We've had some good conversations with Tomahawk Nation since we started Blogger So Dear, so we reached out to talk about this week's showdown down in Tallahassee. We're talking Ponder, the 'Noles RB situation and just how badly TN thinks we're going to get stomped.
1.) Jermaine Thomas got the start last week in the backfield, but both Chris Thompon and Ty Jones played later in the game and fared quite well. What should we expect to see this week with regards to the Florida State running back situation?
Coach Jimbo Fisher claimed that Thomas suffered a hip injury early in the BYU game, but I don't buy it. He ran very hard against Oklahoma and Samford but he was incredibly soft against BYU and was pulled after 4 carries. Thompson & Jones are, like Thomas, good but not great backs who typically get the job done. If Thomas is "healthy" (aka not in the doghouse), he'll get some PT.
2.) There have been rumors of a Christian Ponder injury. Is this serious, and if so could we expect to see EJ Manuel at all on Saturday?
There is a real chance this could happen. The injury isn't serious, but FSU has a lot of factors to weigh here. The goal is to have a healthy, in sync Ponder for the Miami game on October 9th. As we reported earlier in the week, Ponder is battling a deep tricep bruise.
Florida State will get with Ponder, Fisher, coach Craig (QB coach), and the team doctor to make the call. If the benefit of playing and getting the reps with the young wideouts outweighs the risk of aggravating it, Ponder will play. If not, Manuel will go. There's also the professional concern for Christian that NFL scouts will see him playing to less than his true ability and not adequate consider his injury when evaluating him. Manuel took 1st team reps all week and he could even start.
3.) FSU has lost their two previous games at Doak to Wake (30-0 in 2006, and 12-3 in 2008) will these two losses have any impact at all on how pumped up the team will be or will this game simply be treated like any other ACC game?
I don't think it will have much impact other than keeping FSU grounded in the realization that Wake can win this game. There are no players around who played in the 2006 loss and very few who played in the 2008 game. As usual, the fans will play up the revenge angle more than the players or the coaches.
4.)FSU obviously has ACC title ambitions this year so every game is important. That being said, the FSU-Miami game is two weeks from now and with only Wake and UVA between this matchup is there any chance that FSU simply overlooks one of the next two teams?
I think there is a strong chance this happens. The players watched the Stanford film and like everyone else, there is no way they are taking Wake as seriously as they should. As for overlooking UVA, I don't see it because Fisher can tell them "UVA almost beat USC in their house!" One thing helping FSU, however, is that this is the second consecutive week that FSU has prepared for an option offense (BYU was running a good bit of option).
5.) With LT Andrew Datko out for this weekend's game will there be any problems on the offensive line or is there enough depth at the position for the Seminole backfield to feel confident in the pocket, and rushing the ball up the middle?
The offensive line is certainly an annoyance right now. Datko is a tremendous pass protector and an average run blocker. His replacement is red-shirt freshman Henry Orelus, who is a very powerful, raw kid. Given that, I think you could see more play-action or back help on the left side. But FSU also might want to throw Henry to the wolves to get him the work he needs with Miami coming up.
6.) Florida State comes into the game averaging nearly 37 points a game and are taking on a Wake Forest defense which allowed 68 points last week in an embarrassing loss to Stanford. How do you expect the Florida State offense to perform from a tactical standpoint?
I think FSU will work on the passing game a lot, knowing (or thinking) that it can run on Wake Forest whenever it needs to. FSU will try to work the ball to its young receivers to build confidence, and to the tight end because the #1 TE recruit in the country will be in attendance. Getting Henry Orelus work against Kyle Wilber will also be key. FSU might even force some balls to guys who aren't as open that they normally wouldn't throw.
7.) How do you see this game ending up? What are your expectations coming into the game, and what do you predict the final result will be?
I think FSU will win the game convincingly, 45-21. The defense will be tested and I see Wake's offense as better than its performance against Samford. Will FSU's new scheme make these guys play more disciplined? Early results of defensive discipline have been better. A lot of the offensive gameplan depends on whether Ponder plays. If Manuel goes, FSU will run a lot more. FSU needs to avoid turnovers and sloppy play to put Wake away early.