Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has now clearly left his stamp on the program and as he enters year four, there is little doubt that the program is in the best shape it has been since the 1990's.
Offensively FSU is loaded once again with talent, however that does not mean there are not some questions.
1. What is FSU going to do about the lack of depth at Tight End?
The bad news has really only happened to one position--- Tight End. Willie Tye transfered, Kevin Haplea went down with a season ending knee injury, and then Christo Kourtzidis decided to transfer back to be closer to his California home. That leaves just junior Nick O'Leary and incoming freshmen Jeremy Kerr as scholarship players at this position.
There is also a lack of depth at FB with only one scholarship player, Chad Abram, at that position. Bottom line the options are limited and we see two possibilities.
The easiest solution to the problem is to go to 3 and 4 wide receiver sets where the TE is not part of that offensive package. FSU can do this because they are extremely deep at WR.
The second solution is to move a player from another position to TE. Senior Dan Hicks would be the most likely candidate as he is a former TE and would have the type of size (6'4, 265) to be a force as a blocker. Giorgio Newberry and former walk-on Jonathan Wallace are also possibilities.
It will be interesting to see how Coach Fisher handles this moving forward.
2. Can FSU deal with any injuries to the OL?
Yes and no. We feel that FSU has some good options inside. Jacob Fahrenkrug, Ruben Carter, Austin Barron, and Sterling Lovelady provide solid depth at the OG and OC positions and a case can be made that each is ready to be a starter (both Barron and Fakrenkrug have started games).
The issue is at OT where there is very little depth behind projected starters Cam Erving and Bobby Hart. We feel like Bryan Stork will move to OT from OC if there is an injury to a starter and that FSU probably would not miss a beat.
Bottom line here is that FSU can deal with "some" adversity on the OL, but not a lot. Players like Ira Denson and Wilson Bell need time to develop before being thrown into the fire. Let's hope they get that time.
3. Is it Benjamin time?
We expected Benjamin to red-shirt as a freshmen in order for him to adjust to the college life and game. There is no question that he is FSUs most talented wide receiver, but the consistency was severely lacking a year ago. There have been consistent rumors of him 'dominating' on the practice field and making the 'spectacular' play.
We saw very little of that in live game action a year ago, in fact he missed plays that were there to be made. Should that reverse this year where Benjamin is making plays, this offense could be close to unstoppable. His size is a match-up nightmare for DBs, defensive coordinator's will be forced to give him a lot of attention, and that will open it up for a fleet set of WRs to do their thing (Greene, Shaw, Green).
One hope for FSU would be that Willie Haulstead pushes Benjamin in camp. Haulstead's injury prevented that a year ago, but the 6'3, 230 pounder is healthy and FSU fans can still remember how good he was earlier in his career. We still feel that Haulstead is best FSU wide-out in the middle of the field.
Bottom line, it is time for Benjamin to be the game changer that his talent and unique size dictate.