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62 posts from August 2012

August 25, 2012

Taking a Look Back at the Final Week of Seminole Camp

Florida State wrapped up its camp with a scrimmage on Thursday and a kickoff luncheon on Friday. After a closed practice today and tomorrow they'll start their weekly routine with the beginning of classes on Monday. We likely won't receive any word on who won the camp battles at RT and CB until Jimbo Fisher speaks on Monday, but the team is officially out of camp-mode and into the regular season.

Let's take a look back at the final week of camp and anything you may have missed. Plus a couple basketball items. 

The Seminoles started the week by getting ranked 7th in the preseason AP Poll.

Jacobbi McDaniel discussed the possibility of using a redshirt his senior year.

Devonta Freeman talked about the difficulty freshman face transitioning from high school.

In light of new rule changes, the team worked on kicking situations Wednesday.

The final scrimmage of the preseason went off without an injury.

Lamarcus Joyner is feeling confident headed into his junior season.

At field corner, Nick Waisome may hold a slight advantage over Ronald Darby.

A few of the more noteworthy items from print,

Cam Erving is flourising in his new role at LT.

Jacobbi McDaniel is likely going to be taking that redshirt year.

The Seminoles boast 11 graduated seniors.

Devonta Freeman and Chris Thompson have formed a special bond.


And finally, a couple basketball items.

The ACC released the 2012-2013 Men's Basketball schedule.

We took a look at three major ACC dates for the 'Noles.

It All Starts in One Week

Seven days.

One week.

Around this time next Saturday fans nationwide will begin to wake up, turn on the TV, light up the grill and partake in one of America's greatest traditions, college football.

Whether you're attending a game, a tailgate or just watching from the couch, the first week of the season is always one of the best. 

Florida State will have closed practices today and tomorrow, they'll begin their normal routine with the start of classes on Monday. Currently a tropical storm (with the possibility of becoming a hurricane) threatens to hit the panhandle, or potentially even Tallahassee directly, sometime mid-week, but given the threat Murray State poses the possible loss of practice time may not be as severe an issue as it would be in other weeks. 

As for the Noles, they've spoken more and more as camp wore on about being ready to finally go hit somebody else. 

"You could sense it once Jimbo called everybody up in the huddle at the end of the scrimmage," said EJ Manuel on Thursday. "It's time to play now. … It's game week. It's time to get ready for Murray State."

Chris Thompson told us last weekend he thinks he's more ready than anybody, given his injury status from last year. That was a claim Devonta Freeman disputed when I asked him, the time he missed in spring was the longest he had ever been out.

“[I’m] very, very [anxious]," Lamarcus Joyner said after the scrimmage on Thursday. "I’ve been patient this whole camp, we’ve all as a team been very patient and now that it’s right around the corner you can tell that it’s football time now versus last year everyone was talking about it months before camp and then when camp came you were thinking about the first game, the fourth game. We’ve all been taking the added time, living in the now so now it’s really here it’s time to turn it on.”

Top to bottom this whole roster seems poised to get this year started. 

And they will in one more week.

I've got a couple things coming up for you today, I'm also working on a feature for tomorrow morning's paper and finishing up a week-by-week opponent preview for this season. So keep checking back and I'll have plenty of Florida State news and analysis coming up this weekend.

August 24, 2012

The Early Read: Waisome Leading Darby?

One of the most hotly contested battles in camp has been for the spot vacated by Greg Reid at field corner. Sophomore Nick Waisome and true freshman Ronald Darby have both been impressive in camp and had been neck and neck coming into the final week. 

Yesterday Jimbo Fisher made no secret of the fact Darby would not be redshirted and should see substantial time in the secondary this season.

"He's going to play and he's going to play a lot this year," said Fisher.

The freshman has drawn rave reviews thus far and clearly has a very high athletic ceiling, but junior safety Lamarcus Joyner might have tipped the Seminoles' hand a little bit yesterday when he mentioned that from a technique standpoint Waisome is the more polished of the two right now.

“You can tell that Waisome’s been in college, in the system for a year," said Joyner. "Darby, like I said he’s another young guy who’s full of potential and a lot of talent, he’s just got to get fundamentally and technique sound and that’s where Nick Waisome is a little ahead of him right now.”

While both are likely to see the field quite a bit in 2012, it may be Waisome who goes into the season as a starter. Of course until coach Fisher says with certainty on Monday, we won't know for certain.

But for now it looks like Waisome may be leading Darby by the smallest of margins. 

