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September 25, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:04 AM)

Hey folks, sorry for the delay. Minor technical glitches -- i.e. I was locked out of the media work room at FSU. Anyway, lots of questions in the queue already, so let's get going...

Greg (Fresno)

quick trade advice...dynasty league...frustrated owner sending me Vick/S. Jackson for Kolb & Ryan Williams (and a late rnd draft pick)...do I pull the trigger

David Hale
  (11:05 AM)

As an Eagles fan, Vick is a disaster. And I still wouldn't do that deal.

kex (DC)

GET THE REAL REFs BACK NOW

David Hale
  (11:05 AM)

So this is how this chat is going to go?

CWS (Louisiana)

what about LSU>

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

What about them? Mett needs to bring back the 'stache.

Chris Seidman (Minnesota)

This is a joke. I will boycott the NFL until the refs are brought back. THIS A DISGRACE TO THE GAME.

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

Agreed. So let's talk FSU, eh?

Alex (Miami)

I was surprised FSU gave up 37pts... Any concerns there?

David Hale
  (11:07 AM)

I wasn't entirely surprised by it. Clemson's offense is legit. As for concerns? I suppose so, insofar as a few of the guys in new roles (Jones, Brooks) bit on some misdirection stuff, and that's not ideal. But it's a learning experience, the bulk of Clemson's big plays came on trick stuff, and the D really settled down in the second half. I think it illustrated that the D may not be Alabama-esque, but it's still very good.

Luke (Virginia)

FSU should be ranked at #3, behind bama and oregon! LSU should be four

David Hale
  (11:08 AM)

It's probably silly to even worry about LSU right now because eventually they'll play Alabama and FSU will leapfrog one of the two, assuming the Noles are still undefeated. Oregon is the team FSU really needs to be worried about when it comes to the National Championship race.

David Hale
  (11:09 AM)

The other thing on LSU is, winning on the road -- even against a struggling team like Auburn -- isn't easy in the SEC. Meanwhile, FSU won't get its first conference road test until next Saturday.

Mike (Apex, NC)

What looks stronger right now, the FSU offense of defense?

David Hale
  (11:10 AM)

The fact that you can even ask that question says a lot, doesn't it? I'd still say the D is the more reliable unit, only because the offense still really hasn't faced a strong opponent. Clemson's defense was a joke. Having said that, the O line is night and day better, and Chris Thompson is all the way back. There's no reason this offense shouldn't put up 30 on even a good ACC defense.

Bobby (Sarasota)

Although we are 4-0, we have the lowest Strength of Schedule of the 16 teams with that record. Should I be nervous about losing a game or is it safe for me to start saving for a BCS title game trip?

David Hale
  (11:12 AM)

I wouldn't be too nervous about losing a game -- at least not until November. BUT... that strength of schedule could definitely cost FSU by the time it's BCS title time. There's just not much coming up that will boost the schedule strength either aside from Florida, and who knows what shape the Gators will be in by the final weekend in November. Even the ACC title game may not be a top-notch opponent. So FSU really needs to be undefeated AND hope everyone else has at least one loss to have a legit shot, at this point.

Nash (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

One FSU weakness that South Florida could exploit on Saturday?

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

Boredom? I mean, we're talking about a team that just lost to Ball State. We can make up all the reasons in the world to think this game might be competitive, but I just don't see it. BJ Daniels killed FSU with his legs in 2009, but this is a much improved D that just saw Tajh Boyd. They won't be surprised. And FSU managed nothing on the ground in '09, and that won't be the case this year either. It's going to be another blowout.

Tom Brady (Williamstown NJ)

Sadly this coulda happened in a real game. The Ref on the field ruled a simultaneous catch resulting in a TD. The replay booth is not allowed to overturn that call. That's the problem! Why review TDs if they have limited decisions?

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

This is actually a really good question... what's the point of replay if you're going to limit the scope on something like that? OK, now back to FSU...

Ashton (Orlando)

What are the chances the noles make it to Thanksgiving weekend undeafeted?

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

If I were setting odds, I'd say something like 85 percent. I just don't see a really tough game on the schedule aside from the trip to Virginia Tech. If they were to play tomorrow, I think FSU would thump the Hokies... but VT has some time to turn things around, and Beamer's history suggests he will. Plus, VT's defense is probably going to be the best one the Noles face before the Florida game, so it could be more interesting than folks are giving that game credit for right now.

Cody (Greer SC)

I thought the FSU Clemson game was one of the best games all weekend. Both played a really hard fought game. I just wonder what will happen to the ACC if FSU wins out. Is FSU a title contender even when they do not play top 15 teams every week. I think that if they can beat Florida at the end of the year they may have a chance but I just do not believe they can match up with a SEC school.

