TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 1 Florida State got its first taste of game action on Tuesday during a spirited and competitive scrimmage on Bobby Bowden Field inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
The Seminoles practiced specific third down, red zone and goal line plays in addition to two-minute drills and several multiple-play segments.
“It’s fast football now,” senior running back Karlos Williams said. “Coach is not standing behind you telling you what to do, giving you pointers, tips and stuff like that. You’re pretty much on your own playing fast, free football, just like you would be in a game.”
The Seminoles won’t play in an actual game until Aug. 30 against Oklahoma State in the AdvoCare Cowboys Classic. Still, head coach Jimbo Fisher is impressed with the progress Florida State is making coming off of an undefeated national championship season.
“I think our kids know how to work,” Fisher said. “It goes back to the point I say we know how to do things. We know what to expect. (They know) what’s tolerated and not tolerated and I think we’re doing a very good job of staying above that line and staying very consistent. I think the leadership of this team is continued to push and do a good job.”
Fisher was pleased with both sides of the ball and mentioned several players who jumped out at him on Tuesday, including Williams, quarterback Jameis Winston, wide receiver Rashad Greene, safety Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Terrance Smith.
“I liked the competition,” Fisher said. “I thought both sides at times flashed. (It was) pretty consistent on offense for the most part for an early scrimmage. We were able to run the ball and some things – (do) some formations and different things that we haven’t done. I was very pleased with that. The defense at times, did a good job on third down – red zone. It went back and forth. (We played) a lot of 1-on-1’s on the day. Some 1-on-2’s, 2-on-1’s, but it was a good mix of both. So we had competition.”
Fisher also lauded the performance of junior defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., who continues to step up as a leader on the defensive line for the Seminoles.
Edwards Jr. was no slouch last season either, starting 11 games and capturing All-ACC honors. He was a key component of last year’s team and has said the 2014 Seminoles could also be special.
“We are way past where we were a year ago,” Edwards Jr. said. “This time now we’re clicking a whole lot better and picking up on keys that we weren’t picking up on last year at this time.”
Following 10 consecutive days of practice, the Seminoles will have an off day Wednesday before getting back on the fields of the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility on Thursday.
Five Noles Land on SI.com Preseason All-America Team
Preseason college football All-America teams continue to roll out and Florida State continues to dominate such lists.
The SI.com Preseason All-America Team was announced Tuesday morning and a nation’s-best five FSU players were included on the first team. There were a combined six ‘Noles on the first and second teams.
Jameis Winston highlighted the squad as the first-team quarterback while Nick O’Leary (tight end) and Tre’ Jackson (guard) joined him on offense. Sophomore Jalen Ramsey (safety) was on defense and Roberto Aguayo was the first-team kicker.
Cameron Erving is the sixth ‘Noles star to be recognized. The redshirt senior left tackle is on the second team.
Florida State Post-Scrimmage Quotes:
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher
“(It was) a good warm day. I liked the competition. I thought both sides at times flashed. (It was) pretty consistent on offense for the most part for an early scrimmage. We were able to run the ball and some things – (do) some formations and different things that we haven’t done. I was very pleased with that. The defense at times, did a good job on third down – red zone. It went back and forth. (We put) a lot of 1-on-1’s on the day. Some 1-on-2’s (and) 2-on-1’s, but it was a good mix of both. So we had competition. A lot of guys played a lot of different spots – positions. (They) were able to get the ball to them and cover and rush and do different things. For our first scrimmage, I’m pretty pleased where we are, we’ll wait and see the film to make the final judgments but we have a lot of work to do, but I’m not disappointed at all. Knowing where we’re going (we) can start to visualize our time a little bit.”
On who jumped out at him today:
“Karlos (Williams) ran the ball well, Mario Pender – I thought all the backs, I was impressed with them. Jameis (Winston) made some nice throws to ‘80’ (Rashad Greene). Bobo (Wilson), Kermit (Whitfield) ‘1’ (Ermon Lane), Christian Green made a play or two. I’m just going off the top of my head. ‘8’ (Jalen Ramsey) flashed at me, big time. Mario (Edwards) did, ‘24’ (Terrance Smith) did, Eddie Goldman did. Giorgio (Newberry) did some really nice things. Marquez White.”
On if he is seeing the identity starting to take shape:
“Hopefully. And we’ve got some guys out. We had some big time key guys out. That didn’t bother me as far as whether they’re going to be healthy, it allowed us to work some other guys. From that standpoint it allows us to really build the depth. You can start to visualize who can begin to help. The next three or four days will be interesting to see how they recover and how they play after this scrimmage heading into the next one with the young guys.
On the reps for the defensive backs:
“Critical. When the guys are going against what we’re doing on offense, you walk out here in the stadium for the first time and really be counted upon with the one’s, you get those butterflies in your stomach and it’s fun and this is for real but you’ve got to through it. It’s a learning process and I’m very happy they were able to do that.”
On being pleased after this scrimmage:
“I think our kids know how to work. It goes back to the point I say we know how to do things. We know what to expect. (They know) what’s tolerated and not tolerated and I think we’re doing a very good job of staying above that line and staying very consistent. I think the leadership of this team is continued to push and do a good job.”
