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39 posts from March 2013

March 22, 2013

Seminoles Rebound in Game Two, Beat Yellow Jackets 11-3


Florida State (21-2, 6-2 ACC) rebounded from their 10-0 early game loss to Georgia Tech (18-4, 6-2 ACC) by taking game two of the doubleheader forcibly by a score of 11-3. Less than an hour after the book was closed on a dominating performance by the Jackets that featured Buck Farmer mowing through the Seminole lineup, Scott Sitz and the 'Noles responded in kind in the night cap.

“I was very impressed with the way we bounced back,” said head coach Mike Martin. “That says a lot about our club. Georgia Tech is certainly a very good team and it was great to see us bounce back like we did.”

Florida State jumped on top in the bottom of the first. After Josh Delph singled to lead off the ballgame and Marcus Davis doubled to put both men in scoring position, DJ Stewart scored Delph on a sacrifice fly. 

The next batter Stephen McGee singled to bring in Davis and make it 2-0 after the opening frame.

Stewart had a huge day for the Seminoles, in the 5th inning he hit a grand slam over the right-center field wall to blow the game wide open in the Seminoles' favor and make it 7-0.

“DJ is certainly a young man that just needs to play,” said Martin. “After the first game he was a little dejected but he is a guy that is learning the game. He went right back in there, had some very good at-bats and drove in a lot of runs for us tonight.”

He drove in 6 runs on the day on 2-4 hitting, he also had the sac fly that brought in Davis in the first. Stewart is going to be a huge part of the Seminole lineup moving forward, with him and Davis both hitting Florida State has the kind of lineup any team needs to be careful around.

Davis was 2-3 during the nightcap with two walks, he didn't drive anyone in but crossed the dish four times himself. Stephen McGee also went 2-4 and drove in three runs on the evening as Florida State avenged its early loss with 11 runs in the late game.

On this hill for the Seminoles Scott Sitz was not lights out, but he fought through five plus innings and got his fifth win of the season. 

“Scotty gave us exactly what we needed,” said Martin. “And that was five quality innings. I thought he battled. Georgia Tech is obviously a beautiful baseball team. They are the total package.  I did not see a weakness in their club; I was very impressed with them.”

Sitz finished the day with 5.1 IP, 8 H, 2R, 0 ER and 5K. 

Gage Smith went 1.2 innings in relief of Sitz and held the Jackets scoreless. After Kyle Bird ran into some trouble in the 8th, Brandon Johnson and Robby Coles combined to get the Seminoles through the rest of the game without allowing anyone else to cross. 

The Seminoles finished the day with a split, losing game one 10-0, taking game two 11-3. They will play the rubber game Sunday at 1 PM.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

'Noles Get Knocked Around 10-0, Can't Solve Farmer in First Game of Doubleheader


Florida State University decided earlier in the week to play a doubleheader on Friday afternoon in anticipation of some severe weather scheduled to make its way through the big bend on Saturday. Rather than try to fit the game in on Saturday afternoon, they opted to add a day game on Friday.

Unfortunately nobody informed the baseball team.

The Seminoles sleepwalked through the first game of their doubleheader against Georgia Tech on Friday afternoon, losing 10-0 and getting outhit 13-3 as Georgia Tech ace Buck Farmer mowed through their lineup.

Farmer was superb in the early game for the Yellow Jackets, pitching seven strong innings, striking out seven and surrendering just two hits while keep the Seminoles off balance all afternoon.

The Seminoles struggled to even make contact against Farmer and their approach at the plate- one where the team tries to work counts and take a lot of pitches- worked against Florida State in the day-game. Farmer was throwing strikes, getting ahead in counts and forcing the Seminole hitters off balance. 

The results were unmistakable, Florida State never got a runner past second against Farmer and never looked comfortable at the dish.

He had little problem improving to 5-0.

Opposite Farmer, LHP Brandon Leibrandt couldn't have had much more go wrong for him. 

After escaping a jam in the top of the first, Leibrandt lasted just one out into the top of the 2nd before getting the hook from Florida State manager Mike Martin.

Leibrandt gave up a double and a single to put men on the corners at the start of the inning, then allowed an RBI single by 2B Matt Gonzalez to plate the first of many Georgia Tech runs on the day.

