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Q&A Conversation - Florida State

Your bloggers here at Testudotimes had a great opportunity to speak to the writers over at SBN's Tomahawk Nation , who were kind enough to answer some questions about FSU and the upcoming ACC showdown this Saturday night.

They do a great job over there, so if you ever need info about FSU, that's the place to go.

You can read the Q&A's that they asked us to answer here.

1. How's FSU's QB play been lately? I've been hearing some discontent with Christian Ponder from my FSU friends. Are you considering a backup?

It's been up and down.  Some FSU fans are happy with redshirt sophomore Christian Ponder.  Others think he is a horrible passer.  I'm split on the issue.  Ponder has a good arm, and he is extremely athletic, posting the best Pro Shuttle time on the entire team.  Jimbo Fisher loves having a mobile quarterback, and it looks like Christian is a good fit.  Ponder wants to throw for first downs and touchdowns.  It's a nice change from our former QB, who would often throw a 7 yard pass on 3rd and 13.  In doing so, however, he does take some chances.  He's thrown 5 TD's and 10 picks in D1 play  (his stat line says 11, but one was a pass that he threw, had tipped, caught himself, ran with, and fumbled.  Figure that one out). 

2.       For those uninitiated with FSU's offense, could you give a quick overview of the best players and the gameplan?

We're a multiple formation offense with limited motion.  I, 2TE singleback (w/ an Hback), and a multitide  of 3, 4, and 5 wide receiver sets.  FSU has a lot of playmakers on offense.  Our 2 main RB's are Antone Smith and Jermaine Thomas.  11 players have caught 6 balls or more this year, and all of them are capable receivers.  There really isn't one receiver an opposing team needs to take away, as they are all dangerous in their own unique way.  Jimbo Fisher has really restocked the talent in this area.  FSU's offense is much more run oriented this year than in past years, ranking 28th Nationally after ranking outside the top 90 for the past 5 years.  FSU runs for big plays, not to maintain down and distance.  Think West Virginia with Pat White and Co., just toned down.  The Offensive Line is the youngest in the Nation (3 freshmen, 2 soph's), and also one of the lightest.  They're good run blockers, and really excel at getting to the 2nd level, but struggle mightily in pass protection. 

3.       Pretty much the same question here, except defense instead of offense.

Standard 4-3 defense.  Vert fast.  Good corners, linebackers, and defensive ends.  Tackle play is suspect, as is the safety play (especially now).  Can be run-on.  Will bring pressure on 3rd down, frequently blitzing 6+ men.  We mix that with incomprehensible coverage schemes, to our detriment. 

4.       The Maryland running game seemed to find its stride last week against UNC. What's FSU's plan or best chance at stopping it?

FSU will go with 8 in the box on early downs, shading a safety to DHB's side.  The safety will likely be a former linebacker.  FSU will use penetration to stop Scott and Meggett before they gain momentum.  FSU often sells out early to stop the run. 

5.       If you could take one player from Maryland and put him on FSU, who would you take?

I'd take your center.  I'm sure everyone names DHB here, but we're loaded at WR.  Ryan Mcmahon, our sophomore center, was a freshman all American, but he's not playing all that well this year, and I have concerns over his ability to add weight. 

6.       How much did the suspension of five wide receivers affect Florida State in the Boston College loss?

Quite a bit, both in execution and the mental aspect.  2 of Ponder's 3 picks in the BC game were a direct result of a poorly run route.  Additionally, some guys were involved in the fight *allegedly*, but not suspended. 

7.       Who's the one player – offensive or defensive – Maryland needs to gameplan around?

Defensive End Everette Brown is listed by Todd McShay of ESPN as the top pass rushing draft prospect available.  Brown is a 6'4 255 LB speed demon off the edge.  Just a junior, he is already one of the top tackle for loss guys ever at FSU.  BC and NC State did an excellent job of double teaming Brown.  Clemson, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and Colorado did not… and they paid dearly. 

8.       What's the one player or area that Maryland should look to exploit?

Maryland needs to stay committed to the run game, particularly between the tackles.  Our DT's simply aren't what you expect from a typical Seminoles Team.  Maryland must win this matchup.  If FSU wins the interior of line of scrimmage on defense, Maryland will have to try to outrun FSU, and nobody has done that to date.   

9.       How do you feel having a coach on your team named Jimbo?

I really like Jimbo.  He's sharp, a great recruiter, a tireless worker, high energy, and eager to get FSU back to the top.  If FSU's administration allows him to choose his defensive staff this offseason, we'll be well on our way. 

Do you think MD will be able to exploit FSU's secondary, especially with Rolle missing part of the game for his Rhodes Scholarship interview and Darius McClure hurting his knee pretty bad while celebrating an interception in the game last week?

Yes, for sure, but it's important to note that McClure was a part-time starter at best.  This hurts becasuse we're moving from having 2 starters (1+.5 +.5) to 1 (.5 jamie robinson, and one half of Myron Rolle).  Look for Robinson to play centerfield for a good part of the night.

10.   Any final thoughts you want Terp fans to know?

I've always had a lot of respect for Ralph as a designed of offense.  I also think the Terps give roids to one prospect every few years (Davis, Merriman), haha).  Kidding, haha.  Overall though, I have a lot of respect for the Maryland program.  That's a hard area to recruit and Friedgen and co have done a good job overall.