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 (11:01 AM)
Hey kids! Happy Tuesday. Not sure exactly how much time I'll have today, but I'll get through as many FSU questions (and, really, any other random inquiries) as possible. Let's get started!
Al (Japan) [via mobile]
I saw EJ Manuel's main problem was his accuracy. That was the difference in a lot of the games. How do you compare Jameis Winston's accuracy to EJ Manuel's?
David Hale (11:03 AM)
Good comment, Al. I grew up an Eagles fan, and I was struck last year by how much EJ reminded me of Donovan McNabb.... that's both a good thing and a bad thing. His skill set is obvious, but he'd drive you nuts with ugly throws at the worst possible times. As a result, the fan base was always in a state of frustration. Of course, if EJ goes on to have the same NFL career as McNabb, that wouldn't be too shabby. But the question is about Jameis, and I'll only say this: When asked to directly compare EJ and Jameis, Jimbo gave the athleticism edge to EJ but said that Jameis is ALREADY a better pure passer with better accuracy.
Drom John (Macon, GA)
Sorry for making you dress for the National Anthem in 2000. I thought you could have worn your charting clothes, or I could have stood with Osmani Garcia.Is there a pitcher in the Blue Jay organization to whom you would teach the Thang?
Drom John (Macon, GA)
David Hale:Sorry for the RA Dickey question.
David Hale (11:04 AM)
I don't know what just happened, but I think I enjoyed it.
Say for all the hype sake around Winston...FSU somehow runs the table this year (especially with an "off" week before their two toughest games) Since they will start somewhere in the preseason 15 range...is there anyway they could leap frog into the NC picture? Especially with the easy schedules Ohio State, Bama and Louisville have? Basically, how do you feel about preseason rankings?
David Hale (11:07 AM)
To answer the initial question: If FSU wins out, they'll be in the NC picture at the end regardless of where they start. To answer the bigger question: I'm not a fan of preseason rankings other than it gives us something to talk about. It stacks the deck too much in favor of teams we really know nothing about because of the names on the front of their jerseys. For schools like FSU, I'm not sure it matters that much because, even if the expectations are lower to start the year, its a program that will have people quickly climbing on the bandwagon if they beat Clemson. But for other teams at the lower end of the spectrum (whether it's a Boise or TCU or even lower tier AQ teams like an Ole Miss or Baylor) I think it's harder to overcome those early skeptics.
David Hale (11:08 AM)
The simple solution is to handle all polls the way the BCS does and not release anything until October. Of course, that won't happen because even if the AP and coaches don't do it, someone else will fill the void.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Florida State College Football Players do you think will be very disappointing in 2013 meaning that they will be playing terrible?
David Hale (11:10 AM)
Terrible is probably a strong term, but if I had to throw a couple names out there as players with a potential to disappoint this year, the guys I'd be watching would be Jameis (not that he'll be bad, but hard to meet those expectations), the OGs (Jackson and Matias really need to take that next step), the DEs (I'm sold on Edwards talent but not his maturity, and Giorgio... who knows?).
Do you feel that Bobby Bowden's first NC somewhat tainted? FSU did lose to Notre Dame and were losing by two scores most of the contest. The stats weren't even close. How does a team finish number after losing to the number 2 team.
David Hale (11:12 AM)
I don't think I'd call it tainted. Controversial, perhaps. I'm sure there are plenty of folks in South Bend who don't give that title a ton of credit. But there are probably a lot of seasons we could go back to and say, "What if there was a 4-team playoff?" I think if you take the whole year into consideration, there's a viable case that FSU was the best team, and if they'd played ND again for the title, things would've been different. But given the way things did play out, I do understand why ND fans feel like they got jobbed.
Leonard Stewart (Atlanta, Ga)
With huge loses on both sides of the ball, what is your plan on filling the voids that are created by the drafting of Manuel and Werner. What adjustment must be made to maintain or exceed last season? Lastly, the ACC expanded to it's new status. Is it possible to have a Texas A&M type team in any of the programs coming in?
David Hale (11:14 AM)
It hasn't been talked about as much, but I think I'd make the case that Werner is the biggest loss from last year because he's the hardest guy to replace. What Werner did so well were not things that showed up in the box score. As cliched as it sounds, he was a student of the game. He was always in the right place at the right time and because he was good at so many things, it allowed Stoops a lot of versatility in play calling and personnel. I don't know who fills that role this year, and if you ask me, that's the No. 1 area of concern I'd have about the 2013 team right now.
David Hale (11:16 AM)
As for the new-look ACC... I think that, overall, the league has gotten a lot better, but I wouldn't necessarily put anyone in the A&M class. Even if you take away Manziel, A
So Are we going to see Mario Pender & Ryan Green on the field?
David Hale (11:18 AM)
We'll see one of them, for sure, and my guess is it'll be Pender. There's a role for him, even if Freeman/Wilder get the vast majority of the carries. For Green though, I'm not so sure. He's coming off a bad injury as a senior, he's new to the program, and there's a lot of experience ahead of him. I thought initially he'd be a guy who contrbuted right away, but I actually was pretty impressed with Pender this spring, and now I might lean toward a redshirt for Green.
I think Karlos Williams is the key to the defense, just so talented not to have on the field. That said, if he struggles playing safety full time--do you see Pruitt and Jimbo moving Joyner back to safety since we have so much quality depth at corner?