The sophomore lefty was able to get the first out on a grounder the next batter, but then plunked the following hitter before LF Kyle Wren drove in two more with another single.

That was it for Leibrandt, who would be charged another run also before Bryant Holtmann could get Florida State out of the inning trailing 4-0.

Leibrandt's final line on the day was 1.1 IP, 10 BF, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 HBP and he took his first loss of the season to drop to 4-1.

Holtmann could only slow the bleeding. After a 1-2-3 third, he gave up two more runs when freshman DH Dylan Dore singled in the 4th to make it 6-0.

Kenny Burkhead also got knocked around some in his two innings, surrendering four more runs over the next two innings, three of which came when C Zane Evans homered to make it 10-0 in the 6th.

Down double digits the starters came out and both teams started getting some young players at-bats and experience.

The loss was just Florida State's second on the season, dropping them to 20-2.

But all wasn't lost on the day for the Seminoles, despite the offensive ineptitude and bad outings from several of their more reliable arms, freshman LHP Dylan Silva pitched three hitless innings to close the game out for the Seminoles. 

It was a small silver lining in an otherwise miserable game. The Seminoles will square off with Georgia Tech (18-3, 6-1 ACC) again in the nightcap coming up shortly.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

FSU QB Sean Maguire Not Buying Into Dark-horse Label


Headed into Spring practice the dark-horse in Florida State's four-man quarterback race is 6-3 215-pound Seton Hall Prep product, Sean Maguire.

Clint Trickett has already started games for the Seminoles and comes into 2013 as the safe, if unsexy option at QB. Jacob Coker is a redshirt sophomore entering his third year at FSU. He succeeded Alabama QB AJ McCarron in high school. He has his supporters. So does two-sport star and former Elite 11 QB prospect Jameis Winston who is already becoming a fan favorite at Florida State.

And then there's Maguire, the one name Jimbo Fisher has repeatedly inserted into the conversation since the end of last season. A relative unknown, Maguire seems like a long-shot to win the quarterback job to many.

But don't tell him that.

"Yeah, that’s like your guys’ perception on things, that’s not mine at all," said Maguire on Friday morning. "In my mind I do my thing, I work hard, I do things off the field by myself, I do things on the field with them. But in my mind I’m getting every equal rep that they are in practice, I’m learning the playbook, I’m developing.

"That’s exactly the way I’m looking at it, everyone portrays it as them three but in my mind and I know in coach Fisher’s mind I’m right there. I’ve been working hard and this is my chance to prove that I belong right there."

Maguire came from a prep school in New Jersey that ran a wing T. He's got a good arm and good versatility, but lacks the hype Winston came to Tallahassee with. 

The Jersey product was the top QB in his state. Rated a four star prospect by ESPN, he turned down offers from Alabama, NC State and Maryland to come to Florida State and play for the Seminoles.

“I wanted to come here, I loved the coaches, I love the whole school," said Maguire. "I think the competition is awesome. I could have taken the easy way out and went to some school up North and been starting but I’d rather compete with the best. They always say compete with the best to be the best, that’s the way I look at it.”

Taking the easy way out is clearly not something that's in Maguire's nature. The redshirt freshman signalcaller wanted to come to a top school and compete. And he's not going to leave anything on the table.

Maguire plans on winning the QB job by outworking everyone else for it.

“I just like to think that no matter what you do throughout your career, if you work hard and do the right things on and off the field eventually you will be rewarded," said Maguire. "That’s why I love to stay in the weight room later than everyone, or stay watching film or stay after practice and throw. I just feel like no matter what happens in life if you continue to do that, you’ll be rewarded.”

Something that might also work in Maguire's favor is that Florida State has a new quarterbacks coach in the fold. Dameyune Craig left for Auburn this past Winter, Randy Sanders is now coaching quarterbacks. That may seem only partially significant, but one of the more interesting Christian Ponder anecdotes was that he became the quarterback when Jimbo Fisher arrived and had a shot to evaluate everyone.

Had there not been coaching turnover the 3-star recruit likely would have never seen the field and would never have been selected 12th overall in the NFL draft. 

