FSU Football Is Back And We Have The Inside Scoop

College football is back! Well, at least fall camp is here. The Florida State Seminoles are looking to have a repeat of their 2013 success. Sports Talk Florida FSU insider Brandon O’Connor joined the show to preview their season.

Listen to the full interview here or read the transcript below.


What is the environment and the atmosphere like in Tallahassee now that camp is here and the preparation for football beings?

“I think they’re pretty excited. Town’s pretty dead with school being out but you can really see that people are starting to get excited for this season. Season tickets sold out for the first time since the early 2000’s and I really think you’re going to see a big change in the atmosphere in Doak Campbell Stadium for this season.”

What’s the update with the battle for wide receiver now that Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin are gone?

“It’s going to be one of your more important battles during fall camp. As you said they lost two of their big three wide receivers last year. Kelvin Benjamin is now a Carolina Panther as of a couple days ago. Kenny Shaw is now fighting for the nearby Jacksonville Jaguars. So that’s gonna be your big one to watch. They of course have Reshad Greene back who’s been their leading receiver for the last three years and you can safely assume will be one this season. They lost another one a couple weeks ago with Jesus Wilson who came out of spring practice looking like he’s going to be the favorite in the slot. He got arrested for stealing a moped. Which is something you don’t want to see pop up in your Twitter feed early in the morning. He got it reduced to a misdemeanor. Jimbo Fisher said he is going to practice and he was practicing today. But he is still suspended indefinitely. So you’re going to have to watch that battle. You have a lot of names thrown in there with Christian Green and Scooter Hagan. But your big factors in there are going to be your three highly-touted freshman — Travis Rudolph and Ermon Wayne, who are both five stars then highly ranked four star Ja’Vonn Harrison.”

Can you give us a quick rundown of the possession battles on the defense?

“Probably the hardest player on this entire team to replace from last season is going to be stud nose tackle Timmy Jernigan. He is now wearing purple with the Baltimore Ravens after being drafted in the second round. That’s going to be one to watch because with the wide receivers they have a lot of talented players on their team but it’s going to be a big question mark if they can even find anybody to fill Timmy Jernigan’s shoes. They have Eddie Goldman who played defensive end last year. He’s expected to slide more inside this year as a possible replacement for Jernigan because he’s massive and athletic. But they may have to even move star defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. inside a little bit more. Jimbo Fisher raved about him today in his press conference today [Monday] saying that Edwards Jr. is now up over 300 pounds and can still do a backflip. That’s how athletic he is. He was squatting over 600 pounds in the weight room. They have a lot of talent there but they’re going to have to figure out how it’s all going to fit together.”

Who will be Jameis Winston’s backup?

“It will most likely be Sean McGuire. He was the third string quarterback for most of last season then became the second string quarterback after Jacob Coker suffered a season ending knee injury. As most of you guys know by now Coker is now fighting for the starting job in Alabama after transferring there in the offseason. So McGuire will most likely be that backup spot. He’ll face a little bit of competition from incoming freshman J.J. Cosentino who’s also going to get a look at punter, which is an interesting twist for a guy that was a four star quarterback coming out of high school. And then they have Jonathan Frankin III who’s a redshirt freshman. Very athletic, nimble guy but very undersized, barely six feet.”

Do you think Winston has matured?

“I think he has. I think Jimbo [Fisher] and him fit together so perfectly and their personalities really bounce off. And if you ask anybody on this team Winston is by far the unquestioned leader on this team. On the roster. And I really do think you’re gonna see some maturation out of him this year. They’ve worked on his mechanics and some other stuff throughout the season and I think you’re gonna see a better Jameis Winston this season.”

Do you think the Seminoles can repeat despite history not being on their side?

“I think you’re gonna see them at least be in that college football playoff. They just top to bottom have probably the most talent except for maybe Alabama in the entire country. Their secondary is probably the best in the entire country. They have the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback coming back. They returned four of their five starters on their offensive line. This team is so stacked with the incredible recruiting job that Jimbo Fisher has done. And you can expect as you’ve seen the last couple years new freshman to step up and fill some of those holes they have.”

What do you think are the biggest challenges for the Seminoles this season?

“I think it’s going to be replacing a couple of those key guys. There’s not anybody on the FSU roster, maybe in the country, that can replace Kelvin Benjamin’s size and athleticism. You don’t see 6’5″ 240 pound athletic wide receivers very often and that’s going to be an adjustment for Winston when he doesn’t have that big deep target that he can use as a safety blanket. But you’re going to see some of that replaced with an improved running game. But there’s just some questions on this team. They have to find somebody to replace Jernigan. They have to find a little bit more consistency out of Bobby Hart at right tackle. But I think they can do that and Jimbo Fisher and his staff are one of the best groups in the country.”

The Power Hour airs live every Monday night from 6-7pm ET. Listen on WHBO 1040 The Team in Tampa and WHOO 1080 The Team in Orlando as well as SportsTalkFlorida.com.

Chat with the hosts on Twitter: