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)
Hey folks! It's a dreary Tuesday during that lull between signing day and spring practice, so let's see if we can inject a little football energy back into our lives for the next hour or so. Fire away with questions, and I'll do my best to provide a coherent answer.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Which recruits have the best chance at cracking 1st string in the spring?
David Hale (11:04 AM)
Hey Andre. I wrote a bit last week about the relatively small number of impact true freshmen under Jimbo Fisher, and I'm not sure this year will be much different. There are a handful of guys I expect to find some early playing time, but despite all the turnover from 2012, there aren't a ton of jobs available in the starting lineup. I think your best bets for guys to really push for significant reps before the season begins are Demarcus Walker (he's already on campus, will participate in spring at a position with minimal depth) and Jalen Ramsey (won't be here til fall and likely not going to grab a starting job, but could easily end up in a role similar to what Darby did last year). One of the LBs could push for a bigger role, too, but beyond that, it's probably a lot of guys vying for a longer look on second team.
From what you've seen and heard of Jameis Winston is he the next big time impact quarteback to be introuduced to the college football world this fall?
David Hale (11:06 AM)
Well, I definitely thing he has the potential to be "the next big time impact quarterback" but I'm not sure if his introduction will be this fall. It certainly COULD be, but he's got some stiff competition, and he still hasn't thrown a pass at the college level. I've heard the comparisons to Johnny Maziel (RFr who won the Heisman) but this is a different situation. First off, FSU runs a far different style of offense. Secondly, Manziel had the luxury of a clean start with a new coaching staff with less competition. But thirdly, Winston has more talent than Manziel as a pure thrower, so...
Any updates on the pseudo offensive coordinator/ QB coach
David Hale (11:08 AM)
Nothing solid at the moment, but I'm guessing we'll hear something more substantive by week's end. FSU's coaches were away from football for the few days after signing day, but interviews will be happening this week. I don't expect it to be a long, drawn out process.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Is there any telling how fast a hook Jimbo will have on the starting QB during the season? Will it be fast like Brian Kelly's or will he be more patient and forgiving?
David Hale (11:10 AM)
See, I think this may be an even more interesting question than the battle for the starting job. Right now, having three potential starters is a wealth of riches. But once the season starts, it can be a real problem when none of them are firmly established. How long a leash can you give a guy if he struggles, knowing you have two other potential starters sitting on the bench? If Trickett wins the job, there will no doubt be a huge outcry from fans to hand it over to one of the younger QBs and if Coker or Winston wins it and struggles early, there could be a lot of pressure on Jimbo not to let a younger QB cost them games while they're still learning. It's nice to have options, but what you don't want is a QB controversy once the season starts (like the Sanchez-Tebow situation for the Jets).
COry J (ATL)
What is going to take to get Jimbo to give up on offense coordinator and what about Trickett Sr. how much longer does he get to underachieve
David Hale (11:12 AM)
Well, here's one way to look at it: Jimbo had a chance to give up play calling duties to a guy he knows well, who has been in the system for years, and who is his best recruiter. If he chose not to, that coach was going to leave for an in-state conference rival just weeks before signing day. And what was Jimbo's decision? Point is, he's going to do it on his terms no matter what. I do think it'll happen eventually, but I'd say 2014 at the absolute earliest.
David Hale (11:13 AM)
Also, I'd hardly say it's fair to call Trickett an underachiever. The O line wasn't perfect in 2012, but it improved by leaps and bounds. That was a solid group, and it was a group that entered the season with just one guy who had started multiple games at the college level. Pretty impressive, I think.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Assuming FSU remains in the 4-3, who do you got as the starting front 7 before spring practice?
David Hale (11:16 AM)
I think the base will definitely stay the 4-3... but I think they'll be mixing things up more than they had in the past. My front 7 right now: Edwards-Jernigan-McAllister-Casher up front, LBs are Smith & Jones with a rotation at SLB... I think Matthew Thomas will get some looks, Eligwe could see some action there, and Karlos Williams will get a good bit of work in something of a hybrid role (but not really a traditional strongside LB)
Chase Utley...o/u .5 Spring Training at-bats
David Hale (11:18 AM)
I'd be a fool to take the over, right?
Bracy already ran a faster 60m than olympian Walter Dix did at FSU. If I was Jimbo I would be drawing some plays up for this guy. I cant wait to see him on KR just get him a little crease and he is gone
David Hale (11:19 AM)
Yup. Speed on the track doesn't always translate directly to success on the football field, but Bracy isn't just a one-trick guy. He can flat out fly, but he has some legit football instincts, too. I think we'll see him run some reverses, etc. on offense throughout the season, and given the merry-go-round at PR last year, I could see him getting into that mix, too.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
With FB's nearing extinction in the NFL, will Lonny be forced to become a full time half back, or dare I say convert to TE?
David Hale (11:21 AM)
Not sure Lonnie has the body type to handle fullback. Halfback is more likely. But Lonnie can run, too. He's a weapon in the right situation... just not sure how many of those situations exist in the NFL right now.
Hi David, FSU is pretty loaded at the WR position and they seem to have good depth at RB, especially if Pender comes back strong and Green lives up to the billing. Do you see anyone separating from the group to give us that big name back, or game changing receiver we have been lacking? Also with all that talent on the field, what better time than now to break in a new QB who could be a game changer for the next 3 years?
David Hale (11:22 AM)
All good points, Jeff. And I've been saying this for a while on the QB situation. Not to simply shrug off what Trickett brings to the table, but if you're going to throw a young QB to the wolves early on, why not do it this season when you've got a ton of experience around him -- both at the skill positions and on the line.
