Chat with David Hale
Welcome to NoleNation! On Tuesday, reporter David Hale stops by to chat about the state of Florida State football.
Hale joined ESPN.com in 2012 after covering the Philadelphia Phillies for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., and the University of Georgia for The Macon Telegraph. Hale has written about college and professional sports since 2004 and currently lives in Tallahassee, Fla.
Send your questions now and join Hale Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
David Hale (1:59 PM)
Hey folks, hope everyone is enjoying Shark Week thus far. I'm here for the next hour-ish to answer any of your FSU or Shark Week-related questions... though I'm probably better on the FSU stuff. Probably.Fire away.
Wall Street Nole (Greenville SC)
There has been quite a bit of talk on the running backs and who will get the most carries and to what extent. My question is simple. Who is better, and who will have the better season, Thompsan or Freeman.
David Hale (2:01 PM)
WSN, As with any simple question, there's not a simple answer.Who is best? Probably depends. Freeman may be the best overall in terms of blocking, running, working as a receiver out of the backfield.Thompson has the most experience and is the biggest home run threat.Wilder may have the most pure athletic talent, and his body type makes him a perfect bruiser.If FSU has its way, I think we'll see each carry a little bit of the load, with Thompson quantified as the starter. Maybe 10-12 carries a game for Thompson and Freeman and a little less for Wilder as of now.In terms of what's gone on in practice though, Thompson has been a one-man show running with the No. 1s.
Basim (Panama City fla)
How do you think fsu will do this year.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How do you think that Florida State will do in College Football in 2012?
David Hale (2:04 PM)
That's the big question isn't it?I know FSU gets its share of hype this time every year, so everything should come with a bit of caution.BUT... this is a very talented team, and unlike last year, there is a lot more depth behind the starters.Injuries are going to happen, and as we've seen with Greg Reid, there are off-field issues that are bound to crop up.What separates this FSU team from last year (and before) is that they have the talent and depth to overcome all that.Now, I think there are still question marks on the O line, at RB and potentially at corner and LB. But there are a lot of possible answers there, too. It's just a matter of having someone step up.It's tough to predict a national title... but I think this is the year FSU wins the ACC title.
Rendall (Tampa )
Do you think Karlos Williams will get some playing time on defense? Thanks
David Hale (2:07 PM)
Rendall,Yes, I'm confident KW will see his share of work defensively, but I'm still skeptical as to weather he can push Brooks for the starting job.For all the hype Williams has gotten -- and deservedly so, given his skill set -- it hasn't translated to continued, consistent success on the field.Until he shows he's capable of being counted on as an every down guy, he'll be used more to fill in gaps on defense rather than win a job.What could be interesting, however, is if the kids in the mix at corner -- Waisome, Darby, Smith -- don't pan out, will Jimbo consider moving Brooks back to corner and giving Williams a shot at safety?He said today that the idea has been discussed, but it's not something he's quite ready to do.
James (Miami, FL)
How's the offensive line looking?
David Hale (2:10 PM)
So far, so good. Across the board -- from Fisher to Stoops to the D linemen -- the reports have been very positive.Jimbo said today that he's inclined to stick with the current lineup -- Erving, Matias, Stork, Jackson, Glauser -- for the time being, which is a bit interesting.Glauser and Erving have never taken a snap in a big-time college game on the O line before, so it's tough to get too excited yet.But if anything's going to help those guys, it's going against FSU's dominant D line in practice. That's a real test.
Who do you see winning the battle for the starting RT position and why?
David Hale (2:12 PM)
Jimbo seems high on Glauser, and Menelik Watson has gotten some kudos too thus far. But I'm still dubious.Glauser has looked OK during the portions of practice open to the media, but Werner has definitely won a vast majority of those head-to-head battles (which, to be fair, could be said of Werner vs. almost any RT). I think Glauser has the potential, but I can't help but feel like Bobby Hart eventually works his way back into the mix.
Jared (Southern California)
Why doesnt Greg Reid try the path that Mathieu is trying at LSU and just sit the year out?
David Hale (2:14 PM)
Jared --For one, few players want to sit the year out. Secondly, guys with an NFL future have to weigh those options carefully. Reid probably wasn't going to be a 1-3 round pick anyway, so he's best off getting his playing time in with VSU and getting to those NFL checks as soon as possible.The other thing is, it's not entirely up to the player. The school and the team have to welcome him back. For Reid, that may not have been an option. It may not be for Honey Badger either -- just a topic of discussion as of right now.Frankly, I'll still be surprised if Mathieu doesn't play elsewhere.
will florida state ever use the all black uniforms or the 09 uniforms they have again?
