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September 11, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

Aloha, ladies & gents. Finally after two weeks of feasting on cupcakes, we've got a real football game to talk about. Who's got some questions?

Tyler (South Carolina)

Do you think the allowance of no sacks is a sign of good things to come or just overmatched competition?

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

Can't it be both? I do think the line hasn't been tested at all, really, so it's impossible to say anything with any ounce of certainty. But look back on the two cupcake games that started last year, and it was already pretty clear there were going to be problems up front. So, at the very least, this is progress. And honestly, I don't think the line needs to be great. It just needs to be decent -- which would be a big step up from last year.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will Brandon Jenkins redshirt and come back for a fifth season? If so, what impact will that have on Florida State's recruiting at the defensive end position and overall depth.

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

Jenkins has not talked with the media since the injury, and from what other players have said, he's still dealing with a lot of emotions after his season ended early. So honestly, I doubt even he knows what he's going to do next year. I think a big amount of the decision will come down to the rehab process. If he's healthy enough to participate in the combine, then it's probably not worth putting off a big pay day for another year. But if he's still rehabbing the injury by March, it's going to be hard for NFL teams to know what to make of him, which means he'll likely fall a good bit in the draft -- meaning another year at FSU would have some value.

David Hale
  (12:05 PM)

To answer the recruiting question though: I don't think Jenkins' decision matters much, but getting Edwards and Casher on the field now rather than redshirting the year probably does.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who did Florida State Replace on the Roster who went to the NFL With?

David Hale
  (12:05 PM)

Dangerous and disturbing this puzzle is. Meditate on this I will.

DK (WPB, FL)

What are the most positive things that you've been able to tell so far given the level of opposition?

David Hale
  (12:07 PM)

1.) FSU has really cut down on the penalties. I think the number of flags a team gets is a bit overrated -- the teams with the fewest aren't usually very good -- but it's a sign of maturity that there have been fewer pre-snap flags.2.) It's also a good sign of maturity that these games have played out just as we thought -- and that Jimbo has been pleased with practice. When you're essentially in your sixth week of fall camp and still practicing hard, that's a big positive.Aside from that, not sure we can take a ton from those two games.

DK (WPB, FL)

In your opinion, are there any areas of concern for FSU?

David Hale
  (12:09 PM)

Not sure I'd say "concern" so much as I'd say "interest." There's still a lot we don't know. How will Erving/Watson hold up against bigger, faster D ends? Can Waisome or Darby handle the starting corner job? The punt returners have put two balls on the ground in the first two games -- and turnovers will be what kills this team. The Jenkins injury really depletes the experienced depth at DE, and that had been a strength. Is EJ really ready to take the next step and become an elite QB? Plenty of questions still awaiting answers.

Chris (Jackson, TN)

David, You really think the offensive line is going to show out this week against Wake or has this past 2 weeks just been like previous years?

David Hale
  (12:12 PM)

This week will be an interesting test against Wake's 3-4 scheme. From what Jimbo & EJ say, it actually simplifies things a bit for the O line because the rush is more easily defined (as opposed to a 4-3 where safeties and corners may complicate matters), but if Nikita Whitlock is healthy enough to play, Wake's front 7 is capable of doing some damage. So to answer your question, I don't know how the line will hold up, but I do think we'll have a much clearer picture after this week.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you think Cornelius Carradine will be able to fill the void left by the injuiry to Brandon Jenkins? And who will serve as Tank's backup and provide the Noles with the same type of production he did in relief of Werner and Jenkins?

David Hale
  (12:14 PM)

I think Tank will do fine as the starter. He played a lot of snaps last year and put up really solid numbers. A lot of folks peg him as a potential 2nd or 3rd round pick in the NFL draft, so he's got the talent. The bigger concern is the drop in production from Tank as the No. 3 to Giorgio Newberry. Newberry has potential, but he's got very little experience. I saw him get out of position a couple times against Savannah State, which is a bit concerning. He'll be learning on the fly, and that's not ideal. But he also has the talent to catch on quick.

DK (WPB, FL)

Do you think Jimbo is a good enough in-game play caller to get us the win in a close game?

David Hale
  (12:15 PM)

Jimbo's success as a play caller at FSU is mixed, but he's got a track record elsewhere. And when you look back on last year, the playbook had to be so limited because the O line simply couldn't block or open running lanes. I think this year will be a real test. I think Jimbo has a few more tricks up his sleeve now that he believes the entire playbook is open to him, and we'll get a much better idea of what his strengths and limitations might be.

Allen (Eagle - Land )

Hey David,Why is everyone on the Fsu band wagon on them being a top team that could even go to the national championship? They have not played anyone for 2 weeks! Lets see how they play this weekend against a good wake forest team. I think if they get past Clemson then people should start talking about them. They should have played an sec team or a team from the pac 12. They need to play better non conference teams.

David Hale
  (12:16 PM)

In FSU's defense, Allen, they had West Virginia on the schedule for Week 2, and the Mountaineers pulled out at the last minute, forcing the crappy "game" against Savannah State. But I agree -- we haven't learned much from these first two games, so it's still way too early to say anything definitive about this team. But this week should start providing answers.

William (Orlando)

I have met and played golf with Jim Grobe. I must say, he is one impressive man and obviously a heck of a coach. If you were to compare coaching staffs, who has the best between FSU and Wake? Further more, in the ACC?

David Hale
  (12:18 PM)

How's Grobe's golf game? Man, I think the world of Grobe. He's at a school with the lowest student population in FBS and he's still been a consistent winner in the ACC. That is REALLY hard to do. But I think part of a coach's success and failure is environment -- and Grobe thrives in that type of environment. If I were ranking ACC coaches, just based on what we've seen so far rather than the potential of what's to come, I think it's pretty clearly Beamer & Grobe as the top two.

@WallStreetNole (Greenville SC)

David Hale = the authority for FSU analysis. David, how excited are you for the Compenaro vs X Rhodes match up on the outside? I feel we will also get a better idea of where the other DB's are at development wise against real competition.

David Hale
  (12:20 PM)

Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, I'm extremely excited for that matchup. The DBs have largely flown under the radar through two weeks because Murray State rarely challenged anyone deep and Savannah State -- well, that was ugly. But Xavier is going to get two big challenges over the next two weeks, and they should be fun to watch. Price-Companaro is one of the most underrated QB-WR combos in the country.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

How would you rate EJ Manuel's performance this season? Has he improved on some the issues that were a concern after last season (Decision making, fundamentals etc)?

David Hale
  (12:22 PM)

Again, so hard to take much from the first two games, but one encouraging thing: Jimbo raved about EJ's decision making against Savannah State. While it all looked easy -- and, in fairness, it probably was -- Jimbo said EJ read his progressions well and that a number of his completions were to his 2nd and 3rd reads. And if it weren't for a few drops by receivers, EJ would probably be at an 80% completion mark with one fewer INT and perhaps an extra TD or two.

mike (key west)

based on last 2 games by all teams, who do you see as FSU toughest 2 games to win?

David Hale
  (12:23 PM)

Boy the ACC hasn't exactly done much to prove its worth, has it? Wake barely squeaked by, Miami looks awful, BC is worse, Maryland may be even worse than that... I'd say FSU's two toughest are exactly the ones we thought: Clemson and VT. I really liked the adjustments Florida made in the second half against A&M last week though, and I could see the Gators be a much better team by November than they are now.

Travis C. (Lake Highlands)

Any rumors lately on FSU to the Big 12?

David Hale
  (12:25 PM)

The buzz has certainly quieted now during football season, and I think FSU and the Big 12 learned a valuable lesson about keeping things a tad more covert. But while the ACC made some nice inroads with the Orange Bowl deal, the Big 12 fired right back with a $2.6 billion TV deal. In the end, money does most of the talking.

Josh (Utah)

I'm slightly nervous about our strength of schedule. Do you think a one loss Big 12 team would hop an undefeated FSU?

David Hale
  (12:26 PM)

It's worth being nervous about. And not just in comparison to the Big 12. We got two SEC teams in the title game a year ago, and if Bama or LSU or UGA's only loss is to an undefeated team from its own conference, that could happen again. The schedule will make it easier for FSU to win all its games, but harder for it to get to the BCS championship, if that makes sense.

Christian (Richmond, Virginia)

A lot of people are excited about the possibility about having College Gameday in Tally for the Clemson game. Should I be worried that the team is excited as well and looking past Wake this week?

David Hale
  (12:27 PM)

First off, that's not confirmed yet, but I'll probably be the last to know. Internal memos take a while to trickle down to me! But as I said earlier, I think the absolute most positive thing to take from these first two weeks is the sharp focus and maturity FSU's players have displayed despite having every reason to blow off prep for these two games.

John (Tampa, FL)

Has there been any indication that Florida State might be moving away from the "tailback-by-committee" mindset?

David Hale
  (12:29 PM)

I think actually the opposite is true. All three RBs have performed so well in these first two weeks that they've ensured the experiment will continue for a while longer. In the end, that may be a big plus for FSU. Runners tend to wear down over the course of a season, and that shouldn't be a problem with these guys. Moreover, they all have pretty established skill sets that complement each other nicely. It'd be great to have that bell cow, but this isn't too bad a situation either.

