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Analyzing the 2012 Florida State Seminoles

COACH: Jimbo Fisher (19-8 overall, 19-8 FSU)

2011 record: 9-4 (5-3 ACC)

Website: seminoles.com

Quarterbacks

Senior EJ Manuel is an experienced, accurate passer — his 66.1 percent completion percentage is better than FSU's all-time top four: Brad Johnson (64.7), Charlie Ward (62.3), Danny Kanell (62.2) and Christian Ponder (61.8). He threw eight interceptions last year, when he was constantly pressured behind a banged-up line. Redshirt sophomore Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Jacob Coker are battling for the backup job.

Running backs

The big question here is the health of senior Chris Thompson and sophomore Devonta Freeman (579 yards, 8 TDs). Both are coming off back injuries but coach Jimbo Fisher says they are 100 percent. James Wilder Jr. only had 35 rushes as a freshman but averaged 4.6 yards per carry and can take on more of the load. Coaches love Lonnie Pryor, a fullback who has slimmed down to take extra carries.

Wide receivers

Rashad Greene (38 catches, 596 yards, 7 TDs) could have rewritten the freshman receiving records if he didn't miss four games with an ankle injury. FSU has a pair of 6-6 WRs in Rodney Smith (36 catches, 561 yards, 4 TDs) and redshirt freshman Kelvin Benjamin. Kenny Shaw (34 catches, 418 yards, 4 TDs) is a tough slot receiver. One question is how Willie Haulstead (concussion) plays after missing last season. The tight ends are led by Nick O'Leary (Jack Nicklaus' grandson), Dan Hicks (who moved from defensive end) and Penn State transfer Kevin Haplea.

Offensive line

Former DT Cameron Erving has drawn praise from coaches and players since his move to left tackle this offseason, and the sophomore could start. Sophomore Austin Barron is the likely pick at center, and junior Bryan Stork should start at right tackle or right guard.

Defensive line

FSU is strong up front with Es Brandon Jenkins (41 tackles, 8 sacks) and Bjoern Werner (37 tackles, 7 sacks) and DTs Timmy Jernigan (30 tackles) and Everett Dawkins (25 tackles). DE Tank Carradine (38 tackles, 5.5 sacks) will rotate in.

Linebackers

Nigel Bradham (team-high 86 tackles) is gone. Christian Jones (56 tackles) moved from strongside linebacker to Bradham's weakside spot. Vince Williams and Telvin Smith will split time in the middle, and Nick Moody moves from safety to strongside linebacker.

Defensive backs

CB Mike Harris and S Terrance Parks have graduated and CB Greg Reid was dismissed. S LaMarcus Joyner is just 5-8 but packs a punch (58 tackles, 4 INTs), and Xavier Rhodes (43 tackles) is a physical, 6-2 corner. Terrence Brooks should fill the other safety spot or move to corner. Three sophomores — CBs Nick Waisome and Keelin Smith and S Karlos Williams — must take on larger roles. Freshman Ronald Darby, the nation's top DB recruit, will get good time, Fisher said.

Special teams

Senior Dustin Hopkins, a Lou Groza Award finalist, made 22 of 27 field goals last season. The toughest to replace may be All-American Shawn Powell, who averaged 47 yards per punt last season, a school record.

Bob Ferrante, Times correspondent

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When: 6 p.m.

TV: TBA

Radio: 820/1040-AM

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When: noon

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Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee

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Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee

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Radio: 820/1040-AM

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Radio: 820/1040-AM

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Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, N.C.

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TV: TBA

Radio: 820/1040-AM

Who: Boston College

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee

When: TBA

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Radio: 820/1040-AM

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Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami

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Radio: 820/1040-AM

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Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee

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Radio: 820/1040-AM

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Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.

When: 8 p.m.

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Radio: 820/1040-AM

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Where: Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 820/1040-AM

Who: Florida

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 820/1040-AM

Analyzing the 2012 Florida State Seminoles 08/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 7:11pm]

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