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FSU practice report: Special teams drills showcase energy, intensity

News, notes, and observations from today’s practice.

Florida State’s second official practice of the spring took place Friday morning, and fans and media alike were able to see the energy and tenacity that this new-look Seminoles team can bring next season under new head coach Willie Taggart. The ’Noles made the most of their practice time, finding ways to enjoy themselves in small moments throughout practice, while working tirelessly over the course of the chilly, sunny morning.


Wide receiver Nyqwan Murray is still out with a meniscus injury, and per Taggart he will be out for the remainder of spring practice. Offensive lineman Baveon Johnson was also out today after being bothered by a meniscus issue again, one that previously kept him out for the entirety of the 2017 season. According to Taggart, the team will get some evaluations on Johnson and see what the best course of action is, including potentially shutting him down for the remainder of spring if the injury bothers him the same way it did in the team’s last practice. Alec Eberle also sat out today, along with wide receiver George Campbell. Emmett Rice missed practice today, as did Carlos Becker III.


At quarterback, James Blackman appeared to take the majority of snaps, followed by redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman. Both guys looked sharp, as Blackman continued to sling the ball to his receivers, while Hockman showed quick feet in the pocket. And although Deondre Francois wasn’t able to participate in these drills, he did throw off to the side with Campbell and had no issues firing him the ball. Running backs Jacques Patrick, Cam Akers, and Khalan Laborn appeared speedy and agile during their drills, while backs Zaquandre White and Amir Rasul looked good during 11 on 11’s as receiving options out wide.


Florida State’s group of linebackers hit the ground running this morning, with Amari Gainer, DeCalon Brooks, Leonard Warner III, Josh Brown, and Adonis Thomas showing off their strength and speed during their defensive drills. Defensive ends coach Mark Snyder did a great job making sure his group of players put in their fair share of work today as well, with Brian Burns, Delvin Purifoy, Tre Lawson, and Janarius Robinson putting their athleticism and footwork on full display. After former Seminole standouts Jalen Ramsey and Derwin James showed up to Wednesday’s practice, another was seen today in Derrick Nnadi. Despite preparing for the NFL Draft in a few weeks, the defensive tackle took time to observe his former team’s practice and assist the coaching staff in some defensive drills.

Special Teams

Junior kicker Ricky Aguayo took care of all his extra point drills, as his special team unit ran through proper line movement and positioning drills. However, perhaps the most energetic part of practice came with a particular special teams drill, where one player with the ball tried to split two defenders and return it for a score. Both sides took advantage of the drill and got into it, often celebrating when either the defense made a stop, or the offense eluded their defenders. One instance stood out the most, when wide receiver D.J. Matthews juked one defender and spun away from another before running down the field, where most of his team celebrated loudly with him as others danced around as seen in the video below.

It makes sense that players were highly energetic and intense during special teams drills, as special teams coordinator Alonzo Hampton was arguably the loudest and most energetic coach during practice today. Encouraging his players to work hard in every drill and put forth maximum effort, he was especially loud during a series of punt-block drills.

When the Seminoles were not in the middle of their intense drills, they found ways to have fun on the sideline and pass the time, as seen below: