August 18, 2019 - by

Best Of Media Day: Offense

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A parade of coaches and players joined both me and Layne Herdt during Florida State’s annual Media Day to discuss the upcoming 2019 campaign and take a few laps around the program. Here are the highlights from the offense’s group.


Best Of Media Day: Offense

Kendal Briles, offensive coordinator
On the quarterback competition between James Blackman, Alex Hornibrook and Jordan Travis: “All three of those guys have done a really good job. And the thing about most quarterbacks, at every university, those guys are all extremely competitive. Because you’re only going to play one guy. Typically, youre only going to play one guy. And they’re all fighting to be that guy. But they’re also being great teammates. The room has got a great vibe to it, and that’s the thing that you want to have.

“Everybody knows we’re going to end up naming a starter. It’s not a secret. Coach Taggart has expressed that. I really like the way that they’ve come out and they’ve practiced and been great teammates every day. I like where all three of those guys are at.

“What’s going to be the determining factor? I don’t think that there is just one factor. Everything has played into it. Every day, on and off the field, that plays into everything that we look at as coaches, and the entire coaching staff will be decision-makers on this deal.

“We’ve still got a couple weeks. Those guys will continue to compete.”

On the progress of the offensive line: Coach (Randy) Clements does an amazing job, and Jake (Reed), who is working with him, the (graduate assistant), he’s done a great job as well.

“But just the group, it’s a point of emphasis, as it should be. And those guys have taken it upon themselves to do the work that they need to do to get right, so as a unit, as a football team, we can accomplish the things we want to do. I think those guys have done a great job in the run game. you can see what Coach Clements is teaching, and you see that translate to the field. And it makes a big difference. You can probably ask the running backs and they’ll say the same thing. I think we’re where we need to be.

“Pass protection, they’ve done a good job of recognizing (the defense). The defense is giving us a lot of looks. And we play fast, so there’s not a whole lot of time to communicate, but I think they’ve handled it well.”

On FSU’s recent “situational” team scrimmage: “We had just normal situations, as far as first-and-10 from the 25, going out. And there’s a point system that Coach Taggart has, so we adhered to that, offense and defense.

“And we had a red-zone series, we had end-of-the game type series. We had four-minute offense. … all those situations were good to coach off of, to teach off of, and for the guys to understand – just not playing the game, but knowing exactly what you’ve got to do in those types of situations. … We had a great clip of one of our tight ends in a four-minute situation, got a first down, (then) stayed inbounds. And that was a huge deal for us to coach off of.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Offensive line coach Randy Clements
On the line’s progress: “Just improvement. Guys knowing what to do and how to do it and the pace to do it with. We’re progressing daily. It’s not a thing that happens overnight. It’s usually small steps. You’ve got to be looking for it to see it. But we’re progressing, for sure.”

On his relationship with longtime friend and colleague Kendal Briles: “I’ve known Kendal probably since he was eight, I guess. I worked for his dad forever. Any time you’re around somebody like that – first of all, our families are like family. We know what each other wants, what we’re thinking. We know how it’s supposed to look. So, it just speeds everything up and makes the transition – especially in the first year – a lot smoother, a lot easier.”

On how that relationship works game days: “As a play-caller it’s easy sometimes to feel like you’re on an island. And then, at the same time, you don’t want a bunch of people talking. So when we’re going through it and we’re going through the process of what to run, things like that, I know where and how my input is needed and the best way to assist him in what play to call.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Running backs coach Donte’ Pimpleton
On junior running back Cam Akers: “His work ethic has ramped up, times 10. He’s put in the work, coming in and learning. He didn’t really understand, like, blocking schemes. And, as a back, you’ve got to know who’s blocking who, who is going where, where’s the double-team working, where the guard is pulling, things like that. And he’s put in the work to do it. It’s good to see.

“I’ve been lucky enough to coach a lot of good backs – I’ve got four in the NFL now. And when they got good is when they took the time to actually learn the game. That slows it down. Talent-wise, youre not going to find one better than him. It’s the little things that separate running backs, and he’s put in the work to be the back that he should be, and that he will be.”

On redshirt sophomore Khalan Laborn’s recovery from injury: “A lot of it is mental. You’ve got to get it out of your head and (and realize) that you’re fine. I went through one, and I told him how my experience was and how it’s going to be for him, mentally. You’ve got to trust it.

“He’s come out and made some unbelievable plays, being Khalan. He’s making hard cuts on his knee, it’s out of his head. He knows he’s fine and he can go let it loose.”

