10 Topics Heading into Camp

The season is near! Florida State begins fall practice Friday. There is a lot of anticipation heading into this year for the Seminoles, but there are some questions that need to be answered during fall camp. NoleDigest looks at 10 topics FSU must address before the Labor Day game against Miami.

After spring ended NoleDigest looked at the team's performance and thought that there were certain positions and areas where the 2009 season hinges on. In this pre-camp preview we look at 10 hot topics regarding Florida State and their 2009 season.

10 Topics for 2009 Fall Camp

1) Cornerback: The spot opposite Patrick Robinson has been talked about all summer since no one established themselves at that spot after the spring. Heading into camp the 4 names discussed are Dionte Allen, Ochuko Jenije, A.J. Alexander and freshmen Greg Reid. There's been talk that any one of the 4 could earn the spot after fall camp ends. Jenije has the most playing experience of the group but the other three will have every opportunity to take the spot.

2) Rover: Heading into camp the depth chart looks just like it did post spring: Korey Mangum 1st string and Nick Moody 2nd. With the emergence of JaJuan Harley there are 3 players who will vie for the spot. NoleDigest doesn't expect Harley to start, but look for him to get major minutes after camp. It is going to be a battle, and there is still a chance that Terrence Parks will earn the spot. Heading into camp he is listed as the 2nd string free safety behind Jamie Robinson.

3) Wide Receiver: At the end of spring this spot was a mess. The fiasco with the fight was still being worked out, Preston Parker had left, and Rod Owens had just gotten arrested. Since then Corey Surrency got the news that he wasn't getting his extra year. Over the summer this group has worked extremely hard as they are trying to prove the numerous naysayers wrong. Richard Goodman is set to go, and Rod Owens is only going to miss one game. The young guns like Jarmon Fortson and Avis Commack have responded well this summer. The biggest boost, though, may be getting Taiwan Easterling back quicker than initially thought.

4) Christian Ponder: Ponder enters spring as the starter. Getting the passing game in line is of high priority for Ponder. Christian is the leader of the offense. This camp is when he must do it on the field……which leads me to……

5) E.J. Manuel: E.J. missing spring was a huge setback for the redshirt freshmen as he was ready to show he has the tools to be the guy at FSU. He has done very well this summer in 7-on-7 and passing drills and he is showing no ill effects from the finger injury. Manuel is hungry, and he is ready to push Ponder this fall. Can he supplant Christian as the starter? Probably not. Can he show he deserves playing time? Yes. Word is E.J. is getting anxious and wants his time to shine. The coaches have raved about his mental capacity to pick things up. This fall he'll have his chance to show he is ready.

6) Running Back Depth Chart: On paper this looks to be FSU's best stock of running backs in a very long time. Jermaine Thomas is coming off a freshmen season were he was this close to becoming the starter. Ty Jones is healthy and showed what he can do in the bowl game when he is not fighting diabetes. Tavares Pressley is cleared and ready to go. Then there are the 2 freshmen in Lonnie Pryor and Chris Thompson. There is depth here, but in college you need 5 backs ready to go due to injuries. NoleDigest feels all 5 will get a chance this year. If Pressley can past the mental side of the knee injury (he has done it before), watch out.

7) Linebackers: There is talent, no doubt, but look closely and you'll see there isn't a lot of depth here. The starting unit is as good as any in the ACC in Dekoda Watson, Kendall Smith and Nigel Bradham. Nigel Carr is ready for a solid season. But there isn't much after that. Vince Williams is out for the year with a back injury some think is worse than initially thought, Mister Alexander has been injured his first couple years at FSU, and Ricardo Wright has been a back-up his whole career. The top 4 are close to elite. An injury here could spell doom to this group.

8) The Freshmen: Before the freshmen reported there was a group often talked about when it came to who would play and who would redshirt. As camp commences this will be answered rather quickly. Based off summer workouts look for these freshmen to set themselves up for playing time during camp: Greg Reid, Willie Haulstead, Brandon Jenkins, Demonte McAllister, Jacobbi McDaniel, Rodney Smith, Lonnie Pryor, Chris Thompson, JaJuan Harley, Bryan Stork, Dustin Hopkins and Justin Bright.

9) Mickey's Defense: There's talk that we'll see some different coverage schemes this year. I don't want to get to far ahead so we will wait and see. With new GA Terrell Buckley being more hands on, look for the secondary to be put in better positions to make plays.

10) Bobby's Future: Is this year it? There's been some smoke this year could be it, especially if the NCAA rules against FSU. If this is in fact it, look for something to be announced before the season starts.


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