And if all else fails, Terrance Brooks told me on Wednesday he's always ready to step in at field corner in a pinch.

August 23, 2012

Lamarcus Joyner Feeling "At Ease" as Season Approaches

Lamarcus Joyner walked into the press room after the Seminoles' final scrimmage of the summer looking comfortable, at ease, nothing like a player who just participated in a nearly three hour scrimmage in the mid-day Tallahassee heat.

“It went pretty good, pretty relaxing out there,” said Joyner. “Pretty relaxing, man. Everyone was [up to] speed, everyone was fundamentally technique sound. It was great, at ease, everybody was doing their job.”

Joyner is excited about the season, but not feeling anxious at all. He's confident in the Seminoles program and the trickle-down effect the senior leaders have had on the underclassmen so far.

“I’d say that’s why I’m really feeling confident right now and on cloud nine," said Joyner. "We’ve got a lot of talent around here but now you’ve got the older guys and then you have the young guys following their roles and doing the little things that you wouldn’t expect, but that will win you games or get you into the ballgame that much faster.”

Joyner sees improvement each week, but not on the large scale that developing teams typically find it. Joyner sees a talented team that can finally put it together. He's finding improvement on a small, but equally important scale.

“It’s the little things," said Joyner. "Coach Fisher was pretty impressed with the first scrimmage but you know, there were a lot of MA’s, lot of guys not technique sound, just playing on talent and we tried to clean that up this past week and it showed in the scrimmage today.”

For the first time since he arrived at Florida State Joyner feels confident not just in the starters, but in the underclassmen, the back-ups, the depth. Asked if he felt confident about having freshmen like Ronald Darby and Eddie Goldman getting significant playing time, Joyner didn't bristle.

“Yes, and that’s kind of funny I do," said Joyner. "Because most time, you pull the first team out and you’re wondering what’s going to go wrong. You have freshmen out there looking like veteran players out there not missing a heartbeat not missing a step, this is a great feeling we’ve got a lot of depth. Just young guys following the lead.”

Now its time for Joyner and his teammates to turn their attention to the regular season. After the scrimmage Joyner and QB EJ Manuel both said their was a tangible feeling in the huddle that camp was over and it was finally time to start the regular season.

For Joyner, admittedly, September 1st can't come soon enough.

“[I’m] very, very [excited]," said Joyner. "I’ve been patient this whole camp, we’ve all as a team been very patient and now that it’s right around the corner you can tell that it’s football time now."

Quick Hits From the Scrimmage 8/23

You can tell the students have started to return to Tallahassee. Florida State held its final scrimmage on Thursday and amongst the throng of media were more than a few students and eager fans trying to catch a glimpse of the Noles with the start of the season now just days away.

Jimbo Fisher spoke after the scrimmage and was very happy to have avoided any injuries during the afternoon. The team took several precautions to try and ensure they got a healthy team to the start of the season. Several starters like Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins were given limited reps from the start. As Fisher said on Wednesday, nobody gains much if those guys get 100 snaps so the emphasis was on keeping them fresh.

Rodney Smith and Chris Thompson were both held out for precautionary reasons as well.

The team also didn't tackle. They popped one another but didn't drive anybody to the ground. Fisher gave an explanation of how he believes just "thudding" can sometimes be more beneficial than full-fledged tackling because it can better emphasize fundamentals.

Anyway, here are the quick hits from the scrimmage:

-Ronald Darby is not going to redshirt, that much is obvious. Whether or not he starts remains to be seen, Lamarcus Joyner said after practice that technique-wise Nick Waisome is a little ahead of Darby at this stage, but either way Darby will get plenty of PT in 2012. 

"He's going to play, and play a lot this year," said Fisher.

-Clint Trickett will be the number two. He had a very good scrimmage and Fisher spoke extremely highly of his progress. 

-EJ Manuel had five drives and scored touchdowns on four of those. 

-ACC official Ron Cherry was on hand to officiate the scrimmage.

-Jimbo Fisher admitted he wasn't aware of any impending hurricane action until Thursday morning. It's possible Tallahassee and the Florida panhandle could be hit sometime on Monday, which would be in the middle of the Seminoles first regular week of the season. Not exactly ideal for establishing a routine.

-Florida State hasn't nailed down a practice schedule for the weekend, but tomorrow is their annual Fan Luncheon at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center. If last year is any indication the team may take Saturday off and begin getting into their regular season schedule starting on Sunday.

I'll have more later today including some good stuff from EJ Manuel and Lamarcus Joyner.

