Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

September 19, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (4:01 PM)

Hey folks. Sorry to disappoint anyone hoping for Andrea Adelson here... she's in the process of prepping for tonight's big Clemson-NC State game, so you're stuck with me. But I'll do my best to be informative and entertaining... or at least occasionally write in complete sentences. Fire away with questions!

Danny (Tampa)

David, If FSU V Clemson was this weekend , who would you take? Also, do you think the winner will play for the Nat'l Championship game?

David Hale
  (4:02 PM)

Hey Danny -- Honestly I think I'd lean toward Clemson right now. Obviously the location of the game plays a big factor in that, but also the Tigers have been tested in a way FSU has not. Moreover, I still have some concerns about that FSU defense. The front four has not played as well as hoped (aside from Jernigan) and they've started slow in both games. Against Clemson, that could be deadly. I think FSU has established it's not going to go down quietly, but I'd still consider Clemson a mild favorite.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Is Ruben Carter going to be in for Tre Jackson given the opponent this week?

David Hale
  (4:03 PM)

We should find that out in about 2 hours when we get the official FSU injury report. My guess is that Carter will play this week. No sense rushing Jackson back against an FCS opponent.

Steve F (FLA)

How do you think Jamesis will do against better competition? When will we see growing pains?

David Hale
  (4:05 PM)

Yeah, I think Jameis will see some growing pains. That's going to happen for anyone. But the thing to be excited about is that a.) He seems much more capable of handling Jimbo's personality and responding well to that criticism, and b.) he seems like a kid who rises to the moment when the spotlight is brightest. He's learning, like any first-year player. But he's got the right mind-set for overcoming that adversity.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Long time, no chat Dave. I know this isn't the time of season to ask this, but I've always wondered: would Jimbo bolt for an SEC job ala Miss St or Mizzou OR an NFL OC job?

David Hale
  (4:06 PM)

I know! We shouldn't go so long between chats... I get lonely. Anyway, to answer your question, I think this will be an interesting offseason. There could be some very big jobs open (Nebraska, Texas, USC) and Jimbo may be a bit miffed he didn't get the contract extension he wanted after last year's ACC title. I would be surprised if he doesn't at least kick the tires on another job just because it would likely at least lead to more $$ here.

David Hale
  (4:07 PM)

As for those jobs you mentioned though, I don't see it. He's in a better spot at FSU than he'd be at Miss St or Mizzou... and even the best NFL OC job isn't going to pay what he's getting as the head guy here. Now... if he wins big in the next year or two and an NFL head job opens? That's a different story.

Jeff (Charlotte)

With news of Texas A&M getting 740 million in pledges this year, where do you see the ACC and more specifically FSU going? It was a big deal to get 15 million for the indoor facility but that seems like a tiny drop in the bucket. FSU has tradition, but are they at risk of falling from the top tier?

David Hale
  (4:09 PM)

Honestly, Jeff... I think every program views itself as "at risk." The pendulum is swinging so far and so fast that I think every program is worried about keeping up. The good news for FSU is that the administration understands this and is really working to be proactive on that front. That's a BIG reason Stan Wilcox was brought in as AD. Will FSU fall behind? Will the ACC? It's so hard to say because there are so many factors at play. The only thing I feel overly safe saying is that the college football landscape in 10 years is probably going to be different in a number of ways that we're not even considering right now.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Could Karlos Williams shift back to the defensive secondary if an injury occurs there later this year or is he a RB for good?

David Hale
  (4:10 PM)

Could he? Yeah. But I'd be surprised if it happens. Jimbo wouldn't have moved him if he didn't feel FSU's depth was pretty solid in the secondary -- which it is. It'd require a run of injuries, not just one or two.

Lamont (MD)

What has happened to Darby for FSU?

David Hale
  (4:11 PM)

Injuries. He' still working his way back from offseason knee surgery and he's not 100 percent. He's played, but he's taken it slow. Ramsey/Joyner/PJ have held down the fort. I assume we'll see more of Darby as the season progresses.

Theo (florida)

David will Miami win the ACC?

David Hale
  (4:12 PM)

Obviously the win over Florida was a big one, and I'm extremely impressed at the progress of that defensive front. That was a big ?? for the Canes. But I'm still not convinced they're the best team in their own division, as Georgia Tech looks pretty good, too, and Miami's offensive performance against Florida was hardly eye-popping. They're off to a great start, and that's something we haven't been able to say in a while. I think they CAN win the ACC, but probably wouldn't predict they WILL.

Al (FL)

Will they rest Wilder's shoulder against BC this weekend and give Karlos Williams more carries?