David Hale (11:24 AM)
As for a guy separating from the pack at RB/WR, that's a bit tougher to say. I do think Rashad Greene sort of puts it all together this season, and I wouldn't be shocked if he ended up close to the 1,000 yard mark. I thought he really came on the latter half of last season after giving up PR duties. At RB, I think it's going to remain a committee approach. Really, you could sub Green in for Thompson, and it's a backfield that looks (skill set-wise) very much like last year's.
What is your take on fb?
David Hale (11:25 AM)
Right now, I'd guess it'll be a little bit of mix and match. I'm not sure we'll see anyone who has a full-time role like Lonnie did. I could see Jimbo running more spread formations, two-TE sets, etc.
Who do you see as someone who as underperformed recently, but would be a prime candidate to become a breakout star this year?
David Hale (11:28 AM)
Good question. This sort of depends on what you mean by "underperformed." I think Christian Jones had a fine season in 2012, but I wouldn't be surprised if he put together an All-ACC (and maybe All-America) type of year this season. Everyone knows Kelvin Benjamin's potential, but he really didn't impress that much the latter half of 2012 -- failing to come up with some key catches and virtually disappearing from the offense down the stretch. I expect more consistency this season. But the guy I'd really point to might be Nick O'Leary. He's got two years under his belt now. He's going to see a bigger role, working at times as half back. He's going to have a new QB, and inexperienced QBs tend to rely on their TEs a lot more often as a safety valve in the passing game. The deck is set up nicely for O'Leary to put together a pretty strong season.
Quentin (Duluth, GA)
Who do you feel is the front runner for the DE spot oppisite Mario Edwards?
How do you think Casher is going to play this season. With redshirting he has been technically out of football for two years. Any word if he had a good reshirt year and put on good weight or got more explosive. He reminds me of a your Brandon Jenkins or Peter Bowlware
David Hale (11:34 AM)
I wrote a bit about the DEs for NoleNation today -- http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/colleges/fsu/post?id=6534 -- and I've got Edwards and Casher as my projected starters for 2013 (and beyond). Honestly though, it's really up in the air opposite Edwards. As Zach pointed out, other than a handful of pre-injury reps early in 2012, Casher has been off the field for two full years. He's got tremendous talent though, and his style probably plays well opposite Edwards. Newberry is the guy with the most experience, but I don't think anyone was overly impressed with him in 2012. Maybe he starts putting it all together in Year 3 in the system though. I think Walker is a guy to look out for, too. Fisher raved about his potential, and it's hard to quantify just how significant being around for spring practice is for a guy. Add in the fact that there's a new DEs coach and a new DC and it's really about as wide open as the QB job.
How in the world do we get Karlos Williams on the field more? The secondary looks pretty stacked and he isnt quite big enough for a full time LB role. But the guy is fast, has great energy and just absolutely loves to hit people. Really want to see him explode this year
David Hale (11:37 AM)
This is an interesting question because, as you said, FSU is faced with two distinct realities: 1.) The secondary is pretty set (particularly at safety) and 2.) Karlos NEEDS to be on the field. I'll be interested to see how creative Pruitt can get here. Williams can fit easily in a more hybrid role where he's not exactly a LB or a safety, but something in between. Given the number of offenses that run spread formations these days, there's less need for a traditional SLB anyway. Williams can do a lot on the field, but it's going to take some creative scheming to find ways to maximize that talent. I wish we'd actually get a chance to talk to Pruitt because this would be one of the first questions I'd want to ask him.
Will Nick O Leary wear gloves this year. Even Golden Bear wore one Glove
David Hale (11:40 AM)
Ha! True. I'd like to think Nick learned a thing or two from his mistakes last season. But I will say, the bulk of his blunders were caused from him trying to do too much -- fight for extra yards after the catch, then fumble -- rather than not making the plays he needed to make.
Any chance los moves to rb? Know they flirted with it briefly last year.
David Hale (11:41 AM)
Probably as stacked a position (if not more so) than safety. I can't give you a sure fire formula for getting Karlos on the field for 70+% of the snaps in 2013, but I'd be willing to bet that Pruitt finds a way.
Did you get a good night sleep the night after signing day?
David Hale (11:42 AM)
I was worn out, but I didn't even have it that bad. Our recruiting writer, Corey Dowlar, was run far more ragged than I was... and I'm guessing FSU's coaching staff couldn't have been happier when it was all over considering the whirlwind they faced.
Robert (Miami, FL)
With Stoops as the DC, we didn't blitz as much compared to the Andrews days, but also didn't give up the big play. Under Pruitt do you see us blitzing more?
David Hale (11:43 AM)
I think a lot of it will be dictated by personnel. One thing to remember with Stoops is, he had Werner, Jenkins, Carradine -- guys in the front 4 who routinely got pressure and disrupted the passing game. There was less of a need to blitz beyond situationally. In a perfect world, that's what you want: Pressure from the guys up front so you don't need to scheme ways to create it from elsewhere. I will say though that I think the secondary has a ton of talent, and if Pruitt wants to gamble a bit more, he's got the personnel to do it.
4 freshman Alabama players arrested, is this the only way to keep recruits out of bama?
David Hale (11:45 AM)
Maybe. But I do think that, eventually, teams can get TOO much talent. When recruits don't see a path to playing time, they shy away. It's really hard -- especially in a competitive region like the Southeast -- to keep reeling in Top-5 classes year after year because eventually guys are going to say, "Why go there and sit the bench for 2-3 years when I can go elsewhere and start right away?"
David Hale (11:48 AM)
OK, folks, I'm gonna skip out just a bit early this week. Gotta a lot on my plate for today, but hopefully that means some good content coming your way at NoleNation the rest of the week. And we'll be chatting again next Tuesday -- same time, same place. Thanks so much for the questions!