David Hale
  (11:17 AM)

I don't know... Clemson thumped Auburn, and Auburn nearly beat LSU. Those kind of value judgements are usually easy to find and offer little clarity, but the point is that I think Clemson is a legitimately good team and FSU played well against them. The Noles have the speed, athleticism and physicality to match up with the SEC. What they don't have is an SEC schedule. It'll be very interesting to see how that plays out.

Tim (AZ)

Haven't had a RB catch the ball like Thompson has this year in a long time. Can the corners quit gambling and stop giving up the big play?

David Hale
  (11:19 AM)

You know what the scary thing is? Fisher insists Wilder is his best pass-catcher out of the backfield. That duo has really stepped up to become a powerful weapon... so much so that you didn't really even notice that last year's leading rusher has barely been seen the past two weeks.

James Slacum (US)

This is beyond ridiculous........Something needs to be done NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

David Hale
  (11:19 AM)

This is probably about the refs, but I'm going to assume it's in reference to the new season of "How I Met Your Mother."

larry (toms river)

boycott nfl..thanks alot roger badell..

David Hale
  (11:20 AM)

"Badell"... that's classic.

Alex (Miami)

If Alabama, Oregon and FSU go undefeated.. Any chance FSU can still make it to the title game?

David Hale
  (11:21 AM)

IF that happens, Alabama is a shoo-in. Then it comes down to Oregon or FSU. A lot then depends on how the rest of the season unfolds for Oregon State, Stanford, USC, Florida, Virginia Tech, etc. Both of those teams need the rest of their league to step up to build their resumes.

David Hale
  (11:22 AM)

Here's an even more interesting question though: What if Alabama, Florida State and West Virginia are the final three remaining unbeatens... and WVU gets in ahead of FSU after canceling their scheduled Week 2 matchup. Can you imagine if it's the Savannah State game that pushes WVU ahead of FSU? That might top the replacement refs as a source of controversy.

Matt (Dalton, GA)

FSU just proved it can hang with an offense more talented than any in the $EC. Any game between FSU and and SEC title contender (say, Bama) would be low-scoring and a great matchup... I think the Noles would win on the strength of EJ's legs!

David Hale
  (11:23 AM)

I think the big question about Noles vs. SEC would be in pass protection. I've really liked what I've seen from the O line thus far, BUT... they haven't faced a legit pass rush yet. Put that O line against Bama, UGA, S Carolina or LSU and EJ may have a much tougher time.

chris (murfreesboro )

If we beat a ranked Va tech on the road and a Ranked florida team at home....doesn't that give us some SOS...at least in the minds of the voters?

David Hale
  (11:24 AM)

Sure... but again, West Virginia, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Oregon... those teams all have some big-name, ranked opponents coming up, too.

Mike (Apex)

Is Fisher going to fix our SOS when he gets the team back on track? Seems like in the heyday we played plenty of top schools out of conference. Now it seems like we look for wins.

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

If they had played West Virginia in Week 2 as they were supposed to, we wouldn't be having this conversation. It's on the Mountaineers for backing out. FSU had Oklahoma the past two years before that. The scheduling has been fine -- tougher than what a team like Florida schedules -- but you can't control WVU backing out of a game.

Matt (Dalton, GA)

If the BCS/polls takes ANY one-loss SEC team over undefeated Seminoles, that would be completely unjust and show clearly the biased nature of the beast that has given us 6 straight SEC champions.

David Hale
  (11:26 AM)

That's a good question, too. Let's assume UGA and Alabama (or LSU) go undefeated in the regular season, then play a close game in the SECCG. I'm guessing voters wouldn't want to see an immediate rematch... but how would the computers shake out?

Anthony (Washington)

Hi David, In your opinion, why is it that FSU isn't quite considered a title contender due to playing inferior opponents to date, when the 3 teams ranked above them have played nobody either but don't get knocked for it? After Clemson, FSU has the best win out of the group.

David Hale
  (11:28 AM)

Fair point, and I think it's more about history. Alabama is fresh off a national title, and they did thump Michigan. Oregon was in the title game two years ago, and they shut out Arizona. FSU on the other hand, has a history of being a bit overrated of late, and they had to come from behind to beat Clemson. Not saying that's fair, but that's probably in the minds of a lot of voters.