David Hale (2:15 PM)
Wish I could tell you... but I just don't know.I covered UGA for a few years though, and their experience with the all blacks went... shall we say, not so well. I recall Alabama destroying them on a Saturday night "blackout" game and, well, they've been tucked away in the closets ever since.
David,Certainly enjoy your insight and analysis. This seems to have been a popular topic earlier in summer but not so much now...what do you see happening with any of these? rumors about FSU being unhappy in ACC...but does not appear anything is happening with Big 12 and/or Notre Dame and/or Orange Bowl....what are your feelings on any of these....
David Hale (2:18 PM)
Steven,Thanks for the kind words. And for those who haven't found us yet... check out our FSU coverage at Nole Nation... http://espn.go.com/colleges/fsu/As for the ACC/Big 12/FSU talk... I think FSU is wise to play this out. I think the discussions were something of a wake-up call for the ACC, and the new agreement with the Orange Bowl certainly is a step in the right direction. The Notre Dame stuff -- who can say? ND has its own way of doing things, and I think that's the way they want things to stay. But the landscape is changing, and eventually ND is going to have to adjust.The one thing I always come back to though is this: In the ACC, FSU remains the big dog -- even after a decade of mediocrity. In the Big 12, they'll never surpass Texas, no matter how many national titles they win.Add in a potentially hefty price tag to get out of the ACC, and it'd have to be a pretty sweet offer from the Big 12 for FSU to flip.
Sounds like RT is going to be the weakest link on O and field Corner (Reid's old position) on D. How good/bad do you think we can be at each position?
David Hale (2:20 PM)
I'm less worried about RT, actually, only because there appear to be a number of viable options -- from Glauser to Watson to Hart to Stork. If one struggles, it's on to the next one.The corner spot is a slightly bigger concern in my eyes. There's no experience there, and while this is a time of year to heap praise on anyone, it's been a bit telling how tepid the coaches have been in their appraisal of Nick Waisome so far.
Andrew Wyatt (South Carolina)
Florida State's defense looks to be dominant this year and their offense looks to be pretty good as well. So my question is if we have a chance to get to a national championship this year will it be because of the offense or defense
David Hale (2:21 PM)
Interesting question. My best answer would be: The defense is what will carry this team, but it can't win an ACC or national title without the offense taking a step forward from where it was a year ago.Most people are pointing at EJ to make that leap, and to some extent, I agree. But the biggest key will be an improvement on the O line. Even if they're just an average unit this year, that should mean a lot more opportunities for EJ and the running game.
Are we going to get any 5 star players in the 2013 class. Seems we have a lot of goot players but still missing a few great players ?
David Hale (2:23 PM)
I think there's still plenty of room for FSU to add to this class. It's certainly possible we'll see a couple of the current commits flip, and FSU is still in on a number of other big names.It can be a bit concerning when you don't have that true jewel locked up early -- but these things are never really finished until signing day.FSU is building some nice depth with this class already -- and there's more to come.
Dennis (on a flight over utah)
what do you think about our schedule? is it conducive to a title run?
David Hale (2:24 PM)
Dennis,I'm always reluctant to worry too much about the schedule. You always hear about teams having it easy or a particularly tough run to go through, but my take is always this: The great teams don't care who they're playing. Moreover, there's always one or two teams you don't see coming that end up being a lot tougher than expected.Having said all that, FSU's schedule sets up nicely with two cake games early to get their feet wet, and Florida and Clemson at home.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Recently, the Florida State offense has lacked the traditional playmakers on the outside at WR that made the Seminoles so dominant during the Bobby Bowden era. Are the young wideouts ready to step up this year and restore the Nole tradition of explosive big plays in the passing game?
David Hale (2:27 PM)
Tony,There may not be a Peter Warrick in the group... but if Rashad Greene had been able to stay healthy all year, he might have come close. Greene has huge upside and is a really smart, hard working kid. He's got star potential -- and may be a star already, depending on how many points you dock him for the injury.I was also surprised to look over the numbers and see what an impact C. Green made last year. True, he never found the end zone, but he had some big plays and was a monster in picking up yards after the catch.And if you're looking for a real breakout star, Kelvin Benjamin remains the guy to watch. I'm always careful not to crown a guy who hasn't done anything in a game yet -- but to hear the other FSU players talk about him, he could be an absolute monster.
Gary S. (Tallahassee, FL)
Why do writers such as Heather Dinich write about FSU's "lack of big-time" Wr's? We had a Freshman dominate last yr (Rashad Greene) Plus Rodney Smith, Haulstead is back, and the best may be Kelvim Benjamin (6'6, 240)?
