Sporting Fools
Sporting Fools
Sporting Fools

Sporting Fools

The frequent and occasional humorous musings behind two of the World's greatest underappreciated sports minds.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The FSU Preview (Defense/ST)

Moving along.

Defensively the team has suffered the loss of its best interior linemen to grades and its shutdown cornerback to an ACL injury. The depth at line is a little young, but very talented and well-coached...and hungry. The linebackers are too good and the secondary is full of question marks...So it's a mixed bag.

Defensive Ends: Kamerion Wimbley has one side locked down while Darrell Burston seems to have the other side. Wimbley is an experienced pass rusher, really quick off the ball. Burston is more of a technique guy, good against the run and can handle blockers. Eventually Alex Boston will probably take over for Burston and he's a manimal, a world-class athlete with unmatched skills. Grade: B

Depth: The depth is ok. D.J. Norris and Willie Jones are excellent speed rushers who are coming off of injuries. Anthony Kelly is a JuCO transfer and original FSU signee that should also contribute. Freshmen Everette Brown and Neefy Moffett will either redshirt or be seen primarily on special teams. Grade: C


Defensive Tackles: The loss of Clifton Dickson stings. Dickson has the potential to be an overwhelming force in the middle and his loss forces redshirt freshman Andre Fluellen to jump into the action. At nose guard Broderick Bunkley is a two-year starter and has been on the two deep since he was a freshman. A strong leader to bring stability to a young line. Grade: B

Depth: The good thing is that Aaron Jones and Emmanuel Dunbar were top 20 defensive linemen nationally in 2004 and Letroy Guion and Kendrick Stewart were top 20 nationally in 2005. The bad thing is none of them have played a down. I expect all of them to play this year and it will be feast or famine. Grade: C


Linebackers: Whoa momma, we got some studs here. Ernie Sims, A.J. Nicholson and Buster Davis make up the best linebacking corps in the nation. Nuff said. Grade: A

Depth: It just gets better. The cupboard is chock full of experienced veterans like Marcello Church and Sam McGrew and superstar underclassmen like Jae Thaxton, Lawrence Timmons and Rodney Gallon. And incoming freshmen Geno Hayes and Derek Nicholson are reportedly as good as the hype they walked in with. It's going to be a beautiful four years in the middle of the defense. Grade: A

Cornerbacks: Ugghh. Antonio Cromartie was an All-ACC performer as a backup and would've been high on the All-America list this season. But he's gone with an ACL. In his place is senior Gerard Ross and redshirt freshman Tony Carter. Ross is so questionable in coverage that FSU reverted to its old way of designating corners with a 'field' corner and a 'boundary' corner. Ross is apparently strong on the boundary, good against the run but not the type of guy you want covering anyone man-to-man. Carter will take the field position, which is the showcase spot, he's extremely small (5'9, 160 pounds) but he wraps himself up with the receiver well. He's not lacking confidence either as he moved from third to first on the depth chart in a few months. Grade: C-

Depth: Trevor Ford and J.R. Bryant are the backups and probably the two best corners on the team. Both have been hurt and lost opportunities to start right away, but I expect they will be there midway through the season. Both guys are over six feet and have lock down potential. Futher on the chart freshmen Michael Ray Garvin, Jamie Robinson and Joe Manning will be solid with repetitions. Grade: B


Safeties: Pat Watkins is an All-America candidate. Kyler Hall is the most popular teammate on the team and a senior captain. He's also slow and has a history of taking bad angles. He's good against the run, however, and plays his best against Miami. He also had the worst game in safety history back in 2002 against Clemson. Kyler is just Kyler and the hope is that he plays smart and keeps everything in front of him. I hope Hall succeeds because he is one of the real good guys. Grade: B- ('A' for Watkins)

Depth: Roger Williams has made great strides and held down Watkins' starting spot for much of the summer and through two-a-days. Anthony Houllis and Darius McClure provide more young depth. 6'6 Kenny Ingram is an interesting player and should see the field in obvious passing downs. Grade: C


Kickers: Chris Hall is a three-year starter at punter. Meanwhile there's a three-way battle going on for placekicker and none of them seem to want it. Sophomore Gary Cismescia is the favorite, having the edge on distance and accuracy. True freshman Graham Gano can kick the ball all kinds of far but lacks accuracy. And sophomore Chase Goggans is money inside of 37 yards and completely short at 38 and farther. Right now it looks like Cismescia will handle most of the duties, but Goggans may become the "short" guy. Either way I'd like more stability here. Grade: C

Returners: A speed team like FSU rarely has a problem in this department. Punt returns will be handle by seniors Willie Reid and Leon Washington, both of whom are lightning in a bottle. FSU will go with an assortment of kick returners including Reid, Kenny O'Neal and Antone Smith. Speed and more speed. Grade: A


Coaches: Mickey Andrews is a longtime defensive coordinator and remains as ornery and fiery as ever. Odell Haggins (defensive tackles) and Kevin Steele (linebackers) flank him and are two of the best position coaches in the nation and master recruiters. Steele was Rivals.com recruiter of the year an he and Haggins have revitalized FSU's prominence with recruits in South Florida. James Colzie is a former player who has joined the staff as an apprentice and works with the secondary. The only weakness on the defensive coaching staff would appear to be Jody Allen (defensive ends), who has taken criticism for his weight limits for defensive ends that make them too small to go against elite linemen and leaves them too tired for solid pass rushing in the later parts of the game. Grade: A-

Posted by TPrincess 11:51 PM ||
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