Florida State Seminoles: Keelin Smith

FSU depth chart breakdown: Defense

January, 31, 2014
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Last week, we previewed Florida State’s offensive depth chart for the spring. This week, we’ll dig into the defense.

The biggest question might be how similar the 2014 defensive scheme will look to 2013. Yes, promoting Charles Kelly certainly offers stability, but he’s also likely to want to put his own stamp on the unit rather than offering a shot-for-shot remake of Jeremy Pruitt’s system. With some significant transition in personnel and some major losses of talent, there’s room to tinker this spring. Here’s what we’ll be watching:

Defensive line

[+] EnlargeNick Marshall
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsExpect Mario Edwards to have a bigger hand in things this fall on the Florida State defensive line.
Projected starters: Mario Edwards Jr. (Jr.), Nile Lawrence-Stample (RSJr.), Eddie Goldman (Jr.)
Backups: Desmond Hollin (Sr.), Chris Casher (RSSo.), DeMarcus Walker (So.), Derrick Mitchell (RSJr.), Keith Bryant (RSFr.), Justin Shanks (RSSo.)

Storylines: Replacing Timmy Jernigan is an impossible task, but expect plenty of hype for Lawrence-Stample this spring. He was one of Jimbo Fisher’s favorites last spring, and he’ll be counted on to step up even more this time around. The loss of Christian Jones as a hybrid rusher impacts the D line, too, and how Kelly plans to handle that role now should be interesting to watch. Edwards and Goldman are both five-star players with two years of experience under their belt, but now they’ll be looked to as leaders -- both on and off the field.

Status: B
If you want to include Jones as a defensive lineman, FSU is set to lose seven DLs to the NFL in a two-year span -- including two first-rounders in Bjoern Werner and, likely, Jernigan. That’s sapped some depth from the position, but Goldman and Edwards are as good as any D-linemen in the ACC and there’s plenty of talent behind them, too.

Linebacker

Projected starters: Reggie Northrup (Jr.), Terrance Smith (RSJr.), Matthew Thomas (So.)
Backups: E.J. Levenberry (So.), Ro'Derrick Hoskins (RSFr.), Nigel Terrell (RSSr.), Ukeme Eligwe (RSSo.), Kain Daub (Fr.)

Storylines: Smith is the only lock for a starting job here -- and even that might depend on your definition of “lock.” But while the unit is short on experience, it’s high on talent. The battle to replace Jones in the hybrid LB/DE position should be an interesting one, with Thomas offering perhaps the most upside, but Casher and Eligwe certainly in the mix, too. Northrup is the most experienced option to replace Telvin Smith, and he’s certainly capable of blossoming into a disruptive force, but Fisher raved about Levenberry throughout 2013, and that figures to be one of the more intriguing battles of spring camp. Add Daub to the mix as an early enrollee, and Kelly’s biggest problem here might be figuring out how to get enough snaps for all his talented linebackers.

Status: B
There’s plenty of talent here, but it’s impossible to replace the veteran savvy of Smith and Jones. By year’s end, this should be a terrific group, but there’s lots to be learned this spring.

Safety

[+] EnlargeJalen Ramsey
Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMISafety Jalen Ramsey will play a big role in the Seminoles secondary, which will be among the best in the nation.
Projected starters: Jalen Ramsey (So.), Nate Andrews (So.), Tyler Hunter (RSJr.)
Backups: Lamarcus Brutus (RSJr.), Keelin Smith (RSJr.), Tyrell Lyons (RSFr.)

Storylines: Ramsey and Andrews were exceptional as true freshmen, but the job now is to build on that progress under a new position coach. There’s little reason to believe that won’t happen. The bigger question mark at the moment is the health of Hunter, who is recovering from a neck injury that nearly ended his career. He was the leader of the secondary last spring and summer, and his impact on a young group could be huge again in 2014.

Status: A
Terrence Brooks was always undervalued, and he’ll be missed, but Hunter, Ramsey and Andrews projects as potentially the best trio of safeties in the nation.

Cornerback

Projected starters: P.J. Williams (Jr.), Ronald Darby (Jr.)
Backups: Marquez White (So.), Nick Waisome (Sr.), Colin Blake (RSSo.)

