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. You've got me for the next 45 min to an hour, so if you've got some FSU questions (and I'm sure you do), fire away and I'll do my best to provide some insight.
David Hale (11:03 AM)
One other thing... I see a few of the early questions are two-parters... don't be upset if I answer just one half of your question. A lot of folks are asking similar stuff, and I want to try to post as many of the questions as possible.
Who replaces M Watson at RT? Hart? Does Stork slide out and Barron take center?
David Hale (11:04 AM)
This is a huge question -- not just right now, but going forward into 2014 and beyond. If you haven't seen it yet, we're doing a series looking at the "State of the Noles" position by position, looking at the current depth and long-term possibilities through 2015. You can catch up on the series here: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/colleges/fsu/tag/_/name/state-of-the-noles
David Hale (11:04 AM)
Anyway, I wrote about the offensive tackle spots today, and there's no bigger question mark on the roster right now.
David Hale (11:06 AM)
The best-case scenario for FSU is for Hart to win the job this spring and continue to develop through the next couple years. He's got the potential, and it would do a lot to preserve the continuity of the offensive line if he can handle the job. If he can't, moving Stork is really the only option, with Barron stepping in at C. That's not an ideal scenario because, a.) Stork was very good at C last year, and b.) it means changing two positions rather than one.
David Hale (11:07 AM)
While I think the line has a chance to be very good this year if everything comes together, there's no question that Watson was the glue on that unit last year.
Bryan Ferguson (Afghanistan)
David, who do you believe is the best QB for us going forward and which freshman do you think will have an immediate impact?
David Hale (11:09 AM)
Bryan, there's obviously no bigger question right now than the QB position, but it's really tough for me to judge with much accuracy because we've never seen Winston throw a college pass, Coker's only thrown a few, and Trickett isn't quite at their level in terms of overall talent. So how do you figure all of it out? Honestly I think Winston has the most upside, but I don't know that Jimbo will throw him out there unless he's sure he's ready. Coker then becomes a good "compromise" candidate -- though that's not really a fair term. Coker has a big arm and above average speed. He's not quite the athlete Winston is, but he's not that far off. Given that he has two years in the system, I think he's the guy who could step in and deliver the best results in 2013.
Any update on the Offensive cord. I have seen Tee Martin and and Mike Johnson's name pop up... Side not god bless Matthew Thomas mom for not letting him go to USC... Landon Collins mom wish she knew of these tricks last year
What like to get your thoughts on the OC search. Saw Tee Martin's name thrown around. Are you hearing any others? I highly doubt CJF will hand over play calling to someone new...thoughts?
David Hale (11:12 AM)
Figured there'd be some questions on the coaching vacancy, so here's what I'm hearing: Johnson was definitely in for an interview, but I can't be certain about anyone else. From what I can gather, it doesn't sound like Johnson remains a top candidate either, so we're really not that much closer than we were a week ago. The problem for FSU is, the OC job should be a marquee job, but because of Jimbo's role as play caller and the money allotted for the position, it's really more a second-tier assistant job with a flashy title.
David Hale (11:13 AM)
Tee Martin is an interesting candidate, but it remains to be seen if he'd want the job given the restrictions on it. I'm also in the camp that doesn't think Jimbo's going to turn over play calling in the short term, regardless of who he hires, so that's an issue. Moreover, even if Jimbo gives up play calling, it's still his offense. There's a difference between getting to devise the offensive game plan and getting to call the plays. The offense will belong to Jimbo regardless.
David Hale (11:14 AM)
Given the number of veteran assistants on offense (Trickett, Sanders, etc.) I think it'd be wise to bring in a younger guy who recruits well that Jimbo can mold. But honestly, things seem very up in the air right now.
Chris (Jackson, TN)
First off, are you excited that pitchers and catchers reported last week for MLB? Wish I could get FSU baseball games up here (No sunsports). Second, which player would you most like to see step up and have a break out year next football season?
David Hale (11:17 AM)
Hey Chris -- yep, I'm thrilled about spring training. If all goes well, I'm actually hoping to hit Daytona this weekend for the race and Clearwater on Monday for the Phillies' spring opener. Fingers crossed. As for the latter half of your question, I think the most IMPORTANT guys who need to step up are probably Bobby Hart on offense (for reasons we just discussed) and Giorgio Newberry or Chris Casher on defense. The pass rush was such a big key to the D last year, and while I believe Edwards can be a stud, he can't do it alone.
