FSU’s preseason practice kicked off this morning, and it was a scorcher here in Tallahassee. The veterans and true freshmen (no spring enrollees) practiced earlier in the morning, so the complete depth of the team wasn’t available, but these divided practices will prove beneficial later on.
Derrick Kelly was limited throughout practice with an unspecified injury, but still took part in some drills. Nyqwan Murray was limited as well, as he is still recovering from a meniscus injury that occurred during spring practice. D.J. Matthews did not practice and stayed inside the indoor practice field.
The Quarterback Battle
Overall, the quarterback order of the day went from James Blackman, Bailey Hockman, then Deondre Francois, but this is expected to change around as camp moves forward and adjustments are made each day.
Hockman showed well, but the major concerns for him revolve around the fact that his arm strength is weaker than the other two and whether or not his overall athleticism is at the same level. Still, he looked very comfortable with the new offense today.
Blackman, on the other hand, showed incredible arm strength. Today, he struggled with his accuracy, often over- or under-throwing his intended targets. He did seem natural as a leader on the field and his accuracy issues may be attributed to first day jitters. We will see throughout the rest of fall camp if his accuracy improves as he gets more comfortable.
Francois is back, he is healthy, and he looks noticeably bigger/stronger. What he lacked in consistency he made up for in big-time plays down the field and looked 100 percent coming back from his injury. He was confident and his accuracy on shorter throws looks to be improved from what we’ve seen in the past. It is an important step in his next development as a passer.
On when the decision between the players will be made
Coach Taggart said in the press conference yesterday “I’d like to have one— I’d like to have it decided before Labor Day. That’s the plan. But again, we haven’t set no time, no date or time. I think our players got the date and time, you know, when they decide to separate themselves and make it a no-brainer, is when we’ll make that decision.”
That being said it will be an interesting storyline to keep up with as each quarterback has to continuously show out each day.
On the Offensive Line
The first team offensive line was LT Jauan Williams, LG Derrick Kelly, C Alec Aberle, RG Cole Minshew, and RT Landon Dickerson. Baveon Johnson was backing up Eberle.
Florida State has depth at Running Back
This is nothing we don’t already know. All running backs were present and partaking in practice, but we won't know more about how reps will be split up until there is contact at practice. Cam Akers was practicing with the first team unit with Blackman, and Patrick was practicing with Deondre Francois.
At Wide Receiver
Tamorrion Terry stands out as an electrifying player and will be one to continuously watch this upcoming season. He made a couple outstanding plays and looked consistently strong throughout the day.
Donte’ Pimpleton focusing on every detail with redshirt freshman Tamorrion Terry pic.twitter.com/nbg3DIRROH— Courteney Korosec (@CourteneyyK) August 6, 2018
While the the rest of the wide receiver positions are tough to judge with both Nyqwan Murray and D.J. Matthews absent, the younger wide receivers seem to have a chip on their shoulders and appear to be stepping up to the plate. There were a decent amount of drops throughout the day, but redshirt freshman Ontaria Wilson made some great plays and got a lot of reps in along with Deonte Sheffield and Keith Gavin.
Marvin Wilson was limited to the sideline, due to his knee injury.
The first team defense seemed to have Demarcus Christmas and Fredrick Jones at defensive tackle, Brian Burns and Janarius Robinson at defensive end, DeCalon Brooks as star linebacker, Dontavious Jackson at middle linebacker and Adonis Thomas as the boundary side linebacker, Levonta Taylor and Kyle Meyers were the two cornerbacks, and Stanford Samuels III lined up as field safety as A.J. Westbrook lined up as the boundary safety.
These positions are subject to change as fall practice goes on due to FSU’s tremendous depth. It should be noted that Jaiden Woodbey split reps with DeCalon Brooks and players were often shifted to multiple positions to try and find which combinations worked.
Coach Odell with Brian Burns, Demarcus Christmas, Cory Durden and Janarius Robinson pic.twitter.com/r9RYBKRjGW— Courteney Korosec (@CourteneyyK) August 6, 2018
What we learned today: Brian Burns is a beast and Janarius Robinson is living up to the praise that his coaches have given him.
DE Brian Burns in action pic.twitter.com/JDm1eLbDYl— Courteney Korosec (@CourteneyyK) August 6, 2018
Be sure to check back with us on Tuesday, as FSU will once again open its doors to members of the media for the entirety of practice.