GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 26: Cornerback Greg Reid #5 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates a first quarter interception against the Florida Gators November 26, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Date: Saturday, April 14
Time: 4 p.m.
FSU fans will flock to Tallahassee again to see the Florida State Seminoles take on... the Florida State Seminoles. That's right, it's time for the spring game. Spring practice went much better for the 'Noles in 2012 than it did in 2011 for two major reasons: 1) Jimbo Fisher was actually at practice in 2012, and 2) The 'Noles seemingly avoided major injuries that would keep a player out for the regular season. The 'Noles did suffer a lot of injuries during the spring of 2012, but they've not been of the variety that would be likely to threaten the season.
The seniors will split into two groups and draft teams Friday afternoon, with substantial help from the coaching staff. Tomahawk Nation will have the instant results, so check back later this afternoon.
Do Not Take Too Much From The Spring Game!
Even though I expect the defense to dominate (the defense has seen the offense for a full month. It should dominate), I will still be focusing heavily on the offense.
'Nole fans will be looking for EJ Manuel's command of the offense. Does he get the team into the right plays? Does he have poise or any semblance of pocket presence? Can he consistently find the easy yardage? I'm not of the opinion that the light will come on for Manuel to become a superstar, but I do believe he can reduce the mental errors -- many of which go unseen by the casual fan but cause major issues with the play. And with a championship caliber defense, that should be enough for a very good season.
From the reserves, look for Clint Trickett's increased velocity after gaining weight thanks to a diagnosis of gluten intolerance. From red-shirt freshman Jacob Coker, 'Nole fans will be looking to see his movement within the pocket. I do not expect Coker to overtake Trickett in 2012 because Trickett has a full command of the offense. We expressed more concerns, questions and optimism in Florida State Spring Football 2012: Quarterbacks.
On the offensive line, my focus will be at tackle. New offensive tackle Cameron Erving, fresh off his move from defensive tackle, will be the main target. Coaches have raved about just how far ahead of schedule Erving is. He has the body of a tackle and plenty of athleticism. How will he fare in live action? Nole fans will also interested in seeing JUCO transfer Daniel Glauser, Erving's backup. And on the right side, I want to see if Bryan Stork is the real deal, or if his starting this spring has more to do with Bobby Hart failing to live up to off-season expectations.
Also be sure to watch the snaps from center Austin Barron. The guard combo of Josue Matias and Tre Jackson seem pretty locked in. Read: FSU's Interior Offensive Line To Face Tough Challenges In 2012
The skill guys are also worth watching. Which receivers stand out? The 'Noles are loaded to the gills at the receiver position. Where does Willie Haulstead fit in that group coming off a missed season due to concussions (I don't expect much). And of course, everyone expects Kelvin Benjamin to dominate. Right? I'd like to see him run some decent routes.
How much two-tight end sets will the 'Noles run? Some people expect a bunch. I expect a bit less. Be sure to read: Florida State Spring Football: Wide Receivers & Tight Ends
A the running back position, I want to see James Wilder Jr. hitting the right holes and give FSU fans some hope that he is not miscast in the backfield. And I want to see Mario Pender's speed. Florida State Spring Football: Running Back
Turning to the defensive side, there is plenty to watch, though relatively few new faces.
Along the defensive line, the superstars return, though some are missing spring with some cleanup surgical procedures. I am most interested in seeing two players: red-shirt freshman defensive end Giorgio Newberry (6'6" 278), who has had a great spring, and red-shirt junior Demonte McAllister who is finally beginning to live up to his potential. Florida State Spring Football: Defensive Line
At linebacker, fans are anxious to see just how many plays Christian Jones makes at his new Will linebacker position (replacing Nigel Bradham). This might be CJ's last spring. And at Sam, I want to see Nick Moody's ability to set the edge in cover, as he takes over for Christian Jones. Moody is looking huge these days (in a good way). Florida State Spring Football: Linebacker
The secondary also provides an opportunity for a look at some new faces. Watch Tyler Hunter as he plays the nickel position manned last year by Mike Harris. The Terrence Brooks v. Karlos Williams battle at safety will be another to watch, and it's exciting to get the first look at Keelin Smith at the boundary corner position. Florida State Spring Football: Secondary
And as lame as this might seem, the punting will be interesting to see. New punter Cason Beatty has the tough task of replacing Shawn Powell, who was lost to graduation.
What are you looking to see? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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