ACC: Toshmon Stevens
The Seminoles are going to be without preseason All-America defensive end Brandon Jenkins for the rest of the season, a difficult enough proposition on its own. But couple that with the loss of cornerback/returner Greg Reid -- kicked off the team this summer -- and the Noles are sitting with a major talent deficit.
What helps is that Florida State has depth at defensive end, and young players with potential in the secondary. Senior Cornellius Carradine will step into the starting job for Jenkins. He has experience, and he played well against Murray State on Saturday after Jenkins got hurt, making nine tackles. The Noles also have redshirt freshman Giorgio Newberry and senior Toshmon Stevens and could consider pulling the redshirt from highly touted Mario Edwards Jr., the No. 1 player on the ESPN 150 for the class of 2012.
But no matter the depth, it is going to hurt when you lose a player who has had 22.5 sacks and made 28 starts since 2010 -- a player many believed to be the most outstanding defensive end in the entire nation. Yes, Bjoern Werner mans the other side of the line, and he had four sacks in Week 1. But where Florida State had the best defensive end duo in the nation at this time last week, there are now more questions than answers.
Couple that with some inexperience in the secondary with Reid gone. Sophomore Nick Waisome made his first start Saturday; true freshman Ronald Darby is behind him. When it comes to crunch time, how will FSU fare with only seven of its returning starters from a year ago, instead of nine?
The truth is there is not much to glean from the first two weeks of the season against FCS opponents. Savannah State, which just lost to Oklahoma State 84-0, awaits Saturday. We should know much more when ACC play opens against Wake Forest on Sept. 15. An even bigger test awaits the following week against Clemson.
Florida State may end up moving on without missing a beat. Or these two key losses could have a major impact. We just have to stay tuned.
- Coach Jimbo Fisher has made some personnel changes effective for spring practice, which begins March 19. Defensive end Dan Hicks moved to tight end, and defensive lineman Cameron Erving moved to offensive tackle. Safety Nick Moody is now at outside linebacker. Defensive end Toshmon Stevens will continue on the line, but could also play linebacker. No other position changes are expected.
- Backup quarterback Will Secord, who was a redshirt sophomore last season, will graduate this summer and has decided not to return for the 2012 season. Secord is on track to receive his degree in interdisciplinary social science. He played in two career games -- against Samford in 2010 and Charleston Southern in 2011. Linebacker Holmes Onwukaife was added to the medically disqualified list late in 2011 and will not play in 2012.
- Defensive end Brandon Jenkins will wear No. 4, along with running back Chris Thompson, who has worn No. 23 the past three seasons. Along with their position changes, tight end Hicks will now wear No. 6, and Erving will wear No. 75 as an offensive tackle.
- Other notable new jersey numbers for the spring are defensive back Tyler Hunter (1), running back Mario Pender (7), punter Cason Beatty (38) and offensive lineman Daniel Glauser (67).
OUT FOR THE SEASON
DT Moses McCray (knee)
LB A.J. Land (knee)
OG Blake Snider (ankle)
C A.J. Ganguzza (back)
LS Chris Revell (wrist)
DT Cameron Erving (back)
OG David Spurlock (head)
DE Toshmon Stevens (thumb)
DE Jamar Jackson (hand)
WR Jarred Haggins (hamstring)
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
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Florida State recently released its depth chart for the Miami game, and it reflects seniority across the board with one true surprise: Craig Yarborough is listed as the starter at left end with freshman Toshmon Stevens as his backup.
So the Noles are going to count on a walk-on to replace Neefy Moffett?
Again with the seniority, it's possible that defensive ends coach Jody Allen is sending Kevin McNeil a message because his eligibility was in question at one point this summer, and McNeil might not be in the greatest shape right now because he missed a few practices. Yarborough usually helps out on special teams, but I don't expect him to be on the field too long against the Canes.
Andrew Carter at the Orlando Sentinel tells me FSU fans are all up in arms over this, and unless Yarborough is the next Everette Brown, they should be. This just in: Florida State opens with Miami. Not Western Carolina. It will be worth watching how long Yarborough stays in the game. Then again, maybe I'm not giving him enough credit. If that's the case, he should probably be on scholarship.
