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Tag:Jimbo Fisher
Posted on: March 28, 2011 11:25 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Florida State

Posted by Chip Patterson

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Florida State , who started spring practice last Monday.


Pegged as early favorites for the ACC (and possibly National) Title in 2011, are the Seminoles for real?

In a word? Yes.

From 1987-2000, the Seminoles did not have a single season without double-digit wins. From 2001-2009 Florida State only accomplished that feat once. One of the purposes for utilizing a "coach-in-waiting" is to limit the negative effects of transition in a coaching change. For Florida State, giving the head coaching seat to Jimbo Fisher was a much-needed upgrade.

Fisher has not just returned Florida State to the double-digit wins club, he has rejuvenated the entire program. For the first time since conference expansion brought Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College, Florida State is entering the 2011 season as favorites to win the ACC. If you have any wonders as to why so many people are high on the Seminoles, just look at what returns from 2010.

Florida State returns eight starters on offense and defense as well as both specialists from their 2010's ACC Atlantic Division Champion squad. They won four of their last five, only losing 44-33 to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game and finishing the season with a Chick Fil-A Bowl win over South Carolina. One of the main reasons so many experts favor Florida State in 2011 is the return of so many of the same players who stood on the podium in Atlanta on New Years Eve.

For example, take a look at the running back position. Florida State never put up dazzling numbers with their ground game, but their running back-by-committee attack wore teams down and consistently became a factor late in games. Junior running back Chris Thompson (846 yards, 6 TD) led the way in 2010, but Ty Jones (527 yards, 5 TD), Jermaine Thomas (490 yards, 6 TD), and Lonnie Pryor (112 yards, 4 TD) will all be back and looking to increase their workload in 2011. Thomas recently rejoined the team after serving a suspension resulting from a driving with a suspended license arrest, reuniting the group once again on the field.

"I love Jermaine to death and it just feels good to have him back," Pryor said after Thomas' return. "We need all of us again to do the same things we did last year."

Thomas may be back from suspension, but the Seminoles still have an extensive list of inactive players for spring practice due to injury. While many people have high expectations for the Seminoles in 2011 because of all the returning talent, the look of spring practice has been much different. Fisher hopes that the extra attention for the young talent will help the Seminoles in the future.

"We got a lot of issues going on," Fisher told Seminoles.com. "Hopefully, we'll develop our top 22 guys out there. We know the guys that have started that won't be in there, but develop some of these young guys and some depth."

One position that will undergo major development for Florida State this spring will be quarterback. The Seminoles may be returning 8 starters from each side of the ball, but there will be a brand new starting quarterback under center. Except, the thing is, he's not really brand new.

E.J. Manuel saw his first action on the field as a true freshman in 2009, taking over for the injured Christian Ponder for the final four games of the season. Manuel was wildly inconsistent, but finished the season 3-1 as a starter and was named MVP of the Gator Bowl. The win secured a 7-6 record for the Seminoles, avoiding the only losing record in the Bobby Bowden era at Florida State.

He was asked to do the same thing in 2010, filling in for Ponder who struggled through a nagging elbow injury all season. After falling behind early, Manuel put together one of his best individual performances against Virginia Tech in the 2010 ACC Championship Game. Manuel was not phased by the big stage, calmly completing 23 of 31 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown. He carried that momentum into the Chick Fil-A Bowl against South Carolina, when he was once again asked to take over for Ponder in the second quarter because of injury. Manuel threw for 84 yards and ran seven times for 46 yards to hold off the Gamecocks.

With two bowl games under his belt, it is easy to forget that Manuel is just now completing his first spring practices. He injured his hand in his first spring practice two years ago, and missed all of 2010's spring drills while recovering from shoulder surgery. Now he will have to get used to running the offense on a full-time basis with two starting tackles sitting on the sideline and new faces at guard and center.

"It's a big difference, not having Ponder there," running back Chris Thompson explained. "He was a big leader on our team. But E.J. has stepped right in on that. With him stepping up, being a leader - like when we are going through workouts and fourth quarter drills he has always been vocal with us - it's been a real help for us."

On the defensive end the Seminoles are not only returning eight starters, but also several reserves that saw quality minutes in 2010. One of the focuses on the defense hasn't been on trying to fill out a depth chart, but instead players trying to win the few starting spots available. Not a bad problem to have for defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.

