ACC: Blake Snider

Coaching 'em up: Florida State

July, 19, 2011
7/19/11
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FSU is next in the series taking a look at one assistant coach from each school whose position group will be in the spotlight this fall for one reason or another:

Coach: Rick Trickett

Position: Offensive line

Experience: He is entering his fifth season at Florida State and 39th overall. Trickett has coached at 11 different programs, including West Virginia, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State. He’s gone to a bowl game in each of the past nine seasons, including five of the six seasons he was with West Virginia. After just two seasons under Trickett, the Seminoles improved their rushing yards average by more than 70 yards per game. After one season at West Virginia, the Mountaineers' running game improved from 35th in the nation to second in 2002. From 2002-2006, West Virginia finished among the top 15 rushing offenses and three times were among the top five nationally.

Of note: Trickett is one of the most interesting characters in the ACC. He’s a U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran. He drives a Harley. And he’s regarded by many as one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. More than 30 of Trickett’s former players have gone on to play in the NFL. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1972 from Glenville (W.Va.), where he was an all-conference strong safety. He received his master's degree from Indiana (Pa.) in 1975.

His challenge: Reload. Florida State must replace its top two offensive linemen in Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon. Trickett has plenty of experience to work with, but depth is an issue. Significant strides will have to be made this summer, as spring was a time to heal. Left tackle Andrew Datko was out with a shoulder injury, right tackle Zebrie Sanders was out after abdominal surgery, and left guard David Spurlock, who started the first seven games of 2010 before suffering a concussion, was only about 50 percent because of a hand/wrist injury. Key reserves like Rhonne Sanderson (foot injury) and Blake Snider (ankle injury) were missing. Jacob Fahrenkrug was supposed to take over at left guard, but finished the spring starting at center. This fall, the starting lineup will consist of LT Datko, LG Bryan Stork or Spurlock, C Fahrenkrug, RG Spurlock or Stork, RT Sanders. It’s up to Trickett to coach ‘em up.

Florida State spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
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FLORIDA STATE

2010 overall record: 10-4

2010 conference record: 6-2

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 8, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

QB EJ Manuel, WR Bert Reed, WR Taiwan Easterling, LT Andrew Datko, RG David Spurlock, RT Zebrie Sanders, RB Chris Thompson, RB Jermaine Thomas, DE Brandon Jenkins, DT Jacobi McDaniel, LB Nigel Bradham, CB Greg Reid, CB Xavier Rhodes, PK Dustin Hopkins, P Shawn Powell

Key losses

LG Rodney Hudson, C Ryan McMahon, QB Christian Ponder, DE Markus White, LB Kendall Smith, LB Mister Alexander

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Thompson* (845 yards)

Passing: Ponder (2,044 yds)

Receiving: Reed* (614 yds)

Tackles: Bradham* (98)

Sacks: Jenkins* (13.5)

Interceptions: Rhodes* and Mike Harris* (4)

Spring answers

1. Depth on both sides. Florida State returns all three leading rushers from last year, each of whom had at least 400 rushing yards in 2010. All of the Noles’ top receivers are back, but coach Jimbo Fisher was also pleased with young receivers like Jared Haggins and Greg Dent. The defensive line is deep, and the staff learned that Lamarcus Joyner can play safety at the collegiate level. The kicking game will be a strength, as FSU might have the best punter/kicker combo in the country. Dustin Hopkins booted a 60-yard field goal in the spring game.

2. Defensive improvement: The defense really made some strides in terms of knowing what it has to do, and has become more comfortable in the second season under coordinator Mark Stoops. The Noles found more depth on defense, as playmakers emerged even with players sidelined with injuries. The young linebackers were a particularly promising group.

3. It’s EJ’s offense now. In what was the first spring session he was healthy enough to participate in, quarterback EJ Manuel emerged as a leader heading into his first season as a full-time starter. He showed he can take command of the offense and goes into summer camp with nobody looking over his shoulder. He’s 4-2 as a starter and was able to take another step forward this spring.

Fall questions

1. Backup quarterbacks: Clint Trickett and Will Secord will take their competition into the summer, but Trickett got more opportunities in the spring game and made the most of them. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 137 yards. Secord completed 3 of 9 passes for 25 yards, but a clear No. 2 has yet to be named.

2. What will the offensive line really look like? It was a patchwork group this spring, as left tackle Andrew Datko was out with a shoulder injury, right tackle Zebrie Sanders was out after abdominal surgery, and left guard David Spurlock, who started the first seven games of 2010 before suffering a concussion, was only about 50 percent because of a hand/wrist injury. Key reserves like Rhonne Sanderson (foot injury) and Blake Snider (ankle injury) were missing. Jacob Fahrenkrug was supposed to take over at left guard, but finished the spring starting at center. This fall, the starting lineup will consist of LT Datko, LG Bryan Stork or Spurlock, C Fahrenkrug, RG Spurlock or Stork, RT Sanders. Despite the losses of Hudson and McMahon, there is experience up front, but building depth remains an issue.

3. How good is the defensive line? There’s no doubting Florida State’s defensive line will be good, but with the offensive line riddled with injuries, it was impossible to tell how good it can be. Newcomer Tank Carradine didn’t get a chance to go against Sanders or Datko, leaving for an unfair assessment.

