In the midst of a terrible week of weather, Florida State practiced at 5:30 am again Thursday after doing the same on Wednesday. The energy level was somewhat surprisingly high, with most of the team seeming to come prepared to work, despite the early hour.
Lonnie Pryor said after practice that he and his teammates had to get up around 4:30, but Jimbo Fisher said after practice that he was pleased with the energy level.
With the players still in shells, it’s a little early to draw too many conclusions about the depth chart, but it’s clear that the pecking order at wideout is still being settled, as is the offensive line. While the unit of Erving-Matias-Barron-Jackson-Stork took some reps, the center and right tackle positions saw a few different looks.
Bryan Stork spent plenty of time at center with the ones, while Daniel Glauser, Bobby Hart, and Menelik Watson all got some time at right tackle with the top unit. The results were a bit mixed, with Glauser in particular struggling against Bjoern Werner. Fisher said he liked what Stork did at center and wanted to get a couple of other guys reps at tackle. It seems there’s a real chance that Stork will be at center this season, assuming a suitable replacement at right tackle can be found. The staff is trying every possible combination.
Here's a great photo from Ira Schoffel.
Good morning FSU football. Nothing like a 5:30 practice. twitter.com/IraSchoffel/st…— Ira Schoffel/TDO.com (@IraSchoffel) August 9, 2012
The situation at cornerback appears to remain the same as it’s been all week, with Nick Waisome still taking over Greg Reid’s field corner spot with the ones. Ronald Darby may be worth keeping an eye on in that competition, though. He drew rave reviews from Jimbo Fisher, and Lamarcus Joyner also singled him out as a freshman that has impressed him.
As you would expect with the amount of depth the team has at the position, the wide receiver spots were mixed up a good amount too. Rodney Smith and Rashad Greene worked almost exclusively with the top unit, with a few others getting into the mix. Kelvin Benjamin saw some reps, and the slot duties with the ones fell mostly to Kenny Shaw and Scooter Haggins. Christian Green and Willie Haulstead primarily worked with the second unit, as did Greg Dent. Dent was another player who received praise from Fisher after practice.
The quarterback situation appears stable for now as well, with Manuel, Trickett, and Coker 1-2-3 and the freshmen, Jameis Winston and Sean McGuire, behind them. Coker threw some pretty deep balls for touchdowns during drills, including one to Shaw and one to Greene.
- Fisher said he liked the effort and energy, but wanted to see more consistency. "Giving up too many big plays on defense… our effort’s good but we’ve got to execute better on offense and defense," he said.
- Fisher said he doesn’t love the 5:30 am start since its difficult on the players, but said the team wouldn’t have been able to practice the past two days without the early start.
- Lamarcus Joyner was a player whose energy stood out despite practice beginning before sunrise. Fisher praised him for it.
- While Winston and Maguire are at the bottom of the QB depth chart, Fisher said he likes both players’ arm talent and isn’t babying them. "Throw it at the wall and see what sticks, find out who can play and what they can handle," he said of his approach of throwing everything at the rookies.
- The running backs continued to draw positive reviews from Fisher, too. Chris Thompson had another good practice, and Fisher also noted that Devonte Freeman and James Wilder practiced well. Lonnie Pryor continued to get some reps at both running back and fullback.
- Fisher mentioned he’s looking for more consistency specifically from the wide outs, as well as better use of their physical abilities to go up and get balls in the air. "You gotta make plays when guys are being tightly covered, use your size and power, and physical over people," he said. Fisher also had positive words about the improved quickness of Benjamin in his route running.
- Both Pryor and Joyner said it was tough to get up and going at such an early hour, but that once the team got rolling, it wasn’t bad.
- Pryor said he’s been enjoying getting some reps at both running back and fullback, and that he’s slimmed back down closer to his weight from his sophomore year, around 220, at the request of the coaching staff.
- Pryor also said the team has practiced differently this year, doing more walkthroughs and other tweaks to keep the team fresher when the season rolls around. He noted that Fisher hasn’t changed on the field though. "He’s still the same old guy on the field, getting after us," Pryor said. Joyner said the team was ready for the early practice. "Everybody was ready for it", he said. "We’re trying to win, and if that means getting up at 4:30, that’s what we’re gonna do."
- Joyner seemed pretty impressed with Darby. He even said Darby is probably a little bit ahead of where he was as a freshman in terms of technique. He also praised Waisome and Tyler Hunter.
- While he said if the coaches decided against it he would step back, Joyner said he hopes to remain on kick returns this season.
Report by FSView senior writer and Tomahawk Nation correspondent Eric Fisher. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and give him a warm TN welcome.