Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 6, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

Hey folks, sorry for the delay... internet was out for a bit but we're up and working now...

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

Let's get to some questions...

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What is the Coldest College Football Game that Florida State will Play this season?

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

Most likely it'll be this one... although it's probably not going to be too warm in Maryland next week either.

David Hale
  (11:26 AM)

A bunch of the players talked about the weather this week, but none seemed overly concerned. In fact, Jimbo said he'd much prefer the cold over a really hot game because the heat is more likely to zap strength, cause cramping, etc. The cold is more of a "mind-set thing" so it's just a matter of getting used to it.

David H (Immokalee, Fl)

What are the chances that FSU can sneak into the title game??

David Hale
  (11:28 AM)

Probably next to none at this point. You've got nine teams ranked ahead of FSU in the current BCS polls, and while I doubt it stays that way until the end of the season, it's going to be very tough to jump ahead of eight of them. Even if K-State, Notre Dame or Oregon loses a game, I don't see FSU leapfrogging them... so now you're looking at needed a couple of those teams to lose TWO games, and that's a lot to ask.

Sean (Atlanta)

Any chance we hire an O coordinator? Jimbo has too many irons in the fire.

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

This will be interesting to see how it unfolds. I wrote a bit yesterday about Jimbo's thoughts on changes to his coaching staff, which are likely at season's end. Stoops and Craig are probably tops among the likely candidates for other jobs, and Craig is a particularly interesting case. His biggest strengths are on the recruiting trail, but I wonder if Jimbo would consider making him an OC or giving over some play calling duties if it meant keeping him from leaving. I have no inside knowledge on that, but it's something to consider....

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Can you explain to FSU again why the BCS rankings do not matter to FSU? They are not going to reach the title game and if they win out they are a lock to the Orange Bowl so the rankings between 3 - 10 are irrelevant.

David Hale
  (11:33 AM)

Exactly... the BCS rankings do two things: 1.) They decide which two teams play for the championship and b.) they eliminate teams from consideration for BCS bowl games if they are ranked too low. There are some convoluted rules regarding teams from non-AQ conferences, etc. but for FSU's sake, the only things that matter are a.) are they ranked in the top 2, in which case they'll play for a national title or 2.) did they win the ACC, in which case they'll play in the Orange Bowl. Those are the only two possible BCS outcomes.

Roger (Titusville, FL)

What percentage chance do you give FSU of beating Florida?

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

I think FSU is the clear favorite because a.) they have a much better offense, b.) it's at Doak, and c.) I think Florida is a tad overrated. BUT... it's a rivalry game, and Florida does have a stout defense, and so I'd guess it'll be a fairly close game. My early prediction would be something like 21-13 FSU.

BRANDON (VALDOSTA )

WHAT ARE FSU'S CHANCES ON GETTING A CHANCE TO MAKE IT TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

Well, when you ask in ALL CAPS, it's definitely higher.

Jake (Dade County)

Who's proven to be the better RB...Wilder or Freeman? And do you think the potential is there for Pender to compete next year?

David Hale
  (11:38 AM)

I think the bigger question is whether either RB has "proven" himself yet. I'd argue no. They've essentially carried the load for one-and-a-half games -- vs. Duke and Miami. In fairness, they've looked awfully good in those games, but neither is what I'd call a stout defense. I'm very interested to see how they'll do the next 3 games, which are all against solid defenses (with UF and Maryland in the top 15 in the country). But either way, I don't think there needs to be a clear distinction between the two since Freeman and Wilder complement each other so well in terms of style. They'll both continue to play.

David Hale
  (11:38 AM)

As for Pender... he'll be in the mix next season, but I can't see a non-injury scenario in which he jumps ahead of Wilder or Freeman on the depth chart early on.

Mike (Florida)

Do you think Jimbo will leave to Auburn?

David Hale
  (11:41 AM)

There's a good Seinfeld episode where George goes to see a doctor because he thinks he may have cancer, and he's upset when the doctor doesn't respond with a "Cancer? Get outta here!" That's kind of how I felt listening to Jimbo talk about other jobs yesterday. He didn't say he was looking for another gig, of course, but he didn't exactly say, "Another job? Get outta here!" either. I think the lure of the SEC and the money that may come with it will be there, but I also look at the Auburn job as such a tenuous situation where Tuberville and Chizik (assuming he gets canned) were forced out not long after undefeated seasons. Is that a scenario you'd want to work in? Regardless, I think it'll be a nice little bargaining chip for Jimbo's people.

