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May 28, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:02 AM)

Hey folks, hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend. I woke up to construction workers jackhammering outside my window... so hopefully I can still provide you with a few coherent answers today in spite of the situation. Fire away with some questions...

Jack from Jacksonville [via mobile]

Hey how are you?

David Hale
  (11:03 AM)

Not bad. How about you?

Hareshomahashi (San Jose)

Who do you think will win the ACC

David Hale
  (11:06 AM)

It's tough not to predict Clemson as the favorite at this point, largely because of Boyd, Watkins and the fact that the Tigers' D really took a step forward as the season progressed last year. But I think it's worth noting that FSU's defense is still probably a superior unit (though we don't really know what to expect from Pruitt in Year 1) and aside from QB, FSU's offense is just as experienced and potentially just as talented. So what's the real difference between the two teams? Jameis Winston and the fact that FSU plays at Clemson this year. That tips the scales just a bit, but if Winston develops quickly, it certainly isn't an obstacle FSU can't overcome.

Nathan [via mobile]

I am very impressed by Winston mostly with his sky is the limit attitude and the way he takes on everything knowing that he can do it. Should Nole nation be so high on him?

David Hale
  (11:08 AM)

Yeah, the kid has star potential, and he's got a great attitude to go along with it. Players like Winston don't come along every year, so you might as well enjoy the ride. But what I would caution is that every QB goes through some adversity. (Go back and look at Manziel's games against UF and LSU last year.) I'll be very interested to see how both Jameis and the fan base react to the first game in which he seriously struggles. Because it's going to happen -- and whether the season is successful or not will depend largely on how he bounces back.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Why does it seem like FSU is reporting later for fall practice? They play the earliest game and dont have a full practice until Aug 11.

David Hale
  (11:12 AM)

Yeah, that's a little later than usual (I think first practice was Aug. 6 last year) and they only start 1 day later than they did a year ago. But practice days are regulated by the NCAA, and I'm guessing Jimbo has built the schedule around class schedules and (perhaps) the availability of the fields with completion of the IPF due around Aug. 1 (but not necessarily done that day). It's easy enough to build in an extra two-a-day session or skip 1 or 2 off days to make up for any lost time. Plus, with the IPF, they have the luxury of not worrying about rain outs this year.

Nathan [via mobile]

Latest on Thomas?

David Hale
  (11:14 AM)

From the most recent info I've heard, there's not a whole lot new to report right now. FSU is in a bit of a holding pattern, but staying in touch with Thomas throughout. The two sides will meet in the near future to try to get things completely figured out, but as I said last week, I'll be very surprised if Jimbo lets Thomas out of his LOI.

Lenei (Marshall,MN)

Do you like the no flopping rule in the WNBA?

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

Ummmm....

kaleigh ware (620 west kansas st pittsburg ks)

i love the movie ghost rider 1 and 2 I watch it all the time how did you get the fire when you turned into the ghost

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

Uhhhh.....

Lou (Oregon)

Who would you say is the best player from Oregon to ever play at FSU?

David Hale
  (11:16 AM)

OK, I'm stumped on this one, too.

Nathan [via mobile]

How is the indoor practice facility coming?

David Hale
  (11:17 AM)

I drove by last week and from the exterior it looks pretty much done. Of course, in talking with folks from FSU, they said it's the little details -- design work, landscaping, etc. -- that will take forever.

David Hale
  (11:17 AM)

As far as I know though, it's still scheduled to be open in time for fall practice.

Brad (Tulsa)

What is the one area of the team, that if that aspects reaches its full potential, can catapult the Noles into the National Title game this coming season?

David Hale
  (11:20 AM)

I'm tempted to say QB play here, but that's probably too easy. Yes, if Winston has a Johnny Manziel season then FSU will be a much better team than most have expected, but I think that's putting a lot onto a freshman. I think perhaps the more realistic answer is the O line. The group took a big step forward last season, but they were still inconsistent and rarely dominant. But it's a very veteran group right now, and there's legit NFL talent there. If they take the next step and develop into one of the nation's premier groups, that helps both the running game and Jameis, and I think there's enough talent on the rest of the offense that FSU could be very dangerous.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Do you think the Thomas saga can hurt FSU recruiting down in Miami and Booker T High or do most young recruits understand once they sign that LOI, they are locked in

David Hale
  (11:22 AM)

It's a good question, and I'm not sure there's a universal answer. For some kids, it may make FSU look bad. 17-year-olds don't always have the best grasp of the significance of responsibility and commitment. On the other hand, I do think the majority of players (and definitely HS coaches) understand why FSU can't just let the kid walk. In the end, I think whether Thomas plays at FSU or not, this will be resolved with both parties SAYING they made the best of it (whether or not they're actually happy) and it'll blow over by next year.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who will be the Starting Quarterback for Florida State in 2013 Since now EJ Manuel is playing for the Buffalo Bills?

David Hale
  (11:23 AM)

That's pretty clearly Jameis Winston right now. Better question: How do you think EJ will do in Buffalo?

Nathan [via mobile]

Injury reports on the injured noles.. There are to many to name

David Hale
  (11:24 AM)

Last I talked with Jimbo (about 3 weeks ago) he said all injured players were on track to be ready for summer 7-on-7 drills. I've seen a few players that were hobbled this spring doing well, too. So at this point, no major injury concerns.

Cam (Boca Raton)

Minus the Clemson game on the road and our trip to the swamp, the schedule this year doesn't seem to daunting. What are your thoughts on how many wins this squad may get?

Nathan [via mobile]

Most places have FSU ranked somewhere between 10th and 16th. I think that's a little on the lower side based on the level of talent we will e putting in the field. In your opinion what is ur preseason top 10? If it doesn't contain FSU where do u have them

David Hale
  (11:27 AM)

Yeah, I think the biggest issue is that a lot of pundits are wary of picking FSU as a preseason top 10 because they've fallen short of preseason expectations so often in the past. But look at the teams typically ranked ahead of them: Texas, Oregon, Notre Dame... aren't there a bunch of questions there, too? I haven't sat down and really studied things enough to give you a true top 10 right now, but my guess is when I do, FSU will be in the 9-12 range, and I think that's probably a fair place to start.

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

Whoops... skipped Cam's question about the schedule. My bad. I think the rock bottom for FSU is probably 8 wins. I look at the Clemson, Florida, Pitt and Miami games as the only times FSU might possibly be an underdog, so even if they go 0-4 in those games, you're looking at an 8-win season (and, frankly, I'd be shocked if they went 0-4 in those games). On the other hand, Jimbo has had a knack for losing one he has no business losing over the past few years, so it's hard to peg any game as a sure thing. Still, I think if I was making a projection right now, I'd figure FSU on a 9-3/10-2 regular season.

Ray (Rockledge, FL)

How do you think the o-line will be this year?

David Hale
  (11:32 AM)

As I mentioned earlier, I think the potential is there for this to be one of the top groups in the country. Of course, it's also possible it could be a huge disappointment. Cam Erving could be a future first-rounder... but how much has he really developed from last year? Those guards are very experienced now... but are they really that good? I've got some doubts. And Bobby Hart certainly appeared to be on a better path this spring... but will that continue? And then add in an injury or two, and it gets ugly fast. It might be the hardest area of the team to project right now and I think it also might be the most important.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Jameis being a redshirt FR, do you see him only playing 2 seasons and moving on if he produces, or could you see him staying longer to keep playing 2 sports?

David Hale
  (11:34 AM)

Well keep in mind, after 2 football seasons, he could be drafted in either sport. If he's a first-round pick in baseball, is that the better move for him? If he's projected as a first-rounder in the NFL after 2 years, is that enough to give up baseball altogether? The problem is, I don't think Jameis is even considering these options right now, so it's tough to predict what will happen. I'll just say it wouldn't surprise me much if he was only in Tallahassee through 2014.

Nathan [via mobile]

With some positions having such depth, Any word on any players transferring or leaving for a bigger opportunity

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Do you see FSU losing anymore players via transfer? Or do you think the roster is pretty much set?

David Hale
  (11:36 AM)

At this point, I haven't heard about anyone seriously considering a transfer, but things can change a bit over the summer. Of course we couldn't have predicted the Greg Reid situation a year ago, and things like that happen. I really don't think Coker or Maguire has any intentions of transferring at this point, nor would it make a lot of sense for them to do so. Aside from that, there aren't many soph/juniors who a.) aren't going to play much and b.) have a valid reason for transferring.

Nathan [via mobile]

Unrelated: how much of an impact will not having Golson on the field this year have on Notre dame?

David Hale
  (11:38 AM)

It'll be a big impact, but the offense wasn't really what carried ND last year anyway. Rees isn't terrible (despite what some ND fans think) so they've got someone with legit experience who can step in, and while it sounds like Keil isn't coming back, I suppose that remains something of a possibility.

Nathan [via mobile]

Who will be the most valuable new coach on the staff when this season is over, and even going in To recruiting?

