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Thursday, May 7, 2009
Florida State spring wrap-up

By staff

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Florida State Seminoles
2008 overall record: 9-4

2008 conference record: 5-3, Atlantic Division co-champions

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 5, punter/kicker 0

Top returners

OG Rodney Hudson, C Ryan McMahon, QB Christian Ponder, DT Budd Thacker, LB Dekoda Watson, TB Jermaine Thomas, WR Bert Reed

Key losses

DE Everette Brown, LB Derek Nicholson, RV Myron Rolle, CB Tony Carter, P/PK Graham Gano, WR Greg Carr, RB Antone Smith, WR Preston Parker

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Antone Smith (792 yards)
Passing: Christian Ponder* (2006 yards)
Receiving: Greg Carr (542 yards)
Tackles: Derek Nicholson (81)
Sacks: Everette Brown (13.5)
Interceptions: Tony Carter (2)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule

Sept. 7 Miami
Sept. 12 Jacksonville State
Sept. 19 at BYU
Sept. 26 South Florida
Oct. 3 at Boston College
Oct. 10 Georgia Tech
Oct. 17 BYE
Oct. 22 at North Carolina
Oct. 31 NC State
Nov. 7 at Clemson
Nov. 14 at Wake Forest
Nov. 21 Maryland
Nov. 28 at Florida

1. Riding solo at quarterback. Ponder finished the spring entrenched as the No. 1 quarterback and leader of the offense, and since his backup, E.J. Manuel missed the whole spring with an injury, it's hard to imagine that's going to change. Manuel has yet to throw a pass in a college game.

2. Run with it. The Noles need to replace their leading rusher, who accounted for almost 55 percent of all the running plays last year that weren't by quarterbacks, and Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones showed this spring that they can be threats. Both made several long runs this spring.

3. Strength up front. The youngest line in the FBS last year should be one of the best in the ACC this fall. All five starters return. The only question is at right tackle, where three players are competing for one spot: Antwane Greenlee, Zebrie Sanders and Garrett Faircloth.

Fall questions

1. Secondary. There's going to be an infusion of freshmen this summer who could challenge for playing time. Greg Reid from Georgia, is a big-time player rated No. 15 on the ESPNU150. The staff is also expecting more from Terrance Parks, who was banged up this spring and didn't get a chance to compete much at rover/safety.

2. Receivers. It hasn't been determined how long Rod Owens will be suspended, or when Taiwan Easterling will be able to return from a ruptured Achilles. Louis Givens, a walk-on, is becoming a dependable option. It's up to Bert Reed, Jarmon Fortson and Richard Goodman to carry the unit.

3. Interior line play. The staff didn't leave the spring with any better idea of who will be the starters at tackle and nose guard. Budd Thacker missed all of spring. Moses McCray, a true freshman, played well, and Justin Mincey, and Kendrick Stewart, are in the mix. Nobody really distinguished themselves.