Dameyune Craig recruited Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston, James Coley recruited Maguire. Had Craig stayed on, just by virtue of his familiarity and relationship with the two young men he helped bring to the university, Maguire would have been at a disadvantage.

With Sanders new to the program, all things are again equal. Preconceptions and pre-existing relationships can't influence the competition. Everyone starts with a clean slate.

Of all four quarterbacks, that's the best news for Sean Maguire. 

"It’s good, I like coach Sanders a lot," said Maguire. "I mean it was tough see coach Craig and coach Coley leave. I liked them a lot.

"But coach Sanders is a very knowledgeable coach and I’ve been getting along with him so far."


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Lamarcus Joyner Ready to Lead by Example


Lamarcus Joyner says his decision to return to Florida State for his senior season was never that difficult. While he freely admits he enjoyed having the option to make the jump early and have a shot in the NFL, ultimately his decision to come back to the university he grew up rooting for was an easy one.

"I felt unaccomplished, I didn’t get a degree," said Joyner. "I came to college to accomplish more than going to the NFL."

The amount Joyner had to overcome just to get to Florida State is a story in and of itself (but one for another time). Come this December the 5-8 defensive back from Liberty City will graduate. The following April he'll likely be drafted and will start his NFL career.

That's why when Spring practice started this year, Joyner was lining up at corner in Jeremy Pruitt's new defense. Not as a safety where he'd been for the past two years under Stoops. Joyner would have been fine going into the NFL as a safety after his junior season, but undersized as he is, another part of his decision to return for his senior season was to help his draft stock.

"I wanted to finish up college and get a degree but I also wanted to do something that would help me for the next level," said Joyner. "It shows versatility, you play some corner your freshman year, move to safety, have some success and then you go back to cornerback and it also opened up room for young players like Karlos Williams to get on the field and have an impact for this team, so it was best for the team."

“It’s an experiment. He wanted to do that," said Jeremy Pruitt at the start of Spring camp. "It was as much his idea as it was anybody’s. He can market himself a little better. He’s been a good player at the safety position but he was a high school corner, him choosing to come back for his senior year, showing that he can play out there on the perimeter plus at safety, in the NFL the more positions you can play the more valuable you create yourself.”

So far the early returns on Joyner's move back to corner have been good and they need to be. With Nick Waisome, Tyler Hunter and Ronald Darby all out for Spring, the rest of the young defensive backs will be looking to Joyner for his example even more.

“He is so competitive," said Jimbo Fisher. "Every time someone would catch the ball ‘coach he pushed.’ He never gets beat. I love him. He’s the ultimate competitor. For a little guy, he’s so powerful."

Joyner prefers not to be a vocal leader, he isn't the rah-rah sort of guy who is going to chirp at his teammates for a whole game. He'll tell you that the team has Christian Jones and Telvin Smith for that. 

Joyner leads with his example. Last year that was by playing safety like a heat-seeking missile. This year, as he describes it, it's in a single combat scenario where he plans to use his physicality to battle a receiver for a full 60 minutes and shut him down. 

But make no mistake about it he classifies himself as a "defensive back." Because he's going to line up wherever the Seminoles need him, which means back at safety should injuries or inconsistency dictate it.

"Now I get to be a leader for this team," said Joyner. "The weight really falls on my shoulders.

"It’s a special feeling because you know you had guys like EJ, Xavier Rhodes, Werner that you looked up to yourself but now you got a bunch of young guys looking up to you."

For Joyner, that leadership all boils down to one concept, be a man.

And that will be important because he's without the coach he admits cast that example and became like a father to him in his first three years as a Seminole.

"I feel like I’m on my own now," said Joyner, who's mentor, Mark Stoops, left to take the head coaching job at Kentucky this past December.

Stoops took Joyner under his wing while he was in Tallahassee, advising him on all things life and football. His departure had many fans scared Joyner would not be far behind on his way to the NFL draft.

But Joyner had other ideas. Things left to accomplish. There was the business of finishing his degree, helping his draft stock and then there's the challenge of growing up into the leader of the 2013 Seminole defense.

