| FTBL Team Capsule; Florida State

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Team Capsule: Florida State


Nickname: Seminoles
2006 record: 7-6
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
Key Additions(A) / Subtractions(S): (A)Jimbo Fisher OC, (A)Dionte Allen DB, (A) Kendall Smith LB, (S) Lawrence Timmons LB, (S) Buster Davis LB, (S) Lorenzo Booker RB


Florida State will look to rebound from last year’s disappointing 7-6 season. However, don’t let the record fool you as five of the Seminoles’ 6 losses were by a touchdown or less. If the offense had been more consistent, Florida State may have been playing in a BCS bowl last year. With a new offensive coordinator in Jimbo Fisher and a quarterback with another year of experience under his belt (Drew Weatherford), look for the 'Noles attack to make some strides in 2007. The defense should be solid once again , provided the staff can scheme around some deficiencies within the front seven. The real test is in the schedule. It's a tough one for sure. In the first 5 games the Seminoles play Clemson and BAMA. In the last six they Miami, B.C., VaTech, Maryland and Florida.

The Seminoles will have to navigate through a difficult second half to have any shot at a decent season in 2007.


The biggest story of the off-season has to be that of Head Coach Bobby Bowden bringing in Jimbo Fisher from LSU to resurrect the Seminoles’ offense. Over the last few seasons, Florida State has completely ignored the running game, despite having some very talented runningbacks. Florida State offensive coordinators have put the entire offense on the shoulders of Drew Weatherford, just as they did with Chris Rix before. Neither situation has panned out very well for the "Noles. While Weatherford is a good quarterback, he cannot do it all himself. This is where the arrival of Jimbo Fisher might help the offense the most. Bowden has always run more of a wide-open, vertical offense that utilizes the shotgun and relies on quarterbacks that can master timing routes. Fisher's offenses have traditionally been a little more run-heavy with a lot more play-action and movement of the quarterback. With a suspect offensive line Fisher's ability to get Weatherford on the move and outside the tackles should greatly benefit the young quarterback.

Speaking of the offensive line, that's another area that Bowden spent the off-season trying to shore up. He succeeded in adding another quality coach to the staff when he wrangled line coach Rick Trickett away from West Virginia. Trickett is a solid coach who during his career has sent 21 linemen to the NFL, has had 13 players recognized as All-Americans (on various levels) and who has coached 17 All-SEC selections while spending time at Mississippi State, Auburn and LSU. There's little doubt that the troubled Seminole offensive line will benefit under his tutiledge.

Along with improvement at the quarterback and offensive line positions, Florida State will be doing themselves no harm by utilizing their talented runningbacks like Antone Smith. Smith heads into the season as the starter with Lorenzo Booker having completed his eligibility. While Booker got most of the carries last season Smith's numbers were actually better across the board. Smith ran for over 450 yards while only toting the rock 88 times. That translates to a very respectable 5.2 yards per carry. He also scored more touchdowns (5) than Booker despite having about 60 fewer carries on the season. If anyone benefits from an improved offensive line moreso than Drew Weatherford it will be Smith. Don't expect to see FSU ranked 103rd in rushing again in 2007.


Antone Smith/FSU Athletics

The receiving corps is still in pretty good shape with two of the team's top wide receivers returning in 2007. Greg Carr and De'Cody Fagg have both shown that they are reliable targets that possess the ability to make plays down the field. The only thing that will keep the tandem from exploding this year will be the ability of the quarterback to get them the ball consistently. The duo combined for over 70 catches last season and 13 touchdowns. Carr himself had a whopping 12 touchdowns in 2006.

Joining them will likely be freshmen Preston Parker and Damon McDaniel. McDaniel hauled in 3 passes for 51 yards and a score in 2006, while Parker was having an outstanding Spring before a separated shoulder sidelined him. Assuming he comes into the Fall healthy, Parker should emmediately jump right into the rotation at receiver, even as a freshman. His prep accolades include being listed as an All-American by PrepStar magazine as well as being ranked as high as 12th in the country at his position by Rivals.com.


Overall, the Seminole defense should be pretty solid this year, though it's not going to be spectacular unless the team gets some unexpected contributions from kids moving into the starting role. The primary concerns going into the season have to be the lack of a consistent pass rush and replacing departed linebackers. The real cream of the defense is in the secondary. It's probably the best FSU has fielded in a number of years.

As mentioned, one of the defense' biggest problems last season was an inconsistent pass rush. The 'Noles only managed 27 sacks last season which was only good enough to rank them 8th best in the conference. Coming into the 2007 season the defensive lineman to keep your eye on appears to be sophomore defensive end Everette Brown. As a freshman Brown recorded only 27 tackles but did manage 3 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss of yardage. In the FSU spring game he tallied 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss.

The biggest holes to fill on the defense are unquestionably those at the linebacker position. Buster Davis and Lawrence Timmons combined for 10 sacks and almost 200 tackles in 2006. Unfortunately for the 'Noles, both players are gone. Even worse, the likely starters in 2007 are not only inexperienced, but are undersized. Middle linebacker Eugene Hayes (59 tackles, 3 sacks) is a talent but he'll likely be held back in his development some this season as he will called on to be an anchor for a group of inexperienced linebackers. The likely starters on the outside (Marcus Ball and Derek Nicholson) are coincidentally enough both coming off knee injuries. Hayes will have to be the glue that holds this unit together this year.

As mentioned earlier, the real strength of the FSU defense is in the secondary, as all four of the starters return for 2007. Headlining the group is sophomore strong safety Myron Rolle.


Myron Rolle/FSU Athletics

Rolle finished his freshman season with solid numbers. He was third on the team in tackles (77) while tallying 1 sack and one interception on the season. He came to FSU with impressive credentials out of high school as well. Athlon's named Rolle as the conference's #1 impact newcomer, while The Sporting News listed him as the Atlantic Coast Conference's pre-season defensive newcomer of the year. According to Rivals.com Rolle was the top athlete (and top prospect) in New Jersey coming out of his senior year, while ESPN actually ranked him as the #1 player in the country at the same time. With a year under his belt Rolle will only improve.

Rolle's primary partner in crime within the secondary will be free safety Roger Williams. Williams is the team's most experienced defensive back and actually led the 'Noles last year in interceptions with 4.

Special Teams

Gary Cismesia will continue to handle the placekicking while the "other" placekicker Graham Gano will move from kickoff specialist to kickoff specialist/punter....if all goes well. Yeah, It's a bit hairy.

The primary return man is cornerback Michael Ray Garvin, though wide receiver Preston Parker will also get a shot at returning as well.
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