2007 Florida State Preview - Offense

Posted Jun 23, 2007

Preview 2007 Florida State Seminole Offense

Florida State Seminoles

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 Florida State Preview | 2007 FSU Defense Preview
2007 FSU Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Florida State Preview 

What you need to know:
After a dreadful two seasons, the offense is under new leadership with new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher coming in to breathe life into the nation's 70th ranked attack. Step one is to find some semblance of a running game, and that starts with talented junior Antone Smith getting more carries. The offensive line, problem one over the last few years, gets a big upgrade with the addition of line coach Rick Trickett from West Virginia. He's immediately pushed everyone to get into better shape and to get a lot tougher. The passing game won't be forgotten about, with Fisher wanting to bomb away down the field to Greg Carr and DeCody Fagg. Now a steady quarterback has to emerge between Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Drew Weatherford
177-318, 2,154 yds, 12 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Antone Smith
88 carries, 456 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: DeCody Fagg
37 catches, 439 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Junior WR Greg Carr
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior RB Antone Smith
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman C Ryan McMahon
Best pro prospect: Carr
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Carr, 2) WR DeCody Fagg, 3) Smith
Strength of the offense: 1-2 receiving punch of Fagg and Carr, Smith
Weakness of the offense:
Quarterback consistency


Projected Starter: While the starting situation is up for grabs, junior Drew Weatherford will likely get the first shot when all is said and done. The starter over the past two years, he had a great freshman year when he had to carry the offense all by himself, throwing for 3,208 yards (the most ever by an ACC freshman) and 18 touchdowns with 18 interceptions, and he failed to deliver last year, completing just 56% of his throws for 2,154 yards and 12 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. At 6-3 and 220 pounds, he's a big passer with a live arm, but he's erratic, doesn't run, and has struggled as a decision maker.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Xavier Lee has the starting job if he can just be remotely consistent. At 6-4, 236 pounds, with wide receiver speed and a huge arm, he has all the measurables. Now he has to show he can handle the new offense, make the right reads, and not struggle so much to move the offense. He got his chance last year with three starts, but he didn't do much with seven touchdown passes and five interceptions.

Redshirt freshman Christian Ponder was the star recruit of 2006, and while he'll battle with fellow redshirt freshman D'Vontrey Richardson for the number three job, he has the potential to grow into a good one with another year to develop. He's a good runner with a big arm, while Richardson is a phenomenal athlete who'll see the field in some way, either as a quarterback or a receiver, at some point in his career.

Watch Out For ... the coaching staff to become so frustrated with Weatherford and Lee that it gives serious thought to starting Ponder and Richardson. Jimbo Fisher appeared to be fed up at times this spring, and while going to a plan C wouldn't be ideal, or even likely, FSU isn't going to go through another year like 2006.
Strength: Options. If the light does go on, Lee and Weatherford have the potential to be great. That's a big if, but Weatherford is experienced, while Lee has all the tools to be a star.
Weakness: Consistency. If spring ball was any indication, Weatherford and Lee haven't improved. While the quarterbacks had to learn the new offense, they still struggled from time to time with the most basic of throws.
Outlook: Give it a little while. Weatherford and Lee are talented quarterbacks who could blossom with the right coaching. They're going to need time to figure out what they're doing, and they're going to have to learn that the offense doesn't completely fall on their shoulders. This much is for sure, FSU can't challenge for the ACC title without better play from the passers.

Running Backs

Projected Starters: The running game will finally be a part of the Florida State offense again, and the beneficiary will be junior Antone Smith, who was one of the nation's top recruits a few years ago and has been underutilized so far. He finished second on the team with 456 yards and five scores on 88 carries, highlighted by a 137-yard, two score day against Rice. With track star speed, surprising power for a 5-9, 188-pound back, and hands that haven't been used enough in the passing game, he has the potential to be the ACC's breakout star.

6-1, 258-pound senior Joe Surratt is one of the ACC's most underrated players. Mostly a tough blocker throughout his career, he turned into a top short yardage runner with six touchdowns and 54 yards on 21 carries. He had problems late last year with a shoulder injury, but he'll be ready to roll to start the year.

Projected Top Reserves: It'll be Smith's show in the ground game, but junior Jamaal Edwards will get a little bit of work. At 6-0 and 211 pounds, he's a big, pounding runner who'll be used between the tackles more than Smith, who can run anywhere.

Also in the mix will be 6-0, 230-pound sophomore Marcus Sims, a pounding back who got a little bit of work with 16 yards on eight carries. Mostly a special teamer so far, he could end up at linebacker before his career is over.

Pushing Surratt for time at fullback, and listed as the starter coming out of spring ball, is 5-10, 257-pound sophomore Seddrick Holloway. A great special teamer in his first year, he'll be used more for his all-around athleticism and potential as a receiver.

Watch Out For ... Smith to blow up. After wasting a talent like Lorenzo Booker, FSU isn't going to make the same mistake with Smith, who has All-ACC potential.
Strength: Finally using the million-dollar backfield talent. Part of the problem was a porous offensive line, and part of the problem was the play calling. Jimbo Fisher isn't going to be shy about using Smith.
Weakness: Reserves. The Noles have a stunning lack of top-shelf backup talent behind Smith. Edwards is fine, but there aren't great backs to use in a rotation like there have been in the past.
Outlook: Forget about a running back by committee approach. It'll be Smith, Smith and more Smith, and with the way the passing game was all over the place in spring ball, it could be a sink or swim situation. If something happens to Smith, the attack could go kaput.


