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April 16, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:02 AM)

Hey folks. We're done with spring practice and the long wait for more football has begun. But, of course, that doesn't mean there'll be a dip in football questions, so I'll do my best to get you some answers. Fire away!

Kenny (Monterey, CA)

Based on YOUR gut instinct being as close to the program as you are who do YOU think will win the Starting QB job? Thanks David and keep up the good work, Noles fans everywhere appreciate the coverage!

David Hale
  (11:04 AM)

Well, I'll preface by offering the obvious disclaimer that Jimbo is keeping hush-hush on this, and it probably benefits everyone that he is. But to me, there's not a lot of debate left. Even if the job doesn't belong to Jameis Winston on Week 1, it will be his eventually. He's too good to sit the bench, and it reflects too poorly on FSU to have such a highly touted QB sitting the bench.

David Hale
  (11:04 AM)

I could understand the idea of wanting some experience at QB, particularly to open the season with a tough road game at Pittsburgh, so perhaps Trickett is No. 1 to start the year. But even then, I think it's a problem because you'll have the entire fan base (and probably a portion of the team) looking over his shoulder the whole time. It's not entirely fair to him either.

David Hale
  (11:05 AM)

One spring scrimmage doesn't mean a lot, but the bottom line is that Jameis showed all spring why he deserved to be in the conversation, and my feeling since 2012 ended was that the only way he wouldn't be the starter is if he clearly wasn't ready. Others had to win the job, Jameis just needed to prove he could handle it. I think he's done that.

Zach (Davenport)

Wow how can we not be excited after that performance by Winston.... I cant even imagine the talent he could be if he just focused on football...Anyway my question is who else had an eye opening performance in your eyes

David Hale
  (11:07 AM)

Hey, I agree on Winston, but actually I kind of wonder if baseball helped his performance a bit. Obviously it splits his attention a bit, but it's also part of who he is. Jameis simply doesn't believe in limits, doesn't think there's anything he can't do, and he absolutely NEEDS to compete. In that respect, I think baseball helped him overall -- kept his energy up, allowed him to be more vocal, etc.

David Hale
  (11:10 AM)

As for your actual question: I'm not sure I put a ton of stock in the actual spring game performances. They're not often a tell-tale sign of things to come. But based on the entirety of spring practice, a few predictions I'll take a crack at: I think Rashad Greene had a great spring and will finally put together a full, complete, All-ACC season. I think Christian Jones is going to have a monster year. I think Cam Erving takes the next step and may well be headed to the NFL by the end of 2013. I think PJ Williams is going to be a lot better than people think. And I think Dan Hicks may end up with a bigger slice of the playing time at DE than we all assumed heading into the spring.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Do you see anyone besides some of the incoming freshmen as being redshirt candidates?

David Hale
  (11:12 AM)

Not likely, barring injury, only because when you figure they've lost something like 14 scholarship players from last year's team, there's just not a ton of depth amid experienced players for a redshirt. At this point, everyone who is hurt sounds like they'll be ready for fall, so not much concern there. I suppose if I had to pick anyone it might be Kourtzidis, who is coming off an injury, is third on the depth chart, probably should've redshirted last year and definitely could use another season to bulk up and get ready for a bigger role in 2014.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Hi David, after watching the spring game and knowing many of the starters weren't playing...how would you rate the D-Line vs. our O-Line. Stats said 9 sacks, but some were "touch" sacks. Without any real blitzing that seems like a pretty high total to give up.

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

Yeah, really good points, Jeff. So hard to tell a lot there. I said before the game that we wouldn't really be able to say much about what went on at the line of scrimmage because of the injuries to D linemen and RBs and the touch rules on QBs, but if there was anything to be read into it, it would be on the edges, where both starting O linemen were healthy and all but Demarcus Walker were available at D-end. I thought there were some OK performances there, and as I said earlier, Erving and Hicks both stood out to me this spring. Chris Casher did have a sack, too (one of just 2 by DEs in the game) and I think he made some nice progress throughout the spring.

