I receive questions daily about FSU football, the answers to which don’t make it into articles. I figured it was time to do my version of a mailbag. Feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit me up on social media to see your questions answered.
@mikeWFerguson: “Do any of the new coaches (demeanor, scheme, etc.) remind you of any of the coaches you played for at #FSU?”
They all have some common traits, but personality-wise, no. All of FSU’s new coaches do, however, remind me of folks I’ve grown up or played with.
Raymond Woodie, Harlon Barnett and David Kelly remind me of my godfathers and uncles. Just smooth as a high end Cognac and full of wisdom, good conversationalists who can coach you up in life.
Walt Bell reminds me of the QBs you see in movies.
Telly Lockett, Donte’ Pimpleton and Alonzo Hampton remind me of guys who I played with who have the swag and know how to relate to young players. They are good young coaches who I believe can one day be great young head coaches.
Odell Haggins is the same coach I remember at FSU and is perfect as the ambassador for the program. When he’s ready to retire, he needs to be kept around the team in whatever official capacity he wants. Hopefully, that’s no time soon.
Mark Snyder is that energetic coach who seems to have that crazy energy you need while Greg Frey is the offensive version of Odell to me.
Willie Taggart might be the reincarnation of young Bobby Bowden – maybe with more sauce.
@Jroc1738: “Who’s your favorite recruit of the 2019 class? That’s not committed to FSU right now?”
Sean Dollars is by far my new fave RB. I’ve watched his film like five times and find something new to like upon each viewing.
I want this kid.
He reminds me of a better version of Lorenzo Booker. We didn’t know how to use Booker when I was at FSU. I believe Taggart’s system would be perfect for Dollars.
He can run by, through and over defenders. He is also a good route runner.
I use the Billy Sexton (my running backs coach at FSU) approach to grading backs. They’ve got to be able to run, block and catch. Most prep back don’t block well, so that has to be taught, catching is a big separator and vision can be enhanced, but that’s something you have or you don’t have.
Trezman Marshall on defense is my favorite on that side of the ball and he’s an old school linebacker. Boy has a hit stick. FSU hasn’t had a feared hitter in a while.
Marshall is more in the mold of a Bradley “Monster” Jennings. He lines up blockers and offensive players then delivers punishing hits. This can be taught although with him, it seems to be more instinct.
He’s a tone setter.
@alejandrodorian: “What’s your prediction for starting QB for season opener?”
I believe that “Slim Reaper 1,” James Blackman, will be your starting quarterback. Unlike last year, though, you’ve got some depth.
Bailey Hockman got better every practice. If he has to play he’ll give opposing defensive coordinators headaches because he is naturally able to attack the side that most defenses don’t practice, which is their right. Most defense are built to take away the QBs dominant line of sight forcing them, or trying, to make harder throws.
Deondre Francois, if he’s able to overcome the off-field woes, is also a very capable QB who has won and has a ton of skill.
FSU has good core of talent. I personally favor QB1 to be Blackman, but I trust Taggart’s process.
@tallyjuice: “Can FSU really pull off the number 1 recruiting class?”
It all centers around David Kelly and Bob Lacivita. David Kelly was the mastermind at Oregon who had the Ducks with the No. 1 class nationally until rumors started to fly about Taggart leaving. Lacivita, who has experience in building N.C. State, Florida under Urban Meyer and FSU under Jimbo Fisher, can help the nationwide recruiting approach.
The key is family. Every recruit has said they felt like family. Couple that with an exciting product on the field, coaches well-versed in social media, and the ability to meet Nole legends any given Saturday at Doak and you’ve got a good recruiting mixture.
@mattfigueroa11: “Obviously we got a lot of hype going right now with attendance and recruiting because of the new regime. You think if we go 8-4 or 7-5 this year that changes things?”
Not on recruiting, but it’ll definitely give a shorter rope going into the 2019 season.
Coaches coach, fans cheer, players play. It’s the coaches’ and players’ job to win games and it’s the fans job to cheer them on. Fans are going to want answers and perspective that would be tough to give following a five-loss season.
Recruits, however, aren’t as short-sided and are seeing the bigger picture. The only situation I can liken it to is the way that Mark Richt came in and brought back a little bit of the old Miami swag. The traditions that Jimbo bucked, the recruits as well as fans seem to like.
@TJ_Pittinger: “Ceiling and floor for this 2018 season?”
I believe, talent-wise, even with this schedule, this is an 11-2 team at best. Being a realist, Clemson is the class of the ACC and Miami should be improved. I don’t see FSU beating Virginia Tech, UM, Notre Dame and N.C. State. That’s a lot of traditionally tough and well-coached teams.
The floor is 8-5. If that happens, the way Taggart goes into 2019 will be predicated upon how they lose those games. Eight wins looks like a rebuild; he said in his introduction that this isn’t a rebuild.
@BrandonT1906: “Biggest breakout players on offense and defense? Which position group do you anticipate will improve the most from last year to this year?”
I will answer this in reverse. The most improved position group will be the wide receivers. The reason why is because this offense is going to be predicated on getting them in space and not having to think as much as just go make plays.
In this group will be two marque players: D.J. Matthews and Tamorrion Terry – Terry being the one I believe will make the bigger plays down field and Matthews making defenders pay in the slot and on special teams.
Defensively, I think Demarcus Christmas and Stanford Samuels will be the guys who shine this fall. Christmas was tough to block this spring and Samuels will be put in position to make more plays.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/answering-florida-state-footballs-biggest-off-season-questions