Noles News 08.11.11: The Pads Come On

Roy Jones, Jr. (center) visits with sophomore strong-side linebacker Christian Jones (left) and sophomore middle linebacker Telvin Smith (right).

Florida State put on shoulder pads for the first time this Fall, and the results were mixed. Jimbo Fisher said that the offense, which had been very good, did not execute the passing game to his liking. He criticized the quarterback, pass blocking, and receivers. Most of the criticism went to the quarterbacks. Fisher said it was mostly his fault for putting the offense in some tough situations. He expected it to happen, but not to the extent that it did, and he rationalized that by saying it was mostly his fault for running those situations on the third day of camp. He said LT Datko and RT Sanders are a bit rusty, but it is "huge" that they are healthy. Fisher was mostly happy with the defense, but as a Saban disciple, he'll always be irate if the defense gives up any runs, which they did. Fisher said the offense hit some big runs. Saying he wouldn't tolerate mistakes, and clearly happy that he now has better depth at most positions than last season, Fisher said "fix it. fix it, or I'll get somebody else." Fisher said the staff focuses on not praising one side of the ball too much when a play made is really a result of the other side's mistake. Fisher went on and on about how great Lamarcus Joyner is as a player and a competitor. Fisher said how much he like's this team's effort and passion for the game. Overall, he wasn't that displeased.    

Here is an excellent  free gallery of the offensive line. Here is free gallery from Wednesday's practice.

Yesterday's player interviews were with Jared Haggins, Andrew Datko, Lamarcus Joyner and Telvin Smith. Haggins, and other players when asked about him confirmed what we said in the spring: he is extremely tough and very strong for his size. Haggins is the hardest-working receiver and everything he is doing indicates he will be the next Taiwan Easterling in the slot-- a dependable, tough, go-to receiver who is just a very good slot guy. Datko said he went from 267 as a freshman to 320. He was extremely impressed with the size of the new freshmen, and confirmed what we said on Monday (Josue Matias and Tre Jackson are the top game-ready freshmen). Free video of Lamarcus Joyner here. Free video of the Smith interview here. Telvin is hilarious. 

FSU will host an open practice this Sunday at 4 p.m. I know everyone here will go and take a million photos and then send those photos to me.

Florida State Seminoles freshmen: Florida State Seminoles vets pleased by freshmen - OrlandoSentinel.com
Florida State's veteran Seminoles have been pleased by what they've seen so far from the incoming freshmen. The nation's top recruiting class is on display for the first time and it isn't disappointing. Several freshmen could see playing time this season.

Rivals

Swinney, Steele like defense's added depth, flexibility " OrangeandWhite.com
Newcomers and new look at 3-4 scheme give Tigers' defense a jolt this preseason

Eye on the U | Freshman Anthony Chickillo, starter in 3-4 scheme, has been what Canes 'hoped for thus far'

Maryland Launches New Era Under Hands-On Edsall Wires

Extensive Miami Preview

Other CFB

Pre-Snap Read: #24-Air Force

The more I delve into Air Force the more I like. It would be very simple to sit back and place the Falcons far lower, citing the fact that the defensive line is always an issue, the offense always has to replace key starters, there’s rarely ample proven depth — the list continues. You can always say that, actually. And you know what? Every year under Troy Calhoun, Air Force manages to do the following: plays steady, consistent football; never commits the sort of mistakes that lose games; controls the ball and clock; hurts teams through the air when given the opportunity; and offsets a thin defensive front with an always-strong back seven, especially in the secondary. In short, anything less than eight or nine wins is not in the cards. Why I think the Falcons deserves the higher ranking is in part thanks to a schedule that presents ample opportunities to show their worth: T.C.U., Navy, Notre Dame, San Diego State and Boise State are terrific teams, and I think Air Force can take three of those games. If not four, as only Boise State seems like a definite loss. What about the roster? Senior leadership abounds, at quarterback, up front, receiver, running back, linebacker and in the secondary. This seems to me like the best team of the Calhoun era, one that has the sort of talent and experience to really make noise on a national level in 2011. Again, Boise State seems like the only team Air Force cannot beat; they play the games for a reason, on the other hand. Is 11-1 in the cards? No. But is 10-2 in reach? Without a doubt. I think this will be the program’s best team in nearly 15 years.

Debriefing: Auburn goes back to the drawing board - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Complete College Football news, scores, standings

2011 Season Preview: The Chief Executive Officer And The Texas Longhorns - SBNation.com
A look at the 2011 Texas Longhorns football team. Longhorn Football CEO Mack Brown shook up his staff after stock prices plummeted last fall. Will the changes bring excitement back to the company?

Summary and Projection Factors

Below is a small handful of projection and change factors most pertinent to the Football Outsiders' preseason projections you will find in the Football Outsiders Almanac 2011.

