Almost 4,000 words of fun reading snippets today. Enjoy them all weekend and may the fourth be with you.
FSU Football & Related
Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher: “I have no problem with [playoffs]. I just want to make sure we don’t change for change, we have a good plan on how we’re going to do it, and everybody is on equal footing. You know what I mean? I think that’s what we’ve got to be careful of … I think it has got to be the four best teams. You can’t get into conference champions. I think the best four football teams need to be in if you’re going to try to find the true champion.” What’s the best way to get to four teams? “You’ve got ratings and things. But like I say, it doesn’t matter what you do. When you have [four] teams, No. 5 is going to get mad now, too. If you go to eight or 16 teams, somebody is going to be mad … But it can’t be about conference champions. It’s got to be the best football teams.”
7. Florida State – An ACC team hasn’t played for the national title since 2000. Could that change in 2012? The Seminoles are the early frontrunner to win the ACC, but Clemson and Virginia Tech will certainly be in the mix. Florida State has underachieved recently, but coach Jimbo Fisher is accumulating some impressive talent and depth. The Seminoles have one of the deepest defensive lines in college football and return two solid cornerbacks in Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes. While the defense could be the best in the nation, the offense has to improve for Florida State to challenge for a national title. Quarterback EJ Manuel battled injuries last year and didn’t have much help from the rushing attack and offensive line. If the Seminoles can get improved play from the line, this could be the year Florida State becomes a national title contender once again.
Max Garcia Headed to Florida - Testudo Times
Big get for the Gators with the transfer. Not sure how long Muschamp will be around, but that squad looks pretty talented.
Time To Share Some Data: 2005-11 Targets And Catches - Football Study Hall
Awesome. Can't get enough of this.
McGee has already started the process of rehabbing the Blazers’ mindset, instilling in this team a sort of energy and enthusiasm long missing over Callaway’s five seasons with the program. Eventually, the boost in self-confidence will yield dividends. And it’s conceivable that at some point in the future, the current staff will actually — yes, it’s possible — win games at a nice clip with the Blazers. What will it take? A commitment to starting from the bottom up, a dedication to finding under-the-radar talent on the recruiting trail and the patience to see this through. The latter falls also on the university, which should give McGee an extremely long leash as he works through Callaway’s mess. That’s the long-term goal: U.A.B. can win games, though it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s more likely that it takes McGee and the Blazers at least one full season to get on the same page. With a team in flux, a new coaching staff and this schedule, U.A.B. should be tickled by whatever comes — as long as it looks like the program is moving forward. Oh, and U.A.B. should hope that come Monday night, after Arkansas has announced its next head coach, Garrick McGee is still a Blazer.
“A very wise coach once told me, ‘If you really want play-action, you better pull a guard’” — Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III agree | Smart Football
The title is a quote from former Stanford and current San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, from the video clip below. And it's absolutely true.
The worst issue that Pelini inherits is this team’s inexplicable malaise. What reason in the world does the returning roster have for not hitting the field with unbridled enthusiasm, especially with nearly every single spot on the depth chart open to competition? That Pelini has complained at times of his team’s lackluster energy doesn’t reflect poorly on the new coaching staff; it reflects very poorly on the players, however. A good idea, free of charge: pick up the pace. Not merely because Pelini’s patience only runs so far, but because F.A.U. will suffer another double-digit loss season if it doesn’t hit the ground running in September. If the Owls are 1-6 after South Alabama, with the lone win coming over Wagner, this team will again go 1-11. If F.A.U. can return to the practice field in August with some tenacity and a sense of urgency, it’s possible that the Owls could win four games — which, given this roster, would be pretty good. That’s the best-case scenario: F.A.U. plays with a chip on its shoulder, starts playing defense in the Pelini mold and offsets a dreadful quarterback situation with a powerful running game. If that happens, the Owls could be a nice story. It’s more likely that F.A.U., dealing with a new voice for the first time — the voice after The Voice — painfully strolls through a rebuilding season.