Storylines: Losing Lamarcus Joyner is a big blow, but there’s little to be concerned with here. Williams and Darby are both exceptional and figure to get even better in 2014. Darby was limited all season with a groin injury, so some downtime may be the priority for him. Waisome saw a ton of action in 2012 but largely disappeared in 2013. How he responds this spring might tell a lot about his future.

Status: A
It says a lot about the work Fisher, Pruitt and Mark Stoops have done over the past few years that FSU can lose a player of Joyner’s caliber and still likely have the best secondary -- and best pair of starting corners -- in the country.

What we learned: Week 13

November, 24, 2013
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Florida State wrapped up a perfect 7-0 home slate for the year with an 80-14 win over Idaho on Saturday that once again only provided a brief glimpse of the Seminoles’ starters. Still, we learned a few items worth noting in Week 13.

Shaw can break 100: It certainly seemed like it might never happen after Kenny Shaw finished last week with 99 yards -- his sixth game with at least 89 but none topping 100. But when he hauled in a 20-yard touchdown throw from Jameis Winston to end the first half Saturday, Shaw finally cracked that elusive century mark, finishing the game with five grabs for 107 yards and two scores. Shaw needs to average just 57 yards per game the rest of the way to break 1,000 for the season.

The defense is deep: Another game, another four interceptions for Florida State’s defense. Saturday saw Telvin Smith and E.J. Levenberry record picks and return them for scores, while Jacobbi McDaniel and Keelin Smith added interceptions of their own. For the year, 16 different FSU players have recorded at least one interception, and the Seminoles have a nation-leading 23 INTs for the year. The two TDs give Florida State a school-record eight defensive touchdowns this season, too.

Winston still rolling: The legal battle surrounding Florida State’s star quarterback rages on, but Winston seems no worse for the wear. He completed 14 of 25 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns against Idaho, giving him 32 passing TDs for the year -- one shy of Chris Weinke’s school record. And if the off-field issues don’t derail his on-field success, Winston has all but locked up the Heisman.
No. 2 Florida State is in the driver’s seat for a berth in the BCS championship game, but it still needs to handle its own business for the next five weeks. That starts with Saturday's game against Wake Forest. Here are five things to watch when the Demon Deacons host the Seminoles (noon, ABC).

1. Winston’s rebound. OK, so Jameis Winston’s “bad” game wasn’t actually too bad. He completed all but two throws in the second half last Saturday against Miami, and Florida State won easily. Still, he did throw two interceptions in the game, which represented the closest thing he’s had to a struggle. Winston doesn’t figure to run into many stumbling blocks this week, but a big game statistically could be significant in the race for the Heisman Trophy. After Marcus Mariota’s struggles Thursday against Stanford, it could a two-man race between Winston and the reigning winner, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.

2. Youth in the secondary. Terrence Brooks will sit out of Saturday's game with concussion symptoms, though Jimbo Fisher said the senior is recovering well and it’s not expected to be a long-term concern. In the short term, however, two true freshmen are likely to see a heavy workload in the secondary. Jalen Ramsey continues to shine at safety in place of injured Tyler Hunter, and Nate Andrews has been exceptional in reserve duty. He picked off a pass in the second half against Miami, subbing for Brooks. Keelin Smith figures to get some work, too. Against a better passing offense it might be a concern, but with Michael Campanaro out for Wake Forest, the test won’t be quite so big.

[+] EnlargeMichael Campanaro
Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMIWake Forest will be without its top receiver, Michael Campanaro. who has a broken collarbone.
3. Finding an identity. Wake Forest struggled early to figure out an offensive identity, but by midseason it was clear that the combination of Campanaro and quarterback Tanner Price was the Deacons’ ticket to the end zone. Campanaro had double-digit receptions four times this season, and during his seven healthy games this year, he was responsible for 44 percent of Wake’s receptions and 49 percent of its receiving yards. Price has been solid this season, due in large part to Campanaro’s consistency. But without the star receiver, head coach Jim Grobe will have his work cut out for him trying to find a consistent offensive threat. The Deacons are dead last in the ACC in rushing yards, averaging just 90 per game. Their 2.85 yards-per-carry average ranks 118th nationally.

4. Avoid turnovers. Two years ago, Florida State went to Winston-Salem, N.C., and lost a game it had no business losing. The difference in that 35-30 Wake Forest victory was turnovers — five of them in total. That hasn’t been an issue for the Seminoles at all in 2013. They’ve gone nine consecutive games without losing the turnover battle, and FSU’s eight turnovers lost is tied for the fifth-fewest in the nation among AQ teams. The Seminoles have the better talent in this game by a wide margin, but losing the football too often is the great equalizer.

5. Stay focused. The Seminoles have had doubters to fight against all year, but no more. Their destiny is in their hands, and that’s the one hurdle we haven’t seen Fisher’s crew overcome yet. If this really is a new, more mature Florida State team, it will have no problem throttling Wake Forest early and moving on to the next challenge. If the Seminoles read too many of their own headlines, then the national title game appearance is anything but secure.

FSU's fall camp position battles

August, 4, 2013
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State opens fall camp this week, and while the bulk of the starting lineup appears firmly in place, there are a handful of key position battles to watch as the Seminoles set their sights on the season opener in Pittsburgh.

[+] EnlargeMario Edwards Jr.
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesDefensive end Mario Edwards Jr. was the No. 1 high school prospect in the nation in the Class of 2012.
Defensive end

The candidates: Mario Edwards Jr. (So.), Dan Hicks (RSSr.), Giorgio Newberry (RSSo.), Chris Casher (RSFr.), DeMarcus Walker (Fr.), Davarez Bryant (Fr.), Desmond Hollin (Jr.)

The situation: Florida State lost three top pass rushers to the NFL from last year's team, leaving a major void in a key area. Edwards appears all but certain to earn one of the two starting jobs after closing out 2012 in that role. On the opposite side, however, things are up for grabs. Newberry figured to be the top candidate entering spring practice, but Hicks -- nine months removed from ACL surgery -- made a big push. Walker might have been in the mix, too, but NCAA eligibility issues kept him on the sideline after he enrolled early.

The projection: Hicks' strong spring vaulted him to the top of the depth chart for now, and it's clear he's ready to play a sizable role after being shuffled to tight end a year ago. Odds are, however, this will be an area of some mixing and matching early on, with Hicks, Newberry and Casher all likely to see playing time alongside Edwards.

Linebacker

The candidates: Terrance Smith (RSSo.), Reggie Northrup (So.), Ukeme Eligwe (RSFr.), Nigel Terrell (RSJr.) and five incoming freshmen

The situation: Seniors Telvin Smith and Christian Jones offer a formidable pairing atop the depth chart, but the rest of the linebacker position remains in flux. None of the candidates have any significant experience, and while Terrance Smith looked to take an early lead as the starter on the strong side throughout the spring, there are endless possibilities on how the two-deep at each position might shake out.

The projection: Because FSU will run a majority of its defensive plays in nickel and dime sets, there may not be a need for a third linebacker routinely. Still, the coaching staff knows it needs to develop depth behind its two seniors, and identifying a pecking order is crucial. Northrup, Smith and Eligwe are likely the top contenders for regular playing time, but freshman Freddie Stevenson was an early enrollee who impressed this spring, and freshman Matthew Thomas might have more upside than anyone at the position.

Quarterback

The candidates: Jameis Winston (RSFr.), Jacob Coker (RSSo.), Sean Maguire (RSFr.)

The situation: What was a wide-open, four-man race this spring now looks to be Winston's job to lose. He was impressive throughout spring practice, dominated the spring game and has enjoyed immense hype and enthusiasm from the fan base ever since. Still, Fisher has been quick to point out that nothing is set in stone at the position yet, and Coker, who endured a foot injury that limited him this spring, figures to keep the pressure on Winston as fall camp begins.

The projection: In spite of Fisher's pronouncements, it would be a shock if anyone other than Winston got the starting nod in Week 1. By all indications, the redshirt freshman has continued to develop this summer, has handled all the publicity with aplomb, and his potential is undeniable.

Defensive back

The candidates: Lamarcus Joyner (Sr.), Nick Waisome (Jr.), Ronald Darby (So.), Tyler Hunter (Jr.), P.J. Williams (So.) and others

The situation: This falls under the category of good problems to have, but FSU's wealth of talent in the secondary is causing at least some confusion on the depth chart. Joyner switches from safety to corner this year, leaving five talented and experienced corners vying for limited playing time alongside presumptive starters at safety Terrence Brooks and Karlos Williams. The versatility of the group -- particularly Joyner, Hunter and P.J. Williams -- offers some options for new DC Jeremy Pruitt, but finding enough playing time for all the talent on the roster may be a tall order.

