Let's face it; this season has not gone the way Florida State fans had envisioned it going. Many fans had predicted an undefeated start to the season, while others expected at worst 2 losses at the point in the season for the Seminoles.
What we have now is a 2-4 FSU team that can't get it going consistently. Each game has had its strong points while others have seen this team struggle on both sides of the ball. NoleDigest grades each position's performance in this "mid-term" report.
Quarterback: Christian Ponder has been absolutely spectacular this year for FSU. Heading into the season the experts talked about how this offense would be predicated on how much Ponder had developed this past off-season. After 6 games Christian leads the ACC in most of the passing categories, and he leads the conference in total offense. Ponder has had his rough moments as he has fumbled in crucial moments like in the Miami and Georgia Tech games, but overall he has been arguably the best quarterback in the ACC this year. His performance against Georgia Tech was one of the best an FSU signal caller has ever had. Grade: A
Running Back: This unit has been somewhat of a disappointment so far this year. Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones and Tavares Pressley have all been banged up at some point this year, and freshmen Lonnie Pryor and Chris Thompson have all seen significant action so far this year. Many felt this was going to be the strong point of the offense, but it really has struggled to get anything really consistent going. The BYU and GT games were good for the Noles, but then you have games like USF where the backs just can't get anything going. Ponder and the passing game has saved this offense, but this unit needs to get it going if FSU wants to get into the bowl picture. Many feel Pryor needs to be more of a feature back for this offense. Grade: C
Wide Receivers: NoleDigest feels this unit has been better than many thought it would be coming into the season. While no one has separated themselves as an elite playmaker, Bert Reed, Richard Goodman, Taiwan Easterling and Jarmon Fortson all have had moments where they have made plays to help the offense. Reed and Goodman both sit in the top 10 in the ACC in receiving yards, and Goodman is a leader in catches per game. Fortson has showed flashes of taking that next step, but he is like the entire unit in where they still have the occasions on where they make the improbable catches and miss the cans of corn. Grade: B
Tight Ends: Caz Piurowski was on his way to an All-American type season before his knee injury against the Yellow Jackets. Beau Reliford and Ja'Baris Little have played more H-back then tight end, but now they're going to have to turn it on with Caz out. This unit overall has been good this year. Grade: A-
Offensive Line: While the offense has been the strong point of this team, the line has been an overall disappointment this year. This unit was named a national top 5 unit by some, yet they haven't played that way. Against units deemed full of NFL type talent this unit has been dominated b bigger, faster front 4's. This unit, minus the USF game, has done well in pass protection, but the biggest knock has been their ability to run block. We've seen this unit miss crucial blocks on the goal line against USF and Boston College; that is something we didn't see last year from this unit. Coach Trickett will get this unit turned around. Grade: C
Defensive Line: This unit has been gutted in many, many ways. From injuries to poor play FSU's front 4 hasn't been able to create any kind of pressure or stop offenses so far in 2009. Justin Mincey, Budd Thacker, Moses McCray, Kendrick Stewart and Jacobbi McDaniel all have missed action to injury inside, and Kevin McNeil has missed time at end. Simply put this unit just hasn't created any pressure whatsoever as they have a grand total of 3 sacks and 6 tackles for loss on the season. This is a drastic change from last year. Boston College, USF, Miami and Georgia Tech all won the battles up front against this unit. Very disappointing to say the least. Grade: D-
Linebackers: While injuries cannot be considered the end all of poor play, this unit too has been gutted by injuries. Vince Williams is out with a back injury, Dekoda Watson has been injured all year, and now Mo Harris is out for the season. Watson and Mister Alexander lead the team in sacks and Watson leads in TFL's, but otherwise this unit is just poorly coached. There is talent at this spot. Nigel Bradham, Kendall Smith, Nigel Carr, Watson and Alexander are all athletic and can run. But this unit is arguably the worst coached unit on the team as often the linebackers are out of position, the have poor technique, and they are just not set up for success. Grade: D-
Defensive Backs: Greg Reid is arguably the best freshman defensive back in the nation this year. He's made several plays for this defense in the nickel, and he is getting a lot more playing time in the base defense. He has been the lone bright spot with this unit. Patrick Robinson isn't having the season many thought and he has been pressing some. Jamie Robinson has been inconsistent. Dionte Allen has shown flashes, but he has also made a ton of mistakes. Ochuko Jenije is the same. Korey Mangum has been the worst safety FSU has had in years. Nick Moody has played very well in run support but isn't getting the playing time which he probably deserves. Why the young guys like Jajuan Harley and A.J. Alexander haven't gotten more of a chance is near comical. FSU's pass defense is 102nd in the nation. Enough said. Grade: F
Special Teams: Reid has been dynamic as a return man. Dustin Hopkins has been up and down as a kicker but he's booming the ball on kickoffs. Shawn Powell has been decent punting the ball. Grade: B-
Coaching: This is a tale of two sides of the coin. We can talk for days about how the offense has carried this team while the defense has struggled each and every week. Grade: Offense: B+ Defense: F
FSU Mid-Term Report Card
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