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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
Coming out of high school in 2009, Michael Snaer was one of Florida State's most highly anticipated basketball prospects in quite some time. He was regarded highly as a scorer and one of the best shooting guards in the nation in his class, receiving consistently high marks for his incredible work ethic and competitive nature.
Despite the excitement and anticipation surrounding his arrival, Snaer's first two seasons, although far from terrible, fell woefully short of the lofty expectations that were thrusted upon him early on. In Snaer's first two seasons in Garnet and Gold, the 6'5, Moreno Valley, California native would average a shade under 9 points per game and hover around 35% from deep. He was a streaky shooter and scorer, who at times seemed indecisive and uncomfortable within the FSU offense. Entering his junior season, there was plenty of buzz and talk of Snaer regaining his confidence and settling into his role as a team leader that would be able to put the Seminoles on his back and carry them to the next level. While this all sounded good, it is no surprise that some were skeptical as to how much of a difference there would be in his game.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Florida State's Michael Snaer shines bright - Tallahassee Florida State Seminoles | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/florida-state-seminoles-in-tallahassee/florida-state-s-michael-snaer-shines-bright#ixzz1overzchW
Tony Stevens Scouting Report
* Ball skills
* Agility/Body control
* Willing and aggressive blocker
* Route running
Stevens is interesting in the fact that he is a prospect that even most diehard recruitniks were unaware of as recently as a month ago. His highlight film changed that as he quickly became a You Tube sensation and has been able to garner several scholarship offers in the weeks after his film going live. The first thing that stands out about Stevens is his uncanny body control which enables him to adjust to the ball as it's in flight. Stevens is a receiver who showcases elite level agility as he is able to track the ball after it is delivered by the quarterback, adjust and contort his body positioning even after leaving his feet, and snatch the ball out of the air. Stevens is able to do this whether it be on well thrown balls in which a defender just has good position, on or slightly errant throws that he is able to convert into completions nonetheless. Stevens shows great footwork along the sideline as well having the presence of mind to drag his feet in bounds at the completion of yet another of his signature acrobatic receptions. While not the most thickly built receiver, Stevens has room for growth and plays the position in a physical manner. Whether it be by his aggressively hauling in passes away from defenders or his willingness to throw blocks in the open field, even if it might be away from the actual play itself.
Now, when catching the ball Stevens is a natural 'plucker'. Meaning he's very natural when it comes to catching the ball away from his body. However, Stevens is savvy enough to turn his back toward the defender and bring the ball into his frame in situations where he anticipates being hit. This subtle adjustment increases the likelihood of a receiver being able to maintain possession of a pass despite being contacted by an oncoming defender right after the catch. Stevens has good 'game' speed but isn't necassarily a burner. Nonetheless, he is able to outpace defenders once he's gained a step on them. Stevens has a long way to go in the area of route running and just doesn't seem to have the most expansive route tree as this point in time. That’s something that comes into play as there are instances in which he doesn't generate the separation you would anticipate for a kid of his talents. Stevens has loose hips and quick feet that allow him to showcase 'plus' open field running ability and elusiveness on punt returns. So the route running issues are most likely something that can be cleaned up via quality coaching as he has the short area quickness to be able to get in and out of breaks cleanly. Even now Stevens displays savvy in utilizing subtle moves and jab steps to get defenders to open up their hips, allowing him to gain a free release off the line. Stevens outpaces defenders more so after the catch as opposed to through the actual route so being able to generate separation at the line of scrimmage is a very good trait to have at his disposal while he develops into a more polished route runner. Stevens is still raw in some areas but has the size, hands, and overall physical ability to become a true number one target at the collegiate level once he becomes more proficient at the technical aspects of the wide receiver position.no comments
The ACC released the complete 2012 football schedule today, and here are FSU’s matchups.
Sept. 1: Murray State
Sept. 8: Savannah State
Sept. 15: Wake Forest
Sept. 22: Clemson
Sept. 29: @ South Florida
Oct. 6: @ NC State
October 13: Boston College (Parents’ Weekend)
October 20: @ Miami
October 27: Duke (Homecoming)
November 8: @ Virginia Tech
November 22: @ Maryland
November 29: Florida
FSU fans had been waiting (read as: bracing themselves) for the long-delayed release of the ACC Football Schedule, and today’s schedule was met with bewilderment as Seminole faithful had nothing major to gripe about. Kudos to the ACC brass for that, but in reality all this means is that they’re finally doing their jobs (or did with FSU, at least.)
