Spring lookahead: Florida State Seminoles
2012 record: 12-2 overall, 7-1 ACC
Spring Practice opens: March 20
Spring game date: April 13
2012 in review: The Seminoles finally won an ACC championship for the first time since 2005, as Jimbo Fisher has the program moving forward each season. The Seminoles also won the Orange Bowl (31-10 over Northern Illinois) their first major bowl victory in more than a decade.
E.J. Manuel had a nice senior season at QB, but as important to FSU’s success was the improved ground game nearly doubled its output from 2011, gaining 1,424 more yards this past fall. The defense was predictably excellent. But the losses at N.C. State and to a lesser degree at home to Florida were quite disappointing. FSU was better than both teams.
Biggest hole to fill: Defensive end. FSU lost its three best defensive ends, Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine. The team is quite thin there now and will reply on unproven players to step up. Redshirt freshman Chris Casher was highly decorated coming out of high school and will get an opportunity to win one of the spots. Mario Edwards Jr. started the final two games last season in place of Carradine, who was injured, and likely will man the other spot when spring camp opens.
Giorgio Newberry and a few others will compete to fill out a rotation that must step up to keep the Seminoles in contention for an ACC title.
Watch out for: Clint Trickett has experience of having attempted 106 passes and throw for nearly 1,000 yards as a fill-in for E.J. Manuel when he was hurt and late in lopsided contests. But expect redshirt sophomore Jacob Coker to win the position and have a big season.
Coker is 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds and has the athletic ability to make things happen. In limited duty last fall, Coker attempted just five passes. Trickett will remain a valuable backup, but Coker will win the job and start a new era for FSU football.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, a former five-star recruit in the Class of 2012, is also expected to compete for the Seminoles' starting job.