Let’s discuss what U.N.L.V. does well. The Rebels’ offensive line will be much improved. The running game is pretty good, even if there’s some question how it would fare if Cornett misses an extended period of time. The linebacker corps, despite losing last year’s leading tackler, has starting experience and solid depth. And that’s all — we’re done. What U.N.L.V. is missing, in short: a pass rush, run defense, a capable secondary, a quarterback and a go-to receiver. For a team slated to take on two B.C.S. conference teams in September, another two reigning bowl teams in non-conference play and at least four bowl teams in the Mountain West, the lack of proven talent at these key spots spells doom for a program rapidly spiraling into irrelevance. What does U.N.L.V. have to look forward to? Not wins, nor a surprise bowl trip — there are simply too many roadblocks in this team’s way to win seven games, which it would need to do to earn a bowl berth. Instead, what the Rebels can look for is further growth from, once again, one of the youngest rosters in college football. Maybe 2013 is the program’s year.
I don’t have any major issues with Middle Tennessee’s personnel. There are some concerns, mind you, but none more pressing than those plaguing the majority of the rest of the Sun Belt. Kilgore is a fine starter, but can he avoid the multiple-game lulls that defined his 2011 season? Does Faulkner have the receivers his offense needs to move the ball effectively through the air? Can the interior of the line stop the run; can the ends get pressure on the quarterback without help; is the new-look secondary ready for the rest of the Sun Belt? Above all else, will this fairly raw and untested offensive line gel by September? These concerns are enough to project Middle Tennessee to miss bowl play for a second straight season, but to me, the bigger issue lies with this team’s mentality. It’s hard for a team to scrub off a disastrous season — like the one M.T.S.U. experienced last fall — and get back on the horse. I worry about a carryover from 2011, when the Blue Raiders went from a borderline bowl team in early October to the worst team in the program’s F.B.S. era down the stretch. Perhaps the new voices on the coaching staff can motivate this team forward over the summer and in August. As of today, I wonder if the program needs a more wholesale change — one that starts with the head coach.
The key for NIU in 2012 will be balance. If an experienced defense can offset whatever losses the offense may suffer following the departures of a successful quarterback, offensive coordinator and most of a good offensive line, then the Huskies will be serious factors in the race for their third straight division crown. But there is a lot of pressure to go around: on Dave Doeren, to prove he can continue momentum as the program shifts more toward his own recruits (and to be sure, his 2012 recruiting class was an intriguing one). On Jordan Lynch, to prove he can continue what was a pretty solid Chandler Harnish impersonation at times last fall. On guard Logan Pegram, the lone returning starter on a thin line. On NIU's safeties, to prove they can shore up their glitches. On the NIU front seven, to hit the ground running a lot faster than it did a year ago. NIU won the MAC last year with eight returning offensive starters and just two returning defensive starters. This year, the onus turns around -- NIU returns eight starters on defense but just three on offense. The talent is exciting, but after toeing a rather thin line on the way to last year's MAC title, NIU will find an even thinner line this time around. The Huskies survived one check; now they face another.
2011 Running Back Stats: Adj. POE And Highlight Yards - Football Study Hall
2011 Adj. POE and Highlight Yardage totals for college football rushers. Devonta looks good here. Everyone else? Not so much.
Terry Bowden, Akron, and the plight of the mid-major college football program - Grantland
The plight of the mid-major college football program.
This team is an enigma. You simply can’t predict the unpredictable: Idaho will play five or six close games, and it’s impossible to project just how the Vandals will fare in games decided by, say, a touchdown or less. In 2009, when Idaho made its magical bowl run, it was a near certainty that it would find a way to pull games out in the fourth quarter — eight wins by 15 points or less, remember. Over the last two seasons, however, the Vandals have seemingly lost their cool when it counts, making the one small error, whether mental or physical, that means the difference between victory and defeat. And barring four or five narrow wins, I don’t see any reason why the Vandals are poised to make a substantial improvement on last year’s disappointing finish. Simply put, there’s not a whole lot to like on either side of the ball. While I like Blackman as Idaho’s starter, there’s a reason why Akey has yet to name his starting quarterback: he’s still undecided. The offensive line lost valuable time due to injuries during the spring. There are no offensive skill players of consequence, minus the possibility that Bass has a big senior season at running back. While Gesser and Levenseller might eventually make a good team, look for the Vandals to struggle grasping this new system for much of the coming season. In all, Idaho is currently in a position where it’s relying on the defense to win games. The linebacker corps is strong, but let’s be serious: Idaho’s not winning games on defense. While Idaho should win three or four games, two are coming against Texas State and Texas-San Antonio.
