FSU held its first Spring scrimmage and the results were mixed. Fisher seemed mostly pleased with the performance. Here are some of the official release notes, as well as my comments and thoughts relayed to me from those able to observe. As expected with all the offensive injuries, the defense dominated the game.
"I was pleased. I really was," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I thought both sides had their moments in the scrimmage. There were a couple of balls on the ground, a couple of the young quarterbacks made a mistake or two. But the defense seemed to play well. The offense I was very please with especially with guys being hodge-podge; (Jacob) Fahrenkrug played center the whole day and did a really nice job. I thought both sides had their moments in the scrimmage. They competed very well. I'm not displeased, I`m not saying I'm ecstatic but there were some good things out there."
Rising junior quarterback EJ Manuel played well in his first spring scrimmage. Fisher plans to release more details including some statistical information on Tuesday but Manuel did throw three touchdown passes - two to Bert Reed and one to fullback Lonnie Pryor.
"It was good," Manuel said about his first scrimmage. "Personally, I felt really good out there. Like I said before, my shoulder doesn't hurt anymore, so I think that makes a world of difference for us as an offense. I think everybody played great today; both sides of the ball did a good job. The defense made some plays on us, and we made some plays on them, so I think it was pretty even today."
Fisher and his staff used this first scrimmage to concentrate more on situational scenarios. The first, second and third teams each had opportunities from the 30-yard line to sustain drives, but the second half of Monday's scrimmage was spent working on specific third-down, red-zone, goal line, coming-off-the-goal line and two-minute-drill situations.
HEAD COACH Jimbo Fisher On the guys outside (receivers) making some plays:
"Yea, there were some catches. We didn't have as many dropped balls and guys made some catches. I though EJ (Manuel) made good decisions and looked like he belonged in charge of everything - I was very pleased with that. The guys outside seemed to make a couple of good plays at times. And on defense they batted a couple of balls away; they made a couple of good plays on that side, too. Some good things."
On quarterback EJ Manuel managing things:
"I mean just control of the game. He had total control of what was going on. He looked poised, reacting to things, managing people, getting on people, leading people, encouraging people, making throws, making runs. Just like you want the guy - you feel very comfortable with him in charge of your unit. If it was a bad play he pushed it off and went to the next play. If it was a good play he pushed it off and went to the next play. I really just liked his poise and presence on the field today."
On who stood out:
"I'll have to look at the film. There were a couple of good plays. Nigel Terrell made a couple of good plays at linebacker. All those guys did for the most part I don't know if there was anybody in particular. I happened to be standing behind the offense where I could tell EJ but I don't know if anybody I could really tell on offense. Defense - a couple of guys. Like I said Nigel Terrell made two or three nice hits and I think got an interception. But we will wait and look at the film."
On who worked out at guard:
"Stanley. Jacob Stanley. Knows what to do; an old, experienced guy. Battled in there and did a nice job. We had (Henry) Orelus, Stanley, Fahrenkrug, (Bryan) Stork and (Garrett) Faircloth on the offensive line."
That lineup shows me that they would rather have Fahrenkrug as the third center than Sterling Lovelady, at least at this point.
On whether either of the back-up quarterbacks look more comfortable than the other:
"On the first drive, I thought Clint (Trickett) looked very good and I saw Will (Secord) make a play or two. They both made a couple of mistakes. I'll wait and judge up there. I wait until I look at the film until I make any rash statements. But they knew what was going on; I was pleased with their understanding of what was going on, where to go with the ball. There wasn't a lot of bonehead things with the ball."
It was an incredibly rough day for the backup quarterbacks as the four offensive line injuries have necessitated the second-team olinemen move up to the first team, and thus the backup quarterbacks are being protected by a mix of true freshmen and walk ons.
On did you go ones vs. ones:
"Oh yea. All the time. Ones on every drill. It was all ones on ones, twos on twos."
On how did the running backs look:
"Ty (Jones) did a couple of things. Four (Devonta Freeman) made a couple of runs. Put the ball on the ground one time which was disappointing - he had a real nice run on it, too. 38 (Jermaine Thomas) made a couple of runs, (Daniel) Monroe got in there; Lonnie (Pryor) had a ball or two. A solid day. I thought it was a solid day. 12 (Jarred Haggins) made a couple of plays."
On whether he got a good idea on today's scrimmage:
"We moved the field, did two drives - two 12 play series and moved the field. We did third downs, we did coming out, we did red zone, we did goal line, did two minute. We covered a lot of situations. We got a lot of things in."
QUARTERBACK EJ MANUEL On his touchdown throws:
"The last one was during a two minute drill at the end of a game. I just threw a bomb down there and Bert went up and got it. Three receivers go down to a certain side of the end zone and just give them a chance to catch the ball, and Bert went up and caught it. The second one was a little play action fake to Lonnie who was out in the flat, wide open and took it in for a touchdown. The first one was during the first drive of the scrimmage; we drove all the way down the field, and just hit Bert on a little turn out route. I think we executed it well, and we were consistent as an offense today. We still have some things to work on obviously, and you always you do because you're never perfect, but I think we executed pretty well today."