David Hale
  (11:15 AM)

One other thing I'll say on that: Jimbo was very tepid in his praise for the two guards this spring. As much as Bobby Hart was the guy we were all watching on the O line, I think the onus for success by the O line in 2013 is going to largely fall on Jackson and Matias to get better.

Sandy (Viera)

More rushing or more passing this year?

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

Rushing seems the obvious answer, especially if you assume there'll be a mobile QB taking snaps.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you think Leonard Hamiltion received a "silent" verbal from Andrew Wiggins? Or was his commitment nothing more than internet gossip?

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

Gossip. And if your commitment has to be "silent" it's probably not much of a commitment anyway.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

On average, how many QB questions have you gotten each chat since the season ended?

David Hale
  (11:17 AM)

I'd say roughly 46% of all questions are tied to the QB job in some way. But I get it. There's no bigger story in the ACC.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

How much will NLS's performance in the spring game help in terms of playing time/position on the depth chart?

David Hale
  (11:19 AM)

I'm inclined to say not a whole lot because it's really important to remember that Jernigan and McAllister were out for the game, Goldman was limited, and some of those sacks were courtesy of the touch rules to keep QBs from getting hit. Having said that, Jimbo said the strong spring game wasn't an anomaly, and that NLS was really coming on strong the last half of the spring, so that's a good sign. Lotta competition at DT (Shanks and McDaniel, too) but I think he'll be in the mix for a four-man rotation.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Do you expect FSU to receive a commitment soon from one of the recruits attending the spring game?

David Hale
  (11:20 AM)

Wouldn't surprise me if one or two came in, but there's still a long ways to go for a lot of these kids. A lot of camps, etc. are scheduled for June and July, and I think that tends to be a more active time for commitments.

Frank (New Orleans)

Can Greg Dent be a legitimate big play threat opposite Rashard Greene?

David Hale
  (11:21 AM)

Eh, I'm skeptical. I do think Dent can be a contributor, and he's improved by leaps and bounds from this time a year ago. Jimbo absolutely raves about him every chance he gets. But I'm not sure that Dent is really that big-play guy as much as he is a consistent, go-to guy who does the little things right and gets open.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What did you think of the Explosions at the Boston Marathon?

David Hale
  (11:22 AM)

Not sure my opinion matters much here other than to say that obviously thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved. It's amazing how stuff like this illustrates the best and worst of us as a society... and in terms of things I'm a little more experienced to judge, the best and worst of us as journalists, too.

DIE HARD NOLES FAN (POLK COUNTY FLA)

trickett sucks they should not play that guy boo him

David Hale
  (11:23 AM)

Rick or Clint?

DIE HARD NOLES FAN (POLK COUNTY FLA)

so winston really look that good will he lead us to another national title

David Hale
  (11:23 AM)

Ah, Clint. OK.

Frank (New Orleans)

Besides quarterback,what is the biggest question mark heading into 2013?

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

I'd probably lean toward the defense as a whole. It was all pie-in-the-sky platitudes about Pruitt's new scheme, but here's the truth of how all that works: It's complicated and you don't learn it in 4 weeks. There's going to be some big adjustments on the defensive side of the ball, in scheme and personnel, and that means some growing pains. By year's end, I could see this being a really good unit, but I do think it's going to take a while for everything to click into place.

Patrick (Memphis)

How do you think the O line will do this year i saw some had some mistakes but overall jimbo said not to bad, whats your take?

David Hale
  (11:27 AM)

I've got some concerns. I think Menelik was really the glue on that line last year in a lot of ways, not the least of which was as the mature veteran in the group (if not in terms of playing time, definitely in terms of maturity and leadership). And the thing is, the unit just can't be what it was last year and expect the same results. This is an offense that's going to want to run the football more but won't have Chris Thompson, and it's a group that will need to protect a first-year starter at QB. They need to go from solid to very good or better, and I'm not entirely buying in that they can do that.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

How do you see the defensive tackle rotation panning out? Seems to be a lot of players worthy of playing time, but you can only realistically give 4 regular playing time.

