Tag:Christian Ponder
Posted on: November 13, 2010 9:20 pm

Christian Ponder not starting for FSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

Despite being cleared to play by team doctors, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder will not be starting for the Seminoles against Clemson Saturday night.  A game-time decision, head coach Jimbo Fisher has decided to start sophomore E.J. Manuel instead.  Ponder has been suffering from swelling in his elbow, which has limited his practice time all through the week.  Ponder is dressed out for Florida State, but will only be used "if we need him," says Fisher.  Speaking to ESPN just before kickoff, Fisher said that "there was no use in risking it" with Ponder.  

Interesting confidence considering the importance of this game in the ACC Atlantic Division race.  With Maryland and N.C. State both winning earlier, Florida State cannot afford to pick up a third conference loss.  The Seminoles are coming off two heart breaking losses that included late game drives by Christian Ponder to win the game.  Against N.C. State it ended in a fumble, and against North Carolina it was a missed field goal.  It will be interesting to see if/when Fisher decides to put the Senior signal-caller out on the field.
Posted on: November 12, 2010 12:08 pm

Ponder practicing, still questionable

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This week's game against Clemson is a big one for Florida State.   The Seminoles have dropped their last two games to North Carolina and North Carolina State, but still find themselves in first place in the ACC's Atlantic division.  Still, a third straight loss could drop them as far back as fourth in the division, and kill just about any chance of winning the ACC.

So it would be nice if quarterback Christian Ponder could play on Saturday, but even though he's returned to practice, Ponder is still listed as questionable on the injury report.  Ponder has returned to practice, and though he's been somewhat limited there, Jimbo Fisher seems optimistic that his quarterback will be available.

“He did some,” said Fisher. “I didn’t want to take a chance, so we limited what he did. What we’re doing right now, he feels very good about. He took some reps and did some things but we limited what he did as far as numbers. I didn’t want the day after to be a bear. I think he’ll feel good. I really do. …

“We’ll have to see how [Friday] goes. But I expect him to be even better. There’s hardly [any fluid] in there now. The rest has helped a lot. That’s as good as anything with any injury. You watch it in the NFL. If you really evaluate the quarterbacks, they probably practice like once-a-week once they start getting banged and bruised. They’re already in a rhythm this late in the year with what they’re doing, throwing and reading.”

If Ponder's throwing elbow flares up and he can't go on Saturday, he'll be replaced by E.J. Manuel.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 5:46 pm

Elbow keeping Ponder's status unknown for FSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

It has been a rough two weeks for Florida State, who has seen their control of the ACC vanish thanks to back-to-back losses to North Carolina and North Carolina State.  Now with a 4-2 conference record, the Seminoles have found themselves in a 128-scenario division race with the Wolfpack and the Maryland Terrapins.  With every game taking on more importance, so does the health of starting quarterback Christian Ponder.

Ponder suffered a ruptured bursa sac in his right elbow in Florida State's narrow victory over Boston College.  The injury forced Ponder to miss a week of practice but thanks to a bye week and routine visits to a specialist, he has not missed any playing time.  Head coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday that he did not know if Ponder would participate in regular practice, and did not want to speculate on the status of the elbow.  Fisher did tell reporters on Monday that Ponder experienced discomfort in the elbow early in the Seminoles' 37-35 loss to North Carolina on Saturday, but did not inform any of the coaches or members of the training staff.  Ponder had one of his best days statistically, throwing for 264 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.  

Ponder, considered a preseason Heisman hopeful, has taken a backseat in the Florida State offense this season.  The Seminoles have relied mostly on their rushing attack, as opposed to an aerial assault, in Florida State's signature wins this season: against BYU and at Miami and Virginia.  But in order for the Seminoles to finish strong they will need to have the experience of Ponder for crunch time.  The senior quarterback did everything he needed to do in order to set up Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins with a 40-yard field goal to win the game.  The heartbreaking wide-right result?  You can't blame Ponder for that, that is just part of Florida State football culture at this point. 
Posted on: November 5, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 5:17 pm

Unitas Award semifinalists make sense ... mostly

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier today, the semifinalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the top senior quarterback in the nation, were announced. Sure, the list is going to pale in comparison to the Davey O'Brien Award, which is allowed to nominate the likes of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Kellen Moore, Denard Robinson, et cetera, but the senior class is still pretty strong this season.

To that end, we celebrate these eight quarterbacks who were nominated by the Unitas committee:

  • Andy Dalton, TCU
  • Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
  • Jake Locker, Washington
  • Greg McElroy, Alabama
  • Christian Ponder, Florida State
  • Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
  • Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
  • Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

All worthy honorees, these; of the eight listed, the top six seniors in passing efficiency are represented, and the other two (Ponder, Locker) are high-level pro prospects. It's likely that neither makes the list of five finalists, but they both deserve some credit for their long, eventful college careers.

But wait -- five finalists? Out of eight semifinalists? Oh, no no; here's the rub. There are actually 10 semifinalists. It's just that the last two are so inexplicable that we couldn't in good conscience discuss them in the same context as the first eight. The other two semifinalists, who you wouldn't have guessed given 10 tries, are Idaho's Nathan Enderle and Delaware's Pat Devlin. Yeah, exactly.

Enderle is currently 61st among FBS quarterbacks in passing efficiency, and he's tied for fourth in most interceptions thrown with 12. Yes, he's 11th in passing yards per game, but that just makes him the Jerrod Johnson of the WAC. Enderle's not exactly a dual threat, either; he has no rushing touchdowns on the season and rushes for about -18 yards a game once sacks are factored in. Enderle also likely holds the ignominious honor of the worst yards per reception rate in the NCAA, as he was credited for one catch for -13 yards against Hawaii last week. We hope that's the worst in the NCAA, anyway, because woe is anyone worse than that. 

