Despite Wednesday morning’s lackluster weather, Florida State’s spring football practice today was anything but that. With former head coach Bobby Bowden in attendance at the practice facility today for the first time since his retirement in 2009, current head coach Willie Taggart and other staff members were able to meet and speak with him as were the players. Per Taggart’s request, the Seminole legend addressed the Garnet & Gold athletes following their warm-ups. After listening to Bowden, who acquired 377 wins, 12 ACC championships and two national championships as FSU’s head coach from 1976-2009, you could tell the players took a lot away from the experience and were inspired in their practice this morning.
Per Taggart, defensive tackle Marvin Wilson suffered a torn MCL injury and will be out for the remainder of spring practices, as well as the spring game. While there is no set timetable for his return, Taggart expects him to return by the fall. Wide receiver Nyqwan Murray was seen on crutches today, observing the practice from the sidelines.
Quarterbacks James Blackman and Bailey Hockman took turns throwing to receivers today in an offense-only drill, where plays would switch between running draws and sweeps, and passing plays where receivers and backs lined up in five-wide sets. Blackman appeared to take the majority of snaps, throwing to a first-unit with the likes of receivers Keith Gavin, Ontaria Wilson and D.J. Matthews, with Cam Akers as both a running and receiving option. Hockman’s options consisted of receivers Tamorrion Terry and Adarius Dent, running-backs Deonte Sheffield and Amir Rasul, and tight end Jonathan Vickers. While Deondre Francois did not participate in the drill, he was seen around five yards behind Blackman and Hockman, running through their motions and mimicking the potential throws.
Florida State’s defensive backs were hard at work this morning, with defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett making sure his players were executing their tackles properly. During a drill where his players were forced to chase down a pad being dragged behind an assistant, which was assumed to be a runner behind his blocker, the ’Noles showed their explosiveness and technique on each play. The likes of Kyle Meyers, Stanford Samuels III, Jaiden Woodbey, and Cyrus Fagan, amongst others, all showed their prowess and tackling abilities during drills like these.
However, perhaps the most energetic portion of practice today was when both defensive and offensive units got after each other as the team participated in a variation of the classic Oklahoma Drill. With running backs Zaquandre White and Khalan Laborn alongside Akers, Rasul, and Sheffield, these players looked to find a hole to run through made by their offensive lineman partners, such as Derrick Kelly II. On the other side, defensive tackles such as Fredrick Jones and Cedric Wood looked to shed their blocks and take down the running backs before they tried to blow past them. If the running backs succeeded, they were then met by defensive backs like Woodbey and King, unless these DB’s were unable to shed their opposing blockers. A drill that produced some slick runs as well as some big hits, there seemed to be no better way to hype up both units of this Seminole football team as its practice began.
Rain showers and potential thunderstorms forced the team to practice indoors this morning. While punters Logan Tyler and Tommy Martin took turns practicing some kicks outside as today’s practice began, their reps would be limited due to the inclement weather.