First, would just like to say that I'm a big fan of the site. I wasn't able to watch most of this college football season because of work, but being able to catch up with TN articles and discussion kept me informed and made missing FSU games a little more tolerable.
Now, to the point. It is the off-season and like many FSU football fans who have acquired a somewhat fatalist attitude after a decade of disasters, the hope for the upcoming season also comes with the inevitable worry of a "who is gonna transfer/get kicked off the team/quit?" Is it a player we need, and at a position lacking depth? Murphy's Law seems to ensure that it always is...
It was a chance article I came across about the dismissal of Chris Weinke's heir apparent, Jerod Jones, that got me thinking about attrition in FSU football. Every school goes through it's fair share of "what could have been" with a star player that didn't work out and left school. But as an FSU fan, and with no real evidence at all for saying this, it always seems like FSU has had it so much worse than any other team the past decade. It's like a perfect storm of who the program can't afford to lose. The list of QB's is particularly disturbing:
Jerod "Hot Dog" Jones dismissal in 2001
Joe Mauer playing baseball in 2001
Adrian McPherson's paper cha$e
Fabian Walker not, uh, working out
Wyatt Sexton's "Lyme Disease."
And I'm gonna throw Xavier Lee on here too. I don't think there was anyone associated with the football program who didn't think Lee was FSU's QB of the future when he was recruited. Weatherford was a complete afterthought.
Who knows how some of these guys would have panned out had they stuck around (or in Lee's case, end up as a HUGE disappointment), but we do know that the QB succession plan was thrown in to upheaval. Guys like Rix and Weatherford ended up playing well ahead of schedule. The results on the field showed. What if Rix and Weatherford (or even Lee) had gotten a few years to develop before starting? Maybe we win a few more games, who knows, but major attrition at the QB position is tough to overcome. Coupled with Jeff Bowden and it gets real tough. We got shut out at home by Wake Forest in 2006. That pretty much sums it up.
Thankfully, Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel have stabilized the QB position for FSU the past few years. Nevertheless, attrition still occurs, and prior to the 2010 football season FSU had a string of personnel losses that left me wondering what if they played? These are three guys who didn't play that I think could have made an impact this past season in helping the team.
LB Nigel Carr broke some laws, dismissed from team
WR Jarmon Fortson broke team rules, dismissed from team
DT Moses McCray tore his ACL
Before we go any further, I'm going to make it clear that I know there is no way Coach Fisher could keep Carr or Fortson on the team. They needed to go elsewhere, but I do think it's interesting to wonder what might have been had they stayed out of trouble and been on the team this past season. Jarmon Fortson would have started. He was infuriatingly inconsistent, but that seems to sum up the entire receiving corps this season. Nigel Carr also was set to be a starter before he was kicked off the team. Is he better than Mister Alexander who seems to have done an admirable job? I don't know, but he was a talent and the bottom line is it hurts to lose talent for stupid reasons.
Then there's Moses McCray. I absolutely think FSU could have used him this season. It's no secret how thin our D-line depth was and Moses is a big dude that I think could have contributed. It's too bad he hasn't been able to stay healthy. At the very least, if Moses McCray is able to play, does Darius Cummings end up burning his redshirt to play against Maryland?
Do these three guys help us win a game or two more in 2010? I don't know, but I think it's interesting to think about.
There are other players out there as well who potentially could have made an impact this season. For the sake of wondering what might have been;
What if Justin Mincey redshirted last year as planned to recover from his knee injury and was available for the 2010 season?
What if D'Vontrey Richardson didn't play baseball and followed through with his position switch to safety? He would have been a senior for 2010, and despite moving to defense, the guy had serious football talent.
The list of misses and "what might have beens" can go on and on. Whatever the impact of some of these guys might have been, I'm just left wondering if there were TD catches, sacks, and big defensive stops that never made it on the field in 2010?
Lastly, I just want to finish with a thought. A little off topic, but it kind of figures in to attrition. It's my recruiting pet peeve. I hate recruiting two QB's the same year. If we take Brissett and Coker this year, one of them won't stick around.
I understand there may be depth issues and all that jazz, but we're potentially looking at 5 scholarship QB's. I've seen this before at FSU and other programs, it doesn't bode well. Weatherford and Xavier Lee came in the same recruiting class. So did Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson. D'Vontrey left to play baseball and from an outsiders perspective, seemed to handle being Ponder's backup okay, but he was also willing to switch positions. Is Brissett and Coker gonna work? Big programs with highly recruited QB's in the same recruiting class spells transfer in my mind.
That being said, thanks for reading. I miss college football...