But for as odd as Enderle's selection is, Devlin's is downright mystifying; the Penn State transfer is currently helming the Delaware Blue Hens, who are No. 4 in the FCS, but that's about as far as Devlin's accomplishments go. He's accounted for six touchdowns on the entire year, and half of those came against D-II West Chester to begin the season. In other words, Devlin has thrown three touchdowns against FCS competition all season long. GET THAT MAN ON A SEMIFINALISTS LIST, STAT.

As with Ponder and Locker, it's extremely unlikely that these two guys make the final cut, and it's also unikely that any of the quarterback that got snubbed (FCS No. 3 Villanova's Chris Whitney, Texas Tech's Taylor Potts, and Fresno State's Ryan Colburn , to name a few) would have made the top five either. Still, any of those three would have been better choices than either Enderle or Devlin, and we're at a loss for trying to figure out why either of those two quarterbacks made the list of 10 semifinalists.

Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:00 pm

ACC doomed to go without at-large bid again

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's always one of the first factoids cited whenever the ACC 's lack of strength is a topic of discussion, even ahead of "Wake Forest won the league championship within the past decade": the ACC has never earned an at-large bid to the Bowl Championship Series . 12 years, 12 whiffs, 12 missed paychecks worth millions of dollars and 12 missed opportunities to grab some kind of foothold of respect within the sport.

The talking points in the immediate wake of N.C. State 's dramatic 28-24 win over Florida State last night were that the Wolfpack had stolen away control of the ACC Atlantic and that Russell Wilson 's sudden return to form means they just might keep it. But what shouldn't be missed is that the loss all but guarantees the ACC will go yet another season without an at-large BCS bid.

That's because the Seminoles were the conference's only halfway viable candidate. Virginia Tech has taken two losses already, one to FCS James Madison in the season's biggest upset to-date. Neither Maryland nor the Wolfpack have the kind of cachet to pull in TV ratings over similar programs from other conferences (not to mention their pair of losses each). Miami was embarrassed in defeats to Ohio State and the 'Noles. Etc.

After their early-season thumping at Oklahoma , you wouldn't have said the Seminoles were a favorite to land a BCS at-large berth, but as long as they kept winning, they would be in the mix. They still have name-brand recognition dating back to the Bobby Bowden glory days. They play an exciting brand of balanced offensive football led by a high-profile star in Christian Ponder . Most importantly, they had just the one loss and the remaining schedule (home against North Carolina and Clemson , at Maryland , home to Florida in what could be a key ACC-SEC triumph) to make the leap into the BCS top 10, even the top 5. If the 'Noles ran the table but lost in the ACC title game to, say, the Hokies, they would have received a long look from bowls like the Sugar and Fiesta .

But a hypothetical three -loss FSU team? With non-AQ bid snatchers like Boise State and TCU around, not to mention the likes of Ohio State, the Auburn-Alabama loser, or a Big 12 team like Nebraska or Oklahoma ? Forget it. This isn't the year, either, and every one that passes with the BCS millions going places other than the ACC makes it that much harder for the conference to break through next year.

It's fair to say the ACC powers-that-be weren't begrudging N.C. State their raucous celebration after the victory last night. But if any Wolfpack fans happened to stumble onto a sour and depressed-looking ACC official in the aftermath, here's to hoping they weren't begrudging that official his bitterness and disappointment, either.

Posted on: October 25, 2010 11:27 am

Ponder seems good to go for 'Noles

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Florida State was on a bye this week, and it seems it couldn't have come at a better time for a Seminoles team that is undefeated in ACC play and hopes to stay that way.  The week off let the team keep Christian Ponder out of practice and help him deal with the burst bursa sac in his throwing elbow that he suffered in Florida State's win over Boston College.   Ponder spent the week having the elbow drained, and returned to practice on Saturday.

Ponder practiced again on Sunday, and according to Jimbo Fisher, he looked pretty good and should be ready to go when the Seminoles take on N.C. State this Thursday night.

"He threw the ball real well," said Fisher on Sunday. "I was shocked. I thought there might be a little soreness.

"Shoot, he was slinging it. Seems good so far."

Which, obviously, is very good news for both Ponder and Florida State.  A win over North Carolina State in Raleigh on Thursday night would just about knock the Wolfpack out of contention in the Atlantic Division, and leave Maryland as the only team with a chance to beat out the Seminoles for the division.
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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Posted on: September 11, 2010 5:38 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2010 5:49 pm

Oklahoma steamrolling Florida State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This morning our very own Chip Patterson wrote about how Oklahoma 's secondary -- which had quite a bit of trouble against lowly Utah State last week -- was going to have its hands full with Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder .  Turns out that it's the Seminoles secondary that has its hands full, it's legs full, and just about every part of their body full with the Sooners offense.

Landry Jones is lighting it up.  Jones completed 22 of his 28 pass attempts for 321 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Sooners have built a 34-7 lead over the Seminoles.  DeMarco Murray has accounted for the rest of the Sooners offense, scoring two touchdowns even if he is only averaging two yards a carry in the first half (10 carries, 20 yards).

How's the Oklahoma secondary doing?

Well, Ponder has only completed 47% (8/17) of his passes in the first half for 80 yards and no touchdowns, so I'd say the Sooner secondary is holding up quite qell.

Keep in mind, though, that the Sooners had a 21-0 lead over Utah State last week before barely holding on to win 31-24.  So there is still some hope on the Seminoles sideline.  Okay, who am I kidding?  This one's done.

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