Florida State Practice Report 08.24.10 Receiver Willie Haulstead Emerges?

Florida State practiced, then waited out a two-hour rain delay, then finished practice. Under coach Bowden the 'Noles would have called practice and gone inside the small gym.  Under Fisher, the team waited it out and got back on the field.  The rain delay gave Fisher the opportunity to press for the indoor facility.  He also addressed those who said that one was not needed because there was no indoor facility in the 1990s by stating that there were no lightning regulations back then.  Fisher is clearly opposed to going inside the gym and practicing and has been visibly irritated in the past when this happened and doesn't think it helps much.  In 2007 FSU was embarrassed on national TV at Clemson after not having a single outdoor practice in the week leading up to the game.  He's intent on getting a full practice in, even if it means the guys have to sit around and wait for two hours-- which is what happened yesterday.  

Now 6'3" 214 lbs, Willie Haulstead may have won the starting job over Bert Reed

Coach Fisher was really happy with the team's performance after the rain delay.

When we wondered who would step up to replace Jarmon Fortson at the "z" spot, we looked at guys like Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead to step up and fill the role.   I don't think anyone saw Willie Haulstead beating out Bert Reed at the "X" receiver position.  But that appears to be what has happened.  Citing his ability to get open and his great hands, Fisher praised Haulstead for starting to realize his potential and playing with newfound confidence.  Coach Fisher said the sophomore from Titusville would be starting over Bert Reed if the season opened tomorrow.  That's a major statement.  

There are a few ways to look at Fisher's comment.  It could mean that Bert Reed is having an awful camp.  I don't believe that to be the case.  Reid has 80 catches and 1000 yards in his first two seasons and has continued to improve.  It could be a motivational ploy to make sure Reed gets after it.  I think it means Haulstead, who is very talented, is starting to put it together and showed out with a tremendous scrimmage.  Haulstead likely showed excellent blocking as well in the scrimmage, perhaps going up against Xavier Rhodes.  Fisher has to like that toughness.  Florida State could absolutely count on Bert Reed.  If Willie Haulstead is indeed ahead of or even with Bert Reed, it means Florida State is in good shape at the receiver position.  Not to give anything away from the upcoming receiver preview, but it's not crazy to think that Reed, Haulstead, Smith, and Easterling will combine to catch 200 balls for 2600 yards this season.  If that happens, FSU fans will forget all about the loss of Jarmon Fortson.  I don't know if Haulstead will start over Reed, but I do know that its a very good sign for the receiving corps that Fisher would even float the possibility.  You are beginning to see what happens when a team recruits very well at a position and then coaches up that talent.

In injury News, backup guard Blake Snider is likely out for the majority of the year.  His ankle/foot/lower shin required surgery and Fisher said that he would miss at least 7-8 weeks.    Left Tackle Andrew Datko returned to practice and everyone was happy to see him back.  David Spurlock didn't practice in pads but people around the program continue to be confident that he'll return from his mystery injury later in the week.  Safety Nick Moody returned to practice though he was not at full speed.  That's extremely encouraging.  

It also looks like Rs-Sr. corner Ochuko Jenije will be spending his time almost exclusively at safety.  There was a time when Jenije was battling for the top corner spot.  But then a few things happened.  Xavier Rhodes really made a lot of progress in the off-season and showed that his performance in the Spring was not a fluke.  JUCO CB Mike Harris made it into school and looked more than competent.  And freshman all-everything recruit Lamarcus Joyner turned out to be much more impressive than anyone thought he might be coming in (considering he played safety and receiver last year in high school).  Jenije would probably be third string at corner.  It's not bashing him to say that its a good sign for the 'Noles that he isn't starting, but rather a complement to the other players on the squad.  FSU fans should expect to see the more talented player develop and take the job from the lesser-talented player.  That's what happened here.  Jenije is a smart player and can help FSU this year at safety and perhaps in some nickel situations.  

Portions of this article from the FSU SID Press Release

Later today we'll preview the running backs.  

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