David Hale
  (12:30 PM)

Also on that note-- I know Wilder has gotten the bulk of the attention and people are happy to have CT back, but I've been incredibly impressed by how Freeman has run the ball.

Sam (FL)

Think we will we see more, or less of Kelvin Benjamin as the season (& competition) picks up?

David Hale
  (12:31 PM)

I actually asked Jimbo about this yesterday, and while he was somewhat cagey in his response, I think the formula is pretty simple: FSU knows what it has in Benjamin, but the coaches also want to keep him working hard. So his role will expand a little at a time, but they're definitely going to use him. He's too much of a weapon to ignore. (and FWIW, Jimbo did say he likes the idea of continuing to use KB on reverses & trick plays, as they did vs. SSU).

Ryan (SLC, Utah)

This week is rivalry week for BYU and Utah (The Holy War). With the announcement made earlier this year that the rivalry will be on "hold" for the 2014 and 2015 seasons and the other major rivalries in the nation taking breaks as well, it seems the basic foundation of college football is cracking and fans are going to miss out on their favorite game of the year. What are your thoughts on all the dying rivalries? Also... who wins the Holy War? GO COUGS!!!!

David Hale
  (12:33 PM)

I don't like what conference re-alignment has done to rivalries, but I do think that it's a momentary problem that will fix itself over time. A.) new rivalries will emerge, and B.) once the novelty of the new conferences wears off, the monetary value of playing those rivalry games will push teams back to the table. As for the Holy War?... I have no clue. But there is a GREAT Mexican place in SLC called Red Iguana, and I'd kill for some mole from there for lunch. Can you make that happen?

Mike (Saratoga, NY)

Who for Wake Forest is the most likely to hurt us?

David Hale
  (12:35 PM)

Well, I think Price is a really solid QB, and he's capable of putting points on the board. But Wake's ground game has been horrendous and the O line is very young, so I wonder how much time Price will even get to throw the ball. The biggest potential headache for FSU is definitely DT Nikita Whitlock... but he's got an ankle injury and it's still not clear if he'll play.

Kevin (Reno, NV)

Is the Clemson-FSU contest this year's OU game? Meaning that it will either catapult the Noles to a big season, and help Jimbo turn the corner, or immediately put a damper on BCS/National Championship expectations?

David Hale
  (12:37 PM)

You know, I see what you're saying here, and I don't entirely disagree. It's a marquee game, and a win or loss will largely define who FSU is in a lot of people's eyes. But I think the real test of this FSU team will be how they respond to that game -- either way. Last year, they let the Oklahoma loss define them, and it ended up a three-game losing streak. They had no clue how to respond to adversity. This year, win or lose, Jimbo is really pushing his kids to turn the page on a game as soon as it's over and not let the past effect what comes next.

Mark (Miami, FL)

Was ending the Savannah State game an act of mercy more than any thing else? Do you think the grumblings over the beat down administered by Okie State the week before played a role in the decision?

David Hale
  (12:38 PM)

Well, it was a result of the weather, but depending on your belief in forces greater than us all, then it's entirely possible God was showing some mercy to Savannah State. But yeah, there's no chance a real opponent would've agreed to a running clock. I honestly can't even see Murray State having agreed to that a week earlier.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

People say Murray St and Savannah St didn't show us much. Look at the rush yards per carry against ULM & Charles Southern last year and compare them to this year. Small sample but the run game looks dramatically improved.

David Hale
  (12:39 PM)

I completely agree with this. I don't know that we can use these first two games as a gauge of what's to come, but comparing them to the first two games of 2011 seems fair -- and by all measures, FSU performed much, much better this season.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Which of the WRs has been most impressive in the early going?

David Hale
  (12:41 PM)

Good question, but not sure there's a clear answer. I really like how Rodney Smith has played, and his veteran leadership in that group is important. I've loved how Kenny Shaw responded after that ugly bobble that turned into an INT vs. Murray State. He's been very good since then. And it's impossible not to like what we've seen from Benjamin thus far. Perhaps the most notable thing among the WRs though is how little we've seen of Rashad Greene. Mark me down as predicting a big game for him this week - his first 100-yarder of the year.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Fans need to know that most likely if FSU were to go undefeated they would jump a 1 loss SEC school. It shouldn't really matter but FSU is a huge national draw on TV and that would factor in compared to another SEC school getting in. That'll get some backlash if that is a possibility.

