Posted on: November 16, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 2:08 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
When Florida State running back Jermaine Thomas laid on the ground, leg limp at his side, many (your author included) believed that the knee injury could be the end of the season for the talented junior. However, it appears as though Thomas has somehow avoided serious injury, according to the St. Petersburg Times. An MRI on Monday showed no major tears or damages, though head coach Jimbo Fisher said that Thomas may not play this weekend against Maryland.
Thomas is the team's second-leading rusher, and has been a pivotal part of the multi-back rushing attack that has helped fuel the Seminoles' offense this season. Thomas, along with Chris Thompson and Ty Jones, have combined to average 147.8 yards per game thus far in 2010. Florida State will need to find a way to keep up that production in a must-win game against the Terrapins in College Park. With Florida State, N.C. State, and Maryland all knotted at the top of the ACC Atlantic standings, the Seminoles must win their conference finale in order to do their part to win the division title and get to the ACC Championship Game. With the loss to N.C. State, Florida State will also need a Wolfpack loss in order to claim the division. N.C. State also has to travel to Maryland for their conference finale on November 27, but takes on the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Saturday.
Posted on: November 16, 2010 1:35 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
It takes a special kind of mentality to return kicks and punts. Running headlong into the football equivalent of oncoming highway traffic is not exactly written into human rationality, after all, and finding the right person with the speed to take a kick to the house and the bravery to risk injury by running at that coverage team with purpose.
Fortunately, college football players are the type of players who would at least try, because that's football and that's just the way of things. And so with Virginia Tech needing some help in the return game after losing three returners over the last couple weeks, VT coach Frank Beamer figured he could use tailback Ryan Williams back there in a pinch. And sure enough, Williams -- wait, what's that? Okay, let's just skip all that:
"Ryan decided at the end he’d rather not do that," Beamer told the Daily Press . "You want a guy back there that wants to be there. I’m not sure what Ryan’s reasoning was, but it was his decision.”
As the Daily Press points out, Ryan Williams does have one career return in college... and zero successful returns; Williams muffed a punt that led to an Alabama field goal in a 34-24 loss for the Hokies to start 2009. Since then, Williams has stayed away from special teams, and truly, more power to the guy; if he knows he's not cut out for it, then that's that, and it's probably better for the team that he not stand back and field punts or kicks. That takes a lot of maturity to realize, and though humility doesn't necessarily make a good football player, it does make for a good teammate.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 1:51 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
With Saturday's 35-10 victory over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Miami was able to keep their ACC Championship dreams alive. But with Virginia Tech taking care of business in Chapel Hill just hours later, this week's matchup against the Hokies has become a must-win for the Hurricanes. With the heightened status of the Coastal Division showdown in Coral Gables, the biggest question out of Miami has to do with the starting quarterback situation. Jacory Harris has not played since suffering a concussion during the first half of Miami's 24-19 loss to Virginia on October 30. Freshman Stephen Morris has performed admirably in Harris' absence, throwing for 516 yards and two touchdowns in the last two victories. Some have suggested that head coach Randy Shannon should let Morris keep the job, regardless of Harris' health. Shannon has stuck by his starter, but it looks like he may not have any other choice for Saturday's game.
In his teleconference on Sunday evening, Shannon called Harris' head injury "something that's severe and serious'' and added that the Miami training staff would not rush the recovery process. Shannon said that in Harris' best interest, they would be taking "baby steps" bringing him back to the field. Since the Virginia Tech game is five days away and he has yet to see any time back in pads, all signs seem to point to Morris being under center against the Hokies.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 12:41 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Remember the good old days of the 2010 season, when it was North Carolina head coach Butch Davis that was the worst person in the college football world? Thanks to his decision to have John Blake on his coaching staff, Davis was forced to play out the season with a whole bunch of his players -- and some players from around the NCAA -- suspended for receiving gifts from agents. Then this whole Cam Newton story came along, and we all forgot about Butch, which is something he's probably grateful for.
Which is why it's too bad a former academic coordinator at North Carolina, Cynthia Reynolds, has filed a grievance against the school, saying that the only reason she lost her job was because Davis wanted somebody younger -- read: more attractive -- in the position.
"I think it's important to make the point that even though I was an 'at-will' employee, you can't get rid of somebody [because] you want someone younger in the position,'' Reynolds told the Charlotte News & Observer. "There are policies, and you have to follow them."
The 56-year old Reynolds spent seven years working with the football program before being reassigned to Olympic sports in 2009, and then let go in August of 2010. Though, according to the school, her dismissal had nothing to do with her age as much as it had to do with her ability to do the job. The school says that Reynolds was reassigned for two incidents.
As for Reynolds' claims that Davis wanted her removed, the coach emailed the paper and told them that her claims aren't accurate, and that he has no such authority to reassign anybody from the Academic Support Program. Those decisions belong solely to the department.