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

Yeah, it's crazy to think you lose two two-year starters and the biggest question is how you narrow the remaining candidates down to a four-man rotation. Jernigan and McAllister are locks, I think, and I'd guess will open the year as starters. Goldman is too good to not get regular playing time. So then you're looking at McDaniel, NLS, Shanks, Mitchell, and Keith Bryant in the mix. McDaniel, NLS and Mitchell all had pretty solid springs, so narrowing that down is tough. Right now, I'd probably give a small edge to McDaniel, but regardless, FSU is in pretty good shape at DT for 2013.

Carlos (Jacksonville)

Should we be concerned with the poor play of the DEs not named Dan Hicks during the spring game?

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

Depends on your overall expectations. That group isn't going to be what it was in 2011/2012, but it can still be solid. I'm a little worried about how long it will take to get to that point, but I also think some of the tepid reviews from coaches were as much about motivation as actual analysis. Edwards certainly has the talent to be great. I thought Casher played pretty well given that he's been away from the field for the better part of two years. Hicks was encouraging. I do wonder whether Newberry will ever live up to the potential, but not writing him off yet.

zach (davenport)

Is Winston allowed to talk to the media or not? I know most freshman arent allowed by coaches, but is he different because he is a redshirt Freshman

David Hale
  (11:33 AM)

Redshirt freshmen can talk to the media, and we've spoken with Winston a few times. We've only gotten a couple interviews with any of the QBs though and I think FSU is doing their best to insulate them from the hype.

Conner (Athens, GA)

You seem pretty set on Wiggins attending another school not named FSU. Why do you feel this way when other FSU sources are pretty confident about him coming here?

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

No, no, not at all. In fact, as we get closer to a date in which we expect a real answer, I'm actually probably leaning toward FSU. From a practical standpoint, it's hard to compare FSU with the environments at Rupp or Dean Dome or Allen Fieldhouse, but there are myriad reasons he's want to come to Tallahassee, too. And not really knowing Wiggins as a person, it's tough for me to judge how he values an opportunity to be the star, the guy who makes a program, etc. I've said all along I think FSU has as good a chance as anyone, and at this point, they might be slightly ahead.

Kenneth (Marietta, GA)

What's with the rumor of trying to get a game with UGA in the future? And also, why doesn't the ACC do the smart thing and get us and GT in the same division to play every year? We are the closest teams to each other and our largest alumni/booster base is in Atlanta, it makes too much sense.

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

The rumor comes from FSU AD Randy Spetman saying at halftime of the spring game that a UGA-FSU game was something he was working on. Wouldn't surprise me if it ended up as a Chick-fil-A kickoff game, but possibly a home-and-home. Either way, I think it's a terrific matchup. And as for GT realignment, it makes WAAAAAAY too much sense, which means the ACC won't even consider it. That's college football for you.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

While I agree with the logic that starting a QB in a difficult environment in his first game is not ideal, I think it would be foolish to start Trickett with that being the main reason why. If Jameis is the guy, he needs that kind of experience and from all accounts, seems more than capable to be able to handle that type of environment.

David Hale
  (11:38 AM)

I'm in your corner here, just laying out the possible alternatives. Again, I don't want to read too much into just the spring game, and if we take the spring as a whole, Trickett performed really well, so there are plenty of arguments to be made on why he should be the starter regardless of schedule. But I will say that if Jameis looks like he's ready for the job, the opponent probably shouldn't matter.

Sandy (Viera, FL)

How about the kicking team? We will, no doubt, miss Dustin.

David Hale
  (11:40 AM)

Indeed, you don't just replace Dustin Hopkins. I thought Aguayo had a good day though. He certainly showed he has the leg. I thought some of those kicks were a little slow developing though, and because there was no real rush, it's hard to say just how they might have unfolded in an actual game. I think longterm Aguayo is going to be pretty good, but it's also important to remember that Hopkins wasn't great as a freshman either.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

How has Nick Waisome looked in spring ball? Was very high on him when he signed with the Noles. Is he ready to become the next great FSU corner?