Notes from Jimbo Fisher

March, 17, 2011
3/17/11
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A few quick notes for you from Thursday's news conference with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher:
  • The center position is one of the biggest questions marks facing the Noles following the graduation of Ryan McMahon. David Spurlock is injured and will participate in the early practices, but will be limited as contact increases. Bryan Stork has been working with quarterback EJ Manuel in Spurlock's absence, but Fisher will have to teach two or three players the position, including true freshmen Sterling Lovelady and Trey Pettis. “We'll train a lot of guys,” Fisher said.
  • Over the past two and a half months, not one player has missed his weight workout.
  • Injured players who will be missing when practices start on Monday: Defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel, offensive tackles Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, linebacker Holmes Onwukaife, linebacker Jeff Luc, offensive lineman Blake Snider, safety Nick Moody, offensive lineman Rhonne Sanderson, and punter Shawn Powell (he has an injured disc in his back, which also bothered him last year, but Fisher said he should be close to ready by the end of the spring).
  • Running back Jermaine Thomas is still suspended, but it’s unclear how long that will last, according to Fisher. Last month, Thomas was arrested twice in one week for driving with a suspended license. “We’re still evaluating that,” Fisher said. “He’s doing well. I’ve been very pleased with his progress right now, the things he’s doing off the field, in the classroom. We’re evaluating that daily right now. I’ll make a decision on that here coming up. He may miss some, he may not. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Christian Ponder listed as 'questionable'

November, 12, 2010
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Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder returned to practice on Thursday after missing three consecutive days after team doctors inserted a drain to help remove excess fluid from his right elbow related to his ruptured bursa sac.

“He did some,” coach Jimbo Fisher said, according to the team's practice report. “I didn’t want to take a chance, so we limited what he did. What we’re doing right now, he feels very good about. He took some reps and did some things but we limited what he did as far as numbers. I didn’t want the day after to be a bear. I think he’ll feel good. I really do.”

Ponder is listed as questionable on this week's injury report for Saturday's home game against Clemson. Sophomore quarterback E.J. Manuel still took the bulk of the practice reps Thursday. Fisher did say if Manuel was the starter Saturday that redshirt freshman Will Secord will be his backup.

“We haven’t changed a bit [with E.J. in there],” Fisher said. “We’re doing exactly the same thing we’ve been doing. “

Here is FSU's full injury report:

OUT FOR THE SEASON
DT Moses McCray (knee)
LB A.J. Land (knee)
DT Cameron Erving (back)

OUT
OG Blake Snider (ankle)
C A.J. Ganguzza (back)
LS Chris Revell (wrist)
OG David Spurlock (head)
OG Bryan Stork (illness)
S Jajuan Harley (groin)
WR Jarred Haggins (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE
QB Christian Ponder (elbow)
S Gerald Demps (head)
WR Cameron Wade (illness)

FSU/NC State injury reports

October, 27, 2010
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Here are the early injury reports for Thursday night's game in Raleigh, N.C.:

FLORIDA STATE

OUT FOR THE SEASON

DT Moses McCray (knee)
LB A.J. Land (knee)

OUT

OG Blake Snider (ankle)
C A.J. Ganguzza (back)
LS Chris Revell (wrist)
DT Cameron Erving (back)
OG David Spurlock (head)

QUESTIONABLE

DE Toshmon Stevens (thumb)
DE Jamar Jackson (hand)
WR Jarred Haggins (hamstring)

NC STATE

Duran Christophe, OT (ankle)
Brandon Barnes, HB (ankle)
Jarvis Byrd, CB (knee)
*Sylvester Crawford, DE (knee)
*Jesse Riley, DB (knee)
*Rashard Smith, DB (knee)
* out for the season

Hope and concern: Florida State

June, 22, 2009
6/22/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Biggest reason for hope: The offensive line

Despite starting three true freshmen last year, FSU had its best year running the football since 2000, and the Noles have the potential to be even better this year because of the players up front. The trio of Andrew Datko, Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon will make this line one of the best in the ACC, if not the best. If they continue to build off the momentum and what they learned last season, they can open things up for budding sophomore stars Ty Jones and Jermaine Thomas. Don't be surprised to see them running to the left side all day. The running game will be key, but if the linemen improve upon their 26 sacks allowed last year, they can give Christian Ponder and the new receivers the time they'll need to find a rhythm. With Will Furlong gone, the battle at right guard is between Brandon Davis and Blake Snider this summer. It's the group's lone question mark.

Biggest reason for concern: Off-field distractions

Those within the program insist the ongoing battle between Florida State and the NCAA isn't a distraction, but it's a drama that could play out into the start of the season. The future of the program is facing some uncertainty, as Bobby Bowden has yet to announce his retirement date, and a new university president has yet to be named. The off-field incidents will be felt when the offense takes the field for the first time and there are new faces at wide receiver. Several suspensions, and the departure of key players like Corey Surrency, who was denied an extra year of eligibility, and Preston Parker, who was kicked off the team, could have an effect early. The players -- the receivers in particular -- have been on their best behavior lately and know there's no more margin for error.

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