Tommy (Wilmington, DE)

Concerns going forward, not many big matchups left on the sched. I don't wanna jinx it, but chances we run the table the rest of the way? Bama and LSU can both suffer a loss with their remaining schedules. Oregon has USC, Stanford, and Oregon State left to face which will test them. If Oregon and either Bama or LSU go undefeated, do we miss out?

David Hale
  (11:29 AM)

Delaware representing! Worth noting, Jimbo Fisher gave props to the old Tubby Raymond Wing-T in his presser last week. Anyway, I already eluded to the answer here, but I'll post any question from Delaware.

chris (murfreesboro )

All the talk about penalties on Fsu....If I remember correctly we used to get them all the time during the dominating years(playing through the whistle) but were able to offset them with talent. I saw that same trend Saturday with the penalties but then making plays to offset them. Am I wrong here? This team looks really good at getting after it.

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

I think the penalties remain a sticking point for Jimbo, but I wrote a story earlier this year running the numbers, and there's really not much of an impact that penalties have over the course of a season on wins and losses in general. But when you start looking at specifics -- BOTH of those drives in which Hopkins missed an FG could've been extended had flags not stifled the offense. I think it's worth working on in practice, but not worth getting too upset about.

Tyler (South Carolina)

What do you think ejs chances are of getting drafted in the first round

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

I'm no NFL scout, so far be it from me to say, but I think there are some concerns about how quickly he makes progressions and releases the football. BUT, there is plenty of time for him to change that mentality, and as Jimbo rightly pointed out yesterday, it's tough to play fast when your line isn't blocking and your receivers aren't where they're supposed to be. From a purely physical ability standpoint, EJ has first-round tools. But it'll take more than 1 big game to get him there.

Ashkon (Arizona)

I think a lot of people are blowing VTech off because of their early mishaps. One thing I've realized is that Beamer coaches his boys up as the season goes along and that VTech will be much improved by the time FSU comes to town. How do you see this game playing out?

David Hale
  (11:34 AM)

Great point, Ashkon. Look back at VT over the past decade or so. They always seem to have an early loss and then run the table the rest of the way. VT is notorious for improving as the season progresses. The biggest thing though is that O line really needs to make some strides between now and the FSU game if the Hokies are going to have a chance. The run game has been bad and Thomas is getting beaten up -- and they haven't faced anything close to the fury FSU's D line can bring.

Gary Riek (Madison. WI)

Replacement refs are a joke. What will it take for the NFL to give the real ones what they want??

David Hale
  (11:34 AM)

What's Jimmy Carter doing these days? He hasn't negotiated anything in years. Let's get him on this.

Paul (Jacksonville, FL)

What do you think of EJ getting more design running plays? Do you think that opened up the run/pass mix with LB's having to account for EJ possibly burning them with his legs? Will we see more design runs for EJ vs USF?

David Hale
  (11:36 AM)

To me, it seems like a weapon Fisher has used to open things up when defenses get a little too aggressive. I think he'd love to keep EJ in the pocket and away from big hits, but he's gone to the option and the designed runs in each of the last two games early to get defenses to back off a bit, and it's worked well. Not sure if it'll be necessary against USF, but I love how it's been employed thus far.

Patrick (Memphis,TN)

Any injury concerns David regarding any of the players like Werner and how does the offense line seem in your opinion i see a lot of confidence but still a lot of work needs to be done.

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

Werner had a mild finger sprain (not sure if that's technically what it's being called, but something like that) and didn't come out of the game. He'll be fine. No other major concerns at this point, but it's noteworthy that Chris Casher will likely redshirt now because of a knee injury that cropped up in pregame warmups. That leaves just 5 scholarship DEs on the roster, and not much experience at all behind Tank and Bjoern.

Chris (Madison)

Do you think Jameis Winston is committed to FSU football, or do you see him jumping to baseball? If he sticks with the Noles, what are his chances of getting the QB gig next year as opposed to Trickett?

David Hale
  (11:39 AM)

I think he'll get a crack at the QB job next year, but at this point, you'd have to think he's probably the third option. It'll be interesting to see how he handles that. If we open the 2013 season with him a clear No. 3 on the depth chart, I'll be interested to see if he's still as committed as you'd like. If he's competitive this spring and ends up No. 2 -- well, probably not much reason to worry.

Greg (Ohio)

Do you see FSU's success this year as being very important to the ACC as a whole? There's not a lot in the conference, in terms of football, to be proud of these days. Does the conference need a strong showing from FSU to remain viable as a whole?

