11 Florida State

August 20, 2012

Dadgum! The Seminoles will bring back the good old days—if they can protect the pocket

Key Recruit

MARVIN BRACY The two-sport athlete is an absolute burner—he had the world's fastest time this year at 55 meters (6.08 seconds) for Orlando's Boone High—who will make an impact as both a wide receiver and a kick returner.

Breakout Player

CAMERON ERVING After a redshirt freshman season in which he had 20 tackles as a defensive tackle, Erving is playing on the opposite line for the first time. He has ideal size (6'5", 315 pounds) and drew rave reviews in the spring for his transition to left tackle, where he will be E.J. Manuel's bodyguard.

The Skinny

ARE THEY back? Over the past seven years, Florida State has averaged five losses, a staggering number for a program that once went 14 seasons without more than two defeats. But third-year coach Jimbo Fisher has 15 starters back, the most of any ACC team. The defense, which ranked fourth nationally last year, boasts what is arguably the country's best front four, bookended by Brandon Jenkins and former German exchange student Bjoern Werner. On offense the leading rushers from both 2011 (Devonta Freeman) and '10 (Chris Thompson, who missed most of last season with a back injury) are back, and fifth-year senior QB E.J. Manuel will have no shortage of familiar targets: Eight players with at least 11 catches return.

Final Analysis

IT'S BEEN seven years—back when dadgum was still part of the Seminoles' football vernacular—since Florida State last won an ACC title. There's certainly enough talent in place to end that drought, but the Seminoles will have to do a better job protecting Manuel. Only eight FBS teams allowed more sacks last season than Florida State, which gave up 41. The line will be young: All five starters could be sophomores, including converted defensive lineman Cameron Erving at left tackle. But if the unit can keep Manuel upright, Florida State will be the team to beat in the Atlantic Division.

THE VITALS

Coach Jimbo Fisher (3rd year)

19--8 (11--5 ACC)

2011 Record 9--4 (5--3, T-2nd in ACC Atlantic)

Final AP Rank 23

Returning Starters Offense 7, Defense 8

2011 STATS

Total Offense (FBS Rank) 369.2 YPG (77)

Rushing Offense 112.2 YPG (104)

Passing Offense 257.0 YPG (3)

Total Defense 275.0 YPG (4)

Rushing Defense 32.7 YPG (2)

Passing Defense 192.3 YPG (20)

TELLING NUMBER 67.3

Penalty yards per game conceded by the undisciplined Seminoles in 2011, the most in the ACC and the fifth-highest average in FBS.

TOP PLAYERS

Offense

QB E.J. Manuel

Sr., 6'5", 240 pounds

2,817 yards, 22 TDs

WR Rashad Greene

Soph., 6'0", 175 pounds

38 catches, 7 TDs

RB Chris Thompson

Sr., 5'8", 187 pounds

845 YDs*

Defense

DE Brandon Jenkins

Sr., 6'3", 260 pounds

41 tackles, 8 sacks

DE Bjoern Werner

Jr., 6'4", 265 pounds

37 tackles, 7 sacks

SS Lamarcus Joyner

Jr., 5'8", 195 pounds

54 tackles, 4 INTs

Special Teams

K Dustin Hopkins

Sr., 6'2", 190 pounds

22/27 FG, 53 longest

*2010 stats

PHOTOJEREMY BREVARD/US PRESSWIRE (FREEMAN)Freeman became the first Florida State freshman with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games in 23 years. PHOTOMELINA VASTOLA/US PRESSWIRE (JENKINS)Jenkins, who was used as both a down lineman and a stand-up end, has 21½ sacks in the past two seasons. PHOTOPHIL SEARS/AP (ERVING)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)