David Hale
  (11:39 AM)

Pruitt, hands down. He's already had a big impact on recruiting, and he's seriously overhauling a defense that was awfully good a year ago. I'm not entirely sure how that will go or what fans will think of him by year's end (mostly because the on-field bar has been set so high) but none of the new coaches will have as many fingerprints on this team as Pruitt will. As an under-the-radar option though, I think it'll be interesting to see how Sanders' laid-back personality might help balance Jimbo's demanding approach with the QBs.

Frank (Virginia Beach)

Do you think the defensive line will be as dominant with Jernigan, Goldman, and Edwards? Can Casher or Newberry step up on the other side?

David Hale
  (11:42 AM)

Casher/Newberry is the big question (and Dan Hicks should be in that discussion, too). I think if you just go by talent and potential, the Edwards-Goldman-Jernigan threesome is probably better than the Werner-McCloud-Dawkins unit by a decent margin. But Werner was an incredibly smart, versatile, detail-oriented player, and we're not sure yet if Edwards can be that. And the potential downgrade from Carradine to Newberry/Casher/Hicks could be huge. Of course, it wouldn't shock me if FSU ends up in a lot more 3-4 looks, with Casher and Newberry playing something of an OLB role... which may suit their skill set a bit better.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Do you sense any feelings of entitlement with this year's team because of their success last season, or do they still seem hungry for more?

David Hale
  (11:43 AM)

Haven't really been around all of them enough at this point to say for sure, but I really don't think so. For one, I still think a lot of them view last year as a season in which they could've done more. Secondly, the expectations from outsiders are so much lower this year that I think it could be a good motivator. And third, so many of the key guys to last year's success (EJ, Pryor, Werner, Carradine, Rhodes) are gone, which means a lot of younger guys are now looking to put their stamp on the program.

Jerry (Palm Coast, FL)

When is Jimbo going to hire an offensive coordinator? I'm a Jimbo fan, and I like the direction the program is heading in since he took over, but with the amount of weapons on offense this team has, there were some games (NcSt especially) that left me scratching my head. As good as the offense was most of the time last season, they should have been better in some key spots and the playcalling was a big reason why.

David Hale
  (11:45 AM)

You'll get no argument from me on that, but I don't think Jimbo is going to be in any hurry to hire a full-time OC. It's definitely not happening this year, and maybe not next. I think perhaps the bigger issue here is one of trust... how much does Jimbo trust his players and his assistants? It's not as if he doesn't know how to call a football game. It's that I think, at times, he doesn't trust his players enough to execute the calls he should be making. And he obviously doesn't trust his assistants enough to let one of them take over the play calling. But I do like Randy Sanders and I think his personality and experience may provide a nice counterbalance to Jimbo. Add in Winston's potential, and this becomes an intriguing year in the whole play-calling debate.

Mike (Pensacola)

Hi David, James Wilder Jr. is an absolute beast and under used in my opinion. What is stopping him from being the Noles primary ball carrier ?

David Hale
  (11:47 AM)

He's most certainly a best, no question about that. And I do think he'll get more reps this season. I really liked the leadership role he took on this spring, and that didn't go unnoticed by the coaching staff. But here's a question: I used to cover baseball, and every time some bench guy put together a hot week or two, everyone would call for him to get more playing time. But what usually happened was in a bigger role, his flaws were exposed. Would the same happen with Wilder? I don't know. He's actually a fairly complete player, but I worry about his success running outside the tackles and the wear and tear of 20 carries a game on a guy that enjoys getting hit.

Ray (Rockledge, FL)

How many Heisman's does Winston win? 3 or 4?

David Hale
  (11:48 AM)

Nine?

Nathan [via mobile]

Many places have Louisville in the top ten and ahead of any other acc team... Do u see the cards as one of or the top team in the conference?

David Hale
  (11:49 AM)

So much of preseason rankings is based around the QB, and Teddy Bridgewater is getting a lot of love. I think Louisville will be good though, and that schedule is a joke. It's tough to find a loss on there unless something goes really wrong for the Cards.

Frank (Virginia Beach)

FSU has the best receiving corps in the country, hands down. So do you think that will hinder Winston's development as a dual threat quarterback? Do you think Fisher is going to expect him to be mainly a pocket passer like EJ was?

David Hale
  (11:51 AM)

I don't know if I'd say "best" but definitely one of the deepest. But it may actually be that Winston hinders them. The beauty of depth is that you have multiple options, but the biggest obstacle for a young QB is usually moving past the initial read and finding 2nd, 3rd and 4th options. If Winston struggles early with that, it undermines one of FSU's biggest offensive strengths. But the counter to that is that Jameis can run -- and I expect he will. Jimbo's play calling is never going to demand a lot of QB runs, but if you look back at previous seasons, the inexperienced QBs ran the most.

