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Q&A with Bill of ScalpEm.com

October 15, 2008
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Two weeks ago we chatted with Bill of Eagle in Atlanta, so this week we decided to chat up another Bill, he of www.scalpem.com. Scalp ‘Em, of course, is a blog devoted to all things Florida State, and we tossed a few questions back and forth regarding the two schools and this week’s Thursday night game in Raleigh.

And, of course, BBQ.

You can find my answers to his questions here.

(Continues)

With Tommy Bowden’s *cough cough* “resignation” this week, Bobby’s now the only Bowden left in the college coaching ranks. What is the opinion of Coach Bowden among FSU fans at the moment? Is it Jimbo time? Will FSU fans be content to let the Bobby versus Joe Paterno “Most Coaching Wins” race play itself out?

I’ll be honest there’s my opinion, the old school and the new school. My thoughts are that FSU is going to keep Bobby around as long as Bobby wants. President T.K. Wetherell is a football guy that seems to like having his hands in the pot when it comes to the athletic department, and he loves Bobby. I’m sort of resigned to the fact that Bowden is the figure head for as long as he wants to be. The old school will tell you that FSU is lucky to have Bobby, and would like him put on ice when he retires so he can come back from a cryogenic state when FSU needs him in the future. And the new school will tell you that the old man should have gone a long time ago.

So is it Jimbo time? In a way, it already is Jimbo time. While he may not have the head coaching title to himself, it’s obvious that Jimbo Fisher has his hands in all the pots. He does tons of interviews, he has control of the offense and he’s acting like the head coach of the program. That’s good for the program because it gives it a sense of stability since there is no way to know when Bobby will retire.

As for the Bobby vs. JoePa thing, I think the only people that care about that are fans, JoePa and Bobby. I don’t think it weighs much of anything when it comes to the athletic departments at PSU and FSU. Frankly I think it’s an overrated record anyway.

I’m looking over the numbers and it looks like FSU is back to its old defensive ways…5th in rushing defense nationally, 12th in pass efficiency defense, 2nd in overall defense. The bugaboo continues to be, it seems, the passing game (#83 in pass efficiency), and to an outsider it seems like it’s been that way ever since Chris Weinke left back in the 90’s. Is that an accurate assessment? Tell me about your thoughts on the current QB situation and how you see it playing out the rest of the year.

It’s an accurate statement. There is a long list of FAILURE FSU QB’s since Weinke retired, er uh graduated. The only reliable one since Weinke was Drew Weatherford, and for various reasons he’s on the bench. Ponder is Fisher’s guy, that’s the end of the story. Richardson isn’t going to get into the games now for various reasons, and Weatherford is only there for emergencies. Am I impressed with Ponder? Not yet. He’s mobile, and he has a good arm, but there are too many mistakes. The Ponder fans out there tell me that he’ll improve, but I’ve heard that about a bunch of other QBs since Weinke. The best QB might be E.J. Manuel who is redshirting this year. Only time will tell, but that kid has a natural leadership quality to him and the talent to back it up.

No doubt folks in Tallahassee followed the rise and fall of Chuck Amato here in Raleigh closer than your average coaching tenure. How has Chuck been received in his return to FSU? What were your opinions on his comments about returning home to face N.C. State this week?

We love Chuck. Simple as that. Chuck came back and the defense started to get better again. He’s also a disciplinarian for the team, which FSU DESPERATELY needed. Chuck the Chest for president! As for his comments, I think he shows he’s a class act. All too often programs want 10 wins NOW because of the money associated with college football. It’s a shame, but it’s also the way things are. Chuck was yet another victim of the college football money machine, and fans that want a national title next week.

Who should we look out for from Florida State to make big plays Thursday night?

I have a gut feeling that Preston Parker might have a good night finally, but if I’m going to go out on a limb I’ll mention these two names… Graham Gano, who might make all his kicks with a sore knee. His kickoffs could be big for FSU, and freshman running back Jermaine Thomas, if he finally gets some more touches. The kid is going to be a good one for the Noles in the future.

Is this team good enough to overcome the Wake Forest loss to win the Atlantic and appear in the ACC Title Game?

I have to say no. There are still losses on the schedule because of the inconsistency with the offense, and in reality FSU almost blew a big 2nd half lead to a bad Miami team. After N.C. State it gets harder for the Noles, VT, GT, Clemson (with EXTREME Willy Korn), BC, Maryland and Florida. Most FSU fans are in denial that things could be very ugly, mediocre or wonderful. There’s just no way to tell. My guess is that FSU doesn’t make the ACC Title game, but that they make a solid bowl game and win it. Check back later to see if I’m entirely wrong, which I usually am!

*Bonus question: Have you ever had Eastern NC style BBQ, can you differentiate it from its inferior cousin Lexington Style BBQ (sometimes referred to incorrectly as “Western NC” BBQ), and have you ever used the term “barbecue” as a verb?

I have not had the Eastern Style BBQ… although I do know that Eastern has barely any sauce and Lexington Style has barely any sauce with some ketchup added to it. I’m originally a Yankee from Connecticut, so you can boo me now for not being a BBQ specialist. However, I have used “barbecue” as a verb many, many times and I do like the mustard and vinegar based “Carolina” slaw. I can make a pretty good one for tailgate to go on that pulled pork sandwich.

Nah, Bill, I won’t boo you…Lord knows we State fans get in enough trouble doing that as is. For a Yankee, it sounds like Bill does alright by himself in the BBQ department; any man that makes his own slaw is alright by me. It can be mighty tough to break the “barbecue as a verb” habit…just as it would be tough for me to all of a sudden begin to say “please?” instead of “excuse me?” when I miss something said, like those wacky folks in Cincinnati and Western PA. But in any respect, Thursday night should be a good time as both teams have a lot to play for.

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