Tag:Florida State Football
Posted on: October 16, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 7:42 pm

Florida State tightens grip on division lead

Posted by Chip Patterson

It hasn't been pretty, but the Seminoles have scratched and clawed their way to the top of the Atlantic Division.  After holding off a late charge from Boston College, the Seminoles escaped with a 24-19 victory.  It was not the finest performance for Florida State, particularly after such a strong performance a week ago against Miami.  The Seminoles turned the ball over four times, and quarterback Christian Ponder was held to only 170 yards passing.  But when they needed a play, there was a stable of playmakers ready to answer.  In this case it was wide receiver Bert Reed, who broke loose on a 42 yard run to score the winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

With their win over Boston College and Maryland's loss at Clemson, the Seminoles have separated themselves from the rest of the Atlantic Division.  Florida State will have an extra week to prepare for a Thursday night showdown at N.C. State, one of the last large hurdles between the Seminoles and the ACC Championship game.  Florida State has become a smash-mouth football team, relying on the ability to run and stop the run.  It is not always pretty, but it's worked out pretty well so far.  

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Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:46 am

Ponder's backup practicing with first team

Posted by Chip Patterson

Going into 2010, it was expected that Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder would have a hardware-worthy season.  The entire ACC endorsed him as the conference's Heisman candidate, even firing up CP7ForHeisman.com.  Along with first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher, this was supposed to be the year that Florida State returns to national prominence.  But after getting run out of Norman 47-17 by the Oklahoma Sooners, there has been a shade of doubt cast over those assumptions.

Ponder's supposed Heisman-worthy season has not been all that it was projected to be either.  While he has been finding the end zone, Ponder has yet to throw over 170 yards once this season after averaging 301 yards per game in 2009.  Some of that can be credited to an improved running game, but if Ponder was supposed to be the superstar that the ACC expected, the Seminole offense should not be 57th in the nation in passing.  

To make matters worse for Ponder, a sharp hit from a defenders helmet in the Oklahoma game has bruised the triceps on his throwing arm.  Ponder played through the pain last week in the Seminoles' 34-10 win over BYU, but has been resting the arm this week in practice.  His backup, EJ Manuel, has been practicing with the first team offense.

"If something does happen to [Ponder] and I have to go in, I feel perfectly fine going in and I feel my teammates are confident in me as well," Manuel said. "… I'll be ready."

When Manuel played in relief of an injured Ponder a season ago, coach Jimbo Fisher then the offensive coordinator — adjusted the offense to fit Manuel's limited experience. But in practice this week Manuel has executed the usual offense.

"It hasn't been catered or tailored at all," he said. "We're still doing the same vertical throws. I've been having good days throwing, I think. [The] offense has still been doing well.

Manuel was 3-1 as a starter in 2009, but the adjustment period was not smooth by any means.  Only throwing two touchdowns and totaling six interceptions, Manuel was more of a threat on the ground, where he averaged 4.5 yards per carry.  If he does see the field against Wake Forest, it should be a comfortable feeling for the sophomore quarterback.  it was against the Demon Deacons a year ago when Manuel got his first start and completed 15 of 20 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown.  

As of Thursday morning, Ponder is expected to start.  But if the Seminoles jump out to an early lead on Wake Forest, don't be surprised to see EJ Manuel back on the field.

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