spring will be about building strength, confidence and continuity for the group that much of the team success will hing upon in 2012. Rising sophomores like Bobby Hart, Josue Matias, Tre Jackson and Austin Barron all have the makings of future starters, with a couple having the potential to be stars. These are the four who started against Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl and ultimately had the light come on for them in the second half. Still, they are very inexperienced. The advantage the youngsters have on the older players exist both in the areas of natural size and talent.
It is not a foregone conclusion that the four 2nd year players will be starters. They will be competition and resistance, so that will be a story to watch as Bryan Stork and Garrett Faircloth, who started the bulk of the games in 2011, make their cases and the Seminoles find out what they have in jumbo JUCO transfer Daniel Glauser (6'6, 320 lbs.). Glauser may be able to come in and become a starter at tackle from day one. We will know more about him very soon.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Florida State Seminoles: 5 Questions for Spring Football 2012 - Tallahassee Florida State Seminoles | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/florida-state-seminoles-in-tallahassee/florida-state-seminoles-5-questions-for-spring-football-2012#ixzz1pOoaPKqj
The answer? REAL FAST. Seriously, this kid's future will likely be in Track and Field where his talent is flat out off the charts. On Sunday, the FSU commit slated to play WR and KR for the Noles this coming Fall ran the world's fastest indoor 55m time of the season. His 6.08 is absolutely blazing speed. Make no mistakes, he is not a track guy making an attempt at playing football. He is going to do wonders for Florida State in both sports and in my guestimation will be one of the more popular athletes on campus. Here are a few important clips to watch to help grasp his talent in both sports. Note the guy claiming a false start on Bracy for the duration of the race. If you watch closely, you'll see that he clearly took off after the gun sounded. See the clips after the jump.no comments
Latest with FSU targets:
Eddie Goldman: Defensive Tackle
The race for the nation’s number one defensive tackle has really heated up over the last few weeks. This was thought to be a Florida State/Alabama battle heading into the week of the Under Armour game. A few developments that took place over that stretch along with the departure of Alabama’s lead recruiter for Goldman, Sal Sunseri to Tennessee was thought to have left the Noles in the lead. Now Goldman has released a list of four finalists for his services that include Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, and Miami. Alabama has already initiated a visit between Goldman and Coach Sunseri’s replacement; Lance Thompson while Florida State was thought to be the leader for Goldman’s services based in large part to Goldman’s relationship with FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins. Now Auburn, on the heels of hiring new defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder, is thought to have made a significant move recently in their efforts to land Goldman with some recruiting insiders now projecting the big defensive tackle to sign with the Tigers. This is primed to be a three team race (FSU/Alabama/Auburn) with Miami possibly looking on the outside.
Menelik Watson: Offensive Tackle
Saddleback Community College
Mission Viejo, California
Really no other way to put it: But in my opinion, Watson is almost a “must have” in this year’s class by virtue of the dearth of viable offensive line prospects on FSU’s radar this late in the recruiting process. Watson has very limited football experience but is an athletic prospect with a large degree of physical gifts that offensive line coach Rick Trickett would be tasked with tapping into. Make no mistake; Watson is a high risk high reward type of prospect but one who if he develops properly, has yet to play his best football as he’s only scratched the surface of his potential. Watson is being heavily courted by the Auburn Tigers and listed them as his leader after an official visit there. The Noles however, made up a lot of ground reportedly during his official visit to Tallahassee and sit in good position for his services with less than two weeks left. Although his final trips will be to Rutgers on January 20th and the University of Oregon on January 27th, this is thought to be a Florida State/Auburn battle.
Ronald Darby: Cornerback
Potomac High School
Oxen Hill, Maryland
Things have been looking more and more positive with Darby lately. The former Notre Dame commit enjoyed his official visit to Tallahassee. Now, having so recently re-opened his commitment it would be prudent to expect Darby to take his time before pledging to another program. It was announced this morning that the two sport athlete will not be taking anymore visits and has a final three of FSU, Auburn and Notre Dame. This is great news for the Noles.
Colin Blake: Cornerback
Brandeis High School
San Antonio, Texas
Now this is one of the more intriguing prospects remaining on the Florida State recruiting board. Blake is relatively new to the sport having completed just his second year of high school football after having been primarily a basketball player. In just two short years however, Blake has risen to become one of the top defensive back prospects in the state of Texas and made a September commitment to the Texas A&M Aggies. Blake however, has decided to open up his recruitment (Still technically committed to A&M) and officially visited the Seminoles this past weekend. Now there are many different layers to Blake’s situation as former Oklahoma commit and Under Armour All American Devante Harris committed to Texas A&M right on the heels of Blake’s trip to Tallahassee. That gives the Aggies a total of six defensive back commitments currently and one would have to think Blake may indeed be looking to jump ship due to the fact A&M chose to accept Harris. Now even in the event that Blake doesn’t plan on sticking with his Texas A&M commitment Florida State would still face competition for Blake’s signature from the Oklahoma Sooners, who are in the market for a big cornerback and Blake (6-3 185) certainly fits that bill. Now, lots of things still need to fall in place but if they do this would be a tremendous get for the Noles.
Nelson Agholor: Athlete
Agholor has played things close to the vest during the majority of his recruitment. However, it is understood that Florida State had long been running third in the competition for this talented athlete’s signature behind The University of Florida and Southern California. Florida had long been thought to be his leader but his official visit to Tallahassee combined with The University of Florida continuous recruiting of wide receivers (Agholor’s project college position) signal that the competition to land the Tampa product is far from over. This will be interesting to observe down the stretch, much more so than initially anticipated.
Leonard Williams: Defensive End
Mainland High School
Daytona Beach, Florida
There are some who feel Florida State may have nudged into the lead for the big defensive lineman. I will say that Williams’s recruitment has been much too unpredictable for me to agree with that assertion. While from all accounts he had a great time during his official visit to Florida State I would advise those hoping that the Noles land Williams to beware of the lingering effects of the post visit “high” and reassess things as we head into the stretch run. Reasons for this not only include the drastic swings in who he has been perceived to favor (Auburn has been thought to be his latest and strongest leader yet) but also the fact that Florida State also has three defensive end commits and may just be done at the position. With two weeks left it might be better just to observe how this one plays out.
Andrus Peat: Offensive Tackle
Corona Del Sol
The Florida State staff has done a great job recruiting the big offensive lineman from Arizona. But Peat has maintain interest in programs closer to home (USC, Stanford) while always having the option of joining his older brother Todd Peat Jr. at Nebraska. While Peat has done a great job giving all the team he has an interest in a chance to land his services, I venture to say the Noles have a lot of work to do in regards to this recruit. The staff’s last chance may be this weekend on his official visit to Florida State.
Reggie Northrup: Linebacker
First Coast High School
Northrup is still presently committed to the University of Miami but the standing of that commitment is in serious question with less than two weeks left until signing day. Northrup has been listening to the likes of Arkansas, USF, and North Carolina since his June commitment to the Canes. His fifth and final official visit will be to Florida State on January 20th and if Northrup does indeed decide to bring his entire family (as planned) then that bodes well for the Noles chances to flip his commitment.
AJ Leggett: Cornerback
South Miami High School
Leggett recently committed to the Marshall Thundering Herd program. He still has an official visit planned for the last weekend prior to signing day. We will see if he indeed decides to show up on campus.
Tracy Howard: Cornerback
Miramar High School
Howard is one of the most highly sought after recruits in the nation. Many different fanbases have had their hopes up in regards to landing his signature. He recently listed Florida and LSU as his two favorites. He recently canceled a trip to LSU however to officially visit the Florida Gators. No trip to LSU has been rescheduled. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still has one in-home visit with Howard and the hope of landing the star defensive back may just rest on that.
