Noledigest Roundtable

McKinley Rolle, Larry Blustein, Charles Fishbein, and Nate Greer discuss what indicator will be able to signify that FSU is back, the most important position group on the team, the most valuable players, and a prediction of FSU's pre-bowl record.

What indicator in 2008 will you look for that signifies the current coaching staff & players have turned the FSU program around?

McKinley Rolle-The indicator that I will look for this season will be if Florida State is competitive in every game that they play this year. Last year that didn't happen against Wake Forest. Another indicator that I will look for is if the team can beat UF in Gainesville. That's not going to be easy but I think it would be a great sign that you're heading in the right direction.

Larry Blustein-Winning at least two of the four tough road games at Clemson, Wake Forest, Boston College and Virginia Tech has to be the best place to start. A road win at any of those ACC "powers" from a year ago will show the fans that this team is indeed ready to start turning things back around.

The Wake Forest game will be huge because of last year's 30-0 embarrassment at home!

Charles Fishbein-Once FSU shows they have an identity on both sides of the football again it will say HEY FSU IS BACK. Also when the players can get that swagger back it will show that they have turned that corner. The offense has lacked confidence for over six years. With a good performance against Clemson, you will start to see the program getting back to the level they were prior to Chuck Amato and Mark Richt leaving.

Nate Greer-A successful 2007 season all around, both on the field and off of it. It would be great to see FSU win 9-10 games in 2007-2008, and win a high level bowl. Then, it would be a great sign to see that FSU has kept the early momentum on going with the recruiting class, and that all of them make it. Limiting the attrition would be key.

Current players on the team need to continue working hard, none failing or getting removed from the team. There is talent there, and hard work and dedication would show that the coaching staff has gotten the players to buy in.

What position group do you feel is the most significant for FSU to have success?

McKinley Rolle-I'm going to go with the offensive and defensive lines. Like my father likes to say if you can dominate the line of scrimmage then you can win every game. The offensive line has improved since last season and I think they will continue to get better as the year goes on. A very good defensive line can make an average secondary look great. If FSU is going to be a Top 10 defense this year it all starts up front.

Larry Blustein-The offensive line. Coach Trickett has eight players who he will count on heavily that didn't start a year ago.

Big years are almost mandatory from players such as Daron Rose, Jacky Claude, Dumaka Atkins and senior Shannon Boatman.

Depth will be an issue for a rotation that will feature five underclassmen.

Charles Fishbein-Without question the offensive line. If the offensive line improves the rest of the offense will have success. I really feel like Rick Trickett will have an immediate impact and the results will be seen by no later then mid-season.

Nate Greer-I think it is two positions to be honest: quarterback and offensive line. It starts up front. The cupboard is not that bare, but they have been poorly coached for years. With Coach Trickett, he is going to break down then re-build these guys. We have seen 2 people in Hardrick and Grosso leave the program. Once he gets his guys in there, I think there will no longer be a question mark with the o-line. We have seen some current guys like Hudson, Greenlee, McMahon, Piurowski and Rose respond well, giving Trickett a nice foundation to build on going forward.

FSU was synonymous with good to great QBs in the "dynasty era". It has not been there for quite some time. With Jimbo Fisher there is going to be improvement at this position. Whether it is Weatherford, Lee or both, there should be a steadier player there this year. Drew has shown with protection he can pick apart a team, like he did in the Emerald Bowl against UCLA. Lee showed against Maryland that the skill set it there, but the coaching up needs to get better. With solid play at these positions, FSU should succeed even against a tough schedule.

What players on Offense and you feel is the most valuable & the program cannot afford to lose to injury?

McKinley Rolle-On offense, the player that I feel is the most valuable is Antone Smith. I think Deuce is very underrated by many college football fans and this is his year to breakout. Look for that 5 plus yards per carry average to go up.

On defense, the player that I think is the most valuable is Myron Rolle. He is one of the best safeties in the country. I don't think FSU has that much depth at that position either.

Larry Blustein-On offense, running back Antone Smith has finally come into his own and could have a tremendous season if he stays healthy. Any offensive lineman who gets hurt would put too much of a strain on the rest of the young unit.

On defense, Myron Rolle in the back, Geno Hayes in the middle and my favorite, Letroy Guion, who has been playing at a high level since his junior year in high school.

Charles Fishbein-On offense the answer is real easy, Antoine Smith. While the other backs Jamal Edwards and Marcus Sims can get it done at running back, Smith is one player that FSU can't afford to lose. On defense it would be Myron Rolle. He is without question the leader on defense. Take him out of the secondary and FSU has major problems.

Nate Greer-On offense, FSU cannot lose Antone Smith to injury. The running back depth is not there. Jamal Edwards showed some spark over the spring and summer, and he is an intriguing player. Marcus Sims looks like he is turning into the Jacob Hester of FSU, a hybrid tailback/fullback type. Smith was legendary coming out of high school, and now he is getting his shot as the workhorse. He has battled to injury bug the last few years with the elbow and now the toe, but last year FSU had Lorenzo Booker. If FSU loses Smith, there will be a lot of question marks for the offense.

Defensively, I think it was proven last year that there is some depth on that side of the ball. Looking at the depth chart, there is one player I think FSU cannot lose to injury, and that is Myron Rolle. There is little to now depth at rover. If Rolle gets hurt, the Noles are looking at Anthony Houllis, Darius McClure and probably Kenny Ingram at that position. All of these kids are back-ups and special teams standouts. When Rolle took over last year, the big plays began to drop a bit.

Predict FSU's Pre-Bowl Final Record?

McKinley Rolle-I think FSU will win at least 9 games. From now on teams are going to have to earn victories against Florida State. I know many individuals look think that the schedule is tough but that's why you play the game. Nothing in life is given to you. If FSU wants to get back on the national scene then it must play up to that level.

Larry Blustein-(9-3)Regular (9-4) after the ACC title game (10-4) overall

Charles Fishbein-I look at it as FSU will win the games against UAB, Duke, NC State, Wake Forrest, Colorado and Maryland. If they can go 3-3 in the rest of the games on their schedule FSU will finish at 9-3. I see them at least getting a split with Miami, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida and Boston College. Beat Clemson at the start of the season and I can't see FSU finishing worse then 9-3.

Nate Greer-I did a thread on the message board about this. I think the schedule looks tough on paper. Schools like Alabama are great names, but lack talent. Virginia Tech has shown that they cannot beat FSU, but that may change this year. Miami is down; Florida is replacing a lot of talent. Looking at the schedule as a whole, November is going to be the make or break part of the season. There is one home game against Maryland, and 3 away games at Virginia Tech, Boston College (a preseason favorite for some) and Florida.

I have long been an optimistic fan going in. I have tried to keep that a realistic level, but I really do not see how the Noles will lose more than 3 games, tops. Clemson is going to be tough, but I think FSU is out for revenge. Wake Forrest I think is going to get smacked in the mouth. Right now, and I feel sick saying it, is that I see FSU losing to Va. Tech and UF. I think UF can be beaten, but I think it is more of a question mark right now than any other opponent. I saw 10-2!

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