Offensively, the competition at right guard between David Spurlock and Brandon Davis should be ongoing and might change from week to week, but for now, Spurlock, the sophomore, has the nod over the junior.
At placekicker, that battle went down to the wire and was decided by Saturday morning's scrimmage in which freshman Dustin Hopkins went 4-for-4 and beat James Esco. Hopkins has the stronger leg, and his range has been compared to Graham Gano. I'm told Hopkins could be one of the Noles' best kickoff guys since Sebastian Janikowski.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The face of Florida State's defensive line will change this fall, as the Noles' lost last season's top defensive end, Everette Brown, early to the NFL, and the coaching staff is expecting to hear within a day or two whether Kevin McNeil, who is listed as a starting defensive end on the preseason depth chart, will be cleared academically.
|Ken McKimm/Icon SMI|
|Mickey Andrews is counting on Markus White to take over the right end spot vacated by Everette Brown.|
While the interior line is deep and strong, the end positions are a question mark, though Markus White is the clear front-runner to take over for Brown on the right end.
"They're going to look for the guy who can make all the sacks," White said of FSU fans. "They're going to look for the standout guy. That's what they're used to. There's always been a dominant defensive end. Now that Everette's gone, who's the dominant guy? I want to step into that role, but only time will tell."
The Saturday scrimmages will help, and so will Wednesday's practice, which will be the first day in pads, but defensive ends coach Jody Allen said the defensive line won't be "near as talented" as it was last year without Brown, but that White has the intangibles it takes to be an aggressive end.
"He plays football with a very mobile and hostile attitude," Allen said. "He's got a good motor, and he plays hard, and he plays mean. He's a super person, but on the field he's a football player."
Allen said maybe one player can't replace Brown, but if he gets a collective effort from four players, the ends might be better as a group than they were last year. Everett Dawkins, Jamar Jackson, Brandon Jenkins, Dan Hicks, Craig Yarborough, and Toshmon Stevens are all candidates to help.
"The interior looks real good but our outside, they have the talent they just need to learn," White said. "They need somebody to learn from. The coach can only do so much, but as a player I can help them, too."
"He looks great," defensive tackle Budd Thacker said. "His confidence level is definitely way up there, I promise you that. He'll hustle, he gets to the football all the time. He knows the playbook front and back, and that's what we need."
Thacker said the unit's goal is to get more pressure on the quarterbacks, get the ball out of his hands, cause some more picks and get some more sacks. FSU had the best pass defense in the ACC last year, but only had nine interceptions. The only ACC team with fewer picks was Miami with a measly four. With Brown in the lineup, FSU led the ACC with 39 total sacks.
White said he's been working on two primary counteraction new moves this summer to help him keep those sack numbers high.
"Last year we had Everette Brown and he would always get pressure on the quarterbacks even if it wasn't sacks, but I got too much pressure and not enough sacks," White said. "This year instead of getting pressure I want to get to the quarterback, get past the guy, be able to grab him and tackle him."
If he does, White just might be the Noles' next "dominant defensive end."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Out for the year:
DB Ed Imeokparia (right knee)
LB Aaron Gresham (right knee)
RB Tavares Pressley (left knee)
OL Evan Bellamy (blood clot)
DT Emmanuel Dunbar (back)
DB Nick Moody (shoulder)
Out this week:
DE Toshmon Stevens (calf strain) and DE Jamar Jackson (knee)
WR Richard Goodman (knee)
Out for season:
WR Kevin Dorsey (foot)
LB Dominique Herald (knee)
RB Paul Lariviere (knee)
OL Ben Pooler (knee)
DB Richard Taylor (knee)
DL Joe Vellano (shoulder)
LB Louis Berman (leg)
OL Tyler Bowen (leg)
DB Nolan Carroll (leg)
DL Ricardo Dacosta (leg)
TE Matt Furstenburg (leg)
LB Adrian Moten (arm)
QB Jordan Steffy (hand)
WR LaQuan Williams (leg)
OL Lamar Young (leg)
DL Mack Frost (leg)
DL Travis Ivey (leg)
OL Barrett Mears (ankle) -- Out