David Hale
  (11:41 AM)

Had a minor injury and didn't participate in spring ball. Like you though, I was impressed by his performance last year. It'll be interesting though to see how the snaps get shared between him, Lamarcus and Darby (along with Ramsey when he arrives). FSU has a ton of talent in the secondary right now and perhaps not enough snaps to go around.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Which incoming/redshirt freshmen are most likely to make an impact and have a breakout year in 2013?

David Hale
  (11:44 AM)

Gotten this question a good bit, too, and my answer continues to be that I'm not sure there's any area on this roster where a true freshman is in position to have a lot of playing time. Even the RS freshmen aren't hovering near the top of the depth chart anywhere other than QB and K. A few names I'll say are in the mix though: Freddie Stevenson had a nice spring considering he's only been on campus 3 months. I think Kermit Whitfield has a chance to make an impact in the slot and on special teams right away. Matthew Thomas could find a niche at linebacker when he gets here. Eligwe and Pender have a crowd ahead of them on the depth chart, but I think both are capable of big seasons if they get a chance. Maybe the No. 1 option though is Casher, who isn't atop the depth chart at DE yet but could certainly play his way there with a strong fall camp.

Jason (Asheville, NC)

Ok. Its been a couple of years now and we're still waiting. From what I've read Kelvin Benjamin has made a turn in his practice and work ethic. Is this something we will see translate to the field on game days? Or should I just expect to be disappointed?

David Hale
  (11:45 AM)

So hard to say. It's so easy in spring to say that you've turned a corner, but focus isn't something you show for a week and assume it'll stick. By its nature, focus needs to be 100 percent all the time, and we just haven't seen that from KB. I do think he's matured and realized some of his mistakes from last year, but I'd definitely attach the word "cautiously" as a precursor to saying I'm optimistic.

Patrick (Memphis)

It seems the one position lacking on D is DE i saw where Edwards got beat a few times by hart is he still locked in as a starter and could Walker,Hollins, or Casher be that other starter?

David Hale
  (11:47 AM)

Walker didn't get to practice at all this spring which really hurt him. The assumption remains that he'll be cleared to go by fall camp, but still, this set him back. Casher had a ways to go, but he made strides. I liked Hicks performance a lot. I do believe Edwards is still a starter, and in a way, I think the spring struggles may have been a good thing. He fell into a starting job by default last year (a lot like Hart the year before) and may have slacked some. I think this was a good reminder that he's got to get his act together before the season starts.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Have you heard anything else about the 2014 recruiting class? I know O-Line is a big push, but seems like FSU has gotten some solid early commits on the defensive side of the ball. Even though doesn't matter too much until NSD

David Hale
  (11:48 AM)

With spring ball going on, that had been my focus, and our primary recruiting write Corey Dowlar is probably better equipped to answer this. He's chatting tomorrow if you're interested!

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Are young bucks on the defensive interior such as Jernigan and Goldman ready to step up this season and become major factors?

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

My opinion was Jernigan was already a major factor, and I think he takes it to the next level this season and becomes one of the truly great defenders in the ACC. Enjoy him now because I think there's a good chance he's NFL bound in 2014.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

What happened to Fakrenkrug? He came in with a lot of fanfare and the coaches talked him up quite a bit and last year he barely played. Is it a lack of talent or have injuries held him back?

David Hale
  (11:51 AM)

A little of both. I think coaches like Fahrenkrug's work ethic, but the level of competition is just better than anything he faced in JC and he was overmatched an awful lot in 2011. He redshirted last season, which is why he's back this year (a bit of a surprise to all of us as this was never discussed by Jimbo). Anyway, he missed all of spring with an injury too, so we'll have to wait until fall to see him in action again. He's experienced depth if nothing else though, and FSU doesn't have a lot of that.

Patrick (Memphis)

If Winston is the starter which QB do you think would transfer??

David Hale
  (11:52 AM)

Smart money says Coker because he'd be the most affected. He'd be third on the depth chart, and even if Winston were to leave early, he'd likely be here the entirety of Coker's eligibility. But I don't want to speculate on this too much because you never know what's in a guy's heart. I know Coker wants to play because he's a tough competitor, but he may also want to be at FSU for a lot of other very good reasons, and great players never want to concede a competition either.

