Okay, so here’s the thing: anytime a “game” is serving as a de facto warmup for a Vanilla Ice concert, you should really check just how seriously you view that event. Equally applicable: any time Salt-n-Pepa is about to headline in your college’s football stadium, you should treat the occasion for what it is: a party. Let’s keep both in mind ahead of FSU’s spring game this evening.
Seriously, gang. Eat. Drink. Be merry. Drink. Spring is the season of new beginnings. And could that ever be more appropriate than now, as we look forward to tonight’s Garnet and Gold scrimmage under the lights on Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium?
Florida State fans have a new coaching staff to take in, and a fresh attitude to witness along the sidelines on the field. And that’s certainly worth getting excited about. Enjoy the day. Hit up the Nolecast party at Township in Collegetown. Order a Tomahawk Nation t-shirt, and some socks as well. Tailgate your tails off.
But remember: this is a glorified scrimmage, one played without a number of key contributors who will be sitting due to injury or the hint thereof. And that’s the right thing to do, on behalf of FSU football. For however the ’Noles look on Saturday night, neither a win nor a loss will be registered until Virginia Tech comes calling to open the 2018 season.
That being said, as the culmination of spring ball, this is still a big event. The rosters are (somewhat) set. Here are a few pointers on what you should and should not look for as you watch the FSU spring game on Saturday night.
What NOT to watch for:
- Simply put, don’t be too results oriented. The Seminoles’ astute precautionary measures will see a number of walk-ons getting substantial playing time, and against starters. Give walk-ons their due credit: they help make this football team better every day. But they are not an accurate representation of what the ’Noles will be facing against the Hokies, Hurricanes, Tigers, or Gators.
- Yes, Willie Taggart is an offensive head coach. But don’t hold it against him if the offenses look rather stymied by the defenses. New defenses tend to pick things up quicker than new offenses— and that could very well be exacerbated by an OL decimated by injury this spring.
- Don’t put a ton on personnel. Because of the myriad contributors being rightfully sidelined for this thing, don’t assume that everyone is lining up where they will come fall. In fact, it’s entirely possible that players could switch squads mid-contest, as has happened in the past.
What you should watch for:
- Let’s keep an eye on formations and alignments. Where will the receivers line up? Just how wide will they range? Moreover, how often will running backs shift into receiver positions? And how will the former fullbacks transition into tight-end roles?
- While no QBs will be hit, how aggressive will the defenses be in coming after them? Harlon Barnett is expected to be a high-risk, high-reward DC— will we get glimpses of that tonight? Again, don’t check this out from a DL vs. OL standpoint, but rather how many exotic rush looks could be brought against the offense of Taggart and OC Walt Bell.
- And speaking of Bell, it should be interesting to note what kind of role he plays with the Seminole signal-callers, as well as the overall placement of ’Nole coaches. In the past, Jimbo Fisher was the lone coach behind the offense. Will Taggart assume the same position, or be more of a sideline guy? And if he does set up shop behind the offenses, will Bell join him?
This list is far from exhaustive, but the over-arching purpose of this piece remains: enjoy the day and don’t lose your minds because of what happens on a largely bacchanalian day. Take it in, but don’t make too much of overblown observations. On a day that will feature highs and lows and a performance by Rob Base, let’s all be sure to stay balanced and take a cue from his hit single: “It Takes Two.”