The projection: There is likely to be a healthy dose of mixing and matching this year, with Karlos Williams getting reps at linebacker, Joyner, Hunter and P.J. Williams shifting between corner, nickel and safety, and other options like Keelin Smith and Colin Blake vying for reps, too. Still, Joyner is the unquestioned leader, so his playing time should be secure, and Darby, Waisome and Hunter will likely grab the lion's share of what remains.

Wide receiver

The candidates: Kelvin Benjamin (RSSo.), Christian Green (RSJr.), Willie Haulstead (RSSr.), Levonte Whitfield (Fr.), Jarred Haggins (Sr.), Isaiah Jones (Fr.), Jesus Wilson (Fr.)

The situation: Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw have a firm grip on starting jobs, but injuries, defections and suspensions have seriously limited FSU's depth in the passing game. Fisher needs at least one or two more receivers to step up into bigger roles, with none looming larger than the uber-talented Benjamin. Green and Haulstead -- afterthoughts a year ago -- are aiming for comeback seasons, while Whitfield's speed makes him an immediate threat, and Wilson has garnered early praise for his work in summer seven-on-seven drills.

The projection: Benjamin is perhaps the biggest wild card on Florida State's roster. His talent is immense, but he's had difficulty showing consistency during his first two years in Tallahassee. If he blossoms into a star in 2013, it would be a huge boon to the Seminoles' offense, but don't be surprised if at least one of the freshmen manages to make some noise, too.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It certainly could've been awkward, but Miami quarterback Stephen Morris said there haven't been any moments of bitterness with his new offensive coordinator, James Coley, who held the same position with rival Florida State for the past three years before joining the Hurricanes in January.

Sure, it's a bit strange to be working with a one-time rival, but Morris has been around long enough that he's not rattled by much.

[+] EnlargeStephen Morris
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireQuarterback Stephen Morris is looking forward to running the offense James Coley brought to Miami.
"At this point, I don't find anything odd," Morris said. "I know everything's a business, and you might be with a coach for one year, and that guy's gone."

Coley is likely to stick around a while.

Before he arrived at FSU, it was the Miami area that was home for Coley, and he's renowned as one of the most accomplished recruiters in South Florida. More importantly, after three years of implementing Jimbo Fisher's offense with the Seminoles, Coley finally is getting a chance to call his own plays, and Morris said the playbook already is earning raves.

"[The offense] is fun to play in," said Morris, who finished fourth in the ACC last season, averaging 279 passing yards per game. "The opportunity guys have to catch the ball and run with it, spread it out, go in the pro-set and run the ball -- it pleases the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers. We'll be in Wing one set, completely spread out the next. I'm excited for it. He's implemented his own stuff that he had before, and I think it's a great fit for us."

Fisher was notoriously reluctant to hand over play-calling duties, and that led Coley to depart when Miami made an offer this offseason. Randy Sanders replaced Coley as FSU's quarterbacks coach, but Fisher has not named a new offensive coordinator.

Meanwhile, Morris said Coley is mixing and matching the best of what he ran at Florida State with the best of Miami's 2012 playbook to build a diverse attack that nevertheless remains unique to Coley's point of view.

"He has an idea of what he wants, and he runs it by us," Morris said. "We tell him what we did last year similar to it, but at the end of the day, he has his own stuff he wants to run."

(Read full post)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- While Jimbo Fisher won't be etching anything into stone after Saturday's spring game, there were clearly a few players who took big leaps forward during the past month and a few more who saw significant opportunities slip away.

WINNERS

Jameis Winston, QB

The performance: Winston entered the spring third on the depth chart, but tops in potential. He didn't disappoint. By spring's end, he was splitting first-team reps with Clint Trickett and dominated FSU's spring game, solidifying his place as the fan's choice for the starting job even if Fisher hasn't made anything official.

What comes next: Heisman? National championship? The Hall of Fame? With Winston, there doesn't appear to be such a thing as setting the bar too high. Fisher might be trying to temper expectations, but that's likely a lost cause. Winston still has plenty of work to do before he reaches the vast heights predicted for him, but he's only burnished his resume during the past month. What comes next for him though? "It's baseball season," he said after Saturday's spring game.


