Florida State football 2013: Fall camp offense questions

Stacy Revere

What is the biggest question facing Florida State's offense in 2013 as it enters camp?

Florida State returns only 11 starters -- the fewest in the ACC, and enters fall camp with perhaps more questions than the previous two falls combined. I asked Florida State fans on twitter about their biggest questions for fall camp, and included them below. Florida State players report Monday, and the first practice is Tuesday. The first practice in full pads will be Monday, the 11th.

Check Tomahawk Nation later Monday for questions about the defense and special teams.

The quarterback situation

This is the most popular topic, by far. After a virtuoso performance in the spring game, is Jameis Winston a lock to be the starter? Or, as head coach and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher contends, is Jacob Coker still in the race.

My take is unchanged from spring. I think Winston is almost guaranteed to start. I suspect that Fisher is very aware that Jacob Coker could transfer, and is doing all he can to delay that, giving him a fair shot at the job throughout fall camp.

How could Coker start? Absent injury or off-field issues, it's going to be tough. He could potentially outplay Winston by such a margin that the team would lose confidence in Jimbo for playing someone who was clearly inferior in camp. I don't think simply outplaying Winston would do it. It needs to be obvious to everyone who was better.

I suspect Fisher will hold off on naming a starter for as long as he can -- perhaps until right before the Pitt game.

Running back

FSU is in excellent shape at running back, but there are still questions. How much will Mario Pender, the third-string RB with explosive speed, play? And how much I-formation will Florida State use now that Lonnie Pryor is off to the NFL? How much will new fullback Chad Abram be used? And can James Wilder Jr. or Devonta Freeman position himself to grab the majority of the carries?


With Greg Dent indefinitely suspended while his sexual assault charge is working its way through the courts, FSU's receiver lineup seems to be set with Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin. Still, I did receive a question on the slot receiver position.

Shaw is the presumed starter at slot, and Florida State lists Christian Green as his backup there. But I have also heard chatter about Jesus "Bobo" Wilson, a freshman out of Miami. And Jarred Haggins is still on the team and is an experienced player. It will be interesting to see who runs with the second team behind Shaw.

Tight end

The tight end position has had an incredible off-season. First, fourth-string tight end Will Tye, who never amounted to anything in Tallahassee, transferred to Stoneybrook. Then, No. 2 tight end Kevin Haplea tore his ACL in offseason workouts. He will redshirt this season. In May, starting tight end Nick O'Leary cheated death in a horrifying motorcycle accident (video here), and walked away with minor injuries. Jimbo Fisher recently said that O'Leary was in the best shape of his Florida State career, and is now 247 pounds. In late July, Chrsto Kourtzidis announced that he would transfer due to what his father described as a "perfect storm" of reasons.

That leaves Florida State with just two scholarship tight ends -- O'Leary, and true freshman Jeremy Kerr.

I saw Kerr recently and he is in great shape. FSU lists Kerr 6'5 and 254 pounds. Kerr was a tremendous blocker in high school, and there's little doubt he will immediately be able to contribute as a blocker. His ability to catch, run routes, etc., is a major unknown entering camp. As FSU's No. 2 tight end, his development will hold the key to how many multiple-tight end sets FSU runs in 2013.

FSU is expected to cross-train several players at tight end in case of emergency. I discussed the scenarios here, and I'm sure more will be done.

Offensive line

Florida State's offensive line was very good in 2012, and has a chance to be better in 2013 with four of five starters back. The questions for fall camp mostly center around the depth of the offensive line, which is not very good at the moment.

Hart failing seems quite unlikely, as he was good in the spring game. I addressed the depth issues here a few months ago, detailing the true backups. Since publication, Wallace has been placed on scholarship, and Wilson Bell significantly improved his body since his time as a high school senior.

One question that wasn't asked of me, but which I'll be anxious to watch, is how much inside zone and power FSU runs, now that Chris Thompson is gone to the NFL.

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