Projected Starters: Junior De'Cody Fagg is a 6-3, 218-pound bolt of lightning who finished second on the team with 37 catches for 439 yards and a touchdown. He had issues early on in his career with a banged up knee, and had other problems with his schoolwork. Everything is now set, and if the quarterback play is steadier, he should blow up into a top pro prospect. Getting into the end zone more would be nice.

Not listed as a starter coming out of spring ball, that'll quickly change for junior Greg Carr this fall. Consistency has been the problem for the 6-5, 212-pound talent, but he hasn't gotten the ball his way nearly enough despite catching 34 passes with 12 touchdowns and a gaudy 18.2 yard-per-catch average. Unstoppable around the red zone, the real question mark has been his willingness to do the little things, like blocking. A matchup nightmare, he has to prove he can produce against the better teams.

6-3, 240-pound sophomore Charlie Graham was the only tight end on scholarship going into the 2006 fall camp, but he only caught three passes for 42 yards and was all but out of the offensive game plan. An ankle injury was a problem, but he also wasn't involved enough.

Projected Top Reserves: While sophomore Richard Goodman might not be the team's most talented receiver, he's a potentially tough target with nice hands. While he only caught three passes for 33 yards, he showed enough this spring to be a possible starter. His downfield blocking skills will earn him playing time.

5-10, 183-pound senior Joslin Shaw is a decent veteran who caught 12 passes for 159 yards. Playing behind Fagg on the outside, the former running back will be a key reserve, but won't be a starter.

On the verge of becoming a major part of the offense, sophomore Damon McDaniel  was one of the spring's best and most consistent receivers. The 6-0, 197-pound speedster will join Shaw on the X to back up Fagg.

Behind Graham at tight end will be 6-0, 235-pound junior Jonathan Persons, who's built like a fullback but can catch a little bit. He'll mostly be used as a blocker.

Watch Out For ... the receivers to start to look more like top NFL talents. The scouts already know all about Fagg and Carr, but it would be nice to have more big performances to go on. With the hope for better play from the quarterbacks, the receivers will finally play like the stars they are.
Strength: The 1-2 punch of Fagg and Carr. With Chris Davis gone, that means more catches for the talented twosome. Look for bigger numbers and even more production.
Weakness: Consistency. It's not all the fault of the quarterbacks. Carr mostly lights up the weak and the sad, while Fagg needs to be more explosive. More developed depth would be nice. The loss of tight end Brandon Warren, who left the team to transfer, leaves a big hole.
Outlook: The Noles always stockpile talented receivers, and now they should shine in the Jimbo Fisher attack. There might be more running plays, but there will also be more deep shots down the field. Fagg and Carr should crank out home run after home run, but it would be nice if the tight ends got more involved and if a few other receivers, like Goodman, Shaw, or injured freshman Preston Parker, emerged as a scary third option.

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: Of the three returning starters, only junior left guard Jacky Claude is all but assured of a spot. He's 6-4, 290 pounds and has been one of the few steady players on the underachieving line over the last few seasons. While not an all-star by any stretch, he's dependable and durable.

Next to Claude on the left side will likely be 6-5, 284-pound redshirt freshman Daron Rose, a star recruit who's a perfect fit for the new type of Seminole offensive line. A great athlete who slimmed down a little in the last year and should be strong in pass protection.

Back at right tackle is 6-7, 324-pound senior Shannon Boatman, a former JUCO transfer who stepped in and started in 12 games. A great athlete for his size, he had a nice first year, but not a good enough one to be assured of a starting spot.

6-5, 280-pound senior David Overmyer will start at either tackle or guard after getting the call four times last year. A versatile veteran, he hasn't grown into the anchor up front he was expected to be going into last year, and now he'll have to be steady at right guard.

Going into the fall, former defensive tackle Ryan McMahon is the starting center after a surprisingly good spring. At 6-3 and 273 pounds, the redshirt freshman is the type of athlete the coaching staff wants in the middle, but he'll have to prove he can handle the responsibility.

Projected Top Reserves: While McMahon was named the starting center coming out of spring ball, senior John Frady might have it back come fall. A 21-game starter, he has the experience needed to run the line, and the versatility to play guard. No lineman lost more weight or got in better shape in the new conditioning drills, but he'll still have to fight to get his job back.

Pushing Boatman hard for the starting right tackle job will be 6-7, 277-pound sophomore Caz Piurowski, a former tight end who caught seven passes for 55 yards as a key reserve. Mostly, he served as a third tackle, and now will be a key part of the line mix.

Watch Out For ... McMahon. One of biggest shockers in spring ball, McMahon played the part of a starting center. He really might beat out Frady.
Strength: Talent. It might not seem like it after the way the line has played over the last few years, but there's a ton of raw talent that could've gone just about anywhere. Many thought it was the coaching that was the problem. Now that's not an excuse.
Weakness: Run blocking. The coaching staff abandoned the running game throughout the last two years for a reason. Three starters are back, and they need to be better. A lot better.
Outlook: New offensive line coach Rick Trickett comes over from West Virginia and has forced everyone to get in shape. The Mountaineer lines were all about quickness and athleticism, and for the Nole front five to produce the way Trickett wants, it needs to be able to move. This group should be better, but Seminole fans heard that last year.


Related Stories
2007 Florida State Preview
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 23, 2007
2007 Florida State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 23, 2007
2007 Florida State Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jun 23, 2007

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