Daniel (Sunrise, FL)
I was wondering if you expect any position changes going into spring or any attrition from the current team. We have all heard potential names but curious on your thoughts of potential names or changesThanks,
David Hale (11:20 AM)
Well, a lot of this would be speculation, and for what it's worth, Jimbo has said there are not CURRENTLY any plans for position swaps. Looking over the depth charts for 2013 and beyond though, I think there are some areas of need, particularly at DE and on the O line. I think incoming freshman Jeremy Kerr has the potential to bulk up and play at tackle, and that probably should be a consideration. We've heard a lot about Dan Hicks moving back to DE, and that may be talked about, too, particularly since he really never got a chance to get settled on offense last year before the injury. As for potential departures, I hate to speculate. These kids have a lot of reasons for staying or going beyond playing time. But strictly basing it on talent vs. playing time, you'd have to think Christian Green and perhaps one of the younger DBs are the guys with the most upside and slimmest chances for a regular job. But let's see how spring plays out before we worry too much abuot that.
DH, the "State of the 'Noles" has been great, thanks. I am concerned over the fuss at RB, though. Isn't it time to lean on the experienced tandem? Let's see what Freeman and Wilder are REALLY capable of.
David Hale (11:23 AM)
Thanks, Matt. It's been interesting to dig into the numbers for this series and see where FSU is long-term. As for the running backs, I'm in agreement with you. I do think there can be a role for Green and/or Pender this season, but particularly with a first-year starter at QB, it'd be nice to have some veterans in the backfield. The only problem is, while Thompson and Pryor were exceptional on-field leaders, Wilder and Freeman have yet to really establish themselves in those roles. That may just be a matter of Jimbo handing them the reins and letting them run with it though, and I think both have earned the chance to get that opportunity.
Mike (Saratoga NY)
What do you think of the Vince Williams snub to the NFL Combine?
David Hale (11:25 AM)
Well, it's unfortunate, that's for sure. But these things happen sometimes. There are a ton of guys who have the physical skills and overall potential to be Rounds5-7 or FA type of players, and only so many of them can get combine invites. Given that FSU already has so many players going, Williams was likely a casualty of the numbers. His Senior Bowl practices and performance opened some eyes though, and I think he'll still get a look from NFL GMs. He's also got four full years of game tape to be evaluated on, and for good GMs, that carries a lot of weight. Vince is a leader, a hard-worker and a guy with some strong physical skills. That should translate into an opportunity at the next level regardless of whether he runs a 40 at the combine.
Zach (Davenport )
What are the odds we finally move on from Trickett after this year. If he wasn't coaching against sub par talent all year I wonder what are true stats would have been. This year was a rarity in his tenure. I remember one year that Wake forest just had a 5'11 tiny DT just destroy his offense line. He cant get players, he cant develop players (I dont think FSU has a starting offense lineman under him in the NFL). I just dont get what is holding Jimbo back from moving on from the old marine that was supposed to be such an outstanding coach. If his son starts and wasnt over the age of 18 I think child services would be called due to neglect and abuse.
David Hale (11:28 AM)
Haha, um... ok. Well, here's what I can say on Trickett: The guy knows what he's talking about when he's coaching. As a technique coach, he's very, very good. Menelik Watson was turned from a guy with 8 career football games into a potential first-round NFL pick in 8 months here. That says something. BUT... Trickett's personality is not for everyone. Some players are really turned off by it, some regress because of it. He doesn't adjust to fit the players, he expects players to adjust to fit his style. He also recruits a very specific type of player -- ones he thinks he can work with. That can be limiting too.
David Hale (11:28 AM)
In the end, I don't think it's fair to grade Trickett so harshly right now. 2011 was a disaster for a lot of reasons. 2012 was a big step forward. Now lets see how 2013 shapes up before we make any grand pronouncements. I do know that Jimbo trusts Trickett, and that's a rarity with Fisher.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think is the Best Florida State Seminole that is Playing in the NFL Right Now?
David Hale (11:31 AM)
Hmmm... that's an interesting question. Off the top of my head, I'd probably say Lawrence Timmons with the Steelers. He's been an elite talent. Certainly Darnell Dockett and Anquan Boldin have made their marks. Christian Ponder could have a bright future. Anyone I'm forgetting?
David, controversy over Native American mascots are once again in the public eye, and each time with more public support to make change. Do you know if FSU has a stance?
David Hale (11:34 AM)
This is a sensitive topic. FSU's public stance in the past has been that the Seminole mascot is intended to honor the Seminole tribe, and it is done with the tribe's support. I can see the reasons why some folks are upset by it, but overall I'd have to say that if the Seminole tribe isn't offended, then we probably shouldn't be either. And I do think FSU has done a good bit to promote education and understanding for the Seminole indians. I think it's a significantly different situation than, say, the Redskins, which I don't see how anyone can view as anything other than offensive. Attribute a similar moniker used to describe any other race and it wouldn't even be a debate.
