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April 9, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:02 AM)

Hey kids -- happy Tuesday. We're down to the last few days of spring practice before the long wait for fall camp begins, but there's still plenty left to talk about. You've got questions... and I'll make up some reasonable sounding answers. Let's get to it.

Tyler (Tampa)

What is the status of Mario Pender? I heard he went out during the scrimmage yesterday.

David Hale
  (11:03 AM)

He left with an injury midway through the scrimmage, but as far as the specifics and severity, Jimbo Fisher didn't know. We'll likely have to wait until tomorrow's practice to get a good answer, but it didn't sound like it was anything that would affect his season.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Hi David--Seems like the offensive line is getting more and more stable with Hart staying at RT. I know media had limited access to the scrimmage, but is that what you have been hearing? Hopefully the quicker they nail down the line, the better the line can get

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

When it comes to Bobby Hart, it's sort of a different scale you need to grade on. I don't think Jimbo is every going to be particularly gushing in his praise, but he has been mostly positive in his reviews of how Hart has performed -- and as you noted, it speaks well of his performance that he's remained as the No. 1 at RT throughout the spring. Fisher said Hart (and Erving, too) struggled a bit with some looks they should've been prepared for early in yesterday's scrimmage, but that both bounced back and finished strong. In last week's scrimmage, Fisher said Hart & Erving were by far the two most effective linemen. So all in all, that's pretty solid on both ends.

Zach (Davenport)

Kain Daub, thank you Pruitt Whats going on with Bracy? Is he out practicing our just running track, I mean I understand that this guy has olympic speed and dont at all fault him for concentrating on something that he could be best in the world at.

David Hale
  (11:08 AM)

No, Bracy has not been at a football practice yet this spring, and doesn't sound like that's going to change this week. And, as Jimbo said, that absence will hurt him. BUT... Bracy has been in meetings and film study, so it's not a complete loss. And as you said, he's got Olympic-caliber speed and his concentration on track is understandable. Still, he's here on a football scholarship, and I'm guessing Fisher isn't entirely thrilled with how all this has unfolded.

Tyler (Tampa)

Jimbo gives a lot of coach speak without really telling the media anything. What is the feel from players as to the quarterbacks? Is there a split amongst who they want to start or do they seemed ok with whomever the coaches choose?

David Hale
  (11:10 AM)

That's a pretty fair assessment of Jimbo's take on things -- and, in truth, the players follow suit. I think everyone is afraid to say anything too glowing or damning in favor of any of the QBs. Now, if you want to read between the lines a little bit in terms of how the reps the media has seen have been split and who seems to get the most enthusiasm from players, I'd say there's probably a little bit of a divide between Trickett and Winston and the other two.

David Hale
  (11:12 AM)

I think Trickett clearly has the respect of his teammates. They trust him, they'll follow him. He's a good leader and he's got the experience of being around the team and knowing the playbook, and all of that matters. Winston isn't quite at that level in terms of knowing the nuance of Jimbo's scheme, but his personality is just so high energy that it's obvious the guys really like him and are enthusiastic about what he's capable of doing. If he won the job, I think it'd take a little time to work out some of the hiccups, but that the rest of the team would be 100 percent behind him.

Conner (Athens, GA)

With Coker's foot injury seeming to hurt him a little bit and Jameis and Trickett separating themselves from the pack (seems that way with the praise Jimbo is giving them two), do you see Coker falling behind too much and this becoming a Winston vs Trickett competition?

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

I wouldn't say that's the case just yet -- but like you, the feeling I get is that's the way things are heading. And yes, I think Coker's foot injury cost him a little bit (though I'm not sure it's been a determining factor) so there's time for him to catch up as it heals up, but the problem he could face in the fall is that Jimbo isn't going to want to spend a ton of time giving first-team reps to three guys. That field needs to be narrowed, and it's going to be a lot tougher to work your way back into the competition if the focus is squarely on the other two.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

In being around and talking to Jameis, do you get a sense about him favoring one sport over the other, or do you see him continuing to do double duty throughout his career.

David Hale
  (11:15 AM)

As a pragmatic outsider, I have to look at the situation and say that, eventually, he's going to have to make a choice. It's one thing to be Bo or Deion -- and Jameis isn't entirely out of that realm in terms of ability -- but I just don't see how you do that when you play QB. It's a different beast.

