Seminole Roster Review: Florida State's Defense 01.12.10

This is a continuation of the roster review series.  It is an attempt to determine which players might leave the team, if any, for a number of reasons.

As noted before, UNC is one of the best/ worst at trimming a roster, and today they did just that as 5 players are no longer with the Tar Heels:

Former prized recruit Jamal Womble is one of five players leaving the North Carolina football program, a school spokesman confirmed Monday.  Womble, a four-star running back from Arizona, has decided to transfer as has receiver Rashad Mason. Tight end Randy White left the program, linebacker Hawatha Bell was dismissed, and tight end Vince Jacobs will graduate in May and leave the program.

The defensive side of the ball presents unique challenges.  First, the defensive players were not asked to work as hard as the offensive kids.  The departed defensive coaches did not demand championship process from the players, and in turn the players did not receive championship level instruction.  Their development lagged far behind that of the offensive players. 

Not surprisingly, the defense ended up as the ACC's worst unit in 6 years (at least 6 years, we didn't have conference-only figures from earlier).  Through their first 5 conference games, they allowed scoring drives of 80, 76, 80, 74, 80, 38, 80, 12, 52, 45, 83, 73, 61, 69, 44, 73, 80, 25, 79, 88, 65, 80, 66, 75, 28, 61, 73, and 59.  And that is just in ACC play!  8 TD drives of 80+ yards!  15 TD drives of 70+ yards!  (more ridiculous perspective on how poor the defense was at the link).  Suffice to say, the defense was horrible. 

Further hurting the development of the young talent, the previous coaching staff was reluctant to play young talent.  Instead they relied on veterans, even when those veterans could not get the job done (Korey Mangum).  This illustrates the problem of immediacy.  When it is more important for a coach to win in the immediate term then to maximize the program's potential, either because the coach is retiring or on the hot seat, then that coach shouldn't be in his position.  

Some coaches even made moves which could be perceived as an attempt to spite the program (see also:  Allen, Jody playing walk-on Craig Yarborough). 

I make no promises as to these predictions and offer this qualifier in advance:  unless the player fails to give championship-level effort in the off-season program, he will be on the roster come Spring so that the player can be instructed and evaluated by competent coaches.  I heard that new defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was disgusted when he watched the film of last year's defense.  He is likely to make major changes to the roster and the scheme. 

In part 1, I predicted that FSU would not retain 2-3 players (including one who had a family issue and has moved home).  Assuming that prediction comes true FSU needs to jettison 4-5 defensive players in order to accommodate the incoming recruiting class and still be under the limit of 84 total scholarships for the 2010 season. 

Defensive Line

Ideally, a team wants to have about 15-17 defensive linemen.  It should be the most numerous group on the team, despite only starting 4 players, as opposed to the offensive line's 5.  The reason for that is three-fold:  defensive linemen rotate a lot to stay fresh, they often get hurt, and they are the position that most frequently encounters academic-related attrition.  Of those 15-17, there should be roughly an equal amount of ends and tackles, with a slight lean in the direction of tackles because outside backers can sometimes become ends, whereas backers cannot become tackles.  As I've detailed for the better part of two years, Florida State's defensive line recruiting from 2006-2007 was atrocious.  The 2006 and 2007 recruiting classes should now be red-shirt seniors and true seniors.  That lack of recruiting is why Florida State finds itself with a less than ideal situation along the defensive line.

Defensive Tackle

SR JR SO FR
Moses McCray Jacobbi McDaniel Cameron Ervin
Anthony "Amp" McCloud (rs) (Spring '10 enrolled) Damien Jacobs
Everette Dawkins (rs)

 

 

Defensive End

Outside of the head coaching position, the biggest coaching upgrade is at defensive end where Darin "DJ" Eliot takes over for the departed Jody Allen.  Allen was terrible and the new coach is very promising.

Sr JR SO FR
Markus White (rs) Jamar Jackson Tosmon Stevens (rs)
Dan Hicks (rs)
Brandon Jenkins (enrolled Spring '09) Darious Cummings
Bjoern Werner
Demonte McAllister (rs)

Linebacker

I settled on 11 linebackers.  Some of our writers believe that 12 is the better number, but with the upper range of defensive linemen and quarterbacks, it wasn't feasible.  Linebacker is a contact position, meaning injury is more likely to occur than at a non-contact position (defensive back).  It is not, however, as injury prone as the defensive line.  'Backers also are not as likely to experience academic attrition issues as defensive linemen.  Additionally, 'Backers are less likely to bust than defensive linemen and defensive backs because their high-school skills more directly translate to the college game.  For those reasons, I chose 11 over 12 as the ideal number for a squad like the 'Noles. 

Chuck Amato did a horrible job recruiting in his return to Florida State.  His performance the 2nd time around was shameful.  He did no recruiting and failed to develop the backers at all.  Because of Amato, FSU is in a huge hole at linebacker. 

