Steve Chase/Chase Photography
Junior tailback Chris Thompson has run for 54 yards on 12 carries in two games and scored a touchdown against Charleston Southern.
Fisher will indeed use all five tailbacks
In the season opener against ULM, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher only handed the ball to the top three tailbacks on his depth chart in that 34-0 victory: senior Ty Jones, junior Chris Thompson and freshman Devonta Freeman. Rumors began to swirl that senior Jermaine Thomas could be the odd man out, plus freshman James Wilder Jr. may have been a candidate to redshirt despite his much-ballyhooed recruitment. But Fisher got Thompson four carries in the 62-10 beatdown of Charleston Southern and then fed it to Wilder 10 times down the stretch, saying afterward that he can never have too many running backs because there are always injuries to that position.
Speaking about Wilder, Fisher said that his 6-2, 220-pound frame will come in handy whenever he needs to ram it between the tackles and take time off the game clock.
Jernigan good enough to start already
Despite being listed on the depth chart as nothing more than a third-string nose guard, freshman Timmy Jernigan leads all of FSU's defensive tackles with five tackles in two games. And his stops are making a difference, as the 6-3, 297-pounder has recorded two of them behind the line of scrimmage and got credit for his first career sack in garnet and gold against the Buccaneers. Of course, he has faced a pair of non-BCS programs that feature offensive linemen perhaps no bigger than he saw while at Lake City (FL) Columbia High School, but Jernigan is simply tearing the enemy to shreds and camping out in the backfield.
Fahrenkrug, Stork could switch spots
While junior center Jacob Fahrenkrug was arguably the best offensive lineman in the community-college ranks a season ago, he was decorated as such playing guard. Still relatively new to the center position, the 6-4, 315-pounder struggled from time to time with his shotgun snapping during preseason camp, although the Seminoles haven't had any noticeable exchange problems through the first two contests. Nevertheless, that didn't stop Fisher from flip-flopping Fahrenkrug with sophomore left guard Bryan Stork after intermission of the CSU game, and the second-year coach liked what he saw from his ground attack as a result.
It wouldn't be a complete surprise to see Fahrenkrug moved back to his more natural position at guard if that's ultimately the best combination up front, and Stork has been taking a few reps at center during practice for quite some time.
Ends doing a great job stopping the run
As is the case for a lot of defenses, junior Vince Williams currently leads the 'Noles in tackles from his middle linebacker position with 10. But the second and third leading tacklers on the team are actually defensive ends, as junior Brandon Jenkins has eight and junior Cornellius Carradine has seven. Both Jenkins and Carradine are known primarily for their ability to rush the passer, although the stat sheet proves neither one has been a one-dimensional defender so far this season.
Senior weak-side linebacker Nigel Bradham, who paced Florida State in tackles a year ago with 98, hasn't had to work very hard just yet and is only tied for sixth on the team with five stops.
Pair of cupcakes served their purpose
It's been a long wait, but the schedule finally turns to the highly-anticipated showdown with Oklahoma this coming Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles are off to a 2-0 start and have to be feeling confident with the Sooners coming to town, even if their two victories have come against a Sun Belt Conference also-ran (ULM) and then a Big South Conference doormat (Charleston Southern). Everyone expected Fisher and Co. to roll in these cupcake affairs with the Warhawks and Bucs, and while it would be a waste of energy to pat themselves on the back, at least the 'Noles can feel good about the fact that they were supposed to be Goliath and dominate the Davids for eight straight quarters and did exactly that.
To be fair, the running game hasn't been sharp and junior quarterback E.J. Manuel did make a couple of poor decisions that turned into INTs, but a combined score of 96-10 is impressive any way you slice it. If the Seminoles can't beat Oklahoma, it will have nothing to do with their scheduling beforehand.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
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