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Notebook: FSU shorthanded on OL going into spring game

FSU held its 13th practice of the spring Thursday afternoon under cloudy, cool but humid conditions. Head coach Mike Norvell put his squad through a one-hour, 40-minute workout in full pads that featured mostly individual and group work with five team periods built in as preparation for Saturday’s Garnet and Gold Game.

Norvell made changes to the format of the scrimmage earlier this week citing injuries, which will limit his ability to field two teams on Saturday night.

One of the position groups that has been hit hardest by injuries or lack of availability is the offensive line. The unit is so thin heading into the spring game that only eight scholarship players took reps with either the first or second team Thursday.

The first-team offensive line consisted of LT Darius Washington, LG Ira Henry, C Maurice Smith, RG Dontae Lucas and RT Robert Scott. The second-team unit consisted of LT Lloyd Wills, LG Robert Elder, C Baveon Johnson, RG Bryson Estes and RT Dylan Black.

Defensively, Fabien Lovett has another strong practice and is splitting reps with returning starter Robert Cooper. DE Jermain Johnson, DT Dennis Briggs and DE Derrick McClendon got the majority of the reps with the first-team defense.

Quarterback Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton continued to split reps with the first-team offense as they have all spring. Tate Rodemaker continues to get most of the reps with the second-team offense in team drills.

As usual, Norvell spent the middle part of practice working on special teams, including with the kickoff return unit where Jashaun Corbin, Travis Jay, Corey Wren, Ja’Khi Douglas and Ontaria Wilson are all being used as the team’s returners.

During the team period, which featured both first-and-10 and second-and-long situations, the defense got the better of the offense as it has all spring. Running back Treshaun Ward continued his strong spring with two 10-plus yards runs during the team periods. The FSU offense also found success in the screen game as Corbin and running back Lawrence Toafili both made long runs after the catch.

All three quarterbacks — Jordan Travis, McKenzie Milton and Tate Rodemaker — struggled to find success pushing the ball downfield vertically but did find some success on short passes of five yards or less.

The team will be off Friday and then will hold a 24-minute scrimmage on Saturday which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. (ACC Network). The format will feature two 12-minute quarters with the offense going against the defense, as it would in a normal practice. That will be followed by special teams, individual and group work.

The team will conclude spring drills with a practice on Sunday afternoon.