After seven years, ScalpEm.com is hanging it up. NoleCC is an excellent blogger and I wouldn't be surprised to see him post some articles over here. I'd welcome it, if he is interested.
Here's the drill. You have to hire a head coach right now to lead your program for the next several years; whom would you choose? Forget about what happened in the past and forget about legendary status - you wouldn't hire Joe Paterno to build the franchise - you want a guy who can be the head man for a long, long time.
Age is a factor, recruiting talent helps and the ability to do big things with mediocre talent doesn't hurt. So with that in mind, this isn't a ranking of the best coaches in the ACC;
1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State Career Record: 10-4 He waited his turn and was patient, and now he has Florida State close to being a true superpower again. More than anything else, he’s dominating as a recruiter as he quickly upgraded the talent level. A top offensive mind, young, and on the verge of becoming one of the stars of the coaching world, he’s one to rebuild a program around. Hot Seat Status: None. Expectations are sky high and soon nothing less than an ACC title will be acceptable, but for now, all is right with the FSU world.
Questions unanswered: The backup quarterback job is still a race between Clint Trickett and Will Secord. Offensive line issues still linger, particularly at center, where injuries have delayed progress. Three different players have rotated at the position this spring.
Obviously there has been plenty said about Devonta Freeman to this point and there will likely be a lot more. He's been a favorite of many in the 2011 class, especially coming in as an early enrollee, which is why he's the second to be featured in the Freshman Fridays series.
From Paula in Gainesville: What makes you so confident FSU can be a BCS title contender with an unproven QB like EJ Manuel? Haven't we been down this road before with Chris Rix, Xavier Lee and Fabian Walker?
I realize Manuel's career TD-INT ratio isn't very good, but keep in mind that this is a young guy who was battling shoulder problems before. Manuel told me it was probably about 75 percent healthy last year, but now "it feels great." The junior quarterback will have a chance to show off his new and improved arm when the Noles have their spring game Saturday (ESPN3.com, 4 p.m. ET).
The coaching staff there has done a lot of revamping on his throwing motion. Dameyune Craig, FSU's quarterbacks coach, spotted Manuel's bad habit of relying too much on his arm and not getting his legs more involved in his mechanics.
"We changed the whole motion," head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "It took really about two years and we kept tweaking. He was an arm thrower and his elbow was behind his head." The result of the mechanics overhaul, Fisher says, is that the QB has improved his accuracy and arm strength.
From the mental side of things, Manuel has always gotten high marks, and he's already shown he can play under pressure. Remember, he won MVP honors in the Gator Bowl as a freshman.
When I visited FSU a few weeks ago, everyone there was raving about Manuel. Fisher, who has worked with more than his share of excellent quarterbacks, said the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Manuel "has all the tools and intangibles," and that he's got "it." In addition to the physical stuff, his maturity and make-up are the things that really jump out at you. Greg Reid told me that after he met Manuel on his recruiting trip to Tallahassee, his mom suggested to him that he "should hang around" Manuel, sensing what a solid guy Manuel's parents had raised.
Manuel, who said he has made the Dean's List twice at FSU and carries a 3.3 GPA, is the son of a former Air Force man who is a hazmat certifier for the Navy. As he was going through the recruiting process, the younger Manuel asked star Seminoles defensive back (and future Rhodes Scholar) Myron Rolle about the challenge of juggling academics and big-time football.
"That was one of the main questions I asked Myron, not just about Florida State, but about colleges in general," Manuel said. "He said it was about maintaining your priorities. If you have your priorities in check, then you'll be fine. His were God, family, football. And with family being you take care of your work in the classroom."
Manuel, who told Rolle he wanted to wear his No. 3 jersey at FSU, says the Rhodes Scholar has served as a mentor to him off the field.
"Being a QB of the Seminoles comes with a lot of scrutiny and attention," Rolle said. "I felt EJ was ready and equipped with the necessary qualities and the right people around him to handle it. He wanted to wear my No. 3 and he asked me to wear it. He called me almost every day in high school to make sure he was doing the necessary things to prepare for his college experience. And so far, he's exceeded my expectations.
"Him, his parents, his grandmother looked at me as someone he could lean on for support, lean on for advice and use as the model for how to balance being a student-athlete and the hype that comes with being a highly touted recruit," Rolle continued. "If he saw an older individual such as myself doing what he wants to do in the future, I think wearing my number and associating himself with me, made the journey a little more realistic. I was honored when he asked me."
It sounds like the FSU offense is in very good hands.
1. Right Tackles Jarvis Jones' potentially season-ending injury has set up a two-man race for the starting spot at right tackle between Josh Aladenoye and Daryl Williams. With spring practices being closed off to the public, it's almost impossible to know who will get the nod. The Red-White Game could offer some hints, although both are playing on the same team.
First off, the offensive line is taking another hit, with starting left tackle Justin Gilbert injuring his knee...again. He missed most of last year with an ACL injury, so this is pretty tough news. He'll likely be out until October, meaning he'll probably miss around half of the season, if not more. The real problem here isn't the loss of a starter, but instead the loss of depth. I like Gilbert a lot, but he didn't have a iron grip on the position over Max Garcia, a true sophomore who saw limited playing time at the same spot last year. Garcia will become the starter at LT now, and I'm okay with that. He was really highly-touted coming out of HS and is lauded for his athleticism and quick feet. In fact, I'm intrigued to see what Garcia, who could be a three-year starter, can do. But if Garcia gets hurt, that's when things get tricky. The only other LT on the team is Cody Blue, a converted defensive lineman who's seen minimal playing time. In fact, I can't remember the last time his name came up in conversation. My real fear comes from operating with one known commodity at one of the most important positions on the field. Don't be surprised to see some shuffling to compensate for that.
So far, so good and Davis is being rewarded for his successful spring. Wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman told the media Davis has moved up to Co-No. 1 at flanker alongside Coale. The question becomes what to do in the fall if Roberts is able to return to 100 percent before Sept. 3. Davis, a converted quarterback, is tall and athletic and physically seems like he'd be better suited to play split end, a spot Jarrett Boykin has excelled at through three years at Virginia Tech. But if Davis can't unseat Coale as the starting flanker and Roberts can return with his blazing speed as his back up, would it make sense to move Davis to the No. 2 split end spot and evenly distribute the four best receivers? Either way, it's a good problem to have if you're the Hokies and especially for Thomas.
Remember the recruitment of Ray Drew? Be glad FSU didn't land him, both because he seems to be a drama queen, and because FSU already landed two or three better defensive end prospects in the 2012 class who might not have committed had Drew selected FSU. Now comes word that he will be throwing discus in college, meaning he will not be doing football lifting and football activities. That's not good news for UGA fans.