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Q&A with Tomahawk Nation

The guys over at Tomahawk Nation suggested a little Q&A from our perspectives on this weeks almost-Bowden Bowl X. I declined to tell them we'd beat them by at least 5 TDs, but I hope readers enjoy. My answers are here.

I've watched LSU over the last 5 years nearly every week, so I'm familiar with Jimbo Fisher's offense. But tell us what you see fundamentally different between
his offense and Jeff Bowden's?

It starts with being able to realize what you have. Self scouting has been a major improvement. There are definite improvements in assessing player attributes, and as a result, Jimbo has put them in a better position to succeed. Accountability has changed as well. I'll go back to the self-scouting for a moment here, and by knowing how much a player can handle, Jimbo is able to figure out when to get mad at a kid, and when to realize that he couldn't handle a responsibility. An example of this is the Wake Forest game, in which FSU has 7 turnovers. Fisher put too much on his young QB's, and as a result, took the blame. At other times when players make mistakes that they shouldn't make based on their current ability level, he does get mad. Players know what is expected of them at all times. He puts a lot on the players, but usually not more than they can handle, and he demands that they take care of business.

The change have also been philosophical. While Jeff paid lip service to running the football, Jimbo actually runs the football on Saturday. Want proof? In 2006, the last year of the Jeffy era, FSU ran 28 times per game. In 2008, Jimbo's 2nd year, FSU is running the ball 38 times per game. That's a 36% increase in rushing attempts, even more remarkable when you factor in the decrease in plays per game as a result of the new clock rules.

From a play calling perspective, things make sense. We run a play a few times early in a game, and then run a different play off of a fake. One play compliments another. His route combinations and passing concepts compliment each other as well. It is great to see our team come into the game with defined plan. I can basically classify each game in 1 word. Miami was "QB run-checks", NC State was bubble screens, Vtech was max protect bombs, and Gtech was slant routes. I'm not in the room with these guys, but I have to believe that he is much better at studying opposing defenses, formatting a plan, relaying that plan to his players, and using his players in the best way possible than Jeff was.

Do you think they made the right choice in naming Jimbo the heir-apparent?

He's an excellent recruiter (one top 10 recruiting class and a top 5 class on the way), relates with young people, is growing his relationship with the NFL, and has put players into the NFL. I like the guy a lot. If there is a complaint, it is that he sometimes talks too fast during press conferences and doesn't necessarily dumb down the X & O talk enough for the average fan to understand. I love that, but many might not understand. He's also only 45 years old, and should be here a long time.

What would you say is the biggest cause for FSU's slide over the last 8 seasons? Do you believe FSU has fallen off, or that the ACC caught up? Did you think, after FSU fell off the mountain, that it was time for Bobby to hang it up?

Allow me to point you to this: . It's much better than any answer I could offer here. Now, the ACC has caught up, largely due to improved facilities and increased TV exposure, both of which raw recruits.

Are FSU fans worried about Mickey Andrews coming retirement? Does he get the blame for your losses this year?

I have a hard time gauging the entire fan base. There are some who think Mickey is God, some who think he has been bad for a long time and just lived off athletes, and then some who think he was once very good, is now decent, and is probably past his prime. I'm in the last group. Mickey's had a difficult time adjusting to the different offenses in college football, but he's still a good coordinator. The drop-off we experience when he leaves probably will be non-existent.

I can't blame him at all for the 12-3 loss to Wake, but I do put the blame for the Gtech loss on his shoulders. The defensive play on Saturday was disgusting. 31 points, 321 yards on 39 plays, for 8.2 yards per play before their QB went out. That's not acceptable.

When Mickey hangs it up (most think he won't stay past Bobby), I will wish him well and thank him for being a really classy, hard working Seminole and for a great career of service.

What about ST coach Jody Allen? Is the Special teams play the most disappointing thing about this season?

Breaks things… breaks more things…

When you have the athletes that FSU has up and down the roster, you need to be good in kick coverage. Our kick coverage has been atrocious. He's also done a poor job developing defensive ends, and the production from that Unit (his position group) has steadily fallen each year under Allen. It's slightly up this year, but that's mostly beause of super freak South Carolina native Everette Brown. Allen is the member of the staff that most have an immediate issue with and many want him gone.

Why has no FSU QB stepped up since the long 90's line of good QBs ended with Weinke?

I'd like you to meet my friend, Jeff Bowden. Jeff's ability to bring down this program was amazing. A quick rundown of FSU QB's since weinke:

Joe Mauer… damn you American league all star team, damn you.

Jared Jones, 5* QB from washington State… allegedly… naked cooking… weed… shrooms… wrong apartment…

Chris Rix: stud recruit from California… poorly coached, ego, business cards, knucklehead.

Adrian McPherson 4 or 5* QB, won Mr. Florida in basketball and football… throwing games, discipline problems, stealing checks, poorly coached. Allegedly.