What makes a “good” ACC schedule? Each of the twelve conference teams is an asset, as is each matchup of two of those teams. Schedules are all about maximizing those assets by making sure that the conference gets as much out of their TV contracts as possible and by making sure that those teams are not put at a disadvantage when it comes to facing teams outside the conference.
Keep in mind that not only can the conference not predict the future, but that ACC teams have their out-of-conference games already scheduled. Since the conference matchups are predetermined, it’s a matter of making them fit the calendar, and it’s impossible to make everyone happy. But, the rough spots should be spread around to the greatest degree possible, and the conference’s primary goal needs to be to schedule each team as optimally as possible, regardless of who they are or how big a brand they are. What this means is that Duke has just as much right to gripe about travelling to Tallahassee and then hosting Clemson on consecutive weeks as Virginia Tech would.
That being said, the secondary goal is to maximize exposure by trying to garner the best bowl bids possible. The conference lucked out last year with Virginia Tech getting the Sugar Bowl bid, and the while the Hokies fell just short against Michigan the financial bump the conference got with that extra BCA payout was not insignificant. Had the Hokies not received the BCS bid, chances are they’d have slid to the Chick-Fil-A, bumping Virginia to the Sun and everyone below them down a notch. Gripe about the BCS all you want, but in 2011 few entities benefitted as much as the ACC did. The best way to position themselves to reap BCS at-large dollars again is to schedule as effectively as possible, and then let their main assets do what they do.
Here is a to-do list for creating a “good” conference schedule.
1. Anticipate big games and give them optimal scheduling, which ideally means that both teams come in on equal footing: neither had an emotionally-draining rivalry or major OOC game the week prior, neither team has a rivalry or premiere OOC game the next week, and both teams come off equal rest. An example of how badly a conference can fail at this would be last year’s FSU-Clemson game, in which the two favorites in the Atlantic Division faced off with FSU coming off the Oklahoma game and Auburn coming off the Auburn game. This year, most of the major ACC games – VT/FSU, VT/Miami, FSU/Miami, VT/GT, FSU/Clemson, etc. – are scheduled fairly well, unless you’re a Virginia Tech Hokie (more on that later.)
2. Maintain home/away balance so that a team doesn’t have to hit the road three times in a row or stay home for a full month. Granted, since schools set their OOC games and the conference works around it, you can’t blame the conference for every perceived inequity, i.e., FSU having four home games during the month of September; it’d be nice to have a road trip in place of the Wake Forest game to ensure another home game later in the fall, but then again that road trip could’ve been to Miami or VT, so beggars can’t be choosers.
to maximize TV exposure and utilize those assets (there’s that word again) most fully. Rivalry weekend aside, it’s inexcusable for the ACC to cannibalize itself by scheduling multiple potentially big games on the same day, thereby ensuring that a game that might be worthy of a coveted night slot gets the short end of the stick and kicks off at noon. Each weekend should have a clearly-evident conference game of the week, and while it’s impossible to accurately predict the future (before last season started, who saw UVa @ FSU having the ramifications it would?) some games still jump out at you when glancing at the schedule, and there should not be more than one of those games a week.
Realize, though, that making sure these games “stand alone” by scheduling them on Thursday night serves no one. Thursday night games are not only hard for fans to get to, but they’re disruptive to the teams, unpredictable, and subject to much more competition from work/school functions and other television offerings. The ACC needs to get out of the Thursday Night business immediately, and if they must schedule these ridiculous games at least don’t waste a marquee matchup on them. I look forward to watching FSU play in Blacksburg on Thursday night, November 8th, but other than the mildly-interesting UNC/GT matchup, the following Saturday’s ACC slate is about as compelling as an insurance seminar. Poor asset management by the conference in having their two biggest brands on the shelf on a Saturday that late in the season.
4. Don’t put any team at an unnatural advantage or disadvantage through scheduling. A great example of this is what happened to Virginia Tech this year, as they face FSU, Miami and Clemson – their three biggest conference opponents – with all three coming off a bye week. Last year the SEC did this to Alabama as well, with one of those games being the LSU loss.
