FLORIDA STATE — The Florida State Seminoles took the practice fields on Wednesday in preparation for an on-the-road matchup with the Clemson Tigers on Saturday. The energy was high, the simulated crowd noise was deafening almost to a soothing effect, and the coaches were animated and loud getting this team prepared for a hostile environment in Death Valley.
- The drive started off fast, completions to receivers Ontaria Willson and Kentron Poitier got the offense moving. Jarvis Brownlee II stopped what would’ve been a first down by shoving Poitier out of bounds only gaining five.
- Quarterback Jordan Travis continues to show his mobility in practice and his 15-yard run for a first down was hard to track (Travis can eat up turf quick and was already on to the next play before I could write down what happened.)
- Running back Lawrence Toafili scooted out of the backfield trying to get open and then dropped the pass. Offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham was hard on the receivers today. Toafili’s drop didn't garner extreme coaching but later on in the day, you could hear Dillingham over the crowd noise yelling at tight end Preston Daniel for bobbling one and losing a well-thrown pass by Chubba Purdy. (There is always an emphasis on catching but today seemed to attract more attention from the coaches.)
- The next pass was completed to Poitier with defensive back Jarvis Brownlee II closing in. Brownlee planted Poitier with a body slam and continued to show he is one of the more physical defensive backs on the field. The catch from Poitier was enough to bring out the special teams unit and kicker Ryan Fitzgerald nailed two consecutive 40+ yard field goals in the simulation. Fitzgerald had a really good practice and seemed to have found his sweet spot around the 30-yard line.
11 on 11
- Jordan Travis is gaining confidence, he’s said it himself and you can tell by the types of throws he is choosing. He found tight end Camren McDonald in a soft spot at the middle of the field then threaded one right into Wilson in tight coverage who had to drop to catch it. With those types of decisions though, there is always the other end of the spectrum. Defensive back Akeem Dent nearly picked him off if he had been there a second earlier on a similar style pass attempt to Malik McClain.
- Chubba Purdy went through his progressions well. He had some nice throws for first downs and you can see him scanning the field more and being patient in the pocket. Later on in practice, from the 10-yard line, he showcased his mobility and awareness by stepping into the pocket behind a charging Darius Washington and was patient enough to use him to get into the endzone.
- McDonald had one of the better days I’ve seen from him so far. He was good in pass protection to spring Travis into the end zone from the goal line and caught multiple touchdowns with only one drop in the end zone.
- Defensive lineman Keir Thomas showed some veteran leadership coaching up a scout team player about his mistake on alignment. I couldn't hear the conversation but it looked to be a colorful exchange.
- Special teams as always was an emphasis. Keyshawn Helton recovered an onside kick drawing praise from his teammates and running back Treshaun Ward had coaches running down the sideline with him on an excellent punt return. Both Ward and Helton received praise from Mike Norvell for the plays they made during special team drills.
- Jordan Travis threw a well-placed over-the-shoulder pass to a spinning Keyshawn Helton with Kevin Knowles in coverage. Helton caught the ball with Knowles’ arms wrapped around him and made a great catch on the perfectly timed throw.
- Wide receiver Darion Williamson left his man in the sod for an easy pitch and catch. Unlike yesterday where the defensive backs I felt won the day, today it was all receivers in this portion of practice.
- There were a couple of pass interference flags thrown but overall it was a clean day.
7 on 7
- Purdy had a good showing today with a touchdown to tight end Wyatt Rector and overall completing most of his passes.
- Akeem Dent along with Jarvis Brownlee II were both standing out in this portion. Dent was strong in coverage and had a nice pass break up on Wilson and Brownlee had multiple interceptions. The interceptions were thrown by Travis, Purdy, and Gino English (English with the scout team offense.).
- I also liked how Travis was going through his progressions and reads today scanning the field.
Overall the players that stood out the most were Fitzgerald, Brownlee, Dent, McDonald, Washington, Travis, and Helton.
Head coach Mike Norvell spoke on today's practice along with Jermaine Johnson, Keir Thomas, and McKenzie Milton which can be found here:
Florida State football: Norvell speaks after Wednesday practice ahead of Clemson game
Florida State football: McKenzie Milton talks role as leader, reserve QB
Florida State football: DE’s Thomas, Johnson talk prep for Clemson