April 11, 2013
1. What is one thing you learned this spring that you didn’t now before practices started?
Ryan Pensy, Director of Digital Media: The biggest thing I have learned is how aggressive the defense will be under new DC Jeremy Pruitt. The scheme seems to be a welcome addition for the players.
Layne Herdt, Seminoles.com Video Producer: I had no idea how aggressive the new defense would be under coach Pruitt. I think that was the only missing ingredient to last year’s dominating unit and the way the defense has been going after the ball all spring has to lead to some extra turnovers in the fall. Most importantly to a man, every defensive player we’ve talked to has loved the new attitude instilled by Pruitt which makes his job even easier if everyone is buying in.
Scott Kotick, Assistant Director of Digital Media: I learned that Roberto Aguayo is the real deal. We all knew he had a strong leg, but what’s most impressive is that he’s consistent in every practice. He rarely misses, and when he does, it seems to always be a really long field goal. Of course he’s got huge shoes to fill after taking over for Dustin Hopkins, but the early signs are that Aguayo is ready to be the next great kicker in a long line of stellar kickers to come through Florida State.
Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor: I learned this spring that you can go from a high school tight end to college defensive end, only to switch back to tight end after a few years on campus, injure your knee and miss a full season and then go back to defensive end — and seemingly not miss a beat. Confused yet? Well, Dan Hicks somehow isn’t. The redshirt senior has followed that exact timeline since he got to FSU in 2009. Back on defense after missing all of last year following his spring-time switch to offense, Hicks hasn’t shown any signs this spring that the detour slowed him down and I expect him to make a strong case to be a starter come fall camp this August.
2. Which player are you most excited for the fans to see Saturday and why?
Pensy: Jameis Winston. This will be the first chance fans will have to see Winston in action outside of Dick Howser Stadium. He is a dynamic athlete who has the ability to offer a lot of variety to the offense.
Herdt: It was Mario Pender before he got dinged up during the last scrimmage, just because of his speed, but now I think I will go with all four quarterbacks. The whole reason this could be a fun spring game is the QB competition and now fans can judge for themselves who looked the best and will have water cooler fodder to make it through the summer.
Kotick: Jameis Winston. He’s an unbelievably great teammate, first and foremost. He’s always the first guy to congratulate other teammates on great plays, no matter if it’s offense, defense, or special teams. I’m excited for the fans to watch him play because he’s electric with the ball in his hands, and his demeanor on the field instantly makes you like him as a player.
Mellor: Jameis Winston is a popular choice — and rightfully so. But I am going to go in another direction here: to the defensive secondary. I am excited for everyone to see P.J. Williams play cornerback. Fans saw him play special teams last year as a true freshman and I think they will enjoy seeing his physicality and ability defending the ‘Noles’ talented wide receivers one-on-one Saturday.
3. Which young player most impressed you this spring?
Pensy: It’s a tall task to replace Dustin Hopkins, but Roberto Aguayo has been rock solid this spring. With a full season learning from Hopkins, Aguayo should be primed to keep FSU’s kicking game at the top of the ACC.
Herdt: P.J. Williams, not only is he well spoken in interviews, but I think the kid has the chance to be a really good football player too. With so many injuries in the secondary, Williams has taken a ton of reps this spring and that experience is going to pay off big time for him. The secondary could be really deep this year and if it is, you can point to this spring and the extra reps the young guys have gotten as the reason.
Kotick: Roberto Aguayo. He’s got a great future ahead of him.
Mellor: I have been very impressed with Roberto Aguayo, too. The redshirt freshman can absolutely boom the football and has terrific accuracy as well. Remember: he wasn’t supposed to even enroll at FSU until this semester but joined the team last year when a scholarship opened up. His talent is evident but I think what has benefitted him most was the season-long tutelage from Dustin Hopkins. Aguayo learned how to focus and prepare from the best kicker in the country and it’s paying off.
4. Which upperclassman most impressed you this spring?
Pensy: Telvin Smith. Look out for Smith this Saturday, and then again this fall. Smith has the potential to be a game-changer for the Seminoles with the new defensive scheme Pruitt has installed.
Herdt: Rashad Greene is a beast period. He just keeps getting better and better and even though he is “technically” still a sophomore he’s heading into his junior year so he counts to me! Every time I’m out at practice Greene is making a play and making it look relatively easy. As long as one of the four QB’s can get him the ball, he’s going to have a huge year.
Kotick: Telvin Smith. He’s one of my favorite players to watch because of the energy he brings each and every practice. Coach Fisher always talks about “playing how you practice,” and Smith practices like it’s the national championship game every day. He’s so much fun to watch on blitz packages that Jeremy Pruitt has installed and is definitely the vocal leader on and off the field. He’s mighty impressive.
Mellor: It’s hard to think of him as a veteran since he won’t even turn 19 until Aug. 21 of this year but rising junior Bobby Hart has had a strong spring after earning his way back into the starting lineup at right tackle. Being relegated to the bench like Hart was last year after starting as a true freshman, I think sparked a fire inside him and Hart seems to be determined and prepared to continue to fight for that spot on the right side at all costs.
5. It’s guessing time. Who do you think will be the spring game offensive MVP? Defensive MVP?