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- With the departure of stalwart fullback Lonnie Pryor, Florida State's offense might rely a bit more on the tight ends in 2013, and that could be a boon for Kevin Haplea.

The senior, who transferred from Penn State just days before the start of fall camp last season, has impressed new tight ends coach Tim Brewster with his ability to do all the little things necessary at the line of scrimmage.

Haplea
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsKevin Haplea had to adjust to Florida State's offense on the fly last year after transferring from Penn State.
"Haplea has a little thump to him," Brewster said. "He's the type of guy that I think can become a post player, and we're looking for a post player -- a guy that can dominate on the line of scrimmage. Because one thing we're going to do is, we're going to run the football."

While Chad Abram looks to have the fullback spot locked up, he may not offer the same versatility that Pryor brought to the FSU offense a year ago, and Jimbo Fisher has hinted that he could look to use starting tight end Nick O'Leary as a halfback and potentially run a lot more two- and three-tight end sets.

That could mean a good bit more work for Haplea, who is finding his footing in Year 2 with the program. Fisher said Haplea has caught more passes during the past few days of practice than he did all of last season.

O'Leary is still the starter at the position, and he's outpaces his competition in terms of potential by a strong margin. But while Haplea has excelled at the fundamentals, O'Leary is still working on the nuance of his position and hoping to overcome some ugly mistakes he made in 2012.

"He's a guy that's got tremendous talent, but he needs to understand that the details of the game are very important," Brewster said. "The fundamental aspects of tight end play, all the little things are important. It's not about the big picture, it's about seeing the little picture, the little things involved in every play."

Fisher said O'Leary continues to mature, and he hopes to see the junior tight end blossom into a dominant force this season. There have been some encouraging signs this spring, but O'Leary remains a work in progress.

"If he gets those little things, he's really tough to handle," Fisher said. "The details are more refined, and that's the challenge for him right now."

(Read full post)

State of the Noles: Cornerback 

February, 27, 2013
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NoleNation writers David Hale and Corey Dowlar are going position by position, looking at what FSU has on its roster now, and who might provide reinforcements down the line, projecting starters and evaluating the depth through 2015.

Up next, one of the most promising positions on the FSU roster: Cornerback.


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Noles 2013 snapshot: Nate Andrews 

February, 26, 2013
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With national signing day beyond us, NoleNation takes a closer look at the next crop of Seminoles.

Vitals: Defensive back Nate Andrews (Fairhope, Ala./Fairhope), 5-foot-11, 195 pounds

Committed: Jan. 25, 2013

ESPN.com grade: 78, three-star prospect

ESPN.com rankings: No. 74 wide receiver prospect in the country, No. 253 player in the Southeast region and No. 23 in Alabama

Picked Florida State over: Alabama, Minnesota, Mississippi


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Noles 2013 snapshot: Marquez White 

February, 15, 2013
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With national signing day now beyond us, NoleNation takes a closer look at the next crop of Seminoles.

Vitals: Cornerback Marquez White (Dothan, Ala./Northview), 6-foot-1, 170 pounds.

Committed: May 25, 2012.

ESPN.com grade: 83, four-star prospect.

ESPN.com rankings: No. 17 cornerback in the country, No. 74 player in the Southeast region, No. 7 prospect in the state of Alabama and the No. 158 player in the ESPN 300.

Picked Florida State over: Alabama, Auburn and Kentucky.


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Noles 2013 snapshot: Jalen Ramsey 

February, 12, 2013
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With national signing day now beyond us, NoleNation takes a look at the next crop of Seminoles.

Vitals: Cornerback Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy), 6-foot, 190 pounds


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2013 Spring Preview: Cornerbacks

January, 15, 2013
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From the impending quarterback competition to finding replacements for departing juniors, Jimbo Fisher will have his work cut out for him during the next few months as he lays the groundwork for 2013.

With that in mind, we're going to go position-by-position looking at Florida State's strengths and weaknesses as the Seminoles prepare for the start of spring practice.

First up: Cornerback

[+] EnlargeRonald Darby
Geoff Burke/Getty ImagesCornerback Ronald Darby stepped in and became a big contributor as a freshman.
2012 recap: Last season began with a seemingly huge setback when three-year starter Greg Reid was dismissed from the program just before the start of fall camp. As it turned out, however, FSU had plenty of in-house answers. Freshman Ronald Darby and sophomore Nick Waisome stepped in to more than adequately fill the void, and FSU's pass defense finished as one of the best units in the country.

