Florida State Works To Improve On Scrimmage

If I could make up a practice update for Monday's practice, it would be "Florida State worked to correct mistakes from Saturday's scrimmage while building on the positives.  The 'Noles installed new zone pressure packages.  No, we won't reveal any details.  Thanks for coming out, media."  Because for the most part, the practice report doesn't reveal anything new.  Much of it is just a regurgitation of the scrimmage statistics.  That's not the fault of FSU Sports Information, but there wasn't much about which they were permitted to write.  At least they didn't create some story about the 'Noles spending tons more time on special teams.  Here it is, from Seminoles.com:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher came away from Saturday's spring scrimmage relatively pleased where the Seminoles are, but equally anxious to build on it over the final two weeks of practice.

"We had some good things happen," Fisher said, following Monday's practice. "We missed some cuts on some runs; could have stuck a couple big plays early. The defense got better as they went. They gave up some things early and gradually got better and better, which I liked to see."

Fisher was not pleased with Jones missing a cut on the goal line.

The Seminoles were most effective offensively on the ground, as the running backs averaged better than eight yards a carry over the course of 72 plays of straight-up scrimmaging. Debrale Smiley carried the load with 56 yards on nine carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run on the final series with the third-team team. Jermaine Thomas racked up 51 yards on eight totes, including a 6-yard TD run for the first-team offense. Tavares Pressley's 39-yard touchdown bolt for the second-team offense was the lone score against the first-team defense.

Fisher said the effectiveness of the running game had a lot to do with the work of rising seniors, center Ryan McMahon and left guard Rodney Hudson.

Datko also graded out very well on the film.

Defensively, the 'Noles also made some strides as they continue to digest the new system being implemented by coordinator Mark Stoops and the staff.

"I think this week we'll even see more (progress)," Fisher said. "They'll trust it more as the week goes on and really understand what they doing."

Stoops has adopted Fisher's method of throwing the entire scheme at the players this spring in an effort to hasten the learning curve.  "You can't wait on basics," Fisher said. "You have six more days and it's over with. You've got to throw it in. When are you going put it in in the fall? You don't have enough practice to wait."

Expect to see more of the exotic coverages and blitzes in the next scrimmage.

Ultimately, it's up to the players to digest the new scheme. As a result, the defensive players have been asked to step up their preparation by taking home cut-ups of game film along with a defensive playbook.

"Football is a class," Fisher said. "It's not any different than chemistry or physics. You have to go study. You've got to work at it. ...

"I think they're starting to come on. It's about where you thought. They're honing in. You can see each day they're starting to get better and better."

Hmm.  Using Video I-Pods like Alabama and other elite schools to help reinforce concepts.  Using playbooks.  While FSU is a half decade late on this stuff, 'Nole fans have to be happy it is finally here.

Special teams coordinator Eddie Gran's units also earned praise from the first-year head coach. Kicker Dustin Hopkins was perfect on three field goal attempts and all of his point-after tries, and booted three of five kickoffs into the end zone.

"We're spending significant time on it," Fisher said of the special teams work that is weaved throughout practice each day. "It's one third of a football game. You have to spend time on it. It's a weapon."

I'm glad they are emphasizing special teams, but I do not believe they are spending significantly more time on special teams.  More time on special teams means less time on offense or defense, and it just doesn't make sense to devote 33% of practice time to special plays that make up 10% of plays in a football game.

Corey Clark of the Democrat shares his scrimmage thoughts and I thought they were particularly good.  The praise for Ponder has been universal from everyone I've spoken with regarding the scrimmage.

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