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DL continues to impress Norvell in spring, more scrimmage thoughts

Florida State was back on the field Tuesday, where it conducted its seventh spring practice. It was the first practice for the Seminoles since the team had its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. Today’s practice was closed to the media and the public.

Head coach Mike Norvell offered more thoughts on what he saw on tape from the scrimmage and from his team since then.

“Coming back after the scrimmage, I thought it was a good last couple days,” said Norvell. “Yesterday, going through meetings, making some of the corrections and seeing more in-detail critical elements of corrections we have to make. Whether it’s fundamentally, communication-wise, going back and watching the scrimmage, just the efficiency of our communication, I thought it was great work being able to see guys have to operate and see situational awareness.”

And while he was mostly pleased after the scrimmage, Norvell and his staff have plenty to correct and work on after having three days to review film from Saturday.

“But we have to do that at a faster process,” continued Norvell. “So really trying to push the tempo. Here, even today, almost over-emphasize getting our alignments and proper details. Proper first-step fundamentals and then just continuing to work on our execution.”

One position group that impressed Norvell this spring has been that of the defensive line, and it did so again on Saturday morning.

“Looking at the defensive front, (defensive tackle) Fabien Lovett, he’s pushing harder than he’s every pushed,” said Norvell. “I thought he had a really good scrimmage. Then (defensive end) Jermaine Johnson is really flashing, not just in the passing game but the run game with his physicality. (Defensive tackle) Dennis Briggs, I think those guys are really coming along and showing good leadership along the defensive front.”

Lovett has been dominant at times in the practices the Osceola has been able to attend, and Norvell says the redshirt sophomore is starting to come into his own under defensive tackle coach Odell Haggins.

“Fabien, you look at his career at his previous institution he was basically playing a 0-Nose, two-gap technique,” said Norvell. “Thought process, coming in last year, really had to learn a new system. Obviously focusing on the fundamentals, technique, I think Odell has done a really good job with him in building that relationship. You’ve see the continued growth, he’s in much better shape now than he was at any point this past year. He’s moving well, he’s a strong, explosive young man and I like his mindset.”

Several players on the defensive front have stood out in the practices the Osceola has attended, including defensive tackles Robert Cooper and Joshua Farmer

“Just continued development,” said Norvell of his general thoughts on the defensive line. “You look inside, that group, they basically were the guys in the second half of the season. All of our defensive tackles, noses, they’ve got great experience. Robert Cooper, I’m seeing him take the next step in just his effort. Definitely in much better shape. Still big human being when it comes to his weight, but he’s moving better. Really trying to develop his game. A guy I’m excited about who I think absolutely has a bright future is Josh Farmer. To see him, a high school defensive end that’s already transitioning. He’s gained 15-20 pounds since he’s been there already. He’s already working down inside, primarily a 3-technique. He had some extraordinary plays. Still learning what he’s doing, but you’re seeing that flash, that toughness. And I’m excited about his growth.”

Defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Derrick McClendon have also flashed during the open practices so far this spring but Norvell, much like at defensive tackle, knows this position group still has room for growth.

“At the end position, Jermaine (Johnson) is a young man that the sky is the limit for him and what he can do. We’ve seen the production at a high level. I know I mentioned Derrick McLendon, who’s really coming along. Keir Thomas, he’s battling through some things, getting healthy. But we think he’s guy who can really bring a great dynamic to our defensive front.”

Norvell also liked the physical nature of the team’s practice Tuesday.

“There was some physicality on display today, but also challenged the guys that we’ve got to continue to grow with our toughness in all aspects,” said Norvell. “We’ve got some guys who get halfway through spring ball, your bodies start to get sore and there are things you’ve got to work through to bring the right mindset and approach. Because every day and every rep is critical for this program, it’s critical for each individual. We’re all trying to establish and find a role here we want going forward with this year’s team.”

Injury Updates

Norvell said that CB Demorie Tate, DE Leonard Warner and C Thomas Shrader would all be held out of practice for an extended period and all three would continue to be evaluated.