FLORIDA STATE — The Florida State Seminoles took to the Dunlap Practice Fields for this sixth time this fall as they prepare for their week 0 matchup at home against Duquesne on Aug 27. Legendary Seminole Gene “The Voice” Deckerhoff made an appearance today to watch a few portions of practice which was filled with mostly series drills until the end in which the team was able to go full throttle in 11 on 11.
All in all, it was a competitive day which actually felt like a practice with back and forth from both sides of the ball. Whether it was DJ Lundy getting tackles for loss, holes opening up for the running backs, or seeing some progress from the younger players the team is getting into a groove now that the pads are on.
Here are a few takeaways from today
Depth in the trenches
In Tempo drills, the second team O-line did a nice job holding the pocket for quarterback AJ Duffy giving him a fair amount of time to get a pass off. However, there was nothing open and with lineman coming in he ended up having to scramble for positive but minimal gain. Holding the pocket open was pretty common throughout the day.
Freshman Julian Armella ended up getting his licks after matching up with edge Dennis Briggs and Derrick McLendon in one on one drills. He ended up losing both the reps I saw but there were some teaching moments. Later on in what Briggs described as “team compete.” Armella was able to get one over on defensive end Jared Verse pancaking him to get the ball. This was just one rep but it was interesting to see.
It seems the offensive linemen brought in this past recruiting cycle are already paying off by allowing the team to put quality depth behind the starting five.
A few standouts
One major standout today was wide receiver Darion Williamson. This was his first practice of fall camp. Williamson was finally cleared to compete and he really took advantage of that fact. It seemed he, Rodemaker, and Duffy were all pretty comfortable executing big plays together and he had the hot hands in 11 on 11.
*Rodemaker was consistent in moving the offense today and was throwing with more accuracy than I’ve seen in previous practices.
Head coach Mike Norvell specifically brought Williamson up in his post-practice interview:
“It was good today what is first play being cleared. He had a couple of big-time catches. It was good to see his continued growth.”
Treshaun Ward had three consecutive big runs where he was able to plow into the endzone. There was about a 15-yard rush that was called dead at the line of scrimmage but I think in a game it would’ve been a touchdown. The ball went to Ward again and he was able to get enough space to grind his way in with safety Sidney Williams was unable to stuff him at the goal line like he had done a few plays before.
*All of the running backs were productive today with Benson having the most it seemed.
In team drills, all but one of the field goals were made — but that one ended up with the ball in defensive back Kevin Knowles’ hands going the other way. It was a win for the defense but nearly everything looked bad on that one particular play.
Norvell addressed his issues today with the special teams unit with the media in his post-practice interview.
Overall throughout camp, the special teams unit has played well across the board so there is probably no need for concern but that play stuck out like a sore thumb.
Wednesday will be a day off for the team and will give them a chance to correct some of the mistakes being made and get some rest before practice starts back up on Aug 4.