There's a synergy working within the Florida State football program as the Jimbo Fisher era unfolds with the start of the 2010 season. Fisher has energized the Seminoles with sweeping changes, from the infrastructure of the program to the addition of five new assistants, all of whom bring impressive credentials as teachers and recruiters.
On the field, the Seminoles welcome the return of 10 offensive starters from a unit which ranked second in the ACC in total offense, led by veteran quarterback Christian Ponder and the entire offensive line. There are proven playmakers among specialists and a renewed optimism on defense with the introduction of a new, zone-based scheme.
Factor in the season-ending Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia, a record turnout for the 2010 spring game and a palpable buzz among the fan base, and the pieces to Fisher's first season puzzle seem to be fitting together nicely.
With the season at hand, here's a segment-by-segment look at the Seminoles moving forward:
Fifth-year senior quarterback Christian Ponder enters the 2010 season as one of the most highly regarded signal-callers in the nation. Despite suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in the ninth game of the 2009 season, Ponder posted the sixth-best season for total offense in ACC history (321.8 ypg). With 22 starts and 23 career appearances, Ponder begins the season among the top 10 statistical quarterbacks in FSU history.
Redshirt sophomore EJ Manuel's rapid development in Ponder's absence last season gives the Seminoles two explosive options under center. Manuel directed FSU to a 3-1 record, securing the school's 33rd consecutive winning season and 28th consecutive bowl appearance along the way. He earned Gator Bowl MVP honors by leading the 'Noles past No. 18 West Virginia, 33-21.
Ponder received all of the work with the first-team offense during spring practice, just four months removed from shoulder surgery. While Manuel missed following shoulder surgery, a pair of young quarterback prospects benefited greatly from the added work. Redshirt freshmen Will Secord and freshman Clint Trickett, a January enrollee, shared quarterback duties for the Garnet team at the spring game.