FSU's Open Fall Practice: "GET'EM IN THE HUDDLE!"

Xavier Rhodes and Greg Reid practice drills during FSU's open fall practice.

Florida State hosted the only open fall practice of the season yesterday. Seminole fans got lucky as it was probably the mildest afternoon in Tallahassee since May. Rain threatened early and I was afraid for quite sometime we were going to be run off. Thankfully the skies and weather cleared up and gave fans the opportunity to see just what kind of program Jimbo and Co. are building at Florida State. 

Myself and K-Man were on hand to provide those not fortunate enough to attend, plenty of photos and video. Jimbo Fisher provided the quote for the title. Thanks Jimbo! Inside we start off with K-Man's thoughts after the jump. Remember to click on pics to make them bigger. JUMP NOW. 

K-Man, have at it:

Some of my thoughts from the practice today:

-In a total change from just a couple years ago, it's tough to focus on each talented individual during a 2-hour practice. I didn't even notice Jeff Luc, forgot about Tank Carradine until the last 10 minutes, and couldn't keep track of all the great running backs. This is a testament to Jimbo "flipping the roster" in record time.
The practice jerseys have no names on the back, so it's a challenge to recognize everyone. For the first hour, I kept saying to myself, "wow, this big walk-on white wide receiver has talent, too bad he'll never see the field and isn't on scholarship". Turns out I was watching #35 Nick O'Leary the entire time. O'Leary is a throwback style player. Does zero talking, wears no gloves, no wristbands, no uniform "flare". Just goes out and makes plays. I believe he'll see starter's minutes immediately in Fisher's offense.

-Some people let their play on the field do the talking. Greg Reid lets his play on the field AND his talking do the talking. It's no question he's the most vocal leader on defense. Everyone responds to Greg's excitement and he'll go down the line slapping hands with each last player lined up on his D. "Let's go, baby. Let's do this...."
At one point during pass scale drills, Reid had a pass break-up sandwiched between 2 interceptions. Certainly a great practice for #5.

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OBR's Note: Reid dares you to disagree with K-Man's assessment


-From my vantage point, Reid and St. Thomas Aquinas freshman Rashad Greene were the two players fielding punts. Greene seemed a natural at the position.

-Scooter Haggins showed some great ability today, but drew the ire of Jimbo Fisher on at least 4 occasions for missed responsibilities/mental errors. It would be hard to say any particular wide receiver was the best at his position today. Haulstead and Bert Reed reeled in some long catches from E.J.

-The blogosphere went CooCoo over Kelvin Benjamin's measurables last month. Too bad measurables don't show up on a football scoreboard. I'm basing my opinion off limited sampling size, but Kelvin's effort today did not portray an "immediate impact" football player. I saw rounded off breaks, lack of energy and effort, and someone fitting the bill as a "raw" wide receiver. He may have 20 pounds on the biggest NFL receiver, but it won't matter from the bench.

-Tre Jackson and Josue Matias have been hinted as 2 freshman O-linemen most likely to avoid redshirting in 2011. I'd like to throw Ruben Carter's name in the mix as well. #65 showed great tenacity and stone walled several veteran D-linemen during 1-on-1 drills.

-However, someone who was NOT stone walled during 1-on-1 lineman drills was Lake City phenom Tim Jernigan. Granted I came into practice with a positive bias towards Timmy, but he did not disappoint. See short video of Tim below:


-The funniest part of practice was hearing Rick Trickett scream at his prized freshman lineman, #70 Josue Matias. Hearing the old Marine scream "Hoe-Sway" (as it's pronounced) never gets old. A close second would be the defensive coaches screaming at Georgio Newberry. When you hear "GEORGIO!", you expect to see a half-naked European male model, not a rugged defensive end.
Side note, I think Newberry needs a redshirt season. Toshmon Stevens needs to step up in the role of 5th defensive end.

