Yesterday, we discussed, among other things, whether, and the extent to which, FSU could survive an injury bug. Today, we complete second half of our two-part round table. This season will be very similar to the 2000 season; all of the odds were in our favor. Can we live up to the hype that we created for ourselves? Let's find out.
6) Will we notice a significant difference as we transition from Jeremy Pruitt to Charles Kelly?
- Teddy Hayduk: I couldn’t imagine a scenario where we will see anything drastically different. It seems to me that Jeremy Pruitt’s 2013 schemes certainly functioned well and exceeded expectations. With the release of the two deep depth chart yesterday we can see that the base 3-4 scheme will be in place, with the ability to show 4-3, 5-2, 4-2-5 and 3-3-5 looks as well. I certainly hope Kelly keeps some of the more exotic looks Pruitt employed. I can distinctly remember one wherein FSU had all 4 LBs on the line, only to drop two into coverage along with a stood-up DE.
- WallStreetNole: I believe we will. The hybrid 3-4 appears to be in motion to becoming a hybrid 5-2. I was a bit harsh on the internal hire of Kelly but I hope he proves me wrong. I think the biggest emphasis will be to continue being no traditional in looks and formations. This will keep opposing teams guessing and hopefully slow down high powered spread offenses.
- Duke: I am curious, to say the least. I think adjustments, more than anything, will be what I look for. Pruitt was a master of adjustments last year (think back to the games against Pittsburgh and Boston College). Meanwhile, Stoops wasn't as great at making adjustments (see, e.g., NC State) and it costs us. Pruitt was the "rookie" defensive coordinator whereas Stoops was the "veteran" so it's clear that the success has more to do with instincts than experience. Kelly has a combination of both; his defensive coordinator stint at Georgia Tech went surprisingly well.
7) Toughest thing about repeating and getting back to the NC
- Teddy Hayduk: This is going to sound fatalistic, but I really think its luck. FSU has plenty of talent—more than any team in the country and is heavily favored in all of its games. The numbers would tell us that FSU will handedly win every game we play during the regular season. But that’s just the thing: numbers are only numbers. They can imply trends, but never predict the future. For FSU to go 29-0 the past two seasons and avoid what statisticians refer to as “regression to the mean” (the increased likelihood that a sample set will trend back towards the population average after exhibiting a uncommon or inconsistent trend), it will take a multitude of uncontrollable factors falling distinctly in FSU’s favor.
- WallStreetNole: I think keeping momentum will be the hardest. Key wins at Clemson and UF last year really came at a great time. This year those key wins hopefully will be on the road at Louisville and at home vs Notre Dame.
- Duke: Avoiding injuries. We were awfully lucky last year and lady luck, while very giving, doesn't give forever. If ever there were a team to sustain an injury, it would be this one. I still think a Sean Maguire-led team could win the ACC.
8) What player will have a breakout year that nobody is talking about.
- Teddy Hayduk: I'd love to see Cason Beatty have a breakout year. The term “breakout” in this case is relative, obviously. I just would like to see him have an average year by other punters’ standards. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in my heart of hearts the kid will just suddenly be a capable punter, but I still hate to watch guys not reach their potential or to play the position below their skill level. I do not think Beatty is as truly bad of a punter as we saw last season—I think he may have been struggling with some mental or physical aspect of the game (or off the field strife) that isn’t directly related to putting toe to leather.
- WallStreetNole: Ronald Darby. After PJ's performance in the NC all eyes are on him as the leader of the secondary. Throw in Jalen Ramsey as the nations best sophomore, along with the return of Tyler Hunter, you are left with Ronald Darby flying beneath the radar. I love this as I believe Darby is our best corner and will play great football this year.
- Duke: DeMarcus Walker. Maybe some folks are talking about him, those closest to the program, but he's nowhere near being discussed nationally. Walker has the potential to play several positions and has been under the tutelage of Mario Edwards. Walker, in my mind, is the breakout player and in a big, big way.
9) Toughest game on the schedule?
- Teddy Hayduk: Two weeks ago I would have said Notre Dame, but we know that’s highly unlikely in the wake of their player suspensions. I guess Id have to say our good pals down in Gainesville pose the most formidable threat. If they can generate any offensive productivity whatsoever to compliment an already excellent defense, the Noles will have a rough go at it come Thanksgiving weekend.
- WallStreetNole: It's hard to argue against the Thursday night game against Louisville. It's sad because I expect us to be so much better than that team but Thursday's are just a curse. Even when we win those games we still play like garbage.
- Duke: No doubt, Louisville. It's Thursday. The team that Charlie Strong built is now coached by one of the better coaches of the past decade (Petrino). It's the right team, the right environment (on Thursday night), and if we're not careful, we are going to lose to them.
10) How will Winston's performance compare to last year's?
- Teddy Hayduk: Jameis will have another productive year for FSU. His second year starting in the system will lead to improved decision making. He has also touted his desire to work on his footwork and balance this offseason, which was his single noticeable fault last year. When he was inconsistent last season it was due to a tendency to overstride just a bit, which lead to inadequate weight transfer and a loopy delivery. I think he fixes that this season and we see an even more pro-ready QB emerge. The media will create hype around several other potential Heisman contenders including Dak Prescott, Bryce Petty, and Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, but none will be a complete, legitimate threat.
- WallStreetNole: Similar, maybe a slight drop off statistically speaking. I believe Jameis will be more seasoned and will improve his decision making along with his footwork this year. It may not necessarily show up in the stat box though. He could throw for 5 less TD's and 400 less yards and still have an incredible season.
- Duke: I have far more questions than answers, here. I may be in the minority, but I think Jameis Winston has no way of fulfilling his prophecy this year. It depends on which Winston arrives... will it the one that methodically broke down the defenses of Pittsburgh and Clemson? Or will it the one that started settling for the flashier, bigger plays later in the season? I have to think that the NFL is on Winston's mind and he realizes how close he is to NFL stardom. He proved last year that he could handle off-season distractions, but there's no bigger distraction than wondering about your future. Does he play with any hesitation knowing that an injury could cost him millions? Or will we get the same leader that rallied the troops before the Clemson game? I'm anxious to find out.
Photo Credit: Melina Vastola