Posted on: September 11, 2011 1:10 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 1:23 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. Time to re-rank the ACC Atlantic. Two weeks into the season, and my projected order of finish for the division in the ACC Preview already looks way off. I'm trying to be careful not to jump to any conclusions, but I think it's safe to say my predictions (below) will not be very similar to the final standings.
1. Florida State
3. NC State
3. Boston College
6. Wake Forest
See what I mean? No chance. So based on what we've learned from the last two weeks, here is how I would re-rank them. Consider it a "power ranking" of sorts.
1. Florida State (2-0) - No real surprise or change here. Who we thought they were.
2. Maryland (1-0) - The Terps made our jaw drops twice on Labor Day. Once when they ran out of the tunnel in those uniforms, and again when they completed the 32-24 defeat of Miami.
3. Wake Forest (1-1) - Tanner Price has been one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the ACC so far this season, and if the Deacs can learn how to hold a lead they could end up giving a lot of teams trouble this year.
4. NC State (1-1) - Quarterback Mike Glennon put together a great second half on Saturday, helping the Wolfpack fight back from a 27-6 third quarter deficit and nearly steal a win from Wake Forest. 315 yards passing and three second half touchdowns will help the first-year starter build some confidence moving forward.
5. Clemson (2-0) - The Tigers have more talent on paper than many teams in the ACC, but they also have more talent than both of their opponents this season. Unfortunately things are still a work in progress for this young team, and their showing against Troy and Wofford have been less than impressive. Can be better, should be better, just not putting it together right now.
6. Boston College (0-2) - That defense can only do so much when the offense struggles like they have been this season. From Montel Harris to losing their top receiver for the season, injuries will unfortunately be the story of the 2011 Eagles.
2. North Carolina/Bryn Renner not so flawless anymore. I opened last week's What I Learned with a glowing review of North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner. Well the sophomore faced a new challenge on Saturday with the Rutgers defense, and his performance did not match his 22-for-23 debut. Renner did complete 20 of 26 passes for 273 yards, but half of those incompletions were once again thrown to the other team. But Renner's mistakes were hardly the only frustrations for interim head coach Everett Withers. The Tar Heels were penalized 9 times for 94 yards, and finished the game with five turnovers in their narrow 24-22 win over Rutgers. After looking so sharp a week ago, the Tar Heels will have some work to do this week before kicking off the conference schedule against Virginia in Chapel Hill next Saturday.
3. Virginia Tech's greatest opponent is Virginia Tech. The Hokies have one of the most favorable schedules in the ACC, and it has been a reason that many people have penciled them in to repeat as Coastal Division champs. Virginia Tech's mental mistakes and inability to get a passing game going nearly cost them a game on Saturday in their 17-10 victory over ECU. The Hokies were penalized 12 times and turned the ball over twice, while quarterback Logan Thomas completed only 8 of 20 passes for 91 yards and no touchdowns. The defense was doing their part, holding the high-powered ECU offense to just 112 total yards. But there were too many mistakes that almost cost the No. 11 Hokies an early loss that would have crushed their potential bowl resume.
4. Duke's "breakthrough" will not occur until they fix red zone woes. Preseason All-ACC kicker Will Snyderwine shocked us when he missed a 28-yard field goal against Richmond that could have won the game. But on Saturday the streak continued with two more field goal misses in Duke's 44-14 loss to Stanford. Those missed field goals complimented a turnover on downs from the Stanford 14 yard line to equal a day of red zone troubles for the Blue Devils. Sean Renfree, Conner Vernon, and the Blue Devils offense entered this season with a lot of hype, but the inability to finish will keep the Duke in the ACC cellar in 2011 unless something changes.
5. No more coach speak, let's talk Oklahoma. All through training camp and the first two weeks of the season, the media has been frowned upon when asking questions about the early-season showdown between Oklahoma and Florida State in Tallahassee. With the Seminoles' 62-10 win over Charleston Southern, "Oklahoma Week" has officially begun for the FSU fan base.
The defense looks as ready as they could be for the Sooners' potent offense, after only allowing one touchdown in eight quarters of play. On Saturday the Seminoles' defense did not even let the Buccaneers get a first down until the third quarter, and this week they will get Greg Reid and Telvin Smith back from one-game suspensions. Head coach Jimbo Fisher admitted the Seminoles "didn't play perfect," but he was able to use the big lead to get extra quality snaps for his offensive line and running backs as they work to advance a rushing game that hasn't hit 2010's production yet.
Tags: ACC, Boston College, Bryn Renner, Charleston Southern, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Conner Vernon, David Wilson, Duke, Everett Withers, Florida State, Greg Reid, Jimbo Fisher, Logan Thomas, Maryland, Mike Glennon, Montel Harris, N.C. State, NC State, North Carolina, Sean Renfree, Tanner Price, Telvin Smith, Tom O'Brien, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Week 2, What I Learned, Will Snyderwine
Posted on: September 10, 2011 9:37 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 9:47 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
FLORIDA STATE WON. The Seminoles did not get caught looking ahead to their Sept. 17 date with Oklahoma, and took care of business in a 62-10 route of Charleston Southern. EJ Manuel led the way for the Florida State offensively, completing 24 of 35 passes for 329 yards, four touchdowns, with an interception.
WHY FLORIDA STATE WON: The Seminoles defense smothered Charleston Southern, holding the Buccaneers to only 84 yards of total offense. Florida State had a mismatch at basically every position and did not allow anything for the whole first half. With Charleston Southern's defense getting no rest, it was just a matter of letting Manuel pick apart the coverage with FSU's stable of talented receivers.
WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: When they showed up to the stadium. Florida State's third play from scrimmage was a 45 yard touchdown pass from Manuel to junior wide receiver Rodney Smith. The following possessions for the rest of the quarter went Charleston Southern 3 and out, Florida State touchdown, Charleston Southern 3 and out, Florida State field goal, Charleston 3 and out. At the end of the first quarter it was 17-0 Florida State, and there was no doubt the game was done.
WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: As opposed to a week off (like Oklahoma has), the Seminoles got a competitive scrimmage against an unfamiliar opponent. The Seminoles' coaching staff has an even better idea of what to focus on heading into the primetime showdown with the top-ranked Sooners.
WHAT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN LOST: Not a ton, really. I don't think the Buccaneers expected much out of this trip other than a great challenge and the possibility of scoring an upset. Outside of the embarrassment and frustration, it'll be back to the regular schedule for Charleston Southern on Monday.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Charleston Southern didn't get a first down until the third quarter. The Buccaneers were even spotted five yards on one of Florida State's 13 penalties to achieve that monumental task on the opening drive of the second half. Florida State still has a lot of things to work out this week before the Sooners get into town, but the defense has been taking care of business.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 6:47 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
FLORIDA STATE WON. Seminoles' fans have had their eyes set on Oklahoma's visit to Tallahassee on Sept. 17, but the team has some business before that - starting with ULM. Taking care of business is what FSU did, shutting out Louisiana-Monroe 34-0. Quarterback EJ Manuel played well in his first opening day start, completing 22-of-34 passes for 254 and a pair of touchdowns. The junior threw to 10 different receivers, with Rodney Smith leading the group in catches (6) and yards (79).
WHY FLORIDA STATE WON: The Seminoles defense suffocated ULM all afternoon. They only allowed 191 yards of total offense and held the Warhawks to 5-for-15 on third down conversions. The Florida State rushing game was steady, but not overly impressive. Manuel put together two impressive drives in the second half, but both fell short and ended in Dustin Hopkins field goals.
WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: In the second quarter, Florida State pulled off a 17 play, eight minute drive that ended in a field goal to take a 10-0 lead. Greg Reid ran a punt back to set up the offense in the ULM red zone, but Manuel threw an interception on the first snap of the drive. Noticeably dejected with the offense's inability to capitalize, Manuel looked shaky for a moment. After a Lamarcus Joyner answered with an interception of his own, Manuel stepped up on the next drive and delivered a beautiful 50-yard touchdown pass while getting hit in the pocket. Helped the junior starter get his rhythm back and extended the Seminoles' halftime lead to 17.
WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: While media and fans can continue to salivate at the thought of Florida State and Oklahoma throwing down in Doak Campbell Stadium, the team still needs to take advantage of these first games against ULM and Charleston Southern. Take advantage of a new opponent to learn more about yourself, and try to improve upon your weaknesses in practice. The coaching staff won 60 minutes of tape to break down for next week.
WHAT LOUISIANA-MONROE LOST: The lack of offensive production should not be a huge concern for ULM. They were going up against a fantastic defense and had terrible field position throughout the game. Keeping the game close for the first 1.5 quarters is a credit to the defense, and the fact that none of the halfbacks ran wild. Overall probably a good experience for a team looking to make strides in the Sun Belt Conference.
THAT WAS CRAZY: After Florida State built a 27-0 lead, EJ Manuel took a seat and backup Clint Trickett entered the game. The freshman Tallahassee native is the son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett, and connected with Rashad Green for a touchdown on his first collegiate snap. Pretty cool moment for the father and son on the sideline.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: August 23, 2011 11:28 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
One of the strengths of the Florida State offense is expected to be the return of their top three rushers, who combined for 1,940 yards in 2010. But an unspecified back injury could keep junior Chris Thompson, the team's leading rusher, off the field for "a long time."
