For the first time this spring, Florida State football opened its doors to the press, allowing credentialed media the opportunity to observe Thursday's Fourth-Quarter drills at the FSU practice facility. These workouts are not official practices, but merely conditioning drills; however, we were nevertheless able to glean a few things from today's open session.
In addition to getting players physically prepped for spring ball, these drills are also about teaching the players how to work-- and several 'Noles stood out by stepping up and leading the way in their respective position groups. Dalvin Cook led the running backs both verbally and with his actions. At one point he pulled fellow RB Jacques Patrick into the group's front row with him. Travis Rudolph was noticeable as well, leading the receivers and at one point being singled out by coach Rick Trickett, who wanted the other WRs to watch how Rudolph was executing a drill; it's a job that Rashad Greene was called upon to perform regularly.
Defensively, it should come as no surprise that DeMarcus Walker was a prominent leader. Walker busting his tail is nothing new, and fellow DE Rick Leonard stood out for his effort and leadership as well. Marquez White and Derwin James were out in front for the defensive backs. Giorgio Newberry was in attendance and encouraging his former teammates.
Back from Injury
Numerous 'Noles who finished last season with injury issues were back at it today. Wide reciever Ermon Lane, who sustained a broken foot, looked fully healthy and participated without any visible brace. Running back turned DB Ryan Green also worked out without any noticeable hinderance, as did Trey Marshall-- both moved quite well.
Several players were taking it easy, either jogging around the IPF, riding the stationary bikes, or participating in modified drills, receivers Bobo Wilson, Nyqwan Murray, and Pigg Harrison among them. Fisher expects Wilson back later this spring. Tyrell Lyons worked out in a right knee brace, but Fisher stipulated that he'd by relegated to individual drills. And OL Cole Minshew wore a right ankle brace. Linebacker Delvin Purifoy also got some running in. Chris Casher's right knee was wrapped, but he worked out fully.
We didn't see Mario Pender, and Fisher confirmed that nine other players would miss spring. We knew Sean Maguire would be out, following foot surgery, and he's in a boot while using a cart to keep weight of it. However, Fisher said he'd be out of the boot and walking next week. Abdul Bello wore a right knee brace and went in a limited capacity, but Fisher maintained that his knee issue would keep him out of spring ball. Fellow offensive lineman Chad Mavety will stay out with a cardiac issue, and Ryan Hoefeld will sit with a shoulder issue, though he participated in a lighter capacity while wearing a compression sling, as did Janarius Robinson, who will miss spring ball, too. Derrick Kelly will not participate in spring practice either, due to a knee injury, as the o-line injury misfortune seems to have picked up where it left off last season.
Defensive lineman Keith Bryant will miss spring practicer, as well, as Fisher said he suffered the same foot injury as Lane after really impressing FSU coaches. A couple of pass catchers will sit for spring, too: tight end Jeremy Kerr (shoulder) and WR Da'Vante Phillips (core).
After the hour-long event concluded, we noticed a few things during and after speaking with coaches and players. The offensive linemen stayed after to continue drilling, and the group dissipated gradually. Some of the last guys to stick around were Rod Johnson, Alec Eberle, Ethan Frith, and early enrollee Andrew Boselli. Quarterbacks and recievers stayed late to do some throwing, as well, and although Phillips will miss spring, he showed up, threw on some cleats, ran routes and caught balls. He was moving quite fluidly. Chris Casher popped on some gloves, but I didn't see him run any patterns.