Jimbo Fisher has certainly made improvements in Florida State's offense since his arrival as offensive coordinator, but it seems as though he has just started getting the type of players he wants in his system. Manuel had a nice season at QB for the Seminoles, but it was far from impressive (for his standards). He played well, was relatively inconsistent throughout the entire season, and really lacked the "it factor" he was supposed to bring to the table. The last few years, Florida State has had very talented QB's (Ponder and Manuel) but the play makers around them weren't nearly up to par. Roles will be switched as the uncertainty falls to the QB's, though the talent around is deep, and far more athletic to previous years. Here's a position breakdown of the offense heading into spring 2013.
Quarterbacks: I will have serious concerns about the position of Trickett beats out Coker and Winston, and while some may counter by saying it shows his improvement, I think we've seen the best of Clint. Coker and Winston are superior athletes to Trickett and bring a lot more to the table. I'm a huge fan of Coker and think he has everything it takes to run the offense just well enough for FSU to surprise some people next season.
Running Backs: There's really no concerns here, if you look at the 2012 season. Freeman had 630 yards on 97 carries and 11 TD's. Wilder managed 583 yards on 99 carries, while tallying 11 touchdowns. Both players have shown tremendous growth in 2912, Freeman with his pass blocking, and Wilder catching the ball out of the back field. Thompson was a tremendous leader for the two youngsters, and now they are going to take the next step as the veterans. I expect big things from them in 2013, and maybe a few flashes from Pender as the Seminoles prefer a 3 man rotation.
FB/H-Back: I firmly believe Florida State fans will finally see the H-Back role implemented for Jimbo Fisher, and he has quite the talented athlete to fit the role in Nick O'Leary. O'Leary has shown tremendous athleticism and a knack for snagging the ball. His old school style of play will make things difficult for the defense, especially in the redzone. This was the plan for O'Leary all along, and the versatile junior will have the opportunity to make a big splash in 2013.
Tight End: WIth O'Leary taking more snaps in the backfield in his new role, snaps will open up for Haplea and Kourtzidis. Both are very strong, traditional in line blockers who have enough athleticism to accompish all the little nuances of Fisher's system. If they understand the play book, they could be key and have a huge impact on the running and play action game next season.
Wide Receiver: Whoever is playing quarterback in 2013 will have the strongest group of wide receivers FSU has had in quite some time. Rashad Greene is the smartest, biggest playmaker on FSU's offense in 2013, and as the #1 guy should make a lot of noise, especially with Kelvin Benjamin playing across from him. The 6'6 3rd year sophomore had quite the freshman year, making spectacular catches and runs, while also showing signs of youth blocking and being quite blatant with his push offs. Behind those two is a wealth of really really good, not great wide receivers. Greg Dent, Jarred Haggins, Christian Green, and Kenny Shaw could all be starting at most school across the country, and all have tremendous, but different skill sets they bring to the table. Any time one of these upperclassmen are in 1 on 1 coverage, they are liable to break the big play, which should happen quite often with the #1's in front of them.
Offensive Line: I truly believe the offensive line has an opportunity to be special next season. We have seen what happens when Trickett returns the same line for 2 straight seasons, and this may be the biggest and most athletic of them all. The tackles, both left and right, will have an opportunity to be All-Conference. Cam Erving showed tremendous ability and upside at LT after moving from defensive tackle, where he played very well. Erving is the best pulling athlete on the line, and will have his hands full this season. Menelik Watson came in as a very raw prospect, but his athletic history and ability to be coached have really opened my eyes to his potential. Watson is strong, really strong, and I would bet he's the only player on the line that could handle Jernigan 1 on 1. His explosion out of his stance into his first step, and first punch are what really impress me with Menelik. He blows guys off the line and shuts down pass rushers all game long. He was certainly one of the most consistent, and if he's healthy, look for him to jump up the NFL boards.
The interior of the offensive line is really where the success of this offense is going to be determined. I know Matias and Jackson were only sophomores, but they were abysmal at times, single handedly taking the Noles out of drives and games with their lack of knowledge. Florida learned that the Noles couldn't handle twists, stunts, and odd man blitz's. Trickett will push these guys very hard this off season, and with Stork returning to center, the younger guys should be a lot more comfortable with their assignments and calls at the line. Don't get me wrong, Matias and Jackson have huge ceilings with their athletic abilities, but their fate lies on their knowledge of the playbook.
Overall, I expect to see quite the overall improvement in the Seminoles offensive in 2013 as they upgrade at everywhere but quarterback. The playmakers around Coker (assumption sake) will make his job a whole lot easier. His athleticism will also allow Fisher to keep the QB run wrinkles (option, draws) in his system. This is just my opinion on what I've seen and expect to continue to see. Merry Christmas to all Seminoles, and to all Seminoles, a great night.