TALLAHASSEE -- We want to hear from you, Florida State fans. From the initial reaction on social media and team message boards, it appears many of you were shocked and saddened to learn Monday afternoon that Seminoles running back Chris Thompson suffered a torn ACL and would miss the rest of the season.
In our news story from earlier this afternoon, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he and his staff are exploring ways of petitioning the NCAA for a medical redshirt for Thompson. The senior was hurt three games into FSU's Game 5 loss at Wake Forest last year. He broke vertebrae in his back. Depending on the possibility that FSU goes to the ACC Championship this year, he could end up missing a combined 14 games across the two seasons.
As good of a player as Thompson has been for the Seminoles -- he was closing in on becoming the first FSU player since Warrick Dunn to rush for more than 1,000 yards -- he may most be remembered for his off-field personality.
Always a gracious, humble interview, he routinely has me walking away from a conversation with him feeling as if I've learned something; feeling as if I can be a better person.
No, that's not hyperbole.
Thompson has a strong connection to his faith. His prayerful family has built a firm spiritual foundation around him. As Fisher said in his news conference Monday, it is that faith that Thompson and his parents have already said they will cling to following this second devastating injury. They believe he will come out of this current storm cloud, and may one day enjoy a fine professional career.
Well, those are some of my thoughts. What are yours? Let's hear from you in the comments section below. Feel free to share any memories you have about Thompson and the like.
While you do, make sure to check out the following comments from Fisher and quarterback EJ Manuel, who addressed reporters in Tallahassee earlier:
(Asked about Thompson's reaction when the news was broken to him Sunday): "He was upset. He was very disappointed. He was having a great year and doing everything right. He’s what’s great about college football. I say it all the time. But this game takes no prisoners. It’s a very unforgiving game.
"You look at [the play] on film, you don’t see much. You’d think it would be more on his right leg than left leg the way the cut was.
"It’s a very big blow to us because of what he is to our team, and also because we have two quality guys in Freeman and Wilder who we’re very proud of and who played very well in that game. you have to go on. You have to move on, and we’ll adjust.
(On the frustration Thompson has to be feeling): "It’s unbelievable. What that kid has went through. The back, this, that. What he does as a leader. I keep saying the leadership. The presence, the poise. The guy’s everything.
"It hurts me. It does because … his family. And they’ll put their trust in God. That’s what they said. God’s got a plan for him. That’s a tremendous family. A tremendous guy.
(On the delay in waiting for the MRI and not announcing something Saturday night): "You can feel if it’s [the ligament] loose when you check it, but every now and then, one’s not. You can’t jump to conclusions. The way it happened and the pain he said he felt, we’ve all seen and been around them enough that if you had to put odds in Vegas and put money down, you’d bet that it was that. But you’ve got to wait until the MRIs and the doctors get through everything.
(Asked about losing Thompson's veteran leadership): "We’ve got a lot of good leaders on this team. Lonnie [Pryor] and EJ [Manuel] and those lineman and Rodney Smith on offense. You’ve got a lot of guys. A lot of character guys over there.
(On the running game plan moving forward): "Nothing’s really changed. We basically played two [tailbacks] before with the third as a mixer. And we have the same situation. (Pryor, a fullback, likely will factor in more one-back packages and will play slightly more tailback, Fisher said)
(Asked about how backup RB Devonta Freeman has progressed, and how Thompson has helped him): "That’s where Chris and those guys — Lonnie — have really helped him. The big picture is good, but the details, the technique, the angles, the things you look for, how do you eliminate getting youself in a bad position and other things that you could help [yourself]. But you see, a running back, if he has a lot of instincts and sees things, he can clean up a lot of mistakes on edge blocks and help guys and help guys see things. There’s a lot a great running back can do that’s really not in his assignment. How he chips on a lineman coming out. How a guy gets beat as he’s going out on a pass and he’ll give a shoulder to a lineman so a lineman can’t get back and get a guy squared up. Those are things no one sees out there in the normal public that I always talk about with Chris and Lonnie. That comes with time and that comes with experience and understanding the feeling for the game. those are the things [Freeman] has really worked on and gotten better at.
"That’s why I talk about missing Chris so much. All the things that you never see that you’re not even coaching. [Things] that they ad-lib and they do. Just part of the game that goes on.
(Asked about how close Thompson was to his teammates): "He’s the one they guard. They go to him for a lot of advice. He has a big effect on a lot of players on our football team. There’s no doubt. Again, this is a very tight group of guys and they’ll bond together.
"Like I say all the time, there’s a lot of guys on this team that are like that, but he’s one if my two boys can be like that one, then I’ll be a proud papa."
EJ MANUEL, Quarterback
(On the players' reaction to Thompson's injury): "Considering the year he’s having, it’s been tough. I felt bad for him. He’s like a brother to me. His locker’s right across from mine, so him and I talk every day. I texted him last night and let him know that I love him and I wish him the best. This is his senior year and he’s coming back from an injury last year and for it to be cut short like that, it’s tough to see. But knowing Chris, he’s going to be resilient. He’ll rehab and do what he has to do to be healthy and he’ll have a great career.
Chris is a better person than he is football player. That says a lot because he’s a great football "player. But his character off the field says so much more about him and that’s what I love about him. He’s not a fake guy. He’s not one way on the field and one way off the field. He’s a quiet guy, but at the same time, he’s a great person, and that’s what I respect about Chris the most.
"He’s still going to lead those guys, he’s still going to be there for us as much as he can.
(What was it like on the field after that play?): "When I got back to the huddle after that play, I was just hoping that he might get up. I thought it was just a sprained ankle or a twisted ankle or something like that. You never want to see a knee. But I got back to the huddle and the guys were already looking forward to the next play because we just lost a brother. They were trying to take out somebody—not in a detrimental way or anything like that, but we wanted to get back out there and play and kind of take out that frustration.
"I think that was one of the pivotal plays [the 32-yard catch Thompson went down on] in the game that kind of changed the momentum of our offense and got us going."