Head coach Jimbo Fisher addressed the media after practice yesterday (you can see video HERE courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel) and seemed to have no clear answers on when, or even if, Thompson would return. The chronic back problems have kept the Seminoles' leading rusher in limited action throughout the preseason. If Thompson is not ready to go Sept. 3 against ULM, Florida State should be fine at the tailback position.
"Hopefully he'll get back, but if he doesn't, like I said there's a guy who can replace him," Fisher told reporters.
Seniors Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones received praises from the head coach on Monday, and freshmen James Wilder and Devonta Freeman have also put together impressive fall camps. Considering the loaded talent at the position, it seems that redshirting Thompson may be an option for the Seminoles' coaching staff. Losing the team's leading rusher will hurt, especially after his breakout 2010 campaign, but if he can't get back to full strength soon it might be the best way for Florida State to prepare for the future.
Posted on: August 22, 2011 6:39 pm
By Eye on College Football Bloggers
Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:
The preseason AP poll is out and there's a few differences-of-opinion between the media and the Coaches' Poll. Which of those opinions does the AP have right--or wrong?
Adam Jacobi: I'm still extremely leery of putting Texas A&M and Oklahoma State in the top 10 (top nine, even, I suppose), but considering that this was the case in the coaches' poll too, I guess the Aggies and Cowboys are there to stay (until they lose).The AP left Penn State out of the Top 25, and though the Nittany Lions are really 27th instead of 25th (i.e. not that big of a difference), I'm perfectly fine with that. I don't see their candidacy for the Top 25 lasting past the Alabama game, or reinvigorating itself at very many other points in the season. JoePa is notorious for slow-playing his quarterback situations--remember when Daryll Clark wasn't named starter until a week or two before the '08 season, then won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?--but I'm completely unsold on both Robert Bolden and Matt McGloin at this point, and thus unsold on PSU too. I find it interesting that Arkansas only dropped from 14th in the coaches' poll to 15th in the AP after Knile Davis went down. I think the actual impact of his injury is going to be much more substantial. Agree?
Tom Fornelli: I'm not as surprised by Arkansas only dropping a spot, because I believe in our own Brett McMurphy's ballot he said that the Knile Davis injury occurred after ballots had to be sent in. Had the injury happened a few days earlier, I believe Arkansas would have found itself closer to 20th.
AJ: Facts are for weenies, Tom.
TF: I do agree with your sentiments on Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. While I'm more confident in Oklahoma State, I'm just not sure that either is a top 10 team at the moment, and if the preseason poll is supposed to be an educated guess on how things will look at the end of the season, then I am really hesitant about boththose teams being in the top ten. One of them, maybe. But both? No.
Another team that I feel is ranked too high right now is Florida State. I understand that the Seminoles got back on the right track last season under Jimbo Fisher, but this is still a team that lost four games last season and sent its starting quarterback off to the NFL. I'm not knocking E.J. Manuel or anything, but a four-loss team with a new quarterback suddenly vaults into the top six in both polls? Am I the only one who thinks this doesn't make sense?
Chip Patterson: I think voters are remembering the way Florida State finished their season (an impressive performance in a 44-33 loss to Virginia Tech without Ponder, and knocking off the SEC runner-up in the Chick Fil-A Bowl) rather than looking at the team that lost back-to-back games to N.C. State and North Carolina. The Seminoles have their eyes set on returning to the top five, and arguably have their best team since 2005. Ponder's health issues have had Manuel on constant stand-by over the last two seasons, and the junior has a 4-2 record as a starter. The Seminoles have a pair of scrimmages on the schedule before facing top-ranked Oklahomain Tallahassee on Sept. 17. I expect that game will reveal a lot about both teams, and the outcome could shift the landscape in the hunt for the national title.
But to the question at hand: how bout them 'Neers? After the Big East was shut out of the coaches' version, West Virginia snuck into the AP poll to keep the conference from being absent in all four of the final 2010 and preseason 2011 polls. With Dana Holgorsen at the controls, it's entirely deserved. But unfortunately, WVU was in the same position last year and dropped from the polls after losing to LSU in September. The Bayou Bengals visit Morgantown on Sept. 24 this year, so we'll see if the Mountaineers can get revenge with their new homefield advantage.
Jerry Hinnen: Though FSU looks a hair too high to me, I'm more interested in who the AP jumped over them: Boise State. The coaches were more skeptical about the Broncos, placing them No. 7, behind both the 'Noles and Stanford.The AP bumped them up to fifth, just behind the consensus top four.
