Thanks again to Chris Holder for covering the event for us. In the first video, Jimbo talks about living in the now and how FSU compares to the national champion LSU team on which he coached the offense.Next, Jimbo Poo-poo’s the rumor about FSU joining the ACC and talks about recruiting Brandon Jenkins. Here's Jimbo on keeping the team focused through the first two games instead of looking ahead to Oklahoma. Back on the field, Sean Powell interviews teammates, while Lonnie Pryor and Dustin Hopkins cut up.
Photographer Chris Holder was all over the field at Doak this weekend, shooting for us during FSU's annual Media Day. Today's gallery is the 2011 team picture and Seminole offense by position segments. Tomorrow we'll feature the defense, kickers and coaches.
By now, most, if not all, of college football has heard that Texas A&M is looking to join the SEC, which is hoping to make a super-conference by also adding FSU, Clemson, and Missouri. Within this, a lot of information is making the rounds. Let’s take a quick look at what we do know is true:
FACT: Texas A&M wants to leave the Big 12 for the SEC
This is the easiest piece of the puzzle. Ever since the Texas to the Pac-10 rumors swirled last year (which ended with Texas having their own television network), A&M has felt like they got the short end of the stick. The Aggies were rumored to be looking at the SEC last summer, but did not make a move at the time. With the Board of Regents meeting Monday to discuss, and potentially vote on A&M making the move, College Station could have a new address. However, this Monday meeting might be all for nothing, because:
Fact: SEC Presidents are meeting to discuss expansion
11 of the 12 SEC Presidents are meeting Sunday (today) to discuss expansion (one is participating via conference call). This meeting is set to discuss the possibility of Texas A&M, and one ACC school from joining. Now, here is where things start getting murky. If this meeting is to have a vote, 9 of the 12 presidents must approve in order for an invitation to be given. Should A&M get the 9 votes, the SEC would immediately have to look into adding their 14th team. At that point, discussion would start between adding FSU, Clemson, and/or Missouri to start as part of the SEC in 2012. The timing is questionable though, because:
Fact: ACC teams have to announce by Monday, August 15th if they plan on leaving. If FSU wanted to leave to the SEC, they must send an official notice of withdrawal on August 15th, which is the day after the SEC would vote. For something like this to happen quickly would lead to potential lawsuits and concerns of collusion. An added strike against a team leaving the ACC would be lost revenues. Any team leaving the ACC can only accept 25% of their revenue, and with each team expected to receive $13 million as part of the new TV deal, that is a lot of dough on the table.
I can’t speculate whether or not anything said by administrators or coaches or athletic directors is fact or fiction, because these guys are master magicians, and it’s constant sleight of hand with their statements to the media. However, if I were a betting man, this is where I think the path is going:
Texas A&M will be accepted into the SEC unless the Big 12 makes some super offer to them. Because of the August 15th deadline, no ACC team will leave the conference this season. The SEC will make a push at another team from the Big 12 (likely Missouri), to join in 2012. After they wrap up the 14th team, efforts to add FSU and Clemson as 15 and 16 would begin to have them in the conference by 2013.
Of course, both UF and USC have gone on record as not wanting their in-state rival in the conference, so that roadblock is in the way.
For FSU fans, I wouldn’t expect to see anything change for at least the next two years. Except, of course, the lack of championships.
There are two sides to every story. Also to every non-conference home game scheduled by FSU’s brain trust. ACC teams, of course, are a given. So is the annual blood match with the boys from a certain Alachua County institution. But that handful of other games? It’s a tricky tightrope walk between pleasing fans while not creating a murderer’s row. Balancing a powerhouse like Oklahoma with a tune-up like spunky Louisiana Monroe.
But Charleston Southern? Today, we’ll explore the cons of scheduling the Buccaneers, and save the Pros for next time.
1. It’s one thing to schedule an FCS team, but it’s hard to get excited about a bad FCS team. How bad? Charleston Southern may be the worst opponent FSU has played in recent memory. Worse than Samford last year and The Citadel in 2005.
The Buccaneers were 3 and 8 last season. Two of those wins were against Division II competition (North Greenville and Mars Hill). CSU's sole FCS victory came against Presbyterian, the only team with a worse record in their conference (Big South).
Charleston Southern finished near the bottom in FCS defensive stats: 116th in Scoring Defense, giving up an average of 41.55 points per game. Total Defense was almost as bad: 111th of 117 FCS teams.
The Bucs were somewhat better on offense: 82nd in Total Offense and 68th in Scoring O. That might give promise for an improved 2011 team, except CSU lost its top seven receivers from last year.
Those weren’t the only players moving on. CSU’s depth chart lists only five seniors in the starting lineup.
2. A game made for phantom fans. You know, those season ticket holders disguised as empty seats? It also doesn’t help that CSU comes to town between the Louisiana Monroe kickoff and the clash of the Titans with Oklahoma, making it easy for out of town fans to stay home and try to figure how to watch on ESPN3. If filling the stadium is a goal, this is a step in the wrong direction.
3. A missed opportunity. Some creative scheduling would've been nice. For example, South Alabama. The Jaguars are still an FCS team (graduating to FBS next year) and, if available, would have provided a winnable game without being a pushover. FSU vs. USA would've also created strong regional buzz, as well as selling plenty of tickets to Jag fans. Even Georgia State, an FCS team coached by Bill Curry playing its second season, would’ve been a better match-up than CSU, including more media attention and ticket sales.
Update: One of our readers has an even better idea. Tom wrote: "What about North Alabama? With the connections between Fisher facing Terry Bowden, and knowing North Alabama has some former FBS level players it would be interesting."
But the point here isn’t to belittle the Bucs. It’s simply that FSU has no business playing a team so out of its league. Bottom line: Florida State's scheduling of Charleston Southern is reminicent of David vs. Goliath. Except in this case the kid left his slingshot at home.
Oklahoma's top tackler for the past three seasons will apparently miss the Sooners trip to Tallahassee on September 17. Travis Lewis, an All-American who passed up the NFL draft for his senior season at OU, broke a bone in his foot during pre-season practice (cue the collective "A-w-w-w-w"). He's projected to be out for eight weeks.
Sophomore Corey Nelson is expected to take Lewis's spot at weakside LB. Nelson is a 4-star from Dallas who was being groomed as a nickle back for the Sooners. A little light for a linebacker, Nelson is listed at 6-ft., 208 lbs. He played in all 14 of OU's games last year, recording 10 solo tackles and 11 assists.
Grab your shades. The outlook is bright for another top ranked recruiting class -- at least according to the best measure we've seen of a moving target. Athlon has just compiled the rankings of six different recruiting services into one master list called the Athlon Consensus 100.
FSU has five verbal commits on the list: Mario Edwards (#2), Jameis Winston (#15), Dante Fowler, Jr. (#24), Chris Casher (#52), and Mario Pender (#63). Twenty-five more of the Consensus 100 are considering the Noles, including Dorial Green-Beckham, a WR from Missouri, who Athlon ranks as the nations #1 prospect.
The only other team with more commits from the top 100 is Texas with six. Others include the gators, Clemson and Miami, all with two verbals each.
Aug. 8/Today thru Aug. 12 - First Day of Practice
(5-day acclimation period in shorts and helmets)
Sat. Aug. 13 – First Full Pad Practice/Two-A-Day
Sun. Aug. 14 – MEDIA DAY (9 a.m. – 11 a.m.)/Fan Day begins at Noon at Civic Center
Mon. Aug. 15 – Two-A-Day Practice
Tues. Aug. 16 – Scrimmage
Thurs. Aug. 18 – Two-A-Day Practice
Sat. Aug. 20 – Two-A-Day Practice
Sun. Aug. 21 – OFF
Tues. Aug. 23 – Scrimmage
Thurs. Aug. 25 – Two-A-Day Practice
Fri. Aug. 26 – Kickoff Luncheon, 11:30am, Leon Co. Civic Center
Sun. Aug. 28 - OFF
Mon. Aug. 29 – First Day of Class/First Game Week Press Conference
Sat. Sept. 3 – Game 1: FSU vs. Louisiana Monroe, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Scheme: Clemson struggled mightily last year on offense, finishing 86th in scoring offense and 88th in total offense and generally looking like a team without an identity. That led Dabo Swinney to fire coordinator Billy Napier and hire Chad Morris away from Tulsa. Morris has only coached one year in college football but what a year it was: Tulsa finished fifth in total offense and sixth in scoring. And Tulsa was the only FBS team to rank in the top 15 in both passing and rushing offense. Morris uses an up-tempo, no-huddle spread attack that strives to achieve balance. He is really a run-first guy, but uses exotic looks to open up running lanes and deceive the defense.
Quarterbacks: Not only do the Tigers have to break in a new coordinator and offense, they are also breaking in a new QB. But that may not be a bad thing after Kyle Parker sputtered for much of his sophomore season before deciding to turn pro in baseball this spring. Enter sophomore Tajh Boyd, a much ballyhooed recruit. Boyd (329 yds, 52%, 4 TDs, 3 interceptions) is a gifted all-around athlete who has looked good in this offense thus far, but he still needs to refine his mechanics and footwork and improve his accuracy.
The Tigers have to hope that Boyd remains healthy because he has two true freshmen behind him in Cole Stoudt and Tony McNeal. Both players enrolled early and participated in spring practice. Stoudt has the early lead to be the backup. Stoudt wowed the coaches with his arm and mental approach to the game while McNeal brings better athleticism to the table.
Running Backs: Despite the loss of Jamie Harper, a surprise defection to the NFL Draft a year early, the Tigers should boast a solid corps of runners. The headliner is junior Andre Ellington, whose running styles bears a striking resemblance to C.J. Spiller. Ellington (654 yds, 5.5 average, 10 TDs, 12 receptions, 111 yds, 1 TD) was limited to 7 games due to a toe injury and the fortunes of Clemson’s offense really took a downward slide after his injury. Ellington is a home run threat who is surprisingly tough given his size (5-10, 190).
Due to Ellington’s injury last year, sophomore Roderick McDowell was thrown into the fire last year and earned valuable reps. McDowell (145 yds, 4.5 avg, 1 TD) isn’t very physical and probably can’t be an every down guy, but he does provide a change of pace. When Clemson wants power, they can turn to redshirt frosh Demont Buice, a 6-0, 220-pounder who led the team in rushing in the spring game. Buice is the typical power back who can move the pile. For speed off the bench, Clemson can turn to redshirt freshman D.J. Howard. Many fans and pundits, though, think the main backup will likely be true freshman Mike Bellamy. Bellamy, rated a 5-star prospect by many recruiting services, was offered by all the heavyweights, but was lured to Clemson partly because many view him as another Spiller. Blessed with blinding speed and shifty moves, Bellamy will have a role somewhere.
Receivers/Tight Ends: After having to rebuild in 2010, the Tigers suddenly boast one of the ACC’s better groups, with 7 of last year’s top 8 pass catchers back. And with several exciting true freshmen in the fold come August, this could be Clemson’s best offensive unit.