Mid-Season Report Card

Noledigest gives every position group for FSU a grade. The grades are based on performance and production.

Quarterback: Xavier Lee has made many big plays (5 passing TD's and 2 rushing TD's) in his short tenure at the quarterback position. He has only started 5 games in his entire career. Lee needs to continue to work on his consistency to make the routine play. He will get better as he gets more comfortable in Jimbo Fisher's offense. Grade B-

Running Back: This has been one of the more disappointing positions midway through the season. When he came in, Jimbo Fisher stated he wanted to establish the running game. He has tried, but it just has not worked out. The running game is ranked 102nd overall in the country averaging 108.33 ypg. This is reason why the Noles struggled in the second half against Wake Forest and why they got pounded in the first half against Clemson. Antone Smith has battled injuries with turf toe and a concussion, which are among other reasons why he has only averaged 3.4 ypc on 95 carries. When Xavier Lee is the second leading rusher with 82 yards, there are red flags. This position needs to improve big-time for the Noles going into their November schedule. Grade C

Wide Receiver: Lawrence Dawsey's position group has played very well this season. Greg Carr has 25 receptions for 508 yards and 3 TD's. Preston Parker is averaging 14.3 yards per catch. De'Cody Fagg is averaging 12.5 yards per catch. The three headed monster is one of the best group of receivers in the country. This group has made an effort to also block. This group has helped both quarterbacks. Grade A-

Offensive Line: When Rick Trickett came into the fold, he made a lot of noise with his Jenny Craig comments and such. This until looked like they were beginning to turn the corner after signing a large class in 2007. Coming into fall practice this team looked to have over 20 linemen and was going to have depth it hasn't had in years. But, with the early attrition of Anthony Grosso, Zach Hillery, Matt Hardrick and Jatavious Jackson (moved to D-line), the line then took a hit. As the season started, guys like Dumaka Atkins, David Overmeyer and now Rodney Hudson have been injured, making this unit very inconsistent. With 3 freshmen playing, some growth pains were expected. But, they have done a poor job run blocking, which for the most part has made this team one dimensional. They have done a pretty good job pass blocking, but without the run blocking this unit has been abysmal. Grade D

Defensive Line: This group has been solid. Everette Brown (5 sacks) and Letroy Guion (20 tackles) have really elevated this group. Andre Fluellen and Budd Thacker have both battled injuries this year that have kept them off of the field. Neefy Moffett has shown up for most games but disappears some as well. This group needs to play the run better and disengage off of blockers. The line shows great effort though and plays very hard every game. Grade B+

Linebackers: After the Clemson game it looked like the losses of Lawrence Timmons and Buster Davis were going to have a bigger impact than first thought. Gen Hayes' 11 missed tackles was a stat that left many shaking their heads. Since that game, this unit has been lights out. Geno Hayes and Derek Nicholson lead the team with 44 tackles, which is top 15 in the ACC. Geno has also been a wrecking ball in the backfield, ranking 1st in the ACC and 5th in the NCAA with 12 TFL's. He also has 3 sacks, which ranks 16th in the ACC. Dekoda Watson is a budding star, and Marcus Ball looks like he is getting better each week coming off of his knee injury. When Geno sat out some of the Alabama game due to his arrest, Toddrick Verdell showed that he is a guy who has the ability to contribute. The performance against Wake was disappointing, but overall this unit has been doing well. Grade B

Defensive Backs: This unit has been enigma so far this year. The corners have done very well in run support, but have been very inconsistent in pass coverage. Tony Carter has been steady and Patrick Robinson has showed that he may be the future at his position for the Noles. Michael Ray Garvin has the only defensive touchdown this year, but has been beaten some this year. Maybe the biggest disappointment has been Jamie Robinson. But, this team has been able to force turnovers with 7 interceptions, with Carter and P. Robinson both top 8 in the ACC. At the safety spot, Roger Williams and Myron Rolle come in 3rd and 4th, respectively, in tackles. But again, stopping the run not been the problem with FSU's defense. Against Wake, though, this unit did struggle in that department. Williams, Darius McClure and Anthony Houllis have each had their struggles in the passing game, but if one where to watch the first 6 games, they'd see that Rolle has been the most steady of the bunch in covering his man. McClure and Houllis have shown there is a big drop off from the starters in pass coverage, and it has continued to kill the Noles. It must be said with more consistent pressure up front, some of the liabilities in the defensive backfield can be covered. Grade B-

Special Teams: Preston Parker and Michael Ray Garvin have been very close to breaking returns for TD's. FSU hasn't scored on a kick or punt return since Willie Reid was returning kicks for the Seminoles. The punt team averages a penalty a game. Kick off coverage is also very average. Grade C

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