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October 7, 2011
In the trenches with DC Reeves
D.C. Reeves is the managing editor at Warchant.com.
1) I know that E.J. Manuel is expected to play Saturday, but do you have any further updates on his status? "Manuel has practiced fully the first three days of the week so it would be a surprise for Manuel not to play at this point. But how much of a run threat will Jimbo Fisher allow Manuel to be? I see him having the green light to take off on broken pass plays, but I would expect to see Manuel's designed runs limited significantly this week." 2) How confident is Jimbo Fisher and the coaching staff in Clint Trickett if he has to play? How significantly is the offense affected by Trickett in at quarterback instead of Manuel? "The FSU coaches and players are very confident in Trickett's ability should he see time this week. All you have to look at are his numbers against what seems to be a very solid Clemson team - Trickett completed 24 of 38 passes for 336 yards and three passing touchdowns in the 35-30 loss. Compare that to Virginia Tech only mustering three total points at home against the same Clemson defense last week."
3) It seems that the Seminoles rushing attack has yet to take off. Florida State returned a veteran offensive line, and Chris Thompson is a talented running back, so what's been the problem? "Considering the entire backfield returned from a strong rushing season in 2010, all signs point to the struggles coming from the offensive line, especially the interior of that line. FSU was very high on JUCO transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug to start at center this season, but he has since been moved to guard and is still adjusting to playing at the major college level. An undersized Bryan Stork has slid in at center. The veteran tackles, Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders have been strong in pass blocking but this unit has plenty of room for improvement moving forward."
4) What matchups are the Noles most concerned about? "I would imagine the biggest concern will be the FSU secondary against the Wake Forest passing attack. There are plenty of future NFL players in FSU's defensive backfield - cornerbacks Mike Harris, Greg Reid, and Xavier Rhodes along with safety Lamarcus Joyner, who was rated as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation before switching to safety in the offseason. However, plenty of mistakes were made in the losses to Oklahoma and Clemson and the unit hasn't had a breakout game yet. They will get a true test Saturday in terms of Wake Forest's talent and the overall difficulty to stay on top of the Deacs' misdirecting scheme."
5) Who on FSU's defense do the Deacs need to watch out for, and why? "The true strength of FSU's defense - and probably the entire team - is the defensive line. People know about preseason All-American defensive end Brandon Jenkins, but the end on the other side, German sophomore Bjoern Werner, has been the team's most dominant defender so far. He possesses a rare combination of size (275 lbs.) and speed on the edge and wreaked havoc in the Oklahoma and Clemson backfields the past two weeks. FSU also flaunts a deep, talented rotation of defensive tackles. Be on the lookout for true freshman Timmy Jernigan, who has impressed enough already to earn significant playing time."
6) Outside Manuel what is Florida State's are there any significant injuries or returns to report? "Keep an eye out for slot receiver Bert Reed, the lone senior receiver who has missed the past two games with an ankle sprain. He has been back at practice this week but he should be considered questionable. A bevy of young receivers have stepped up strongly in his place, however. Also, hard-hitting safety Nick Moody could return to the rotation behind starters Terrence Parks and Lamarcus Joyner."