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March 26, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:02 AM)

Hey kids! Happy Tuesday. It's freezing in Tallahassee for some reason, which I personally find offensive at this point in the year. But I'm a trooper, and luckily I already have an indoor chatting facility completed, so let's get to your questions.

Mike (Orlando)

Heard anything lately on Andrew Wiggins?

David Hale
  (11:03 AM)

I can only pass along some of the second-hand buzz I've heard from people a little more in the know, but I've gotten the sense that Kansas is getting a little more consideration. Still, I don't think any final decisions are made, and I'm guessing Wiggins is also interested in seeing what underclassmen leave for the draft at some of the places he's looking at, too.

Nathan [via mobile]

how worried should we be that the lesser quarterback will be chosen due to his fathers role as a coach?

David Hale
  (11:05 AM)

So, we're talking about Jacob Coker, right? No, I don't think there's any chance at all that Rick Trickett's presence on the staff will have any impact whatsoever on whether Clint gets the job other than the fact that Clint has grown up in a coaching family and really understands what it takes to be a QB at this level.

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

Is Trickett a lesser QB? In terms of sheer physical ability, probably. But in terms of getting respect in the huddle, leading a team, making smart reads, knowing the playbook... all the so-called intangibles of playing the position, he's probably tops among the contenders.

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

So it really depends on what Fisher values when making a decision and how much the other guys can catch up to Trickett in those "intangibles" by the time fall camp gets underway.

Steve (Tampa)

Jameis Winston has all the tools to become a great QB. Does he have a legit chance of becoming the starter?

David Hale
  (11:09 AM)

Yes, I think so. I'm not 100 percent sold on Jameis being the opening game starter because I just haven't seen enough of him yet to make that call. Moreover, as much as no one wants to come out and say it, his attention is divided by baseball and that has to have an impact compared to guys like Trickett and Coker, who have been in the system longer AND are focused exclusively on football. But Winston's talent is legit, and at the end of the day, if he's ready to play, I can't see Fisher choosing to keep him on the bench. The upside is just too high. It's a matter of Winston proving he's capable of handling the role, and then I'd be willing to bet Fisher lets him grow on the job. Whether that's for Week 1 or Week 10, I can't say.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

How many scholarship OL's will we have come fall?

David Hale
  (11:11 AM)

Not a lot, but the situation (at least for now) probably isn't quite as dire as it looks either. In general terms, FSU will have 14 scholarship linemen in the fall, but in more practical terms, they'll have probably 7 or 8 that are really ready to play meaningful snaps. The 4 established starters (Stork, Matias, Jackson, Erving) plus Hart and Barron (both with starting experience) and then a mix of Fahrenkrug, Foster, Lovelady and the new freshmen that should provide at least 1-2 passable players if need be. Essentially what it boils down to is that FSU should be in good enough shape to overcome one injury on the line, but 2-3 injuries could start getting dicey.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

How do you see the whole Bracy situation playing out? I understand that track is where his future is, but he is at FSU on a football scholarship, which means that should be his priority, correct?

kp (fsu)

will marvin bracy be utilized in 2013? I know hes running track and could those lossed reps in practice hurt him?

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

Fisher has tried to put a positive spin on this but the bottom line is Bracy isn't going to be a significant part of the offense at this point because he's simply not a significant part of the team. He has yet to be at a practice this spring, and although he's in meetings and was at some offseason workouts, that's not enough. There will be some role for him in the fall -- kick/punt returns, trick plays, etc. -- but Fisher has said that he's reluctant to frequently use a player who only knows a fraction of the playbook because it telegraphs the play call to the opposition as soon as he enters the game.

McLovin (Tally)

Bobby Hart or Bryan Stork at right tackle?

David Hale
  (11:17 AM)

Hard to say... we only get a look at a small sliver of practice, so we have to take Jimbo's word for it when it comes to what happens once we're booted off the field. Most people seem to be happy talking up Hart's progress/maturity, but I also get the sense that the default position right now is Stork at RT and Barron at C. Lots of time for things to change, of course, and that may be as much about keeping Hart motivated as anything.

Steve (Tampa)

Will Jimbo make Wilder the goto running back this upcoming season? He looks like he is ready to take the next big step of being a every down back.

David Hale
  (11:18 AM)

I think Wilder deserves a bigger share of the pie this year, and I think Jimbo understands that he wasn't always ideally utilized last season -- particularly down the stretch after Thompson's injury. But I don't think Wilder is going to be a bell cow. I could see something like a 60/40 split in either direction between him and Devonte (with some Green/Pender/Abrams mixed in for good measure).

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Could you see Coker transferring if he were to fall behind both Trickett and Winston?

