Tag:Jimbo Fisher
Posted on: January 4, 2011 9:16 pm
 

Ponder doesn't remember play after hit

Posted by Chip Patterson

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder saw his fair share of injury issues this season.  Most notably, there was an elbow issue that kept him out of the Clemson game as well as the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech.  It has been a tumultuous season for the senior, who entered as one of the players to watch in the Heisman discussion.  Unfortunately, his final game in a Seminoles uniform was cut short in the second quarter when an 8 yard scramble ended with a concussion-inducing shot to the back the head.  E.J. Manuel entered the game and eventually led Florida State to a victory over the Gamecocks, but Ponder stayed in for one last play after the hit.  There's just one thing: he doesn't remember running the play.

The Orlando Sentinel spoke with Christian's father, David Ponder, who said that his son did not remember the 4th down conversion on the South Carolina 2 yard line following the hit.  On the play, Ponder dropped back and attempted a pass to Lonnie Pryor that fell well short.  Ponder looked dazed on the failed conversion, and did not return to the game.  

Ponder will play in the Senior Bowl later this month before preparations for April's NFL Draft.  Ponder is considered to be one of the top quarterback prospects in the senior class, despite his numbers dropping from his junior to senior season.  
Posted on: January 1, 2011 1:35 am
 

Bowl Grades: Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

South Carolina loses Marcus Lattimore to an early head injury and can't rally from a 13-0 hole, falling 26-17 to Florida State.

FLORIDA STATE

Offense: The Seminole offense rarely looked like a well-oiled machine, particularly after quarterback Christian Ponder left the game for good with a first-quarter concussion, and a few more touchdowns in place of field goals would have salted the game away sometime in the third quarter. But in a game defined by blown chances and mistakes on both sides, that the 'Noles managed not to screw up four potential (and eventually converted) Dustin Hopkins field goal opportunities counts for a lot, and backup E.J. Manuel's two clutch throws on FSU's game-clinching fourth-quarter drive -- one on third-and-eight to set up first-and-goal, the other to score the touchdown -- count for even more.

But what counts the most was the 218 yards rushing stunningly piled up on what had been the nation's eighth-ranked run defense. Even without any real passing threat once Ponder left the game, the Seminole line blasted hole after hole in the Gamecock front seven, and Chris Thompson took advantage to the tune of 147 game-changing yards. GRADE: B

Defense:
When FSU corner Greg Reid -- the game's best player by a wide, wide margin -- walloped Lattimore on Carolina's first drive to dislodge the ball, end a Gamecock scoring threat, and (cleanly) knock Steve Spurrier's biggest weapon out of the game, the tone was set. Maybe the Seminoles were going to give up some yards here and there (414 in all by the time the whistle blew), but it wasn't going to matter as long as they had a big play waiting ... and they nearly always did. The 'Nole pass rush recorded only two official sacks but harassed Stephen Garcia into poor throws all game long; the defensive backs turned three of those throws into interceptions; and Reid, a demon all night, separated Alshon Jeffery from the ball as well late in the third quarter for another crucial turnover, Carolina's fifth of the game. In short: yardage allowed, schmardage schmallowed. GRADE: A-

Coaching: In a game where both teams appeared equally motivated and (almost) equally sloppy, the star of the game from a coaching standpoint was FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, whose blitz packages the Carolina offensive line never developed an answer for. But credit also goes to Jimbo Fisher and his offensive staff for never asking the clearly-limited Manuel to do too much. GRADE: A-

SOUTH CAROLINA

Offense: Particularly considering they were forced to play nearly the entire game without the linchpin of their offense -- a situation that had already seen the Carolina offense roll over and die a couple of times this season -- the Gamecocks as a whole weren't that bad. 414 yards of offense ought to be worth a lot more than 17 points. But it's not when your quarterback has the kind of nightmare game Garcia had, throwing three picks-to-zero touchdowns, missing multiple open receivers, and generally looking every bit as lost as he'd looked in his previous two bowl starts (blowout losses to Iowa and UConn).

