3-point stance: FSU doing the little things

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
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1. If you’re a Florida State fan, you had to take heart at head coach Jimbo Fisher’s comments this week about his talented young players and the little things they accomplished. Fisher praised redshirt freshman wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, expected to be a gamebreaker, for his tackling on special teams. He lauded the pass blocking of sophomore tailback James Wilder Jr. If the young players are doing the little things that veterans do, the Seminoles really are back in national contention.

2. Here’s why I paused on the way to the preseason coronation of USC quarterback Matt Barkley. According to the stat nerds at ESPN Stats & Info, Barkley threw four touchdowns of 25 yards or more in his first two seasons. He threw 13 last season. Does this mean that Barkley improved threefold? Or do we give props to wide receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Don’t get me wrong -- Barkley is an outstanding talent. But he would join me in directing the spotlight to his teammates, especially the receivers.

3. Speaking of which, it’s no surprise that the NCAA is looking into the Los Angeles Times story that detailed extra benefits for former Trojans tailback Joe McKnight. But it would be a huge surprise if USC suffers for it. As long as the university had no way of knowing that McKnight received extra benefits, the NCAA will let the university off the hook. And no one has remotely suggested that USC knew.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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