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January 15, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (10:59 AM)

Hey folks, happy Tuesday! Things finally seem to be calming down at FSU, where they've got a full coaching staff and only one (potentially) undecided junior. That doesn't mean there aren't a lot of stories though... so let's get to your questions...

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Florida State College Football Players allready Declared for the 2013 NFL Draft?

David Hale
  (11:03 AM)

Werner, Watson and Rhodes are all gone. Jones and Joyner are returning. For FSU, that's probably about as good as this could've turned out. Watson's departure comes as something of a surprise, but he's more replaceable, in my opinion, than either Joyner or (especially) Jones.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

With this being Wilder's 3rd run in with the law if I'm not mistaken, what's keeping Jimbo from applying the 3 strike rule ala Greg Reid?

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

It's a fair question, and the answer probably depends on the specific interpretation of the 3 strikes rule. Wilder's 3 run-ins with the law are a little more complex than Reid's 3 distinct issues. Wilder's second run-in was directly related to the first, and this recent issue was a missed court appearance related to a moving/traffic violation, not an actual crime (whereas Reid's traffic stop resulted in a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge). So, my best guess is that the three incidents don't all constitute a "strike", so to speak.

Chris (Jackson, TN)

How's the new indoor facility coming along? How do you see it benefitting the program?

David Hale
  (11:08 AM)

It's coming along nicely -- and quickly! -- but I think FSU is looking at a target date of Aug. 1 to open it. Is it a big bonus for the program? Depends on your definition of "big." It shows FSU is playing with the big boys and puts them on even footing with some SEC schools, and it makes life for Jimbo & the players far more simple during the rainy season in late summer/early fall when practice is so often interrupted. Consistency is a big thing for athletes.

Phillip (A stadium near you)

David, The FSU ooc schedule this year does not have Nole Nation excited at all. What teams would you like to see scheduled starting in 2014?

David Hale
  (11:10 AM)

Well 2014 should be a lot better regardless with Florida again coming to Tallahassee and the kickoff game in Dallas against Oklahoma State. But that also means 2013 is a huge downer. Not only is the OOC schedule bad, but the home slate all around is pretty suspect: Wofford, Nevada, Idaho, NC State, Miami, Maryland, Syracuse. Not much to get excited about there, and I have to believe ticket sales will be hurt as a result.

Chris (Jackson, TN)

All hail King Hale (we say that to my math professor when he enters the classroom ha). Has a good rhyme to it. Anyways, what's the latest on coaching hires? Also, out of the return of Christian Jones and Lamarcus Joyner, which one do you think means the most to the team?

David Hale
  (11:12 AM)

Hey, I'll take any good entrance I can get! As I said earlier, I think Joyner and Jones were the two most important players for FSU to bring back for 2013, so that worked out well. I'd give a slight edge to Jones as the most significant because FSU only has one other experienced linebacker on their roster, so you'd be looking at a really green group. Jones has a chance for a monster 2013 season, and he could make himself a lot of money by returning.

Anthony (Valparaiso, In)

Any word on how the coaching structure is going to layout for the offense?

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

The two new guys are Billy Napier and Randy Sanders. Sanders, who was at Kentucky last year, essentially takes over for Eddie Gran and will coach RBs. Napier takes over as recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, while Coley will move from TEs to Craig's old spot as QBs coach. That latter move is the more interesting one as I can't help but wonder if it's the start of Jimbo grooming Coley as play caller. We shall see...

Zach (Davenport)

Is it true that menelik watson hasnt offically declared. I have heard mixed reports on this?

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

I haven't seen an official release from FSU (though they don't send them out very often on anything anymore... more often just posted to their Web site) but it's a done deal. I've spoken with multiple people close to Watson who have confirmed it and talked with multiple members of the FSU coaching staff who have confirmed it. So unless they're hoping he has a last-second change of heart (which I don't believe to be the case) this is about as official as it gets.

Zach (Davenport)

I was reading your spring preview corner article and love it by the way. I was just curious if you thought that potentially Lamarcus Joyner would be replacing Rhodes. It seems like it would be a good fit for him and his future. Also this would get brooks, Karlos, joyner, and either darby or waisome on the field. This makes the corners a lot deeper than they appear. I like the thought of having darby or waisome as a nickel corner.

David Hale
  (11:19 AM)

It's an interesting idea, Zach, for all the reasons you say, but I think there are a few obstacles. For one, Joyner views himself as a safety, and he really has become the leader in the secondary and I think the role affords him that position. Secondly, Waisome and Darby both looked good in 2012, so I think they've earned a chance to be the starting corners. Third, Jimbo was relatively happy with Hunter at nickel, and I think he'll stay there.