Wyatt Sexton 4* QB… coaches son, questionable commitment to game, drugs, bonaroo, more um "substances", and mysteriously… lime disease. Poorly coached.

Xavier Lee 5* QB… poorly coached, questionable commitment, substances, amazing talent, inopportune injuries, DUMB as all hell, overwhelming sense of entitlement.

Drew Weatherford 4* QB… poorly coached, great kid, good leader according to most. I argued against Weatherford when I penned The Weatherford Report ( in the offseason. He didn't fit what we're trying to do now, and I do not think that this current staff would not have recruited him after his Senior Season (50% completions, tons of picks). Bad situation for a good guy who might be decent in the right system, but not the right fit.

Christian Ponder… 3* QB. Good arm, fastest pro shuttle time on the team, 6'2 215ish. Strong kid. Hard worker. GENIUS. Graduated college in only 2 years. Now getting his MBA. He seems to understand Jimbo's offense. He's a very good runner, and a pretty good thrower at this point, yet only a sophomore. Some aren't really impressed by him so far, but at this point, I am sold. His arm and legs have opened up our offense and Jimbo trusts him with a LOT of responsibility. For instance, we now call multiple plays going into the line and depend on Christian to check us into the proper one. Not all college QB's can handle that.

How well has Trickett repaired the OL problems you faced over the last few years?

Rick Trickett deserved 10 billion dollars. Not only is he a complete badass visionary, but he does all that while being like 5'8 and yelling at guys who are roughly 100lbs bigger than him.

How good is Trickett? This year, the Noles are 22nd in the Nation in rushing yards per game. Before Trickett?

2006 103rd (Jeff's last year)
2005 109th

Want more amazing? He is doing this with this cast of offensive linemen:

True FR LT Andrew Datko 270 LBS

True So LG Rodney Hudson 280 LBS

RS So C Ryan McMahon (with a bum foot) 275 LBS

True FR RG David Spurlock 280 LBS

True FR RT Zebrie Sanders 280 LBS

None of those guys were 5* stud recruits. They are by far the youngest, and possibly the lightest offensive line in the Nation. 120 of 120. Trickett has worked miracles here.

The Noles are a very good run blocking team, an excellent screen team, and a below average pass blocking team (not entirely shocking at this point).

The discussion of the best position coach in America begins and ends with Coach Rick Trickett, in my eyes at least. This line could be scary good in the coming years.

Florida State always has one or two great athletes, a la Peter Warrick, who seem
to kill Clemson, who do we need to be worried about this year? Carr? Antone Smith?

I want to answer this in a way that says "we have a lot of guys who can beat you", without saying "we don't have one guy we always go to." Jimbo really incorporates everyone. Let's take a look at who you might see. Greg Carr, Preston Parker, Tawain Easterling, Corey Surrency, and Bert Reed are all serious gamebreakers at WR. At RB, Antone Smith has had a great year, and true freshman Jermaine Thomas put up 130 on Gtech with only 9 touches. Jimbo really does get the ball to everyone: 18 different players have caught a pass this year. Those aren't just charity touches either; 10 players have caught 5 or more balls. 13 players have rushed at least one time.

Do FSU fans believe they will win the Division this year, what with the
persistent inconsistency from the other teams in the Atlantic?

I think they do think we will win it. Wake has 3 very difficult games left, and Maryland has a very rocky road as well. Still, with the tiebreaker situation, it could be extremely tough.

Compare, in your eyes, the level of Clemson's talent to FSU's over the last 4

While the star rankings don't show it, Clemson recruited better than FSU from 2005-2006, and possibly 2004 as well. Why? The previous staff was lazy and didn't do their job in evaluating players. Because of this, Clemson has a lot more Veteran talent, specifically on offense. I think FSU did a better job last year, and the Noles really have this thing rolling, as they are ACTUALLY WATCHING FILM and evaluating players themselves, not relying on the website rankings.

In my eyes, Clemson is a program who should strive to be in the top 25 every year. If they average 27 regular season wins (not bowl or ACCCG) over 3 years, I think they should be happy. If Clemson wins the Atlantic once every 5 years, I would consider that a success. I think Clemson should want better coaching, but shouldn't expect to contend for the National Championship but for maybe once every 10 years (contend, not win).

In my opinion, FSU should outrecruit Clemson each year, except in the rare circumstance when the state of South Carolina is just loaded (like the state of Alabama was last year). Clemson outrecruitng FSU is a combination of an excellent effort on Clemson's part, and outright laziness on the part of FSU. I do think it happened to an extent over the past few years though, and I have to give Clemson credit for that. They made some fairly impressive inroads with their Florida efforts.

Can I trade my last 3 girlfriends for Jenn Sterger?

Honestly, from what I've heard, you might not want to. On the other hand, I don't know your last 3 girlfriends, haha. I will say that there are many better looking talents than Sterger walking the FSU campus.

Well if thats the case, time to transfer to FSU. I'll be sure to double wrap it for Jenn.