Aug. 12, 2011
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida State football team was supposed to conclude its five-day “acclimation period” on Friday.
The FSU coaching staff had other plans.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher decided Friday morning that instead of having one final day in shells, the Seminoles would get a jump-start on their schedule by putting on pads a day early.
Let’s get to your Twitter questions.
@OPTIMUM_Mag_VP asked, “I heard a lot of hype about WR Greg Dent from this past spring. Will he be in the rotation this season?”
Dent will definitely be in the rotation this year along with fellow sophomores Kenny Shaw and Jarred Haggins and redshirt freshman Christian Green (watch out for true freshman Rashad Greene, too). As has been the case all week, I saw Dent running with the second-team offense on Friday.
He has also had some reps with the first team.
Fisher’s offense has shown that sophomore wide receivers typically experience quite a bump in their production. Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead did it a year ago and former FSU receiver Jarmon Fortson did it before them.
@youngjwy asked, “How about [Nick] O’Leary?”
I wrote at length about O’Leary earlier this week so check that out here. As of Friday, he is still looking strong and pushing for immediate playing time behind incumbent starter Beau Reliford. In live action drills at the end of practice, I saw O’Leary splitting first-team reps with Reliford and senior Ja’Baris Little.
I would expect O’Leary to see action early on in FSU’s season-opener against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 3.
@Will_Griggs asked, “Tackling? Lots of quick players on the schedule this year (some QBs).”
Friday was the first day that the team could actually wrap up and tackle since it was the first day in pads.
At the start of practice, each of the defensive coaches separated into different sections. Each defensive positional grouping then spent about five minutes with each coach working on different tackling and wrap-up drills before rotating to the next station.
Day 5 Observations:
Friday was a perfect example about the fluidity of the depth chart.
A day after writing that I saw freshman Tre Jackson working with the first team, I saw freshmen Reuben Carter in the left guard position at the start of practice on Friday. Redshirt sophomore Garrett Faircloth was also getting some reps with the first team at right guard.
Fisher then mentioned how he has been very pleased with Faircloth’s ability to work at both tackle and guard.
What this all means is that offensive line coach Rick Trickett is still tweaking with his group and looking for the best five guys that can play — now matter what year they are.
Of note: senior left guard David Spurlock is still being held out of contact so that has played a factor in the “revolving door” at left guard. Still, Trickett has been impressed enough with his young linemen to insert them into the starting lineup where needed.
Friday’s action was delayed because of lightning in the area. This was the second time this week that Mother Nature changed the practice schedule for the Seminoles.
After warming up for 10 to 15 minutes, the players had to retreat to the locker room. Fisher has talked all week about impressed he has been with his team’s attitude. He has said that FSU boasts a roster full of guys that like to practice. That was visually true on Friday because the players were noticeably upset to return inside.
Think about that for a second. The players were upset that they had to escape the 102-degree Tallahassee sun and head inside for air conditioning. That’s a good sign. As he walked off the field, junior quarterback Greg Reid shouted, “We’re trying to win a national championship!”
In total, the team was delayed about 45 minutes due to the weather.
Friday marked the return to action for starting tailback Chris Thompson, who had missed the past few days while nursing a sore back.
Fisher said after practice that even though Thompson wore a non-contact jersey he was still out there carrying the football in live action and picking up all his blocking assignments properly. For as much buzz as freshman runner Devonta Freeman has generated this fall (and rightfully so), a healthy Thompson is still the ‘Noles starter at running back an that likely won’t change.
Overall, Friday was a very strong and consistent day for the Seminoles with high intensity. Fisher said he was pleased with the consistency of his squad.
Following practice, Fisher addressed the rumors that FSU is looking to switch conferences and leave the ACC for the SEC. There was even a report on the Internet stating that the Seminoles’ coaching staff was on board with the decision to make the switch.
As Lee Corso would say: “Not so fast my friends.”
“There’s no offer on the table,” Fisher said. “I have not spoken with anybody about it. We love the ACC and we love the conference we are in,”
The Seminoles will now hold their first two-a-day of the fall starting Saturday morning and concluding Saturday night. The program will then hold its annual media day on Sunday before the team and coaches head over to the Donald L. Tucker Center for 2011 Fan Day.
Seminoles.com will be in attendance at media day and will coverage from day’s events. For those fans that want to follow along live, check out our media day page. We will have live interviews with the players and an interactive chat room.