David Hale
  (11:20 AM)

I do think we'll see more of Karlos on the field regardless though. I think he'll be more of a hybrid guy -- back and forth between LB and safety and working in nickel and dime packages. Wouldn't surprise me if he's on the field 75-80 percent of the time even if he doesn't have a specific "starting" role.

diehard noles fan (central fla)

After all the flack the noles encountered through the year with the weak schedule why do they continue to schedue all these weak teams? i say its time to put some big boys from the sec on the schedule and lets see what happens if you want to be the best you got to beat the best am i right lets go noles

David Hale
  (11:22 AM)

As a guy who has to write about these games, I'm with you. But the reality of OOC scheduling is very complex. Coaches want winnable games and the budget folks need 7 home games, so you've got to have at least 2 vs. lower-tier teams. You've got your annual game against Florida (which coaches consider that big SEC game) and then you have one date to play with. FSU was thrown a bit for a loop this year because that last game was going to disappear under the ACC's 9-game schedule, which it reversed its decision on in the fall, leaving FSU (and all other ACC schools) with an unplanned open date.

David Hale
  (11:23 AM)

Meanwhile, Nevada was already trying to back out of its date with FSU... which is not surprising. Teams simply don't want to lose a financially lucrative home game and risk getting pummeled on the road, so no one of any real consequence wants to play these games in Tallahassee. It's a huge Catch-22 that requires some creative answers that FSU just didn't have time to come up with this year.

Ken (Las Vegas)

Hey David...Who do you see winning out the QB competition heading into fall?

David Hale
  (11:24 AM)

Tough to answer that because we havent seen a ton of any of these guys. Spring will tell us a lot. If I was putting down odds though, I'd predict Coker will start the most games in 2013... though not necessarily the first game of 2013.

diehard noles fan (central fla)

is it time for fsu to dump the acc and move to the sec where they can play and beat the best to be named the best?

David Hale
  (11:26 AM)

That's not an easy thing to make happen either. The SEC has to invite them... and Florida will do everything in its power to prevent that. Big 12 is the more reasonable thought, and I'm sure those stories will begin swirling again at some point.

Danny (Columbus, OH)

Now that Hopkins is on to, hopefully bigger and better things. What are your thoughts on his replacement? I tend to think, as goes the kicking game, so goes special teams....

David Hale
  (11:28 AM)

Aguayo has a good leg and I think he's got a chance to be a solid kicker... but my guess is of all the departures from 2012, Hopkins may be the one we notice the most in 2013. Not necessarily that he's the BIGGEST departure (that honor goes to Bjoern) but he just affected the game in a lot of ways for a kicker -- long FGs that may be punts or 4th down plays this year, directional kicking that improved field position for FSU in the era of new kickoff rules, veteran leadership on the special teams... He was a big part of what FSU did for the past 4 years.

Jordan (AL)

What are you hearing about Mario Pender? What's his status?

David Hale
  (11:29 AM)

I didn't get to cover the Orange Bowl, so no clue on how practices went there, but from what I understand he's working out and progressing well and should be good to go for spring practice.

Jason (Asheville, NC)

Where did all the WR's go that were so dominant at FSU? We havent had the likes of a Peter Warrick, EG Green, or "Cro" Thorpe in years. Is this a lack of developmental coaching or a lack of talent. I really feel we've gotten really talented WR's but they just dont pan out.

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

My guess is you'll have a few fans tell you its the QB not the WRs... and I'd argue Rashad Greene is certainly capable of being one of those guys depending on how he's used. Benjamin could certainly blossom this year, too. Let's revisit this question at the end of 2013 and if neither Greene nor Benjamin has put together an All-ACC caliber year, then we can start looking for some answers on the coaching staff, etc.

Jordan (Birmingham)

Do you think Pruitt will want to be more aggressive with his blitz packages next season that Stoops was? Or do you predict simplified defensive schemes with the players learning the system? I wouldn't be surprised to see the Noles move to a 3-4 in the next 2 years, also.

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

Yeah, a move to a 3-4 could happen... but a lot has to do with recruiting and the types of players they bring in. Right now, he's got to work with the personnel he's got. I think the system will definitely be something of a departure from what Stoops did (and that's what Jimbo wanted, I think) but we're also talking about 4 first-year starters on the D line (though that's a silly label for Jernigan) and a lot of youth at linebacker, too, so that all needs to be taken into consideration.

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

Again... spring will be very interesting on that front as well.

