FLORIDA STATE — After a day off the fields and a day in the film room, the Florida State Seminoles were back at it for practice seven of fall camp. Scouts from the Denver Broncos, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets, and the Miami Dolphins were all in attendance along with Seminole legend Gene Deckerhoff who stopped by later on in the early afternoon.
*Jacksonville State transfer defensive back Malik Feaster was also in attendance today.
Today was a tough practice to glean from because after stacking three great practices in a row, the offense fell short with inconsistent quarterback play only being carried by splash throws and a few big runs. Head coach Mike Norvell said there were a few offensive linemen either out or having light workloads giving a chance for some newcomers to get reps with the ones and twos and I think that had a lot to do with it.
Here are some takeaways now that day seven is in the books.
Orange jersey sightings scarce
When you see orange jerseys at a Norvell practice it is meant to let everyone know that the player wearing one messed up enough to get called out. One thing I’ve noticed throughout the first seven practices is that aside from the second day, in which there was one, not a single bit of orange has stepped out onto the FSU practice fields since. I think this is a testament to players buying in and also to players understanding the expectations. We are only a week in but I can remember this time last fall seeing one or two every few days.
Some true freshmen further along than others
Just to preface this, I am only able to be at one drill at one time so this isn't an all-inclusive list and it isn't saying that all of the other freshmen are bad, these are some observations so far.
Defensive back Azareye’h Thomas - Thomas has had a good showing throughout spring and now into fall camp. He was a little quiet today as far as the flashy interceptions and forced fumbles but he showed good coverage in both 12 on (cough) 11 on 11 drills and in one on one. He saved a potential touchdown from quarterback Tate Rodemaker to wide receiver Micah Pittman by being able to jam the ball at the last second out of Pittman’s hands.
Running back Rodney Hill - Hill is going to be a good one. He’s only going to get bigger and his burst speed and ability to hit holes and take off are going to do wonders for the Seminoles in the future. Norvell praised Hill today in his post-practice interview.
Offensive tackle Julian Armella - Offensive line is tough to be a true freshman and if you can, you would like to develop them before in-game action out of necessity. Armella came in with the size and work ethic and is showing that (at times) can handle some of the more experienced defensive linemen. He and Jared Verse are already having a fun to watch battle and we’re barely a week in.
Quarterback AJ Duffy - It’s safe to say Duffy is well ahead in terms of progress. Watching him through spring and now into fall he only keeps improving and is steadily learning the offense and adapting to the speed of the game.
Veteran defense takes advantage
Going up against a few positions that were giving guys lighter workloads today, the veterans on the defensive line gave the newcomers all they could handle. Defensive tackle Fabian Lovett had a couple of sacks on the day but more importantly, was able constantly to generate pressure on Jordan Travis. That, paired with good coverage in the secondary, caused trouble for the quarterbacks all day.
Defensive end Jared Verse got some payback against Armella today winning off the edge and delivering a few pancakes in pass rush drills and was quick off the edge in 11 on 11 providing constant pressure on Travis. Verse, McLendon, and Dennis Briggs were constantly flushing the quarterbacks and causing throwaways.
The day ended with Knowles (not technically a veteran) jamming another ball out of tight end Markeston Douglas’ hands.
*Sydney Williams had a pick in one-on-ones thrown by Jordan Travis. He was able to get turned around before the receiver was and made a play on the ball
Friday will be the last open practice until Aug. 8, with the Seminoles holding their first scrimmage in Doak Campbell this weekend.