The era of E.J. is about to begin at FSU, and I along with many FSU fans are very excited. After three years of having an excellent quarterback in Christian Ponder at the helm, it is time for E.J. to show us why he was one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in 2008. FSU fans have already seen glimpses of E.J.'s potential the last two seasons as he filled in for Ponder during the stretch run in 2009 that concluded with a Gator Bowl win in Coach Bowden's final game, and this season in which he started the Clemson game, the ACC Championship game, and most of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory over SEC runner-up South Carolina. Now E.J. finally gets his chance to be the full-time starter at FSU.This begs the question, how will the offense be different now that E.J. is the starter? The offense will be different in that Coach Fisher will, at least early in the season, tweak the offense so that E.J.'s strengths are magnified and the weaknesses are minimized. In watching E.J.'s highlight film from this year ,one conclusion that can be reached from the video that he excels at the designed quarterback runs. This is because he is like our running backs in that he has good vision, finds a hole quickly, and commits to it. Whether it was an option play, a QB draw or sweep, or a zone-read play E.J. ran them extremely well. These plays I believe will become staples of our playbook next season as Coach Fisher will likely mix these plays in with the traditional zone running plays in order to establish the running game.
One could also conclude that FSU will use more rollout plays . These plays are great for a quarterback like E.J. because of his running ablility, accuracy with the sideline throws and throwing on the run, and they could not only wear the defense down but also open up the running lanes by stretching the defense. We could even see some deep rollouts like the one E.J. pulled off in the Clemson game that was one of the biggest offensive plays of the game. In speaking of the deep pass, I believe FSU will call more deep passing plays next season because of E.J.'s arm strength and to keep the defense honest.
The underlying conclusion of this article is that Coach Fisher will look to keep E.J. moving in order to generate offense, similar to how Charlie Ward was used in 1993. This is not to say E.J. can't drop back and toss the ball over the field because he has shown his ablility to do so, I just believe Coach Fisher will do what has mentioned above to get E.J. comfortable with being the full-time starter and until he can trust E.J. with checking the offense into the right play. This will be especially evident in the early part of the season when we play OU and Clemson. However, I do believe Coach Fisher will give E.J. more freedom when he becomes comfortable running the offense like Ponder ran it when he was the starter. I have full confidence E.J. can become as good as Ponder and perhaps even better. Here's to having another elite offense in 2011. Go Noles!!!
This is my first fan post so I welcome all feedback positive AND negative so I can become a better writer.