Chat with David Hale
Welcome to NoleNation! On Tuesday, reporter David Hale stops by to chat about the state of Florida State football.
Hale joined ESPN.com in 2012 after covering the Philadelphia Phillies for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., and the University of Georgia for The Macon Telegraph. Hale has written about college and professional sports since 2004 and currently lives in Tallahassee, Fla.
Send your questions now and join Hale Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
David Hale (10:59 AM)
Greetings, folks. I'm guessing many of you are back to work after a 3-day weekend, so here's your chance to waste an hour of your work day. Fire away with the questions, and I'll see if I can come up with some reasonable sounding answers...
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Do you have any insight on whether there will be changes in the defensive schemes with the new staff or will they be mirroring Stoops' blueprints?
David Hale (11:02 AM)
We haven't had a chance to talk to Pruitt yet, as the coaching staff pretty much hit the road running in terms of recruiting. From what I've heard though, this isn't just going to be a copy of Stoops' defense. I think the plan is to maintain the things the veteran D guys do well and not make marked changes. After all, personnel dictates a lot of what you can do. But it's Pruitt's D, and he'll make his own imprint. Plus, there's going to be a lot of turnover there, particularly up front, which means it's not really going to be a "teaching old dogs new tricks" situation. I think next year's D will look familiar, but there will definitely be changes.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Aside from the vacancy left by Watson, are there any other spots on the o-line that could see new faces next season?
David Hale (11:03 AM)
I think for the most part, Jimbo was pleased with how the unit came together in 2012, but the loss of Watson throws some things up in the air. Remember last spring, Stork was working at RT. That could happen again, with Barron getting another shot at center. Depending on the recruiting class, some youngsters could push for work, too. Spring will open with the 4 remaining starters firmly ensconced, but as we saw last year, that can change quickly.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Have you been/will you be covering the Senior Bowl?
David Hale (11:04 AM)
Sadly, I won't be covering it. ESPN has some folks there, so we're hoping to have some updates on FSU players like EJ, Everett & Vince, but I won't be there in person.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
One podcast I heard this morning hypothesized EJ going to Philly in case Chip's not a fan of Foles. EJ + spread option = match made in heaven?
David Hale (11:05 AM)
Are you playing on my devout Eagles fandom here? I will say that I don't think Foles is the right guy for what Chip Kelly's going to want to run there, and I've heard that they spent some time speaking with EJ already at the Senior Bowl. Is it a match made in heaven? For all the same reasons that EJ made FSU fans nervous at times, I'd say the same as an Eagles fan, but I do see how he could be a potentially nice fit for the system. (Though, I'm still not convinced on how well this system will translate to the NFL.)
David Lee McMullen (St. Petersburg)
What do all of the coaching changes really mean for Florida State? Is there enough time for the players to make all the necessary adjustments without a drop in overall teamr performance in the fall?
David Hale (11:09 AM)
Any time you have five changes on the staff, there's going to be an adjustment period, but I'm not sure this is a huge problem for FSU. For one, I think the coaches they brought in are all solid hires -- including four guys with coordinator experience. The offense was really Jimbo's baby anyway, so there shouldn't be much that needs to dramatically change there. And as I said, on D, you have a secondary that's already got a strong leader in Joyner that should ease the transition and the front 7 is going to have a lot of personnel changes anyway. There will be adjustments, but I think there's plenty of time for those to get done. I'm not sure the D will be able to repeat what it did in 2012, but that'll be more a function of losing guys like Tank, Bjoern and Xavier than any changes on the staff.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
With Watson gone, is this Bobby Hart's last chance at redemption before his current teammates or incoming recruits pass him on the depth chart?
David Hale (11:09 AM)
You hate to ever say "last chance" for a guy like that, but if he hasn't learned anything from 2012, then it's hard to envision a scenario in which he gets back on the right track.
Chris (Jackson, TN)
How is the FSU baseball team looking this year?
David Hale (11:10 AM)
Haven't seen a ton of them yet, but from what I've heard from coaches, etc., it reminds me a bit of what we heard about the hoops team before the season: Lot of talent, but might be some adjustment period where they figure out how best to utilize it all.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Even though you Cover Florida State in College Football, What is your Favorite MLB Team?
David Hale (11:11 AM)
I grew up a Cubs fan, which has accustomed me to extensive disappointment in my life.
Chris (Jackson, TN)
Who do you think is a must get/need on NSD for FSU?
David Hale (11:12 AM)
Not trying to blow off your question, but our recruiting maven, Corey Dowlar, will be doing a recruiting-specific chat tomorrow at Nole Nation -- http://espn.go.com/colleges/fsu/ -- and he's in much better position to answer this than I am.
Chris (Jackson, TN)
Who out of the ranks of the unproven do you see stepping up into the limelight and becoming a big time player next year?