Another component of this is climate. One of the major reasons that FSU has had problems getting marquis teams to come to Tallahassee is that many big non-Southern schools would cite heat and humidity as reasons to not want to come play at Doak. How many times did FSU go to Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame without getting a return trip? Notre Dame did come once in 2002, but it took two trips to South Bend and a late-season neutral site game in Orlando to make that happen. An example of how to fail at this would be backloading Boston College’s schedule with conference home games late in the season, forcing a disproportionate number of typically-southern ACC teams to go play in the wet and cold. Watch for this when Pitt comes online next year as well, because late-season Pittsburgh weather will quickly become one of the biggest potential variables in the conference. It’s inevitable that teams will have to play in climates to which they are unaccustomed, and frankly they should do so from time to time. But there’s potential for the conference to put teams at an advantage or disadvantage through scheduling such games, and that should not happen.
5. Pay at least some attention to large OOC games, particularly intraconference rivalries that take place on the same weekend every year. This year, Clemson draws NC State a week before their annual hate match with South Carolina. Georgia Tech gets Duke a week before the Georgia game, and FSU has to travel to College Park a week before coming home to host Florida. Tech and FSU can’t complain too badly, but Clemson facing a team that beat them by four touchdowns last year is troublesome. Contrast this with how the SEC teams in those games schedule 1AA cupcakes those weeks, and how the SEC allows for that is another example of how they do a far better job of managing their assets (Florida, Georgia and South Carolina respectively face Jacksonville State, Georgia Southern and Wofford before their intrastate rivalry games.) Part of this is the fault of the individual teams; I’ve said repeatedly that FSU should take matters into their own hands and schedule a directional school the week before Florida and make the ACC schedule around it, but at the same time the conference has a vested interest in how their teams perform on the national stage, and the ACC's scheduling philosophy has been of little help in that regard.
So, by these criteria, how did the ACC do? Better than last year, and under more difficult circumstances, but there’s still room for improvement. Virginia Tech is the big loser, facing their three biggest conference rivals off bye weeks. FSU’s biggest gripes are having four straight home games to open the season -- meaning they hit the road for five of their last eight – and being on the road before the Florida game, but neither of those issues even approach how poorly the conference has scheduled in years past.
As far as FSU is concerned this schedule is a major step in the right direction when it comes to how ‘Noles fans view the ACC as a conference, but given how poorly the Hokies were scheduled it remains to be seen as to whether the conference has finally turned the corner in terms of asset management, or whether this decent slate for FSU is just an anomaly. I’ve said all along that the perceived and real scheduling and officiating slights FSU has taken from the ACC have been more a matter of incompetence than bias. The fact that the conference only did a good job in managing one of its two biggest assets via the schedule doesn’t change my mind on that count.
Sojourn Shelton Scouting Report (FSU Commit)
* Change of direction
* Foot quickness
* Long speed
Shelton was FSU's second commit for the 2013 recruiting cycle having accepted an offer after a stellar showing at the 2011 Jimbo Fisher Camp. An incoming junior at Plantation High School at that time; Shelton was one of, if the best cover guys at the event. Now Shelton is a smaller corner, measuring in at just under 5-9 and 160 pounds. But, he is a player who possesses excellent hip turn ability which allows him to smoothly transition out of his backpedal. One thing I've noticed is that Shelton has improved from his sophomore to junior seasons in the area of staying low in his stance. Not only at the line, but also through his backpedal, which helps his ability to turn and run with receivers deep. Shelton shows discipline and savvy beyond his years as he keeps his eyes locked unto the midsection of his assigned receiver, and often disguises his coverage responsibility by showing press-man at the line and then passing the receiver off into the intermediate zone. His two best attributes are probably his quick feet and length as he possesses a very long wingspan for a player of his height, enabling him to play bigger than his listed measurables. Very willing to press receivers at the line and will generate his share of PBU's and interceptions due to his length and the great awareness that he shows in being able to locate the football in the air. He is one of the most aggressive kids I've seen this year in terms of attacking the football while it's in flight.
Shelton showcases elite foot quickness that allows him to mirror receivers as they get in and out of their breaks. His long speed is a concern as there are instances in which a receiver is simply going to win on the route and create separation. Shelton will need to improve his long speed in order to make up ground in instances where a receiver gets a step on him. Right now, he best projects as a zone corner at the college level with very good plant and drive ability. Will need to bulk up at least 15 pounds in order to have the overall strength to effectively play both press-man at the line, and re-route receivers through zones. Is a willing tackler and flashes some aggressiveness in pursuing ball carriers, but will need to improve his technique in order to be able to bring bigger wide receivers and running backs to the ground consistently. His size will remind some of Greg Reid, but Shelton utilizes a more disciplined style of game and is less reliant on taking chances, preferring to use his elite quickness and technique to put himself in position to make game changing plays.no comments
Ryan Green Scouting Report
RB, 5'10 195 lbs.
