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 (11:00 AM)
Hey folks. How's everyone's Tuesday treating them? This time next week, we'll be watching Bjoern Werner, EJ Manuel and others work out at FSU's pro day, which means spring ball is just 8 days away. Excited yet? Let's get to some questions...
Middle Class (Portsmouth,VA)
Are the Chiefs looking to sign another top WR since Dwayne Bowe is staying? RB to help Jamal Charles?
David Hale (11:02 AM)
OK, I'm by no means qualified to answer this as I do not cover the NFL. But... as a longtime Eagles fan, I can assure you that you don't need to think too much about your RBs now. You have Andy Reid. He doesn't run the football.
Hey David, Jimbo has been saying all along how the new coaches have fit right in because they have all been there before. How are the players adjusting to the new coaching schemes and personalities?
David Hale (11:04 AM)
Hey Jeff... that's a little tougher to say because we haven't been able to interview a single player since the bowl game. Having said that, I've spoken with a few former players who said they've been very encouraged by how up-tempo 4th quarter drills have been and during the practice we got to watch last week, things seemed to be energetic and run smoothly. Obviously that's a really small sample size, but I do think there's something to be said for bringing in some new voices, new energy and new evaluators. Established players need to work harder to impress new coaches and the guys down the depth chart get a fresh start.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
Being around the team so far, have you seen any players who have gained or lost a noticeable amount of weight?
David Hale (11:06 AM)
I'll say this, it was strange getting back out to the practice fields last week. Not only did I not recognize most of the coaching staff, but even the players looked so much different. James Wilder looks to have slimmed down just a tad, and Mario Edwards Jr. looked to be in excellent shape. I'm sure there are a couple other guys who would jump out, too, if I thought about it.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the Running Backs & the New Defense for Florida State in 2013?
David Hale (11:08 AM)
Well, that's a broad question. My guess is the RB scenario (at least at tailback) won't be much different from how last year ended -- about a 60/40 split between Freeman and Wilder. On defense, there's a lot up in the air, and with several projected starters out for the spring (Waisome, Darby, McAllister, Hunter) we may not get a really clear idea of things until August.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
Which player who did not get much PT last season do you see stepping up and having a big year?
David Hale (11:10 AM)
Probably a number of options here. Obviously whoever wins the QB, RT and DE jobs will be integral in FSU's 2013 success, but let's dig a little deeper...
David Hale (11:11 AM)
I'm intrigued by PJ Williams. He was very good on special teams last year, has gotten strong reviews from teammates, and will get a lot of PT this spring with so many injuries in the secondary. There's not a definite role for him in 2013 yet, but he could be significant in 2014 and beyond.
David Hale (11:12 AM)
I think Eddie Goldman has a chance this spring to really establish himself. I'm not sure if he has Timmy Jernigan-level upside this season, but I'd be willing to guess he gets more PT than we're currently projecting and he can blossom into an impact player.
David Hale (11:13 AM)
On offense, Greg Dent took a nice step forward last year, but I could see him picking up a lot of the slack lost with Rodney Smith's departure in 2013. Not saying he becomes an All-ACC type of player, but he could be a very reliable receiver to go along with Shaw, Greene & KB.
Jimbo says Pender has been looking good in 4th quarter drills. Have you seen him and seen the same explosion they are talking about? He would be a great addition as a homerun threat, especially with Bracy.
David Hale (11:15 AM)
I've seen him, and he looks strong and doesn't appear to be running with any pain or problems. Having said that, 4th-quarter drills are hardly the best indication. We need to see him run against contact, run in space, run through a crowd... there are quite a few hurdles left to go through before I'd say he's ready to be a big part of the offense. I think he's got the potential to be at least a role player in the running game, but when Ryan Green arrives in the fall, that's going to be an awfully crowded backfield.
Morning David, I believe the Clemson game this year will be pretty good. I give my noles more of a chance to win than most people do. I believe it'll be our def vs their off. They have a great qb and a great wr....what else? Fsu only lost one DB ...I believe it'll be our ability to create a pass rush vs their ability to find open receivers. What do you think? ...and remember what chad Morris said last year...."they beat up our receivers".
David Hale (11:17 AM)
Duce --> I'm with you in that I think this is the early favorite for the game of the year in the ACC (though, to be fair, there's not much competition for that honor) and I think FSU has a chance to be far more competitive than most are currently predicting. Two things to keep in mind though: 1.) Clemson's D got a lot better as the year went on. I think that's a much better unit than what they showed in Tallahassee last year. 2.) We don't yet know what FSU's QB situation will be. That's a big wild card to this game.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
How has Jacobbi McDaniel looked? Tough to imagine him coming back to being the player he was considering how bad his injury was.
David Hale (11:19 AM)
That's another guy I should've mentioned earlier. Jacobbi looked really good, moving around well and appeared slimmed down a bit. It's hard to tell what you'll get from a guy who has missed the better part of two years of football, but he's another who may benefit from McAllister being out this spring. I'll be watching him very closely.
Where do you think Karlos Williams will fit into the new defensive scheme?
David Hale (11:20 AM)
He'll be first up at safety now that Lamarcus is moving to corner, and I think that's one of the biggest reasons that the move of Joyner makes sense. Karlos needed to be on the field more, and now he'll get his chance. I'll be very interested to see how Jeremy Pruitt handles all that talent in the secondary this season. He's got 7-8 guys who could start for nearly any team in the ACC.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
With an abundance of WR's and a lack of depth at FB and TE, could you see us going to a lot of 4 WR sets this year?
David Hale (11:22 AM)
I think that's possible, though there are other factors that play into that. 1.) Who wins the QB job and how firm a grasp does he have on the playbook? 2.) How's the O line looking? Can they get the job done without an extra blocker or two?
David Hale (11:22 AM)
And I'm not sure there's a lack of depth at TE. Between O'Leary, Haplea and Kourtzidis, I'd actually argue this is one of the better TE depth charts FSU has had in a while. We may see more two-TE sets than before.
The playing the pokes in Dallas next year will be great, as well playing on the blue turf. What other games can we expect? Those are the only two exciting games we have. 2014/19/20. ..(if I'm correct on those dates). Are you hearing about any more non conf games coming up?
David Hale (11:28 AM)
Can't speculate on actual matchups, but I know FSU is working toward adding another strong home-and-home and there's serious interest in getting a kickoff game in Atlanta during that span. Jimbo Fisher considers the marquee non-conference games essential in both building a resume for the BCS and in recruiting. They're looking at the game in Dallas as a way to get into the Texas recruiting base too.
Ken (Las Vegas)
Hopkins at kicker is a huge loss...how is Aguayo coming along?
David Hale (11:29 AM)
Agreed... and it's tough to say. Really, what can you tell about a kicker from practice? And this time of year, there's not a whole lot they're really doing. Until Aguayo has to drill a 45-yarder under game conditions or connect on one late in the 4th quarter, I don't know that we can say anything other than, he's got a good leg.
Brandon Littlejohn (Santa rosa beach )
Who will be the starting QB for FSU next year? Because when i look at all the possible names i think i would rather have Western Carolina s QB over those scrubs.
David Hale (11:29 AM)
Chumming the waters, eh?
David Hale (11:32 AM)
That's an interesting thought, but there are a lot of constraints to the plan. Scheduling is one thing -- just because you want to play it in Atlanta doesn't mean you can. Revenue is another. If you play neutral field every year, you can tend to generate more revenue every two years from that game than you do with home-and-home. But the problem is, some years that Clemson game is by far the best thing on FSU's home schedule, and it helps you sell season tickets which keep stands filled for the less exciting games. Finally, I like the campus environment. I covered a number of UF-UGA games in Jacksonville, and there's not one time I wouldn't have preferred to be in Athens. It's not that it's a bad environment for a game -- it's just different, and I'm partial to the campus feel.
