TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The sign outside Florida State’s practice fields reads “Speed Limit: Fast,” but coach Willie Taggart will slow things down every so often.
That was the case Thursday morning, when the Seminoles held a shirts-and-shorts walkthrough inside the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility.
The idea, Taggart said, is to give the players a chance to practice their techniques and strategies the same way they’d practice anything else – slow at first, then building toward full-speed.
“Attention to detail,” Taggart said when asked for the biggest priority in a walkthrough. “Rather than putting it on the board in the office, you get them out here and walk through exactly how you’re going to see it – where you’re going to align and how you should step.
“We’re doing it all, without going full-speed.”
The biggest emphasis is on proper pre-snap alignment, knowing exactly what to do once the ball is snapped, and using good physical technique.
All the things that can fall by the wayside during the speed and intensity of a live football game.
Taggart said that the Seminoles did well, especially given that this is the first time they’ve had walkthrough with this coaching staff. (They did something similar under their previous staff.)
And he expects it will be even better when they do it again next week.
“We want our guys to snap into those things, and not have to worry about going fast or getting hit or anything,” he said. “Just doing it the right way.”
More on QBs: At this point, you can’t blame Taggart for having some fun with it. Asked once again about his quarterback competition, Taggart smiled and said, “Who? The kickers?”
For the record, Taggart said there is in fact competition at the kicker spot.
Otherwise, there’s not much to report this week, he said. All three would-be starters – James Blackman, Deondre Francois and Bailey Hockman – had good days of practice on Wednesday and are coming along.
That said, Taggart knows that fall camp is winding down and kickoff against Virginia Tech is less than two weeks away.
Which means the quarterback race will be coming to an end soon, too.
“We’re going to make some decisions,” he said. “And when we do, I’m going to let you know. I promise.”
Unity council serves as ‘voice of our football team’: In order to help better understand and interact with his team, Taggart has established an eight-man “Unity Council” that keeps him aware of team issues, helps mete out discipline and otherwise serves as a direct line of communication between coaches and players.
Think of it as a bridge between the team and staff – and a means for players to take ownership of the program’s culture and in-house policies.
“They’re kind of like the voice of our football team,” Taggart said. “… I think it’s very important, because they’re around each other all the time. They know each other better than any of us. They know the guys that are on the edge and the guys that are going to be straight and narrow. …
“And I think that helps. When you get a group of guys that truly care about the team — and all the right things that we want to be – leading the team, then I think you create a culture that you ultimately want.”
LB Jackson on the mend: Taggart confirmed Thursday that junior linebacker Dontavious Jackson, expected to be among the team’s starters this fall, is nursing a tailbone injury, but that he is expected to be available for the season opener.
Jackson’s 17 tackles a year ago were the most among FSU’s returning linebackers.
“‘D-Jack’ is doing well,” Taggart said. “He’s getting better. Yeah, he’ll play (against Virginia Tech).”
Up next: The Seminoles on Friday will participate in the FSU Alumni Association’s annual fall kickoff luncheon before holding a short afternoon practice. On Saturday, they’ll hold their final fall scrimmage – a full-on game simulation under the lights at Doak Campbell Stadium. (Note: Scrimmages are closed to the public.)