TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There were just enough big plays made on both sides of the football to encourage Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher after the Seminoles held their first preseason scrimmage inside Doak Campbell Stadium Thursday afternoon.
The Seminoles took on the mid-day heat and each other in a session that stretched over three hours from warm-up to the final whistle. And while the action was far from flawless, Fisher was genuinely enthused with what he had witnessed.
“We did some good things on both sides of the ball,” Fisher said. “I really like the way the offense came out early; was very physical and ran the ball well… Defensively, we gave up a few things, then went back and did some things well on third down. I was pleased with their third-down effort.”
With starting quarterback EJ Manuel sitting out the scrimmage after suffering an ankle sprain at the end of Wednesday’s practice, redshirt sophomore Clint Trickett took all of the repetitions under center with the first-team offense and made them count. Fisher said that Trickett, who made two starts a year ago but has returned bigger and stronger, has solidified his spot as Manuel’s back-up.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Fisher said, citing, “the knowledge of what he’s doing and the way he played today.”
As for Manuel’s injury, Fisher did not seem overly concerned.
“If he had to play he would have played,” he said. “He just got fell on his ankle in the two-minute drill and was swollen up. He would have been out there hobbling and would have probably aggravated the heck out of it.”
Manuel is expected to be back at full speed in two or three days at the most.
All in all, the ‘Noles handled the heat of the day from a physical standpoint, as they received a full blast of hot sun from start to finish. It was exactly what the coach wanted to see.
“It’s planned for it – right in the middle of it,” Fisher said. “We’ve got to get in this heat. This has got to be our advantage, not a disadvantage. We’ve got to thrive in this environment – like the (Minnesota) Vikings in the cold.”
The Seminoles will return to the practice field Friday in shells for what will be a light workout, with the focus primarily on cleaning up the mistakes the coaching staff was able to pull off the scrimmage film. The team is scheduled for a two-a-day session again on Saturday.
Notes shared by Fisher:
· Senior TB Chris Thompson came away from his first full-contact work since suffering a season-ending back injury last year at Wake Forest earning solid marks for his performance;
· Sophomore TB Devonta Freeman also saw his first full-contact work in live situations after missing the spring with a back injury and came away from the scrimmage healthy;
· Transfer RT Menelik Watson played the entire way with the first unit, which functioned well with him in the game;
· Freshman CB Ronald Darby continued to garner attention, both for the plays he made and the way he rebounded after a poor play and was able to correct his own mistakes;
· Plans to practice again Friday in shells after a lengthy scrimmage, focusing on cleaning up mistakes and have a two-a-day practice session on Saturday.
The following players did not participate in the scrimmage:
QB EJ Manuel (ankle), OT Daniel Glauser (foot), WR Greg Dent (elbow), TE Dan Hicks (knee),CB Keelin Smith (knee), DT Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle), DT Anthony McCloud (chest), OL Garrett Faircloth (hip)…OL Jacob Fahrenkrug suffered an ankle sprain during the scrimmage.
HEAD COACH JIMBO FISHER:
“We did some good things on both sides of the ball. I really like the way the offense came out early; was very physical and ran the ball well. … Defensively, we gave up a few things, then went back and did some things well on third down. I was pleased with their third-down effort.”
“The red zone and goal line offense was really good. The defense did a really good job in the two-minute (drill) – the ones did.”
“It was kind of that typical back-and-forth, good competition. It was good competition. … Not bad. It was a solid first scrimmage and ahead of where we were a year ago.”
Regarding QB EJ Manuel sitting out with an ankle injury:
“If he had to play he would have played. He just got fell on his ankle in the two-minute drill and was swollen up. He would have been out there hobbling and would have probably aggravated the heck out of it.”
“He will be ready in two or three days.”
On the benefits of getting more work for back-up Clint Trickett and the other quarterbacks:
“I thought Clint did some real good things early. He drove us early and made some really big plays. Then he had a lull and struggled, but then came right back out of it. I was really glad to see that.”
Whether Clint Trickett solidified his position as the No. 2 quarterback:
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that – the knowledge of what he’s doing and the way he played today.”