David Hale
  (4:13 PM)

My assumption is Wilder will play. He's continued to downplay the severity of the injury, and he wants to be on the field.

Michael (Boston)

Duke Johnson is electric. Does he play at the next level given his size?

David Hale
  (4:14 PM)

There's a role for guys like that at the next level. He may end up being more of a third-down back, but you look at guys like Darren Sproles and even Reggie Bush and there are so many offenses that know how to utilize a guy with Duke's skill set.

Tafari (North Texas)

DH, do you think FSU get's it's first 1000 yard rusher this year? Or will we just have 3 900'ers.

David Hale
  (4:14 PM)

I still have my concerns whether JWJ makes it through the season unscathed. But I would not be at all surprised if one of them gets to 1,000 this year... Doubt it Karlos, but I think Freeman has a real shot and Wilder if he stays healthy.

Randy (Tennessee)

I'm really torn about who to choose for my ESPN Football Challenge this week in the ACC. Who do you think will have the best game at rb Jerome Smith or Roderick McDowell?

David Hale
  (4:17 PM)

NC State's allowing fewer than 80 yards per game on the ground so far, and I think Clemson wants to throw the ball with Tajh. Meanwhile, Cuse is breaking in a new QB and Smith could be a bell cow. I'd go with Smith against Tulane.

gary (ct)

A lot of excitement around the Canes and Golden. When will the NCAA decide on this whole debacle?? 2024?

David Hale
  (4:17 PM)

I'd say it's a 50-50 bet whether there is still an NCAA by the time they're ready to make a decision.

Red (NC)

Does Christian Jones get on the field as a WR for the 'Noles? I was hoping someone other than the main 3 WRs could contribute.

David Hale
  (4:18 PM)

Guessing you mean Christian Green... though Jones could probably be nasty there, too. Green had a big catch against Nevada last week, but his role has been more limited. I think coaches like the tight rotation of guys they trust while Jameis is getting his feet wet.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

It's probably too early to tell, but do you see Franklin sticking at QB?

David Hale
  (4:19 PM)

Coaches and players say a lot of good things, and he's been a valuable asset on the scout team as a mobile QB, but I think his better future is at WR or DB.

Nathan ga [via mobile]

Fsu beats Clemson by two scores... Does jameis have a real shot at the heisman?

David Hale
  (4:20 PM)

Yeah, he does. It'll be a lot like Manziel vs. Alabama last year -- best performance in the biggest game. Problem for Jameis is there is some really good competition for the award right now. Mariota, Bridgewater, Boyd, Gurley and about a half dozen other guys. I'd say he's a darkhorse now, but after Oct. 19, anything's possible.

Laura (Charleston SC)

Do you think Clemson can "run the table" with FSU and Carolina still on the schedule?

David Hale
  (4:21 PM)

No question. As I said earlier, I'd give them the edge over FSU at the moment, and if you believe in the transitive property of college football -- Clemson beats UGA, UGA beats SC, so therefore Clemson should beat SC. Obviously it doesn't always work that way, but Clemson is a very good football team.

Jay (Michigan)

NC St have a shot tonight? Everybody loves CL by 3+ scores, which tells me NC St has a great chance to win this game outright...

David Hale
  (4:22 PM)

The Wolfpack have made a habit of that, haven't they? I was there for FSU-NC State last year and it was inexplicable. But I think Clemson is all too aware of the reputations on either side, so I don't think NC State is sneaking up on anyone. And I'm just not sold on the QB situation at NC State right now. If Mitchell was healthy, it's a slightly different story.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Are you not doing your normal Tuesday morning chats anymore?

David Hale
  (4:23 PM)

Sorry... ESPN scrapped them. I'd like to think it was to avoid a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" type of overexposure, but that's probably not it.

Nathan ga [via mobile]

Karlos Williams first week didn't surprise me because _________

David Hale
  (4:24 PM)

He's a talented guy. But let's also be realistic here. That long run was blocked to perfection. He wasn't touched. All he had to do was run, and he's quite good at that. And this was Nevada, not Alabama. I don't think he'll be quite that good every time out, and I'm still not sold on what kind of role Jimbo envisions for him, but he's got potential for sure.

Nathan ga [via mobile]

I think we have seen a SUPER watered down version of the Fsu D so far this year... Can't give away all your secrets in weeks one and two/three . Ur opinion?

David Hale
  (4:25 PM)

Agreed... mostly. I still have concerns about the D line. They lost a lot of talent, and there are a lot of guys in new roles, and there's been very limited success so far -- even if the scheme is watered down.