SR JR SO FR
Kendall Smith Nigel Bradham Vince Williams (rs) Jeff Luc (Spring '10 Enrolled)
Mister Alexander (rs) Nigel Carr Holmes Onwukaife
Telvin Smith
Nigel Terrel
Christian Jones

 

Defensive Backs

Ideally, FSU should field 13-14 defensive backs.  DB's are not injured as frequently as other defensive positions and rotate the least.  The 'Noles have done a poor job over the last few years, due to Mickey Andrews, of recruiting defensive backs. These charts make it easy to see where the thinning is needed:

Cornerback

SR JR SO FR
Ochuko Jenijie (rs) Dionte Allen (rs) Greg Reid Xavier Rhodes (rs)
Mike Harris (JUCO) Lamarcus Joyner
Terrence Brooks

 

Safety

SR JR SO FR
Terrance Parks Nick Moody (rs) Gerald Demps (rs)
Avis Commack Ed Imeokparia (rs) Justin Bright (rs)
JaJuan Harley Chad Abram

 

Special Teams

FSU has a kicker and punter on scholarship.   I think there are enough soccer players out there for FSU to be able to find a kid to punt the ball and use a scholarship on a player. 

 

The list

Prior, Gresham, and Harriss are gone.  Assuming a class of 29, FSU will not retain 4+ guys from this group:  Matt Dunham, Cameron Wade, Jamar Jackson, Tavares Pressley, Ty Jones (though not Pressley AND Jones), AJ Alexander, and Ed Imeokparia.

 

Final Thought

Bowden ran this program so far into the ground, it is unbelieveable.  People really do not understand just how bad it was when Fisher got here.  Look at the 2007 class, the source of the upcoming seniors and redshirt juniors.  It's the last class before Fisher arrived.  Here are the players the previous staff recruited:

Dionte Allen DB 5-11 175 4.4 6.0
Orchard Lake, MI Frequently injured
Kendall Smith LB 6-1 207 4.5 6.0
Bushnell, FL Starter
Jamar Jackson DE 6-4 225 4.65 5.9
Richmond, VA Injured/ little promise
Zach Hillery OL 6-4 315 4.9 5.8
Chatham, VA Did not qualify/ personal issues
Bernard Brinson DB 5-10 169 4.61 5.7
Greenville, FL Did not qualify/ personal issues
Brian Coulter DE 6-4 255 - 5.7
Poplarville, MS Did not qualify/ personal issues
Will Furlong OL 6-5 275 - 5.7
DeLand, FL Left team (personal reasons / "injury")
Anthony  Grosso OL 6-6 290 5.12 5.6
Matawan, NJ Left team - didn't like football
Maurice Harris LB 6-0 189 4.51 5.6
Homestead, FL career ending "injury"/ attitude
Cameron Wade WR 6-4 180 4.55 5.6
Cairo, GA Terrible player/ terrible attitude
Aaron Gresham LB 6-2 222 - 5.5
Mayo, FL Career ending injury
Shawn Powell K 6-5 215 - 5.1
Rome, GA Punter

13 players and 1 starter!  6 failed to qualify or were booted from the team.  That is horrible. 

Players in the 2007 class brought in by the new staff during 3 week period after joining program before National Signing Day:

Antwane Greenlee OL 6-6 302 5.1 6.0
Columbus, GA Frequently injured, but still considered promising and a valuable backup
Brandon Paul ATH 5-10 185 4.4 5.8
Tallahassee, FL Booted from team- personal issues
Bert Reed ATH 5-11 165 4.4 5.8
Panama City, FL Starter
Jatavious Jackson OL 6-4 270 - 5.6
Belle Glade, FL Left team- personal reasons
Taiwan Easterling ATH 5-11 192 4.4 5.5
Hattiesburg, MS Solid contributor
Rodney Hudson OL 6-2 276 5.22 5.5
Mobile, AL All-American
Jonathan Hannah TE 6-4 260 4.75 5.4
Louisburg, NC Can't read (did not qualify/ personal issues/ repeated JUCO player)
A.J. Ganguzza OL 6-2 260 5.52 5.3
Boca Raton, FL Backup

Hannah is questionable as a recruit for the new guys since he was previously brought in by the old staff.  Still, three starters and several other decent backups.  Amazing what coaching does, huh?

Those guys look worse with each year that passes.  What in the world were those old coaches doing? Only 10 of 20 players are even still on the team!  Are you kidding me?  if you want to see how far FSU has come, compare the '06 and '07 classes (pre-Fisher & new coaches) to Fisher's 1st two classes ('08 & '09).  There is NO comparison.

There are only 10 seniors on this team.  Only 8 were recruited before Fisher arrived. 

This program has come a long way since the the disaster year (2006).  Before a plane can soar it must first be pulled out of its tailspin. 

If someone reminds me, I'll do a story on just how young the team will be this upcoming year, thanks to two awful recruiting classes in 2006 and 2007.

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