Florida State has opened up its second spring practice to the media on Thursday afternoon. Publisher Jerry Kutz and analyst Patrick Burnham are watching and have the following updates. They will flesh out this story with more detail later in the evening and on Friday.
On a cool crisp day, it was obvious the Seminoles were eager to get back to football. The practice was energetic and extremely well organized, a good sign under second-year head coach Mike Norvell. In the first few days of last spring, coaches had to invest time implementing practice plans and showing players how drills are to be run. Not this year as the players knew exactly what to do, running an impressive number of rapid fire plays. The first team ran plays toward the south end of the practice field, with the second-team simultaneously running plays toward the north.
The first-team offensive line, from left: Darius Washington, Brady Scott, Maurice Smith, Dontae Lucas and Robert Scott.
The second-team offensive line, from left: Jalen Goss, Zane Herring, Thomas Shrader, Bryson Estes and Chaz Neal.
Overall, the offensive line looks leaner, including Dontae Lucas.
The offensive line has spent considerable time working on blitz pickup during indy drills.
Florida State showed more receivers in this practice than last year. There are at least five or six receivers who will compete for playing time, which usually leads to improvement in the fall. The players who flashed included Bryan Robinson, who catches the ball cleanly with his hands and is a smooth route-runner. In addition to Robinson, Malik McLain, Jordan Young Kentron Poitier, Keyshawn Helton, Joshua Burrell, Ontaria Wilson and Darion Williamson all looked capable of competing for playing time. Walk-on receiver Parker Self has shown consistent hands, catching everything that comes his way. While there were few drops in uncontested drills, the ball did hit the ground too many times when the passes were contested in 11 on 11 drills.
There’s competition at tight end too. Camren McDonald, Preston Daniel, Wyatt Rector, Markeston Douglas and Jackson West received most of the snaps. West is a long, athletic-looking freshman (6-4, 245) while Douglas is a surprisingly agile receiver for his size (6-4, 289). Jordan Wilson did not take reps today.
Jordan Travis is working with the first-team offense in early portions of practice in takeoff drills. Travis completed 5 of 6 passes in seven-on-seven drills. McKenzie Milton has been accurate and taking reps with the first-team. He’s shown good movement rolling out and scrambling when necessary. He looks good to go. Travis has been nearly as good moving the offense, which will make for a competitive spring in the quarterback room with Chubba Purdy and Tate Rodemaker taking a lot of reps. Redshirt freshman Gino English, a walk-on, looked capable.
At running back, Jashaun Corbin, Lawrance Toafili and DJ Williams all worked with the first team. Toafili is the most sudden with Corbin and Williams bigger backs. All three catch the ball. FSU fans know what Toafili and Corbin are capable of and, based on Thursday’s first look, Williams will compete.
The first-team defensive alignment featured: FOX Leonard Warner, Strongside Defensive End Jermaine Johnson, Defensive Tackle Dennis Briggs Jr., Nose Tackle Robert Cooper, Mike Linebacker Emmett Rice, Will Linebacker Amari Gainer, SAM Linebacker Jammie Robinson, Cornerbacks Jarrian Jones and Jarvis Brownlee Jr., Free Safety Brendan Gant and Strong Safety Travis Jay.
Like the offensive line, the defensive front looks leaner than last year’s front, which had some heavy players in Marvin Wilson and Cory Durden. Quashon Fuller stood out at defensive end and Jermaine Johnson looks like he’ll help FSU improved its pass rush.
FSU used 4-2-5 alignments as a base look. Patrick Burnham has written a more in-depth piece on the 4-2-5 defense with Jerry Kutz writing his early observations on Friday morning.