2011 Stats: 115 carries 1268 yards 16 Touchdowns (4 kickoff return touchdowns)
* Straight line speed
* Top shelf athleticism for the running back position
* In line running skills
* Ability to generate yards after contact
Read More and see Video after the jump
As the FSU basketball team tries to continue their conference winning streak, which now sits at seven straight, Seminole fans should also keep an eye on the big showdown between the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels. Florida State holds a tie-breaker over both teams' heads at the moment and with Duke's recent letdown against Miami, they have an additional game up on the Blue Devils. Should Duke come away with the victory, it would give both powerhouses two losses in conference play and provide some breathing room for the Noles atop the ACC.
During this fantastic seven game stretch, the Seminoles have knocked off three ranked opponents in a three week stretch and done so in an impressive fashion. Though their offense is still not fantastic, it looks far more fluid and much less disjointed. It's fair to say that many have been waiting for the Noles to have a lapse in their focus at some point over the past three weeks, but that has not happened. They have kept up the intensity and continued to play well, which is extremely impressive. The Noles will take on Boston College tonight, a team who is currently 7-16 overall and are carrying a streak of their own, of the losing variety. The Eagles have dropped six straight and Florida State is looking to make it a cool seven.
Michael Snaer has been playing very well as of late with outstanding confidence and more and more confidence as the season goes on. He is looking like the player he was expected to be out of high school. Snaer is shooting 41% from beyond the arch on the year and averaging nearly 14 which is very well above his career average. It's nice to see the Noles with seems to be a consistent go to weapon on offense. Tip off tonight is at 7:00 p.mno comments
Here's an overall rundown of Florida State's haul of players for 2012 and thoughts on how it played out in the end.
The Florida State Seminoles addressed needs at linebacker with the early commitment of Stone Mountain (GA) High School linebacker Ekeme "Markuss" Eligwe and by flipping the commitment of Jacksonville First Coast High School athlete Reggie Northrup who was previously committed to Miami. Florida State's linebacker depth needed to be addressed due to the graduation of three time leading tackler Nigel Bradham and the disciplinary issues and ultimate departure of freshman Arrington Jenkins. Northrup is gap crashing, hard hitting, tackling machine, with excellent instincts who should be able to thrive behind the Seminoles constantly reloading defensive line. He presents a slightly different skillset than the majority of the linebackers currently at FSU due to being a pure "Mike" backer who carries more athleticism than current starting middle linebacker Vince Williams and his projected backup Jeff Luc who are bigger and stronger. Northrup brings combination of instincts, physicality, and skill that may not only surprise FSU supporters, but also possibly make Reggie a fan favorite. Eligwe projects as an outside linebacker who will likely be one the most athletically gifted backers on the team. "Markuss" as he is called, is still a bit raw after spending the majority of his snaps at quarterback this past high school season. With the Seminoles bowing out of the running for Miramar Cornerback Tracy Howard late in the process it was important to land a top tier cover cornerback. That specific need was met with the commitment of former Notre Dame Pledge; Potomac (MD) high school speedster Ronald Darby who will also run track for the Noles.no comments
The dust has settled, and another exciting National Signing Day is in the books. Today was no different than signing days of the past. There was shock and awe, disappointment, jubilation, and many moments where you couldn't help but scratch your head (ie, Deontay Greenberry). While a top ranked recruiting class, doesn't necessarily translate into a top ranked football team, winning battles in the recruiting trenches, can go a long way towards success on the field. Many programs around the country, put the wheels in motion towards success on the gridiron by adding depth to their squad, filling needs, or simply by signing a game changing athlete here or there.
Before we close the door on the 2012 recruiting class, and look towards the 2013 class (recruiting never stops), we must take a final look at this year's class, primarily amongst Florida's big three universities. There is no greater recruiting hot bed than the state of Florida. That has been proven year after year with the number of blue chippers that have signed and excelled at D1 programs. On any given Friday night during the fall, you can make your way from Dade County, all the way up to Jacksonville, and find a great deal of special athletes putting their talents on display.
Being that the state is so fertile, it makes it so each of the big 3 (FSU, Miami, and Florida) can land their fair share of talented prospects, this year was a prime example of that. Today, Florida State, Miami, and Florida were able to secure top ten recruiting classes. We will take a look at the pros and cons of each class, starting of with the Miami Hurricanes.no comments