Mark (VA)

Do the other FSU QBs anticipate Winston leaving after next year? When that happens, you still have Coker, Maguire, Cosentino, etc. Will Franklin and the other QB recruit convert to other positions?

David Hale
  (4:26 PM)

Winston is certainly on the track for that... but he is deadly serious about wanting to play baseball, too, and I don't think he's the type of guy we can make any predictions about when it comes to those things. He's gonna do what he wants, and he doesn't much care what we all think he should do. Coker may or may not stick around, but I know Jimbo LOVES Cosentino. I think the staff would be very comfortable handing the reins over to him in 2015 if need be.

Mike (Tampa)

How much does having a James Coley on UM's staff now help them in preparation for the FSU game?

David Hale
  (4:28 PM)

I'm sure it helps because he knows Jimbo's tendencies well, and I'm guessing his guys will want to have his back against his old team. But Jimbo's a smart guy, and I think he'll have a few new wrinkles planned for Miami, too... not to mention that he knows Coley's strengths and weaknesses well, too. Usually those things are mostly a wash.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

During garbage time I didn't see the backup TEs contribute much if at all, are they that raw?

David Hale
  (4:29 PM)

Yes, they are. Giorgio was on the field a few times -- including getting a flag when Wilder scored with the jumbo package in at the goal line. O'Leary needs to stay healthy because the rest of that group is probably a lost cause at the moment.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Is there a "Bring David Hale's chats back" hotline that we can call and complain to?

David Hale
  (4:30 PM)

I will look into that... though my guess is if you send some letters to Bristol, there will be a lot of people wondering "Who's David Hale? That pitcher for the Braves?"

George (MS)

Does FSU have problems recruiting TEs because they don't have a history like Miami at the position? I don't recall the TE being involved much when Jimbo was the OC at LSU either.

David Hale
  (4:31 PM)

That's true... though LSU used a lot of half-backs and fullbacks then, too. I think Jimbo has made a point to use the position more in recent years (and the numbers bear that out) but some schools have great traditions there (UGA, Virginia come to mind) and some don't. It's easier to recruit to the places that do, but I think Jimbo is slowly changing that perception at FSU. They've been in on some big name guys.

Kieran (New York)

What are your thoughts on Mike Evans having another huge game Saturday? Or will they sit him after they get a huge lead?

David Hale
  (4:32 PM)

That guy's a beast. I think he's going to have his share of big games this year -- though repeating the numbers from last week may not happen again. Fair to say Manziel-Evans is the best QB-WR combo in the country...

Kieran (New York)

What happened to Sammy Watkins two weeks ago? I had him on my College Football Challenge team and he did very poorly. Is this a sign of things to come? Any thoughts?

David Hale
  (4:35 PM)

I think that was just a strange game against a bad opponent. Boyd's numbers weren't great either. But if you look back at last year, there were times when Clemson really utilized Watkins in some odd ways -- a lot of decoy routes and short throws. I don't think that'll happen as much this year without Hopkins, and with Peake out for the year, I think Watkins' role only gets bigger.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Now that some time has passed since Coker lost out on the starting job, do you have a better sense if he will transfer at year's end or not?

David Hale
  (4:36 PM)

I wrote about that today! http://espn.go.com/blog/colleges/fsu/post/_/id/10022/coker-making-most-of-second-string-job

David (VA)

Where does FSU stumble THIS year? Seems like every year they lose one they shouldnt. Other than Clemson, who has the best shot to knock off the Noles?

David Hale
  (4:39 PM)

Sorry about that... minor internet difficulties.

David Hale
  (4:40 PM)

If I'm betting, I think FSU doesn't "stumble" against a clearly inferior team this year. I just don't see it. But if I have to pick one game, I think people are sleeping on Maryland a bit. That's a dynamic offense with Brown playing well. I'm not sure the Terps D will have much of an answer for Winston and the Noles, but I bet it's a better game than people think.

Kieran (New York)

Will CJ Brown continue his utter dominance this week?

David Hale
  (4:41 PM)

Yeah, I think he puts up good numbers again... that's an interesting game though. What's going on at WVU? And when does Clint Trickett get a shot?

Mike (Tallahassee)

Can you talk about Kelvin Benjamin's improvement this year for the Noles. It really seems like he has finally grown up and can be that big time target in crucial situations that FSU fans have been waiting for him to do.

David Hale
  (4:42 PM)

I'm always reluctant to say KB has grown up because he's already older than Shaw and Greene and he didn't show much maturity in the past. But, yes, he does look like he's more willing to do what's asked of him this year, and I think the tighter rotation keeps him on the field more and keeps his head in the game. If he gets his act together, he's a potentially huge weapon.

