Today marked the eleventh day of practice for the Florida State Seminoles and it seemed there was different energy surrounding the team.
It’s a little hard to describe but with players like wide receiver Keyshawn Helton amping everyone on the sidelines, catching big-time passes in two-minute drills, and an entire team screaming and shouting on both sides of the ball, how couldn’t it? Even the ball boy was jumping.
After a short scuffle in 11 on 11 that prompted coach Norvell to pause the practice and make everyone do “up-downs,” the players were still engaged. Defensive back Brendan Gant could be seen imitating the worm during the, not for the faint of heart punishment and it solidified that the enthusiasm was there. Linemen roamed the sidelines like lions.
Defensive tackle Dennis Briggs Jr. got a paw in the air to block a pass thrown from the pocket by quarterback McKenzie Milton. On the next play, Milton scrambles and flicks a shovel pass to wide receiver Kentron Poitier that would’ve been a first down had it been a full-contact practice (it was called a sack by touch.)
Offensive lineman Dontae Lucas showed some good blocking on another rollout pass to wide receiver Ontaria Wilson for a gain of ten. Another play I noticed was McKenzie Milton diagnosing a blitz from defensive back Travis Jay and changed the play at the line of scrimmage to hand off on the other side for a first down.
The matchup between wide receiver Malik McClain and Travis Jay was an interesting one to watch as well when battling each other for space in the endzone on a couple of occasions. The drive ended in a field goal but the matchup was a good one.
Defensive back Shyheim Brown came down with two interceptions on the day; one where a bad snap disrupted the play timing forcing quarterback Tate Rodemaker to step into the pocket and laser the ball towards the endzone, but it ended up in a leaping Shyheim Brown’s hands. Brown drew lots of praise from head coach Mike Norvell afterward.
Quarterback McKenzie Milton’s two-minute drill was the only one to score seven points. The first play was a 20-yard bomb to diving wide receiver Keyshawn Helton, which set the offensive sideline on fire as he stood up and pointed towards the endzone. After a couple of incomplete passes and a time-out by the offense, Milton scrambles forward and throws it to the ground. Time out defense. Milton then hits wide receiver Malik McClain for about ten yards.
In offensive line coach Alex Atkins’ interview below, he talks about emotion.
“In o-line play period, you have to have poise and control. You can't get too high you can't get too low, you have to move on quickly. Because there is always the next play.”
“You can have all the emotion in the world but if you don't execute it don’t matter.”
Well, the emotion might’ve overloaded the execution because two false starts later the offense was back to the 20-yard line. I’m sure that will be addressed but on the next play, Milton hits wide receiver Ontaria Wilson for a touchdown. The point after was good to end the day.
Photographs and video highlights from today's practice can be found here:
Head coach Mike Norvell gave us an impromptu three (and a half) question interview which can be found here:
Offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons and linebacker Stephen Dix Jr. interviews can be found here: