Fact or Fiction-Offense

During Fall Camp, NoleDigest will be breaking down issues concerning the Florida State football team; fact or fiction style. We will look at several questions facing the team heading into 2008 and tell you how we expect things to pan out this year.

Fact or Fiction? Drew Weatherford will be Florida State's starting Quarterback to start the season:

Mack-Fact. Drew Weatherford most likely will start against Western Carolina but I don't know if he will finish the game. I believe that FSU will incorporate a two QB system (Ponder) and possibly three with D'Vontrey Richardson. Coach Fisher loves playing to his players' strengths so they will take advantage of what each QB does best.

Fish-Fiction, I have just heard too many things that favor Christian Ponder to believe anyone else then him will be starting the season. With two FCS schools (Formally known as D1AA) this would be a great opportunity to start an inexperienced quarterback. Jimbo is a big fan of Christian Ponder and that should give him a leg up going into the first game.

Nate-Fiction. I say this because Coach Fisher has said that he is looking for a consistent player who secures the ball, is a leader and makes plays. Drew and Christian Ponder have been running neck and neck, and Ponder has been more willing to go downfield. Also, Ponder is more athletic then Drew, and that may be the biggest thing that separates the two. It's going to be close, but I think we'll see Ponder win the job.

Richie-Fact. While Weatherford will be pushed more than ever in fall camp, I do not see either Ponder or Richardson outplaying him on the practice field. I believe this will be Christian Ponder's team by week 4 at the latest, it just won't be his team to start the season.

Fact or Fiction? Antone Smith will be FSU's first 1,000 yard since Warrick Dunn in 1996:

Mack-Fiction. Antone Smith is he remains healthy will have a very productive season. For that to happen though he will not be a 20+ carry back. With Carlton Jones, Marcus Sims, Jermaine Thomas and hopefully Tavares Pressley to take the load off of him and keep him fresh. FSU hasn't had this luxury of backs in awhile. Smith will come very close to 1000 yards if he stays healthy but I do not see him breaking that number.

Fish-Fiction, even if Antone stays healthy FSU has too many backs this year that Jimbo will rely on. You have Antone, Pressley, Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones. I just don't see Antone breaking the 1,000 yard barrier because of the lack of carries.

Nate-Fiction. I say that not because he won't have a good year, but FSU has a good stable of backs this fall that will share the carries. It all depends on the line play and if Smith can stay healthy. All reports have stated he looks the best he's looked since he got to FSU.

Richie-Fact. As many already know, Smith has been working extremely hard off the field to improve the weak points in his game. One criticism has been that he cannot cut or move well with the ball. By participating in yoga classes all summer, Smith has begun to address this issue and it is already showing on the practice field. At one practice I saw him hit the hole hard, stutter step as a defender blew by him and Smith took off for a touchdown.

Fact or Fiction? The young offensive line will hold up enough for the offense to be productive this season.

Mack-Fact. Coach Trickett is one of the best offensive line coaches in America. The line has held up against a tough defensive unit so far this pre-season and I believe it will carry over into the season. Zebrie Sanders looks as good as advertised and will probably start at one of the tackle positions. As long as they stay healthy they will get better and better. The first real test will come against Wake Forest in Tallahassee.

Fish-Fact.Trickett finally has his guys that he wants. The line is still a year away but you started to see the line improve at the end of last season. Hudson and McMahon are All-Conference type players and the young guys are pretty good. Experience will be the biggest question mark all season long.

Nate-Fact: While short on overall depth, this line is not short on quality players in my opinion. There are two All-American candidates in Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon, and the freshmen have looked good so far, especially Zebrie Sanders. The key is right tackle for this line, so if Joe Tonga, Antwane Greenlee or Andrew Datko can solidify that spot, the line for FSU will be better than people think.

Richie-Fact. Thus far in fall camp, I have been told by both quarterbacks and a few running backs that the group has held their own against a very tough FSU defensive front. The young o-line will get a good deal of practice during the first two weeks of the season. I think this group will surprise a lot of critics this season. Don't look for what Trickett left at West Virginia just yet, but this group should be very competitive.

Fact or Fiction? Florida State will average at least 30 PPG on offense:

Mack-Fact. It sounds too good to be true but last year FSU just fell a touchdown short of this mark. FSU has new playmakers such as Corey Surrency, Bert Reed, Taiwon Easterling, Bo Reliford, Ja'Baris Little, Ty Jones and old veterans such as Greg Carr, Preston Parker, Antone Smith and Rod Owens. This offense will be better strictly based from a talent point of view. This team is capable of really lighting up the scoreboard with solid QB and line play.

Fish-Fact, Because of the first two games I say yes. FSU will probably score more then 50 in the first two games. They would have to score only 26 points a game in their other 10 games to reach that mark. FSU will probably score around 32 points a game this up-coming season.

Nate-Fact: Something tells me we're in for an improved offense with a better line, more playmakers at the skill positions and a year more in the system. The schedule is manageable, and expected blow-outs the first two games should help the average early on. Last year the team averages in the low 20's, but there are playmakers like Surrency, Parker and Carr who look to have a huge year in 2008.

Richie-Fact: Last season FSU averaged just over 23 ppg. With a year of experience in Jimbo Fisher's new system and improvement at almost every skill position, Florida State should have no problem adding one touchdown a game to last season's total. As stated before, I think the o-line will do just enough to help out this season. Throw in those first two games to bump the average, the ‘Noles' get it done.

Fact or Fiction? Corey Surrency will be Florida State's leading receiver in 2008.

Mack-Fact. This was probably the toughest question to answer because FSU still has Parker and Carr who are both very talented. Surrency has been making plays throughout the pre-season. Once a QB notices that he has a reliable receiver that will make him look good then he will continue to get ball thrown his direction. Parker will have more receptions because of everything FSU likes to do with the slot receivers but Surrency will have bigger numbers and bigger plays.

Fish-Fact, at 6'5, 220 pounds there wont be a more difficult match up at receiver in the ACC. For those that have yet to see Surrency they will be impressed the first time he gets on the field. He will be a major mismatch for opposing defenses. I expect him to go over a 1,000 yards this season and have around 8-10 touchdowns.

Nate-Fact: This is tough because Preston Parker is no slouch and Greg Carr looks to be very motivated for his senior year at FSU. Corey has done nothing but been special since he got to FSU, and as he gets more comfortable and acclimated the sky will be the limit. At a legit 6'5" and 215 pounds Surrency is a match-up nightmare against smaller corners and he is too fast for linebackers and safeties to match-up with him in the slot.

Richie-Fact-ion: This one is tough. Statistically, I don't think Surrency will lead the receivers, but I expect him to lead the group in several other ways. While I believe Preston Parker will once again lead the crew in overall production, Surrency will be a huge reason why FSU is more successful on offense this season compared to last season. I expect Corey to explode onto the scene within the first few weeks drawing a lot of attention from defenses during games later in the season, opening up the field for his teammates. While Parker drew attention from opponent's defenses last season down the stretch, Surrency is a bigger threat for a deep ball and will also take the short routes for big gains. His 6'5" frame along with his 4.5 speed will prove tough to stop this season.

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