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Finally, Seminole fans flock home for fun and fellowship

After what seems an eternity, actually more than a year, eager Seminole fans will make the long-awaited trip to Tallahassee to visit with friends at tailgate parties, watch Florida State sports in action and enjoy a delayed Homecoming celebration. 

Spring game weekend – April 8-11, 2021 – will be a fun-filled three days with so many events to choose from we thought you could use this guide to help you enjoy them all. Not lost in all these events is the spring football scrimmage, which will be a chance for football fans to see for themselves what progress Mike Norvell and his staff have made to rebuild the program.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

What better way to warm up your weekend than with an in-state grudge match against Miami? FSU’s top 25 ranked men’s tennis team faces the Hurricanes at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the beautiful Speicher Tennis Center. Check it out.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday dawns early with two golf tournaments, lots of Seminole sports action, a Homecoming Parade with a twist, and ends late with the Homecoming Live pep rally in Doak and, if you are up to it, a nightcap at 51 on Madison. The new venue is an exclusive benefit of Seminole Booster membership. Reservations are recommended.

The Varsity Club and the Seminole Masters Invitational are hosting golf tournaments for their respective club members. Varsity Club members will tee off at Southwood at 9 am (sold out). 

Across town, Seminole Masters members only will take on the challenge of the new Seminole Legacy course. 

The Seminole Masters are boosters who donate exclusively for the FSU men’s and women’s golf program. The Seminole Masters is the highest giving level ($5000 annually) of the Seminole Boosters’ Golf Coaches Club, which has numerous lower giving levels. Many of these donors have also made capital campaign gifts to golf and are recognized with hole sponsorships on the challenging intercollegiate course and or a new par 3.

“We have 45 members who donate $5,000 or more per year to our men’s and women’s golf program,” said Peter Collins, a member of the FSU Board of Trustees. “Each of us donate to Seminole Boosters – many Golden Chiefs or higher – but the Seminole Masters is a way for us to channel money exclusively for golf.”

The invitational golf tournament was founded by Collins, Lance Barton and golf coach Trey Jones.

“Our members have a passion for golf and for the golf teams,” Collins explained of their propensity to give.

The Seminole Masters Golf outing, in its inaugural year, will become an annual event and an exclusive benefit of being a member of the Seminole Masters.

“All the money generated goes back to the golf program,” Collins said.

For more information about the Golf Coaches Club visit https://boosters.fsu.edu/coaches-clubs or contact Christian Gonzalez Mendez, director of Coaches Clubs, at cgonzalezmendez@fsu.edu or call 850-645-9836. Christian can share information about each giving level as well as the benefits of each giving level including the Seminole Masters. 

A new terrace and clock tower, funded by the members, will be dedicated this weekend. The outdoor gathering place features a memorial wall to honor a member, a player, a coach or someone significant to the golf program. 

“Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus Jr. will be our first honorees,” Collins said, noting the Seminole Legacy Course designers now count eight family members to have attended Florida State.

Three top 10 contests (four top 25) within 100 yards

If you are not playing in one of the two tournaments, you’ll want to start you day at the Speicher Center for the top 25 men’s teams match with Boston College at 10 a.m. Within a 100-yard walk of the Speicher, you can enjoy cheering on No. 6 women’s tennis match with Miami at 4 p.m., No. 2 FSU Beach Volleyball at 4:45 and No. 10 women’s softball at 6 p.m.

You’re going to see some spectacular athletes and teams in action as the women’s tennis team are fresh off a huge win over No. 8 Virginia and the Beach Volleyball team has been No. 1 or No. 2 again this year after competing for the national championship each year. The softball team, which won the national championship in recent years, is looking to find the right combination to make another championship run. 

Free music, fun prior to Homecoming Live

There’s something for every member of your family. Join the Homecoming Live FREE pre-party at Langford Green from 5:30-7 p.m., followed by the Homecoming Live (the entertainment event formerly known as Pow Wow) at Doak. Gates open at 7 and the entertainment begins at 8 pm with special FSU performers and a well-known comedian. FSU will crown its Homecoming Chief and Princess. Admission is $25 for adults. Social distancing, mask requirements and other safety practices will be in effect. For additional information, visit https://homecoming.fsu.edu/events/hc-live.

If you have any energy remaining, join your friends for a cocktail and a bite to eat at 51 on Madison. 

Saturday, April 10

Sleep in on Saturday morning as a full day awaits you with parking lots opening for tailgating at noon and 51 on Madison opening for those who enjoy a full-serve, pregame experience. Again, reservations recommended. 

If you can’t make it to Tallahassee until Saturday, fear not. You can still see the No. 10 women’s softball team in action and the No. 2 Beach Volleyball team prior to the football scrimmage at 5 pm. 

Football Game Day

There’s a buzz about the FSU football program with cautious talk of improvement. On Saturday, under a setting sun, you’ll be able to see for yourself what improvement has been made during Mike Norvell’s first full spring.

Many of you will are coming to check out the Jordan Travis/McKenzie Milton battle for the quarterback position. Milton, who has demonstrated a full recovery from a horrific leg injury two years ago, has shown steady improvement this spring “unlearning” the nuances of the UCF offense and learning FSU nomenclature, routes and reads. Meanwhile, with two seasons now under his belt, Travis appears to have an improving command of the passing game and continues to impress with his feet. FSU appears to be better at this position. 

