Milton working, learning offense so it becomes ‘second nature’

McKenzie Milton feels good. He’s clearly happy out on the practice field with Florida State this spring, running around and showing confidence in his mobility on a knee that has gone through countless surgeries.

There’s comfort but there’s also learning. New teammates and a new playbook.

“Still trying to get to the point where the offense is second nature,” Milton said after Friday’s third practice of the spring. “I feel like the only way to get there is just continue to get in my playbook and continue to get those reps. And not just live reps but mental reps when other guys are taking reps. Just continuing down that path, but I feel I feel very confident out there.”

Milton threw for 8,683 yards, 72 touchdowns and 22 interceptions from 2016-18 at UCF. He hasn’t played in a college football game since his injury in Nov. 2018, but Milton returned to run the scout team at UCF in 2020 before transferring to FSU in December.

A positive for Milton is he’s adapted to new systems before. When Scott Frost left UCF for Nebraska, in came Josh Heupel. And now Milton is learning Mike Norvell’s system.

“There’s always some similarities from one offense to another, so you can try and connect some stuff,” Milton said. “But at the same time you got to flush your memory of what you’ve learned and just be open, have an open mind to what our coaches are trying to teach you. So in a way I do feel like a freshman and just being a sponge and learning and not being in the same system for a long time. 

“But at the same time, I’ve played a lot of ball. I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’m still learning out there every day.”

The learning process has been a two-way street. Milton has been able to pass along what he has learned at UCF as well as what he sees in practices to FSU’s younger quarterbacks. They in turn help him soak up the Seminoles’ offense.

“He’s a great guy,” Jordan Travis said. “We texted a little bit before he got here. Very blessed to have him here. It was another guy that’s played a lot. And just trying to get each other better at the end of the day. That’s what it’s about.”

Milton also said he’s enjoyed getting to know the offensive linemen, remarking “They’ll take us as far as we want to go.” He was also asked about the early enrollee receivers, Malik McClain and Joshua Burrell. Both have stood out for their playmaking ability.

“They have the chance to be really special,” Milton said. “They both have the chance to be Sunday NFL guys at 18 years old. I wish I had more time here to continue to play with them. Make the most of this one year I get with the guys. I’m curious to see three, four years from now when they’re 21, 22 (years old) they’re going to be freaks. And they’re already freaks at 18. The main thing for those guys is get in your playbooks and you’ll be able to play soon.”