Thursday, August 5, 2010
Opening camp: Florida State
By Heather Dinich
Schedule: Practice begins at 6 p.m.
What’s new: Everything. New coach, new coordinators, new attitude under first-year coach Jimbo Fisher.
Sidelined: Linebacker Nigel Carr has been suspended indefinitely after facing a felony charge. Nobody else on the two-deep depth chart is expected to be missing.
Key battle: Boundary corner, where redshirt senior Ochuko Jenije, the only returning starter in the secondary, will be fighting off redshirt freshman Xavier Rhodes. Offensively, the tailback position is so loaded that Jermaine Thomas, the top returning rusher from a year ago, is not at the top of the preseason depth chart. That spot belongs to sophomore Chris Thompson. Ty Jones, Tavares Pressley and Lonnie Pryor will also be competing for time.
New on the scene: Defense. The whole thing -- the scheme, the personnel and coordinator Mark Stoops. He’s tasked with turning around a unit that ranked among the nation’s worst in nearly every relevant statistical category last year.
Breaking out: Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Everett Dawkins. Given all of the issues Florida State has had up front, he’s a player who is poised to make a difference. The staff is expecting a breakthrough season after earning “most dependable” honors this spring.
Don’t forget about: Junior tight end Beau Reliford. He came on to replace Caz Piurowski last year and caught the game-winning touchdown against North Carolina. He could help a receiving corps that lacks proven talent. Taiwan Easterling is back after missing spring practices to play baseball, and he could also help that group.
All eyes on: Quarterback Christian Ponder. The whole nation will be watching, especially during a trip cross country to play Oklahoma, to see if Ponder is truly worthy of the Heisman hype.
Quotable: “That’s why I’m here at Florida State, to win it all.” -- Ponder.