David Hale
  (12:42 PM)

For standard bowl purposes, yeah, I agree. BUT... the BCS formula doesn't take popularity or ticket sales into account, so if the formula spits out LSU and Alabama (or Alabama and Georgia) again, that's all that matters.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

From a Wake perspective why risk Whitlock in this game? The goal for Wake should be going to a bowl and Whitlock would help their chances if he played against Army & Wake then rush back against FSU when not healthy.

David Hale
  (12:43 PM)

On paper, that's a fair statement. But amid the realities of the locker room, how do you tell your team that you're OK with losing your biggest game of the year -- a team you've actually beaten 4 of the last 6 years -- because you're "just trying to get to a bowl"? I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that inside the Wake locker room, I bet they don't see it that way.

Sam (FL)

Higher total this Saturday: Werner tackles for loss, or Wake Forrest scoring plays?

David Hale
  (12:44 PM)

Well, Bjoern would've won that bet each of the last two weeks (including a great 1.5-0 decision vs. Savannah State!) and given Wake's young O line, it wouldn't surprise me if he tacks on a couple more this week. Is it a cop out if I predict a 3-3 tie?

Nick (Tampa)

You did not mention this about positions to watch, but I still have some concern about Nick Moody. While we have very little to go on I will be interested to see how he plays his new position this game.

David Hale
  (12:46 PM)

Yup, you're right, and my bad for not including him. Jimbo was particularly tepid in his analysis of Moody's play vs. Murray State, which says something. He didn't get much work at all against Savannah. Funny side note to that though: EJ told us yesterday that Moody actually tried to sneak back on the field in the second quarter against SSU because he wanted more playing time. The ruse didn't last though and coach's pulled him back onto the sideline.

DK (WPB, FL)

How much do you see the tight end position in use as Jimbo starts to open up the playbook more now that we're getting into ACC play?

David Hale
  (12:48 PM)

That's actually one of those under-the-radar things from the first two weeks, but by my count the TEs were targeted six times in those two games. I think EJ has a lot of trust in O'Leary as a receiver (his drop vs. Murray notwithstanding) and I do think that role will blossom some this season. I'm not saying it'll be a 50-catch season for O'Leary, but I wouldn't be surprised if he gets 30 for 400 yards or so. That'd be almost triple the production he had a year ago.

Andrew (Abbeville, SC)

do you think Wake Forest will give Florida State any trouble and do you think College Gameday will be in Tallahassee for the Clemson game

David Hale
  (12:50 PM)

Someone mentioned the 24 point spread on this game to Jimbo yesterday. He laughed. "Why am I having trouble sleeping then?" he said. Fact is, this game on paper looks like it should be an FSU blowout, but Fisher has seen Wake win enough of these games they were supposed to lose to know better. Wake has more question marks than FSU for sure, but they also have some legitimately good players. I'm definitely not predicting an upset, but I'd think twice before laying the points.

David Hale
  (12:50 PM)

As for Game Day, I have no inside knowledge on that -- but I will say it looks to be the most exciting game on the docket that weekend.

B (Mississippi)

what do you think about the ole miss - texas game

David Hale
  (12:51 PM)

I like Texas. But I'd be happy to spend a weekend on either campus.

LifeLongNole (Tallahassee, Fl)

Werner will likely draw double teams throughout the season with Jenkins gone. Would you be surprised to see Carradine outperform Werner the rest of the way?

David Hale
  (12:52 PM)

Werner got his share of double teams even when Jenkins was healthy. Opposing teams recognize what a terror he can be off the edge. Would I be surprised if Tank outperformed him statistically? No, I suppose not. But I wouldn't predict it's going to happen either.

DK (WPB, FL)

What's the best BBQ place in Tally?

David Hale
  (12:54 PM)

I'm still testing the waters. I promised my wife I wouldn't put on 10 lbs of pulled pork weight within the first six months we were here, so I've had to curtail my dining experiences. I really liked Piggy's though, and while I won't say Jim & Milt's is terrific, it's better than what I had in Philly. Oh, and the Habenero BBQ sandwich at Black Bean is tremendous.

dennis (portland)

Jim and Milts!

David Hale
  (12:54 PM)

Well, there you have it.

Forrest (Panama City)

Just wanted to say "Good Job" answering these questions David. Some really good info here. Thanks & GO NOLES!

David Hale
  (12:55 PM)

Thanks, Forrest! It's been fun. I gotta run... off to interview Christian Jones and Lamarcus Joyner now. Keep checking back at NoleNation this week. We've got lots more content in store. And our recruiting writer, Corey Dowlar, will be answering recruiting questions tomorrow, too! Thanks again, folks.