Any sleeper Freshmen that might make an impact not named Thomas or Ramsey? My guess is Kermit on kickoff return (although he is really good, I hate seeing Joyner back there re potential injury). Think Kermit and Bracey would make an explosive tandem...
David Hale (11:38 AM)
Totally in agreement with you about the return game. I could see Kermit getting work either at kick or punt return -- particularly considering that 2012 ended without anyone completely locking down the latter job. Bracy, too, could fit well at either position (though I like the idea of him on kick returns a bit better -- give him some space and see what happens). I think the two early enrollees -- D. Walker and F. Stevenson -- could find their way into regular roles, particularly given that there should be some opportunity for playing time at DE and LB. Among the RS freshmen, Eligwe, Bracy, Casher, Kourtzidis... they all will get some looks. And, of course, there's Jameis Winston.
Daniel (Sunrise, FL)
The daily Mario Pender question.... How is he doing? any inside info on whether he is still on the team? Expected to practice this spring?
David Hale (11:40 AM)
And speaking of redshirt freshmen... I'm eager to get a chance to speak with Pender, because without hearing from him first hand, it's tough to get a real read on what he's thinking. From what I've been told though, his recovery went according to plan, he got some light practice work around bowl season and should be good to go this spring. Now, he's got two guys ahead of him with two years of eligibility left and another guy coming in this fall that was one of FSU's top recruits, so the competition is stiff. Among the guys not necessarily battling for a starting job, he'll be one of the more intriguing players to watch this spring.
I agree about the skins. I don't even like saying it. Thanks for answering my question!
David Hale (11:41 AM)
No problem. Thanks for asking a smart question!
Zach (Davenport )
Cromartie plays at a high level ... Washington is one of the best in the business at what he does... but definitely timmons right now
David Hale (11:41 AM)
Yes, definitely should've included Cromartie in that answer. Slipped my mind. And I love Leon. His role is more limited, but few do it better.
Zach (Davenport )
Now that the coaching turnover looks to almost be complete 1) did most of the coaches leave because of how hard it is to work for Jimbo, I know the all got better jobs but no staff gets picked apart like this without winning a title. 2) Is this going to be a trend. I cant imagine Pruitt being kept here to long just based off his recruiting ability alone.
David Hale (11:43 AM)
Good questions, Zach. I would be very reluctant to suggest that ANY of the coaches who left did so explicitly because of the difficulties of working with Jimbo. I do think that Coley and Craig departed for better jobs -- but they may have been swayed toward staying if Jimbo allowed them a little more leeway and freedom within the framework of the offense. In other words, Jimbo's not the reason anyone left, but he didn't provide a great reason to stay either.
David Hale (11:44 AM)
I will also say that, from virtually everyone I've talked to, there is a strong feeling that this year's staff (with one job left to fill) could be better than last year's. There's a ton of veteran coaches on the staff, and from a strictly on-field standpoint (i.e. not recruiting) it's probably a more knowledgeable group now.
David Hale (11:47 AM)
As for how long FSU can retain these guys, it's tougher to say. Coaches like Sunseri certainly have the pedigree to land bigger, better jobs down the road. FSU hired four position coaches with coordinator experience, which is a boon from an experience standpoint, but it also means those guys would probably like to get back to coordinator jobs (and coordinator money) eventually. Pruitt, on the other hand, is younger with less experience, and I could see him sticking around for a while. While Jimbo meddles in the offense obsessively, he let Stoops largely call his own shots on defense, so Pruitt should get some latitude. And because FSU is a marquee job, and because Pruitt's inexperience won't make him an obvious head coaching candidate for a while (unlike Stoops), there's no reason to think he won't be around for at least the next 3-5 years.
Dissing the 'Skins...typical Iggles fan.
David Hale (11:47 AM)
Haha... true. I never said I wasn't biased.
Nice to hear from Jameis Winston on NoleNation, last week, David. Hope you can tell us more about Coker in the future, too. It's gonna be a great competition.
David Hale (11:49 AM)
Thanks, Matt. I enjoyed talking with Jameis. He's a smart kid, and both Jimbo and Martin seem to agree that he's capable of being immensely successful on both fields. As for Coker, I've talked to him a few times throughout the season. He's much more soft spoken than the other two QBs, but it's clear that he's intensely competitive. I'm really looking forward to how it all shakes out.
David Hale (11:49 AM)
OK guys, I think that'll about do it for this week. We'll chat again next Tuesday, same time/same place. Thanks for all the great questions!