David Hale
  (11:21 AM)

Way too early to predict that, but I think even Jimbo understands that he's got four QBs that could be starting for a D-1 program somewhere, and those numbers just don't work longterm. If either Winston or Coker wins the job, I think the other (and Maguire) are going to have to think long and hard about their future. Maybe Winston decides baseball is his future and sticks around long enough to get drafted in that sport. Maybe Coker decides he'll roll the dice that Winston leaves early and will stick around as a one-year wonder his senior season. Maybe Trickett wins the job and both wait another year to see if they can unseat him. A lot can change... but in the end, I'd be at least mildly surprised if all four guys are still on the roster in Fall 2014.

kp (fsu)

how Mario pender look practice yesterday?

David Hale
  (11:24 AM)

I wish fans could come out and watch the same portion of practice that we do because it's really eye-opening how not eye-opening it is. We see a VERY small sliver. We get to see some basic position drills, some slow-paced walk-throughs and we get to see a bunch of jumping jacks and stretching. It's tough to get much of a read. We're relying, largely, on reports of other players and Jimbo, which are unlikely to be overly negative. Having said all that, the reports on Pender have been very positive thus far. He's still a long way from being fully integrated into things, but it sounds like he's got his burst back from pre-injury, and Fisher has sounded pleased with how well he's handled blocking and blitz pickup stuff thus far.

BK (Atlanta)

Are any of the early enrollees showing signs of being standouts?

David Hale
  (11:27 AM)

Well, there are only 2 early enrollees, and 1 has yet to practice due to NCAA clearinghouse issues (Walker). Freddie Stevenson has been out there, and he seems to be keeping pace, which is good.I don't know that there's an obvious role for him right now, but the fact that he's in early, he's at a position without many veterans, and everyone is starting from scratch to some degree because of the new coaching staff, I think Stevenson has a chance to carve out a job in the fall.

Steve (Tampa)

Will incoming 5 star Matthew Thomas have a shot in playing this year?

David Hale
  (11:28 AM)

Similar to the Stevenson answer... it's a good position to be a newcomer at because only Telvin and Christian Jones have any real experience and both the coordinator and LBs coach are new, so the scheme and terminology is changing for everyone. Thomas could certainly come in and work his way into a job quickly.

Steve (Tampa)

FSU's front 4 will look much differently than last year. Will guys like Edwards, Casher, Goldman, and Walker (Freshman phenom) be ready to step in and fill the void?

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

This will be an interesting question because that is an AWFULLY big void to fill. You don't just replace guys like Werner and Tank. They're both first-rounders. I think the talent on D line is still very good though, and from what I've heard from players, Pruitt is going to employ a far more aggressive approach (blitzing safeties and LBs much more often) that should reduce some of the need to have those D linemen create all the chaos at the line of scrimmage. It's going to be a much different look from the past couple seasons, but there's a chance it's still just as effective.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

How has Dan Hicks looked at DE so far?

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

Again, same caveat: Hard to say with any certainty because we're only seeing limited practice. Having said that, Sal Sunseri sounded very excited about him. He's still working his way back from a pretty nasty injury, and I don't think he's quite 100 percent, but from what I've gathered, there's a definite role for him this year and everyone is pleased he's back at DE again.

Nathan [via mobile]

What's the most exciting news out of the noles camp this spring?

David Hale
  (11:33 AM)

The vending machines near the media work room are stocking Sweet & Salty chex mix now. Very tasty.

zach (davenport)

Wiggins to UNC (to much talent returning for him, doesnt want to be part of the rebuilding Kansas, the crazy train of kentucky, and FSU is FSU in basketball).... Anyway back to pigskin... who is your early prediction or predictions of who is going to leave early next year.

David Hale
  (11:34 AM)

Not going to disagree on your thinking with Wiggins... though Coach Cal is a helluva salesman, so not writing off Kentucky just yet.

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

As for the latter part of your question: (caveat: "barring injury" applied to all)... I think Timmy Jernigan is probably the most polished and ready to go of the group. He'd be tops on my list. If Cam Erving continues to progress as he did throughout the course of last season, I wouldn't be surprised if he left early, too. Those are probably the only two I'd feel super confident about, but then you have a mix of guys like Wilder, Greene, Karlos, Benjamin, etc. who have some level of NFL talent but still major question marks surrounding them. Could one of them have a breakthrough year and decide to make the jump? Sure, but not predicting anything yet.

David Hale
  (11:38 AM)

And, as a side note to that answer, if Erving (or one of the guards) does decide to leave early, FSU's going to need a home run on the recruiting trail when it comes to O linemen.

BK (Atlanta)

Any update on how Kelvin Benjamin has looked so far this Spring? His effort was questionable at times last season, so I'm hoping there may be glimpses of him definitely turning the corner.