David Hale (11:15 AM)
That partially depends on your definition of "unproven." I'd say guys like Edwards, Benjamin & Darby are all still unproven to an extent, but I could see all of them blossoming into stars in 2013. But if you're looking for some real dark horse candidates: On offense, how about Christo Kourtzidis? I know Haplea has gotten most of the pub as the backup TE, but Kourtzidis has a strong skill set and is more of an all-purpose guy. With Lonnie leaving, we can probably expect more two-TE sets, and I could see him turning in a few nice games along the way. On defense, I'll say Reggie Northrup. He didn't get a ton of playing time last year, and he's still very raw, but I could see him benefitting from the coaching change at LB and blossoming into a consistent performer in an expanded role in 2013.
DIE HARD NOLES FAN (CENTRAL FLA)
i am not a believer in trickett or coker for the qb position have you seen winston play or practice anywhere im really hoping this guy can step up and be the qb fsu needs i think he was rated the number one qb in nation last year lest go noles
Two things; First, what do you feel the chances of Austin Golson going to Ole Miss over FSU? Second, Do you forsee Clint Trickett beating out both Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston for the starting QB gig? I don't see how he can. If one of them (Coker in my opinion) has a decent grasp on the playbook....then wouldn't his athletic talent be too much for Clint to surpass?
Who starts for FSU next year at QB and RB? And would you anticipate both of those players keeping their jobs the entire season if they stay healthy?
David Hale (11:17 AM)
So, you guys wanna talk QBs, eh?
David Hale (11:18 AM)
First off, I can't stress enough that any predictions on who wins the job are simply guesswork at this point. Until all three at least go through spring practice, there's almost no purpose in projecting who will win the job.
David Hale (11:19 AM)
On Trickett: The guy has worked really hard, he knows the playbook, and he mirrors EJ in that the players respect and like him. He's a leader, and on an offense that has a lot of athletic talent already, sometimes that leadership is a necessary ingredient. He's worked to add weight and adjust his diet, but that's an ongoing issue. If we're ranking the candidates by sheer talent, he probably comes in third -- but there's more to the job than sheer talent, and a guy like Christian Ponder proved that.
David Hale (11:21 AM)
On Coker: I feel like he's gotten the least attention going into this battle because he's not the most experienced guy (Trickett) or the guy with the biggest upside (Winston) but he might be the one with the best shot at winning the job. He pushed Trickett for the No. 2 spot last spring but couldn't quite get there. He's improved during the season, and I've heard nothing but positives about him. And while Winston gets the hype for his athleticism, I can assure you that Coker has both the arm and the speed to be very productive.
David Hale (11:23 AM)
On Winston: I've seen him in practice, but only on a limited basis, and I'm far from an NFL scout anyway. The guy obviously has the build, the strength and the athleticism to do the job, and he endeared himself to both players and coaches with his enthusiasm in 2012, in spite of his redshirt. But I've heard some talk about him needing to mature -- which is not a knock on him, but just the typical things you'd expect from a freshman, particularly at that position that demands so much maturity. I know people look at Johnny Manziel as the new archetype, but there's a reason he was so hyped this year -- freshman QBs don't usually put up numbers like that. He's special. Winston may be special too, but it's tough to project that right now. The skills are there, but let's see how refined they are this spring.
Scott (Atlanta, GA)
Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of our young talent is "not ready" according to coaches, when across the country more and more young players are getting it done right from the jump?
David Hale (11:26 AM)
"Not ready" can mean a lot of things. In FSU's case, I think it largely meant "not as ready as the guy ahead of them" and by saying "not ready" it provides a bit of motivation for the guy to work harder to get better. When you look at the top recruits from last year's class -- Edwards, Goldman, Winston, Bracy -- who were they going to start ahead of? There was depth at their positions, and that's good. It's given them a year to get acclimated, and they'll get their shots to prove how "ready" they are now.
Whats your opinion on Rick Trickett? I mean this year we had great offense line play, but in years past it has been pretty shady. I cannot believe how we cant pull in more recruits to play O line here. I know we have Denson and Golson, but I wouldnt say they are a 100 seminole.
David Hale (11:28 AM)
Part of the problem with recruiting O line right now is that FSU has 3 sophomores with solidified roles as starters, and two more (Barron, Hart) with starting experience. Guys look at potential playing time and may be scared off. That said, I thought Trickett did a nice job with the group this year. They weren't perfect, but they were light years ahead of where they were in 2011. The real test will be this season. There shouldn't be any excuses now. He's got a good group to work with, potentially a couple more good players coming in, and he needs to put a unit out there that is in the top 20 in the nation.
what does florida state have to do to win a national title?
David Hale (11:30 AM)
That's not an easy question to answer! Simple answer: Win all their games and hope nobody else does. More complex? They need to identify a QB who can maximize what should be a lot of offensive talent. They need to have the new-look front 7 match the production of last year's group. And Jimbo needs to find a way to keep from losing winnable games -- something that he hasn't done well in his first 3 years on the job. It won't be easy this year with trips to Clemson and Florida, but perhaps some tempered expectations in 2013 will be good for them.