Tafari (North Texas)

Great question George! As pass-happy as Jimbo is, I would imagine that he would be looking for an O' Leary every year, yet the TE is seldom a well used piece in the game. DH, tell Jimbo to recruit some TEs!

David Hale
  (4:42 PM)

I will pass along your message!

Brandon (Orlando)

I know you talked a little bit about this in some earlier questions...but what is your gut instinct if an SEC job (or Texas) opens up and they want Jimbo Fisher. Does he bolt? It seems like he's always battling for FSU fans approval.

David Hale
  (4:44 PM)

I think it really depends on the job and the infrastructure. FSU can match salaries a lot of places (though probably not Texas, if the Horns really wanted him) but Jimbo is smart enough to know he doesn't want to start from scratch at a place that isn't willing to give him virtually complete control to make the program what he wants. He's like Saban -- a "process" guy. So he has to go to a place where there is an infrastructure in place to implement the process. I think that was a big reason why things never really developed between him and Tennessee last year.

George (MS)

Have you heard much from Jimbo regarding the DEs? Other than Jernigan, I haven't seen much from the DTs. Are the younger guys (Goldman, etc) making impacts during practice?

David Hale
  (4:45 PM)

Goldman has been OK. McAllister, too. I;d be more worried about the edge guys. Mario Edwards just had surgery on his hand and he may not play this week. Hicks hasn't looked great at either LB or DE. Walker is a work in progress. And the scheme, particularly for those guys, is still very new.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Excluding Doak, best and worst press boxes in the ACC (bonus: non ACC ones if you want)?

David Hale
  (4:47 PM)

Haven't been to all of them, but here's a quick run down of where I've been: Vandy is like a high school press box, which is actually kind of charming. South Carolina is roughly 900 miles off the field. Players look like ants. LSU has the best press box meals, not surprisingly. Georgia Tech is great... particularly for a night game... because you're right in the heart of the city. And after covering Phillies baseball and doing games at Sun Life for years, I can tell you there is no press box situation I hate more than Miami. That elevator only goes up two floors and yet the ride takes like 12 minutes. It's inexplicable. I could go on for hours...

Jeff (Charlotte)

Lots of media personnel have the big 3 in the ACC as FSU, Clemson, and UM...who is the 4th best team out there?

David Hale
  (4:49 PM)

That's a great question because I think the middle of the league is so muddled. I think Clemson and FSU are the elite. I think Miami COULD be there. Right now I'd put Georgia Tech at No. 4 because I think they've got some real skill on both sides of the ball and Lee can open up that offense a little more when need be. Then you've got a big mix of UNC, Virginia Tech (great D, horrid O), Maryland... even Pitt has some really explosive playmakers. I really have no idea how the middle of the conference shakes out, but right now I'd go with GT then UNC then a toss up between Maryland and VT.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Back to the Jimbo leaving question, are you saying USC and Texas are enough for him to start packing his bags?

David Hale
  (4:49 PM)

I'm saying they could offer enough money to make him dig the suitcases out of the closet... but there needs to be more to offer if he starts putting the laundry inside.

Tafari (North Texas)

As you said earlier, I too have a modicum of concern about our defense thus far. Do you think this is mainly due to a new system being implemented or something issues in dynamic on that side of the ball?

David Hale
  (4:50 PM)

Mainly the new system, but somewhat a level of skill on the D line.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Do you sense any frustration from Waisome? It has to be hard going from starting every game last year to being demoted to 2nd or 3rd string this year.

David Hale
  (4:51 PM)

He hasn't said anything publicly, but I'm curious to see how that plays out moving forward. He's a good kid, but I'm sure he wants to play more and that's a crowded secondary.

Tafari (North Texas)

Best guess on what season Pitt or 'Cuse reaches the ACCCG...

David Hale
  (4:52 PM)

Pitt is closer. Lot of young guys playing right now and I like Chryst as a coach. I could see that program being a real player in a year or two if they find an answer at QB. Syracuse is a bigger problem. The recruiting there has been a problem, and when Marrone left, that set things back. I like Shafer and I think he's a guy players will buy into in the long term... but that's a way bigger project right now.

Greg (Jacksonville)

Why does Heather Dinich and Andrea Adelson love to hate on the Noles?!

David Hale
  (4:53 PM)

Trust me when I tell you that, as a reporter, every fan thinks you hate their team any time you're not saying something good about that team. I promise you, both of them are completely open minded.

