August 17, 2016 - by
Scrimmage Round-Up: Francois Makes Strides

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s first scrimmage of fall camp allowed the Seminoles to get a first taste of game-like situations.And with two of FSU’s first three games scheduled for either noon or 12:30 p.m., it also offered a full preview of the blistering mid-day heat. The Seminoles took to Doak Campbell Stadium around noon to scrimmage on a sweltering Wednesday in Tallahassee.

And on a day when the Seminoles worked on a variety of in-game scenarios, coach Jimbo Fisher said the session was also important for building up his team’s mental fortitude.

“Our mental toughness isn’t where it should be yet, totally,” Fisher said. “… It’s been a hard week. We haven’t had any days off. Today was a warm one. … I wanted them to get out there to get used to it.

“I’m not disappointed, but there’s another level we’re used to.”

Between the sidelines, Fisher seemed mostly pleased with Wednesday’s developments. He said both the offense and the defense had their moments, and reeled off a lengthy list of players who made an impact.

Among them, of course, was quarterback Deondre Francois, who continues to work as FSU’s first-team quarterback.

Fisher said that Francois threw passes with confidence, tossed “quite a few” touchdown passes and generally did a good job of keeping the offense organized.

Even Francois’ mistakes – not that there were many – came with positive notes afterward.

“He had one interception and it was a perfect decision, just a hair (off),” Fisher said. “But he threw it with conviction. Actually it wasn’t a bad interception. It was the right guy, right play. Just threw it about two inches high. You can work with that.”

Sophomore safety Derwin James, who practiced fully Wednesday after easing his way back from a foot injury, said that Francois is providing a challenge for FSU’s secondary.

“He’s just getting better and better, and I feel like we’re going to make him better,” Francois said. “(When Francois throws), you’ve got to play the receiver with perfect technique. Because if you don’t, the ball is going to be in there.”

‘Noonie’ continues to impress
Sophomore receiver Nyqwan Murray turned heads with an impressive outing at Sunday’s open practice, and, according to a few of his teammates, his performance wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

“He made a play on me today, matter of fact,” James said.

Murray, an Orlando native, played sparingly last year, with his most extensive action coming during FSU’s late-season win over Chattanooga.

With a deep and experienced receiving corps that includes some of the top prep prospects of the last few years, Murray, nicknamed “Noonie,” entered the fall with a long climb to the top of the depth chart.

He’s since emerged as one of the pleasant surprises of camp.

“Yeah, ‘Noonie,’ I’m lost for words with ‘Noonie,’” James said. “He’s shifty. He’s a guy that can beat you with speed. He’s a guy that can beat you with quickness and he runs great routes. It’s a lose-lose situation sometimes (for DBs).”

At 5-11, 176 pounds, Murray is far from FSU’s biggest receiver, and he may not be the fastest. But, for one reason or another, he’s proving almost impossible to cover.

“He plays big,” junior running back Dalvin Cook said. “Just watch. He plays big.”

Cook had Murray pegged for a big improvement after seeing his commitment to the team’s summer workouts.

Whether it was seven-on-seven drills or conditioning, Murray was there. And with FSU’s receiving corps now shuffling around thanks to some early injuries, Murray has made the most of extra opportunities.

“He just came to work,” Cook said. “You’d see the mentality change as he grew up.”

Maguire has successful surgery
Fisher confirmed that quarterback Sean Maguire had successful surgery on his right foot Monday, and his approximate timetable for return remains about a month.

“Went really well,” Fisher said. “Clean. They said no big deal.”

Nole-worthy nuggets
With Josh Sweat (concussion symptoms) and Jacob Pugh (foot sprain) both sidelined by injuries, freshman Brian Burns worked with the first-team defense on Wednesday. “Brian Burns, he gets to the quarterback,” James said. … Fisher said that competing cornerbacks Tarvarus McFadden and Marcus Lewis continue to take equal reps, and neither has yet pulled ahead of the other. … Center Alec Eberle, receiver Travis Rudolph, safety Nate Andrews and defensive tackle Keith Bryant were among the other players held out with injuries.

Related Articles