Danny (Columbus, OH)

Hey David- In your opinion, what are the top 1 or 2 deciding factors on QB selection for next year? Who do you think is the front runner for the job?

David Hale
  (11:34 AM)

Trickett is definitely the "front runner" going into spring because of his experience and knowledge of the play book. I think those things will be major factors in the decision. At the end of the day though, it's about who can run this offense the best. The funny thing is, with the exception of fullback, you're likely to have an experienced starter at every other position on the field on offense... so I'm not sure that veteran savvy is as big a factor in who is at QB. But Jimbo won't send a guy out there who doesn't know the playbook inside and out, which may be the biggest thing working against Winston.

Andy (Tampa)

Insert weekly vague conference realignment question here.

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

Insert opaque response alluding to a potential move without any substance behind it here.

Jeremy Whitechelt (Maple Shade, NJ)

You miss covering the Phils, admit it!!!!!!

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

Nobody lies to you like Ruben lies to you. Those were the glory days.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Which red shirt freshman do you think has the potential to explode on the scene for FSU?

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

I think of all the guys who redshirted this year, Chris Casher probably has the best mix of opportunity and potential. He'll get a chance to compete for the starting DE job and he's got the size, strength and speed to blossom into an impact player. I also like the potential for Marvin Bracy to have a big impact... somewhat as a receiver but potentially on special teams, too.

Jordan (Birmingham)

What's the buzz around there from this past recruiting weekend? I've heard some really positive things.

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

Last weekend was a big weekend for FSU with a ton of official visitors. I think now that the coaching staff is in place -- and it's a good one -- that Jimbo can start rebuilding some relationships and finalizing a sales pitch. I do see FSU finishing strong as we approach signing day...

Andy (Tampa)

Suggestion for the weak ooc: Go to the Big 12. Am I wrong in thinking that the ACC gets worse every year? I don't see any reason to believe that this is a cycle and eventually the ACC will be a power conference. FSU will never get back to where they were in this conference.

David Hale
  (11:39 AM)

The reason the ACC believes it will change is Notre Dame, but I have said for a long time, that's fool's gold for conferences. Not saying FSU should move -- I have some real issues with the set-up in the Big 12, too, particularly the dominance in decision making and finances that Texas has -- but the ACC needs a clearer long term game plan than "let's really hope ND joins full time."

Kyle (WPB, FL)

What do you think of the new hire for RB coach? Doesn't seem like he has too much experience in that area.

David Hale
  (11:41 AM)

Nor does Kelly have a ton of experience with LBs... but a lot of that is really overrated. Veteran coaches understand all areas. Fisher believes defensive coaches should coach back to front, so Kelly should be fine (and he's been a coordinator). Sanders has coached QBs and been a coordinator, too. Those guys are very experienced -- even if their specific roles are a little new to them.

David Hale
  (11:41 AM)

And for what it's worth, I've had some discussions with folks very close to the program and the universal opinion is that this staff may be an upgrade from last year... and that's no knock on the talent on last year's staff.

Herbert (Kentucky)

Do you expect Winston to be the starter at Q.B. next season?

David Hale
  (11:43 AM)

He's the least likely because he's also the least experienced. But he's got a ton of talent. The mistake I don't want people to make is to assume that just because a guy isn't the starter at the end of spring or for Game 1 that he won't be the starter for the next 2-3 years. Just look at the 49ers right now. It's possible to change horses midstream.

Carlos (Tallahassee)

Are any players expected to change positions this spring?

David Hale
  (11:44 AM)

Haven't heard much talk of this (other than perhaps some switches on the O line or O'Leary getting more work as a halfback) but this will ramp up some soon. Coaches are more focused on the recruiting trail, but my guess is by signing day we may have some news on this front to report, too.

Zach (Davenport)

I could ask questions all day being in Big ten country where the big and slow play.... Any word on Benjamin or Hart in their maturity development? I'm not big into twitter but they sure dont seem to have their heads on straight and are very important members of the team

David Hale
  (11:46 AM)

Well, if you go by Twitter, you might say that about a lot of guys. I don't feel like I'm that much older than some of these guys... but man, I'm lost with some of their tweets. Anyway, I think Benjamin still has a good bit of developing to do, but I think he's headed in the right direction. This was a learning on the job year for him, and he had some highs and lows. I think it may have been important for him to realize it's not going to come that easily. Hart, on the other hand, could go either way. I'm not sure how much he learned from his benching, and when he got on the field, he sure didn't look like he was at the same level as the rest of the guys on the starting line.

Danny (Columbus, OH)

Not to dredge up the past, but....Chris Thompson....special circumstanced medical redshirt? Or are we grasping for straws at this point?

