Tallahassee - The national champion Florida State football team donned pads for the first time during spring practice on Saturday at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility.
“(We) got some pads on – got physical at times,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I like the physicality. We have to learn how to start practice a little quicker. We didn’t start it as quick as we’d like to. As we got going it got better and better as we went on. It was the first time in pads. We got better actually in the team drills. The more we played 11-on-11 the better we got.”
Rising redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Maguire took the first team reps with Jameis Winston traveling with the baseball team in Clemson, S.C.
Maguire was the backup quarterback for the final five games of the 2013 season. He is expected to compete with rising redshirt freshman John Franklin III for the same role in 2014.
Fisher also talked about the progress of rising redshirt junior safety Tyler Hunter following the Seminoles’ third practice of the spring. Hunter started the first three games of 2013 before being sidelined for the season following a neck injury.
Hunter is in a green jersey, but can still take some hits.
“He is playing fast and flying around,” Fisher said. “We aren’t letting him have collision. He gets bumped and bruised. We just aren’t having those big hits. He looks like he always has.”
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Post Practice Quotes – March 22, 2014
“Got some pads on. Got physical at times. I like the physicality. We have to learn how to start practice a little quicker. We didn’t start it as quick as we’d like to. As we got going it got better and better as we went on. It was the first time in pads. We got better actually in the team drills. The more we played 11-on-11 the better we got. Some of the individual stuff wasn’t as good as I’d like, but that’s the third practice. That’s where we are at. We have to get used to the pads. Hopefully we will get better on Monday and keep staying physical. For these young guys, we need a little more consistency in the things they’re doing. Some of the older guys actually need a little more consistency too. A little more leadership out of some of them. But you know, we have to evolve our personality so I’m anxious to see how it goes. Solid day. Nothing great. Nothing bad.”
On not having quarterback Jameis Winston at practice:
“It was a really good chance for our guys to step up and be with the 1s when Jameis [Winston] wasn’t here. Early, I thought they were a little nervous. As team [drills] got going I actually was kind of pleased. When we got more into team [drills] the better everything fit together. I think later in practice, they started feeling more comfortable with the ones when they have the reps with them. It was a solid day. I saw some very encouraging things, but saw some things that we still have a lot to work on. He [Sean Maguire] needs to learn to get comfortable with those guys because you are one play away.”
On how the running backs have been practicing:
“Okay. Ryan Green is really understanding where he is going to get better – his knowledge. Mario Pender is getting back out there. Both of them have a lot of speed and athleticism. If you give them the ball, I think Ryan Green caught a wheel route right down there and broke about a 50-yarder. I mean he was going. If you can get those guys the ball out in space… They’re learning. What I like is that they are learning to run between the tackles.”
On how defensive back Tyler Hunter is playing recovering from his injury:
“He is playing fast and flying around. We aren’t letting him have collision. He gets bumped and bruised. We just aren’t having those big hits. He looks like he always has.”
On how spring practice will help running back Karlos Williams:
“A lot of the pass protections and routes. I think just the reads of the runs. You can really break them down in those individual drills. Your eye discipline – this front you read here to here, this front you read here to here – to really become a disciplined guy so he can play even faster.”
On how spirited practice has been:
“They get to competing now. They get to talking. They like to practice. We just have to continue creating each identity here and there. Everybody is finding their niche. As far as their effort and their mindset, I am not disappointed at all.”