Rick Trickett 'teaching' during FSU open practice


-As reported on TomahawkNation's Twitter account, Telvin Smith was ejected from practice by Jimbo for tackling Lonnie Pryor during pass scale (Onebarrelrum's Note: He came back into practice after sitting out a while. At one point Jimbo yelled at him, "GO BACK TO LOWNDES!!!!).  The hit wasn't flagrant by any means, but it exceeded the level of violence Coach Fisher allows during a "shells" practice. When players wear only shoulder pads and helmets, the rule is to "thud" each other, but not go to the ground.
I observed the walk-on/2nd and 3rd-string side of the field making similar hits, but they weren't under the watchful eye of a fired up Jimbo.

-Lamarcus Joyner is up to over 200 pounds amazingly, though not all of it "good weight".

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Editor's note: a lot of the guys on the team have this, and it doesn't look like flab from other angles. Perhaps a lot of abs work?

Unfortunately for opposing wide receivers, the composition of his mass won't matter during bone-jarring hits.

-Mike Harris never disappoints and made a sensational one-handed interception off Jacob Coker during 11-on11 drills. See video below:


General observations:
-The quarterbacks could rarely stand tall in the pocket due to relentless pass rush, and during pass scale drills they often had trouble finding anyone open. Jimbo was so frustrated that he gave up on screaming towards the end. Our defense is very, very good. Had this been a full contact practice, several backs and receivers would've been laid out. Stoops' zone has defenders facing the line of scrimmage and waiting to punish ball carriers. Lord have mercy on Louisiana Monroe's offense.
-I would estimate 1,500 people in attendance despite inclement weather to begin the practice. Though a small number, certainly larger than last year's open practice. The hype in Tallahassee is palpable for these 2011 'Noles.

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Excellent stuff from K-Man there. Let me say that last year I did a much better job of getting photos of each player, during drills or otherwise. I failed miserably this time to do the same. K-Man is right, there is a whirlwind of action and it is extremely difficult to keep up with it. There is action everywhere on the field. Complicating matters, every 6 or 12 minutes, depending on the length of the period, everyone changes places to do the next drill.

I can say that I think there is more potential this year from the receiving corps. Last year, it was clear that there were going to be some growing pains. While they aren't perfect, there seems to be more functional depth and a number of guys that could prove to be big time play-makers. Bert Reed really stood out and maybe, just maybe, the light has finally turned on for him (was in a non-contact jersey though, not sure why). He could put together a special season just in time for the 'Noles. He burned Greg on a deep route for a catch in the end-zone, to which Greg responded by yelling and doing a fake dunk over the goal post. Christian Green stood out too.

The d-line is clearly ahead of the o-line right now. Hopefully as some of the guys that have been out for a while knock off some of the rust, they will improve. They will need all the reps they can get between now and the season to work on cohesion as a unit. The d-line push during full scrimmage really put the kibosh on any thought of a realistic deep route.

Jermaine Thomas was out again. Hopefully he makes it back soon. Didn't see much of Wilder at RB. The little I did see of Freeman, he looked great. The longer Thomas is out, the more reps during the season Freeman will likely earn.

While K-Man is right, the players are only supposed to 'thud', things still got extremely physical, especially along the lines. Saw some d-linemen getting some bandages on the sideline during the mid-practice break.

I'm so glad there is video of the Harris pick. I didn't record it, but was lucky enough to see it. I think it is clear that he has the best hands out of the DBs.

Harris and Jernigan got snaps with the ones, but I wouldn't read too much into that as there was plenty of other players going with 1's or 2s.

K-Man makes a good point. La-Monroe's offense is not going to enjoy their trip to Tally. With as hard as these guys hit each other, their own teammates, I can only imagine what will happen to a real opponent. Only one small fight during this practice, so good times there.

Just to give you a feel for the sights, sounds, and the pace of practice, I put together this montage of clips. Practice isn't quite as breakneck, but it's pretty close. Watch the o-lineman do unnatural things to their backs, Toshman Stevens look not completely horrible on a speed rush, some warm ups with secondary, and more. Think I got the same spin move by Timmy but it is worth another look. Sorry about the terrible camera work....I'll work on it.