Ricardo Louis: Wide Receiver
Miami Beach High School
Miami Beach, Florida
Louis is an Auburn commit but is definitely looking around. Most would assume that is due to the present uncertainty surrounding the Auburn program now as they continue their search for an offensive coordinator. Louis was a surprise visitor to FSU late this past weekend and those in the know seem to feel he is a prime candidate to flip. He is a big (6-3 205), strong, fast, physical kid who could contribute to the Noles either as a wide receiver or safety. Louis has not set a final decision date but is also visiting the University of Georgia this weekend with fellow Auburn commit, Jaquay Williams giving the impression that his Auburn commitment is shaky at best.no comments
Florida State's early entry draft candidates
CB Xavier Rhodes
Rhodes was matched up against Notre Dame Wide Receiver (and probable first round NFL draft pick) Michael Floyd. Rhodes shadowed Floyd all over the field before suffering a knee sprain early in the third quarter. Up until that point Rhodes had fared well against the 6-3 220 pound receiver having held Floyd in check to the tune of three catches for a mere 20 yards (Floyd had been targeted eight times up to that point). Matchups like Rhodes vs. Floyd are intriguing due to the fact that it gives both players a chance to measure themselves against players who closely resemble the type of talent they'll be competing against on the next level. And although Rhodes did well, there were some flaws that were exposed. Rhodes top end speed may have to be questioned due to Floyd getting a step on him on one play where the ball was overthrown and was beaten on another deep ball. However in that instance, Floyd dropped the pass. With all that being said, Rhodes was playing press man coverage against Floyd in both instances. I'd have a bit more concern if he was playing off man coverage and still managed to get beaten on a vertical route. On the positive side, Rhodes was extremely physical with Floyd at the snap and won the majority of their battles at the line of scrimmage using his long arms to consistently re-route Floyd and disrupt the timing between Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees and his primary receiver.
Rookie CB Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens
Like the 6-2 205 pound Smith, Rhodes is a tall, rangy cornerback (6-2 215) who uses his length to disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage. At first glance, some may think of Rhodes as a candidate to move to free safety at the NFL level due to his size. However, Rhodes has the knee bend to sink low in his stance, transitions well out of his backpedal ,and has the lateral quickness to mirror sharp breaking routes effectively. I don't think he'd run a 4.46 40 yard dash like Smith did at the combine last year but as long as he can run around a 4.52 I don't think his draft stock would be adversely effected.
Should he stay or go?
While only Xavier himself knows what factors will play the biggest role in his decision, what I do know is this: If Rhodes indeed declares he will cast himself in a pool of the deepest cornerback class I've ever seen. The 2012 cornerback draft class is deep in terms of both quality as well as sheer numbers as there are around 17-20 draft eligible cornerbacks who will be fighting for position within the first three to four rounds. That being said; even though nagging early season injuries prevented Rhodes from being able to sufficiently build on the success of his breakout 2010 season this past year he still possesses a rare size/skill combo at cornerback that is coveted by NFL execs and player personnel types. If he can secure himself a spot in the top 50 players chosen then I would suggest he leave. Even though he's still relatively inexperienced at the position having only been a full time cornerback for two seasons, he's been a quick study and a more consistent player than former Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson who's currently a starter in his second year with the New Orleans Saints. Granted, Rhodes has probably benefitted from better coaching the past two seasons under FSU defensive coordinator/defensive back coach Mark Stoops. In my opinion if Rhodes leaves, it will be simply a matter of him taking advantage of an opportunity to fulfill his dream and we should all wish him well. If he stays it would be for the purpose of securing himself a spot in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.no comments
Highlights compiled by RajonRondoShow aka RFC from last Thursday's Champs Sports Bowl. Here we have a combination of overall game highlights, WR Rashad Greene (Champs Bowl MVP) and S Lamarcus Joyner. The two young players, true freshman and true sophomore respectively, played outstanding games that were worthy of their own highlight reels, so their plays were not included in the full highlight video. Greene hauled in 5 catches for 99 yards and one touchdown. Two of his receptions were miraculous catches on 3rd down in crucial moments of the ball game. Lamarcus Joyner notched 7 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception to go along with a 77 yard kick return. Check them out and enjoy!no comments
Football Season isn't quite over yet folks! Of course you know it is All-Star game season now and one very intriguing game is The Battle of Florida!
Legendary coaches Bobby Bowden and Howard Schnellenberger are coaching opposing sides of this 1st annual North vs. South all-star collegiate game, which will be held at FAU’s new stadium on January 21, 2012 in Boca Raton, FL. The game will air at 8PM on Fox College Sports. To be eligible to play, players must be NFL draft eligible and have either been born in Florida or played high school or collegiate football in Florida. More information about the game, accepted players, events leading up to the game, and tickets are on sale now at www.TheBattleOfFlorida.com.
