Let's get right to it with the Florida State depth chart.
FSU released its pre-fall depth chart yesterday. What did I notice?
- EJ Manuel at 6'5" 245. Continue to laugh at everyone who thinks Fisher won't ride Manuel's legs.
- Lonnie Pryor at 230 pounds. If that's anywhere close to accurate, he could be an All-American. Chad Abram did move to fullback. We told you they were trying that out a few weeks ago.
- The offensive line continues to get bigger and stronger. Remember, Trickett wants athletes and is not against size as long as it is good size.
- Backup tackles Dan Foose and Garrett Faircloth north of 290 is good news.
- Bert Reed over Rodney Smith: Rodney can be lazy at times and Bert has continued to improve.
- Don't read much into Christian Green being buried on the depth chart. Remember that we told you he would take a long time to develop after basically missing all of last year with the shoulder injury. Just a redshirt freshman. Have patience.
- What a difference two years makes! From the smallest defense in the conference to one of the biggest in the country!
- In 2009, FSU had 5 defensive linemen over 265 pounds. FSU now has 15! Jimbo said the team was going to get a lot bigger and they have.
- Moving a slimmed-down Jacobbi McDaniel back to 3-tech is awesome. FSU now has the depth at nose to afford the move and Jacobbi/Dawkins (who is now almost 300 pounds, freakishly) will be a deadly combo at 3-tech. And they should stay fresh. Jacobbi confirmed the move on Twitter:
- Putting 16 pounds on a JUCO defensive end? Yikes.
- Jeff Luc at weak-side linebacker is interesting. Remember, however, in FSU's zone scheme playing the over, the WILL basically plays as a second MIKE.
- The only other major change is something we were very confident would happen: Lamarcus Joyner is starting at safety and patrolling centerfield. You just don't move a kid like that from corner to safety and then sit him on the bench.
- That means Parks/Moody will battle for the safety position that plays close to the LOS when FSU is in cover-3 (which will be run a ton now). That's a very good move for FSU.
- That secondary is nasty. Really, the whole defense is nasty.
- No Gerald Demps? No Rhonne Sanderson? No Tank Sessions? Keep an eye on these...
That's all for now. And remember some freshmen will crack the two-deep.
Sawchik on increased TV revenue | Orange Britches
Notes about digital rights. ACC TV rights as well.
Swinney's last stand. Clemson underachieved a season ago. No nicer way to put it. But with a heap of talent returning and coming in from a stellar recruiting class, Clemson has the opportunity to be a sleeper in the ACC.
And it better be if Swinney wants to keep his job.
Even though Swinney took the Tigers to the Meineke Car Care Bowl last year, they lost to South Florida and finished with the program's first losing record since 1998. Another losing campaign won't be acceptable, especially with 14 returning starters, a new hotshot offensive coordinator and a running back duo that should rival any tandem in the country. The Tigers first two games against Troy and Wofford should be a good opportunity to get the kinks out before taking on Auburn in Week 3. While Auburn might not be the powerhouse it was a year ago, this will be a good chance for Clemson to gain some early confidence before facing Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Fasten your seat belts. Spaziani signed a two-year extension last December locking him up through 2015, and has another insurance policy if the season takes a southward turn: His athletic director's pride. Spaziani was promoted in January 2009 to replace his boss, Jeff Jagodzinski, who was canned by AD Gene DeFilippo on the heels of back-to-back Atlantic Division titles for having the audacity to interview with the New York Jets. After giving Jagz that the boot, DeFilippo said he was looking for "somebody who really wants to be at Boston College, and who is going to be here for the length of their contract," which he might as well have read directly off one of Spaziani's letters of recommendation.
But DeFilippo also wants to avoid a reputation as a meddler who goes through head coaches like socks. Even after two backwards steps in his first two seasons as head coach, Spaziani seems safe barring a worst-case collapse. Unfortunately, the front-loaded schedule that lent itself to a stark midseason turnaround after a 2-5 start last year is reversed: A stretch run that features trips to Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Miami, a visit from Florida State and dates with Atlantic Division equals Maryland and N.C. State in between is a recipe for coming up short of a bowl game.
I don’t understand the lack of love for Washington heading into 2011. Is it just because the Huskies must replace Jake Locker? Let me say it again: Locker was a superb athletic talent, but Washington can get more out of the quarterback position. Price is not going to step in and be an all-conference quarterback from the start; he’ll be a better passer from the start, however, and the offense will have far more balance than it did a year ago. A consistent passing game is really all this offense needs to rank among the top half of the Pac-12, as there are several talented skill players who rank among the conference’s best. That list includes Polk and Kearse, but watch out for Seferian-Jenkins, who adds a different dimension to the passing attack. Yeah, the line needs work, but there are several talented younger options poised to step into larger roles. Defensively, all U.W. needs to do is locate two starting linebackers; the line and secondary are in very good shape. Washington’s not a Rose Bowl contender, but anything less than another seven wins would be surprising, in my mind. How could this team not make at least a one-win improvement off last year’s mark? Most of all, I have a tremendous amount of faith in Sarkisian and his staff, who have done wonderfully in very difficult straits since arriving following the 2008 season. The arrow is pointing up for Washington, in my mind. This isn’t a nationally-ranked team, but U.W. is definitely in the mix for another upper-tier bowl game in 2011.
Looking ahead before the season even starts probably wouldn't get a Coach Saban seal of approval, but in talking with several people about the reasons why the Crimson Tide is almost universally picked by the preseason polls/magazines to play for another National Title this season it occurred to me: just like the 2010 Tide struggled to replace the core components of the 2009 Championship Team, whether we win another SEC and/or National Title this season or not the core components that everyone expects to make the 2011 team so successful will likewise be gone come 2012. This year's team returns a load of talent and experience on defense, has a favorable schedule, and is working with a mostly intact coaching staff that's been together long enough to know the system and what's expected of them. The metaphorical stars are in alignment for a championship run this season, but just as we heard plenty before the start of last season, there hasn't been a repeat BCS Champion for a reason, and to be perfectly frank if you look at the struggles of teams who have won or played for national titles to get back to the game in the following seasons we have to start honestly asking ourselves when those stars will align so perfectly again. So let's take a look at the reasons why this opportunity simply can't be squandered as we get ready for the 2011 season.
June Jones has said that this team will be his best yet, that his team is ahead of schedule, and that these Mustangs are good enough to make a significant push onto the national stage. I’m not one to quibble with Jones, and this schedule does present plenty of opportunities to make noise on a national level: Texas A&M, T.C.U., U.C.F. and others. But it’s this same schedule that gives me pause; and it’s this same schedule that has me penciling the Mustangs in at this spot, right inside the top 50 teams in the country, instead of inside the to 35 or 30, where I wish I had the guts to put them. I have to go with my head here, not my heart, when I say that I don’t think S.M.U. can finish the regular season better than 8-4 in 2011. Again, it’s primarily because of this schedule. Texas A&M has too many horses; T.C.U. is young, but still is way farther along than the Mustangs; U.C.F. comes at home, but the Knights are the defending conference champs, not to mention a team that handled S.M.U. last fall; and Houston, Tulsa and Southern Mississippi all come on the road. As said above, the schedule is no joke. If every game was played on a neutral field, I think S.M.U. could win nine or 10 games. The offense is superb. The defense continues to improve, though the secondary remains a concern. And the coaching… well, the coaching is absolutely first-rate, bar none, no questions asked. Can Jones work enough magic to lift the Mustangs beyond the tough schedule and back into the Conference USA title game? You better believe it. But the safer bet is to place S.M.U. a shade below Houston and Tulsa. This team is light-years ahead of where it was only three years ago — an entire galaxy removed from where it stood just five years ago. And S.M.U. will be better even if the record doesn’t reflect much improvement.
Thoughts here? Is SMU better than all but 47 teams?