TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State opened spring practice Wednesday afternoon with plenty of familiar faces hungry for the opportunity to get the Seminoles back atop the Atlantic Coast Conference and into a fifth consecutive New Year’s Six bowl game.
The Seminoles enter the spring returning 57 lettermen including 17 starters – tied for the fifth most nationally. In fact, Florida State returns all 11 starters on offense from last year including rising junior tailback Dalvin Cook, rising redshirt senior quarterback Sean Maguire and three wide receivers (Travis Rudolph, Bobo Wilson and Kermit Whitfield) that each caught 50 or more passes. On the defensive side, FSU welcomes back five of its top 10 leading tacklers including rising freshman defensive back Derwin James, who finished his first season in Tallahassee with the second most tackles on the team at 91.
Despite all the familiarity and starting experience on both sides of the ball, one thing is certain – nothing is guaranteed, every position on the field is up for grabs.
“Every spot on this team is up for grabs,” said Fisher. “There is not one spot on this team that is locked in. You go play terrible in the game, there’s a chance the next day you don’t play. That’s the thing about sports – nothing is ever in stone. You have to prove yourself in athletics every day.”
And after the first of practice that is certainly the case for everyone that put on a uniform on day one as Fisher was disappointed with his team’s performance all over the field.
“Today’s practice had a lack of enthusiasm,” said Fisher. “Practice was decent but not at the level which we’re used to practicing. One of the worst ones since I’ve been here. No enthusiasm. No life. Just out here going through the motions. That’s all it is. That’s why we lost three games last year.”
Florida State will quickly put Wednesday’s practice behind as the Seminoles return to the Albert J. Dunlap Practice Facility on Thursday, March 17 before wrapping up the week in shells on Saturday.
The Seminoles will hold their annual Garnet and Gold Spring Game at the Orlando Citrus Bowl while construction continues inside Doak Campbell Stadium. Kickoff for the game will be at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 9.
Two notable Seminoles will transition to a new position on the football field this spring as both players are making the move from defense to offense. Chris Casher, who spent his first three seasons at defensive end, will move to tight end, while Rick Leonard will transition from defensive end to right tackle.
Casher appeared in 34 games his first three seasons tallying 60 tackles including 9.0 TFLs and three sacks. The Mobile, Ala., native added four pass break-ups, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Leonard appeared in all 13 games as a sophomore both on special teams and at defensive end. He finished the 2015 season with five tackles and 2.5 TFLs.
Florida State Spring Injury Report
The following will miss spring practice due to injury
OL Abdul Bello (knee)
DT Keith Bryant (foot)
OL Ryan Hoefeld (shoulder)
OL Derrick Kelly (knee)
TE Jeremy Kerr (shoulder)
LB Tyrell Lyons (knee)
QB Sean Maguire (leg)
OL Chad Mavety
DE Janarius Robinson (shoulder)