Tim (AZ)

Any word on who on defense will come back to school?

David Hale
  (11:43 AM)

No official word, and I wouldn't expect that to come until after the bowl game. For obvious reasons, coaches frown upon announcing these decisions early and certainly things can change too -- Rhodes may have gone last year, for instance, but the injury in the bowl game brought him back. Right now though, I'd say I'd be VERY surprised if Werner and Rhodes didn't leave, and I'd be mildly surprised if Lamarcus did go.

Andre (Atlanta)

Even if Noles win the ACC, and win a BCS bowl game....is this year still considered a failure...seeing that next year we'll have inconsistency at the QB position.

David Hale
  (11:45 AM)

That's really in the eye of the beholder, I guess. I mean, what's your definition of failure? If it's winning the national championship, then no I don't think it's a failure because I think there's a good chance that even an undefeated FSU team wouldn't have gotten that chance. But I do think it's fair to look back at that NC State loss and say that was something that never should have happened. Still, if you consider the last decade of FSU football and compare it to a year in which they could a.) finish 13-1, b.) win an ACC title, c.) win an Orange Bowl and d.) earn a third straight win over BOTH Miami and Florida... well, I think by any measure you'd have to consider that as one of the best seasons in FSU history, right?

Josh (Wisconsin)

Hey David, let's say that Greg Reid, Brandon Jenkins and Chris Thompson had never got in trouble, injured, etc. What would FSU look like right now in the national championship picture?

David Hale
  (11:47 AM)

Well, essentially you're asking if those guys had been healthy whether FSU would've beaten NC State -- because that's really the only way they could be "better" than they are now. And I'd say that Reid wasn't missed much in that game and Thompson was healthy, so the question boils down to whether Brandon Jenkins could've made the difference. I guess anything is possible in a 1-point game, but as I said earlier, even an undefeated FSU would currently be on the outside looking in at the BCS championship standings. They'd be fifth -- at best -- right now.

Kathy (Tampa, FL)

I'm really impressed with our running game this year. For once it seems to be coming together. Chris Thompson gets hurt, no problem. Plug in another stud RB. Who do you think is the more rounded RB. Freeman or Wilder?

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

This may go against the popular notion, but I think Wilder may be the more rounded running back. Style-wise, he's probably a tad more one-dimensional than Freeman, who has shown some really good moves the last few games. But Wilder has the potential to be a far superior blocker and Jimbo has raved about his ability to be a receiver out of the backfield. Both can improve on a lot of things though, which is a scary thought when you consider how good they already are.

Nick (Tampa)

Do you think FSU employs basically the same defensive gameplan they did against USF for VT?? Teams seem very similiar to me on offense.

David Hale
  (11:51 AM)

It's a good comparison, and I think you're right insofar as the basic idea will be: The QB is the one guy who can beat us, let's not let that happen. It'll be interesting to see if VT adjusts to that a bit. USF came out early and did a few things FSU wasn't expecting. I think it'll make for a good game of cat-and-mouse for a quarter or two, but I just don't see how this VT team moves the ball consistently against FSU's defense.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Maybe I'm biased but will there be a better secondary in the country in '13 if it's Waisome, Darby, Hunter, Joyner & Brooks?

David Hale
  (11:51 AM)

And you're not even mentioning Karlos Williams, who might be the best athlete of the bunch.

David Hale
  (11:53 AM)

I'm not sure they'd be the BEST secondary on paper to open the season, but they'd certainly be up there. But what will be interesting to see is how much the changes on the D line affect the DBs. It's not that Joyner, Rhodes & Co. aren't great -- they are. But they get a big boost from how much pressure the front four gets regularly without needing to blitz. Opponents just take fewer shots downfield because there's no time to do it. There's going to be a lot of turnover on the DL in 2013, and that will have ripple effects throughout the defense.

Tim (AZ)

Will Jenkins get a medical and come back next year? Will anybody else join him? We could get 5 1st rounders in 2013 on defense.

David Hale
  (11:55 AM)

Jenkins can request a medical redshirt and return for 2013 if he wants, and he has not spoken to the media since the injury, so we don't know exactly what he's thinking. BUT... I would be VERY surprised if he didn't leave. He was already on the fence after the 2011 season and coming back obviously looks like it was the wrong decision for him in hindsight. Assuming his draft stock doesn't fall too far -- and I'd say 3rd round-ish -- then there's not much reason to come back again.

