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FSU Football Practice Report: Seminoles are shaping up

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Happy Friday.

NCAA Football: Florida State Practice
Quarterback Deondre Francois hands the ball off to Khalan Laborn at practice this week.
Tallahassee Democrat-USA TODAY NETWORK

In the moments leading up to Friday’s practice, head coach Willie Taggart let everyone in on a secret: similar to FSU women’s basketball and other programs at the university, his entire team will stand united to sing the FSU fight song with the Marching Chiefs after each victory.

That fight song was the first sound coming out of the giant speakers at practice — setting the mood as the first week of fall camp is winding down.


Freaky Friday

In the forty-two minutes of practice that were open to the media, the Seminoles were dropping passes left and right. The blame is equally distributed to both sides of the ball, and not directed at one specific position. The quarterbacks share some of that blame due to a lack of accuracy at times, but overall, the unit is showing signs of improvement every day. Francois, Blackman, and Hockman were all out there, and there is still no clear sign who the front runner to land the starting job is. Still, the chemistry is getting stronger.

Back to form

In the middle of one of the wide receiver drills, Keith Gavin reeled in a bullet from Bailey Hockman after stopping on a dime. Wide receiver coach David Kelly started pacing back and forth — “See? See? Now you’re starting to look like yourself again!” If it’s any implication, Gavin is in for a big season. His last few days of practice have been stellar, and although there’s only so much you can determine by watching football players play without pads on, Gavin is certainly a standout in fall camp thus far.

Big men on campus

Man, this was fun to watch.

Nothing different to report as it pertains to the offensive line. For what it’s worth, Alec Eberle is looking more and more fluid with his movements every day. This might be the best condition he’s ever been in.

Many options

Yes, the Seminoles have several formidable options when it comes to the running back position. However, there’s one that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and that’s Cam Akers. The true sophomore has had a phenomenal week of practice. Jacques Patrick was out there today, and he still impresses with the agility he displays at his size. Amir Rasul also shared some reps at the position.

Baby Gronk

At a national signing day party a couple years back, former tight ends Coach Tim Brewster referred to Alex Marshall as “Baby Gronk.” It took a while, but now it’s somewhat clear to see what he meant.


The line

There are some big dudes as well in Odell Haggins’ group of defensive tackles. Marvin Wilson continues to look closer to form every day, and Cory Durden impressed during drills on Friday. Combining that strength in the middle with the likes of Brian Burns, Joshua Kaindoh, Janarius Robinson and Walvenski Aimé, and the Seminoles are looking fantastic so far at defensive line.

Behind the line

The linebacking unit continues to be a work in progress. Dontavius Jackson stood out in drills on Friday, as did Leonard Warner III.

Taylor gang

We mentioned yesterday that the secondary is Levonta Taylor’s to lead after the departure of Derwin James. Taylor is clearly the best cover man in the secondary at the moment.

Defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett was getting at his guys for dropping passes in secondary drills. A.J. Lytton and Asante Samuel Jr. have strong potential. If the unit comes together the way that its supposed to, it will be lethal.

Special Teams

Old reliable

Special teams was a focal point during Thursdays practice, and Friday was no different in the early stages. Seminoles fans remember the largest comeback in school history — the 2016-2017 season-opening 45-34 victory victory Ole Miss in Orlando. What many people forget about that game is that in his debut, while in the shadow of his older brother who was the most accurate kicker in the history of the NCAA, Ricky Aguayo kicked a perfect 6/6 game. Aguayo opened Friday’s practice with another perfect kicking performance. Although kicking field goals successfully in practice is not conducive of success in games, Aguayo has looked impressive so far this fall.