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

Having said that, in talking to Jameis, I think he has absolutely no intention of giving up either sport at the moment. He LOVES doing both, he LOVES spending so much time working on both sports, and he LOVES all the competition. Perhaps there will come a time that he's faced with needing to make a decision, but the sense I get from him is that he's got no intention of making that choice until he absolutely has to.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who will be the Starting Quarterback for Florida State in 2013?

David Hale
  (11:17 AM)

Again, it's really tough to say for certain right now because Jimbo isn't interested in giving much away, and we only see a sliver of practice reps. But I will say that, while I honestly have no idea who will start Game 1, I'm more convinced now than I was 3 weeks ago that Winston will start at some point this season.

Burt Peterson (NYC)

Is Timmy Jernigan's injury something to be worried about? How's the depth on the D line looked? And what did you think of Mad Men on Sunday?

David Hale
  (11:19 AM)

Doesn't sound like Jernigan's ankle sprain is going to be a lasting concern, but it will keep him out the rest of spring. Jimbo said he should be back to 100 percent in about a month. As for the depth behind him -- it's an area where there's some real room for optimism. Eddie Goldman has progressed, though he still has a ways to go. Derrick Mitchell has actually returned pretty strong after missing the bulk of the past two years, and so, too, has Jacobbi McDaniel. Not sure either of those two are exactly at game speed yet, but they've both shown that 2013 isn't likely to be another lost season.

David Hale
  (11:20 AM)

Oh, and Mad Men was slow but interesting -- loving all the new beards/mustaches/sideburns.

Andy (Tampa)

How many of this year's recruiting class are currently on campus and participating in spring ball? If any, how are they looking?

David Hale
  (11:24 AM)

On campus: Two. Participating: One. Freddie Stevenson has gotten work and, not surprisingly, is a bit lost among the LBs right now, but I think given the big class (4 more of them) at the position entering in the summer, it'll prove valuable time for him. Demarcus Walker is in school and has been at practices but because of an NCAA eligibility issue, he has not been allowed to participate, and I don't see that changing before the spring game either. That's partcularly disappointing because he had a chance to be a guy to step right in and make an impact as a freshman.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Will the Florida State receiving corps fully mature and blossom into the explosive group of playmakers Seminole fans became accustomed to during the Bobby Bowden glory days this season?

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

This is an area I'm not quite sure what to make of. On one hand, it's a veteran group, so you would assume they'd make some progress. On the other hand, with Bracy a non-factor, Benjamin, Haulstead and Green all wild cards to some extent, and a first-year starter at QB regardless, I'm not sure it's going to be a big year for the group. I do think, however, that Rashad Greene is ready to take that next step into elite receiver status. He's got all the tools -- and I think this is the year it happens. Maybe not quite 1,000-yard guy -- but close.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

If Benjamin does not get the starting spot opposite Rashad, could you see him packing it in mentally? From what I've read about him, it seems like starting is of high importance to him.

David Hale
  (11:27 AM)

I spoke to him about his performance and he was pretty forthright in saying that he felt like he was less a part of the offense down the stretch last season and he felt like that hurt his concentration. Perhaps that's true, but a.) the numbers suggest his struggles were the cause for a diminished role, not the other way around, and b.) Jimbo isn't going to hand a starting job to a guy just because he says he wants it. Benjamin needs to mature -- and if he doesn't, the playing time isn't going to be there.

Jesse (Houston, TX)

How has Mario Edwards looked this spring? And who do you think will be starting at the other defensive end position?

David Hale
  (11:29 AM)

Solid. He's trimmed down some, but still has more to go. He's made some nice plays, but the consistency is still an issue -- as it is among all the DEs right now. I don't think Edwards is in any danger of losing a starting job, but Fisher and Sunseri are pushing him and the other DEs really hard this spring -- perhaps more than any other position group. I think the hope is that Newberry wins the other job because the guy has all the physical tools to be a star -- and I think he fits really well with what Pruitt is trying to do with this defense. Casher probably still has a ways to go to get caught up on things and shake off the rust of 2 years away from the field. The wild card here is Dan Hicks, who has gotten a lot of praise from coaches and teammates for how quickly he's readjusted to DE after a year away.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Is Casher able to do everything in practice, or is he still somewhat limited by his knee?

David Hale
  (11:31 AM)

As far as I can tell, he's been a full participant in everything -- it's just a matter of shaking off that rust and getting up to speed. Didn't hear much about his performance in yesterday's scrimmage, but he was apparently one of the better performers in the first scrimmage -- dropping into coverage and picking off a pass. He's got the skill set to be really successful in Pruitt's scheme.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

What are the Seminoles main areas of focus/need in the upcoming 2014 recruiting class?