Tafari (North Texas)

I've noticed that there has been a stark improvement in the softness of hands in the WR core and I can only wonder if this can be attributed to the trust between JW and his receivers as opposed to that of EJ. Is there any merit to that statement?

David Hale
  (4:54 PM)

I think part of it is a real dedication from the WRs. They made a point of setting a high bar this offseason, and they're living up to it. But I've also been told by a couple of players that Jameis delivers the ball about as well as a QB can -- zip when he needs to, touch when he needs to. Gives them a chance to make plays, and they've done a good job of capitalizing.

Jason (Tampa)

Do you think the FSU veterans on the defense (Joyner, Jones, Smith) are having trouble buying into Pruitt's new defense since they were so successful under Stoops scheme?

David Hale
  (4:55 PM)

No, I don't think that's an issue. They all three have a lot to gain as far as NFL stock if they succeed in this D. And I can tell you there isn't a player in college football more "bought in" than Telvin Smith.

Jamison (Summerville SC)

What will it take for Tajh Boyd to win the Heisman?

David Hale
  (4:56 PM)

I think he just needs to keep winning and not do anything particularly bad. Clemson got a ton of early attention, has two more high-profile games upcoming, and Boyd was already a favorite coming into the season. He doesn't need to go out there and make a statement. He's already got all the attention he needs, just has to deliver good results.

Kieran (New York)

Who do you like in the Notre Dame v. Michigan State game Saturday? How do you think Rees will fare?

David Hale
  (4:56 PM)

I like Rees more than most people, I think, but that Mich State D is pretty tough. I give a slight edge to the Spartans right now, but I'm still on the fence about how good I think either team is.

David Hale
  (4:57 PM)

Time for just a few more questions folks...

Brandon (Orlando)

Do you think James Wilder leaves for the NFL even if he isn't projected to be a high pick?

David Hale
  (4:58 PM)

RBs don't go all that high normally anyway, but I think he also realizes with his style, his body is going to take a beating and he needs to maximize his return sooner than later. I think if he's a 2nd or 3rd-round guy, he'd probably go. Later than that, probably not. But I've talked to him about this at length and he insists he's not made any firm decisions yet.

Jeff (Charlotte)

I dont think Jimbo is going anywhere--but if he does bolt, where does FSU look for a coach? He assembled a pretty strong coaching staff with SEC ties...but I dont see any big name coaches who fit that mold

David Hale
  (4:59 PM)

I wouldn't even know where to begin putting that list together at the moment, and speculating is probably a bad idea. But I will say the name Chad Morris would certainly get some people talking.

Jay (Atlanta)

Wow, I see I walked into the FSU show! David, who do you like this weekend in the match up of GT and UNC? I think GT has really good team this year and looking foward to that match up in Miami! Thoughts?

David Hale
  (5:01 PM)

Haha... apologies on that, Jay, but I managed to build a good FSU following who haven't gotten to chat with me in a few weeks. Making up for lost time! Anyway, I'm really excited for that UNC-GT game. I think people are really undervaluing both teams because of how UNC looked to open the year against SC and because GT hasn't really played anyone yet. I'd lean toward the Jackets at the moment. I think that D has improved by leaps and bounds (though they had plenty of room to do so from where they started) and I think Vad Lee is capable of airing it out every once in a while to keep the UNC D honest. But I also wonder how much GT is looking ahead and how hungry UNC is to make up for that debacle in Chapel Hill last year.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

What other Juniors besides Jernigan, Cam Erving and possibly JWJ would you expect to declare?

David Hale
  (5:02 PM)

Those are the only ones I'd say are likely. Rashad is obviously very talented, but his size will make him a lot like Lamarcus -- little left to accomplish here, but not enough pull to jump early. O'Leary has NFL potential, too, but he needs to show a lot more before I'd say he's ready -- and obviously he's not in a situation where he needs the money now.

Dave (Vero)

What's the biggest difference from Stoops' defense and the one Pruitt brought to Tallahassee?

David Hale
  (5:03 PM)

Where do I begin? It's night and day. More blitzing. Tons of position and scheme changes. Lot more 3-4. And I'm not sure we've even seen the bulk of what Pruitt has in store.

Daniel (Seattle WA)

Who should I start in my Flex for a standard league. Tavon Austin or Julian Edelman?

David Hale
  (5:05 PM)

Well now that we've reached the fantasy football portion of our chat, I've gotta call it a day. Thanks for all the great questions folks! AA or HD will be back next week, but I hope we'll get to do this again soon. Oh, and I'd go with Austin. Rams O is better than people think this year!