Overall impressions – positions and players that stood out:
“I thought Rashad Greene really did some good things today. He and Kenny Shaw made a couple really nice plays. Secondary-wise, I saw (Lamarcus) Joyner do some things and stand out. Up front, the (defensive) ends are always good, but our tackles – we’re so much better. I’m very pleased with what we’re doing there. … Those guys have a chance to be really good.”
On how the offensive line fared against the defensive line:
“On the goal line, scored on the first play. In the red zone, we took it straight in and scored. … I was very pleased. It’s a battle now: ‘You get me, now I’ll get you.’”
“It was not even close (last year). That line of scrimmage kept moving back and moving back and moving back.”
On the reasoning behind scrimmaging at 12:30 p.m. in the heat of the day:
“It’s planned for it – right in the middle of it. We’ve got to get in this heat. This has got to be our advantage, not a disadvantage. We’ve got to thrive in this environment – like the (Minnesota) Vikings in the cold.”
Whether the team performed up to expectations at the back end of the scrimmage:
“I told them I was a little disappointed. I thought we could have finished better. I really did. … I don’t think it was we were out of condition. I think it was mental weakness with some guys being frustrated. We can’t allow that to happen. I don’t think it’s something that can’t be fixed. It’s not a major thing, but one of the little things I saw.”
Comments from senior DE CORNELLIUS CARRADINE:
On how good the offensive line has been:
“They are much better than they were last year. The have developed, as well as some of the freshmen coming up. Overall, being athletic and pass (block) better than run block, they’ve been great.”
On the scrimmage performance of the defensive line:
“The veteran guys, the guys that have been here, performed really well. We’ve just got to get the newer guys to learn the system (better) and get better technique. Overall, I think they did great. They had great enthusiasm.”
On how he feels about his development compared to a year ago at this time:
“I feel great because I know the system. I know all of the plays. I know everyone’s job. I feel much better this year than last year, because I really didn’t know too much of what I was doing. … I feel much more comfortable this year.”
Discussing his progress last season:
“Toward the end of the season, playing-wise and learning things … I got better. It was more like not having to think and just going out and playing. I learned a lot in the spring and I’ve learned a lot in camp.”
On practicing in the heat of the day:
“It’s more of a game-like situation, when we have a 12 noon game or a 1 o’clock game. Being out in the sun and being out there for 12 plays straight and getting used to the heat is great for us.”
Comments from senior TB CHRIS THOMPSON:
On getting tackled for the first time since coming back:
“It went great. It’s one of the things I’ve been waiting on for the longest [time] – just to get that first tackle out of the way. I felt good getting the first couple of tackles in.”
“It’s out of my head. Now, I don’t have that fear of getting tackled that first time”
On the offenses’ performance:
“I think we did pretty good. It’s the first live scrimmage. We have places to improve but now we see how we stand as a team. Offensive line did good. The quarterbacks did good. Everyone as a whole did good but we know we have room to improve.”
On Clint Trickett’s game experience last year helping him in filling in at the:
“It’s good for him. Always getting reps at practice is good for any quarterback, whether it’s EJ or Clint, since he’s had the experience he’s going to do a good job when he gets in.”
On QB EJ Manuel being out today:
“I know EJ is a tough guy. There’s not much that would keep EJ off the field to be honest. Even dating back to last year and the bowl game, he played through that. I believe he’s going to play through whatever.”
On the offensive line:
“They are very physical. It’s easier for us. Maybe it’s just the experience now. All the freshmen have experience from starting last year in spots. Now they’re getting the grasp of the offense. It’s getting easier for those guys. As running backs, it’s getting easier for us to read our reads and being able to hit the holes and trust the o-linemen. They are being very physical and doing a good job.”
On getting into a better routine as a team:
“We still have a ways to go. It was pretty much like the first live day that we’ve had. I’m pretty sure as time progresses and we have our next scrimmage, we’ll be able to see everything a little better than we did. The film will show. Coach saw things we didn’t see so once we see it on film, we’ll be able to improve on it and get better the next practice.”