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October 30, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:02 AM)

Hey folks, happy bye week. If you've got some questions, I'll do my best to come up with some answers. Let's get to it.

Arthur (Tallahassee)

If the stars align, do the Noles have a chance to make a national championship appearance?

David Hale
  (11:04 AM)

Those stars would have to do a whole lot of aligning. I doubt that we'll end up with 3-4 undefeated teams, as we have now, but it would even take some help for FSU to pass other 1-loss teams. Even if we assume Oregon, K-State and Notre Dame all lose one game going forward, would FSU's resume be enough to move past ALL of them to get to a national title game? It'd be awfully tough, particularly if you look at how the computers rank FSU now.

Bryce (PC Beach, FL)

So what is the deal with these Jimbo to Auburn rumors? Squash them, hype them, or don't touch with a stick?

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

For right now they're just rumors. I can't say Jimbo would never want to bolt for the right job elsewhere, and the SEC is certainly an attractive drawing card, but a.) he's not looking at that right now with 3 games left to play, and b.) I'm not sure Auburn would be *that* job. The problem Auburn has is that the only way it'll have a coaching vacancy is if they fire Chizik, and if they fire a coach who won a NCG two years ago, that's going to scare away a lot of top talent.

Sean (Sarasota, Florida)

Please explain how one of the computers used in the BCS formula can have FSU still being unranked!

David Hale
  (11:08 AM)

Well, I'm guessing it has a lot to do with scheduling and the overall weakness of the ACC. FSU simply hasn't played an elite team other than Clemson, and Clemson hasn't played an elite team other than FSU, so it's hard for the computers to really decide if either of them are actually elite. BUT... I think it's pretty clear in this instance that the computers are undervaluing FSU. I would imagine that after VT and Florida games, the Noles could get a little bit of a boost.

Crawdad (Ohio)

What are your keys in the matchup with VT? I'm hoping we can run the ball well and hit a big play or two early to take the crowd out of it. Also hope our Defense clamps down on Logan Thomas...

David Hale
  (11:11 AM)

The fast start is going to be important. FSU hasn't necessarily played awfully on the road this year, but they sure haven't looked crisp. They need to take that crowd out of the game early, as you said. The other thing is to cash in on touchdowns when they get the chance. Against USF, NC State and Miami, too many promising drives ended without seven points. That's allowed opponents to hang around for too long. Lastly, I think they need to go after Thomas. FSU has gotten a ton of pressure in recent weeks, but hasn't always been able to finish the play off with a sack. I'd like to see Bjoern and Tank have at least 3 sacks between them.

Bryce (PC Beach, FL)

Any (hopefull)news on teams in talks to replace WVU 2013 and possibly Nevada?

David Hale
  (11:12 AM)

I've heard some rumblings that a replacement for Nevada could be happening soon, but if it doesn't, I've been told FSU will hold Nevada to its obligation. In other words, if Nevada isn't coming to Tally, we should know within the next week or two. As for the other open date, that's a work in progress. FSU has had some preliminary talks, but nothing is close from what I'm told.

Mike (Siesta Key)

It looks like FSU active recruiting class is down now(#12) so far. Think we can climb to top 4 as last couple years?

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

I'm not sure it'll go quite that high. It's tough to bring in that many top classes year after year because kids care too much about playing time, and if you've got 4- and 5-star guys playing as freshmen, there's little room for the next group coming in. Teams like USC managed to recruit that way for a while, but FSU has too much competition on the recruiting trail. It's just way too easy for Florida or Georgia or Miami to say to a kid, "You don't want to go there, you'll never get to play..."

Malik (Tucson, AZ)

Is it me, or are the two main obstacles that hold back any title hopes year-after-year for this program is the lack of dedication to a dominant running game and an undisciplined defense? Mr. Bowden probably would have three more titles if these two things were given the biggest priority each season. Your thoughts?

David Hale
  (11:17 AM)

Well, I'm not sure you can connect all the missed opportunities to one or two things. Certainly Bobby might've had an extra title or two if his kickers could've booted kicks just a few feet to the left or right. I think the problems last year were extensive: lack of depth, lack of discipline, lack of running game, lack of an O line. This year, it was one ugly half of football that in the context of the rest of the season seems completely inexplicable.