He didn't get a whole lot of help -- no Lattimore, Jeffrey's fumble, blown assignments in pass protection, etc. -- but it was Garcia's loose screws that first let the Gamecocks' wheels come off. GRADE: C-

Defense:
There shouldn't be much shame in the Gamecocks' defensive performance; allowing only 308 yards of total offense should be enough to win most games, and if not for a whole series of huge stands from the Carolina D following offensive (and special teams) miscues, the game would have been well out of hand before the halftime whistle.

At the same time, there might have been more time for a Gamecock comeback if not for all the clock burned off by Thompson's runs, and allowing Manuel to go 7-for-7 on the deciding touchdown drive directly after the offense had scored to cut the lead to 19-17 will stick in coordinator Ellis Thompson's craw all offseason. The Gamecocks were good, but it's not true to say they were good enough. GRADE: B

Coaching:
Spurrier's perenially lackadaisical approach to blitz protection caught up to him again, but aside from that, there's not much to take issue with in Carolina's coaching performance; the coaches can't be held responsible for Lattimore's sudden injury, Garcia having one of those games, the defensive line getting beat straight up in the running game, etc. Unlike the last two years, the Gamecocks at leats played like they wanted to be at their bowl game. GRADE: B+

FINAL GRADE:
The 2010 Chick-Fil-A Bowl provided some drama in the late-going, but between the insistence on South Carolina's part to hand the game over to Florida State and FSU's insistence on politely kicking another field goal to keep the Gamecocks in it anyway, you can't call it a classic. And with the final five minutes an anticlimax following Manuel's final touchdown toss, this blogger isn't sure he'd even call it "good." Grade: B

Posted on: December 21, 2010 11:03 am
 

Christian Ponder to return to practice on time

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder had the second surgery on his throwing elbow last week, and generally when you have two surgeries on the same elbow within a month, it tends to put your ability to play in a football game in doubt for a few weeks.  Which is where Florida State and Ponder currently find themselves only ten days away from taking on South Carolina in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

There is some good news for the Seminoles, however, as after Ponder had the second surgery the hope was that he'd be able to return to practice a few days before the game, and that would increase his chances of playing.  According to a release by the school on Monday, it seems that Ponder is on track to return to practice next week.

“We’ll probably let him throw some a bit the next three or four days before he goes up there, then turn him loose on the 26th and see what happens,” said Jimbo Fisher in a school release.

Ponder had a protective brace removed from his arm on Monday as well.

Should Ponder not be able to play in the game, E.J.Manuel -- who has taken the majority of reps in practice -- would once again get the start.  Still, even though Manuel has had more practice, you have to think that if Ponder can play and wants to, Fisher will start Ponder.  He is a senior, after all, and nobody wants to spend the final game of their college career in a baseball cap on the sideline.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 10:03 am
Edited on: December 15, 2010 10:08 am
 

Christian Ponder's elbow woes continue

Posted by Chip Patterson

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder entered his senior year with hopes of putting a nice cap on a mostly successful career at Florida State.  He was on the watch list for most major awards, and even was the ACC's endorsed Heisman candidate.  Ponder has put up impressive numbers, throwing for 20 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions in 11 games of action.  He will fall well short of last season's 2717 yards passing, but that is more a credit to Florida State's rapidly improving rushing attack.  When all healthy, the three-man attack of Chris Thompson, Ty Jones, and Jermaine Thomas wore teams down and allowed Ponder to put together yet another efficient season.

But Ponder has struggled with an elbow injury in the last half of the season.  On Friday, Ponder underwent his second surgical procedure in four weeks to remove scar tissue from the elbow.  Last time, the doctors operated on his elbow and drained enough fluid to "fill a 16-ounce soda bottle."  Despite the frustrations of undergoing another operation on the nagging injury, Ponder was all jokes for reporters on Tuesday.  When asked about the operation, he informed reporters that his arm had been amputated.

"I'm probably going to put it on eBay," Ponder said of his right arm, which was concealed in a sling under a baggy sweatshirt. "See if I can make some money off it."