Ray (Rockledge, FL)

Which player(red-shirt freshman or previous back-up) do you expect to have a break-out year

David Hale
  (11:52 AM)

Good question. A few guys I'd throw out there: Dan Hicks had a great spring and is in position to win a starting job. Chad Abram isn't going to be Lonnie Pryor, but I think he'll be used more than a lot of us initially predicted. I think Eddie Goldman takes a big step, and if PJ Williams can carve out a big enough role, I think he's got a huge upside. And, of course, if you count Karlos as a back-up last year, then he's probably at the top of the list.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

I read a quote from Jimbo that said winning the ACC last year has made the retuning players more confident and made them think like champions? Do you think this team is mature enough to handle success or could you see them feeling like they have "arrived" just because of their success last season?

David Hale
  (11:54 AM)

I don't put a whole lot of stock in that "learning how to win" stuff, but I do think that there's something to knowing how much work you need to put in to get where you want to be. But as I said earlier, there's been enough turnover on this team in terms of both players and coaches that there's still plenty of hunger to accomplish something while keeping a nice mix of legitimately good leadership (Telvin, Lamarcus, Jernigan, Rashad, Wilder, Stork, etc.).

Nathan [via mobile]

At the end of the season will there have been more passing yards or rushing yards?

David Hale
  (11:56 AM)

Safe answer is definitely rushing given the young QB, but every year Jimbo's been here, it's been passing by a pretty wide margin. I think Jameis will have a few struggles (and he'll also add to the rushing totals) but he'll make enough big plays that I'd bet passing totals finish a good bit higher than rushing.

Frank (Virginia Beach)

Any idea if O'Leary learned how to hold on to the ball this offseason?

David Hale
  (11:57 AM)

Great question... and I have no idea. I think O'Leary needs to understand that his job isn't to be a superstar but rather to be consistently productive. He can be a huge threat if he can routinely grab those underneath passes and exploit mismatches without making costly mistakes.

Christian (Orlando )

I can see a reason why Jimbo hasn't announced a starting QB yet, but why delay the inevitable already knowing that Jameis will start.

David Hale
  (11:58 AM)

I think it's one of those things where everyone knows what's not being said, so why bother saying it before you have to? If this keeps Coker and Maguire happy and keeps a little bit of a fire under Winston, then what's the problem?

Tim (AZ)

FSU was so explosive catching the ball out of the backfield in the 90's. Will we see more of that with the threat of Winston?

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

I think that's a good observation. For one, with a young QB having that check-down option is a big help. Secondly, I think we saw a good bit of it last year before CT4 got hurt. Third, Jimbo has routinely praised the receiving ability of both Wilder and Abram, and Devonta can get the job done, too. Will it be 1990s Warrick Dunn-level? Probably not. But I think it'll be a real weapon this year.

Frank (Virginia Beach)

Is there a national championship coming to Tallahassee in the next 3 years?

David Hale
  (12:00 PM)

So tough to predict that because it's so hard to win... but I do think if Jameis leaves without one, there will be some disappointed fans.

Nathan [via mobile]

In many ways Jimbo seems outspoken and even at times brash when it comes to his decisions to haveing things done his way, but when things are close he seems to pull back and take the safer approach. Do u see Jimbo gambling more this season, particularly when it comes to play calling at the big moments? It seems he will call anything when the noles are up but if its close he taps the breaks

David Hale
  (12:01 PM)

This touches on what I was saying about trust. I think you've hit the nail on the head, and as much as I think Jameis has endless potential, I'm not sure a first-year starting QB helps this situation any.

Nathan [via mobile]

O'leary, Benjamin, wilder jr, all three are potentially game changers who has the biggest impact this year after an underwhelming season last year

David Hale
  (12:02 PM)

Agreed... those might be three of the biggest physical mismatches in the ACC. If I'm picking one, probably Wilder because I think he's the most complete player of the bunch. O'Leary and Benjamin have some growing up to do, but both could be serious impact guys this year if they can take the next step. For Wilder, I think it's about getting the opportunity. For the other two, it's on them to make it happen.

Boris (Texas)

How good was Menelik Watson last year? How do you see his transition to the NFL?

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

He had some rough edges to his play, which is to be expected, but I think the numbers suggest he was very good, and I don't think it's unreasonable to say he was FSU's most consistent lineman. I wonder if he'll struggle a bit at the next level early on, particularly if they move him to the left side, but I've not been around too many guys with his combination of physical talent, work ethic and maturity. Eventually, he's going to be very good, it may just take a year or two.

David Hale
  (12:04 PM)

OK folks, that's all the time I've got. I really appreciate all the great questions. We'll be back at it next week!