David Hale (2:27 PM)
Can't speak for Heather -- but hope my last answer gave FSU's WRs some deserved respect.
Kristopher M (Florida)
How do you rank Florids States 3 Florida opponents this year from best to worst in terms of being the better team. Do any of these teams beat FSU this year?
David Hale (2:29 PM)
Another interesting question...I'm actually really intrigued by South Florida this year. They came out on the short end of a lot of close games last year (as did Miami) but they're building something there -- and FSU's visit is going to be the "game of the century" in Tampa, while it's really just a non-conference obstacle for the Noles.In terms of toughest opponent, I'd probably lean toward Miami right now. But in terms of games I'm most interested in seeing, my vote's with USF.
Jason Ciatteo (Richmond, VA)
Is this the year that Florida St finally overtakes Clemson or Virginia Tech?
David Hale (2:30 PM)
I'd say yes... but who knows? I have to say, I'd want to feel a little better about my cornerback situation before I take on Sammy Watkins.But FSU has plenty of talent all over to really make this the year. Can't guarantee they win anything, obviously, but this year's hype is deserved.
Who do you see winning the starting Field Corner spot ans why?
David Hale (2:31 PM)
Waisome has gotten virtually every first-team rep that we've seen thus far, but I'm not sold.It wouldn't surprise me at all if Darby gets a good long look. He's bigger and he's really fast and from everyone I've talked to about him, he's got great football instincts. He's a football player first, track star second. It's not always that order with some of those speed guys.
Steve (Chicago, IL)
Hey David, what's up with Bobby Hart? Very surprised that he won't be starting at RT this year...and even more surprised to hear Jimbo say today that he's taking reps at backup LT. What's the deal? Is he out of shape/injured or is he just getting beat out?
David Hale (2:33 PM)
That was an interesting development, wasn't it?Hart has been working at LT for about a week now, and that's after he was pushed out of the starting RT job by Stork at the end of the spring.Part of it is probably meant to be a push for a young kid (just 17 last year) who likely relaxed a good bit after he won the job midway through the season. The competition should be a good motivator.I do wonder about the move to LT though. Given the hype surrounding Cameron Erving, it's interesting to see Hart make the switch.
I do not think Reid will be missed at all on defense. Oklahoma absolutely crushed him the past 2 years. We have been missing the short pass playmaker, ala Dunn and Warrick. Maybe more dump offs to Freeman and maybe Shaw over the middle?
David Hale (2:35 PM)
I don't think losing Reid is a deal breaker in terms of an ACC title hunt, but he'll be missed. You can't replace experience, and he had that. Plus, the way the secondary worked, Reid was often allowed to be a bit more aggressive, and that occasionally meant a big play, too. As for the WRs -- the slot should be interesting given how much big play potential there is with Smith, Greene, Green and Benjamin. One thing is certain -- if EJ struggles this year, it won't be due to a lack of targets.
Alex (souderton hometown of erik kratz)
do you think kratz will get the backup job next year
David Hale (2:36 PM)
Future hall of famer Erik Kratz?I'll be Kratzing my hands all spring for him -- particularly during the annual FSU-Phillies game.And say hi to my Philly peeps, Alex!
Derrin (Plano, TX)
How crucial is this year for Jimbo Fisher in his effort to return the Seminole program to national prominance as a dominant program and annual title contender? Does anything less than a BCS bowl berth begin to raise questions about whether or not Fisher is the right guy for the job?
David Hale (2:38 PM)
Derrin,I don't know that a 10-2 or 9-3 season with no title necessarily gets Jimbo canned. I think a lot will depend on circumstances (injuries, competition in the rest of the ACC, etc.). But I do think that if he doesn't fulfill most expectations this year, the heat is going to get turned way up.There's been a good bit of patience -- and deservedly so -- as Jimbo has restocked the cupboards at FSU. He's done a nice job of that. But now is time to turn promise into results.Spetman, Fisher, the boosters, the fans -- no one is downplaying the significance of this year right now.
Dennis (on a flight over utah)
Do you think EJ could be a Heisman contender?
David Hale (2:40 PM)
Could he be? Sure. Will he be? I'd say he's got a longer way to go than a handful of others -- including some other ACC QBs like Logan Thomas and Tajh Boyd.Manuel has the talent and the weapons to have a huge season. But he really hasn't shown the consistency needed yet to reach that Heisman level. If he does that this year though -- it probably means REALLY good things for FSU.