David Hale (11:20 AM)
I think it definitely has to be considered. They wanted to move Joyner because it's what's best for Joyner, but at the end of the day, what matters is what's best for the team. Knowing Lamarcus a little bit, I think he'd completely agree with that. Of course, having said all of that, I'll be surprised if Karlos struggles that badly. I expect a few hiccups, but he's just got too much talent. And I think his versatility (he'll work at safety, star, nickel and SLB) allows Pruitt to do so much from a scheme perspective that they'll want him on the field whenever possible.
Bruce Wayne (Gotham)
Who steps up now that Kevin Haplea is out with a torn ACL?
David Hale (11:21 AM)
The obvious answer is Christo, but I don't think that's an apples to apples comparison. Haplea was FSU's best blocker, and there's no one else in that position group who compares. What it might mean is more work than we initially expected for Chad Abram at fullback as Jimbo needs to scrap some of those plans for two-TE sets and O'Leary working at halfback, etc. This also opens the door for Jeremy Kerr to avoid a redshirt and get on the field right away.
Dee (Gainesville, Fl)
Since the dismiss of Greg Dent, What receiver has the best shot to be number 4. Haulstead, Haggins, Green, Whitfield?
David Hale (11:24 AM)
First off, to be clear, Dent hasn't been dismissed. He's suspended and cannot play until the felony charges are cleared up. Having said that, there's a good chance that he'll miss part or all of the season because of this, and that leaves a major void. The problem is that no one receiver can fill in for Dent because he was by far FSU's most versatile guy. I think Whitfield is the one who can make the biggest impact, but he's a slot receiver and can't handle all of what Dent was slated to do. I think we'll see a good bit more of Haulstead, too, and I really thought he had shown some major strides this spring.
Dee (Gainesville, Fl)
What DBs do you see playing, Loaded at CB but not too many big names at S. Do you think Joyner will play every snap at CB, even with Ramsey coming in. Theres still Darby, Waisome, Hunter, & PJ
David Hale (11:26 AM)
Yeah, this is going to be an interesting situation. One thing I've tried to caution people: Joyner at corner isn't necessarily replacing Darby or Waisome. In nickel sets, all three will be on the field, and even in base sets, we may see Joyner back at safety some and potentially Karlos even at SLB. There's a ton of versatility there that means all will get routine playing time.
David Hale (11:28 AM)
I think the bigger question is, beyond those 5 (Waisome, Joyner, Darby, Karlos, Brooks) how do things shake out? I'm not sure the answer. Tyler Hunter had a strong season for the most part, but I could see his reps going down with Joyner's move. P.J. has a ton of upside and Pruitt wants to find snaps for him. As you said, Ramsey is coming in as perhaps the best player in this recruiting class. You don't have a clearcut second-string at safety either, so that could be a better fit for PJ or Hunter... but with so many DB injuries this spring, we just didn't get a real clear look at how it'll shake out. That's one of the most interesting stories of early fall, I think...
David Hale (11:29 AM)
Any more questions, folks?
How do you see the 2nd Jimbo camp going? Bigger names showing up?
David Hale (11:31 AM)
Probably a better question for our recruiting chat later this week, but I think it's going to be hard to top the first camp. FSU got a lot of buzz out of that -- and a few commitments, too. The second camp last year did have some bigger names, but was fairly quiet overall. And this year's class is filling up quickly.
Dee (Gainesville, Fl)
one last, what LBs do we see playing besides Tel Smith and Jones?
David Hale (11:32 AM)
That's another great depth chart question that I'm not sure we know the answer to yet. I think Northrup is going to get time, and I think Eligwe has an inside track on a share of MLB (though nothing like the platoon last year with Telvin and Vince). Of the new guys, I heard rave reviews on Stevenson during spring, and of course, as always, Matthew Thomas is a real wild card.
Bruce Wayne (Gotham)
Do we win back the state of FL this year or do you see UF giving us fits for that?
David Hale (11:33 AM)
Well with the game in Gainesville, there's a distinct advantage for UF. But I look back at that game last year and can't help but think FSU could've easily won it if EJ hadn't played so horribly. Both teams are revamping some key areas, so probably way too early to tell. But I wouldn't exactly chalk that up as a surefire loss just yet.
To follow up on the LB's question...Pruitt comes from a 3-4 scheme and FSU seems absolutely loaded at LB for the next 3-4 years. Any chance FSU starts migrating to that base defense in the coming years?
David Hale (11:36 AM)
Jimbo has routinely downplayed any major overhauls, and he's also insisted that FSU has used the 3-4 often even under Stoops -- just not as a base. Take all that with a grain of salt. I do think Pruitt will shift in that direction. It may not be a full changing of the guard in 2013, but the personnel sets up well for it. As you said, a ton of depth and talent at LB, a couple of DEs in Newberry and Casher who would fit well at OLB, and then a D line that includes Goldman, Jernigan and Edwards -- all prototypes for a 3-4 if you wanted to run it. Again, not sure how much we'll see of the end game here, but I do think we'll head in that direction a lot more than in 2012.
Bo (Jacksonville )
Do you see Cason Beatty struggling? If so, is it a possibility that Roberto Aguayo steps up as the punter? Almost like a Graham Gano.
David Hale (11:37 AM)
I don't see Aguayo pulling double duty. They'll want him to build his confidence at kicker, and replacing Hopkins is no easy task. I thought Beatty showed some improvement down the stretch last year, but the fact remains: Only 10 teams in the COUNTRY had a worse net punting average than FSU in 2012. There's a lot of room for improvement.
David Hale (11:38 AM)
OK folks, I've got a bunch of stuff I'm working on today, so we'll cut the chat here. Thanks for the great questions, and we'll be back next week to kill an hour of your day before you head out on an extended July 4th weekend. Enjoy the rest of the week!