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Florida State Preview 2006 - Offense
Florida State Seminoles
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 31, 2006


Florida State Seminoles Preview 2006 - FSU Offense

What you need to know ... There's way too much speed and way too much returning talent to not be more consistent. It all stems from the offensive line, which was never healthy last year but has just about all the key parts returning. The receiving corps should be fantastic if Greg Carr and De'Cody Fagg end up being consistent home-run hitters while Chris Davis makes plays like a number one target. Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith might be the fastest backs in the country, but they need holes to run through. QB Drew Weatherford had a tremendous freshman year and should be even better now that he knows what he's doing.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Drew Weatherford
276-469, 3,208 yds, 18 TD, 18 INT
Rushing: Lorenzo Booker
119 carries, 552 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Chris Davis
51 catches, 666 yds, 5 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Drew Weatherford
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior OT Mario Henderson
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Joslin Shaw
Best pro prospect: Sophomore WR Greg Carr
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Weatherford, 2) Carr, 3) RB Lorenzo Booker
Strength of the offense: Receiver, running back speed
Weakness of the offense:
Proven tight end, fullback

Quarterbacks
Everyone raise your hand, including the FSU coaching staff, if you thought Drew Weatherford was going to start every game and arguably, turn into the ACC Player of the Year. He's a tough, confident passer who became a better decision maker as the year went on. Xavier Lee is a multi-talented playmaker who might not settle for being the second banana for too long. He'll get a shot to make more of an impact this fall when he comes back from a shoulder injury
The key to the unit: Give Drew Weatherford more help. If he doesn't have to do everything by himself, he should be more efficient. A little more time in the pocket should mean huge deep plays all season long.
Quarterback Rating: 7.5

Projected Starter
- Drew Weatherford, Soph. - 276-469, 59%, 3,208 yds, 18 TD, 18 INT, 3 rushing touchdowns
Weatherford arguably the most underrated quarterback in the nation last season considering what he had to handle. Basically forced to carry the entire Seminole offense as a true freshman, he didn’t get any support from the running game and received little help from the banged up offensive line. Even so, he ended up setting the ACC record for the most passing yards by a freshman and led the team to the conference title. He threw too many interceptions, but that was because he had to keep bombing away. In the two biggest games of the year, the ACC championship and the Orange Bowl, he only threw one pick. While he's not going to run for big yards, he's not immobile.

Top Backups
- Xavier Lee, Soph. - 27-57, 47%, 466 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT, 14 carries, 36 yds, 2 TD
Hyped up by everyone as the next superstar Florida State quarterback, Lee never found his groove as a true freshman and ended up losing out the starting job to Drew Weatherford. He's 6-4, 228 pounds and very, very fast. His development was hurt by missing spring ball with a shoulder injury, but he's the clear number two man in the rotation. He could be used at receiver just to get his athleticism on the field.

- Christian Ponder, Fr.
The coaching staff will be very, very grouchy if Ponder sees the field this season. The star recruit is being saved for the future with plans to redshirt him, but he'll likely be the number three quarterback in the mix after coming to school early. He's an excellent runner with a live arm.

Running Backs
Issues with injuries on the offensive line were part of the problem, and the coaching staff all but forgot about its ground game at other times as FSU finished with a mere 94 rushing yards per game. The talent is undeniable. Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith are two of top prep recruits over the last few years with speed to burn; now they need holes to run through. The fullback situation will end up being fine despite the loss of James Coleman and B.J. Dean. Joe Surratt is a great blocker and true freshman Matt Dunham is a power runner.
The key to the unit: The coaching staff has to remember what it has to work with in the backfield. There's too much talent to not be featured more.
Running Back Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- Lorenzo Booker, Sr. - 119 carries, 552 yds, 4.6 ypc, 4 TD, 38 catches, 329 yds, 8.7 ypc, 2 TD
A disappointment so far considering he was thought of as the nation's number one recruit coming out of high school, Booker only has 1,773 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns in his three years. However, depending on which NFL scouts you believe, he could've gone as high as the early second round or as late as the end of the first day had he come out a year early. Why? He has unbelievable speed and great hands finishing third on the team in receiving last season. He has to prove this year that he can be the star everyone thought he was going to be. Seven carries for two yards against teams like Penn State isn't going to cut it. 

- Fullback Joe Surratt, Jr.
Surratt saw time in every game being purely used as a blocker. He's a punishing 263 pounds with a good motor. It'll be a shock if he gets more than a few carries, but he has the toughness to be a short-yardage runner.

Top Backups
- Antone Smith, Soph. - 36 carries, 188 yds, 5.2 ypc, 3 TD
One of the nation's top running back recruits last season, Smith is one of the team's fastest players seeing time as a sprinter on the FSU track team. He's not going to barrel over anyone and saw most of his work in garbage time last year, but he has the potential to be a superstar once he starts to get regular work.
- Jamaal Edwards, Jr.
With a logjam of talent in the backfield last season, the 6-0, 215-pound Edwards redshirted. He's the pounding runner in the backfield who'll be used between the tackles while Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith will hit the outside.
- Matt Dunham, Fr.
The 255-pound freshman beat Herschel Walker's Georgia state high school record with 111 rushing touchdowns. He's more talented than projected starter Joe Surratt, but he has to prove he can be a steady blocker.

