The Ralphie Report (TRR): Isn't Drew Weatherford better than 5 interceptions and 220 yards in total offense? What is the confidence level in Ponder and Richardson right now and do they have the potential to break the Chris Rix, Xavier Lee, Drew Weatherford chain of inconsistent quarterbacks?
Tomahawk Nation (TN): Honestly? No. Besides the fact that FSU is in the full scale youth movement, here is what I wrote several days ago:
The running of CP& and D'Vo accounted for 33% of the Seminole Offense.
CP and D'Vo weren't sacked. I think this is partially because Wake didn't want to be burned by their running.
Wake did get 4 QB Hurries.
Now, given that, do those clamoring for Drew really believe that he would be able to play well enough to make up for what I'll assume would be a complete loss of rushing yards, and the presumed accompanying sacks?
I submit that he would not. I contend that Drew would have caused 2-3 additional holding penalties on a line that would surely be facing a Wake front with their ears pinned back. I also contend that Drew would not be able to prevent the personal fouls by Parker, or the illegal blocks by Surrency.
I also don't think Wake would have allowed Drew to take the short stuff at near the frequency they offered it to CP7 & D'Vo.
The confidence level is understandably low after that performance, but both absolutely have the potential to break the chain. Jimbo is very high on Ponder and D'Vo. Both are more physically talented than everyone you listed, with the exception of Xavier Lee, and they certainly don't have the 2-cent head Lee forgot to use.
Nole Spear It (NSI): You would think Drew would be considering the record he set for consecutive passes without an interception last season. Factor in his 33 starts and one could only conclude that he would provide the calm in the backfield that FSU sorely needed Saturday Night. Putting in Drew Weatherford wouldn't have been fair to the Senior signal caller and Coach Fisher said as much to the Press on Saturday Night. Drew received limited reps in practice throughout the week and it's fair to assess that he would have been just as lost in Jimbo's offense. But even so, Drew couldn't make those throws that Ponder and D'Vo were short arming and over throwing. That's been the knock on Drew his entire career, plus he's not half as mobile as the two Sophomore QB's so it's not a stretch to think that he would have been swallowed up by Wake Forest's defense.
The confidence level in Ponder and Richardson is concrete as far as the coaching staff is concerned. Jimbo Fisher even said Drew Weatherford would not be playing against Colorado, he stopped to go so far as to say Weatherford would never play again, but he made it clear that Christian and D'Vontrey are his guys. As far as one of the guys bucking the Rix-Lee-Weatherford trend, I'm not sure. They certainly have the ability and the strides that D'Vo made from spring ball to now proves that he has the ability to learn and elevate his game tremendously. I'm not guaranteeing anything, but I think Ponder and D'Vo can turn the program around and change the fortune of the signal callers at Florida State.
TN: Yes, I think so. I also would expect nothing less from non-FSU media. I don't break down the film of every team in the Nation and I have no reason to expect others would do the same for my school. This wasn't a bad game, it was one of the worst offensive performances in football history. I see the FSU offense improving as it continues to grow and develop. There will be other bumps in the road, however, and nobody is expecting this offense to shift into high gear and flip on cruise control any time soon.
NSI: There's definitely a lot of over-reacting out there and rightfully so. The fans saw the first two games and convinced themselves there was no way that offense would be that stymied against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Especially with Preston Parker's return and the Media bought into that hype as well. The team will look a lot better against your Colorado Buffaloes, but a sputtering Offense is something that comes with the territory for a young unit. They'll improve over the course of the season as they get acclimated to the competition and get a better read for their playing abilities. FSU is on the rise, you can see it in the player's eyes and mannerisms.
TN: Competition between the underclassmen and upperclassmen. I think the upperclassmen who remain (many were run off by the new offensive staff) know they have to fight to keep their jobs. Jimbo has made one thing very clear: If you are older than your backup, and you are at the same level as him, you won't have your spot for long. We're trying to rebuild the machine. Despite some seriously negative views on the program, I do think that FSU has the potential to be back on top sooner (2010) rather than later. As we see with USC, the program most resembling FSU of the 90's, intrateam competition is a good thing.The other difference is solid tackling. FSU had gone away from tackling in recent years (annoying), but this year FSU has been great in wrapping up. They had only five missed tackles against Wake (very good for an ACC game as the stated the goal is 10 or less). This is particularly important against a team like Colorado, who throws a ton of underneath stuff. FSU will stay in man coverage almost exclusively, and so far, they've stuck with the targets and tackled them when the receiver caught the ball.
NSI: Work Ethic. Last year that Offensive line wasn't used to working as hard as Rick Trickett worked them. The Receivers weren't used to being held accountable for taking plays off and missing assignments. Jimbo Fisher appears to have a plan this season. Last year he would trot Weatherford out there and then pull him for Xavier Lee without any rhyme or reason. The talent in the Receiving Corps appears to have upgraded over night with the addition of Corey Surrency, Taiwan Easterling, and Bert Reed. Gone are the days of players taking the field and thinking they are owed something. These players study and practice hard and it translates to the football field.
