Florida State held its first scrimmage of spring practice today, lacing up in the IPF while storms rolled through Tallahassee. Inside, another force of nature, 'Nole safety Derwin James, administered his own brand of destruction. Damages were limited, though, as Jimbo Fisher revealed that James played a few series, recorded an interception, and then got some rest. Said Fisher of the decision to limit James: "I know what Derwin can do."
So, undoubtedly, do the 'Nole wide receivers. But which WR presents the greatest challenge to James? Fisher has heaped praise upon Travis Rudolph this spring, mentioning him first when asked about the performance of receivers on Saturday.
Later, James chimed in on Rudolph: "He's getting tougher. Every day he's getting better." I asked James if Rudolph was the toughest cover, and he didn't flinch in saying yes. He did, however, temper that remark: "We can cover him, though."
And Rudolph wasn't arguing-- well, at least not with the first part: "In my opinion, I'm the toughest guy to cover. Because that's what I hold myself to. I feel like nobody in the league can cover me right now."
For Rudolph, that bombastic response is rooted in humility:
I'm definitely just coming to practice and practicing to my full potential. I'm not taking any plays off. Last year, I felt like I took plays off in practice, because I thought the ball wasn't coming to me, but now I feel like I've just got to have that killer instinct to get open at all times, no matter if the ball's coming to me or not.
Why the emphasis on consistency? "I just didn't like how we lost three games last year. I feel like I was part of the reason. And I feel like if I can step my game up, we won't lose at all."
As far as the toughest defensive back to face, Rudolph didn't get into specifics. Not initially, anyway: "Honestly, all those DBs are pretty tough. You've got to bring it every day with those DBs. Because they definitely talk trash, man. Lock you up." And in a moment of reciprocation, Rudolph, when asked which defensive back talks the most, responded: "Derwin James. Hands down."