After a positive offseason of injury rehabilitation and outspoken leadership for Florida State Seminoles football, the expressive Jaiden Lars-Woodbey feels parts of his game have improved a hundred-fold since enrolling on campus.
The redshirt sophomore defensive back looked refreshed and reinvigorated during Wednesday’s media session. Latest practice footage released to the media shows the rangy safety notably without a knee brace for the first time since his injury last fall.
“Honestly the preparation, all of the rehabilitation that I have done over the last couple of months, put me in a position where I didn’t need my knee brace after around six or seven months,” said Lars-Woodbey.
“They said it wasn’t needed, so I wasn’t gonna wear it,” Lars-Woodbey added with a smile.
News from practice is optimistic for the Fontana, Cal. native, who was equally excited about his teammates’ progressions as well. Lars-Woodbey praised quarterback James Blackman, defensive lineman Joshua Kaindoh, even shouting out true freshmen running backs Lawrance Toafili and Corey Wren for their performances in fall camp, saying that they’re going to be stars, “this year.”
Even more so than his teammates, Lars-Woodbey practically gushed about the men leading them- first-year head coach Mike Norvell and the coaching staff he has assembled.
“I think the biggest thing that they have taught us is just preparing in every aspect: how you eat in the morning, how you watch film, how you jog from period to period, how you attack your classwork, how you attack your independent film study. All of those things contribute to your performance on the field,” said Lars-Woodbey.
“They just emphasized the importance of every little thing that we do, and how it correlates to our play on the field.”
Earlier this month, the defensive back spoke up defending the training staff on social media. in the wake of questions of following coronavirus protocols (that were later retracted.) He also took the occasion to defend player’s rights to speak their minds and have a platform — but to be aware of the message they’re sending.
On the outside looking in, it wasn’t a great moment for the football team. But, if anything, the dispute showed Lars-Woodbey‘s ability to lead, and displayed he has just as much confidence in Norvell’s training and medical staff as the coaching staff.
By all accounts, the Florida State football program seems to be full of budding cohesion, and a growing sense of comfort with each other. Adding to that sense specifically for Lars-Woodbey is a position switch back to defensive back this fall.
Even though he prefers defensive back, Lars-Woodbey says that playing linebacker helped with knowledge of the game and understanding offensive run schemes, not just pass schemes.
“Honestly, just looking at it from the glass half-full, I was able to experience different positions and understand different terminology, and understand a different side of the game,” Lars-Woodbey said. “Being closer to the box, and being in the box, it helped me develop my football IQ times one hundred.”
With the combination of his re-position switch and encouraging recent developments with his knee, the charismatic Lars-Woodbey stated plainly what he thinks the ‘Noles will strive for this fall.
“I think everybody knows what’s ahead of us this year, and what we have to do,” said Lars-Woodbey.
“We have to bring back the Florida State standard.”