TN: I am worried about the Colorado buffaloes, but more worried about the Florida State Seminoles. That is not to say that the Buffaloes don't concern me. They do. Florida State really shot itself in the foot (12 penalties for 140 yards and 7 turnovers) against Wake. I will be interested to see if we can turn it around.
I think the Buffaloes run a timing based spread passing attack that features short passing routes. They also run out of the I-Formation. I've been much more impressed with the smaller scat back than the highly touted RB Scott. Their Offensive Line doesn't impress me all that much. I think the LT is pretty good (from what I've seen), and I really look forward to the battle between him and Everette Brown. Teams that have defeated FSU over the past few seasons typically pound the middle to keep the 'Noles honest. the receivers do not scare me very much. A friend tells me that the preseason loss of Markques Simas still hurts this team, especially depth wise. I haven't seen anyone with the potential playmaking ability that Simas was rumored to have. I'm not sure the Buffs can do that, but we will see. I will say that their offense is very well coached, and I have always been a big fan of Hawkins.
The Defense is probably the 7th or best FSU will see this year (In season order: Wake, Mia, GT, VT, CLem, UF) I think they are still hurting from the loss of Drew Hudgins (projected starting DE) and Ben Burney (projected starting CB). Hypolite is the best defensive player (very good DT, projected 4-6th round NFL Pick). As a comparison, talent wise, Colorado has one upperclassmen projected in the NFL draft on defense. Wake Forest had four.guys projected, including three in the first 2 rounds.
FSU isn't a good traditional running team at this point, but they do have two very good running QB's. I will be very interested to see how they line up to defend FSU. They did play better than the numbers suggest against Pat White, though WVU has zero passing threat, so it was easy to focus on the run, exclusively.Colorado's pass defense is ranked 80th in the Nation in Opponent Adjusted Pass Efficiency Defense. Wake is ranked 2nd. I think FSU has a much easier time throwing on Colorado. There are a lot of questions for Colorado. Can they get pressure with 4? If not, do they have the stones to bring additional rushers and expose their secondary players?
NSI: I'm not worried about the Colorado Buffaloes per say as I got to be honest and admit that I don't know much about them. I know they have a fiery head coach that doesn't have an appreciation for intramurals, ha. I am worried about the potential to lose and more specifically whether our Offense will show marked improvement over their last performance. I wouldn't go so far as to call Saturday a statement game, but it's definitely an opportunity for Jimbo and his coaching staff to show that he can make the necessary adjustments to help his offensive personnel perform on the field. I'm worried that should this team not perform well that the clouds could once again form overhead Doak Campbell Stadium. The National Media won't look to Saturday as being a big game, but Florida State fans see it as such. Hopefully the team does as well.
27-17, FSU. I think FSU has one excellent long scoring drive, one big play touchdown, one field goal off of a moderate length drive, one touchdown either on Defense, Special teams, or as a direct result of a short field created by a turnover, and one field goal off of a short field created by a turnover or special teams play, for a total or 27 points. That's an offensive explosion compared to the Wake showing,
I think FSU will have two or fewer turnovers (down from 7). From those, Colorado can probably get 10 points. I'll also say that they can put together one long Touchdown drive. Colorado needs to be able to run the ball between the tackles and work the play-action game to have a legitimate shot to win. If FSU can limit them to the short and intermediate passing game, while funnelling everything outside, it could be a long day for Hawkins.
I also don't think he heat is that big of a deal for Colorado. They seem to be very well conditioned (except for Scott, maybe). So, yeah, 27-17, with the 'Noles defensive speed being the deciding factor.
NSI: Last week I stuck my neck out there and predicted Florida State would beat Wake Forest; I'm not so confident this week. FCS schools do not match the competition Colorado's faced thus far in Colorado State and West Virginia on the Road. Forgive me if I hope you guys look past us to the Texas match-up (how ridiculous is your schedule? Sweet heavens), but with that said I think FSU stumbles out of the gates, but prove to be competitive in another defensive battle. Their efforts go for naught however as Colorado wins 21-19. Damn it hurts to say that. If I didn't break those rose colored glasses last week I might be singing a different tune.
TRR: How close are we to seeing Mickey Andrews drop Jimbo Fisher on the sideline? Do you think Andrews is the most frustrated coach in college football because the FSU offense hasn't won a game for his defense in about 3 years?
TN: I think if it were to happen, it would have happened in '06, or last year. At this point, Mickey is used to it. I do think Mickey is the clear favorite in a cage match over any coach on the team except DL Coach Odell Haggins.
NSI: I was debating in my mind who had a tougher offense to take the field with: Florida State's Mickey Andrews or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monte Kiffin. In the end I figure its gotta be Mickey as '99 was the last time he experienced a Championship. For a coordinator that is so intense, Mickey Andrews does a fantastic job of harnessing his frustration on the sidelines and in front of the Press. He did have a snide comment directed to the offensive coaches after the game Saturday when he said 'You usually don't lose ballgames when you don't let people score touchdowns'. Yikes, if I'm Jimbo Fisher I might think about coaching the game from the Sky box, ha!