David Hale
  (11:55 AM)

I'll keep going with the chat for another 15 minutes or so since we got such a late start... so keep firing away with questions.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

It should only be deemed a slight disappointment of a season if Noles win out and then there is only one undefeated team left at the end of the year. Other than that it's hard to say it's not a successful season.

David Hale
  (11:57 AM)

Agreed. And, in truth, I'm not even sure that a one-loss Alabama or Oregon might not still have ended up in the NCG over an undefeated FSU... if you look at the BCS math, the ACC's weak schedule has REALLY made a big difference. So lets assume K State goes undefeated, but Oregon and Alabama both lose in their respective conf championships... would a 12-1 Alabama really slip below a 13-0 FSU? We'll never know, of course, but my guess is the SEC would still get the nod.

David Hale
  (11:58 AM)

And again, that's not me knocking FSU at all... in terms of sheer talent, they're competitive with any team in the country including Alabama. But look at the math and how the BCS computers view the ACC, and the schedules just aren't even close.

Nick (Tampa)

People need to understand that FSU was probaby going to be on the outside looking in this year no matter what due to our schedule. We just need to appreciate this years team because it has been a long time since we had a team this good.

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

I do understand the "what if" mentality of the NC State loss because an undefeated season is nearly as good as a national championship regardless. If you finish 14-0, you can always say "Well, we would've won it all but the BCS didn't give us the chance" sort of like Auburn did in 2004. But to your larger point: Seasons like this one, assuming FSU wins out, don't come around often. It's best to appreciate it now because you may not get the chance again for a while.

Tim (AZ)

I am disappointed at how bad the team has looked on the road.

David Hale
  (12:01 PM)

I wouldn't even say they've looked "bad" but they definitely haven't looked sharp. There's been too many mental gaffes -- from the slow start at USF to the ugly second half at NC State to the fumbles against Miami. I think the biggest key this week is to cash in on the opportunities they do have. FSU is scoring TDs in the red zone at roughly half the rate on the road they do at home.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Where did the season go? Seems like every year it goes by quicker and quicker. Only 3 games left in the regular season!

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

Yup... Of course, then we'll get a month-long hiatus before the bowl game and that will seem like it lasts forever.

Tim (AZ)

How do the freshman linebackers look this year? Have not watched alot of action here in AZ.

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

They haven't seen much action, really. Eligwe has redshirted and a hand injury kept him out of practice for about six weeks, too. Terrance Smith and Reggie Northrup have gotten some mop-up work, and Jimbo has largely praised them, but talking to some of the other LBs, it's clear those guys still have a lot to learn. But really, FSU hasn't featured the LBs a ton of late. They've run a lot of dime packages where Telvin might be the only LB on the field.

David Hale
  (12:05 PM)

And as we discuss who may leave or return, I'd suggest the single most important potential departure may be Christian Jones. He probably has the least incentive to leave, so that's good, but he's athletic and talented enough that even if he did go, he'd be a 4th or 5th-round pick for sure. FSU just doesn't have the LB depth to lose him, Vince and Moody from the position.

Scott (Atlanta)

Given the potential coaching changes will that hurt our chances of pulling in some surprise recruits to the 2013 class or lose some existing commits?

David Hale
  (12:06 PM)

I don't think it'll matter that much as long as Jimbo doesn't bolt. Kids go into this process knowing that coaching staffs change often, so I don't think it's a huge surprise. And really, while a good relationship with a position coach is helpful in recruiting, the most important things are scheme, depth at the position and the environment of the school. If a kid likes FSU, likes the style of defense/offense and thinks he'll get some playing time, who the assistant coaches are isn't that big of a deal.

Danny D (Columbus OH)

What are your thoughts on FSU's road test this week, and how it compares to those at USF and Miami? Is this the toughest road test we'll face, considering VT's performance this season?

David Hale
  (12:08 PM)

The funny thing about all the talk of the "down" ACC hurting FSU is that it's really a double-edged sword for the Noles. Not only does the weak strength of schedule hurt them in the polls, but also all these also-ran teams view FSU as their super bowl, so they get tested more each week and never sneak up on anyone. VT will definitely view this week's game through that lens.

David Hale
  (12:09 PM)

The other thing I'll be interested to see this week: This is, really, only the second TRUE road game for FSU. Yes, USF and Miami were "road" games, but there were plenty of Noles fans in each stadium. NC State was the only game they've played this season where they didn't have at least 30% of the fans there. VT will be an even more hostile environment, and given how things went at NC State, I'm not sure we know for sure how FSU will handle it.