David Hale (11:33 AM)
I will say though that FSU understands that it has a very displaced fan base and finding ways to play at least one game a year in areas like Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, etc. would be great. If you looked at the USF and Miami games in 2012, those crowds were as much FSU as the home team.
Ken (Las Vegas)
Do you see any potential tranfers in the near future with the influx of talent being brought in? WR Green's PT went down drastically this past yr...has his name been mentioned as a possible transfer?
David Hale (11:34 AM)
Depends what you mean by "mentioned." I've heard the rumors, sure, but that's all it is. He'll be on my list of players I'd like to talk to next week when practice begins because his playing time last year was a big surprise. There will always be 1-2 guys considering a transfer after spring when they either butt heads with the new coaches or realize the playing time simply won't materialize. It's to be expected. But I'd hesitate to predict who that will be at this point.
Who you see as the three LBs Telvin, Christain, and ???? I cant remember if they are moving Jones back to Sam or not but I doubt it because we dont use a Sam that much because of schemes. Northrup and eligwe both look like wills to me... So maybe Matthew Thomas by default or who you thinking?
David Hale (11:37 AM)
Yeah, Christian is sticking at Will for just the reason you said. The Sam isn't a fixture on the field as teams use more and more 3 & 4 wideout sets and take the TE off the field. This is just guesswork on my part right now, but I could see Thomas getting the nod at Sam to get his feet wet in 2013 before sliding over to Will in 2014 -- similar to what Jones did last year. Eligwe and Northrup will both see playing time this year, and my guess is one of them (leaning toward Northrup) will probably share some of the load with Smith at MLB, picking up some of the Vince Williams slack.
What do you expect from KB at WR and Gio at DE this year?
David Hale (11:39 AM)
Probably two of the most interesting guys to watch this spring because a.) there's a big role for them in 2013 if they can prove they've earned it, and b.) the potential for both is very high. Still, we expected a good bit from both of them in 2012 and neither really delivered. KB had flashes, but he really disappeared late in the year. Newberry had his chance to break into the starting lineup and he was passed by Edwards pretty quickly. Both get another crack at it this year, and I've heard particularly strong reviews of Newberry during 4th quarter drills.
New guys or sticking with the old ones on special team as returners????
David Hale (11:41 AM)
I think we'll see at least 1 new face in the return game, with Bracy being the obvious choice. Fields, Green, Whitfield among the incoming freshmen could get a look, too, but I doubt Fisher burns any potential redshirts unless they prove they can play regular downs too.
David Hale (11:42 AM)
Back to Bracy for a second: When we talked to Jimbo last week, he was high on almost every player whose name was brought up. That's typical of this time of year. Bracy, on the other hand, wasn't exactly engendering a lot of confidence. Because he's been off running track, he's missed some time on the football field, and Fisher expressed concern that he simply wouldn't be ready to handle the playbook at WR. Fisher said Bracy is an obvious weapon on trick plays, but if the opposition knows that's the only way he can be used, it won't be much of a trick.
Chris (Jackson, TN)
Any chance our punter improves for next year?
David Hale (11:44 AM)
Yeah, I could see this being an area of real improvement. If you look at Beatty's numbers last year, his last 3-4 games were probably his best, so it's at least trending in the right direction. Plus, a year of experience under his belt, a season of college weight and strength training to build up his leg, and hopefully a little less nerves and the end result should be a better overall performance.
Speaking of redshirts--how many players from the incoming class do you see getting a redshirt? The backfield is full, but Green is good. Jalen Ramsey is another one. Such depth in the secondary, I think it will be hard for him to get out there--but at 6'1" he has great size like Rhodes
David Hale (11:46 AM)
If you look at Jimbo Fisher's history, the rough split for incoming freshmen is 25% get real playing time, 25% get limited playing time/special teams work, 50% redshirt. That's not necessarily going to be the case again this year, but like you said, how many jobs are really out there to be won? I'd guess about 10-12 redshirts overall, given that there aren't any major injuries. I doubt more than 1 of the WRs or DBs plays, probably only 2 of the linebackers, maybe none of the OLs.