David Hale
  (11:40 AM)

Man, he's such an intriguing player because of his size and speed combo, but I get the sense the expectations among the coaching staff are tempered a bit at this point. His struggles as a true freshmen were understandable (young guys, head in the clouds) but the way he disappeared down the stretch last year was more concerning. Benjamin clearly has the skill set to be an impact guy, but I do think it's fair to wonder if he's going to put it all together. Perhaps the new offensive coaches, new QB and another year of experience does the trick. But I'd say he's gone from can't-miss prospect to probably won't miss prospect.

Zach (Davenport)

Have you seen Nick O leary wearing gloves in spring practice because that guy is a pair of gloves away from being an elite player

David Hale
  (11:42 AM)

Haha... fair point. And there are some guys who spend their whole careers frustrating fans because they can't hang onto the football. I'll be very interested to see what happens with O'Leary this year. He's got the potential to be an impact player on offense, as you said, and his role could expand into the backfield without Lonnie Pryor there this year, too.

Carlos (Tallahassee)

Have you seen any 3-4 looks form FSU in practice year? If so who were the 3 DL

David Hale
  (11:43 AM)

I haven't, but again, you'd be amazed at how little we get to watch (particularly on defense). I'm confident there will be a little 3-4 this year, but not as a base D. But you have to be intrigued the possibilities. Jernigan and Mario seem like they're built for that system.

jeff (Charlotte)

Jimbo has given very political answers about spring so far as most head coaches due. I know Jimbo has a track record of sitting freshman but with LB's like Matthew Thomas coming in, has anyone separated themselves from the pack or do some of these freshman coming in the fall have a good shot at quality playing time. In a time where 3 years is becoming more of the norm, I'd hate to see us waste that talent

David Hale
  (11:45 AM)

All I can tell you, Jeff, is that Jimbo's history suggests that he'll redshirt about half of his freshman class, but that guys who can run will likely find a role, if only on special teams, regardless. That helps someone like Thomas. Moreover, there's not a ton of established competition there. Terrance Smith has been taking first-team reps at SAM, but it also sounds like Pruitt is interested in doing a lot of different things with scheme this year that could see Tyler Hunter, PJ Williams and Karlos Williams mixing in with the LBs at times, Christian Jones lining up with his hand on the ground at time, and lots more nickel and dime coverage. All that stuff makes projecting the SAM spot pretty tough.

Steve (Tampa)

With Lamarcus Joyner going the CB, who will be the starters including the nickel?

David Hale
  (11:47 AM)

I think Joyner actually may end up used primarily at nickel in those schemes. Karlos and Brooks at safety, Joyner and Darby at corner, but Waisome on the field a good bit, too. A lot of people have questioned the move of Joyner because it takes either Darby or Waisome off the field, but my guess is it will probably affect Tyler Hunter's playing time the most.

kp (fsu)

Will chad abram fill the void at fullback?

David Hale
  (11:48 AM)

Primarily, yes. I think we'll see more two-TE sets, more two tailback sets and we'll see O'Leary lining up in the backfield at times, too. It won't be the same role that Pryor played. But having said that, the coaches and players all sound very encouraged by Abram thus far.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

I was really impressed to see Winston rallying the baseball team in the dugout after they got down to GA Tech on Sunday and then reading comments from his teammates after the game saying how great a teammate he has been. Should be a good sign as to his ability to lead and get his teammates to believe in him.

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

Winston's got one of those infectious personalities. He just sort of forces you to like him. He's got a good sense of humor, he's very upbeat, and he manages to both grasp the significance of the job without taking himself too seriously. And, of course, he's supremely confident. All of that bodes well as a QB... but again, I also wonder how much that time in the dugout takes away from time in the playbook.

Steve (Tampa)

How are the players reacting to the new coaches?

David Hale
  (11:50 AM)

On the offensive end, I don't think too much has changed. It's still Jimbo's team. I think the RBs like Graham, who isn't too much older than some of them. I was really impressed with Sanders, but I think he's still learning Jimbo's stuff more than some of the QBs are.

David Hale
  (11:53 AM)

On defense though, I think things have changed a bunch, and from the sounds of it, a lot of players are very excited about it. Sunseri is just fun to watch at practice. He's loud, energetic, enthusiastic... Trickett with a sense of humor, really. Pruitt seems to be fitting in well, too. Lamarcus Joyner talked about how much Pruitt likes physical play, which will endear him to some of those guys who really like to hit, and Christian Jones sounded downright giddy about the potential for more blitzes and new schemes that allow the linebackers to really showcase their athleticism. I don't know how all of this will play out on the field, but for now, it sounds like guys are really excited by the potential.

Carlos (Tallahassee)

From the pictures and videos that I've seen from practice, KB looks like he is in much better shape. Are there any guys that you have seen that appear to have changed their bodies for better or worse?