"I mean I can use those three years that Coach Stoops used to mentor me and show me the way and do things the right way," said Joyner. "You’ve got to be a grown man. Coach Stoops always told me two things, you’ve got to be a grown man and it ain’t easy. So with all the things he taught me I’ve got to see how I can handle this thing with him gone, I’m on my own now.”


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

March 21, 2013

Quick Hits: Day Two of FSU Spring Practice


Florida State was back at it again on Thursday afternoon, kicking off their second day of Spring practice as players and coaches continue to get acclimated to one another and the team searches for its next quarterback.

Still very little to report in regard to the QB race, we had an opportunity to talk to Randy Sanders who is coaching the QB's (although not according to FSU's website). Sanders provided some insight into the situation when he joked, "it's kind of fun to have a quarterback comeptiton, but it would be more fun just to have a starter."

The he added, "that was the first thing my wife asked, is if they have a returning starter..."

Sanders said ideally this process will sort itself out, saying a lot of times it isn't someone jumping out, oftentimes it's just process of elimination. He thinks it will be a little bit of both with this competition. 

As for each QB, Winston purportedly learns very quickly despite having to split his attention between the two sports. Trickett looks the most comfortable which is understandable considering he's the only QB with any real experience. And then Coker has been solid too per Sanders. 

But it's early, and things are still a long way from being decided. And even when they are, that doesn't mean an announcement will come any time soon. Given the questions facing FSU at that position, an early decision may give the odd QB out a chance to transfer. A late decision makes that a lot harder.

Here are some other quick hits from Spring Practice:

-The first team offensive line at the start of practice on Thursday was Cam Erving at LT, Josue Matias at LG, Austin Barron at C, Tre Jackson at RG and Bryan Stork at RT.

-Yesterday several players talked up Bobby Hart including Erving, who said he's grown up a lot since last season, and his roommate Rashad Greene, who knows Hart dating back to their senior season together at Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. Greene said Hart's come around considerably and that he thinks eventually Seminoles fans will see Hart back in the starting lineup at tackle this year. He wasn't lined up there at the start of practice on Thursday though.

-Speaking of Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, three of the most commonly mentioned names yesterday were Greene, Hart and DB Lamarcus Joyner. All of whom, along with Barron, were highly-touted recruits coming out of South Florida. If you need anymore reason why hiring away James Coley was a coup for the University of Miami, two of the Seminoles best skill players and two of their potential starting linemen were stolen right out of the Hurricanes' backyard. And that's just out of one school down there.

-Mario Pender looks like he may see the field a little bit in spot duty this year. The redshirt freshman actually enrolled early last season, practiced in Spring and then missed the year with a sports hernia. He looks healthy and will likely have something to prove once the pads go on in a few days.

-Speaking of sports hernia, Ronald Darby has already had surgery on his and could potentially even be able to run some track by the end of the semester. He's not going to participate at all in Spring ball, but after wondering if he would be healthy by football season in yesterday's injury report, I can now confirm he should be good to go come August.

-Somebody, either Dan Hicks who is now back at defensive end, or Nick Waisome who is out for spring with a leg injury, is going to have to change numbers. No word yet on how the two will decide who gets the number. Waisome wore it last year, but technically so did Hicks who switched it during Spring when he thought he'd be on offense. FSU has lots of duplicate numbers, but they can't be on the same side of the ball so somebody is going to have to change. My bet would be on Hicks since he has had several numbers during his tenure in Tallahassee.

-Once again Jeremy Pruitt was schooling his defensive backs, but with Tyler Hunter, Darby and Waisome all out, three of his best corners won't get any reps during the Spring. That definitely opens things up for some of the younger DB's on the team, but with some of the new wrinkles that will be installed with Pruitt's system it's also possible those three will be behind come August if they aren't putting in good mental reps on the sideline.

-Karlos Williams has been lined up at safety early on opposite Terrence Brooks. The pair could make a very solid tandem, though I'm not entirely sold that we won't see Williams at linebacker at some point next season too.

-FSU if off tomorrow, they will practice again on Saturday, weather permitting. Along those lines though, FSU's baseball team has already scheduled a double-header with Georgia Tech for Friday under the assumption severe weather will prevent them from playing on Saturday, so whether the 'Noles actually do practice on Saturday remains to be seen...