"We got everybody coming back from last season with a lot more experience," said defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel. "Coming together as a defense, we know what it takes and the high standards. We set the bar last season, and now we know in spring everyone is going to come out ready to practice."

The high standards demanded by head coach Jimbo Fisher include constant effort and an always-present toughness. The fast-talking West Virginia native wants to practice fast and hit hard. He is never hesitant to criticize his team when he feels they deserve it, but he will also sing praises when they have been earned.

"I was very pleased," Fisher said after Florida State's first practice in full pads on Saturday. "We had toughness and we had effort today which I questioned the other day and I was very pleased. That was one of the first real practices we've had. I liked what I saw on both sides of the ball - kids competing when everything wasn't right, guys making some plays on both sides. Effort was good. I thought we had a good day on special teams. I liked the way we practiced today."

Are the Seminoles legitimate contenders in 2011? Absolutely. Unfortunately their status as national contenders could be determined before the the end of September. Before they even have to face their first conference opponent, Florida State hosts the Oklahoma Sooners in Tallahassee on Sept. 17. The Sooners are also considered to be among the top contenders in 2011, making the game a "must-win" for both teams with BCS dreams.

Florida State does not have all the tools in place to win a championship yet, but returning 18 starters and a Gator Bowl MVP quarterback is a great way to start.

Click here for more Spring Practice Primers
Posted on: March 23, 2011 12:36 pm
 

SEC releases 2011 schedule

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

SEC fans, it's time to get out your calendars, open your datebooks, fire up your scheduling apps ... whatever you need to do to make sure your fall Saturdays are clear. Because the final SEC 2011 football schedule has been released -- you can view it in PDF grid form here -- and as expected, it's got more than its fair share of mouth-watering dates. Our choices for the highlights:

Sept. 3: South Carolina has sadly abdicated their semi-traditional opening Thursday night throne, so Western Kentucky's expected throttling at Kentucky is the only SEC action on the season's first night. But that's more than made up for by the matchups waiting on Saturday: Boise State traveling to Georgia, Oregon and LSU meeting at Jerry Jones's Dallas space palace, newly independent BYU visiting Oxford to take on Ole Miss ... even East Carolina's matchup against the Gamecocks in Charlotte could prove interesting. In this cupcake-sodden day and age, you can't ask for anything more from an opening weekend.

Sept. 17: LSU starts the weekend with a sneakily-difficult Thursday night trip to Starkville to take on Mississippi State , the same situation in which the Bulldogs nearly upset the eventual national champions last season. From there we get the first real test of the Will Muschamp era as Tennessee visits Florida for the week's headliner. But there's still plenty of quality nonconference goodness after that: Auburn visiting Clemson, Kentucky hosting Louisville, Carolina taking on Navy's triple option.

Oct. 8: Though this doesn't apply to Alabama -- which will have already battled both Arkansas and Florida by this point -- this is the week the divisional races really get going, with three critical rivalry showdowns: Auburn at Arkansas, Florida at LSU, and Georgia at Tennessee. We'll know which teams are the true league favorites by this point.

Nov. 5: The rest of the slate's not particularly eye-catching -- though South Carolina's visit to Arkansas could be intriguing -- but it doesn't much matter when the presumptive SEC Game of the Year, co-league favorite LSU at co-league favorite Alabama, falls on this afternoon.

Nov. 26: Rivalry week in the SEC, and it promises to be as good as it's ever been: Muschamp's Gators trying to reassert themselves as the dominant Sunshine State program against Jimbo Fisher's resurgent Florida State; the always-competitive Battle for the Golden Boot between LSU and Arkansas, with a division title potentially on the line; the Gamecocks trying to build on last year's throttling of Clemson with another win in the Palmetto State bloodfeud; the usual hatefest between Georgia and Georgia Tech, with both teams trying to prove once and for all 2010 was a fluke; Kentucky tries once again to break the longest one-team-to-another losing streak in the country against Tennessee; the Egg Bowl , still underrated in terms of the animosity generated; and, oh yeah, an Iron Bowl meeting between the past two national champions that could very well carry national title implications again.