Others will focus on the offensive line, which looked to be improving last fall. The line has been without starting right tackle Dontae Love Taylor, who should be back next fall, but has established the best five with Love-Taylor, Robert Scott, Darius Washington, Dontae Lucas and Maurice Smith. The coaches would like to see some depth developed so keep an eye on as many as you can. 

At least nine wide receivers have split playing time this spring — with flashes of excellence and with occasional cases of butter fingers — so the coaches will use these game-like conditions with the band and the crowd to see if someone(s) will step out and separate themselves from the pack. 

The tight end position, which Norvell features, has three players with playing experience and three newcomers to watch. The player we’re all anxious to see, Jordan Wilson, has just returned to practice as part of his knee rehabilitation and it’s unclear if he will play Saturday.

The tailback position has some experienced talent with Jashaun Corbin and Lawrance Toafili but there are other talented players to watch on Saturday. Which do you like?

If you are an offensive-oriented person, you’re likely to see a defensive player in your offensive backfield a lot Saturday. Jermaine Johnson, jersey No. 11, has had a very good spring. The Georgia transfer has been disruptive of pass protection and, at 6-4, 260, a force against the run. He could be what the doctor ordered for a defense that compiled only nine sacks last season. Fabien Lovett, Robert Cooper and Dennis Briggs are competing for the two down linemen positions, with Derrick McClendon and Quashon Fuller competing at the end position opposite Johnson. 

The most-experienced linebacker, one on the rise, went down with an injury this spring so all eyes will be on Amari Gainer, Stephen Dix Jr, DJ Lundy and others, who can use this game to emerge. 

The secondary is also competitive with at least nine capable of winning playing time. The starting lineup is starting to come into focus from a group that includes several transfers: Brandon Moore (UCF), Jarrian Jones, (Mississippi State), Jammie Robinson (South Carolina) and Jarques McClellion. Travis Jay, Jarvis Brownlee, Brendan Gant, Sidney Williams and Jadarius Green-McKnight are also working with the first and second units. Freshman Kevin Knowles has flashed throughout the spring, while veteran Renardo Green has been out this spring but assisting teammates. Judge progress for yourself but there’s been good competition on the back end of the defense. 

Seminoles have a promising kicking game returning with punter Alex Mastromano and kickers Parker Grothaus and Ryan Fitzgerald. 

Spring game details

What time? The two most important times to remember are noon, when tailgating lots open and 5 pm when the spring scrimmage will start. Gates to Doak will open at 4 pm.

Are tickets available? Yes. Call the FSU ticket office at 850-644-1830 line 1. Stadium seats are $10 each and Dunlap Champions Club seats are available to DCC season ticket holders only for $40 each and include food and soft drinks. The box office at Dick Howser Stadium will open at noon day of game. Paid will-call tickets will be handled at Howser, except for Champions Club tickets, which will be available at the Champions Club (box office opens at 3 pm). 

Students will be admitted using their student ID at two gates on each side of the stadium and not issued a ticket.

Are skyboxes available? No, they are already sold out.  

Is the game televised? Yes. If you can’t attend the game, you can watch it on the ACC Network.

Is it a game or a practice? Kind of both. The afternoon will include two, 12-minute quarters with a “TV timeout” programmed after the first change of possession at the six-minute mark in each quarter. The quarters will be an 11 vs. 11 scrimmage. There will also be some individual and special teams work before and after the two quarters. The Marching Chiefs, cheerleaders and Osceola and Renegade will be in attendance, so it should have a game-like feel.

Why this format? The number of practices are limited so Norvell wants to squeeze as much evaluation out of spring as possible. If you are a football geek, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to evaluate next year’s team in this format. The individual and special teams work offer as many opportunities to evaluate as the scrimmage portion and some would argue more. 

How many will attend? FSU will make 10,000 general admission tickets and 4,000 student tickets available in the main bowl. The Dunlap Champions Club will admit 1,600 (club seat season ticket holders only). The club will be split by floor with movement between floors not permitted.

Will I need a mask? All attendees are being asked to practice social distancing when seated in the main bowl and Champions Club. Masks will be required when entering and moving around within the stadium. Masks are required while seated unless you are eating/drinking.

Where do I park? Lots 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and lot 14 will open at noon for $8. There will be free parking in lots 11 and 19.

Can I tailgate? Yes, in all lots but lot 9. If you’d like a catered tailgate, click here.

Sunday, April 11

If you still have your legs, you’re a real athlete with another great day awaiting you. And if you’re not a real great athlete, or have lost your legs, we’ve got a great day waiting for you too. 

The Seminole Experience, a 4-Mile Race with the finish at the Doak 50-yard line, provides a scenic course through campus, which makes the event well worth getting out of bed for the 8 a.m. start. 

Now if you aren’t up for a race, why not take this opportunity to enjoy a 4-mile walk throughout our beautiful campus? You’ll be so distracted by the sights, you’ll reach the 50-yard line before you know it. If you haven’t been on campus in a minute – or a few decades – you will want to calendar this event.

Did I mention the post-race celebration is in CollegeTown? 

Great way to get the blood flowing before the drive home.

For more information, visit https://garnetandgoldfourmiler.com/

For those in your group who aren’t quite so ambitious, 51 on Madison offers a great brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Seminole Booster members. Great food and a motivating Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar.

If you’re in no hurry to leave town, you can have brunch and close the weekend at JoAnne Graf field to cheer FSU softball to a sweep of Duke. First pitch 3 pm.

I don’t know about you, but it feels surreal to finally be looking forward to enjoying Seminole sports and binding friendships once again!