Notice the good battle between Datko and Jenkins, however Werner absolutely owns, as he did most of the afternoon.

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EJ looked mostly sharp, especially running skeleton drills. However, a lot of the throws in full scrimmage would have never had the time to happen as the D-line, more often than not, would have clearly put an end to the play if it were live.

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Lonnie Pryor sporting the 'skeptical mo-hawk.'

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Play action to Debrale Smiley by newcomer Jacob Coker.

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Jimbo found himself a talent in Coker. Very strong arm. However he did have a lot of overthrows on sideline routes. He is going to have his work cut out for him as he learns how to utilize his physical gifts.

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The lefty Secord is probably still 3rd string...maybe 4th.

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The o-line before the helmets came on.

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While you may not want to depend on them to be starters, Tre Jackson and Josue Matais have the size and strength to add immediate depth on the o-line if needed.

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Sanders and Faircloth doing battle.

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It was great to see that Thompson was back out on the field after sitting out for most of last week as a precaution for his recovering back issue. He looked just fine as far as speed and mobility.

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D-line Chat.

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Coach Haggins running his group through drills.

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Really crazy drills. Cam Erving here, with his super human long arms.

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Also great to see Moses back on the field. All of 'Nole Nation will be rooting for him.

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Amp and Faircloth doing work.

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Dawkins with a nice swim move.

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McAllister and Pettis square up.

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Really can't appreciate the leverage these guys play with and how low they have to get until you see a picture like this. That's Tim Jernigan there, and uhhhh, yeah, that's Tim Jernigan.
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Triple team on Jernigan, probably a solid idea.
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Ty Jones "Hmmm, that's a lot of white jerseys. "

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"Imma try and go this way." Note to Jones, it doesn't matter which you go.


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Silly Beau, Jimbo is a stickler for details. I'm sure it will sink in and I'm really am pulling for him.  There's a lot of talk about O'Leary and deservedly so, but I think Beau could have a solid impact this year.

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K-Man's walk-on Nick O'Leary with a catch and turn. He will get playing time, the question at this point is how much.

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No really sure the move on Beau here is quite legal...
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McDaniel off the line while V. Williams drops back.
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Harris making a grab in drills.

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Keelin Smith grab.

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Do something interesting because you are boring Xavier Rhodes. You probably noticed #4 drop an easy pick in the video. He wasn't the only one that was guilty of the same. Bradham had an easy one bounce off his stomach which earned jeers from d-lineman, "Six Pack, Six Pack."

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Jimbo got onto Smith more than once. On one throw in the endzone, a pass sailed over his head. Pretty clear from my angle it would have been next to impossible to catch. Jimbo, "WHY didn't you catch the ball!?...Cause you don't WANT to make a play!"

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I'm not quite as low on Benjamen as K-Man, saw him do some good things. He does seem to loaf at times, but he does have excellent body control of his big frame when the ball is in the air and very good hands. However he probably does need to lose some lbs and work on his quickness. He is by far the easiest player to spot on the field .While Benjamen may have been dragging at times, he wasn't the only one. Practice got a little sloppy towards the end as players were being physically drained. This is only the first week. This has also been Benjamen's first taste of collegiate 2-a-days and he is probably dealing with the cumulative effect of some very intense practices. The veterans dealt with it better as they should. Still, from what I saw, plenty of reason to be excited about #1 on offense.

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'Old Man Jenkins.'  I just made that up and it is now his nickname....or not, whatever.
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Last but not least...Hopkins putting the 'special' in special teams. Really hope this was an on purpose practice whiff. Was quite funny watching the kickers during practice. O-lineman being abused by Trickett, d-lineman knocking pads, receivers sprinting and then the kickers, you know, just kinda hangin out, waiting for special team drills.
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Fisher gathers the players for closing thoughts.

Great throw to O'Leary

 

Greg Reid Pick!

 

Go HERE for even more great video.

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