On the running backs’ performance in the scrimmage: “I was very pleased. I think both sides of the ball did a good job. We made some explosive plays and that’s what the offense is built around – fast, explosive plays. And we were able to do that. We had some big runs and we were sharp. No fumbles, so that’s always good, too.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Tight ends coach Telly Lockette
On the tight ends’ physical transformation: “I’ve got to give high praise to ‘Coach O’ (strength coach Irele Oderinde) for getting these guys in the summer and working out. Those guys came back a lot stronger than they did last year. At the point of attack, my guys are a lot stronger and can finish blocks this year. It’s great for these guys to continue to lift weights and do what they do, because its showing on the field.”

On the tight ends’ responsibility in FSU’s offense: “I call it the ‘new millennium’ tight end. You’ve got to have your hand in the dirt at the end of the line of scrimmage, and then you’ve got to line up at receiver. Their job is a little harder than anybody on the field, other than the quarterback. I think those guys take a lot of pride in that.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Quarterback James Blackman
On working with Kendal Briles: “He’s a great dude. He’s always amped up. He gives you the confidence as the offensive coordinator. You always want to go and play for a guy like that, who has confidence like that. He’s always competing at a high level and he helps you just go out there and have the motivation to complete.”

On the offensive line: “Everybody feels like the offensive line was ‘bad,’ but no. They’re gaining their confidence. They’re getting their confidence back. They just need to get their confidence back and be the people that they already were.”

On being in his third quarterback competition: I’ve been in three quarterback competitions since I’ve been here. So I feel like this time, this go-round, I’ve been doing a lot more things to help myself get better, help the team get better, help execute a lot better.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook
On the transition from Wisconsin to Florida State: “We say the summers are hot up there, but it’s definitely different. The humidity is something else down here. But it was easy to adjust to, and I’m used to it now.”

On running a new offense at FSU: “When youre in a pro-style offense (at Wisconsin), there’s a lot of terminology. You have a lot of checks that you’re doing pre-snap. Post-snap you have a full progression with different changes to it based off of certain coverages. And I think that helped out, having that background, to come in here.”

On fitting in with his new teammates: “I think that’s what helped me out a lot, coming down in the summer and getting to know these guys. There’s great people down here in Tallahassee – the team, the support staff and just the community. And everybody’s been very welcoming to me and it was a good adjustment for me.

“Now that we’re in fall camp, I know everybody, and it’s been easy to come in here and just play football.  I don’t have to worry about getting those things down. I did them early in the summer.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Quarterback Jordan Travis
On recently being declared eligible to compete in 2019: “It’s a blessing, for sure. It’s really special. It’s a great opportunity just to get better, and it’s another quarterback to help the other quarterbacks improve every day and push them to be better.”

On playing at FSU after watching his older brother, Devon, play baseball at FSU: “It was a dream since I was a little boy. Every Friday, leaving school early and driving up here, six hours, watching the games. It was a great experience just to see him succeed in such an awesome way.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Receiver Tamorrion Terry
On his recovery from a preseason injury: “I was going to start practicing Monday, but I’m going to wait a couple more days and try to get back 100 percent and just be out there with the team. I’m going to be back way before the Boise State game. I’m going to be back in pads and running with the team next week.”

On his message to FSU’s young receivers: “When I first got hurt, when I first got my surgery, I told the (receivers’) group chat, ‘The next guy, you’ve got to come up and step up and be a leader and take my position. And try to go out there and work hard and don’t look back. I want you to go out there and act like it’s your position. Act like you worked for that, and it’s yours now. I don’t want to just come back and they give me your position. I want to work for that.’”

On working with new receivers coach Ron Dugans: “He’s a great coach. I love to be around that coach right there. He brought the swagger back, I can tell you that. Being here with Coach Dugans, he’s a great guy to be around. He’s taught us so much – how to get around DBs, just how to beat DBs off the ball and stuff like that. He’s taught us so much in the wide receiver group. We all respect him.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Receiver D.J Matthews
On why he switched from jersey No. 29 to No. 7: “I wore it in Pop Warner. I won some Super Bowls in it. I’m trying to win a title, win a national title.”


Best Of Media Day: Offense

Receiver Warren Thompson
On the offense’s performance in the scrimmage: “We definitely were playing fast. We were scoring a lot, catching passes. Stuff like that. I was happy with it.”

On his work during his redshirt year: “Just staying patient. Doing the things that nobody sees.  But you’ve got to do it.”

Best Of Media Day: Offense

Running back Khalan Laborn
On his excitement for the upcoming season, after missing most of last year due to injury: “I think I’m the most excited, hands down. I’ve just go to keep calm and let it show for the game and set the tone.”

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