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 11 a.m. ET!
David Hale (11:02 AM)
Hey folks. Happy Tuesday. We're just one day away from national signing day, so plenty of drama throughout the college football world. I'll be happy to answer some recruiting questions today, but a quick reminder: We'll be back chatting tomorrow as part of ESPN's national coverage (I'll be on from noon to 1) and both Corey Dowlar and myself (along with others) will be adding content to Nole Nation throughout the day.
David Hale (11:02 AM)
OK, let's get to some questions...
Does FSU honestly have a chance at landing Ramsey and Thomas tomorrow? I think Pryor's departure is going to hurt worse than most...
David Hale (11:04 AM)
Well from the sounds of it, Ramsey's now officially on board (though, is anything official until the letter comes in tomorrow?). Thomas remains the big potential get, and from what I've heard, FSU has a good shot at landing him. There's been a ton of turmoil this offseason, but it looks like Jimbo's making a good final push.
JEFF(TALL, FL) [via mobile]
HOW HIGH UP DO YOU THINK WE CAN GET IN THE RECRUITING RANKINGS? ALSO WHAT % OF PLAY CALLING WILL JIMBO GIVE UP THIS YEAR IF ANY?
David Hale (11:06 AM)
If FSU closes well (and there's reason to think they will), it's possible to sneak into the top 10, but I don't think this will end up the top-5 class like the past few years. That's not necessarily a big deal though. These rankings give us an outline of the amount of talent coming in, but it's hardly a science. If you're in the top 10 to 15, you're getting a good deal of elite talent... then it's up to the players and coaches to turn that talent into potential, and when it comes to that stuff, it's a crapshoot.
TomahawkTuesday (Orlando, FL)
There's not reason to hit panic mode yet, right? Is FSU looking at a Top 10 class or getting hit hard with recruits going elsewhere because of coaching changes?
David Hale (11:07 AM)
Definitely no reason to panic. Even if FSU just manages to keep all it has now, that's a solid haul. It's not perfect, of course, and I think there are a few potential issues if things don't come together nicely -- O line and linebacker among them. But there's certainly enough cards left to be turned over that there's no reason to assume this won't end well.
David Will Reuben stick with his Bama commitment?
David Hale (11:08 AM)
Well it's not like commitments are nearly as permanent as, I dunno, tattoos...
How much would it take to get you back as a UGA beat writer? We will pay whatever it takes. Sincerely, GeorgiaFans
David Hale (11:09 AM)
Haha, thanks Tom. I do miss Athens from time to time, but you're gonna have to talk to ESPN about voiding my contract before we start breaking down salary demands...
alright the noles have really sucked this year in basketball. they probally wont even make the tournamnet. do you think they win the NIT?
David Hale (11:10 AM)
Could be a pretty interesting NIT this year... Carolina, Kentucky... some big name teams on the bubble. FSU has flashed talent this year but it's been inconsistent. This was a project for Hamilton, but perhaps it all comes together for a late run in the ACC tourney.
Leon Sandcastle (Orlando, FL)
Were the coaching changes at FSU purely guys leaving for promotion? Any insider talk about riffs in the coaching ranks with Jimbo and staff that may have lead to the exodus?
David Hale (11:13 AM)
Leon! Hope the combine prep is going well. As for the departed coaches, I don't think there were "riffs" that pushed anyone out the door, and in each case, the coach who left ended up with a better and higher paying job. I do think though that, in some cases, Jimbo's hands-on approach can have created an environment where some coaches felt they had to leave in order to get ahead, and that might be a fair criticism of Jimbo's handling of things. Still, it's not really any different than Saban, and no one says he's doing things the wrong way.
David, Is Jimbo being his own play caller a non-negociable for him? It seems he's completely opposed to bringing in a true OC.
David Hale (11:15 AM)
To hear him tell it, he's going to eventually hand over play calling duties, but I sincerely doubt that happens now. If he was going to give anyone a shot at calling plays, it stands to reason he'd have had plenty of motivation to give it to Coley to keep him at FSU. That didn't happen. But I could see Jimbo looking to bring in someone who he views as a protege that he'll groom for the job over the next season or two. I just think he'll be reluctant to turn over the keys to the offense to anyone who doesn't know his offense backward and forward.
Another coaching changes question - We all heard about coaches leaving Wisconsin because they don't pay well. Where does FSU stack up in regards to assistants compensation in the ACC? And where does it stand in relation to other national powers (Bama, Ohio St, Oklahoma etc)?
David Hale (11:19 AM)
Good question, Andy. It's an intriguing situation because we've seen a real shift in salaries for assistants over the past 4-5 years. The top guys are getting paid a lot more. I'm not sure there's a good resource for that data yet following all the coaching changes this offseason, but for 2012, FSU was second in the ACC in total salaries paid to its coaching staff (trailing only Clemson). That comes from USA Today's research, includes head coach salary and doesn't include data for private institutions.
David Hale (11:20 AM)
Comparing FSU assistant salaries to the SEC though -- it's a noticeable difference between FSU and the top SEC schools like Auburn, Alabama and LSU. Just the nature of the beast. But overall, FSU is a top 10-12 school when it comes to salaries.
David Hale (11:20 AM)
If you're interested in perusing the numbers for yourself, USA Today's database can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2012/11/19/ncaa-college-football-head-coach-salary-database/1715543/
What do you think is FSU's plan to replace "Mr. reliable" Lonnie Pryor next season?
David Hale (11:23 AM)
Good question, Garret. I don't think it's going to be a strict "replacement" situation. What's more likely is we'll see Jimbo move some pieces around. I'd guess Chad Abram will get some work -- though in less of a runner role than what Pryor had -- while O'Leary will get some work in the backfield, and Fisher will run more two-RB and/or two-TE sets. Bottom line is, there's no way to replace Lonnie Pryor with one guy -- at least not a guy that's on this roster.
Welcome Jalen Ramsey. So far I love the hiring of Pruitt as a recruiter. He has snagged two of the top players in our class. I was just curious if you saw the article about Trent Dilfer saying the 1st pick of the 2015 draft will be Jameis Winston. Every week you get asked this but any more rumblings out of the QB situation
David Hale (11:24 AM)
Good point on Pruitt. We knew coming in he'd be an excellent recruiter, but he was dealt some tough cards with all the coaching changes, and he's landed two big fish so far. Of course, the big question on him was always whether he was ready to be a DC... and we'll have to wait a while before finding that out.
David Hale (11:26 AM)
As for Jameis... yes, I saw the Dilfer story, and I certainly can't say he's wrong. Jameis has a ton of talent. I actually spoke with him last week regarding balancing baseball and football this spring (story to come!) and he seems utterly uninterested in hyping the QB competition. He said he's going to play his hardest to win the job, said he hasn't talked with Coker or Trickett about it, and he said if he doesn't land the starting job, it's not going to remotely affect whether or not he wants to stay at FSU. He insists he's all in with the Seminoles no matter what happens.
Hey David question who do you see as our new running backs coach cause im sure now that Sanders moves to Coach QB's.
Also where do you see our O line doing Bobby playing tackle? or barron moving in at Center and moving our starting Center to tackle? also if we get Golson could he fill in at tackle?
David Hale (11:27 AM)
On the coaching front -- you may well be correct. Tomorrow will be our first chance to talk with Jimbo since the Orange Bowl, so I'm hoping we'll get some more info on it by then.
David Hale (11:29 AM)
As for the O line question: I think Hart has too much talent not to be given every chance to win the job, but I've heard some very mixed feelings on the chances he will actually do it. Barron is certainly capable at center -- though I think Stork's best position is center, too. I think it'll be an open competition heading into the spring, but I will say that after a full year as a back up, I'd like to have heard a lot more confidence on Hart than I'm hearing now.
Alec Ede ( Miami)
what is the probability that we(FSU) wil land the big 3(Thomas, Coley, Kirkland)?
David Hale (11:32 AM)
Well, it's tough to take my word as gospel, as I'm not on the phone with these kids all the time like our recruiting writer Corey Dowlar is. He's got a good story up today looking at the confidence levels of FSU landing their remaining top targets... http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/colleges/fsu/post?id=6349
David Hale (11:32 AM)
From what I've heard and read, Kirkland sounds promising, Thomas is getting plenty of attention, and Coley remains a possibility. All three? That may be tough, but it's certainly still a possibility as we reach the finish line.
Heath (Newport News Va.)
David, With the talent we have coming back on offense and defense. Do you think FSU will be in the ACC championship game again this year? My other question is how do you feel about the new coaching staff Jimbo has bought in. I think its kind of hard to have the same success you had the year before when you bring in a new staff even though alot of the talent is still there.