Miami? you really consider Miami tougher than Florida? Miami lost 18 players fromt their two deep roster that went 6-6, they will be terrible this year.
David Hale (2:41 PM)
Agreed -- you're probably right. I was probably overreacting to the QB news out of Florida today a bit too much and the fact that they get UF at home and Miami on the road.I will say this though-- FSU should be favored in all three games.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
I know the Noles like to rotate their defensive lineman so what type of season do you anticipate from Tank Carradine playing behind Werner and Jenkins?
David Hale (2:43 PM)
Glad you asked--- I think Tank could be in for a big year. It's rare you see a guy with his potential work in the shadows of not one, but two other DEs on his own team. But that role seems to suit him pretty well. I spoke with Mel Kiper last week about some of FSU's top NFL prospects -- http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/colleges/fsu/post/_/id/1927/nolenation-qa-kiper-on-draft-prospects -- and he was very high on Carradine.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Is Jamesis Winston the Noles next Heisman Trophy Winner?
David Hale (2:44 PM)
Wow, now you're really asking me to look into my crystal ball... I can't say a Heisman is in his future, but boy you just look at Winston and watch him throw, and he sure is impressive. But great athleticism doesn't always translate at QB. It takes a lot of adjustments to succeed at this level, so it's really tough to project too far ahead until you've actually seen a guy go against a legit defense.
This may be a thing to nitpick at, but FSU will be starting a freshmen at punter this year. Last year our punter was a huge contributor to our team and field position. With a bit improved O-line and potential dominate D do you see FSU "gambling" more and going for it on 4th and short?
David Hale (2:46 PM)
Not a nitpicky thing at all, in my opinion. Field position -- particularly when you have a D as good as FSU should have -- is crucial.I think a lot depends on how Cason Beatty performs in the early going. If he's not getting the hang time or has a couple blocked, I think it's definitely going to have an impact on Fisher's play calling.
The lb's are a group nobody is talking about. Jones I think might be the next special LB out of FSU. Moody is a football player. Williams and the Smith boys are ready to start making their name known. I really think this could be a sub 10pt defense.
David Hale (2:48 PM)
I've written a little about them, but not enough. It's an interesting mix.You can look at each position and see potential for big years -- particularly from Jones -- but there aren't any guys really established like you have with the front four or Jenkins/Rhodes in the secondary.I do really like Jones' potential though, and the move to the weakside should play well to his skill set. Another guy to watch is Telvin Smith. He's really stepped up in terms of leadership so far during practice, and he's looked solid from what I've been able to see.
Whats the possibilty of Joyner sliding over to corner to replace reid, and if so, who replaces Joyner at SS
David Hale (2:49 PM)
I think if a move like that happens, it's more like to be Brooks that moves to CB with Karlos Williams stepping in at safety.Joyner has the potential to be an All-American at safety this year, and I think it'd be foolish to move him now.
Dennis (on a flight)
What do you think is the toughest stetch of the schedule, many have said they think that its a schedule built for a National title run
David Hale (2:53 PM)
That early stretch of Wake-Clemson-USF-NC State should tell us a lot about this FSU team.First off, if you look back over recent years, the Noles have had those early losses that have undermined a lot of the preseason enthusiasm. If that happens again this year, things could turn ugly quick.I think FSU should throttle Wake -- but the Deacons have won three of the last five.Clemson we know will be tough, and if the FSU defense is going to be tested early, this is a big one.Then USF and NC State are both going to be tougher matchups than a lot of people probably think. Now here's my question -- what do you guys think the odds are that the Noles come out of that stretch 6-0?
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How do Jenkins and Werner compare to the previous great pass rushing duos at Florida State?
David Hale (2:55 PM)
Talent-wise, they're up there. But this year will do a lot for their legacy. Both players have the potential to be double-digit sack guys, and if the D lives up to the hype, and FSU wins a conference title (or more), the Werner-Jenkins duo is going to be remembered as one of the all-time great combos here.
OCnole (Ocala, Fl)
Gimme your quick prediction on the starting O-line. How much improvement do you think we see in the O-line if they stay healthy
David Hale (2:57 PM)
For the opener, my prediction would be: Erving-Matias-Stork-Jackson-Glauser.By the end of the year? I'll say Hart wins a job back in the starting lineup.
David Hale (2:58 PM)
OK folks, thanks for so many great questions. I enjoyed getting the chance to talk FSU football, and we'll be doing this again regularly throughout the season.If you haven't found us at Nole Nation yet-- check us out here: http://espn.go.com/colleges/fsu/Thanks again!