David Hale
  (11:48 AM)

He's already said he plans to enter the draft. Whether he gets taken or not, I'm skeptical. But he's a fighter and I have no doubt he'll catch on somewhere, some way. I do not know if he heard anything back at all from the NCAA but I kind of wish we had gotten an answer on that -- for no other reason than to set something of a precedent for future similar situations.

Spear it (Valdosta)

Dave, who you got winning in the NFL playoffs this weekend?

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

I am very reluctant to pick two road teams but I kind of like San Fran and Baltimore. San Fran just looks to be clicking on all cylinders and I think their D handles a relatively one-dimensional Atlanta offensive attack. I know New England is the obvious pick in the AFC, but Baltimore had two chances to beat them on the road last year and just missed, and I like that the Ravens are already talking smack. I think that'll be a close game.

diehard noles fan (central fla)

To your response i feel that fsu would dominate the big 12 they havent experienced the speed and talent that fsu has and also the teams that are in the big 12 i feel play weak teams like fsu and the ones who win are not that good i say fsu should join the sec so if they win there would be no argument about the weak schedule. In my opinion any of the top 4 sec teams could be a national champion if they could play each other

David Hale
  (11:51 AM)

Whoa, whoa... did I say FSU would dominate the Big 12? Didn't mean to if I did. What I said was that Texas exerts dominance in off-the-field decision making, particularly from a financial end, and I don't think that's necessarily a good thing for FSU, which is sort of king of the hill where they are now (at least from a football perspective).

Zach (Davenport)

Do you see someone like Marvin Bracy or Kermit whitfield playing a travon austin type role in our offense. With all of these explosive players I think you need to have either cooker or winston at Qb or you will lose a lot of plays. Options, qb draws, qb choices, and just the accountability the defense has to have of a mobile qb

David Hale
  (11:52 AM)

Not necessarily disagreeing with your theory, but this is less about the players and more about the coach. It's not Jimbo's style. He had a good mobile QB in 2012, and the biggest complaint was that EJ didn't run more.

diehard noles fan (central fla)

no you didnt i said that they would dominate the big 12 sorry for the mistake

David Hale
  (11:53 AM)

No worries... anyway, I don't think the SEC is a legitimate option right now, and I don't think the Big 12 is as easy a decision as a lot of fans think it is.

CB (Inverness)

What was your take on Mitch Sherman's article about recruiting hotbeds? You agree with the players they interviewed about the difference between the states (speed, intelligence, etc)?

David Hale
  (11:57 AM)

I think there are some obvious truths in there... the fact that there are areas where interest is higher, where there's family tradition, where exposure is greater. But really, isn't it all about the athletes? And of course, the biggest states have the most athletes -- Fla, Texas and California. Those states also have weather that allows athletes to play outdoor sports all year round. I don't think there's anything special in the water in Florida that makes for better football players than, say, Alabama or North Carolina -- just demographics. The pool of talent is much larger because of the number of people, the climate, the culture, the history. All those things play a role -- and those three states have been the biggest hotbeds for a long, long time.

Don Bower ( wv)

Why can't Karlos not be a starting outside LB? Are we all missing something, this cat will bring it!

David Hale
  (11:59 AM)

I think Karlos will play a little OLB, but I don't think it makes sense to have him add on a bunch of weight to be a Sam LB (like Moody last year) because he'll actually be on the field LESS. So many offenses play a spread formation requiring defenses to go to a nickel or dime set, and the SAM LB is off the field for those. Don't get caught up in the traditional "starter" role. Karlos is in excellent position where he is to get a lot of playing time.

Spear it (Valdosta)

I have to agree with San Fran. ATL just seems to predictable. But, to beat the Pats I think you'll have to outscore them, esp. with the Ravens D not being as good as they have in the past. I just don't think Baltimore has the firepower on O to do it.

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

You may be right... but is there a QB in football more capable of a terrific game or a horrendous game at any given time than Flacco? He's either excellent or awful. I think he can hang with Brady on a good day... just depends on whether this will be one of them or not.

Pablo (Albany Georgia)

David: On a sad note Charley B's in Albany might be getting shut down...I know you are very fond of that establishment!

David Hale
  (12:01 PM)

I heard about this! Frankly, I'm confused as to why anyone is surprised that an establishment with a moose hanging on the wall that's open til 4 in Albany has a lot of fights. Regardless, I'll be sending in my letter of support for the fine folks at Charley B's!

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

OK, folks, that's all I've got time for today. Lots of good question though. I appreciate all the thoughtful insight. We'll do it again next week!