Inbetween these peaks, even the valleys will feature games like Auburn-Florida, Alabama-Penn State, Florida-South Carolina, Arkansas-Texas A&M, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party ... it's going to be the same brutally intense SEC season it always is. If there's any problem with finally getting our grubby paws on the conference's schedule, it's that it also reminds us of how long we have to wait to have the goodies it promises are delivered.
Posted on: February 17, 2011 2:55 pm
 

Sail the Caribbean with Jimbo Fisher

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Hey there, Florida State Seminoles fan. Do you love the Florida State Seminoles?  I mean really love the Seminoles? Have you spent your entire time on this planet following the Seminoles, and worshipping at the feet of Bobby Bowden? Have you now shared your heart with Jimbo Fisher?

Fantastic! So how would you like to spend seven days with Jimbo Fisher on the high seas? That's right, international waters, where there are no laws! Go ahead, take a recruit with you, buy him drinks, there is no NCAA here!
Seminole Fans' Special Events - Welcome aboard cocktail party, autograph party, recruiting report, coaches' party with photo opportunities, FSU highlight films, spirit party, questions and answers with the coaches and their wives, complimentary Seminole goodies and more!
Award Winning Service - Guests are pampered at every turn, with every need attended to and even anticipated. Your cabin steward will spoil you from breakfast in bed to turndown service at night. The friendly staff will make you feel like royalty.
Along with the special events and award winning service, you'll also experience fine dining, fabulous entertainment, golf and did we mention Jimbo Fisher? He just got a raise, so drinks are on coach!

The cruise leaves Tallahassee on June 5 and returns June 12, so get your tickets now before it sells out. You don't want to miss the chance to see a drunken Florida State fan tell off the quality control coach, do you? Tickets range from $949 per person to $3,639 per person. Call now!
Posted on: February 15, 2011 11:52 am
 

Florida State's Jermaine Thomas is stubborn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I wonder, if Jermaine Thomas were to hit the wrong gap on a running play in practice, after being corrected by Jimbo Fisher or one of the Florida State coaches, would he run through the correct gap when the play was run again? You would think so, but Jermaine Thomas doesn't seem like the type of kid who learns from his mistakes.

You see, last week Thomas was pulled over while driving, and was charged with driving on a suspended license. So, it would seem logical, since Thomas already had a suspended license, and was given a ticket for driving with one, he may reconsider getting behind the wheel for a bit. Apparently logic is not Thomas' forte.
For the second time in one week, Tallahassee police arrested Jermaine Thomas and charged him with driving with a suspended license. Thomas was first charged on Feb. 4 with driving with a suspended license. Police stopped him on Thursday and charged him with the same thing.
He posted $250 and was released after the first arrested, and then posted $500 the second time, according to Leon County Sheriff’s Office records.
Maybe the third time will be a charm? Seriously, the only thing that could make this story better would have been Thomas driving himself home from the sherriff's office.

Thomas had 490 rushing yards for the Seminoles last season, and was tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with six.
Posted on: February 14, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 6:21 pm
 

2011 ACC regular season schedule released

Posted by Chip Patterson

The ACC lost their chance at one of their last big recruits of 2011 when Jadeveon Clowney left Clemson hanging at the altar on Monday morning.  Perhaps a reason to sweat that matchup with the Tigers a little bit less.  Go ahead and start projecting your favorite team's win count, because the 2011 regualar season schedules were released today.

OBSERVATIONS

- As recently as last week, there was buzz about Florida State and Miami opening their seasons with a primetime showdown on Labor Day in Tallahassee.  We mentioned some of the scheduling complications, and one of those reasons likely kept the game from making the final slate.  Instead new coach Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins will host Miami on Labor Day evening, facing a Miami team also in their first year under new head coach Al Golden.  The two relocated coaches will provide a decent storyline for the national media, and it will provide the stage for Maryland to make a statement in 2011.

- Many people believe that Ralph Friedgen left the pieces for a bright future under Randy Edsall, and the Terps will have a chance to prove their worth in the first month of the season.  Maryland does not have to leave College Park until October 8, and there will be several opportunities for big wins in that first month.  In addition to the home opener against Miami on Labor Day, West Virginia and a Steve Addazio-led Temple squad should both be good tests for the new look squad.  I think Maryland is a team to keep an eye on in 2011, but we'll know for sure by the end of the September.  

