April 14, 2007
The Florida State football team completed its final practice of the spring with the annual Garnet & Gold game, presented by University Financial Services. The scrimmage pitted the offense versus the defense with a scoring system in place to determine the outcome. The offense, led by quarterbacks Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford edged the defense 29-25 due in large part to TD strikes from both quarterbacks to Richard Goodman and Damon McDaniel.
“I thought we culminated a good spring,” said FSU Head Coach Bobby Bowden. “I thought we had a good spring. I saw a whole lot of improvement out of a lot of boys and that’s what you want. I think that we can take the 14 days of practice that we’ve had, plus this game today and then decide, going into the fall, how to line them up. That’s what we’ll try to do.”
The FSU quarterbacks, Lee, Weatherford and Christian Ponder, combined to go 27 of 51 for 386 yards with four TD’s and four interceptions. Weatherford was 13-23 for 219 yards with a TD and two picks, Lee went 13-26 for 163 yards with two TD’s and two interceptions and Ponder was 1-2 for four yards and a TD.
“I thought they did okay,” said Bowden of his quarterbacks. “They made some mistakes but I thought they did some good things.”
Marcus Sims and Antone Smith led the Seminole ground attack as each rushed for close to 40 yards. Overall, the Gold team gained 145 yards on 55 rushes, including yards produced in goal line. Richard Goodman had the biggest day catching the ball as he hauled in two passes for 88 yards including a 65-yard TD from Weatherford. De’Cody Fagg led all receivers with five catches. Fagg, Damon McDaniel, Goodman and Erik Stapleton all caught TD passes and six receivers caught balls for at least 40 yards.
“I’m not totally disgusted I mean we made some good things happen,” said first-year offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. “But the consistency level is ridiculous. If you’re consistent and it’s not a play, then throw it away. At least if you’re gonna get beat, get run over slowly, don’t whiff a guy. Or if you’re in the back, hold on to the ball and go where you’re supposed to go.”
The Seminole defense had a strong day as well recording five sacks, 11 pass break-ups and the four interceptions, including one for a TD by Michael Ray Garvin. Dekoda Watson, Patrick Robinson and Myron Rolle all picked off passes as well. Everette Brown continued his brilliant spring leading the Garnet team with two sacks.
“Everyday that we come out to play we look at it as a big day,” said Brown. “I try to keep a motto that everyday is gameday because you never know when your last day is going to be. I try to come out and go hard everyday, every play. Especially with me missing practice (due to an injury) it made me that much hungrier to get back out at practice. I think I took the spring pretty good and I’ll work hard during the summer and get ready for two-a-days.”
“I know there’s a million things when you look at the film that they need to improve on probably the biggest thing is errors, lining up the wrong way or using the wrong technique,” said Bowden talking about the play of his defense. “I think most of the negatives come from penalties, busted assignments, busted alignment, missed tackles and things like that and that’s what you’ve got to get better at.”
The scrimmage started with Weatherford playing with the first team and the offense was picked off failing to score in their first eight plays. Lee was unable to produce any points in his eight plays either. When the first team came back out Weatherford connected with Goodman for the long TD pass on the first play. The ensuing extra point was blocked by Dekoda Watson. When Lee returned to the field his first throw in his second series was picked by Garvin and taken back 42 yards for a defensive TD.
“Until you watch the film, some of their mistakes are things they did do or didn’t do until I see what happened on the film it’s premature,” said Fisher when asked about the quarterback play. “But the biggest thing is I’ll make those judgments about where they are at, each individual player, once we look at the film. But what I’m talking about is the ability we came in with, the enthusiasm and competitiveness, we go up and down. We’ve got to see it every play and that is what I’m disappointed in.”
Both the first and second team then each had a chance from the 50 yard line. Weatherford and the ones went three and out but then moved the ball on the next series thanks in large part to a 26-yard scramble buy Weatherford. The first team offense was unable to punch it in though. Lee then came out and the twos also struggled moving the ball against the Garnet team which recorded a Neefy Moffett sack and a fumble recovery by Alex Boston.
When the scrimmage moved into the 1:30 offense the ones moved the ball down the field. The drive was highlighted by a great sideline catch by Fagg and a 17-yard pass play to Smith. The first team offense was stymied once again by the defense though as Weatherford’s pass into the endzone was picked off by Patrick Robinson. Lee and the second team offense clinched the win for the Gold team in their 1:30 segment. The key play was on a fourth-and-one when Jamaal Edwards gained three yards to save the offense from a three and out. Lee then hit walk-on receiver Todd St. Louis for back-to-back gains of 28 and 19 yards before finishing the scoring drive with a 14-yard TD to McDaniel.
“I think I made a couple of mistakes in there but I think as a team we did pretty well,” said Lee. “There were a couple decisions I could have made a little better in there, but as a team I think we did okay. We have a long way to go.”
After the halftime break, Lee moved up to play with the first team. Although the second half of the scrimmage was not scored, the offense started to produce some bigger plays versus the defense. Ponder started the second half off by leading the third team to a TD drive from the 50 that culminated with his strike to Stapleton for a four-yard touchdown. The Lee-led first team was unable to produce points in their drive from the 50 although Smith did help their cause with a nice 16-yard run. Weatherford then got his first opportunity to lead the second team and he was able to get the Gold team in the endzone. He hit Rod Owens for 12 yards and then Greg Carr for 16. Marcus Sims then ripped off the biggest run of the day on a 21-yard gain to the three, which was helped in large part by the blocking of Owens downfield near the goal line. Sims then capped off the drive with a three-yard TD run.
The remainder of the scrimmage was spent working on situational plays until the practice concluded with goal line drills. Of the eight goal line plays, the offense scored five times. Lee ran in a TD on the first play and Edwards also scored with the first team on a TD run. Sims then took over as he has done all spring near the endzone as he scored three times in four plays with the second team. The biggest plays turned in at the goal line by the defense came from Moffett who broke up a pass in the endzone and Jeremy Franklin who had the biggest hit stopping the second team offense from going a perfect four-for-four.
OFFENSE AWARDS Most Improved Most Dependable Quarterback Christian Ponder Weatherford/Lee Receiver Damon McDaniel De'Cody Fagg Offensive Line Tyler Graves Ryan McMahon Running Back Marcus Sims Jamaal Edwards Tight End Jerome Walters Sean Compton
DEFENSE AWARDS Most Improved Most Dependable Defensive End Neefy Moffett Eli Charles Defensive Tackle Budd Thacker Andre Fluellen Linebacker Anthony Kelly Dekoda Watson Defensive Back Jamie Robinson Tony Carter
GENERAL AWARDS Offense Defense King of 3-on-3 Damon McDaniel Andre Fluellen Top Non-Scholarship Player Sean Compton Lampkin/Lawson Most Outstanding Player Antone Smith Tony Carter Big Otis Award Preston Parker Letroy Guion Second Effort Award Richard Goodman Budd Thacker Top Newcomer Award Ryan McMahon Dekoda Watson Big Hitter Award De'Cody Fagg Dekoda Watson Iron Nole Award Jamaal Edwards Todd Verdell Most Committed To Physical Development Joslin Shaw Letroy Guion