While the college season has just recently came to a close, it's never too early to predict what 2010 will bring. In Florida State's case, this will be the first time in over three decades that Bobby Bowden will not be patrolling the sidelines with his cool and calm demeanor.
In his place will be Jimbo Fisher, the highly praised offensive coordinator that will take the reigns of a storied program that was built from the ground up by a true legand. All of that aside, what does he have to work with?
Florida State will have a potential Heisman candidate back and healthy in quarterback Christian Ponder. Ponder has shown nothing but progression in his two seasons as being a starter at FSU and although his season was cut short by injury last year, he will be healthy and ready to go in 2010.
Ponder will also have the same starting five up front to protect him. The same front five led by All-American guard Rodney Hudson. The line will again be a major strength for this squad.
As well as the line being back, so are all of Ponders weapons. Running back Jermaine Thomas flirted with 1,000 yards this season while splitting time with Lonny Pryor and Chris Thompson.
The receiving core will also return it's major playmakers in Bert Reed, Taiwan Easterling and Jarmon Forston as well as tight ends Bo Relliford and Jabaris Little.
This offense should be high octane once again and will pick up right where it left off. The defensive side of the ball was a major disappointment this past season. Although there are highly touted recruits playing each position, it was their inability to play as one unit a year ago.
That's why Florida State went out and got a great defensive coordinator in Mark Stoops to fill the void left by long time defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews. Stoops will bring a new attitude to the defense and he will have some playmakers to work with.
The defensive line will have to find a couple of ends that can apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks. The likely candidates will be Jamar Jackson, Toshmon Stevens, Brandon Jenkins and Demonte McAllister. Stoops might even have a rotation until he can find out a stand out rush end.
The tackle and nose guard positions will be held by Moses McCray and Jacobbi McDaniel, but will also have depth in Everette Dawkins.
The real talent of the defensive unit lies within the linebackers. Although the heart of the defense Dekoda Watson has graduated, there is still talent aplenty. Nigel Bradham had a stand out season as a full time starter last season and will look to build on his success in 2010. Nigel Carr will fill in for Dekoda Watson while Kendall Smith will man the middle again. There is plenty of depth however. Vince Williams was projected as the starting middle linebacker last season before suffering a season ending injury in pre-season. Williams will look to challenge Smith for the starting spot. Mister Alexander, Vince Zann, Maurice Harris and Aaron Gresham will all challenge for playing time.
The secondary is full of question marks. With the departure of Patrick Robinson they will need to find a shut down corner fast. As a true freshman last season, Greg Reid made an immediate impact and will look to build on his early success as a sophomore. Ochuku Jenjie will be the starter opposite Reid while A.J. Alexander and Dionte Allen will provide depth at the corner position.
Jamie Robinson will be back at free safety as will Nick Moody at strong safety. Terrance Parks and Jajuan Harley will also look to be in the mix after having success in the rotation last season.
Florida State will have a tough schedule again. They will have BYU and Florida at home, but will also make the trip to Norman to take on Oklahoma early in the year. Can Fisher have success in his first season? Absolutely.
There's no reason why this team can't win ten or eleven games next season. With the additions of another stellar recruiting class and a whole new staff, this could be the season that Seminole fans have been waiting for.