Four-Year F/+ Rk 11
Five-Year Recruiting Rk 3
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin**** -12 / -1
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 14 (8, 6)
Yds/Pt Margin***** +3.4

If the coaching staff gels even halfway, signs point to Texas bouncing back like round ball. They recovered only 17 of 56 fumbles that took place in their games, a staggering 30.3 percent; in the previous five seasons, only five teams (2007 Wyoming, 2008 Florida, 2009 Florida, 2007 Western Michigan, 2007 Tennessee) recovered fewer than 30 percent of all fumbles. While it's not a guarantee that Texas will automatically fall on more bouncing balls in 2011 (Florida did, after all, land on the list in 2008 and 2009), odds are still pretty good. If they had recovered 50 percent of all fumbles, that would have made a staggering difference of almost plus-1 turnovers per game; in a season where they lost four games by eight points or less, that could have made a significant impact. It wouldn't have made them a truly "good" team, of course (nothing was saving that offense), but at least we'd be talking about their "incredibly disappointing Alamo Bowl season" right now.

So if Texas a) gets at least a small handful of immediate contributions from the incoming, highly-ranked recruiting class (particularly if star running back Malcolm Brown is ready from Day One), b) gets a jolt of energy from a young, hungry group of new assistants, and c) gets a normal number good bounces after a year in which they got none, then there's little reason why they can't be a Top 25 team again in 2011. The pieces are in place for that. But if the new management and the personnel do not immediately click, or, of course, if a lot of their four-star offensive players just simply aren't as good as their Rivals rankings suggest, then it is certainly feasible that improvement will be marginal.

When other talented teams (other Texas teams, for that matter) have a "down season," it means 9-3 and 'only' a Cotton Bowl (or, in other conferences, Outback Bowl or Chick-Fil-A Bowl) bid. Texas' 2010 fall was alarming in its magnitude, no matter what kind of bad coaching and bad breaks were at hand. And no matter how "re-energized" Mack Brown says he is now, there is no guarantee that Texas will simply rebound in 2011 like nothing happened. And because of that, any optimistic projection is full of risk. When you're thinking about the Big 12 this season, you're basically ranking the nine teams not named Texas, then throwing a dart against the wall.

2011 Season Preview: The Chief Executive Officer And The Texas Longhorns - SBNation.com
A look at the 2011 Texas Longhorns football team. Longhorn Football CEO Mack Brown shook up his staff after stock prices plummeted last fall. Will the changes bring excitement back to the company?

Summary and Projection Factors

Below is a small handful of projection and change factors most pertinent to the Football Outsiders' preseason projections you will find in the Football Outsiders Almanac 2011.

Four-Year F/+ Rk 11
Five-Year Recruiting Rk 3
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin**** -12 / -1
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 14 (8, 6)
Yds/Pt Margin***** +3.4

If the coaching staff gels even halfway, signs point to Texas bouncing back like round ball. They recovered only 17 of 56 fumbles that took place in their games, a staggering 30.3 percent; in the previous five seasons, only five teams (2007 Wyoming, 2008 Florida, 2009 Florida, 2007 Western Michigan, 2007 Tennessee) recovered fewer than 30 percent of all fumbles. While it's not a guarantee that Texas will automatically fall on more bouncing balls in 2011 (Florida did, after all, land on the list in 2008 and 2009), odds are still pretty good. If they had recovered 50 percent of all fumbles, that would have made a staggering difference of almost plus-1 turnovers per game; in a season where they lost four games by eight points or less, that could have made a significant impact. It wouldn't have made them a truly "good" team, of course (nothing was saving that offense), but at least we'd be talking about their "incredibly disappointing Alamo Bowl season" right now.

So if Texas a) gets at least a small handful of immediate contributions from the incoming, highly-ranked recruiting class (particularly if star running back Malcolm Brown is ready from Day One), b) gets a jolt of energy from a young, hungry group of new assistants, and c) gets a normal number good bounces after a year in which they got none, then there's little reason why they can't be a Top 25 team again in 2011. The pieces are in place for that. But if the new management and the personnel do not immediately click, or, of course, if a lot of their four-star offensive players just simply aren't as good as their Rivals rankings suggest, then it is certainly feasible that improvement will be marginal.

When other talented teams (other Texas teams, for that matter) have a "down season," it means 9-3 and 'only' a Cotton Bowl (or, in other conferences, Outback Bowl or Chick-Fil-A Bowl) bid. Texas' 2010 fall was alarming in its magnitude, no matter what kind of bad coaching and bad breaks were at hand. And no matter how "re-energized" Mack Brown says he is now, there is no guarantee that Texas will simply rebound in 2011 like nothing happened. And because of that, any optimistic projection is full of risk. When you're thinking about the Big 12 this season, you're basically ranking the nine teams not named Texas, then throwing a dart against the wall.

Debriefing: Everything at Florida is new. But improved? - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports 

Debriefing: ‘Bama’s back, with the same bruising BCS blueprint - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports

Debriefing: Kentucky clings to that slightly respectable feeling - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports

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