Today the Florida State Seminoles will have their first scrimmage of camp at noon inside Doak Campbell Stadium. Fans, media and anyone who may have hoped to catch part of the scrimmage are out of luck though, it will be closed to the public.
That doesnt mean we can't still surmise a few things though. Jimbo Fisher will address the media today after the scrimmage and there will certainly be a number of topics on everyone's mind. Regardless of the reliability of Fisher's account (that's not a knock on Fisher, but football coaches aren't typically candid about their team this early on) there's going to be plenty of information to process coming out of today.
Here are five questions I'll have for Fisher later about the Seminoles first scrimmage:
1.) Who starts at field corner?
There's plenty of time left before the season starts and undoubtedly Florida State will work every possible option, including during today's scrimmage, but perhaps the best glimpse into who is leading the race to replace Greg Reid may come from who lines up at field corner with the ones. Is it an ironclad statement? Hardly. But it's more of an indication than we'll have gotten up to this point. The more players and coaches talk, the more it sounds like Ronald Darby is making a push for the spot, but that could all just be camp-talk.
We may have a better indication of how things are shaping up later today, or at least, the coaches may.
2.) Who's ahead at Right Tackle after the first scrimmage?
As I touched on last night, the right tackle spot is being hotly contested by Daniel Glauser and Menelik Watson. Both are European-born junior college transfers and each, at different times this camp, has been praised by Fisher and their teammates. Glauser had the early lead more because he got to go through spring practice, but lately it sounds as though Watson is closing the gap and really pushing the Swiss-born Glauser for the job. Watson, an English-born tackle, has amazing athletic potential but very little football experience. That being said, if he's already gaining on Glauser, watch out.
3.) Which receivers are starting to separate themselves from the pack?
There are 15 receivers on the Florida State roster and while some guys are just not all that likely to make an impact this year, there's a sizeable contingency of receivers who will be fighting for limited reps and playing time. Rodney Smith, Greg Dent, Kenny Shaw, Scooter Haggins, Rashad Greene, Christian Green, Kelvin Benjamin and Willie Haulstead are all capable of contributing, but not all of those guys are going to be able to rotate through. Depth is great, but you still want receivers to be able to establish a rhythm and that rarely happens in an 8-man rotation. Somebody needs to break out.
Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Dent have both gotten rave reviews, and Rashad Greene proved his value on the field last season, but this race is still wide open and any number of guys could still seperate themselves from the pack.
4.) Are the Seminoles healthy?
Here's the big question, did everyone make it out unscathed? As FSU learned again last year, a couple bad breaks can throw an entire season into disarray. Last night the twittersphere went crazy over a rumor that EJ Manuel had rolled an ankle. Just to repeat, that was a totally unconfirmed rumor, I can't confirm that or deny it, I'll try to find out today if it has any merit (I have doubts), but it underscores just how fragile the hopes of the Seminole football team can be. One key injury could have a detrimental effect, so whether or not Florida State suffered any casualties in their scrimmage will be mighty important.
5.) What side "won?"
Who looked better? Offense or defense? Of course nobody really wins in a scrimmage, but somebody always looks better. One side is usually a little further ahead. If I had to guess, I'd say the defense would probably hold the edge at this stage if one side is going to be declared the victor. The defense returns a lot of talent and the front seven is the strength of the unit whereas the offensive line is still such a work in progress. If the defense "wins" it won't be a big deal, don't read too much into what it means for the offense. If the offense "wins" and it's not because the D turned in a sloppy afternoon that will be significant though. That will mean the young Seminole offensive front held its own against the much more established defensive line. Bryan Stork mentioned on media day he thinks that the turmoil last year will help this line gel quicker, if that's true and they have a good showing today it will help ease the doubts of Seminole fans all over the country.
Check back later and I'll have a full report from the scrimmage.