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

No Regrets for Michael Snaer After a Trying Senior Season


As the final buzzer sounded and Florida State's disappointing 2012-13 season ended, the name on the tips of Seminoles fans tongues was 'Michael Snaer.'

This was not the way things were supposed to end for the Seminoles beloved senior leader, losing 71-66 on his own homecourt to a Mid-Major in the first round of the NIT. Snaer had left it all out there, playing a full 40 minutes and leading his young Seminole team in scoring with 24 points. 

But it wasn't enough.

And as the last grains of sand poured from the top of the hour glass on Snaer's career, Seminole fans were left with one final image of Snaer leaving the court, shoulders sunk, as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs celebrated under the visitors' hoop.

“I was trying to look at the brighter side of it a little bit, I didn’t want to be too sad that night," admitted Snaer the next day. "A lot of people were calling me, texting me, telling me they’re sorry about the loss but you know I had a great season and everything, I was just trying to just not really accept it yet, I think. My defense mechanism is just to be happy and know there’s a brighter future for this program and for myself.”

Building a Legacy

Just a year ago at this time the Seminoles were fresh off cutting down the nets in Atlanta after claiming the school's first ACC Tournament title, they were seeded third in the NCAA tourmanent preparing to play St. Bonaventure in the opening round of the East Regional.

Florida State had qualified for three straight tournaments at that point, the season before (in 2011) they had lost to that year's Cinderella (VCU) in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Florida State would lose to Cincinannati in the round of 32 in 2012, but the program was on an upward trend and Michael Snaer's legacy as one of the greatest players in Florida State history, one of the architects behind the rise of a new ACC power, seemed all but cemented.

That legacy, the chance to build something had been part of Snaer's thinking just a few years earlier when he picked Florida State. Rated the 7th best prospect in the country, equipped with McDonald's All-American hype and his pick of nearly any school in the nation, the 6-5 California native chose to travel to the other side of the country and enroll at FSU over programs like Kansas and UCLA.

"I wanted to go where I could have the most fun if I had to be there for four years," admitted Snaer. "Of course going into it you don’t want to, if you don’t have to, stay all four years. Especially with playing basketball if your career is going to take off maybe after two then you would love to get out, maybe after three you would love to just go and get into that career because it’s something you’ve dedicated your life to.

"But the biggest reason was this was one of the few places that didn't have that history like Kansas, like UCLA and I had a chance to come in and just kind of make history with a lot of firsts, and ever since I’ve been here it’s been like this is the first team to do this, this is the first team to do that, it feels good to hear those kind of things and you know all your hard work is paying off and you’re really making a difference somewhere.”

Snaer made that difference in three years when he went from the blue-chip kid with a high ceiling to one of the clutchest players in the country, lethal with the ball in his hands and the game on the line in the closing seconds. He drilled buzzer-beaters to beat seemingly every team in the ACC at some point. He seemed to come on when Florida State needed him most. And he peaked in the 2012 ACC tournament when he won MVP honors and got Coach K to call him the best competitor in the whole Atlantic Coast Conference.

When he returned for his senior year it was supposed to be the culmination of four strong years at FSU. 2013 was supposed to be Michael Snaer's coronation as the king of the ACC. He entered the season with a swell of All-American hype. He was getting consideration as a lottery player. He was talking about national titles.

Lessons Worth Learning

"We’ve never since I’ve been here, we’ve never been put in a situation where we had to put so many inexperienced guys on the court at one time," admitted Leonard Hamilton after FSU's NIT loss on Tuesday night.

"Michael didn’t have to worry about that because he was surrounded with veterans [as an underclassman]. I think that all the way back to the beginning of the season it became obvious to me that this was going to be a tremendous learning experience for this team. We’ve had some good moments and we’ve had some moments where we have shown that we have a lot of growing up to do."

After three years of firsts on the way to helping Florida State raise its national profile, Snaer and the Seminoles came crashing back to Earth this season. After losing four seniors and two grad students from last year's team, it was up to Snaer to be the lone senior leader on a team that featured seven newcomers and more inexperience than Snaer had ever been surrounded with.

