MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – While most of the media’s focus has been on the University of Miami, perhaps the most talented team in the state continues to put the final touches on its depth chart in Tallahassee.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said he’s going to look at the tape of the Noles’ last scrimmage before finalizing the starting lineup when the Seminoles take on Louisiana-Monroe in the September 3rd season opener.
The quarterback position is probably the most stable position on the roster. Junior E.J. Manuel is entrenched as the starting quarterback and has showed flashes in limited play the last few years of being the next great Noles quarterback.
Behind Manuel in the backfield will likely be a tailback by committee approach. Last year’s starter, Chris Thompson, has missed most of preseason camp with a back injury. That’s allowed seniors Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones to share the load.
But Thomas and Jones shouldn’t get too comfortable in their roles because highly touted freshman James Wilder and freshman Devonta Freeman are also pushing hard to have a role in the Seminoles offense in 2011.
At the tight end position, it could be a Dwyer High School graduate who gives opposing defensive coordinators headaches. Tight end Nick O’Leary has been running with the first team at times during the preseason.
O’Leary stands 6’4” and weighs 240 pounds. As Noles linebacker Nigel Bradham described O’Leary, he’s a “receiver in a tight end’s body,” according to the Palm Beach Post. Other linebackers for the Seminoles said O’Leary simply couldn’t be covered.
O’Leary was the top tight end in the nation, based on Rivals.com’s rankings. FSU said they aren’t rushing O’Leary, but the tight end may force their hand based on his play.
Defensively, the Noles are deep along the line and have a star in the secondary in Greg Reid. Still, there are battles to decide a few positions. But, this is the most talented defense FSU has had in years and it will be the second-year under defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.
Stoops took an absolutely awful defense in 2009 into a very good unit in 2010. He also made a star out of defensive end Brandon Jenkins who could become a sack machine in 2011.