David Hale (11:35 AM)
Tough to predict an ACC title for them at this point, particularly when you look at all the talent Clemson brings back (along with a much more steady situation with coaching staff and QB). Having said that though, I've been told by people inside the program that the overall quality of this coaching staff may well be better than the one that left. Will there be an adjustment period? Sure... but considering that there's a good bit of returning talent on the roster, there's no reason to think FSU won't be in contention to win the ACC again -- with that road game at Clemson circled on the schedule.
Michael Gerber (Tallahassee)
Hey David, Off the recruiting topic for a minute, who do you think the starting QB will be come fall? Tricket, Coker or Winston?
David Hale (11:36 AM)
Ha, you found the one topic less certain than recruiting! I think I said last week that if I had to put money on a guy to win it today, I'd probably lean toward Coker as the best mix of experience, arm strength, athleticism, leadership ability, etc. But I honestly don't think even Jimbo knows who it'll be yet, and this spring should be very interesting to see how far Jameis has come and how much something like Trickett's experience will provide a leg up.
Hey David, with the rumors of NCAA sanctions at Miami- do you believe that Denver Kirkland will commit at FSU/Ark/or Miami?
David Hale (11:38 AM)
Again, I'm far from the best resource on this, but from what Corey's written and some of what I've heard, I think there's at least a chance it happens. I'm not sure anyone is viewing FSU as a clear cut favorite at this point though.
If we get Golson do you see him starting at tackle?
David Hale (11:39 AM)
Hard to say because you always need to see how talent will adapt to Rick Trickett, but the rest of the line should be experienced enough that you'd think they'd at least be open to the idea.
Last question which Offensive Lineman do you see transferring being hearing if Hart don't play him and Faircloth is this true?
David Hale (11:41 AM)
Transfer rumors always crop up this time of year... let's see what happens this spring before we speculate. I requested interviews with Hart and Christian Green (another popular name on the rumor mill) at the end of the season, but wasn't given access, so I really don't know what's in their heads. I'm sure we'll be writing about them a good deal this spring though.
bob okane (florida)
good morning, what's your take on BIG 12 speculation? I know many of us would love to see FSU leave the ACC.. Thanks!
David Hale (11:43 AM)
From what I've been told, the rumors are just that for now. I don't think it's the last we've heard of them though. My feeling right now is that FSU isn't interested in making the first move in what could be the next round of dominoes, but they want to make sure they've got a Plan B should someone else set those dominoes tumbling.
marshall (Clinton, SC)
Do you think Ryan Green will have an impact in 2013? Seems like a stud..
David Hale (11:45 AM)
Wrote a little about him for a blog post on the RB situation that should be going up on Nole Nation at some point today. Green has a ton of talent, but part of the problem is that he won't be the only talented RB in the backfield, and there's only one football to go around. With Mario Pender returning from injury and the potential of having a mobile QB as the starter, it's really tough to say for sure how the touches will be divided. Does Green have the potential to make a quick impact though? Definitely.
Pete (Norwalk, CT)
David, any word on FSU improving the OOC scheduling? Okie State is good, even though it's in Texas. Is everything hinging on ND and Big 12 talks? We can do better than Wofford, Nevada and Idaho.
David Hale (11:47 AM)
Well, sure, can definitely do better than those three, but the realities of the situation is that schools need home games for budgetary reasons and coaches don't want to end up with an unnecessary loss on the schedule, so I think the 2013 non-conf slate is something of a template. If you look around at other big time programs, that's pretty much how they schedule, too -- particularly when you have an annual non-conf rivalry game against the likes of Florida.
David Hale (11:48 AM)
And yes, conference realignment and Notre Dame's situation has made things a little more complicated for future scheduling, too. Just as you saw with West Virginia last year -- it's not just about what conf. FSU ends up in, it's about where other teams are going too. And as teams have wised up and started asking for higher escape clause penalties for backing out of a game, other teams have been more reluctant to want to sign those deals. It's complicated -- and just getting more complicated by the day.
David Hale (11:49 AM)
Bottom line on scheduling though: FSU's non-conf schedule would be less of a big deal if the ACC could ensure that the conference had more national respect.
Ryan (Rhode Island)
Saw some talk yesterday about Georgia Tech switching to the Nole side of the ACC. You heard anything on that?
David Hale (11:50 AM)
There was some talk, but Heather Dinich reported yesterday that the ACC said that was not happening, and I'd heard a similar stance toward the end of the season, too.