August 22, 2012

FSU Hoops: Three Key ACC Matchups

The ACC schedule came out today and Florida State fans got their first glimpse of what the 12-13 Seminole Men's team would be up against on the conference front.

It's the first time the Seminoles will play an 18 game conference schedule, something head coach Leonard Hamilton invites given the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh starting next year.

“Playing an 18-game conference schedule will help us prepare for next season when Syracuse and Pittsburgh come into the league,” said Hamilton via a press release. “I think it’s great to go to 18 games this season; it gives us a head start on scheduling for next season and beyond.  Playing an 18-game schedule this season will allow us to see how we can begin to work on our overall schedule for future seasons.”

Let's take a look at three major games for Florida State, and just a disclaimer, to keep things fresh I avoided doubling up on the UNC games.

1.) UNC at Florida State, Tallahassee, Saturday, January 12, 2013, 2:00 PM

The Seminoles skunked the Tar Heels last season, beating them handily at home and then knocking them off in the finals of the ACC tournament to secure their first conference title. That's not going to sit well with UNC heading into this season and you can bet that the return date to Tallahassee, the site of their most embarrassing 2011-12 defeat, is going to be one of the first dates circled on the UNC schedule. For Florida State, this will be one of the earliest litmus tests on the season. The 'Noles will be tested in the Big 10-ACC challenge and over the holidays in their annual battle with UF. Their first conference test comes in early January against the Tar Heels.

2.) Duke at Florida State, Tallahassee, Saturday, February 2, 2013, 2:00 PM

The Seminoles only regular season matchup with Duke will be in Tallahassee just three weeks after the 'Noles host the Tar Heels. The Seminoles topped Duke twice last season, including in the conference tournament. Once again, the Blue Devils will be amongst college basketball's elite and if Florida State wants to continue to be mentioned in the conversation about the top teams in the ACC the date with the Dukies looms large. Last season, Mike Krzyzewksi raved about Michael Snaer, calling him one of the most big-time players in the ACC. He may have said it half hoping Snaer would turn pro, but if FSU wants to give the Blue Devils a run for their money Snaer will need to live up to Coach K's hype during his senior season.

3.) Miami (FL) at Florida State, Tallahassee, Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:00 PM

Last season Leonard Hamilton raved about how much of an impact the fans had down the stretch. Outside of the marquee games with Duke and UNC, no matchup had the same kind of feel as when the rival 'Canes invaded the Tucker Center. This season, as the Seminoles continue to try and build a basketball culture in Tallahassee, the Miami game will serve as a good indication as to Tallahassee's temperature on Seminole basketball come mid-February. 

I'll have a little more on the schedule and the men's hoops team later in the week.

Quick Hits From Practice 8/22

We had the chance to catch up with Jimbo Fisher after practice, he was generally happy with the way things went in the last practice before the team's scimmage.

"I was very happy with today as far as they were mentally into practice," said Fisher.

Tomorrow the team will go up against itself inside of Doak, but Fisher did mention that not everyone would see a huge workload.

"If Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner both go out there and get 100 snaps how much do we gain from that?" ask Fisher. "I want to get them to the race, I know what those guys are going to do.

"We've just got to be real smart about how we scrimmage."

Fisher mentioned this was the first time since he's been around that they've got some players that are really established. 

Here are some quick hits:

-Fisher says the line is coming into focus, there's a group of 8-10 guys the team feels comfortable with in there and the starters are should hopefully be determined soon. As of right now, I'd bet on Erving, Matias, Stork, Jackson and Watson, though it does seem RT is still a position that's being hotly contested.

-The team spent time working on onside kickoffs after the NCAA changed the rules this past offseason. Receiving teams may now fair catch kicks that bounce once, hopefully eliminating major collisions when kickers drill balls high into the air on onside kicks. Dustin Hopkins mentioned at the beginning of camp that onside kicking was not a particularly strong suit of his though.

-The assistant coaches have also moved to the sidelines to simulate a gametime feel. Fisher made a reference to taking the pacifier out of the kids' mouths and giving them more responsibility.

-Karlos Williams and Lamarcus Joyner will be handling kickoff duties again this season.

-Florida State was in shells, shoulder pads and shorts on Wednesday.

2012-2013 FSU Men's ACC Basketball Schedule

Just got a release from Florida State with the upcoming dates for their 2011-2012 ACC Basketball schedule. Florida State enters the season the defending ACC Tournament champions and will feature a potent backcourt duo of Michael Snaer and Ian Miller this season. I'll be back after football practice with a little more of an in-depth breakdown, but for now here is the ACC Basketball schedule for the 'Noles.