Departures: It seemed a foregone conclusion long before the season ended, and as expected, junior Xavier Rhodes opted to pass on a fifth year in Tallahassee and will head to the NFL draft. It's a big loss, as Rhodes had blossomed into one of the best cover corners in the nation, and 2012 might have been his best season as a Seminole.

Arrivals: Redshirt freshman Colin Blake will get his first taste of action. FSU has two four-star commitments at the position in Marquez White (Dothan, Ala./Northview) and Michael Johnson (Miami/Booker T. Washington). White is the 17th-ranked corner in the nation, according to ESPN.

Biggest question mark: Replacing Rhodes is obviously the top priority, but with the impressive 2012 campaigns from both Darby and Waisome, the answers appear fairly obvious. What might be a more intriguing question is who steps in as the third man in the cornerback rotation -- a list that could include more work from nickel Tyler Hunter, early playing time for the youngsters or, perhaps most likely, an expanded role for rising sophomore Keelin Smith.

Breakout star: Darby seems the logical choice. He never quite overtook Waisome for the starting job in 2012, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Darby finished the season having appeared in all 14 games, making 22 tackles and recording eight pass breakups and one forced fumble en route to being named a freshman All-American. He's perhaps not quite as physical as Rhodes, but his speed is elite and he has the potential to quickly develop into one of the marquee defensive backs in the conference.

Projected 2013 starters: Darby and Waisome, with Hunter as the top nickel option.

FSU freshmen get to shine late

September, 15, 2012
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A week ago, lightning ended Florida State's win over Savannah State with nearly 25 minutes of game time remaining. It meant little to the starters, who had long since retired to the sideline.

For the freshmen getting their first significant taste of action, however, the abrupt ending to the game was a missed opportunity. Against Wake Forest on Saturday, however, they were able to make up for lost time.

By the fourth quarter of Saturday's 52-0 win over the Demon Deacons, sophomore Karlos Williams was the lone member of Florida State's defense on the field that wasn’t a freshman or redshirt freshman.

"They held up real well," defensive end Cornellius Carradine said. "They're still trying to adjust to the system, but they held up great. They'll get more comfortable as the season goes along."

Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman finished with three tackles, including one for a loss. Defensive ends Chris Casher and Mario Edwards Jr. both saw action in the second half, combining for two more tackles. Ronald Darby and Keelin Smith both got plenty of work in the secondary, and they picked up right where their veteran teammates left off, smothering the overmatched Wake Forest offense.

"They played hard," sophomore defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said. "The coaches are real tough on them, and I'm just glad to see them out there making plays and still hunting. That's the biggest thing."

Grading the Game: FSU 55, SSU 0

September, 9, 2012
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What can you take from a 55-0 game against a bad FCS team that was played with a running clock for 11 minutes then abruptly called for weather reasons with nine minutes to play in the third quarter?

The answer: Not very much. But Jimbo Fisher will watch film on it anyway, so we're pushing forward with this week's grades.

QUARTERBACK

Florida State scored 124 points in its first two games, so it's tough to offer much in the way of insightful criticisms of EJ Manuel's play, but we did note a few loose ends after the Murray State game that offered some minor cause for concern. It took just two plays for Manuel to provide a rebuttal Saturday.

Manuel connected with Rodney Smith for a 61-yard TD pass on the second play of the game, and it was all easy from there. His final numbers -- 11-of-13 for 161 yards and three TDs -- illustrate both how small an obstacle Savannah State was and how sharp Manuel looked in dismantling the Tigers. The only two incompletions of the day for Manuel were a drop by Rashad Greene and a ball he threw away while avoiding pressure.

What was most encouraging, Fisher said, was the fact that Manuel was in complete control of the game, looking off his first and second reads and finding an open man on all but one play.

(Read full post)

Senior Chris Thompson has looked sharp during Florida State's fall practice, and, 11 months after breaking two bones in his back, he continues to get the majority of the first-team reps.

While Thompson appears set to hold the nominal role of starter at tailback, sophomore James Wilder Jr. believes it'll be running-back-by-committee throughout the season for FSU.

"I think [the coaches] are going to keep us on the field, everybody," Wilder said. "We're going to be a team that rotates."

(Read full post)

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