Here is part 2 of our exchange with Pistols Firing. This time, we answer his questions.
1. One a scale of 1-to-Peter Warrick how worried are FSU fans about Jameis missing time next year?
Not worried one bit. He barely missed any time playing baseball, so I don't see why they would bench him for football. On paper, he's already served his time. But mopping the floors at the YMCA doesn't fix anything. His off-field errors are magnified because of his on-field accolades. He's walking a fine line, however, and needs to mature. Once he aligns his off-field persona with his on-field poise, he's going to go far.
2. The disease of more,you've heard of it, I presume. How immune will this FSU team be to that?
This is a legitimate concern, but I think it will be okay. Many teams can handle it for a while, but the question is whether you can do it on a sustained basis (i.e., more than 5 years). FSU had a magical run from 1987 to 2001, but I don't think we'll ever see anything like that again. FSU, is however, in that 1990s groove where the 2nd and 3rd string players get considerable playing time. This means you're getting a rotation of players that are hungry and ready to contribute. What worries me sometimes is that I see the players posing with their championship rings on Twitter, but I think that, come August, the rings will be put in storage. I imagine Jimbo is letting them enjoy the fruits of their labor while they can.
3. Last year FSU's offense was really, really good but the defense was even better. Which unit will take the top spot this year?
The defense, again, but by a hair. The defense features the best secondary in college football, the so-called "No Fly Zone" led by Jalen Ramsey, Ronald Darby, Tyler Hunter, and Nate Andrews. It's a very talented bunch that ruined the stat sheet of almost every quarterback they faced. FSU's offense will look a little different this year (having lost Kelvin Benjamin, Kenny Shaw, James Wilder, Jr., and Devonta Freeman) but we have a senior-laden offensive line. FSU will be able to impose its will offensively. Late in the year, Winston began looking for the big plays as opposed to just taking what was given to him by the defense. That worries me some and is one of the reasons why I predict the defense will be the better unit. FSU was great offensively, but didn't quite click late in the year like they did against Pittsburgh and Clemson. The defense, however, never lost form.
4. Jimbo Fisher's best trait is ___________________?
Sticking to his guns. Fisher knows what he wants and how he wants it. He came to FSU with a plan and never wavered, even when his seat got a little warm following several losses to double digit underdogs.
5. Kelvin Benjamin reminds you of _____________________?
This is tricky. I hate to say it but he's one of a kind and he's still very much a project. The sky could be the limit for him but he still has some mental hangups that prevent him from doing better. To his credit, he built quite the resume last year with photo-perfect touchdowns against Clemson and Auburn. He's a unique blend of size, speed, and hands. Part of the issue is that he only has one solid year of production. It's hard, based on limited tape, to label him in the name of another, existing player.
6. What's the scenario for the Pokes winning in Dallas?
If you can contain Rashad Greene and Nick O'Leary without sacrificing the rest of the defense, the Pokes have a chance. The problem is, if you sell out to stop the run or the pass, you're going to be in trouble. Both units are very strong this year and I'd argue the running game may be better. Granted, we lost our two "starting running backs" but in their place are more talented runners. Write this name down because you're going to hear it quite a bit during the game: Karlos Williams. If you sell out trying to stop Greene and O'Leary, then Karlos Williams is going to have a field day. But if the Pokes' defense can somehow maintain balance, they could slow FSU down enough to make it interesting. The problem is that, short of a weakened defensive interior, FSU will be just as good on defense as it was last year.
Champs 37 Pokes 20
[Editor's Note: In our conversations with Pistols Firing, they were completely unaware of Karlos Williams. That's probably for the best, as Williams will have a nice coming out party on a national stage in Dallas.]
Comments? Questions? Kudos?