Posted on: November 14, 2010 12:52 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 12:57 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. Seminole redemption is sweet - Wow. What a finish for Florida State. After getting bullied around the field for three quarters, a Florida State interception completely turned all of the momentum in Tallahassee. Clemson was completely dictating the game thanks to the play of Jamie Harper, who finished the game with 143 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving. But as Florida State's defense continued to keep the Tigers out of the end zone in the second half, the offense could not get anything going. Finally, quarterback E.J. Manuel started taking over in the fourth quarter thanks to a potent option attack that delivered the first touchdown drive of the game. But nothing was sweeter than the redemption for kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins missed a game-winning field goal at home a week ago against North Carolina, but absolutely crushed his 55-yard attempt against Clemson as time expired.
2. Clarity will not come this week in the Atlantic - A week ago, the ACC Atlantic Division got flipped upside down with Maryland, Florida State, and N.C. State all dropping games when they had an opportunity to seize the lead in the standings. On Saturday, all three squads shared the same fate again, though this one had a happier ending for the contenders. But with none of the three teams losing, the division is still up for grabs between the Seminoles, Wolfpack, and Terrapins. The team with the most control over the situation is Maryland, who plays the Seminoles and Wolfpack at home for their final two games of the season. N.C. State owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Florida State, so the Seminoles will need help from the Terrapins and/or North Carolina in order avoid losing the division to the Wolfpack.
3. A strong running game will ease the pressure on a young QB - With Jacory Harris out due to the concussion suffered against Virginia, Miami turned to freshman quarterback Stephen Morris once again to lead the Hurricanes. The greatest thing a young quarterback can have is a good running game, and Morris benefited from one of the best on Saturday. Damien Berry and Lamar Miller both missed practice at the beginning of the week, but showed no signs of being slowed against the Yellow Jackets. Berry, Miller and Mike James combined for 218 yards on 36 rushes to lead Miami in the 35-10 win.
4. All VT does is win - Most of the nation tried to throw away the Hokies after a widely-publicized 0-2 start. But all Frank Beamer has done since joining the ACC is dominate in conference play, and that doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon. Since joining the conference in 2004, Virginia Tech has a 45-11 conference record with three conference championships on the mantle. The Hokies have matured and gotten stronger as the season has progressed, and despite dealing with injury issues on both sides of the ball, played one of their most complete games of the season against North Carolina. At 6-0, Virginia Tech has nearly clinched their fourth division title. They still need to defeat Miami in Coral Gables to clinch it, but the win in Chapel Hill may have been enough to lock it up eventually.
5. Yates exposed by Hokies secondary - After being the subject of much criticism for the last two seasons, senior quarterback T.J. Yates entered Saturday's game in the midst of one of strongest statistical seasons in recent history at North Carolina. Yates has also been etching himself into Tar Heels history, setting a school record with 439 passing yards against Florida State last week, the first North Carolina win in Tallahassee. Yates also became the school's career leader for pass completions against Virginia Tech. But it was a few of those incompletions that spoiled Yates' strong statistical start. Entering the game with 15 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, Yates failed to throw a touchdown and tossed four interceptions against the Hokies. One game does not spoil Yates strong 2010 campaign, but it was a credit to the Hokies defense that refused to let North Carolina receivers get open downfield. Only three of Yates' 18 completions were to wide receivers, with the senior being forced to check down virtually all day against the stiff Virginia Tech defense.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 9:20 pm
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
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 11, 2010 12:40 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2010 12:42 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
When first-team all-conference quarterback Josh Nesbitt left the Virginia Tech game with a broken arm, head coach Paul Johnson was forced to do something he had not done since he arrived at Georgia Tech: name a different starting quarterback. Nesbitt saw significant time as a freshman under Chan Gailey, but has been Johnson's starter since he arrived in Atlanta three seasons ago. Now with the starting job vacant, Johnson has taken the opportunity to entertain competition for the spot.
Tevin Washington did string together one impressive scoring drive late in the first quarter, leading the Yellow Jackets 80 yards in 9 plays to tie the game at 21 with 2:34 remaining. Washington ran for 45 yards in the second half, but at times looked undersized for the Georgia Tech offense. Johnson has been particularly impressed with the work of backup quarterback David Sims this week in practice.
“David Sims has had a good week; he’s practiced well, too,” Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “We’ll play it by feel. I’ll tell you, he’s played well in practice this week, made a case for himself.”
With Sims increased workload in practice, do not be surprised to see Georgia Tech utilize both quarterbacks against the talented Miami defense. Standing six feet tall and weighing in at 230 pounds, Sims' physical running style is much more similar to that of Nesbitt. He lacks the arm of Washington (he did not throw a pass in either of his two appearances thus far in 2010), but will be more useful as a threat on short-yardage situations.