Every computerized forecast model currently shows Frances striking portions of the Bahamas today and Thursday and then making landfall somewhere along Florida's East Coast either Friday or Saturday. Let's say a quick prayer that everyone stays safe. As far as football is concerned, Florida State and Miami officials, with ACC commissioner John Swofford and ABC, are discussing contingency plans about rescheduling the Labor Day game. Some possible makeup dates, if necessary, would include Sept. 9 or Sept. 11.
Does this year's offense take on a new personality. And if so, how is Chris Rix doing?
By all accounts, Chris Rix has enjoyed an impressive preseason. Quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey said as much last week. Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden repeated the same thought yesterday. Rix's teammates continue to compliment their oft-criticized QB on his work ethic and patience behind center. At least in scrimmages, it's no secret FSU wants to put the football in the hands of Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker. The Seminoles also have made a point to get their tight ends involved, which can be a good thing. Craphonso Thorpe has picked up his practice pace the past few days after giving into fatigue last week, according to offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden. Bowden also said Chris Davis has made impressive strides.
The buzz going around is that Wyatt Sexton doesn't look like the next great Florida State quarterback. What do you think will happen with the quarterback situation when Rix leaves?
Obviously, fans are very excited about freshman Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee. The pair is physically gifted. However, the coaching staff is quick to point out the talented duo still has a ways to travel in terms of learning the offense. Wyatt has a huge head start in that area and will be the clear starter heading into spring drills. Coach Bobby Bowden has said Drew and Xaiver will need to catch Wyatt during that time. It won't happen -- at least not this spring. However, to be fair, Jeff Bowden said last week that Wyatt started very slowly this preseason and he wasn't happy about it. However, Wyatt is doing much better.
What will FSU have to do on offense and defense to beat Miami?
Simple. Eliminate turnovers on offense and big plays on defense. These are two collegiate heavyweights going at it. Sit back and enjoy. As I've said before, however, this is FSU's time. The Seminoles have more talent on both sides of the football. FSU by 10.
The defense has picked up an awful lot of sacks this preseason. Is the return of the great FSU pass-rush back?
I wouldn't go that far. However, Eric Moore and Chauncey Davis have been very impressive and coach Jody Allen has done an excellent job of developing quality depth as well. FSU should be impressive by committee, simply because there's not Reinard Wilson or Peter Boulware out there.
Two years ago, the seconday was average at best. What is the difference this year and how much of a strength are they this year?
Keep in mind FSU's pass rush also was very average two years ago, which makes the entire defense very average on passing downs. The Seminoles have struggled in single coverage also because they lacked, well, the ability to stick with quality receivers. But it's also very difficult to stick to that receiver when the quarterback has time to spin the football and sign his name. Look for Seminole linebackers to be very active this year, which in turn will help the pass rush and the secondary. FSU's secondary also is loaded with experience and enough cornerback skill to rely on bump coverage again.
What freshman have caught your eyes?
It's hard to stop watching Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee. However, tailbacks Lamar Lewis and Jamaal Edwards have looked wonderful. I've said it before, but Lamar is a Leon clone. Neither has been intimidated and they run hard between tackles. Cornerbacks Trevor Ford and J.R. Bryant made some nice early impressions. I enjoyed watching Rodney Gallon's passion for the game, too. He's undersized but flies to the football.
No. Alex Boston is playing very well at defensive end and, when it's all said and done, could play a key role in the rotation. Alex has added noticeable muscle but sill has kept his speed and quick feet. Donnie Carter's loss will hurt and FSU must keep Paul Irons healthy. Matt Henshaw and Matt Root are very capable, too. At the moment, FSU is fine.
Talk about the depth chart.
There hasn't been many surprises really. Injuries continue to be a concern along the offensive line. If center David Castillo and Bobby Meeks are unable to play against the 'Canes, then John Frady and Ronnie Lunford will start. However, I still believe both Castillo and Meeks will strap it on Labor Day. Injuries to B.J. Ward and Pat Watkins have had Kyler Hall hopping between free safety and rover this week.
About the only two jobs still open, according to Coach Bowden, are punter and long snapper. Chris Hall had an early lead on Brett Cimorelli -- hasn't Brett been here forever?? -- but Cimorelli has kicked very well of late. Myles Hodish and Garrison Sanborn also are taking turns at long snapper. Additionally, Xavier Beitia has had a solid preseason and has held off the push by The Weed, Gary Cismesia. X also was named special teams captain by Bowden at the kickoff luncheon last Friday.
Is it true Tim McGraw is going to play at concert at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center the weekend of the Florida game?
Yep. And, of course, us fellas are keeping our fingers crossed Faith shows up, too.