In no particular order, particularly order of importance, but all contribute to next year's success
Could have made this "in the spring" or "through recruiting", but let's lump recruiting, spring, and preseason together. Are these the top 7, or do you have others that rank higher than some of these?
A. Who replaces Rodney Hudson?
Or more generally, how does the line rebuild? Hudson and McMahon are gone, Datko should be back but struggled with injuries, and right OG was a revolving door of players this past season. The weapons are there on offense, but it takes a line to give time to the QB and open running lanes.
2. Who replaces EJ?
I know, strange question, but a legit one. EJ moves up to replace Ponder, but when Ponder went down the last two years, Manuel stepped up and won the games Ponder would have been expected to win, and won two (South Carolina off the bench) that FSU would have been or were an underdog either way. Who steps up among the QB depth to provide that kind of insurance policy?
D. Will FSU finally have a steady presence at TE?
O'Leary is the one hoped for, but FSU also redshirted two tight ends in '10, Will Tye and Tank Sessions. Between the three of them and any returning talent, will FSU have a strong TE threat in the passing game and/or the option of triple TE for running? (I'm a big fan of triple TE offense for 3rd and short, 4th and short, and goal line offense).
4. Will someone step up as a kickoff returner?
FSU was 88th in the nation in kickoff returns in 2010. With the athletes FSU has, you'd think they could find a threat or two and finish in the top 30 at least.
5. Will the safeties catch up with the corners?
FSU had a strong group of corners in 2010, going two-deep, and Waisome adds even more depth. Yet the corners were young and in the first year of a new system, so they should be much better next year. Can the safeties make up ground and give FSU a strong secondary next year to complement the 3rd rank pass rush (in terms of sacks)? Doing so would go a long way in moving the Seminoles up from the 71st ranked passing defense in yards allowed.
6. Will FSU's size show up on the defensive line?
FSU was third nationally in sacks, but only fourth in the ACC in tackles for a loss. Fisher has put an emphasis on recruiting and training to build a bigger defensive line - one that should occupy more offensive linemen and free up FSU's linebackers in run defense. Will the dividends of a bigger line come in 2011?
7. Who emerges as a star at linebacker?
Great defenses seem to have at least one star at each level of the defense. Brandon Jenkins is the ACC's top returning sack leader, and Reid looks to emerge as the guy in the secondary. Who will join them among the linebackers? Will Bradham live up to his potential finally?