Seminoles Continue “School of Hard Knocks” with Spring Practice No. 6

By: FSU Sports Communications
By: FSU Sports Communications

Tallahassee, FL -- March 28, 2012 --

Jimbo Fisher has taken to calling Florida State’s 2012 spring football practice a reintroduction to “old-school” football, with plenty of live hitting and a back-to-basics, physical approach.

Wednesday’s practice, the sixth of the spring, looked – and sounded – like a session from the “School of Hard Knocks.”

There were plenty of licks delivered and absorbed on both sides of the football, much to the head coach’s delight. Fisher described it this way:

“A very physical day; a very demanding day. A lot of goal-line, a lot of short yardage, a lot of live running. The offense the last two days has really dominated the short yardage. Today they split 50-50. The defense did a lot better job.

“Some of them young guys are finding out what playing up here is, and blocking up here is. This is an old-school spring. It’s going to be like the way we used to do them. We’re going to know who our players are.”

Fisher is determined to find out who his best football players are on both sides of the ball by the time spring practice draws to a close. And while he refuses to, “confuse effort for execution” it’s abundantly clear that the post-practice film study by the coaching staff is honing in on who is up to the challenge put before them each day.

“After a while it’s, ‘Oh, my ankle. Oh, my ham(string),’” Fisher said. “Some of them are banged up. We’re going to find out. There aren’t going to be any holes to hide in now. We’re going to find who the players are in spring.”

The Seminoles will return to the practice field Friday afternoon, in the middle of the coaching clinic which begins Thursday, before holding the first spring scrimmage Saturday. All practices are closed to the public. Fans can continue counting down to the annual Garnet and Gold Spring football game at 4 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium on Apr. 14. The game will be carried on ESPN3.com and replayed on ESPNU.

More from FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher after Wednesday’s practice:

On safety Karlos Williams saying he did not digest all of the playbook last year:

“He didn’t and he’s still learning a lot right now. He’s getting better.”

On linebacker Christian Jones at his new Will (weakside) linebacker position:

“I like what I see. He’s moving. He’s playing a lot more instinctive in there. … I like his whole attitude with the way he’s going through spring right now. I see him maturing, which you should, he’s a junior.”

“I really like his attitude and leadership right now, a bunch. He’s doing a really good job.”

On whether the nature of the Will position is more instinctive:

“It is. You’re either at the bottom of the pile or standing around the pile. If I can see your number, you ain’t a linebacker. You should be at the bottom of the pile somewhere. You’ve got to read, key and be disciplined, but the instincts have to be there because everything happens so fast inside.”

“He’s really becoming the player we all saw and thought he could be.”

On change of kickoff rules moving the ball up to the 35-yard line:

“I hate to give up the five yards because the way we covered last year, if we can get it [the kickoff] up, we’re five yards closer, so we may get you inside the 20. We may coffin-corner, or kick it to a hash across. You can do a lot of different things. We’re playing with some different things. If we get a great returner, we say, ‘Hey, we’ll take their offense and don’t want him to touch it, we can let [Dustin Hopkins] line it up and kick it off.’ We will do a little bit of both. We’ve put a lot of thought into that. We’ve been discussing it a bunch.”

Fsu players talk about spring practice thus far:

S Karlos Williams

On playing Safety:

“It’s good. Still getting that work in and trying to learn the playbook, it’s difficult. Coach [Mark] Stoops runs a complex defense. Still trying to learn to slow things down and take my time and make plays when they come to me and don’t go after them.”

On knowing the complexity of the defense when he got to Florida State:

“I knew I was coming into a difficult situation. There were two guys in front of me but I’m lucky to have my brother here. He told me to learn from the guys in front of me and to take my time and develop as a man first before a football player so I can mature.”

On what made him stay on defense:

“I’m more comfortable playing on defense and I’ve built relationships with the guys on defense. Also, at running back it was a little uncomfortable, plus there was a lot of guys that will get a lot of reps. It was a just a situation I felt uneasy .”

On the kickoff game:

“I’m very excited. It’s a different game now. I tell recruits coming in that you’re now looking for guys to hit. In high school you had guys that don’t want to be on kickoff, they run down slow but now it’s an assignment and it’s a big part of the game. Games change on kick off and kick returns. Running down the field is exciting. Be out there and pumping the crowd on kick off. Over the season, coach Gran and I talked about it that most of my excitement overplayed me this year. I got too running down, I’d miss a tackle or I’d get myself blocked in some situations, but overall it was a great experience and I loved it.”

DB Tyler Hunter

On where he’s been lining up primarily during spring:

“I’ve been lining up at strong safety and nickelback. I like strong safety because that’s where I played in high school. It’s just like my high school days. I’m comfortable with where I am right now.”

On how the nickel position differs from others:

“It’s hard guarding little guys in the slot. You have to be at the top of your game every play. You have to come in ready at all times.”

On envisioning himself playing that position:

“I backed up Mike [Harris] last year, so I really knew that was going to be my role this year. I was really looking forward to it.”