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

O line, O line and O line. There are other needs, too, but the O line -- particularly at the tackle spots -- is an absolute MUST. If Erving has a big year and enters the NFL draft, there really are no answers to what happens at tackle in 2014 unless FSU can land a big fish in recruiting.

Conner (Athens, GA)

Is the spring game going to be a draft like previous years? And if so when does this draft take place? It'll be interesting to see which QB gets picked first.

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

You know, I haven't heard anything on particulars, but that's a good question and I'll ask Jimbo after practice tomorrow.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Based on what you have seen, who would you consider to be the leaders on both offense and defense?

David Hale
  (11:34 AM)

On defense, there's a pretty clear leadership group led by Telvin Smith, with Christian Jones and Lamarcus Joyner right behind him. On offense, Trickett fits the bill, but his tenuous hold on the job makes it a bit tougher to really call him THE guy. I'd probably point to Rashad, Wilder and Stork as the most established voices. Wilder, in particular, seems very comfortable in a vocal leadership role on offense.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Will Andrew Wiggins sign with his parents alma mater?

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

The weekly Wiggins question.... Honestly, I have no idea, and the best guesses seem to change daily depending on who you ask. I'd say FSU is still in the mix, but I'm not sure I'd call them the favorite.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Have you heard much about how Beatty has looked in practice? It seemed like he started coming on toward the end of last season.

David Hale
  (11:36 AM)

Yes, and that's been the refrain from coaches and players, too. He got more comfortable at the end of the season, and he's had a chance to study the film and make some more corrections since. Aguayo and Beatty have been perhaps the two players to get the most consistent high praise from Jimbo this spring. Take from that what you will -- but I think an improvement for Beatty in 2013 is a pretty safe bet.

Kyle (Citra, FL)

Hows Karlos doin at the FS position now that Joyner has moved to corner?

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

I think there have been a few ups and downs at times, but that's to be expected given how much of what FSU is doing is new. Karlos is learning new scheme and terminology AND adjusting to a bigger role. Moreover, he's moving around a good bit, too -- not just at FS. He's playing some star, nickel, LB -- all over the place. I'm not overly worried. I think Pruitt knows what he's got in Karlos and he's going to give him every chance to be an impact player this year.

Jeff (Charlotte)

FSU had been knocked for getting great talent and then not developing that talent into big wins. I know this year's draft class should be solid, but do you see the new coaches that were brought in as people who can develop that raw talent and get the team to excel?

David Hale
  (11:41 AM)

I think part of that reputation is unfair because, the truth is, the recruiting hype surrounding a lot of those supposed "failed" prospects exceeded their actual talent. What you're seeing with this year's draft class is what the previous coaching staff could do with the talent Jimbo recruited -- and the results were much better. But to answer your question: I do think this staff is at least marginally better in terms of on-field coaching than the last. That's not a knock on the previous regime, but there were mixed feelings on Hudson, and guys like Craig and Eliot really had only limited big-time experience before coming to FSU. The staff in place now all have significant experience in big jobs (including most from the SEC) and four of them have previously worked as coordinators. From a recruiting standpoint, it might be a wash between old and new, but on the field, I do think this is a bit of an upgrade.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Mario Edwards was the must get recruit for Florida State a few years ago? Who is the guy the Seminoles need to land this year?

David Hale
  (11:44 AM)

Well, as I said, I think OT is by far the biggest area of need, so I'd probably go in that direction. Damian Prince is a guy whose name you'll hear a bit, and he'd be a huge get. There are others -- and other positions that will be a focus -- but Prince would definitely represent a home run for FSU.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Other than QB, what is Jimbo Fisher's biggest area of concern for his team in 2013?

David Hale
  (11:46 AM)

I'd say DE is a bit of a concern. The shift in scheme helps some, but it's just nearly impossible to replace the level of production FSU has had at that position for the past 2-3 years. They really need Edwards & Newberry to take that next step -- and while they both have tons of potential, nothing is guaranteed. Aside from that, I think there are at least mild worries on the O line because Hart is a wild card and there's so little depth.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Currently, who are the backups at both Safety spots?

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

There's a lot of shuffling going on there because a.) FSU is playing a ton of nickel and dime defenses and b.) so many DBs are hurt (Waisome, Hunter, Darby, K. Smith). Right now, Brutus and Demps have both gotten a lot of work with the 2s, but I'm not sure I'd specifically call them the backups. Joyner will continue to get work at safety. PJ Williams can play both positions, and coaches are VERY high on him. Hunter will certainly be in the mix when he's back to 100 percent. In other words -- not much point in reading a lot into the depth chart at safety right now.