2011 Receiver Target Data Analysis - Shakin The Southland
I do think the loss of Dwayne Allen will hurt Clemson, just as it did when he was injured last year.
Hurricanes Depth Chart: Final Spring Edition - The 7th Floor
Uh, not impressive.
If you look solely at the big picture, you see a program full of energy and enthusiasm — and don’t sleep on just how important this is to Tulane, which hit rock-bottom midway through last season and remained there, in a rut, through the season-ending loss to Hawaii. This is what Johnson brought to the table: respectability. Above all else, regardless of how the Green Wave fare on the field, this is the story for Tulane heading into 2012. But can Tulane take this newfound energy and turn it into a substantial increase in the win column? While there are things to like on this team, I don’t think we’re going to see a major jump in Johnson’s first season. For one reason, there’s the shift in scheme on each side of the ball; this will slow development, especially on offense. There’s also a difficult schedule, especially in the early going: Tulane could start 0-6, though the Green Wave should beat Louisiana-Monroe at home. While every team hits a learning curve under a first-year head coach, I’m worried about the lack of time this team spent with the new staff before heading to the summer. This will make August key for this team; it’s over this month that the Green Wave need to gel as a group in advance of the tough start to the season. What do I think about the future of Tulane football? With a promising coach and a new stadium on the horizon, the future looks brighter than ever. Even a struggle of a 2012 season doesn’t change that fact.
What would Phillip Sims's transfer to Virginia mean? - Streaking The Lawn
If Phillip Sims does end up transferring to UVA, what exactly does this mean for Charlottesville? It's a really big deal.
ACCSports.com: What’s freaking you out? Favat: You mean, other than the general downward trajectory of the program in terms of wins, total offense, defense, attendance and fan support? The better question would be what’s NOT freaking me out at this point. Fans have watched as the Boston College football program came within a game of an ACC Championship in both 2007 and 2008 to being out of contention for the Atlantic Division crown as early as October last season.
I'm not getting tricked by Florida State this year, even though every time I look at the roster I wonder why I don't have the Seminoles ranked higher. They're going to have to prove it on the field, but it's hard to see why they wouldn't. Jenkins and Werner are pass-rushing monsters, and the linebackers and secondary should be ultra-athletic. If the offensive line isn't snake-bit by injuries the way it was last year, FSU could prove me wrong in a much more entertaining way.
FSU was clearly better than at least eight of the teams ranked ahead of them, and brings back more than them as well. I can't get on board with this ranking.
Ask A Blogger: Duke Spring Football Review Jim Young
The interior of Duke's defensive line is not looking good. Uh, this'll be easy. As usual.
What reason do we have at our disposal to think that Rice is capable of getting out of its three-year rut? It’s certainly not because the offense is ready to break out — as it did in 2008, when the program made its tremendous run to double-digit wins. Quarterback play is a major concern, but it’s only one issue the Owls face as they head into the summer. The offensive line looks at least one full season away from reaching its potential, though adding a JUCO transfer like Richards goes a long way towards sewing up the holes left by four lost starters. Moving McGuffie to receiver might pay dividends, but if he stands as the Owls’ lone big-play threat, I worry that McHargue or Jackson won’t have enough weapons to keep opposing defensive backs honest. And let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: once again, the defense remains Rice’s biggest concern. What Rice does have in its favor is an easier schedule both in and out of Conference USA play. That should lead to another four-win season, but when at least half of those wins are coming from a group consisting of Memphis, Texas-San Antonio, Tulane and UTEP, that’s not a season worth writing home about. Overall, I get the impression that Rice is in need of a coaching overhaul.