And that's the right call. Because of the torrent of hype for what was expected to be Chris Petersen's best team last year, the popular conception of the Broncos seems to be that their national title window has passed. And that probably was Petersen's best team, given the strength it wielded at receiver and corner that doesn't return this year. But with Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, a stack of gifted linemen, and one of the nations's stingiest run defenses, this year's Broncos could still give last year's a run for their money. Plus, here's the kicker: the schedule sets up even better for a chance at a crystal football than it did last year. Potential SEC East champ Georgia could give the Broncos the high-profile scalp they need to force their way into the conversation, with TCU another possible 10-win victim to boost the profile. There doesn't appear to be any road ambush waiting a la Nevada last year, either, unless San Diego State is better than we're expecting.
Bottom line: if the Broncos get past Georgia, this is a team that should finish much closer to (as in, ahead of) the AP's ranking than the coaches'--and yes, finish higher than either FSU or Andrew Luck's Cardinal, who may feel the loss of both Jim Harbaugh and top-notch defensive coordinator Vic Fangio more keenly than most expect.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Big East, Boise State, Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Chris Petersen, Daryll Clark, Doug Martin, E.J. Manuel, Florida State, Georgia, Jim Harbaugh, Jimbo Fisher, Kellen Moore, Knile Davis, LSU, Matt McGloin, N.C. State, Nevada, non-BCS, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Robert Bolden, San Diego State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Vic Fangio, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
Posted on: August 19, 2011 2:47 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
A buzz is back in Tallahassee as Florida State enters the season as the favorite to win the ACC. Coley Harvey, of the Orlando Sentinel, joins me to break down the first two weeks of training camp and preview the upcoming season. Can Florida State knock off Oklahoma on Sept. 17? How long has it been since the Seminoles have been this good? Tune in and find out on this special edition of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast.
Subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on iTunes
If you are having trouble seeing the player, you can download the MP3 HERE
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:38 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
What were you doing in the final days leading up to your 17th birthday? Maybe something honorable and/or productive. But more likely it was something roughly similar to what this blogger was doing: playing six hours of video games a day and slowly snapping my way through a whole case of Slim Jims.
Florida State true freshman Bobby Hart, however, is not like you or me. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Jim Henry, Hart is currently practicting with the Seminoles' first-team offensive line at right tackle ... even though he's still just 16 years old. Hart turns 17 later this week.
If you're thinking that as talented as Hart might be, it's not the best sign for the Seminoles that a player quite that young is already receiving first-team reps, you're not wrong. The Noles have been hit with a wave of injuries on their offensive front, one severe enough that Jimbo Fisher pushed a scrimmage scheduled for Tuesday back to Wednesday.
Thanks to the injuries -- which have senior starting tackles Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders both out of commission -- Hart is just one of three first-year players to line up on the current FSU first-team, alongside fellow true frosh Austin Barron and JUCO transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug. Pleased as he might be by his youngsters' efforts, Fisher will no doubt be hoping Hart won't still be in his team's first string come the opening of practice.
But even if Hart's youth suggests he might not be ready, his recruiting profile suggests he maybe will be. One of the top tackle prospects in the nation coming out of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.)'s St. Thomas Aquinas, Hart already checks in at a robust 6'5", 303 pounds and had offers from schools across the nation before choosing FSU.
So it won't be optimal if the Noles wind up with a 17-year-old just days removed from his last birthday starting at right tackle. But as quickly as Hart seems to have adjusted to the college game and as much as upside as he possesses at his tender age, it may not be the end of the world, either.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:52 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
On Friday, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher met with the media to discuss the health of his 6-year-old son Ethan, who suffers from Fanconi anemia. Standing with his wife, Candi, and two sons, Fisher announced the creation of a new national fund to raise money for Fanconi anemia.
The Kidz 1st Fund will support families affected by the Fanconi anemia, provide education and awareness about the disease, and raise money with the intention of finding a cure. The second-year head coach announced that Candi would be the face of the organization, allowing Fisher to maintain the responsibilities associated with the football program.
"This foundation fund has taken a huge weight off my shoulders," Fisher remarked, explaining that there was nothing more he could do than provide the experts with the resources they need to find a cure.
Fanconi anemia is primarily a blood disease, and can affect all systems in the body leading to bone marrow failure. Margaret MacMillan, M.D., from the University of Minnesota, is the family's specialist for Ethan and one of the nation's leading Fanconi amenia researchers. MacMillan announced that the survival rate for the potentially life-threatening disease has jumped from 30 percent to greater than 80 percent in the last 15 years, but says they will not stop their efforts until they have reached 100 percent survival. She said the Fisher's fundraising could be a "game changer" in the fight against the disease.
I encourage you to visit the website for the Fisher's Kidz 1st Fund to learn more about the battle against Fanconi amenia. If you feel inclined to give, 90 cents of every dollar goes directly towards the fight against the disease. As always, our thoughts are with the Fisher family as they continue this ongoing challenge.
For more information visit www.Kidz1stFund.com