FSU's own Bert Reed has accepted an invite to play in the game, along with Jermaine Thomas, Ja'Barris Little and Terrance Parks will also represent FSU in the game. If this sounds like a game you'd be interested in witnessing live, we will be giving away two free tickets right here on the site! Stay tuned to find out how you can win!no comments
Just like that folks, it's the final game of the 2011 Seminole Football Season. There's no need to mention that this season was a large disappointment yet again (I just did) and the Champs Sports Bowl wasn't what the Noles had in mind at the start of the season, but it's accurate to say that this particular matchup is about as sexy as can be. The Fighting Irish and Seminoles have two historically relevant football programs fighting to regain prominence in modern day College Football and fanbases that stretch across the country. There's a bit of bad blood between the two, between present day recruiting wins and losses and games from the glory days, so tonight's game could be pretty interesting. Let's see how our guys are feeling about tonight.no comments
This is the question at hand. For the first couple weeks of bowl practice, what we have continued to see and hear is that there is a possibility of FSU fans seeing a different group of starters along the offensive line for the upcoming Champs Sports Bowl. As best as we can tell, right now it appears we will see Zebrie Sanders (Sr.), Josue Matias (Fr.), Austin Barron (Fr.), Tre Jackson (Fr.) and Bobby Hart (Fr.) as the starters against Notre Dame. Whether this is being done by necessity due to injury or by preference due to performance, I feel this will have an interesting outcome. There are some positives and negatives here, so let's discuss them after the jump.no comments
We put fellow Bloguin Network blog, SubwayDomer.com, on the hot seat and asked him some questions about the Fighting Irish in preparation for next week's Champ's Sports Bowl. This is part one of two in this series, so get used to the old Subway Domer because you'll hear from him again next week. Today, we've got some questions about the Notre Dame program and recapping the season. Next week, we'll explore more specifics about the big matchup at hand and how we think each team will fare on next Thursday night. Be sure to check Domer's site for his version of our Q&A and light his comment section up with some Holiday trash talk.
1) Given the rocky start to the season, but having a team that performed well at times, what are your overall thoughts on the season for Notre Dame and how it played out?
It was a failure. That may be a dramatic use of the word "failure" but if we look at the season as a whole, it should be quite clear.
Forget about South Florida for a moment. Notre Dame managed to lose at Michigan, in a game that they were dominating. Notre Dame lost to USC in a game that had a lot at stake for the Irish. Notre Dame lost to Stanford, and in the process took our QB search back about 12 games.
This was supposed to be a BCS or bust type of year, and ND loses their 3 biggest games, and makes a bigger mess of the QB depth chart.
2) What's the general consensus on Brian Kelly and the job he has done so far? Do you believe people in South Bend are comfortable with saying that he is the guy to lead ND back to consistent national prominence?
This all really depends on who you talk to, and at what time of day. For the record, I do believe Kelly has done a good job. Good. Not great- not yet. There were a lot of issues facing the Irish before Kelly arrived, and he is systematically changing a lot of that for the better.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of rational fans within the ND fanbase. Most of those fans, however, are overshadowed by a much larger group that seems to congregate mainly on NDNation.com.
These people wanted Kelly fired after the Michigan game last year, and have demanded their donations to the school be used for a time machine to bring back the Era of Ara in the flesh.
These people have lost touch with reality.
I'm comfortable with saying that Kelly is the man for the job, but then again- if not him... Who?
I sat down to make predictions and then realized that it would be pretty damned pretentious of me to act like I actually know much of anything about all 70 of the teams playing in bowls. Doesn’t mean I can’t form unfounded opinions though. I was going to do these as tweets, but I didn’t want to carpet-bomb your Twitter timelines. This is supposed to be fun and I don’t wish to offend, but if I do, click here to set me straight.
1. NEW MEXICO BOWL, Wyoming vs. Temple: I haven’t looked, but I don’t have to: I guarantee you someone has done a Wyoming-esque parody version of the Wiz Khalifa song and called it “BROWN AND YELLOW.”
2. FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL, Utah State vs. Idaho: If Potatoes were THAT famous, this bowl game wouldn’t be in Idaho, amirite?
3. NEW ORLEANS BOWL, Louisiana-Lafayette vs. San Diego State: This game is like the bowl system’s version of Speed Dating. These two fanbases will take their seats, stare awkwardly at each other for a short period, and use each other as cautionary tales for the next three years. Sprayed all that AXE on for NOTHING.
4. BEEF O’ BRADY’S BOWL, Marhsall vs. FIU: Gee, wonder what they’ll serve in the press box? WE ARE (hoping for wings.)
5. POINSETTIA BOWL, TCU vs. Louisiana Tech: So, TCU’s reward for rendering Boise State irrelevant is a pre-Christmas Bowl against a Sun Belt team. Think they’re excited about getting into the Big XII? no comments