McKenzie Milton looked as good as he has in the open portions of practice this spring. His receivers made some impressive grabs, too.
Milton was 6 of 11 for 96 yards and a touchdown as the Gold (offense) scored 26 points in FSU’s spring game. The graduate transfer from UCF threw with accuracy and touch, the best he has looked in the practices and scrimmages open to the media this spring.
Playing on the Gold’s third offensive drive, Milton connected with Bryan Robinson on a back-shoulder 16-yard touchdown pass on the third drive. On the previous play, McClain laid out for a 27-yard reception.
“I still feel like I have a lot of room to grow,” Milton said. “Just in terms of it becomes second nature. I think that’s all the QBs in a room, just continuing to learn every day. I feel like we’re learning more and more each day. We’ve been putting in a lot of installs. We’ve been putting in new plays every day. So it’s been a lot thrown at us.
“But I feel like summer is gonna be big for all of us. Just continue to dive into that playbook and just make things second nature. So we’re just playing out there, not really thinking. I got a lot of room to grow for sure.”
Norvell modified the format of a traditional spring game as the offensive line was shorthanded with just nine scholarship players. The first-team offensive line was left tackle Darius Washington, left guard Dontae Lucas, center Maurice Smith, right guard Baveon Johnson, right tackle Robert Scott. Jalen Goss and Lloyd Willis were tackles and Bryson Estes and Ira Henry as guards on the second team.
On FSU’s first offensive drive, Jordan Travis took the first snaps. He completed a pass to Jashaun Corbin for 11 yards. Lawrance Toafili ran twice for 19 yards. After an incompletion, Travis rolled left and hit a wide-open Malik McClain, who turned and finished off the 44-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
Kevin Knowles intercepted a Tate Rodemaker pass on the second drive. Rodemaker was looking to connect with walk-on Parker Self.
Travis was 8 of 14 for 115 yards and a touchdown. He looks like a more confident passer than last fall, a benefit to having a full spring in year 2 of Norvell’s offense.
“The guys got really comfortable with the plays and, like McKenzie said, we’re starting to play and not think so much,” Travis said. “And that’s important because when you think too much you go slow and you just can’t play 100 percent. The guys are just getting more comfortable. We still got a whole summer to go and a whole fall camp to go. So we have a lot of room for improvement.”
Tate Rodemaker was 14 of 24 for 100 yards but did not look comfortable in a number of situations.
Norvell said he is pleased with the quarterback room but did not indicate any separation between Milton or Travis. It’s clearly an indication the quarterback battle will continue in August in preseason camp.
But for Milton the three scrimmages this spring were the first game-like situations he has been in since suffering the leg injury more than two years ago.
“It’s been a long time since I was able to do that,” Milton said. “I don’t take it for granted at all, the past couple of years. Just a blessing to be out there. And just a blessing to be wearing this logo, it’s something I’ll cherish for this next year. And just have fun with it.”
Robinson, Corey Wren and D.J. Williams had three receptions apiece. Self had two receptions, continuing his impressive spring where he has showed consistent hands.
Treshaun Ward ran six times for 41 yards. Lawrance Toafili ran four times for 45 yards.
Dennis Briggs Jr. (three sacks), Jermaine Johnson (two sacks), Malcolm Ray (two sacks) and Josh Griffis (two sacks) were among the linemen bringing pressure. The official stats had 11 sacks (no contact, just counting touch).
Parker Grothaus connected on a 41-yard field goal with plenty of leg. He also made a 28-yarder and missed a 36-yarder.
Jammie Robinson had six tackles. Knowles had four tackles (including two tackles for loss).
Alex Mastromanno had seven punts for 48.7 yards, including a longest punt of 58 yards.
Defensive back Demorie Tate was on a scooter with a cast on his right foot. Offensive linemen Thomas Shrader (crutches) and Brady Scott (boot on right foot) were on the sideline. Devontay Love-Taylor and Chaz Neal were on the sideline but not dressed out. Defensive end Leonard Warner (boot on left foot, crutch) was on the sideline. Defensive tackles Kier Thomas (missed the spring) and Tru Thompson were on the sideline but not dressed out.
Chubba Purdy was not seen on the sideline. It’s possible he was in the coaches’ box or elsewhere in the stadium. Norvell said during his postgame interviews that he was looking to get Purdy cleared for summer workouts.