- Dabo Swinney pulled several big wins for Clemson on the recruiting trail in early 2011, but the Tigers may find wins more difficult near the start of their regular season schedule.  After hosting Troy and Wofford, Clemson faces Auburn (defending National Champion), Florida State (defending ACC runner-up), and travels to Virginia Tech (defending ACC champion) with no break between games.  Swinney has some fresh faces on staff and one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, but with that schedule the new talent may not be able to prevent a 2-3 start for Clemson.   


PREMATURE PREDICTION

- If Florida State can upset Oklahoma and beat Clemson in Death Valley, they will be in the national title hunt on November 1.  The Seminoles have already been slated by many as a Preseason Top 10 team already, and knocking off the Sooners will be a fast way to jump up a few spots.  After Clemson (and an open date), Florida State will face Wake Forest, Duke, then host Maryland and N.C. State.  Under Jimbo Fisher's leadership, the Seminoles could start 8-0.  But Oklahoma should be very tough to beat in the coming season, and there are very few free road wins in the ACC.  But if Florida State can pull off both wins, they should be a national contender as the season winds down.

Click here to see the .PDF from the Atlantic Coast Conference



Posted on: February 7, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Florida State-Miami talk Labor Day season opener

Posted by Chip Patterson

With the 2011 ACC football schedule still in negotiation, Florida State and Miami are mulling over the possibilities of moving their annual matchup to Labor Day evening (September 5) in Tallahassee.  Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post recently reported the schedule development after an interview with Hurricanes' athletic director Kirby Hocutt.

“We’re generally open to that because of the exposure and visibility that it brings,” Hocutt said in the interview. “It’s a tremendous opportunity. Obviously we have our set of concerns that we want to make sure we feel satisfied with before agreeing to anything.”

Both teams would have some schedule rearranging to do in order to make the game happen.  Florida State would have to re-schedule Louisiana-Monroe, currently scheduled on Saturday September 3, and the Hurricanes would look to move their October 1 meeting with Bethune-Cookman to September 10.  If the Hurricanes cannot get that move completed, they would have to burn a bye week to avoid two ACC meetings in five days.  

The game is not ideal for the Seminoles either.  Even if they can move ULM to later in the season, they would still be kicking off their 2011 campaign with three games in 12 days.  The last of that stretch being an awfully important matchup against Oklahoma.  With the talent coming back, and the job Jimbo Fisher has done on the recruiting trail, the Seminoles are an early favorite to win the ACC in 2011.  But even more important for the conference, Florida State has the opportunity to be a national title contender - something the conference has yet to produce since expansion in 2004.  If Florida State can knock off Oklahoma at home, they have a legitimate shot to be a contender when November rolls around.  

But as Andrew Carter, of the Orlando Sentinel, points out: these talks are likely a result of the ACC's television deal with ESPN.  The conference's contract calls for one "special appearance" game per season.  In 2010, the Virginia Tech - Boise State game (played on Labor Day evening at FedEx Field) filled that requirement.  Also, if the deal does go through it would at least provide Florida State with a season-opening homestand that could set the tone for a memorable 2011.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: January 18, 2011 10:56 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Bowl Edition)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Florida State is an early favorite for 2011
- After dropping back-to-back games to North Carolina State and at home to North Carolina, Florida State looked like they had not completely shaken the consistency issues that have plagued the Seminoles in the last couple of seasons. In order to have a shot at the ACC title, Florida State would need to win out the final month of their ACC schedule. Not only did first-year coach Jimbo Fisher get his team to the ACC Championship Game, but they put up an impressive performance against Virginia Tech then followed it with a convincing win over South Carolina, the champions of the SEC East.

If one of the chief concerns for the Seminoles in 2011 is replacing Christian Ponder, then fans should feel very confident in their chances with E.J. Manuel at the helm. Manuel filled in for Ponder on three different occasions near the end of the season, culminating with his Chick Fil-A Bowl performance that helped seal the 26-17 win for Florida State. Additionally, all three of Florida State's top rushers (who combined collected 1,863 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns) are all returning next season. Florida State not only looks like an early ACC favorite, but perhaps a national favorite as well heading into the 2011 season.

