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Woodson likes new additions at DB; LB Rice out for extended period

The FSU football team held its eighth practice of the spring on Thursday afternoon. Head coach Mike Norvell described the practice, which was closed to the media, as physical and featured a lot of team situational work.

Woodson impressed with new DBs

After finishing the 2020 season ranked 97th in the country in pass defense, Norvell and defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson brought in four newcomers this spring. Transfers Jammie Robinson (South Carolina), Brandon Moore (UCF), Jarques McClellion (Arkansas) and 2021 signee Kevin Knowles, who enrolled in school in January, have all impressed their position coach.

“I’ll tell you what, all four, including Kevin Knowles, the true freshman, have been a great addition to the room,” said Woodson of the quartet. “Jarques (McClellion), he’s currently right now out and not physically going.”

The most experienced of the newcomers is Robinson, who has been running with the first-team defense in the practices the media has attended and according to his new coach the graduate transfer hasn’t disappointed.

“But Jammie Robinson, he brought a great competitive edge to the group that has been really, really good. He’s playing for us the nickel position,” said Woodson of the South Carolina transfer. “His experience in the conference and the school that he’s coming from has really added value to the secondary. The thing with Jammie is continuing to progress, to pursue the ball and to play with a controlled, competitive edge. That’s my message to him right now, but I’m so glad that we have him and I look forward to him continuing to get better each and every day.”

Moore has missed the majority of his last two seasons in Orlando due to injury but whose experience and success early in his career in man coverage should help add depth at cornerback if he doesn’t win the starting job this spring or fall.

“Moore has been a great addition to the corner position as well,” said Woodson. “Every day he’s putting an emphasis on getting better fundamentally on everything that he does. When he came in, he had a tendency to play high. I see him being intentional with correcting that. He’s gotten a lot better in the press technique at the line. He’s got to continue to work on just winning his leverage and understanding split recognition and that comes with time. But athletically, experience-wise, he’s been a great addition.”

The veteran defensive backs coach also has a praise for the the youngest addition to the secondary.

“Kevin Knowles, this kid is mature beyond his years,” said Woodson. “He’s a kid that makes the future here at Florida State a lot brighter with his mindset, with his mentality, with the mindset and approach that he has every single day. If I didn’t know he wasn’t a freshman, I wouldn’t think that he was just by watching the way he goes about business. He’s still learning to play up to speed, obviously the tempo that we have here at Florida State is 10 times more than what he’s used to. But he’s acclimated well and continues to show up every day to get better.”

Woodson does believe he is seeing improvement in the secondary across the board but still needs to see more consistency from his group.

“The main thing is consistency,” said Woodson. “They’ve got a good understanding in terms of what the expectation is. Fatigue at times can force you to lose attention to detail if you don’t make it a priority. Overall as a group, just the consistency every down. If we play 100 snaps, it needs to happen 100 snaps to the point where your attention to detail is where it needs to be. That’s the main thing with this group is just consistency from top to bottom and improving our attention to detail, even when we get tired. Because that’s our world that we live in. We’ve got to be able to process and rely on our technique and fundamentals when we do get fatigued because we don’t substitute a lot play-in and play-out like the receiver groups do. We’ve got to continue to put priority on consistency from a fundamental standpoint, even when we get fatigued.”

Rice injured

Norvell said starting MIKE linebacker Emmett Rice was injured earlier this week and will be held out of football activities for an extended period. The nature and seriousness of Rice’s injury is unknown and Norvell said he would have further information on the extent of the injury at a later date.

Scrimmage open to public

Saturday’s scrimmage inside Doak Campbell Stadium will be open to the public and spectators are allowed to enter the stadium through Gate C starting at 9 a.m. Masks will be required by all those attending.