Grading The 'Noles

Florida State's season-opening victory against North Carolina is in the books. The Seminoles, who must now turn their attention to Saturday's home opener against the Maryland Terrapins, had plenty to be excited about against the Tar Heels. Click here as TheTerritory's Charles Fishbein reviews the team's performance in Chapel Hill, N.C.


Quarterback: I think Chris Rix played his best game of his career so far at FSU. What was most impressive is that he did not force the football down the field and took what the defense gave him. His two throws to P.K Sam in the back of the end zone should have been touchdowns. Wyatt Sexton also looked good other than the fumble at the end.
Grade: A

Running Backs: Wow. I had some doubts about Lorenzo Booker but forget about them now. He is as good as advertised. That touchdown run was Peter Warrick-like. He is the real deal. Greg Jones had me very excited. That hit on Dexter Reid was so impressive. Leon Washington looked great in the limited time he played. Willie Reid needs some credit. Not only did he have an impact as a receiver, Reid was great at running back as well. The fullbacks had a very good game as well. The backs all caught the ball well.
Grade: A-plus

Receivers: Overall the receivers played well. Craphonso Thorpe is very effective on those short passes. One-on-one with a defensive back, Cro will usually get the best of that matchup. Chris Davis is also better than I expected. The only negative at receiver was P.K. Sam. He should have caught one of those fades for a touchdown. The tight ends even caught a pass. Lorne Sam even made a nice catch at the end of the game.
Grade: B-minus

Offensive Line: The offensive line played better than anyone could have imagined. Other than a busted play in the first half these guys had a great game. The run blocking was very impressive. I cant remember the last time our O-line dominated a game from start to finish. Even the reserves got to play.
Grade: A-plus-plus-plus.


Defensive Line: Even though the defensive line did not get sacks and a lot of pressure on the quarterback they played the run real well. Darnell Dockett is going to have a very good year. Travis Johnson played well. Eric Moore is going to be very good. Yes, the sacks were not there but they got the job done. I think the lack of sacks had a lot to do with UNC also getting rid of the football quickly. Lots of guys played. I expect the play of the D-Line to really improve in the Maryland game.
Grade: C-plus

Linebackers: This was the only part of our defense that concerns me. We need Buster Davis to start at middle linebacker. Allen Augustin is a great story but he is a weak-side linebacker. He is way to undersized to play the middle. Kendyll Pope and Michael Boulware are both weak-side linebackers as well. . I would play Pope and Boulware at weak-side linebacker, Buster at middle linebacker and A.J. Nicholson on the strong side. Marcello Church, Ray Piquion, Ernie, Buster Davis and A.J. Nicholson all played well in reserve.
Grade: C

Defensive backs: One thing that did not happen was no busted plays. Bryant McFadden played real well. Pat Watkins will be the next star on defense. Jerome Carter is solid in run support but we need to bring an extra cornerback on the field when teams pass the ball. Stanford Samuels and Rufus Brown also played well.
Grade: B-plus

Special Teams: Chris Davis looked real good. Too bad Leon got hurt returning a punt. The coverage teams did very well. I know some will knock Xavier Beitia for missing a field goal and having a PAT blocked but did everyone notice how well he kicked off?. I think the kicking job should be open between Jessie Stein, Beita and Chase Goggans.
Grade: B-minus

Coaching: This was by far Jeff Bowden's best called game at FSU. He did a great job of mixing the pass with the run and was not predictable. The passes to the backs and tight ends were nice to see. The O-line had its best day in a long time and Jimmy Heggins deserves some props. Overall the coaching on both sides was very good for the first game out. We got a shutout and our offense was very effective. This is a top 10 team for the first time since 2000. Yes we did not play perfect but for a first game out it was more than enough to get me pumped for the upcoming season.

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