Tallahassee, FL - There’s more to Florida State’s new-look offensive line than sheer size. Oh, the ‘Noles are bigger – averaging 307 pounds per man across – than ever, and there’s an ample amount of quality depth at hand.
More importantly, the Seminole trench-men are initially demonstrating the kind of development on the field that could help No. 7 Florida State meet expectations in 2012. At least that’s what FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher saw Saturday morning as the ‘Noles practiced in full gear for the first time this preseason.
“It was a very physical day,” Fisher said, sharing his initial thoughts of the first of two workouts, which was delayed an hour by lightning. “I liked today. I thought we ran the ball very well; we’re getting better in that area. We worked a lot of red zone situations. It was our first day down there doing that. That will take some time ironing out on both sides.”
Nevertheless, the aggressive nature of the offensive front marks a step in the right direction.
“Extremely impressed,” Fisher said, when asked about the unit coached by veteran Rick Trickett. “We’re moving people, blocking people. The line of scrimmage is not coming backwards. … I’m very, very pleased with the progress they’re making.”
The ‘Noles are hardly a finished product, as Trickett continues to take a long look at potential candidates, including several in multiple positions. With a few tweaks here and there, one combination of a first unit, from left to right tackle – Cameron Erving, Tre’ Jackson, Bryan Stork, Josue Matias and Daniel Glauser – have been getting after FSU’s heralded defensive front. And there’s been little drop-off when Austin Barron and Menelik Watson have been worked into the rotation.
When asked what kind of impact the athletic mass of the offensive front, collectively, is having on the veteran defense, Fisher didn’t hedge.
“Talk to the D-linemen,” Fisher said. “[They know] the difference of how they’re having to play now; how they’re having to be technique-oriented and sound. The defense wins their share of them, too. They’re super. I think it would be a very good question to ask them. I think it would be interesting how they answer.”
The Seminoles desperately need to make strides in both pass protection and the running game in 2012, and getting to face their own stout defense on a day-to-day basis is bound to help. Fisher, in fact, is quite pleased with the overall competitiveness the ‘Noles have shown through the opening week of camp.
“That’s the thing that’s going on out here - good competition,” Fisher said. “One side is not letting the other one get the upper hand.”
When asked if that competitiveness is common, he added: “Yes it is, when you’re a good football team. If you’re a really successful player you don’t know how to turn that off. It happens naturally.”
Sunday’s Fan Day provides full experience for Seminole supporters
The annual Florida State Football Fan Day will be held Sunday from 12-2 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center, where fans will have a chance to snap a photo, snare an autograph and get an up close look at the 2012 Seminoles. The fun doesn’t stop there. For the third consecutive year, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher welcomes all fans to stop by Doak Campbell Stadium for Sunday’s practice session, which will get going at 4:15 p.m.
“I think it’s huge for the guys to get a feel for it and I think it’s an appreciation for [the fans] coming out and seeing the guys,” said Fisher, who believes the fans and his players gain something from the experience. “A lot of people don’t get to go to games and they’re still huge Florida State fans.”
Gates at the civic center will open at 11 a.m., with the team set to arrive following media day, at 12 noon. Fans are asked to limit their autograph items to two. A limited supply of posters will be available free of charge.
Access to Doak Campbell Stadium will begin at 3 p.m. Best of all, admission to both Fan Day events is free.
· Senior defensive tackle Amp McCloud suffered a pectoral injury Friday and will miss a couple of weeks of full contact work.
· Redshirt freshman cornerback Keelin Smith has a mild knee sprain and will sit out a couple of days.
· The Seminoles worked out for about 100 minutes during Saturday’s morning session, skipping the walk-through portion in an effort to prevent potentially threatening weather to cut into preparation time. They were scheduled to return to the field Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m.
· In addition to Fan Day, Sunday is also Media Day for the ‘Noles, where outlets from throughout the state and region get an opportunity to speak with Fisher and the players. The session concludes with the annual team photo taken in the North end zone bleachers.
Additional comments from Jimbo Fisher:
He liked the attitude of the team and the way they adjusted to the hour weather delay before the morning session: “That’s part of learning how to practice and be a good team, too.”
“I’m glad to get some of these older guys back, to get some consistency at some really key places that please me and let you sleep tonight, and also let you plan, as far as the guys you can start to count on.”
“Some of the young guys, I’m really liking and are stepping up to the competition. Some guys adapt quicker than others. That has nothing to do in the long run who will be the better player. Some of these guys, they want to come in here and they’re hungry, and they’re pushing these older guys. I like that.”
On seeing a difference in the freshmen with the pads on for the first time:
“Some, and some not. Most of these guys, as a group, it’s probably the best group I’ve seen in regard to adjusting to that. These guys are not perfect and they get waxed sometimes, but they get right back up and go.”