Tim (Tallahassee)

There's been rumors that Jimbo was interested in Auburn, none of which I believe. But what are the chances Stoops leaves to be a HC somewhere else? In my mind, we can't afford to lose him

David Hale
  (11:19 AM)

This is the far more logical bet. Stoops has the pedigree and the track record now to get offers, just as he did last year. Not sure exactly who/how many places he talked to after last season, but I know he saw what happened to his brother at Arizona and decided he was only going to leave for the RIGHT job -- i.e. a place with the foundation for winning already in place. Given the number of good jobs (particularly in the SEC) that could come open this year, my money would be that he gets a strong offer from somewhere that would be tough to turn down.

Crawdad (Ohio)

Looking ahead...seems the Gators are pretty one dimensional. Stoops has to be excited about making their QB try and throw it against us. What do you think?

David Hale
  (11:24 AM)

Exactly. To me, FSU matches up much the same way UGA does against Florida -- stop the run game and force Driskell to beat you. FSU's run D may actually be a bit better than UGA's (though Jarvis Jones is tough to reproduce). And on the flip side, while Aaron Murray did his best to give the game away for the Dawgs, EJ will at least be relatively mistake-free. I think the matchup heavily favors FSU at this point -- particularly with the game being in Tallahassee.

Ray (S.C)

Will LSU drop behind FSU with a loss Sat?

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

I would think so. Sure, it's a loss to Alabama, which is as forgivable a loss as you get... but FSU has one loss, by one point, on the road. And just having watched both teams play a bunch, I don't think you can make the argument that LSU is clearly a more talented team. Bottom line 1 loss > 2 losses.

Yapo (San Diego)

Best case scenario for the Noles = Orange Bowl (which requires ACC Championship) vs Big East/nonAQ team OR Sugar Bowl vs SEC runner-up ???

David Hale
  (11:28 AM)

Orange Bowl. I know the matchup won't be nearly as sexy, but the bottom line is FSU hasn't won an ACC title in a long time, and it means a lot to these players. Of course, for the Noles NOT to win an ACC title now, it would require them losing another game, and a two-loss ACC team isn't getting a BCS bid regardless.

Nick (Tampa)

We have heard rumblings of FSU scheduling a major team in 2014 (first yr of the playoff, Hooray!). Perhaps a season like this was just what the FSU administration needed to see to realize FSU has to schedule more than just UF for our OOC due to the fact the ACC is a joke. Let's hope we don't make the same mistake next year as we did this year by scheduleing Sav St.

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

Well, there are a lot of factors at work here. For one, FSU had West Virginia on the schedule, so it's not entirely their fault that they got stuck with Savannah State instead. Secondly, I do think future scheduling needs to include good OOC games -- at least one a year. A kickoff game would be fun, and it could draw some quality opponents. But third, the bottom line is that something has to give with the rest of the ACC. FSU and Clemson can't carry the whole conference. The league is inexplicably bad, and I'm not sure when it'll get better.

Crawdad (Ohio)

Why do you think CJF has struggled coming off a bye week? Believe we are 0-2 the last two years (including the fiasco at Wake last year).

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

Good question, and I'm not really sure. Both losses were on the road, which always makes things tough -- but that's probably not what you want to hear given that they go on the road again next week coming off the bye. The Wake game in particular looked like FSU simply wasn't interested in playing -- 5 turnovers! -- and I think that was due in part to the two losses to Oklahoma and Clemson that came before the bye. I'm guessing Jimbo is acutely aware of the 0-2 record though, and he'll be addressing it.

Yapo (San Diego)

Follow up question...Does FSU gain more winning versus "respected team" (ie, SEC runner-up) or winning ACC + Orange Bowl both versus "not as respected team"???

David Hale
  (11:33 AM)

In a vacuum, probably the former. Beating someone like LSU or Georgia would probably carry more weight than a second win over VT and a win over Louisville or Rutgers. BUT... again, for FSU to end up in the Sugar, it means it has to lose one more game (either VT or ACCCG) so I think everyone would agree that a 13-1 season would beat an 11-2 or 12-2 year regardless of opponents.

Sean (Jax)

Has there been any news on Chris Thompson's appeal for getting a medical redshirt?

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

Nothing official, but I wrote about this a bit last week. There's just very little chance it'll happen -- and we're not even sure Thompson wants to try... http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/colleges/fsu/post/_/id/4321/redshirt-an-unlikely-option-for-thompson

phil (indiana)

Why do the browns play so badly?

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

Because they're the Browns?

Gabe (Tallahassee, FL)

Do you think Jimbo will eventually stop calling offensive plays, and would this help our chances next year?

David Hale
  (11:36 AM)

That's a two-part question with different answers. Yes, I think eventually he will, but it'll require him finding the right OC to hand duties over to. No, I don't think it'll help NEXT year. I think there's little chance it happens for 2013, and if it does, it'll likely be a rushed situation, and I think Jimbo would prefer a smoother, gradual transition.

RJ (OH)

This is really great that ESPN has finally created a chat dedicated to the incredible Novak "Nole" Djokovic. Five-time grand slam champion, second consecutive season as the ATP year-end World #1. Keep it up Nole! Let's make it 3 straight Australian Open titles in January!

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

Couldn't agree more. There was a gaping hole in the world of online tennis chatting, and I'm incredibly proud and honored to have filled it. #Novak2012

Crawdad (Ohio)

Early in the fall CJF talked about getting Rashad Greene more touches. Notwithstanding the punt return issue, do you see RG80 getting more balls against VT and UF? Seems he might be able to replace CT4 as our homerun threat via reverse or quick slant...

David Hale
  (11:39 AM)

It's hard to say. Look at RG's last 4 games: 6 catches, 1 catch, 7 catches, 1 catch. Doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason. I think the thing that's happened is, FSU has good depth at receiver, the line is blocking better, and EJ has matured some as a QB. That means rather than forcing the ball to Greene as the No. 1 option, EJ is able to look to second and third reads, and he's making good decisions on where to go. Some weeks, that means Greene gets 6 catches. Other weeks, he's barely targeted.

Crawdad (Ohio)

What are your thoughts on how JWJ and DFree are filling-in for Chris Thompson? Not the homerun threat, but steady...

David Hale
  (11:41 AM)

I dunno... they've been close to home-run threats, too. I mean, no one has that ability quite like CT4 did, but Freeman's looked really elusive, making some extremely impressive cuts to gain extra yardage the last few weeks. And Wilder isn't ever going to be the most elusive runner, but he wears down defenses and I think he's got a chance to rack up some big runs. Just in terms of rushing yardage, I don't envision a steep decline. But what I want to see is how well they'll do in blitz pick up, pass pro and those types of things in a hostile road environment the next few weeks.

wayne (st pete)

Which Freshman has been the most shocking as far as development and production in your opinon? Also, who has been the most dissapointing besides Edwards ?

David Hale
  (11:43 AM)

First off, I wouldn't call Edwards a disappointment at all. No, he hasn't been a huge impact performer, but that was to be expected with Bjoern and Tank ahead of him on the depth chart. But he appears to have passed Giorgio Newberry as the No. 3 DE, and his playing time has increased each week. He's made big strides. As for who has been the most impressive overall, I think it's pretty clearly Ronald Darby, who has looked right at home in the secondary. You would've thought after Reid left that the DBs would be thin, but Tyler Hunter, Karlos Williams and Darby have all stepped up and there's a ton of talent back there.

Nick (Tampa)

To bad one of the computer polls used has FSU ranked behind multiple 3 and 4 loss teams. I will give Sagarin credit though as he as said on multiple occassions without SOS included his rankings are not as accurate.