The result was Snaer's role had to be repurposed. He was asked to facilitate more, thrust into a position he had never been placed in as the guy shouldering the load without many proven weapons around him. He still played well, leading the team in minutes (32.7 mpg), points (14.8 ppg) and assists. He carried the entire offensive load on some nights. He hit buzzer-beaters any chance he got (including two within 8 days of each other at one point earlier in the season). 

But none of it was enough. Florida State finished the year 18-15, 9-9 in the ACC. They were knocked out in the second round of the conference tournament by UNC. They suffered the loss to Louisiana Tech in the first round of the NIT to add insult to injury.

"This was not the way Michael Snaer was supposed to go out," screamed one disappointed fan in the aftermath of Tuesday's loss.

No Regrets

Snaer could have come out early. His NBA draft stock will arguably never be higher than it was at the end of last season after he had captured tournament MVP honors leading the 'Noles to the first conference title in school history. Had Snaer made the jump last April, he would have never been left muddled amidst the youth and inexperience of the 2012-13 FSU basketball team.

His legacy would have been a perfect three year window in which FSU rose from ACC afterthought to champion. 

And Snaer admits, during the season's darkest days he let himself think about that decision. Even wondered once or twice whether he had made a mistake.

"There were definitely times I thought about it. Those were the times where the season tested me a lot, taught me a lot, it tested my character tremendously," said Snaer. "I’m glad I learned all the lessons I learned. It’s been a blessing in disguise to be able to play here another year because it’s taught me so much and I’ve grown so much just as a person.

“You don’t really know what kind of character you have, you always think you have good character until you’ve actually been tested and had to have it revealed to yourself and I never really knew because it’s never been too hard for me as far as basketball goes to never have any bad character but then when it gets to that point where it’s like actually tough and actually testing you that you find out about it and I’ve learned so much just about myself and I’ve been able to overcome so much that I’m definitely proud.

"There’s time when I didn’t show good character, I’m not ashamed to admit that and I had to learn from that I know that’s something I never want to do again. Whenever you’re faced with a situation again you know how to respond now because you didn’t respond correctly the first time. So I’m very glad I had the opportunity to learn a lot from this season, from this team."

Snaer admits it wasn't hard to help lead his junior year. The group was full of experienced upperclassmen who had played for Coach Hamilton for several years each and new what was expected of them. 

At various points in the Seminoles' ACC-title season all of their upperclassmen lead in their own way. Whether it was Luke Loucks keeping calm and staying on point as the game heated up or Bernard James making a key block at a crucial time, the burden of leadership was evenly distributed.

No one guy had to do too much. 

In a way, that experience with leadership probably didn't prepare Michael Snaer for this season.

"I thought I was a great leader, outstanding, wonderful leader," joked Snaer. "But you have that pressure put on you, those expectations put on you and put that pressure and expectation also on yourself and then you just want to do so well and you know what this team is capable of and you get so frustrated, that frustration is put on you, that’s when it tests you and you find out how good a leader you are.”

All things considered, Snaer's happy he came back though. 

"I think this season did not happen by mistake, I really don’t," said Snaer. "I don’t know what you guys believe in, but I believe in God and I think that He definitely put me in this situation and there’s a reason I went through this and I learned everything I’ve learned this season and I definitely think that’s going to come into play later in life whether that’s just if I decide to coach later or even if I’m playing in my career professionally it’s definitely going to come up.”


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

March 20, 2013

Florida State Injury Report: Spring Practice


FSU has its first official injury report out at the start of Spring practice. A few guys are nicked up and will miss the next several weeks as they rehab those injuries. Some like DB Tyler Hunter and WR Scooter Haggins just need time before the players will be full able to return. Others are a little more worrisome.

As I mentioned in the quick hits earlier today, OL Henry Orelus graduated and is no longer on the team. S Justin Bright and OL Garrett Faircloth were both medically disqualified. Bright will be a student assistant coach next season.

The one guy whose injury could linger on into the season is CB Ronald Darby's. Darby has the dreaded sports hernia, which which has become one of the most common injuries in the last few years. RB Mario Pender ended up missing the season with one last year and oftentimes they require surgery after they fail to heal on their own. Jimbo Fisher hasn't said much yet about Darby, but I'm sure we'll get more info in the coming days.