David Hale
  (11:54 AM)

I thought Wilder has looked a little sleeker. Not sure if he's lost any weight, but he just looks a little more agile. Mario has trimmed down a tad, but he's still got more to go. Sunseri specifically talked about Mario needing to shed a few more lbs before he's ready to be an elite player.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Is Jimbo opposed to playing 2 QBs in a game? I personally am not a fan of it, but it seems like it is going to be difficult to pick just one based on practices considering they all bring something different to the table.

David Hale
  (11:55 AM)

Not sure he's fundamentally opposed to it, but it doesn't sound like something he's interested in doing unless forced into it. I think the bigger question is, if someone other than Winston wins the job but struggles early... how loud do the chants for Winston get and how quick will Jimbo's trigger be?

Steve (Tampa)

With the exception to Rashad Greene, does FSU have any "big" time threat at the WR position?

David Hale
  (11:57 AM)

Benjamin certainly COULD be, but he's got to get more consistent. I like Shaw and Dent as role players but they're probably not carry-the-team-on-their-back types of guys. Greene is by far their best, most polished receiver at this point though.

Steve (Tampa)

Will Mario Pender be a major factor in the running game?

Carlos (Tallahassee)

Is Pender primed for a big year?

David Hale
  (11:57 AM)

Again... far too early to tell how well he'll react to game situations, but even so, I think the job will be handled 80-85% of the time by Freeman and Wilder.

Steve (Tampa)

FSU has lack a goto WR in the recent years (Rashad Greene being the exception even though he does not get the ball as much as he should). Are there any new or upcoming WRs to get excited about?

David Hale
  (12:01 PM)

By "upcoming" I'll take that as guys with little or no playing experience thus far, which essentially is Bracy and the incoming freshmen. Bracy has upside, obviously, but his priority isn't football, which makes it hard to project him blossoming into a reliable guy. I like all of the freshmen, but I think Whitfield has a chance to be a really interesting player, who has elite speed and could be a huge threat in the slot from Day 1. Again, very tough to project a guy who isn't even on campus yet, but worth watching...

Jared (Atlanta, GA)

You said you only get to see a small portion of practice, but from what you've seen are any of the new coaches grabbing your attention in a negative/positive way?

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

We've gotten to meet four of the six new coaches already, and yes, I've gotten to see all of them work on the practice fields. I love Sunseri. He's just got a ton of energy and he's fun to watch coach. I was really impressed with Sanders, too. He's a bit more understated, but smart and knows QBs. Overall, I have to say I'd be very encouraged by this staff if I were an FSU fan.

BK (Atlanta)

Any word on if Karlos Williams has made any significant strides in his game so far?

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

Talked with Karlos yesterday. He's extremely excited about the opportunity he has this year, and I think Pruitt sees him as a guy who can fit almost anywhere... which opens up a ton of possibilities. Talked to Vince after pro day, too, and he said Karlos has really grasped the fact that he's not a young player anymore and is ready to step into that bigger role.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

The majority of O'Leary's fumbles come when he tries to jump over a defender or make the defender miss, which makes him vulnerable to big hits. He needs to just start lowering his shoulder and getting the yards that are there.

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

Fair point. At some point, you have to remember you're a tight end and rely on doing tight end things instead of trying to be a hybrid do-it-all player.

greg (tally)

I believe Winston has more confidence and "swag" compared to the reaming QB's on the roster. Do you think this will help Jimbo lean towards Winston as the starter.

David Hale
  (12:07 PM)

I wouldn't disagree with that idea, but leadership and confidence can be shown in a lot of ways and I'm not sure one is better than the other. Trickett has earned respect -- he's started games before, he organized all offseason workouts for the offense, etc. Coker is much quieter, and I do wonder how that plays among his teammates. But I used to cover the Phillies, and Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee were good examples: Two diametrically opposed personalities who both had immense success doing things their own way. Both had the respect of their teammates, both were supremely confident. It's just that one was a quiet confidence and the other was more "swag."

jeff (Charlotte)

I know Clemson has been crowned the preseason favorite, but how do you like FSU's chances overall? They have some tough games on the road but overall a pretty favorable schedule blending in all these new faces

David Hale
  (12:10 PM)

I'll say this: If you made me put money down on who wins the division, I'd probably have to bet on Clemson at this point for all the obvious reasons. But I really like this new coaching staff at FSU and so I don't view that as a step back at all. I also really like the potential at the QB position, and I wonder if the big-play possibilities could even out the likely step back in completion% etc. And while there's been plenty of roster turnover, the talent level at the top is still probably better, overall, than Clemson's. I couldn't call FSU the favorite right now, but I wouldn't be enthusiastic about betting against them either.

David Hale
  (12:10 PM)

OK, that's all my time this week. We'll have a bunch of stuff up at Nole Nation so keep reading and we'll be chatting again next Tuesday. Thanks for all the great questions folks!