Aug. 27, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida State football team capped off its final day of fall camp Saturday morning on the Al Dunlap Practice Fields.
It was the 19th day of on-field preparations for a Seminoles team that will now take Sunday off before game-week begins on Monday. FSU plays host to Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 3 in the 2011 season opener.
FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said Saturday that the plan is to release a two-deep depth chart on Monday.
The big news from Saturday was that the entire first-team offensive line was intact after starters Andrew Datko, David Spurlock and Zebrie Sanders missed time over the past several weeks. That’s a good sign at the conclusion of a long, physical camp.
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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It’s an exciting time so continue to stay tuned to the official athletics website of FSU, Seminoles.com. We will have have everything you need to get prepared for the first game of the year, including Fisher and quarterback EJ Manuel’s press conferences, the Doak Insider Podcast previewing the upcoming games, stories, videos and much more.
TWEET, TWEET: ANSWERING YOUR TWTTER QUESTIONS
@cjones6121 asked, “For the most part, are the Seminoles healthy coming out of camp?”
If camp had ended a few days ago, the answer to that question would have been no. But with the return of the senior offensive linemen as mentioned about, as well as the return of freshman tight end Nick O’Leary on Saturday, the answer is yes.
O’Leary was a question mark because he had missed several days with a sore shoulder. He made his return a day after junior tailback Chris Thompson returned from a sore back that cost him some time, too.
There were various minor injuries throughout camp but nothing serious and the Seminoles head into game preparations as a healthy unit overall.
@jmac1968CA asked, “Brandon, tell us who are our top five weapons on offense and defense this season? Can we beat Oklahoma?”
In no particular order, here are my guesses for FSU’s top five players on both sides of the ball this year:
1. EJ Manuel – He’s fast, he can throw and he has the chance to be one of the nation’s best quarterbacks.
2. Jarred Haggins – I think he is poised for a breakout year as a sophomore.
3. Chris Thompson – When he’s healthy, he’s a touchdown waiting to happen.
4. Willie Haulstead – He’s a little bit banged up at the end of camp but Haulstead has the skill-set to be a big league wide receiver.
5. Bert Reed – “Speed Reed” has one more season to run past defenders.
1. Brandon Jenkins – He’s one of the nation’s premier defensive ends and every left tackles’ nightmare.
2. Christian Jones – I think Jones becomes a national name this year as an outside linebacker.
3. Lamarcus Joyner – Simply put: just watch and see.
4. Greg Reid – His MVP performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl has him set up for a monster year on defense.
5. Mike Harris – All Harris does is make plays.
FSU will need strong games from all or most of those players to beat Oklahoma.
@_ZayHova asked, “Which freshmen are going to impact the team this year?”
I think that Devonta Freeman, Timmy Jernigan and Nick O’Leary have the best chances of all the freshmen because they will get the most playing time right away. Each of these guys could push the veterans for playing time in the first game next week.
THE WILLIAMS WAY
When FSU signed Karlos Williams to a National Letter of Intent this past February, the program wasn’t adding just an elite playmaker and one of the country’s best high school prospects.
The Seminoles also added a younger brother as Karlos is the sibling of veteran linebacker Vince Williams.
With his first fall camp as a college football player in the books, Vince thinks that his little brother has been doing well in dealing with the culture and lifestyle change.
“I think Los is doing fine,” Vince Williams said. “It’s just a learning curve just like all the other freshmen have to overcome. Besides that he is just doing what he always does, flying around making plays. He’s fast, he’s physical and I think he’s doing fantastic.”
Having a brother on the team that has been through the rigors of camp, the demands in the classroom and the battles on the football field during the season is obviously an added benefit for the younger Williams.
Vince Williams said that the two brothers have two relationships that makes their bond so strong: the one on the field and the one off the field.
“I try to stay out of his way,” Vince Williams said. “I don’t really pressure him into doing things. I just show him the right way [and] lead by example. That’s pretty much what I do with every freshman or any underclassman. So, I just treat him like a teammate when we are on campus and on the field. And when we are off the field I treat him like a little brother.”
SPEAKING OF THE MIDDLE LINEBACKERS
While Vince Williams has been working with his younger brother, he has also been working at securing a starting job at middle linebacker.
Since the day fall camp started, he has been in a tough battle with sophomore Telvin Smith for the starting job in the middle of the defense. With the two-deep depth chart set to be announced on Monday, it appears likely that Vince Williams will be the starter but Smith will rotate in quite a bit — sort of a 1A and 1B type of rotation.
“Vince is doing a really good job,” Fisher said. “Him and Telvin in there, they are doing a really nice job.”
Unlike Williams, Smith doesn’t lack the “typical” (or what is considered typical) size for a middle linebacker. At 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds, his body type may look more suited for an outside linebacker position. Vince Williams, on the other hand, is 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds.
But size isn’t what the FSU coaches are looking for at the position, Fisher said. It’s production and tackles they demand and both Vince Williams and Smith meet that criteria despite their different sizes.
“Here’s how I look at the Mike linebacker: he either makes tackles or he doesn’t,” Fisher said. “It’s fun to watch. They both make tackles.”
Smith made a name for himself on special teams as a true freshman last year. The Valdosta, Ga. native is known for his sideline-to-sideline speed.
“The game has changed to more of a speed game,” Smith said. “You’ve got to be fast out there. I’m not the biggest guy but my heart and my energy make up for it. You will never see me back down from a running back — I don’t care if he’s 300 [pounds]. I’m gonna stick my head in and let him feel me. I feel like that’s why Coach Jimbo recruited me because he saw that in me.”
Fisher and his staff also saw an “energy guy” when they began evaluating and recruiting Smith out of Lowndes High School.
When he got to FSU and earned playing time on special teams, FSU fans had a chance to see that energy, too. It’s not uncommon to see Smith jumping up and down, firing up the crowd and his teammates and getting loud on the football field.
“I play as the game goes,” Smith said. “The more intense the game gets, the more energy I am going to bring to the team. I am just that type of player that I am always staying on edge. I am always ready to make a play. That’s just who I am.”
“We are both competitors,” Vince Williams added. “You can’t go wrong with either of us at middle linebacker.”
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF
Don’t look now but the season really is right around the corner — as hard as it is to believe. In celebration of the fact that there is only one week remaining until FSU’s opener against Louisiana-Monroe, here’s a photo of No. 7, Christian Jones: