Admit it. When the word came out that Christian Ponder was out for the season following Florida State's 40-24 loss at Clemson, the season seemed hopeless.
FSU's record was 4-5 and things looked as though they'd be gettin worse.
Backup quarterback E.J. Manual played only in mop-up duty against BYU, one option run versus USF, and the last few minutes against Clemson. Overall, he looked arguably unimpressive.
So when the news broke Manual would be starting his first game as a Seminole as a redshirt freshman against Wake Forest with the Seminole's bowl streak record on the line, many fans felt the season was lost.
But future FSU head coach and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher had other plans.
Instead of just plugging Manual into his playbook, Fisher tailored the playbook to Manual to ensure he was comfortable with the situation.
When Florida State scored on its first four offensive possessions to take a 24-7 lead, Fisher showed he has the skills and mentality to lead the 'Noles when head coach Bobby Bowden steps down.
And E.J. Manual isn't just the 'Noles' backup quarterback. He is Fisher's first prized recruit and will be the first quarterback to go through his career under Fisher's guidance.
Manual went out in his first game and threw for 220 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also had 45 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
The offensive line also played well, providing gaping holes for running back Jermaine Thomas to run for 149 yards and a touchdown.
That kind of play on helps to take pressure off of Manual.
Fisher showed that his schemes and mindset work. Not only did his first prized recruit from the 2008 recruiting class shine but his second prized recruit that came in the 2009 class, true freshman defensive back Greg Reid, returned a punt for a touchdown against Wake Forest to give the Seminoles a 31-7 lead.
If these types of recruits are going to be the ones that keep coming in and wanting to play for the Seminoles under Jimbo Fisher, than the future looks bright for the 'Noles.
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