Probably last question: I dont know if you have been around the players yet or not but have you noticed any significant changes in players body type either good or bad. Like for instance someone put a lot of good weight on vs someone putting on a lot of bad weight
David Hale (11:48 AM)
Answered a similar question earlier in the chat, but I'll take the flip side... No one jumped out at me as being particularly out of shape during 4th quarter drills (at least, no one who is going to see any playing time... some of the walk-ons you just feel bad for during those drills...). A few guys working their way back from offseason injury stuff probably need to work their way into a little better shape (Erving, Casher) but I don't think it's a matter of "bad weight" so much as just getting back into the rhythm of things.
DH, thanks for the info on Randy Spetman, last week. What do you think his chances of having his contract renewed look like?
David Hale (11:52 AM)
Spetman is an interesting case because at most schools of FSU's pedigree, the AD wields a lot more power. Spetman seems to take a bit of a backseat in the FSU power structure on some issues. I think that presents a scenario in which some folks consider him dispensable. There's two problems with that idea though: 1.) His resume is pretty impressive. Even if he didn't exactly engineer all of it, FSU's on-field performance has been exceptional across the board, it no longer has problems with the NCAA, it's pushed major projects forward (like the IPF), etc., etc. And 2.) Who else ya gonna get? To get someone with a lot of experience or a strong leadership plan might be tough when you have both a school president and a football coach who also like to have a lot of power in the organization. Given that, I think Spetman may be a pretty good fit.
Ken (Las Vegas)
What big time targets are the Noles gunning for in the 2014 class? Who is the must get?
David Hale (11:54 AM)
Ken, I'm not our primary recruiting writer, so I hate to speculate on names. But I will say that, as far as areas of need go, FSU's top targets need to be on the offensive line. Essentially they have NOTHING in reserve right now if things go south on the line. If Hart doesn't pan out or Erving/Matias/Jackson leaves early for the draft or someone has a significant injury -- there's just not much waiting in the wings. And even if you land a solid class (and I think Denson and Bell could be good long term) the O line takes longer to develop than most places because it's about adding size and strength as much as anything. FSU is already behind when it comes to recruiting the OL and they simply cannot afford another swing-and-miss in 2014 without severe consequences down the road.
Are you hearing anything on the acc bowl line up? The change with the Russell bowl is great, but do you think the acc will try to get another Florida bowl(SEC)...north(B1G)...out west( PAC)
David Hale (11:57 AM)
Probably a question better asked of our ACC bloggers but I think there's a real balancing act here. You want to expand your conference brand, but you also need attendance. The numbers for the ACCCG, for example, are downright embarrassing, with FSU losing money by playing in the game. Schools need to be able to sell their ticket allotment, and if you're playing games in places your fans aren't likely to travel (particularly non-marquee bowls for middling teams) it's a losing proposition at a lot of these schools.
I'm for Spetman sticking around, DH...he didn't hire Fisher or Hamilton, and I don't think he minds giving those guys his honest opinion.
David Hale (11:58 AM)
Yeah, that's the thing: He's a good straw man. He'll speak up on issues, but he's fine with sharing power, and then he serves as a good place to point the finger as a figurehead if things don't work out. That sorta serves all parties, fair or not. I think the next few months will be telling though. If Spetman doesn't have a new deal by the start of fall camp, that's probably not a good sign for him.
David Hale (11:59 AM)
OK, folks, that's all the time I've got. Thanks for the questions though. We may be tweaking the time for this a bit next week with pro day going on, so keep an eye out. Looking forward to having a lot more football to write about in the weeks to come!