Date             Day                      Opponent                  
Jan. 5           Saturday             at Clemson      
Jan. 9           Wednesday         at Maryland
Jan. 12         Saturday             North Carolina
Jan. 19         Saturday             at Virginia
Jan. 24         Thursday            Clemson
Jan. 27         Sunday               at Miami   
Jan. 30         Wednesday         Maryland
Feb. 2           Saturday             Duke
Feb. 5           Tuesday              at Georgia Tech
Feb. 9           Saturday             at Wake Forest  
Feb. 13         Wednesday         Miami     
Feb. 16         Saturday             Boston College         
Feb. 19         Tuesday              at NC State  
Feb. 24         Sunday                at Virginia Tech   
Feb. 26         Tuesday              Wake Forest   
March 3        Sunday                at North Carolina   
March 7        Thursday             Virginia
March 9        Saturday              NC State
March 14-17  Thurs.-Sun.       at ACC Tournament      

August 21, 2012

Devonta Freeman Talks About Adjusting As a Freshman

One of the strangest dynamics of the collegiate recruiting process is the shift from being recruited to suddenly being part of a large team where suddenly you're not so exceptional.

It's a difficult shift, something that's oftentimes new to players who enter college used to hype and constant positive feedback.

Devonta Freeman had to experience that last year.

"When I first came in as a freshman I was lost. I didn't know a whole lot, I didn't know how to deal with the whole college thing, period," said sophomore tailback Devonta Freeman. "But as it went on I learned how to deal with time management, my studies, school and the playbook at the same time. Right now, I'm still learning but when I first came in everything happened so fast it's kind of like I just got thrown out there and I had to learn as the season went on.

"My whole freshman year I was still learning so it was kind of hard for me to play because I was kind of nervous at the same time. Not scared or anything like that, just nervous that I might mess up or have an MA or some play EJ would call I wouldn't know what to do. I was thinking not reacting."

A lot's changed since his freshman year, Freeman now feels more at home in the playbook and much better assimilated into the college lifestyle. The game has become less of a blur to him.

"Now when EJ calls a play, even if he messes up I've been in the playbook so much I know what he means," Freeman joked.

Still, fresh off his own freshman lessons, Freeman has noticed some of the same lessons being learned by this year's incoming class, first and foremost: humility.

"It's pretty much like that with every freshman," said Freeman of the adjustment period to college. "Even me, I was the man in my city so it's just like a lot of freshmen I come across and talk to they're just like, 'I'm gonna play, I wanna play, I wanna get on the field man it looks so easy.'

"At the end of the day you've got to know what you're doing, the coaches have to feel like they can really trust you before they can throw you out there. "

That can take time, some freshmen hit the ground running and others can take a couple of years to fully adjust. Jimbo Fisher made a good point after practice the other day that sometimes kids are more ready than others, but it doesn't mean at the finish line they'll be better than the kids they started out faster than. Everyone grows at their own rate.

One thing that can really throw a wrench in that though, is injury. Something Freeman dealt with on and off last year and during spring practice. 

For freshmen who have never been hurt before, this can be especially devestating.

"When you're a freshman, coming in it's like you were the man in your city or you were highly recruited or the number one running back wherever you're from," said Freeman. "When you come into a college and you get injured, you already have high expectations to play. When you get injured you feel like the coaches forgot about you, or everybody forgot about you."

That's a lesson Freeman had to learn during spring practice when a back injury held him out of action. He continued immersing himself in the playbook and taking mental reps from the sideline and worked on improving even without being able to play. It's a lesson he credits senior Chris Thompson with teaching him and one he's currently imparting to freshman Mario Pender.

As for 2012, full healthy, Freeman feels poised for a big sophomore year. After a freshman season that felt at times chaotic and at times overwhelming, things have finally clicked.

"Right now I'm very confident, I feel like I can go out there and play hard, play fast, play strong, everything. It's just like this," said Freeman, snapping his fingers.

"Everything happened so quick."

August 20, 2012

Be on the Lookout for the Herald Football Preview

Sorry for the lack of updates today guys, I've been putting the final touches on the FSU portion of the Herald football preview. We've got position-by-position grades, a schedule breakdown and a full preview coming your way to get you ready for the 7th ranked Seminoles 2012 campaign.

So be on the lookout for the football pull-out, and we'll have plenty of regularly scheduled content again starting tomorrow.



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