David Hale
  (11:44 AM)

I think it's a balance. FSU's schedule is weak enough (and the NC State loss bad enough) that we certainly can't say for sure that they're a better team that, say, a two-loss Oklahoma. If FSU had to play Notre Dame and Kansas State, there's a decent chance it would have lost both games, too. BUT... when a computer doesn't have FSU ranked at all or has 3 and 4-loss teams ranked ahead of them, that simply doesn't pass the eye test.

Mike (Pensacola)

Straight up, why do ACC refs allow so much holding against FSU ?

David Hale
  (11:46 AM)

I think it's a product of allowing holding all over. If you look at the numbers, FSU opponents have more holding calls than any other ACC team -- so refs are calling MORE because of FSU's strong pass rush. The question is whether they're calling enough of them, and I think that's just a function of the refs not being big on calling them at all. It's not a bias so much as a bad approach universally.

Mike (Pensacola)

Trickett or Coker next year and what are the chances of seeing J. Winston ?

David Hale
  (11:46 AM)

If I was putting percentages on it, I'd say Trickett (50%), Coker (35%), Winston (15%).

David Hale
  (11:46 AM)

That does add up to 100, right?

David Heckman (Rocky Mount, NC)

What jobs out there would be more appealing than FSU? I mean FSU is one of theelite programs in the country so unless its Alabama why would he leave?

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

I agree. I mean, there are arguments that can be made for some other gigs -- say, Texas for example. But the combination of a.) a relatively patient program, b.) good facilities, c.) investment in the program and d.) fertile recruiting area... there aren't too many jobs that top where Jimbo is right now. Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee all have their appeal because of the SEC -- but all come with plenty of headaches too. Of course, at the end of the day, doesn't $$$ answer a lot of concerns?

Mike (Pensacola)

Is Jimbo saving Wilder for something ? Because the man is an absolute beast. DFree is explosive and always gains yards but when you need to make a statement against say, an SEC team that may thing FSU soft, who better than Wilder ?

David Hale
  (11:50 AM)

I think the balance is a work in progress. They more or less alternated drives against Duke, and I'd expect something similar against VT, at least early. But Jimbo has said he'll stick with the hot hand, so if Wilder looks really good early, he'll keep getting touches. Wilder's problem is that his style tends to dictate that he wears defenses down a bit, and gets better as the game goes along -- therefore it takes longer for him to get that hot hand.

wayne (st pete)

do you see any potenital transfers in or out for next season?

David Hale
  (11:51 AM)

I wouldn't venture to guess at this point, but one or two seems the reality for virtually any top program in the country. Guys want more playing time, guys miss home or guys simply realize they're never going to reach the level they wanted at their current school. In a lot of instances, it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Sean (Virginia)

Noles win out. EJ for heisman??

David Hale
  (11:54 AM)

I think a good case can be made that EJ has been one of the best overall QBs this year, but it's just really difficult to say he's the best overall player. From a pure passer standard, compare his numbers to AJ McCarron and it's tough. From a standard of most prolific, he doesn't really match up with Geno or Doege. And from an impact standpoint, you could make better cases for guys like Klein, Barner, Braxton or Te'o. It's a crowded field.

Sean (Sarasota, Florida)

What has happened to Christian Green, is it just the depth at that position or did he have a fall from grace?

David Hale
  (11:54 AM)

That's something I'm hoping to follow up on during the bye week. Hope to have an answer for you soon.

corey (nyc)

Is it just me or does Notre Dame get way too much publicity?

David Hale
  (11:54 AM)

Yes, they do, but it might be deserved this year.

Crawdad (Ohio)

David -- thanks for doing this chat -- I enjoyed it. One final question: Any chance Eddie Goldman may line up as a fullback in short yardage situations? Would love to see that (ha). Cheers

David Hale
  (11:56 AM)

The old Refrigerator Perry in the Super Bowl move.... I like it! Not sure it'll happen though. I think for now at least, Jimbo wants veteran leadership in the FSU backfield, and Stoops wants Goldman focused on learning DT. BUT... when Lonnie moves on next year and Goldman has a better understanding of the defensive side of things... well, something to think about.

David Hale
  (11:56 AM)

Thanks for all the great questions, folks. We'll do it again next week. Enjoy a stress-free Saturday!