Tim (AZ)

When will we next play Notre Dame?

David Hale
  (12:10 PM)

I talked to an ACC official about this last week, and the answer is still: We don't know. At this point, the 5-game ACC slate for Notre Dame is set to begin in 2014 -- but the Irish are working on trying to bump that up. At this point, neither ND or the ACC has settled anything. So we simply don't know.

David Hale
  (12:11 PM)

Another interesting caveat to this season: If ND wins a national title as an independent this year, how much does that hurt the chances of them joining the ACC as a full member any time in the near future?

Tim (AZ)

Can Jimbo get rid of all these mopup games on the schedule. How about adding some second tier D1 (ranked say 25-50) schools like Like Az, Boise St, TCU, OK State.

David Hale
  (12:13 PM)

Boy, I bet the folks at Okie State and Boise State and TCU would argue with your "second tier" classification... but I see your point. The problem is, those teams don't want to come to FSU unless it's a home-and-home, and FSU doesn't want to go there at all (for both on-field and financial reasons). The best option is a "kickoff" game to start the season at a neutral location -- and there are already talks about Okie State in one of those. For 2013 though, I wouldn't hold out much hope for any more marquee matchups. It's looking more and more like two mop-ups to fill out the schedule.

Danny D (Columbus OH)

How do you think our FSU's ranking in both the AP & BCS polls will affect next years scheduling? Do you think the team has given up too many 'marquee moments' early in the season?

David Hale
  (12:14 PM)

Right... as a follow up, the problem is that FSU's hands are tied for the most part for 2013, so there's not a lot of wiggle room to add a big-name opponent. What FSU really needs more than anything is for the rest of the ACC to stop sucking so badly.

Ray (SC)

Just curious. Do you guys covering college football closely get frustrated by the SEC bias? Most "Top Tier" SEC teams' resumes only consist of beating other "Top Tier" SEC teams. Their OOC schedule is abysmal. Yet, I have to hear how strong an Ole Miss team is ( who gave up 66 at home to Texas).

David Hale
  (12:16 PM)

I don't get frustrated by it that much only because I know how the media works and talking points are dictated by what gets the most attention. And in the case of the SEC, I think most of the praise is deserved. Alabama is a great team. Georgia, LSU, Florida, South Carolina, A&M are very good teams (though they have obvious flaws, too.) But you're right -- teams like Ole Miss (and I think Miss State right now) get overvalued because of their proximity to Alabama more than what they've actually done on the field.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Thoughts on FSU playing Okie State in '14? Seems like a perfect fit. A good team that'll probably be ranked 10-25 that FSU will be favored and expected to win.

David Hale
  (12:17 PM)

I think it's an exceptional fit, and I hope it happens. But the problem with scheduling also is that, by 2014, who knows what shape Okie State will be in? I covered UGA a while back and they were very excited about having Arizona State on their schedule -- but by the time the game happened, ASU wasn't any good anymore.

Crawdad (OH)

VT will likely load the box with 8 or 9 and blitz. We will have a LONG night if EJ can't hit the checks. My prediction FSU 24 - VT 17. Thoughts?

David Hale
  (12:19 PM)

Great point. One of the things that people have overlooked from that NC State game is how much the wolfpack blitzed and how much that affected the FSU offense. I've been surprised that other defenses haven't followed suit since then. My guess is that you're right and VT will show a lot more blitzes. EJ has been up and down in those situations, and he needs to handle it well this time around. Also, it'll be big for the RBs -- Wilder and Freeman -- to recognize the blitz and pick up blocks. That'll be a big test for them.

Nick (Tampa)

Thaks for the chat David. Don't think you usually do score predictions but what are you thinking for Thursday night?

David Hale
  (12:20 PM)

No problem, Nick... and thanks for all the great questions. Sorry we got a late start. Apparently Comcast does not send you a bill every month -- via email or hard copy -- so I hadn't paid my internet bill and had to scramble for wireless. Anyway, I'll be on top of it next time around!

David Hale
  (12:21 PM)

As for a game prediction: I'll say FSU 31, VT 17. I think the Hokies can keep it close early, but FSU pulls away in the second half -- probably similar to the USF and Miami games.

David Hale
  (12:21 PM)

Alright guys, thanks again for all the questions. Enjoy the Thursday night game and be sure to go vote today!