For the first time in 34 years, Bobby Bowden will not be the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles. Jimbo Fisher takes over the team and hopes he will be able to have even a fraction of the success Bowden did. With new defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Fisher will try to bring Florida State back to prominence.
There are high hopes in Tallahassee with the return of senior quarterback Christian Ponder. An early Heisman trophy candidate, Ponder played well last season before getting injured in the ninth game. He still threw for 2,717 yards and 14 touchdowns before he separated his shoulder. Some scouts rank him as the best returning senior quarterback in the nation. Last year’s leading receiver Rod Owens is gone, but Bert Reed should be an adequate replacement as the number one. Jarmon Forston will try to contribute on a more consistent basis and Taiwan Easterling gives the team decent depth.
The entire offensive line returns for the second year in a row. With 142 career starts between them, this is one of the most experienced lines in the country and they should excel once again. Last year’s leading rusher, Jermaine Thomas, will again see plenty of action after averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He will be getting some competition though from Chris Thompson. There is a ton of depth at tailback, so the Seminoles will use a running by back committee philosophy.
Florida State’s defense was dreadful in 2009. The new coordinator is installing more zone and blitz packages to improve from last season. The team may have an entirely new secondary, but young cornerbacks Greg Reid, Ochuko Jenjie and Xavier Rhodes should get the job done. Linebacker Nigel Bradham returns after leading the team with 93 tackles. Mister Alexander will try to improve on his five sack total, as the pass rush along the entire line needs to be better.
The Seminole faithful are expecting a lot out of their team in 2010. The offense should do its part, but the defense is another story. With some strong offenses in the ACC, Florida State has a chance to win it all, or finish in the middle of the pack.