Fuller, Papuchis happy with depth, competition building on defense

Florida State held its first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday evening. Due to lightning in the area, coach Mike Norvell moved the practice quickly to the IPF. Below are some thoughts from defensive coordinator Adam Fuller as well as defensive ends coach / special teams coordinator John Papuchis. We’ll have more from Mike Norvell and Kenny Dillingham on Sunday morning. (A video of Norvell is also below).

Adam Fuller

(overall thoughts on scrimmage) I thought we tackled well. I thought we ran to the ball well. I thought we created some takeaways. Got good pressure early in the scrimmage. Overall, it was a pretty clean first scrimmage. I thought the first half was a lot better than the second half. We got a little fatigued and got a little sloppy there towards the finish. Saw a lot of good signs early.

(defensive interior, run defense improvement) I think our front is considerably better right now from where we were in the spring to where we are now. I’ve seen a lot of marked improvement on just base effort, their understanding, their physicality at the point (of attack). I’ve seen a lot of strides in a positive direction, you know. I think JP (John Papuchis) and coach (Odell) Haggins are doing a really good job with that front, and I feel good about it right now. I think we’ve made the necessary strides from where we were at the end of spring to now you’ve seen marked improvements and now you can continue to see more growth in other areas and just continue to build that depth that we’re going to need up front in order to play the way we need to.

(freshman Shyheim Brown) We’ve been impressed. Shyheim is somebody that we’re leaving at Buck and trying to just get as many reps as we can. What that’s gonna look like early in the season we’re still unsure. But he’s got a really good attitude towards it, he’s got a great frame and he’s got good movements. The greatest thing about him back in high school was he did a lot of things well. And now we’re using all those talents, we’re trying to just get it into one position so that he can sort of focus on getting better at things, but he flashed a lot, and then he showed some freshman (moments), just ball gets snapped and he ends up on the other side of the field and just the freshman things that can happen. He’s a good learner and he’s working at it. I think the frame the skill and the personality is a really good fit for us.

John Papuchis

(on defensive ends) I think the best thing about what we have going now, from a defensive end perspective, is a lot of those guys who played a year ago, Quashon Fuller, Derrick McClendon, Josh Griffis, those three guys played a lot as a redshirt freshman a year ago, played some anyway. They’ve all made significant improvement. We have the two transfers that are older kids that came in the spring, Jermaine (Johnson) and Keir Thomas, and then we added Marcus Cushnie here in the summer. So we’ve added a lot of experience, and those young guys have now grown and developed so our depth at that spot should be much, much better. Having been excited about those six guys that are playing. Patrick Payton is having an excellent camp. I think that the depth is going to be much better than it was a year ago in terms of the quality of the depth and the competition is gonna be pretty solid there. I like where we are. But we’re only a week in so we got to keep grinding it out. 

(on punter Alex Mastromanno) I think he’s a lot more confident than he was probably a year ago at this time with everything. A year ago, everything was new to him. It was the first time he did all the things that he was going through on the first fall camp. In the first game was his first game experience and so on, throughout the course of the year that was the case. I think now that he’s had a full year and a full offseason and the opportunity to train in the summer and then get himself ready for this fall camp, he’s a very confident player right now. And that’s translating into the way he’s caught the ball and I’m excited for him because I think we haven’t really even scratched the surface of what he can potentially be so I’m excited to watch his development.