Florida State News and Notes 01.04.09

First, Jimbo Fisher will be formally introduced as Florida State's head coach at a press conference Wednesday morning.  We'll be here to live-blog.

Second, a big welcome to all the new members.  Our little community is now not so little, and I'll remind everyone to review the community guidelines, as we will continue to enforce them.

Don't worry about Arizona's defensive performance against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.  Nebraska ran 73 plays and failed to crack 400 yards.  Less than 5.5 yards per play.  That is good defense.  Now, I'll freely admit that Nebraska's offense is nothing special, but it was still only 5.5 yards per play.  Take it a bit further and find that Nebraska gained only 6.1 YPP before garbage time.  Outside of FSU fans, nobody thought Zona's defense played poorly.  Nebraska's defense dominated the game and 'Zona fans are concerned about their horrid offense (100 yards of offense).  Why then, did Arizona allow 33 points?  Field position, and special teams.  Nebraska kicked field goals of 41, 47, and 50 yards.  I'll let opponents try 45+ yard field goals against my defense all day.  Nebraska just hit them.  Field position was the other.  Arizona allowed 7 scoring drives.  5 of those were 45 yards or less.  3 of those were 31 yards or less, including a 14 yard and a 5 yard scoring drive.  Not only did Zona's offense fail to hold the ball for any amount of time, leaving the 'Cat's defense with no chance of recovery, but they gave Nebraska extremely favorable field position all game.  I can't get over that possession time differential.  Zona's defense was gassed because AU's offense held the ball for only 7 minutes and 30 seconds in the first half!  Nebraska tripled their possession time, holding the ball for 22 minutes, 30 seconds.  I'll take the sample set of Stoop's 3 seasons at Arizona and his other stops, including Miami, over one game in which any defense would have given up a surprising number of points due to field position and time of possession factors.

NoleCC over at Scalpem.com had really been doing a nice job.  First is his recap of the Gator Bowl from the stands.  Then a Bobby thank you.  Finally, and importantly going forward, Bobby Bowden isn't FSU.  Bravo!  FSU football existed before Bobby and exists after.

Chantrant.com has some enjoyable thoughts on the Gator Bowl and next season.

UF is losing some key underclassmen to the draft.  CB Joe Haden is gone, and LB Brandon Hicks, DE Carlos Dunlap, the Pouncey brothers, and Aaron Hernandez are also expected to leave.  Safety Ahmad Black is a possibility as well.  And that is just underclassmen!  In total, UF will lose at least 9 starters and could lose as many as 12. 

But as I wrote this weekend, UF is still a tremendous program.  They are not falling apart.  Yes, Meyer announcement hurting UF's recruiting- Sports Illustrated, but UF is still the better program than FSU at this point.  Having a meltdown when a major commitment chooses the Gators is really dumb.  UF does have some cracks in its foundation, and for the first time in roughly a half decade, they appear to be less than perfect.  Meanwhile, FSU finally appears to be competent for the first time in a decade (sadly).  The 'Noles have a chance to make up some serious ground on UF, but the gap between these programs is still vast.  And no, UF's offense was not all Tebow, who was not very good in SEC play.  This process will take time and is far from guaranteed.  The biggest victory for Florida State is that they now have a shot to gain some ground on UF.  That would be especially true if this ESPN analyst is correct.  

Oh, and in case you were keeping count, UF has now lost DB coach Vance Bedford and is expected to lose RB coach Kenny Carter.  Carter's expected departure is thought to be one of the reasons why RB Mack Brown is expected to decommit from UF, as we first floated on twitter last week.

Speaking of Juniors and the NFL, Five stars on UNC's D put NFL on hold - ACC Blog - ESPN  UNC has 5 legit NFL underclassmen on defense. Unfortunately for the rest of the ACC, they all elected to stay in school. Good thing FSU gets these guys in Doak next season, and that UNC still does not have a QB. The ACC looks strong for next season.

Here are some notes on Seminole recruiting.  FSU Recruiting continues to roll ESPN  It is hard to imagine ESPNU 150 linebacker Christian Jones (Winter Park, Fla./Lake Howell) heading anywhere, but Florida State -- where his brother and father played -- but last week he said that if he was a done deal to the Seminoles, he would have committed by now. An official visit to USC is forthcoming this month and he will decide from there. The safe bet is he will end up in Garnet and Gold as part of one of the nation's top recruiting classes before all is said and done. Look for tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator James Coley's name to pop up at the end of this recruiting cycle as one of the nation's top recruiters. Coley has landed the nation's No. 5, No. 6 and No. 13 overall prospects in cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas), linebacker Jeff Luc (Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast) and athlete Matt Elam (Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer), plus five other talented prospects. That's one of the most impressive hauls for a single recruiter ever.

Because everyone has been asking, YES, Matt Elam will be on campus next week following the US Army All-American game.  Classes start this week, so I'm not sure how that will work out, but I am sure the program will find a way.

As for the final two coaches, Jimbo Fisher will hire a defensive ends coach and a strength coach.  I don't know who the defensive ends coach will be.  FootballScoop.com claims that FSU has spoken with Steve Caldwell, formerly of Tennessee.  I have some feelers out on Caldwell and will see what happens.

Finally, if you don't read the fanposts on the right side of the page, you are really missing out.  Here are a few I wanted to highlight.

DEAR COACH BOWDEN - Tomahawk Nation

It's going to be a Three Headed Monster in FL - Tomahawk Nation  A good discussion of the state's 3 programs and where they are going.

Florida State 2009 Kicking Game Recap: The Hangover? - Tomahawk Nation  a look at the 2009 kicking game, grading pre-season predictions, and looking to next year.

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