On how helpful lining up alongside Greg Reid, his high school teammate has been:

“It’s really helpful because if I need advice on something I can always go to him. He always tells me the right thing to do; he always knows the right thing to do.”

On the biggest adjustment he had to make as a college freshman last year:

“The size and the speed of everybody else. Coming from high school, I hadn’t seen athletes as big and fast as I have here.”

On playing with the other second-year players – Karlos Williams, Nick O’Leary – and what you’ll be able to add this year:

“I think we add a lot of depth. If somebody gets hurt we’re always able to step in and compete right where they left off, so I think we’ll be fine.”

On what he’s learned from safeties LaMarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks, just watching them, that makes them so effective:

“Joyner’s instincts, that’s what separates him from everybody else. I think he knows where the quarterback is going with the ball before the quarterback does. I just try to learn from him, breaking on the ball. Terrence, with his speed, he makes plays that nobody else thinks he’ll make. Both of them are outstanding.”

Are Joyner’s instincts natural or from film work:

“I think it’s both. He studies a lot and he’s always telling me to get in the film room; make sure I watch my film. It’s natural, too.”

On how he and the other young DB’s have handled waiting their turn and being ready when they’re called on:

“We’ve handled it pretty good. We always know we have a role. Whenever our number is called we just step in and do what we’re asked to do.”

Linebacker Christian Jones

On what he’s being asked to do now more as a WLB as compared to SLB:

“I’m more in the box now; I’m actually a true linebacker. The Will and the Mike are pretty much the same; they’re interchangeable. I like the fact that I’m able to make more plays. I’m looking forward to it.”

On feeling like the Sam linebacker wasn’t not for him last season and he could do more:

“I didn’t have any problem with it. Any person who wants to be on the field is going to have fun. It was cool being out there, because I know I was a big guy covering a receiver. It was cool. I didn’t have any problem with it. It was something I had to do, so I just dealt with it.”

On what he likes more about the Will position:

“I just like the fact that I can actually be more of a linebacker, which is being able to run around and make more plays. That’s the fun part about it.”

On what’s been the biggest challenge making the position switch:

“I had some reps at it last year, so it wasn’t completely new to me. There were some things I knew and some things I still need to learn now, but right now I think I’m doing fine at it. If I keep going, it’s going to be there.”

On where the communication among the front seven is right now:

“We return a lot of the guys, so we’re all comfortable with each other. If something’s not right, we’ll talk to each other.”

On how much better can this defense be than last year’s:

“We have a shot to be good, we’ve just got to keep progressing and getting better and we’ll get to a point where we can be a real good team.”

On what it’s like to have Nick Moody playing linebacker on the other side now:

“It’s great. You all have seen Nick. He’s a physical guy. It’s good to have that extra guy come down there. He’s going to hit somebody. I thought it was a great move, moving him down there.”

On being more of a vocal leader since last season’s WLB Nigel Bradham was the vocal leader of the defense:

“Right now, since I’m going to be an upper-classman, my role is to be more of a vocal leader and I’ve been trying to work on that when we get in the huddle, to say something and get the guys going.”

SEASON TICKET RENEWALS, SALES

The deadline for Football Season Ticket Holders to renew seats for the 2012 season and maintain priority is Friday, Mar. 30. Visit Seminoles.com or contact the Florida State Ticket Office at 1-888-FSU-NOLE for any questions. At this time tickets to the Florida State vs. Murray State game are available as part of the seven game season ticket packages on sale. Single game tickets to FSU home games that do not sell out in season ticket packages will go on sale this summer. FSU’s Athletics Hall of Fame will recognize its seven inductees featuring legendary head football coach Bobby Bowden and quarterback Danny Kanell at the Sept. 1 season opener.

Lee Brice To Kickoff Spring Football Weekend

Florida State Athletics in conjunction with IMG College have announced Lee Brice as its headline for the "Friday Night Block Party" in Kleman Plaza on Friday, April 13, 2012 to kickoff Spring Football Weekend in Tallahassee. Brice's hit single "Love Like Crazy" was nominated for three ACM's in 2011 including "Song of the Year" and "Single of the Year". It was also Billboard's "Most Played Song of the Year" in 2010 and holds the record for the longest chart run at 56 weeks, peaking at #3. Brice also co-wrote #1 country music hits, such as Garth Brooks' "More Than A Memory" and Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl", as well as songs for Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean. Brice's current single "A Woman Like You" is Top 20 on Billboard. Other acts to perform downtown on Friday include Eli and the popular dueling pianos from Howl at the Moon. Additional acts will be named at a later date. This concert event will serve as the official kickoff to what ESPN has tabbed as the "Best Spring Weekend in College Football". At the conclusion of the music Friday night, fans will enjoy a firework show downtown. The fun does not end on Friday night. On Saturday, Seminole fans will get a chance to enjoy the annual barbeque cook-off on Langford Green before heading inside Doak Campbell Stadium for the 2012 Spring Football game scheduled to kickoff at 4 pm.


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