On the first scrimmage for the freshmen:
“I was extremely pleased. Jonathan Vickers flashed at me too. Ermon (Lane) did for an early scrimmage. Tre Marshall, even though he was here in the spring, but still in the fall when it counts. Rick Leonard batted some balls and made some plays. Tight ends had a couple of nice things. All of those linemen got tons of reps. We were able to move the football. I can’t tell until after I see the film, but at times moving the football, knowing what to do and knowing where to go, putting a hat on a hat. Derrick Nnadi, he jumped out at me the whole (time) – (Demarcus) Christmas, that group (was) pretty good.”
On what they worked on in the scrimmage:
“We did drives we did two 12-play segments, one of them went 16 or 18 (plays), we kept going, went back and started over, punt. We did third-downs, red zone, we did coming out, we did goal line, we did two-minute. We did all those – big men plays, last of the game. We had most every scenario. We had a couple of short yardage situations in there. We hit pretty much everything.”
On how the defensive line held up:
“I was pleased I thought Eddie (Goldman) and those guys did a great job of leading Derrick Nnadi in there with the first as a young guy I thought did a real nice job. Of course Mario (Edwards Jr.) is Mario and (Chris) Casher, those guys did a real nice job.”
DE Mario Edwards, Jr.
On today’s performance:
“We are way past where we were a year ago, so this time now we’re clicking a whole lot better and picking up on keys that we were picking up on last year at this time.”
On the mental challenge of scrimmages vs. practices:
“In practice, it’s four or five plays and you’re out; you get a break. [Today] we did 12-play drives, eight-play drives just playing it out all the way. If you didn’t stop them on third down and make them punt, you had to stay out there. We had a lot of game situations, so it really just showed how tough the defense really was and showed the freshmen that it’s not always going to be four-, three-plays, you’re really going to have to play and suck it up and it will come down to the end.”
On the freshmen during today’s scrimmage:
“They’re still freshmen, they’re still young. They were nervous, they didn’t really want to mess up. But I just try to coach them through it, and tell them, ‘If you’re going to mess up, just go 100 miles an hour and the coaches can’t really get mad at you’. They messed up on a few things, but overall, a lot of hustling to the ball, a lot of them were clicking.”
On freshman defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi:
“Nnadi is really, really strong and could definitely come in and play with the one’s [first team]. He’s been good at coming in and making big plays and showing up a lot on film.”
“If you come back a year or two from now, Nnadi will be what [former Seminole] Timmy [Jernigan] was. It’s just going to take a lot of reps, learning the playbook and listening to Coach Odell [Haggins]. He’s not going to steer him wrong, he just has to listen and be coachable and come back and he’ll be making plays like Timmy.”
On freshman defensive end Rick Leonard:
“Ricky has been really good, man – 6-6, 275, can run, strong, long arms. The only thing about Ricky is he has to get in the playbook. He’s young and doesn’t really know the system, so it’s my job to take him under my wing, me and DeMarcus Walker’s job to take him under our wing and teach him the ropes and teach him the plays and make sure he knows what he’s doing.”
On the backup defensive backs:
“Those guys are all athletic. We have the talent that if one of our starting players goes down, someone else can step right in and look like we never missed. They did really good, caught my eye with a lot of pass breakups and came up and fit the run and made nice tackles.”
RB Karlos Williams
“It’s fast football now. Coach is not standing behind you telling you what to do, giving you pointers, tips and stuff like that. Pretty much on your own playing fast, free football, just like you would be in a game.”
On if the season feels more real when the first scrimmage gets here:
“Most definitely. Coach (Fisher) runs a great scrimmage. We got out there, warm up. We get warmed up very well. Go through an individual 7-on-7 period and we hit it right to it. It’s pretty much like a game day. Everybody is on the sideline. Everybody is watching the whole scrimmage so you get a good feel for it and when you’re watching it you also get to take those mental reps. So, it was very fun.”
On the next step for the offense after last season:
“To do the same thing. To keep executing. Execution is a big part about the game of football. You want to keep that thing going… When you stop executing you stop moving the football, you stop being productive, you stop putting points on the board so the next step is to just keep that thing going, keep putting points and keep executing day in and day out.
On how the new running backs did in a game atmosphere for the first time:
“Very well. (Jonathan) Vickers, having him being out there definitely by himself playing fullback and tailback getting those double reps, he did a great job today. I’m very, very proud of him. Ran the ball tough, ball high and tight, no fumbles, no backs had any fumbles today. Knew his assignment, knew his alignment. He’s learning, learning fast. Also Dalvin (Cook). Also had on the blue jersey so he was kind of down about it, he wanted to make contact. He wanted to get in there and make some noise with that. But it was also fun for them. They had fun. I could see the fun in their eyes. Also those long drives got to them. Being young, never having to be in the game that long. Coming from high school, I remember, I was never on the field too long on offense. Transitioning here you have guys that can make tackles, they can run, go make plays. You’ve got those 8-12 play drives like Coach Fisher always says we’ll have in those games. I definitely see the fatigue set in, even with me and Mario Pender, with us being older backs, you can tell the fatigue set in a little bit. But it becomes mental after that.”
On if any defensive lineman stood out:
“Every defensive lineman. All of our defensive linemen are outstanding. They’re young, they’re athletic, they’re strong. They get pressured, they can move, they can move our offensive front. They’re amazing. Coach Haggins does a great job of recruiting these guys. Day in and day out I see a new one every day that comes across my face, make a play in the backfield or gets quarterback pressure. It’s just something exciting to see. And that allows me to know that I’m going against the best of the best every single day.”