Tyler (Tampa)

There are rumors that FSU will be playing Notre Dame at home in 2014. Do you have any additional information as to the rumor?

David Hale
  (11:50 AM)

Hasn't been confirmed by the school, but I was told they were likely to know something by the end of March -- so if it's not set in stone yet, it's pretty close. And, oh my, that's going to be a heck of a schedule in 2014 if it comes down that way. It's possible FSU will have 3 non-conf games against top-15 teams, along with Louisville, Clemson, at NC State, at Miami...

Carlos (Jacksonville)

Now that you've seen some practices and have a little bit of an idea of what the depth chart looks like, which incoming Freshman do you think will have a chance of starting or landing on the 2 deep in the fall? Which ones do you see contributing some other way?

David Hale
  (11:53 AM)

I think a number of them will have a chance to earn a job on special teams, as Jimbo has often done with skill position guys in the past. I think at least 1 or 2 of the linebackers will get some work on scrimmage downs. As I mentioned earlier, there is a job for Walker if he can get the NCAA issues cleared up, but missing this spring hurt. I think the guy that may be in line for the biggest overall impact though might be Kermit Whitfield. I think there's a strong chance he ends up returning punts, and Jimbo specifically made a point of saying he thought Kermit could be a factor in the slot, too. Again, early to project a guy who isn't even on campus yet, but I think he might now be the guy with the best mix of talent and opportunity.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you think the Hurricanes will get off with time served due to the NCAA mishaps? And how formidable do you think they will be given how well Golden is recruiting if they are allowed to participate in the postseason?

David Hale
  (11:56 AM)

I have no idea what will happen with the NCAA stuff. I mean, on one hand, how do you recover after botching a case that badly? And if they still lay down significant sanctions, how does that hold up to scrutiny if Miami fights it? On the other hand, the NCAA doesn't seem to have much of an idea of public perception or much shame in how they handle anything, and I could see Emmert doing anything he could to prove he still is right. Regardless though, I think Miami is doing a solid job of rebuilding its talent base -- similar to what Jimbo was trying to do the first year or two he was at FSU -- and I think they'll take a decent step forward. Maybe not win-the-ACC progress, but in the mix.

Tyler (Tampa)

In the video of player warm-ups yesterday, Jameis Winston was lined up at WR running routes and catching balls from Clint Trickett. Do you think this was merely a warm up routine or is there any weight behind the idea that he might line up out wide in some packages?

David Hale
  (11:58 AM)

I think that was more Winston messing around and not much else. Those early parts of practice open to the media are VERY minimal on actual scheme -- and if Jimbo had something like that up is sleeve, I don't think he'd be tipping his hand during an open portion of a spring scrimmage. Or... maybe that's the genius of it all.

Buster (SF)

David, are you one of the guys that have been blowing up my phone asking for a donation to Florida State?

David Hale
  (11:58 AM)

Trust me, Buster... if I'm asking for a donation, it won't be to FSU. It'll be to my checking account.

Mark (Miami, FL)

Will the Seminoles overtake UNC for the ACC Title? And how would you rate Mike Martin's chances of winning the national title that has eluded him during his legendary career?

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

Hey, baseball! Honestly, given all the turnover and injuries, I think Martin's done an impressive job so far this season. Still a ways to go though. And Martin never winning a title is pretty inexplicable, but I don't think it's anything to do with him as a coach. You get there enough times, and the rest is chance. Not sure how much longer he plans to be around, but the talent level and coaching ability is good enough that most years, he'll have a shot.

Tyler (Tampa)

With the departure of Lonnie Pryor, will JWJ see some time as a "blocking back" or will Chad Abrams fill that role exclusively? I would love to see teams try to defend against the threat of Jameis, Pender, and JWJ in the backfield.

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

I talked to James about this last season, and he said he'd do it if asked, but that he wasn't in love with the idea. Having said that, Fisher said he's planning on running more two-tailback sets, so you may get your wish on that lineup. I think Abram will be the main guy at FB, but we'll see more mixing and matching with tight ends and tailbacks, too.

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

OK, folks, that's all my time for this week. Thanks for all the great questions. We'll do it again next week with a spring practice wrap-up. Hopefully we'll have some more answers on the QBs by then.