Inside the Clemson Offense: Pistol Formation General Items - Shakin The Southland
Inside the Clemson Offense: Pistol Formation General Items
Notre Dame won't publicly speculate until it knows which playoff model emerges
TV revenue is still a key factor, but suggested champions-only model likely isn't
Scenarios: nothing changes; join league as non-football member; join in all sports
Montel Harris Dismissed From Team For Repeated Rule Violations - BC Interruption
BC's All Time Leading Rusher Montel Harris Dismissed From BC Football Team For Repeated Rule Violations. I don't see this as a loss. BC ran this kid to death and he was never healthy over the last year and didn't look to be healthy for 2012.
A couple more undrafted FA signings - ACC Blog - ESPN
All the non-drafted talent leaving
We have to examine Junior Seau's death to know if head trauma played a role
In shooting himself in the chest, Seau's death is reminiscent of Dave Duerson's
Whether football played a role in Seau's death or not, a change is necessary
There’s Indiana, followed by a gap, followed by Minnesota, followed by a few miles, then there’s the rest of the Big Ten. And it’s lonely at the bottom, as the Hoosiers can attest. After last season, all that the program should aim for is subtle yet noticeable improvement, the sort that doesn’t necessarily show itself in the win column but would remain clearly evident to those who saw I.U. fall all over itself scrambling for the exits over the second half of last season. This would be progress: two wins during non-conference play; one during Big Ten play; no more than two losses by more than four touchdowns; and no sluggish, unmotivated play over the second half of another losing season. In specific, it would be great to see the Hoosiers begin moving the ball with consistency in Wilson’s offense, particularly through the air. It would also be nice to see the front seven slow down the running game on first down and get some pressure on third down — though after last season, doing one but not the other would be good enough. Baby steps. From one win to two, two wins to three and so on down the line. Don’t get greedy, and if you have faith in the process, keep the faith. If you don’t, then get in line. But if you do — and bless you heart — keep in mind this idea: If a program like Northwestern can do it, so can Indiana. If you take no solace in that thought, then your faith is lacking.
Clemson (Conventional Wisdom: No. 17 | F/+ Projection: No. 31). Clemson wasn't as good as they occasionally looked last season -- the great Sammy Watkins distracted us from what was a pretty terrible defense. Like Washington, they have made moves to shore that up, but their projection will remain low until they prove that they can indeed improve when they don't have the ball.
Maryland Terrapins coach Randy Edsall looks to right ship - ESPN
After a rocky first season that included 24 transfers and only two wins, you could understand if Randy Edsall's confidence was shaken. Instead, Maryland's coach is even more optimistic about the future. This is pretty funny.
I got the chance to see Florida State's newest commit, 7-foot-3 center Boris Bojanovsky (Slovakia/Canarias Basketball Academy), and while he has undeniable long-term potential, it’s unlikely that Bojanovsky will be ready to contribute next season.
After watching him play in three games at the National Prep School Invitational in Rhode Island, I can tell you that his extreme size can automatically change the complexion of a basketball game, but Bojanovsky’s biggest problems center around his difficulties playing through contact thanks to his lean frame and high center of gravity.
blockquote He struggles to establish, and hold position, on both ends of the floor right now and certainly shouldn’t be expected to do that in the ACC.
Having said that, if Florida State fans can be patient with the big man, chances are he’ll pay dividends down the road. You simply can’t teach size of his magnitude, and given a year or two to gain weight and adjust to the physicality of the American game, Bojanovsky’s physical presence on the defensive end alone could totally alter opposing team’s ability to attack off the dribble.
Offensively, he has touch and dexterity that can’t be taught. Right now, opposing defenses would simply be able to get under him and push him off his sweet spots, but once he puts on that muscle and is able to get low-post touches, opposing defenses are likely going to have to double down, which Bojanovsky should eventually be able to handle given his instinctive poise in the post and an already-present passing instinct.
If Florida State can afford to redshirt him that would probably be an ideal scenario, but moving forward the raw big man has all the tools and talent to develop into a real game-changer for coach Leonard Hamilton and Florida State.
Honestly, UVA is not outrecruiting VT in the Tidewater when you look at quality.