Ponder will miss all of Florida State's practices until arriving in Atlanta for the Chick Fil-A Bowl on December 26, then they will reevaluate the situation.  If Ponder cannot go against South Carolina, E.J. Manuel will once again get the nod.  Manuel filled in for Ponder earlier this season in the 16-13 last minute victory over Clemson.  Ponder dressed, but watched from the sideline as Manuel helped lead the Seminoles on a victory drive that would eventually help clinch the Atlantic Division crown.  When Ponder was a last-minute scratch for the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech, Manuel put together an impressive performance against a talented Hokies defense.  It might have been a good experience for the sophomore signal-caller, especially if he has to face the SEC runner-up on New Years Eve in the Georgia Dome.
Posted on: December 3, 2010 8:09 pm
 

Keys to victory in the ACC Championship Game

Posted by Chip Patterson

The ACC Championship Game will have a familiar look on the field, but very different feel than years past. The ACC Championship was first held in 2005, and the first five seasons were all played in the state of Florida (first Jacksonville, then Tampa the last two years). But playing conditions will be a bit different as the title game moves north in 2010 to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. Saturday night's weather forecast calls for 40 degrees with a 40 percent chance of rain. Not exactly the breezy 60 degrees and clear that Tampa will enjoy at the same time.

But the teams on the field should look right at home, no matter where the location. Saturday's showdown is a rematch of the first ACC Championship Game, held in 2005. Until Virginia Tech's arrival, the ACC practically belonged to the Seminoles. Florida State won 12 conference championships in 14 years, finishing with a victory in the inaugural title game. Saturday will mark their first return since that game. The Hokies, on the other hand, are looking to add some more ACC hardware after locking up their fourth division title in six seasons of conference play.

On Saturday, the ACC's past will try and reclaim the throne from the ACC present. Here are three keys to the 2010 ACC Championship Game.
  
1) Florida State's pass rush must get to Tyrod Taylor

Without a doubt, the success of Virginia Tech's offense starts and finishes with Tyrod Taylor. The 2010 ACC Player of the Year has matured from a dangerous young talent to one of the most complete offensive threats in the nation. The job of containing him will start with the Florida State front line. The Seminole pass rush led the conference with 43 sacks in 2010, and they will be needed to penetrate into the Virginia Tech backfield to disrupt Taylor and force him into making some mistakes. Unfortunately, Florida State may find it difficult to do that to a player who only threw four interceptions in 256 pass attempts.

2) Battle of the X's and O's: Jimbo Fisher vs. Bud Foster

One thing that Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer went out of his way to mention on Friday was the Florida State's play calling. "Running the right play at the right time, they are good at that," Beamer mentioned when asked about Florida State's offense. That offensive play calling is still done by head coach Jimbo Fisher. On Saturday night, Fisher will go toe to toe with Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster - widely regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in the game. The chess match between Fisher and Foster could, and might, be one of the deciding factors in deciding the new conference champion.

3) What, if any, effect weather plays on the game

"The only thing that is iffy is the weather," Frank Beamer said. "You know, cold doesn't affect a game anymore. Rain affects a game a little bit, wind I think affects a game a little bit, but hopefully the weather is going to be okay, and if not, both teams got to play in it." As was mentioned, the weather will be a big change from Tampa or Jacksonville. But how will each team react? Both offenses are so balanced and both defenses are incredibly disciplined, so it is hard to give an edge one way or another. But adding the weather factor on top of the national spotlight and a berth to the Orange Bowl on the line, and you never can predict how a college football team will react. Of course, there could no rain and wind could be a non-factor, in which case the point is moot.

Prediction: I'm sticking to my prediction from the expert picks, both offenses are far too balanced to kept from the end zone. No matter what the conditions, there are too many different weapons on the field to not set up some touchdowns. Virginia Tech 31, Florida State 24.

Posted on: November 28, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: November 28, 2010 11:52 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Nov. 27)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1.) The Randy Shannon Era is done at Miami - Late Saturday, Miami announced that head coach Randy Shannon was fired, and the school would move forward with a coaching search immediately. While Shannon brought in several top-ranked recruiting classes, he failed to ever crack into the ACC elite in his four years at Miami. Miami fans collected money to have a banner flown over Sun Life Stadium on Saturday: 4 YEARS 0 ACC TITLES LOTS OF EXCUSES FIRE SHANNON. The only thing more depressing than the banner was the mostly-empty stadium below. Whether you believe the reports that an "emergency meeting" was called following the 23-20 overtime loss to South Florida, Saturday was undoubtedly the icing on a cake of concerns regarding the state of Miami football. Now, on to the real fun: the replacement rumors.