Rendall (Tampa)

I see Jamesis Winston being the next Johnny Manziel. ( Redshirt, starting freshman) just needs OL to step up. Is that Crazy?

David Hale
  (11:54 AM)

Depends on how you define crazy, I suppose. Those are really lofty expectations, and there haven't been many who have met them in the history of college football. Plus, I think Jameis and Manziel are very different players. First off, Jimbo and Sumlin have ENTIRELY different systems. Jimbo's offense isn't designed to have QBs put up those same numbers. Moreover, Jameis has the potential to be a much better pocket QB than Manziel, who is a great college QB and a very good runner... but not sure anyone's looking at him as a future No. 1 overall pick.

David Hale
  (11:55 AM)

Bottom line: I think they're just very different players in very different systems, so it doesn't do either any favors to make the comparisons. But I do think Jameis is capable of being a very special player in his own right, and best to just enjoy seeing that develop without comparing him to anyone else.

Kevin (Reno, NV)

Do you think Nick O'Leary will have a big year to help out the Noles inexperiened QBs this season?

David Hale
  (11:56 AM)

O'Leary, to me, is a lot like Benjamin. The tools are all there, but at some point, you wonder if you'll see a finished product. I have some reservations on both at this point.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Where do you think EJ Manuel will get drafted later this month? And do you think he will be a career starter or backup in the NFL?

David Hale
  (11:57 AM)

I'm not sold on EJ as a future star in the NFL but if you're drafting a guy based strictly on tools and assuming that you can coach him up from there, is there anyone in this draft you'd be more excited about? It's such a weak class that I think he'll definitely go late first or early second, and I wouldn't be surprised to see my Eagles grab him with their pick in the second round.

David Hale
  (11:58 AM)

As for his NFL future... it's funny because Jimbo has had great success getting his QBs into the league, but none of those QBs have really done much when they've gotten there.

Rendall (Tampa)

Can Marvin Bracy be like a Percy Harvin in a offense scheme?

David Hale
  (11:59 AM)

Not this year. He didn't practice with the team all spring, and I think Jimbo is definitely frustrated that Bracy's priority has been track and not football. The bottom line is that Bracy can't be a big part of the offense until his attention is on getting on the field.

David Hale
  (11:59 AM)

Still got a few more questions so I'll go a bit longer today...

Kevin (Reno, NV)

What's the depth chart at running back after the spring game?

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

Well the depth chart DURING the spring game wasn't very deep, and even Chad Abram ended the day with a turf toe injury. So there's no one healthy right now. Really though, it's probably not changed much from the end of last year, with Wilder and Freeman splitting starting duties (though I'd guess a more even split than last year when Freeman got about 60 percent of the carries) and it'll be very interesting to see how Pender looks compared with Ryan Green this fall.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

If Jameis wins the job, do you think Jimbo would tailor the offense a little bit to match his running skills and overall athleticism? Not letting EJ run more was the biggest gripe I had with Jimbo over the last few years.

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

Good question, and I'm guessing some, but not a ton. With EJ, I was never entirely clear on why he didn't run as much. To hear him tell it, he wanted to run but had to convince Jimbo over the years to let him do it more. To hear others tell it, EJ never really liked running that much, so he didn't do it. I don't know. But with Jameis, I think there will be an obvious need to simplify the playbook as much as possible in the early going, which depending on how you want to look at it, could mean running more or less. I think the best way to answer this question is, let's see if he wins the job and then go from there.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Where does Willie Haulstead stand? He was a beast a couple years ago, but all I seem to have heard about him since he had his concussion is that he is still trying to lose enough weight to be effective.

David Hale
  (12:03 PM)

Thought he made some nice progress from last year. He was WAY overweight last season and was noticeably slow. He looked much more like the old Willie this spring. I think he's got a chance to be a regular contributor -- and if KB isn't careful, Willie will be taking those reps this season.

Crystina (Tallahassee )

Do you think Jimbo will open things up more in the fall? With guys like Bracy & Pender already here, then we have the speed of Kermit, Jose Wilson, John Franklin coming in during the summer...it would just make sense to me for him to spread teams more. Nobody in the ACC would be able to keep up. Plus you'd think he would change some things up since Coley (who knows our entire playbook) went to our rivals.