David Hale
  (11:41 AM)

I think the FSU-Clemson game went about as well as could be expected for the ACC... both teams put on a good showing, and most fans could walk away saying that the conference has at least two legit teams. If FSU can win out (particularly if it handles Florida), that's big for the league. BUT... the problem for this conference isn't even so much at the top as it is the middle. NC State, Wake and Miami might well be the 4-6 teams in the league... and that's AWFUL.

Adam (Houston)

Do you think the Pac 12 is overrated?

David Hale
  (11:42 AM)

I'd want to see a bit more of the season play out before I say one way or the other. The biggest problems with the Pac-12 are that a.) so few people actually see the games, and b.) it's pretty much the opposite style of the SEC, so it gets knocked for being finesse rather than physical. I think there's definitely more depth in the Pac 12 than the ACC or Big Ten and probably the Big 12, too.

Jason (Nashville)

What do you think about Jimbo's Heisman comments and why does the media seem to dramatize stuff like that?

David Hale
  (11:44 AM)

Glad you asked. It's funny because I was actually questioning my news judgement a bit that the comments became so big. To me, knowing Jimbo, that seemed a perfectly logical thing to say. It's probably not his actual belief, it's just what he needs to say to keep his team insulated from all the hype surrounding the award, and it was his way of complementing EJ for being so down-to-earth. BUT... people love some controversy, so the comments became relevant news.

David Hale
  (11:45 AM)

I think it's partially a product of how people consume news these days, too... look at CNN.com any day. There are a handful of real, meaningful stories, and then a huge headline about a two-headed snake.

David Hale
  (11:45 AM)

Which, by the way, is freaky. Two-headed snakes are way scarier than Mega-sharks.

Jason (Nashville)

What do you think is the biggest difference between this year's team and last years? Injuries? Maturity?

David Hale
  (11:47 AM)

Maturity is definitely one thing. If there's anything I'm certain of through four games is that Jimbo has this team's focus right where he wants it. (though it will be interesting to see if that continues now that they've beaten Clemson.) But the other big thing is depth. There's talent three deep at most positions, and that's huge. Look how many receivers EJ has completed passes to, how well Wilder and Thompson have complemented each other, how tough it is to go against that pass rush in the fourth quarter when FSU is still fresh... depth is huge.

Top (Atlanta,GA)

At the beginning of the season I thought that UF would end up looking like another cupcake team for us to dominate, but after a few weeks of play they are really showing up now. How legitimate is this growing concern from UF?

David Hale
  (11:48 AM)

I'm still not sold on UF. They've had some bad first halves and some great second halves. That's the mark of good coaching and an intelligent team -- but I'm still in a wait-and-see mode on the overall talent and ability there. I'll be very excited to see what they do against a top-tier SEC team.

chris (murfreesboro )

Is Freeman done? I noticed he is missing and when he does touch the ball he does not seem to be as explosive as last year.

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

Good question -- one thing to note from last week's game is that Devonta's brother was killed last week, and he was in rough shape emotionally. I think Fisher was doing his best to limit Freeman's workload in the wake of that news. BUT... Freeman didn't get a ton of touches the week before against Wake either, and I think Wilder is probably ahead of him on the depth chart right now.

Jason (Nashville)

EJ a legit Heisman candidate?

David Hale
  (11:50 AM)

Yes and no. I think EJ's biggest obstacle may be the schedule. This last week was the first time he's played a snap in the fourth quarter this year, and that certainly could be the case again this week. Heisman winners need both a showcase and a chance to pad their stats, and EJ's not going to get a ton of either. And THAT is a big part of Fisher's "show dog" comments...

Austin (Eastpoint, FL)

What do you think about FSU joining the SEC one of these days?

David Hale
  (11:51 AM)

Not one of these days soon. Even the SEC isn't likely worth a $50M buyout at this point.

Kirk (St. Petersburg, FL)

As a recent summer graduate of FSU, now living in St. Pete, It was amazing to go back last weekend to Tally and relieve my college days at Doak. Do you think the crowd played a factor in the second half dominance, and if so how do we fair on the road with the likes of Va tech?

David Hale
  (11:53 AM)

Well, as Jimbo said, the crowd would be a lot more helpful if they were all allowed to play defense, too. BUT, I do think that was one of the big things overlooked about the game-- when Joyner returned that kick 90 yards to swing the momentum, it rejuvenated that crowd and it definitely changed the tone of the game. And yeah, I'll be interested to see how FSU holds up on the road -- but Im not too worried about USF. That'll be a de facto home game. Next week at NC State will be a bit better test.

Jason (Nashville)

I'm assuming the best case scenario this weekend is to get enough of a lead in the first half to sit the starters in the second but at what point would it become a concerning that the 1st team has only really played one full game?