I farted (silently)
Is it reasonable to assume that Jimbo will either A) Call more QB designed runs B) Give the QB more freedon to choose to run and C) Adjust the offense to a running QB if Coker/Winston were to beat out Trickett? I feel it would be better for the program. Our losses this year were mainly due to the defense being wore out by our own offense not producing, than it was by the opposing offense being too good.
David Hale (11:31 AM)
First off, thanks for letting us know, SBD. Though, it may have been more info than we needed.
David Hale (11:33 AM)
Secondly, on the QBs: I think obviously Coker and Winston bring a variable that would need to be exploited more, and there would be more designed runs with them than with Trickett. But I'm not sure there'd be a marked difference. First off, EJ had those skills and was a more mature, polished QB, and he still didn't run that often. Secondly, there's not a lot of evidence to suggest that the QB running more in Jimbo's offense helps the bottom line (I'm actually looking to write about this later today). Third, it's still Jimbo calling the plays -- and he's the one who needs to decide to adjust, not the QB.
What would it take for FSU to finally leave the ACC? Is there something that we, the fanbase, can do to help?
David Hale (11:34 AM)
Probably not much you can do to help unless you want to pony up the $50M exit fee. I don't think leaving the ACC is off the table, but I think it's clearly FSU's preference to stay where it is until there's a good reason to go elsewhere. It's something of a waiting game right now, and I'd be surprised if FSU makes the first move.
That Sucks (Like The Acc)
I was really hoping there was something in the works that we didn't know about.
David Hale (11:38 AM)
Not saying there isn't something in the works... I'd be surprised if there wasn't a Plan B, too. I just think it's unlikely it'll be FSU that makes the first move. If we see another team or two jump, however, I'd be confident FSU will be prepared.
Chris (Jackson, TN)
Looks like the All-Star Flacco showed up this week in the 2nd quarter as you mentioned last week. Who you got for the upcoming Harbowl?
David Hale (11:39 AM)
Thanks for remembering my prediction! Flacco has made himself some money the past few weeks. Between Biden's second inauguration and Flacco making the Super Bowl, it's been a big week for Delaware. I expect Judge Reinhold will make a big Hollywood comeback now too. (He's from Delaware, ya know.)
David Hale (11:41 AM)
Anyway, my unofficial Super Bowl prediction: I'm leaning toward Baltimore. I think that D will be better prepared for Kaepernick than GB or ATL was. But I'm not making an official pick until next week.
If FSU did move, what conference would they prefer to move to? And what conference would they most likely move to?
David Hale (11:42 AM)
Preference obviously would be the SEC, but I really don't see that happening. I think the SEC isn't interested in making waves right now, and I think Florida would do everything in its power to keep FSU from joining. The more likely option is the Big 12, which could take FSU and Clemson and really make a push into SEC territory. I have reservations about life in the Big 12 though, which is why I don't think it's as much of a slam dunk decision as many fans do.
David Hale (11:44 AM)
OK, probably going to wrap up a little early today folks. Any final questions?
Why do you think we are only 4-5 vs. ranked opponents over the last 3 years? I used to trust the 'process' as Jimbo says, but I'm starting to think he is actually holding players back on the offensive side with his questionable play calling. The defense has coaches and recruiters while it seems the offense has all recruiters and Jimbo trying to do it all. For the record, TCU has a better record over ranked opponents in the same time frame. What needs to be done?
David Hale (11:49 AM)
Man, those are big-picture questions, and I'm not sure I'm qualified to give you a real answer there other than to say you're not alone in your concerns. As an outsider though, I think I'd be more worried about the losses as a heavy favorite: NC State games, Virginia, Wake, etc. than the 4-5 record to ranked opponents. Some of those games (think Oklahoma in 2010 & probably 2011), FSU simply wasn't as good a team as the ranked opponent they lost to. That happens. If you can play .500 ball against ranked opponents over the long haul, eventually it'll all line up right one year where you have a chance to win it all. If you can play .750 ball against ranked foes, you'll be in the mix almost every year. But you know how many teams do that? Alabama and... well, not many others. Again, I'd say the first fix needs to come in winning ALL the games you're supposed to win, then worry about the toss ups.
How's the progress on the new indoor practice facility coming? that would be very beneficial.
David Hale (11:50 AM)
Ahead of schedule from what I understand, and that's good news given that the schedule was already quite aggressive. It should be ready for use before the start of fall camp. And the construction on campus now may actually be a nice selling point for recruits: "See what we're doing? We're growing because we're committed to winning."
David Hale (11:51 AM)
OK, gonna call it a day guys. Thanks for all the questions. We'll be back at it next week -- same time, same place.