2. If Russell Wilson is done, he went out in style - Russell Wilson was assumed to be as good as gone by many at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The junior quarterback has already been drafted by the Colorado Rockies, is engaged, and would be able to graduate in May if he chooses to do so. But after N.C. State's 23-7 victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, Wilson hinted that he may have interest in playing football professionally as well.

"I want to be a starting quarterback in the NFL one day, and I want to be a starting second baseman in Major League Baseball one day," Wilson said to reporters after the game. "No matter what, I work my butt off every day to try to be the best and that's my mindset."

The January 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft has come and gone, and if Wilson decides he wants to rejoin the Wolfpack after participating with the Rockies in Spring Training he will still have that option. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker did the same thing heading into the 2010 season with the Tigers. However, if Wilson decides to join the Rockies and start cashing in on his baseball career, he will wrapped up his college football career with a nearly flawless 275 yard, 2 touchdown, 0 interception performance that earned him Champs Sports Bowl MVP honors.

3. Virginia Tech can't shake the big game curse - The Hokies have been incredibly dominant in the ACC since joining the conference in 2004, but they have struggled to match that superiority with big-time wins on the national level. Virginia Tech has won the conference title four times in the last seven years, and appeared in four of the six ACC Championship Games. But against teams ranked in the top 5 nationally, the Hokies are 1-27 all-time and 1-19 during Frank Beamer's tenure in Blacksburg. Many figured that the Orange Bowl would be a chance for the Hokies to shake the stigma of failing to perform against top teams, and at halftime it looked like they might have a chance to pull the upset.

But in the second half Andrew Luck picked apart Bud Foster's defense while Stanford held Tyrod Taylor and the Virginia Tech offense scoreless while the Cardinal ran away with the 40-12 victory. However, it is important that Hokies fans don't dwell on the failures against the top 5 heading into 2011. With the kind of turnover Virginia Tech is expecting on both sides of the ball, defending their conference title will be a difficult task on its own.

4. ACC Coastal dropped the ball - This is more of a season-long lesson, but the ACC Coastal continued to be the less impressive division through the end of the bowl season. In the preseason polls, there five ACC teams in the Top 25, with four highest ranked teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina) all coming from the Coastal Division. Not only did the balance of power appear to shift towards the Atlantic Division during the season, the bowl records from the postseason also indicate that the Atlantic may be the superior division.

Coastal teams went 1-3 during the postseason, with only North Carolina squeaking out their double overtime win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. The Atlantic, on the other hand, saw Florida State, Maryland, and N.C. State all pick up impressive victories in their bowl games. With the talent that Florida State and Maryland are bringing back, it would be surprising to see the media side with a new division heading into the 2011 season.

5. Ralph Friedgen left Randy Edsall a winning squad - Friedgen had an emotion al final game as Maryland's head coach, as his team bludgeoned ECU 51-20 in the Military Bowl. The players dedicated the beatdown to their head coach on his way out, capping off an impressive finish to the season that saw the Terps climb one game away from an ACC Championship Game appearance. But the time has come and gone for Ralph Friedgen fans to be upset with his dismissal from Maryland. Former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall has been hired, and the Terps are moving forward. What Friedgen did leave was a young and talented Maryland squad that will be a real threat in 2010. Edsall was a safe hire for athletic director Kevin Anderson, and the former Huskies head coach brought in some firepower with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

The last couple seasons have not been pleasant for Crowton, catching the blame from LSU fans for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the SEC in 2009 and 2010. But he saw his most successful season in his first year with Matt Flynn under center, and Terps fans will hope that a talented quarterback like ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O'Brien will recreate that success of the 2007 LSU offense under Crowton's direction.

Posted on: January 10, 2011 4:11 pm
 

FWAA releases Freshman All-American team

Posted by Tom Fornelli

For the tenth straight season the Football Writers Association of America released its Freshman All American team on Monday, and going over the list, there aren't a whole lot of surprises.  Generally there aren't a lot of freshman who come into college football and have a huge impact, but there are some names on this list who were a huge part of their team in 2010.  Guys like Marcus Lattimore, Danny O'Brien and Robert Woods.  Jimbo Fisher took home the head coaching honors, thanks to a nice first campaign in charge of the Florida State program.

The SEC and Big 12 tied amongst the conferences, all eleven of which are represented, with five players apiece.  Here's the full list.


 
 
 
 
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