Receivers
The receiving corps is loaded with size, speed, talent, and now, experience. Chris Davis is a nice veteran to serve as a go-to target, while Greg Carr and De'Cody Fagg are big, lightning fast deep receiver who'll led Drew Weatherford bomb away. Joslin Shaw is a rising playmaker after converting from running back, and track star Kenny O'Neal will bring even more speed. The concern, at least early on, will be at tight end needing true freshmen Brandon Warren and Caz Piurowski to push Charlie Graham.
The key to the unit: The true freshmen tight ends have to be as good as their prep billing right off the bat, while next-level talents De'Cody Fagg and Greg Carr have to explode.
Receiver Rating: 9.5

Projected Starters
- Chris Davis, Sr. - 51 catches, 666 yds, 13.1 ypc, 5 TD
The team's leading receiver last season returns once again as the number one target after finally getting over the knee and ankle problems that plagued him earlier in his career. He's a quick, consistent playmaker who makes big things happen when he gets the ball in his hands. He has enough speed to also be the team's main punt returner going into the season.

- De'Cody Fagg, Jr. - 36 catches, 404 yds, 11.5 ypc, 1 TD
Knee and academic issues got Fagg's career off to a rocky start, but he came through last year finishing fourth on the team in receiving despite missing four games. He has the best overall combination of skills in the receiving corps with 6-3, 221-pound size and 4.4 speed. Now he has to turn into a more dangerous deep threat.

- Tight end Charlie Graham, RFr.
The only scholarship tight end on the roster this spring, the 6-3, 241-pound Graham got almost all the work making his case for the starting job this fall. However, he'll have to battle with true freshmen Brandon Warren and Caz Piurowski expected to step in and be top contributors right off the bat.

Top Backups
- Greg Carr, Soph. - 30 catches, 618 yds, 20.6 ypc, 9 TD
The 6-6, 200-pound Carr had a magnificent true freshman season proving to be a master at going up and getting the deep ball leading the ACC in touchdown catches. He poses matchup nightmares for most defensive backs with his size and athleticism, but now he has to prove he can be a star on a consistent basis. Lighting up The Citadel, Duke and Wake Forest wasn't a problem, but he didn't do much against Florida, Virginia Tech, or Penn State. Part of that is the coaching staff's fault; it needs to throw his way more.
- Joslin Shaw, Jr. - 8 catches, 93 yds, 11.6 ypc
Consider Shaw and De'Cody Fagg neck-and-neck for a starting job. The former running back saw a little bit of time as a receiver and produced whenever he was in the lineup. While not nearly as big or as fast as Fagg, he has enough talent to at least become a number three receiver.
- Kenny O'Neal, Soph. - 5 catches, 110 yds, 22 ypc
The sky's the limit for one of the team's fastest players. He's a tall 6-1, 195-pound target with great deep speed shown off 75-yard catch against Syracuse. He'll be used a bit as a kick returner just to get the ball in his hands more.

Offensive Linemen
Will Florida State have enough live bodies to get the offense moving. A MASH unit last year with only two starters able to make it through the season, the Nole front five had a nightmare of a time keeping the quarterbacks upright and didn't do anything for the running game. To be fair, rookie quarterback Drew Weatherford often took a sack rather than throw it away, but 32 sacks is too many to allow. Tackles David Overmyer and Mario Henderson will be the strength early on, while the interior will eventually be fine once John Frady and Cory Niblock return healthy.

The key to the unit: Stay healthy. The longer the front five can play together, the more effective it'll be.
Offensive Line Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- OT Mario Henderson, Sr.
Henderson came on at the end of last year to start at left tackle in the ACC title game and in the Orange Bowl. The light has finally appeared to go on for the 6-7, 304-pound senior, and now he'll be expected to grow into a possible all-star.
- OG Jacky Claude, Jr.
One of the few steady players on the line last year, the 6-4, 308-pound Claude made it through every game. While durability was his forte last season, this year he has to be more productive. He's too strong not to be a better run blocker.
- C John Frady, Jr.
Able to play center or guard, the 306-pound junior will have to work his way back into the lineup after suffering a shoulder injury requiring him to miss all of spring ball.  He was a key fill-in across the line when injuries hit the unit, and now he'll likely spend the majority of time at center.
- OG Cory Niblock, Sr.
Out this spring with a knee injury, Niblock will get his spot back at right guard this fall. The former tackle appears to be better suited for the inside with good run blocking ability.
- OT David Overmyer, Jr.
Overmyer started every game at right tackle getting better as the year went on. He has good size at 6-5, 303 pounds with the strength to play guard if needed. It'll be a shock if he's not the anchor of the line.

Top Backups
- C Dumaka Atkins, Soph.
The starter coming out of spring ball thanks to an injury to starter John Frady, The 6-4, 310-poiund sophomore has the size to be a strong quarterback on the line for the next few years with enough experience to be steady. He ended up seeing significant time at the end of last year.
- OG Geoff Berniard, Soph.
Berniard got all the work this spring at right guard with starter Cory Niblock out. Berniard is a massive 6-8, 342-pound bruiser who saw time in every game last season. He's a strong athlete who could play tackle if needed, or either guard spot.

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