March 16, 2008

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Head coach: Bobby Bowden
Last season: 7-6, 4-4 in ACC - Music City Bowl loss to Kentucky, 35-28.
Spring practice: March 17-April 12.

Florida State suffered its second consecutive six-loss season in 2007 and has some questions entering spring practice this year. The Seminoles need to find depth at linebacker and at defensive tackle, and there could be a quarterback controversy brewing. Here's a look at the 'Noles as they prepare to open spring drills.

FLORIDA STATE
Drew Weatherford returns at quarterback but the starting job is far from determined.

RETURNING STARTERS
Offense6: WR Greg Carr, G Rodney Hudson (may move to tackle), C Ryan McMahon, T Daron Rose, TB Antone Smith, QB Drew Weatherford.
Defense8: E Everette Brown, CB Tony Carter, CB Michael Ray Garvin, E Neefy Moffett, LB Derek Nicholson, SS Myron Rolle, NT Budd Thacker, LB Dekoda Watson.
Special teams1: P Graham Gano.
EARLY ENROLLEES
LB Nigel Bradham (from high school), S Terrance Parks (high school), LB Vincent Williams (high school).

POSITIONS OF STRENGTH

Although Preston Parker isn't technically a returning starter, the combination of his versatility and Carr's red-zone ability gives Florida State plenty of strength at wide receiver. The Seminoles also return 2007 starters Carter and Garvin at cornerback, though Garvin will run track this spring and miss spring drills.

HELP IS NEEDED

Letroy Guion's decision to enter the NFL draft after his junior season leaves Florida State woefully short of depth at defensive tackle. FSU already had to replace Andre Fluellen, who completed his senior season last fall. Early-season suspensions are going to hurt Florida State across the board in September, but linebacker is the position that could suffer the most. The Seminoles did an excellent job of recruiting linebackers, and some of those first-year players may have to contribute immediately.

KEEP AN EYE ON

LB Nigel Bradham: Rated as the top 2008 prospect in Florida by Rivals.com, Bradham arrived on campus early and could challenge for an early-season starting assignment as suspensions force Florida State to rely on underclassmen.

QB Christian Ponder: Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has said he plans to open up the quarterback competition, which means Ponder has a legitimate shot to unseat incumbent starter Weatherford.

WR Bert Reed: His name rhymes with "speed," which Florida State has lacked in recent years. Reed should rectify that. The redshirt freshman reportedly has run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, which should make him a deep threat to complement Parker and Carr.

HIS TIME IS NOW

Jamie Robinson, a former four-star recruit and Rivals 100 prospect, primarily has worked as a backup cornerback his first two seasons. Robinson could have a better shot of earning significant playing time if he moves to free safety, where the Seminoles lack candidates to replace the departed Roger Williams.

THE BUZZ

Florida State heads into spring practice knowing it will have a severe lack of depth in its first three games because of suspensions. The Seminoles may have to spend part of spring practice trying to find out which inexperienced players can best fill the holes created by those suspensions. This spring also should show how good a chance Ponder has of unseating Weatherford as the starting quarterback.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.




 

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