Any chance Christain Greene makes an impact this season or even plays? Kid had the skill set to be dominant and then disappeared this year
David Hale (11:52 AM)
As I mentioned in the earlier question about Bobby Hart, I think Green will be an interesting guy to watch this season. He's way down the depth chart now, and I'm not sure if he's progressed the way Fisher wanted. Of course, sometimes some major coaching staff changes can really help a guy like that -- new voices/fresh starts. But for both Hart and Green, they're not getting new position coaches, so...
Jamie Crowder (Columbus, GA)
How long do you think Jimbo will be the FSU head coach?
David Hale (11:53 AM)
The iron was hot for Fisher this year, and I don't think he came particularly close to jumping at any of the SEC options, so my guess is he's here to stay for the foreseeable future.
lifelongnole (Tallahassee, Fl)
How is the progress of the indoor facility coming along?
David Hale (11:55 AM)
The exterior is pretty much in place right now. Went up quickly. But from what I was told before construction started, the brick work, landscaping, etc. -- i.e. all the finishing touches -- are going to take nearly as long as the major contstruction. It's on schedule to be finished by the first week in August though.
Beck (Trailerhassee, FL)
With both teams pulling recruits from the same state and seemingly always having top ten rated classes why does it feel like UF recruits pan out more often than FSUs? I just know we are going to get Ramsey and then watch him live in the shadow of VH3 as he becomes elite with the Gators.
David Hale (11:57 AM)
Come on, Beck... enjoy Ramsey for at least a few hours! And the thing is, we're only in Year 4 of Fisher's recruiting classes, and this year is likely to feature as many as five FSU players going in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. So I think the perception is probably based more on Bowden's mid-2000s classes that were probably more reputation than actual talent.
Pete (Norwalk, CT)
I agree on the OOC, but we can't control how the other ACC teams fare. We'll need more than UF games and FCS to carry national respect.
David Hale (11:58 AM)
Or a new conference.
Kris (Isahtule, FL)
What is the number one reason that we seem to fail to live up to our modest expectations every season? We have everything the SEC has, but with an even stronger fan base and better on the filed talent.
David Hale (12:01 PM)
Well, that's debatable. I'd say FSU has the resources and talent to be competitive with the Alabamas, Auburns, LSUs, Georgias and Floridas of the world, but as I mentioned in the question about coaching salaries, there's still something of a gap between FSU and the top tier of the SEC on some things. Having said that, there's really not been THAT much of a marked difference between FSU and other top programs over the past few years. What Alabama has done is other worldly -- and not really a fair comparison. Fisher has lost a few games he really shouldn't have, and I think he needs to learn some lessons from those games. But that can change. The foundation is there.
David Hale (12:01 PM)
OK, just a couple more and then I've got to run...
Bold prediction: Our team defense will be better this year than last year. Stoops bend not break defense held the boys back a little. Could you imagine sending some pressure from the linebackers or Karlos williams with the ability of our dline.
David Hale (12:03 PM)
Tough to improve too much on a defense that was sixth nationally in scoring, second in total D. But I also don't think you're alone in being excited about the future. I think the secondary could be remarkably good in 2013 -- but will that defensive front get the same push without Werner, Dawkins, Carradine, Jenkins, etc.?
You guys have stolen 2 great D Linemen away from Bama (recruiting) the last 2 years... Mario Edwards and the kid this year. How is FSU doing so well at stockpiling these DL's??? (especially against Bama)
David Hale (12:04 PM)
Fisher has made it a point to recruit well against Alabama... and that's probably a big part of what made Jeremy Pruitt such an attractive hire as DC.
lifelongnole (Tallahassee, Fl)
Hey Kris: Really??
David Hale (12:05 PM)
A glass-half-full guy!
Jay (Troy, Alabama )
Hey David, first off thank ya for what you do for us Seminole Fans stretching across the nation. Is there any word on the potential replacement for Coley?
David Hale (12:06 PM)
Happy to do it, Jay! Thanks for reading. As I said, I'm looking forward for the chance to get Jimbo at long last tomorrow, so hopefully we'll have a lot more news on the final coaching vacancy, the future for guys like Green and Hart, and, of course, all the recruiting scoop from national signing day. We're going to have a ton of content on the Nole Nation site, so check in throughout the day. Thanks again for all the great questions guys! Should be a fun day tomorrow!