David Hale
  (12:05 PM)

I like your argument, but Jimbo is who he is. He's not going to rewrite his playbook -- but he may expand on it, particularly with a new QB under center who may bring a different skill set to the table. But as I said, there may be a push, particularly early on, to simplify things rather than complicate them, and of those potential playmakers you mentioned, none have an obvious role on offense just yet.

Jason (Bainbridge, GA)

Who do you think Jimbo designates as our starting RB? Is there any truth to the hype about Pender?

David Hale
  (12:06 PM)

My guess is Wilder gets the de facto title of starter largely because he's been such a vocal leader this spring. Pender has game-breaking speed and I thought he looked pretty good this spring but he really didn't show much between-the-tackles ability and his blocking still needs a lot of work.

Rendall (Tampa)

Percentage on Andrew Wiggins commit to fsu? We need OL in recruiting, see anyone who will commit to fsu?

Zach (Davenport)

Wiggins to UNC makes the most sense especially with bullock going pro. Opens a spot on what should be a title contender with him, Team that is always televised, and big factor he will play Jabari at least twice a year on the biggest stage. FSU only plays Jabari once. He also gets a shot to beat Kentucky at UNC

Stephen (Tallahassee, FL)

will there be 2 TE sets that consist of Haplea and Kourtzidis?

David Hale
  (12:08 PM)

I do think we'll see some two-TE sets this year, and I like Christo as a pass catcher so there's a chance for that. I thought Haplea made some great strides this spring and probably should've mentioned him earlier.

The Playmaker (Big D)

Will the Noles be able to handle the "U" this season?

David Hale
  (12:09 PM)

It'll be a fun game, I think. Miami should be much improved. Game's in Tallahassee though and it's late enough in the season that the FSU QB should have gotten a chance to get his feet wet. I'd still favor FSU for sure, but if there's one home game you've got circled as a potential upset, this is it.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Regardless of whether or not Jimbo's QB's have become stars, he's had many QB's under him have long and solid (not spectacular careers). Not many can still say that. Ponder might not be a star but he'll be a starter/backup for 10 years; same with Flynn.

David Hale
  (12:10 PM)

Agreed... and I think EJ can easily do the same. And really, if you compare the tools EJ brings to the table with Flynn or Ponder, it's not close.

Travis Lewis (NFL)

Run the tape of the OU game in Tallahassee for the reason Manuel didn't run that much?

Eric (Austin, TX)

Why hasn't the football team put more presure on Bracy to participate in spring? He is at school on a football scholarship not track right?

David Hale
  (12:11 PM)

Yes, and I'm not sure. At the end of the day, I'm guessing it's Bracy's decision, and he can still add value to the football team regardless. He's been in meetings and film study, so it's not like he'll be completely lost. It's a strange situation but Jimbo has dealt with similar issues before at LSU where he had guys like Deverey Henderson and Trindon Holliday.

DKupp (WPB, FL)

Last year against certain teams, it seemed like we were great a getting pressure with the front four, but the QB was able to squirm out and make plays against us ala UF, NCSt. Do you see Pruitt's new scheme as something that will be very effective against the better opponents on our schedule or is it too much of a work in progress?

David Hale
  (12:12 PM)

It'll definitely offer a lot more looks and it's designed to confuse the QBs much more than last year's did. My biggest concern at this point though is how much it'll confuse FSU's defenders running the scheme. It's going to take some time to get it down completely, and there may be some ugly plays along the way.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

I think Jamarcus Russell downgrades Jimbo Fisher's quarterback success rating significantly? :) Talk about a disaster.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Better Noles football player, Burt Reynolds or Lee Corso?

David Hale
  (12:14 PM)

Man, tough one... but I'll go with a great mustache over a giant mascot head.

David Hale
  (12:14 PM)

OK, that's all the time I've got. Appreciate so many great questions. we'll keep doing this every Tuesday so hopefully there's still plenty more to discuss. Have a great week, folks!