David Hale
  (11:54 AM)

I think this is partially why you've seen slow starts each of these first four games. And it's not that the offense looked BAD early against Clemson, but there were definitely a few mistakes. It's great to have games wrapped up early, but it's also really tough to simulate game speed in practice. I guess eventually the starters have gotten enough cumulative snaps during the season that it doesn't really matter, but still...

Ashkon (Arizona)

Does Fisher plan on keeping Greene as the punt returner? Can we just use baseball's rules and say three strikes (muffed punts) and you are out? I love Greene's ability but with the high octane offense and defense it isn't worth it. P.S. I'd love to see Christian Green get a chance back there with his set of skills.

David Hale
  (11:55 AM)

Rashad has shown he's dangerous, but I think Jimbo would much prefer consistency. I was surprised he wasn't asked about that yesterday, but I'll definitely pose the question today.

Dan (Philly)

Hey, David. Kratz Kratz Kratz your hands!

David Hale
  (11:55 AM)

Kratzing as we speak (or type).

don (naples )

can you get me 2 tickets to the fsu usf game?

David Hale
  (11:55 AM)

Let me check with my guy.

Danny (Columbus, OH)

I know you covered this in a previous question, but, do you think the amount of penalties the team racks up leads to the 'maturity' question in the voters minds? Its something we lead the nation in last year and creeped up only after we faced a real opponent.

David Hale
  (11:57 AM)

I'm not of the opinion that penalties are about maturity. I think it's about aggressiveness. I covered UGA for a long time and Mark Richt always said he wanted his team to commit fewer penalties but only if it didn't affect how fast they played the game. He'd take flags over hesitancy any day, and I agree.

chris (murfreesboro )

Jimbo is undefeated against the SEC, undefeated in his bowl games, and now has a marquee win....does this silence the haters out there or are they only going to be content with a NC?

David Hale
  (11:58 AM)

Yes... unless he loses another game he's supposed to win. That's the thing... you get angry about rivalry losses, but those are the games you can understand them losing. The Wake Forest and Virginia losses -- that's a big issue.

Patrick (Memphis,TN)

I think why not use Joyner or Darby at punt returns?

David Hale
  (11:58 AM)

I'd like to see Darby get a shot at least. I can understand why you don't expose Joyner any more than you have to.

Kyle (WPB)

Where has Christian Green been lately?? Is this more of a result of him being beaten out by the other receivers for playing time or something else??

David Hale
  (11:59 AM)

Good question-- well, the depth in the WR corps has something to do with it, but he's definitely been out of favor.

Patrick (Memphis,TN)

What or how did this win against Clemson help as far as recruiting?

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

I'm not the recruiting writer, but check in tomorrow and our guy Corey Dowlar will be answering recruiting questions for insiders... http://insider.espn.go.com/insider/fsu/forums/_/tomahawk-talk

Alex (Miami)

You have a prediction for the FSU v USF game? Score?

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

I'll say FSU 55, USF 13.

Jaquay (NC)

Is Mark Stoops gone after this year?

David Hale
  (12:01 PM)

That'd be my guess, but I think he only leaves for what he considers "the right job." He saw what happened to his brother in Arizona. He wants to go to a place where he'll have the tools he needs to be successful.

Jaquay (NC)

So Alabama's defense doesn't give up 37 points to Clemson?

David Hale
  (12:01 PM)

No.

steve (lake co.)

roger goodell is a shmoe

David Hale
  (12:01 PM)

Nice.

Patrick (Memphis,TN)

I know we got a great group of WR's but i sure do miss Willie Haulstead playing some but Benjamin has been awesome.

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

Haulstead needs to drop some lbs. He's looked sluggish in his return.

Jason (Nashville)

Did I hear Greg Reid blew out his knee?

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

Yup

Patrick (Memphis,TN)

Is the win helping with recruiting? Do you see Jenkins coming back and any players maybe leave for NFL early?

David Hale
  (12:03 PM)

Yes, helps with recruiting. I'd say doubtful on Jenkins, but possible. I'd be surprised if Werner and Rhodes came back at this point, but way too soon to say for sure.

Kelvin Benjamin (Tallahassee)

Tell Jimbo regarding the punt returns that I got this....

David Hale
  (12:03 PM)

I dont know why they don't let KB play any position he wants.

P.T. (Huntington, WV)

Can I put a request in for 2 FSU vs Va Tech tickets?

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

OK... I got you down for two. Will you need parking as well?

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

OK, folks, I gotta run... players coming in for interviews. Thanks for all the questions and we'll do this again next week.