On even with the offense line banged up:
"Well I told those guys (offensive line) we would make plays for them. If they give us at least a second and a half, we will make the plays for them. Its take some pressure off some of those guys, and I think it's our responsibility as skill plays to do that. Make plays and move the ball. Obviously they are a huge help to that, and I know a lot of guys are hurt right now, so they are a doing a good job and they best they can."
On Jacob Fahrenkrug at center:
"He did really well. I think Jake is going to be a great center. No matter what position he plays, he is going to be a good person and a good addition to our offensive line. He is a very hard work, a model figure in what Coach Trickett likes in his offensive lineman, I think. He is going to do great for us."
On how the defense looked:
"I think they looked great. I don't feel like we are going to face a better defense in our conference. I think those guys have everything you would want in a defense. Toughness, speed, and they are where they are supposed to be. I think it's up to us to make the correct plays, because sometimes things are simply not open, but we still have to make the play, and I think that is going to help us when we start playing teams in our conference, Oklahoma, and teams like that. You cannot be average against those teams, you have to be great, not average, but you have to be really good to compete against a team like that and beat them, so I think that is helping us a lot."
CORNERBACK Greg Reid On the defense's performance:
"I think we did pretty well. I think it was kind of a day we took to learn and make sure we have everything down pat, so it was kind of a laid back day. We mainly worked on techniques and that kind of stuff, so in my eyes it was pretty good."
On how different EJ is now then he was before he had command of the offense:
"First of all, you don't really know if you're getting a sack, or if he is running the ball, it's kind of hard to judge him a little bit. I feel like his eyes kind of throw you off a little bit. He is a great quarterback and is developing into Jimbo's offense."
On the young receiver group of freshmen and how they have developed:
"We had a lot of playmakers among our receivers last year, so it was kind of hard for them to just jump into the offense and make plays. To play defense as a freshman I think is pretty easy, but for them to play offense and learn all the plays its kind of tough just not on them, but on everybody. It affects the whole offense, but once they start understanding the plays, how many yards to run on different routes, it's tough, but I feel like they are pretty good and sooner or later they will show it."
No, Greg, the receivers were not playmakers last year. At least not for most of it.
LINEBACKER Telvin Smith On the defense's overall performance:
"I think we did pretty well. Overall we only gave up one long run, and other than that I think it was pretty good. We had a few missed tackles, not too many, but on the first day overall considering it was the first scrimmage, I think the defense did really well."
On playing a new position (Middle linebacker, just for the Spring):
"It was pretty good. I really didn't have too many big guys come down and hit me, so I was just running around making plays. That's what I love to do. I had a few tackles; I almost caught a pick, picked up a fumble and returned it. Did some pretty good things overall I feel like."
FULLBACK Lonnie Pryor On the scrimmage:
"It was pretty good. Like coach said, we had our ups and downs, we had a couple of good plays and a few bad ones, but when you have your first scrimmage things like that happen. It was okay, it was our first one, and we still have another one to go."
On how much the team looks forward to these scrimmages:
"We look forward to them a lot because you practice all week and at the end of the week you have to scrimmage, so the coaches are not out on the field and you have to do everything yourself. It's just another way for you to test yourself and let you know you did it by yourself with your team."
On gaining confidence and having success even without any starting offensive linemen from last year really playing:
"Yeah that gives us some confidence. We know that if we don't have some of our starters out there, that some of the second or third string guys can come and do just as good a job as the first team guy. Yes we have a lot of guys out right now, but some of these backups can play just as well as the first string can."
Moses McCray (leg) joins a long list of guys who are going to miss all of Spring ball, including RB Chris Thompson, WR Willie Haulstead, LT Andrew Datko, RT Zebrie Sanders, DT Jacobbi McDaniel, LB Jeff Luc, LB Holmes Onqukaife, CB Xavier Rhodes, S Nick Moody, and P Shawn Powell.
Bryan Stork returned to action after a minor groin injury. Kenny Shaw tweeted that he sustained a minor concussion.
Florida State will take Tuesday off before returning to practice on Wednesday. The `Noles will practice Wednesday and Friday this week before holding their second scrimmage Saturday in Doak Campbell Stadium at 10 a.m.. That scrimmage is closed. All practices are closed to the public. Fans can begin counting down to the SunTrust Spring Football Weekend Presented By Kia Autosport which will be capped off with the Annual Garnet and Gold Spring football game at 4 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium. The game will be carried on ESPN3.com and replayed on ESPNU.
Season tickets are available now by visiting Seminoles.com or by calling the Florida State Ticket Office at 1-888-FSU-NOLE. Single game tickets will go on sale to the general public June 1; however a single game sale is not anticipated for either the Oklahoma and Miami home games.