2.) Another year, another Coastal Division title for the Hokies - In Saturday's 37-7 win over Virginia, Virginia Tech may have cemented itself as the team of the decade in the ACC - and they have only been a member sin 2004. Virginia Tech finished the season undefeated in conference play, a feat that has not been accomplished since Florida State in 2000. Since the expansion in 2004, Virginia Tech has appeared in four of the last six ACC Championship Games as the the Coastal Division champion. Since getting virtually written off from the national scene after an 0-2 start that included a loss to James Madison, the Hokies have methodically dissected their way through their remaining schedule. A full stable of healthy running backs and a matured Tyrod Taylor have kept the Hokies productive, while the defense has held conference opponents to 14.1 points per game. Virginia Tech has improved continuously throughout the season, and now stand just one win away from their third Orange Bowl appearance in the last four years.

3.) On the day that Florida State got crowned, they looked like champions - Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State staff did not want any distractions in Doak Campbell Stadium, so they requested that the stadium staff not report the score of the Maryland-N.C. State game. After all, the Seminoles could do nothing to improve their position in the ACC Atlantic Division race, so they might as well not worry. Instead Florida State went out and dismantled their rivals from Gainesville, ending a six game losing streak to the Gators. They did it in style too, with senior Christian Ponder dicing up the Florida secondary for 221 yards and three touchdowns. When the game finished, Fisher and the Seminoles were greeted with the news of Maryland's victory. At times this season, Florida State has struggled to look like a team that wanted to compete for a league championship. But they did not look that way on Saturday, representing the conference well in the storied rivalry. Virginia Tech was one of the three opponents not on Florida State's conference schedule this year, so the Seminoles enter with a fresh slate against the conference's best team. Now we will get to see if Florida State can do what no other ACC team has done in 2010: beat Virginia Tech.

4.) Despite little to play for, Maryland did come to play - While there were concerns about how "up" Maryland would be for this game, Torrey Smith showed up. Torrey set the stage early, snagging in seven receptions in the first half. When the Terps had to have a score, trying to capitalize on a Russell Wilson interception before halftime, freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien counted on Smith in the end zone. After the Maryland defense held Russell Wilson on 4th and Goal, everyone expected the Terps to try and burn the clock. But when Torrey Smith burned his man down the field, O'Brien took a strike deep and connected for a 71 yard touchdown. Smith accentuated the score with a penalty-inducing slam dunk on the goalpost that slammed shut the Wolfpack's ACC Championship Game hopes. The Terps have been a particularly aggravating thorn in the side of N.C. State, stealing four of the last five matchups in the series. While Maryland may feel disappointed missing out on the ACC Championship Game, the win still caps off an unbelievable turnaround from the 2-10 season in 2009. Head coach Ralph Friedgen has been getting some (deserved) Coach of the Year discussion, and Smith likely just picked up a few more NFL scouts for Maryland's bowl game. All in all really impressive performance by Maryland to close the season.

5.) Boston College shows tremendous resiliency - When Boston College star running back Montel Harris underwent season-ending surgery, the Eagles lost the backbone of their newfound offensive attack. Harris averaged 127 yards per game in conference play, helping Boston College bounce back from a five game losing streak that almost crippled their season. But Boston College showed tremendous resiliency and finished the season on a five game winning streak to become bowl eligible for the 12th straight season. That same resiliency showed in the performance of backup running back Andre Williams on Saturday. Williams stepped up in Harris' absence and delivered one of the best rushing performances of the season. Head coach Frank Spaziani did not feel nervous handing the rock to Williams, and did so a whopping 42 times. But the usually tough Syracuse defense was not able to contain Williams, and freshman racked up 185 yards rushing and added a touchdown. Maybe it is the influence of linebacker Mark Herzlich, but this Boston College team simply refused to buckle in 2010.


Posted on: November 16, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 2:08 pm
 

FSU RB gets some good news, but still doubtful

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 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.
 
 
 
 
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