Florida State held a lighter practice on Saturday morning as the team prepares for the scrimmage on Sunday evening. The team has now practiced for two full weeks and will begin the transition to preparations for Notre Dame in the days following the scrimmage.
After Saturday’s practice, FSU linebackers coach Chris Marve spoke with the media about his group and a few players.
How have the guys come along this preseason?
Marve: The guys playing really fast. They’re playing with great competence. They’re putting in a significant amount of work in away the facility and I think it’s been very visible when we get to practice. They’re communicating really well, they’re playing with great anticipation, great speed and pad level. Fundamentally, I’ve been impressed. Hope we can continue to do that and be consistent with those things because at this position those are things that are necessary in order to be very successful.
How have you seen Kalen DeLoach develop?
Marve: He’s a young man who’s grown up. Being a part of the program now for the second year he’s matured in a lot of ways, not just as a football player and understanding the game but also as a young man away from the field. So it’s been really impressive to watch him. You can see him flying around. He’s playing with great competence, he’s communicating. He’s respected by his teammates, and I think it all stemmed from the work that he put in this offseason. Having a full offseason of consistency, we all know what we dealt with last year. I think it’s showing for him. He’s a young kid who loves this game. He loves his teammates, and he’s been fun to coach and fun to watch.
What have you seen from D.J. Lundy?
Marve: It’s been good to watch his growth because you’re talking about a young man who is right down the road. But what did he do all high school? He was a four-time state championship wrestler and on the football field he played offense and defense. Here he has been able to focus primarily and almost the entirety of his focus has been on defense, obviously he plays special teams as well. But being able to grow in a space where you fully are immersed in a particular scheme in a particular position. It allows you to grow and to flourish, if you put the work in. He’s a young man who loves to work. He doesn’t back down from anything. And so I’ve been happy with him. He still has some room to grow but he’s been he’s taking some significant strides.
Are linebackers Interchangeable or are you looking for who works best side by side?
Marve: Ideally, I think you’d like to be able to say, ‘Hey, everybody in the position room knows how to play every single position flawlessly and can go out and be the perfect, quintessential examples of a linebacker.’ But that’s not always the case. And so what you want to do is be smart and be able to supplement the strengths of the guy that you’re playing next to. And so whatever that combination looks like it does. And so that’s what we’ve been doing and seeing how the guys work together and how they work alone. We still have room to grow.
Can you discuss some of the newcomers at linebacker?
Marve: One of the newcomers we have is Jordan Eubanks, he’s a younger guy, he’s figuring it out. He’s figuring it out not only playing college football but playing college football in the ACC and then playing college football at Florida State. Cortez Andrews, he’s been a young man that I’ve been impressed with. He’s coming in, he’s made a name for himself, just working his behind off. Keeping his mouth closed and trying to be the best version of himself, and obviously he’s different from Jordan in the aspect that he’s been around college football before. I think he plays with a particular chip on his shoulder, being a hometown kid being from right here and going to Godby High School. He takes that with a lot of pride. And so he’s very, very happy and proud to be a part of this program and represent us.
Amari Gainer has moved to more of an inside linebacker. How has that transition gone?
Marve: Amari is a grinder. So whatever we put in front of him, he will try to figure it out and process and work in the best way he can and reach his full capacity. He’s a young man, even during fall camp, where the day is very regimented and structured, you very little free time. He’s still trying to find a way to get one-on-one field time with me as a coach. So that shows me that he is really immersed and really intent on being the best version of who he is. I’ve been happy with that. He’s growing. We still have a ways to go.
FSU will hold its second scrimmage of camp on Sunday evening, with the countdown to kickoff vs. Notre Dame on Sept. 5 just two weeks away. The scrimmage is closed to the public and media.