Spring Injury Report – Out for Spring Practice

CB Ronald Darby (sports hernia)

CB Tyler Hunter (knee)

WR Jarred Haggins (knee)

DT Demonte McAllister (shoulder)

OL Jacob Fahrenkrug (left shoulder)

OL Daniel Foose (lower back)

CB Nick Waisome (leg)


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Florida State Knocks Around Stetson 14-1, Sweeps Two-Game Series



Florida State had little difficulty getting to their 20th win on Wednesday afternoon as they knocked around Stetson 14-1 behind a solid outing from Billy Strode and a big 6th inning. 

Bill Strode was excellent for the Seminoles on Wednesday, pitching six solid innings, giving up just three hits and striking out nine. 

“It definitely felt good out there,” said Strode. “My slider was really working well today which is what I attribute a lot of my strikeouts to but spotting the fastball was a big thing as well.

“I have always been a pitcher that likes to work fast. I’ve been a rhythm pitcher my whole career.  It helps the whole team out to go out there and get three quick outs to keep the game rolling.”

His lone run of the day was unearned and came in the top of the 4th inning when an error and a wild pitch allowed OF James Rasmussen to score Stetson's lone run of the ballgame.

“I was very pleased with the effort,” said head coach Mike Martin. “The way we came out and got after it. Their starting pitcher was extremely impressive. Credit him for keeping us from scoring until he left the game after the fourth inning.”

Opposite Strode, Stetson starter Tyler Warmoth was excellent working four-plus innings, giving up four hits and striking out three while not surrendering a run. But once again, the Stetson bullpen let its starter down. Once again it was Cameron Griffin, who on Tuesday faced two, walked two and gave up two earned runs to take the loss.

Josh Delph tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when he flew out deep to right field and brought Seth Miller in from third. The next batter Marcus Davis broke out of his slump when he crushed a ball well over the right field wall and nearly nailed a bus in front of the circus tents to make it 3-1. 

Davis had not homered in a couple of weeks since Florida State beat UF 4-1 in Gainesville on March 4, he had cooled off consderably after a very hot start to the season. He finished the game 1-4, but also scored after reaching on a walk in the 6th.

“Anytime the whole team can put it together is definitely rewarding just because we have some guys, myself included, that are struggling a little bit at the plate,” said Davis. “It was good to have an offensive explosion like that today.”

The Seminole 6th proved back-breaking for the Hatters. They plated 9 runs and broke a 4-1 game wide open as they batted around.

After loading the bases on a walk and two hit batters, Delph turned the carousel with an RBI single to right. Two more runs came in on walks before McGee brought in one more lining out to right to make it 8-1. After Jose Brizuela loaded the bases again with a single, John Nogowski cleared them with a triple. A few batters later Josh Delph added two more on another single to right to make it 13-1 and all but close the book on the hatters.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Quick Hits: FSU Spring Practice Kicks Off With a New Feel

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With their brand new indoor practice facility still under construction, the Florida State Seminoles are being forced to resort to the school's old intramural fields in order to hold Spring practice.

But as the Seminoles take the field to start their preparation for the 2013 campaign, the different vibe around FSU's football team extends well beyond the change of practice venue.

Just the way the defense lines up in the opening period is dramatically different from in years past. Whereas there seemed to be a good deal of standing around under former defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Jeremy Pruitt's defense was broken into groups and moving at a rapid pace from the initial outset.

You could tell a good number of the players are not yet used to the brisk new pace and are still unsure exactly where they're supposed to be headed with each new drill, that's a growing pain that will likely iron itself out as the coaches and players acclimate to one another. The process already began, as Jimbo Fisher reminded us after practice, back with the 4th quarter drills the team just completed.

Either way, the increase in reps and workload was unmistakable.

It even sounded different.

Sal Sunseri could be heard barking orders in drills on one end of the defensive field while Pruitt drilled his DB's on the other. The whole defense was flying around and as Jimbo Fisher would say, "doing some things."

Here are some other quick hits from the opening practice:

-Number changes for the Seminoles are here, and much as is the case every Spring, there's plenty of old faces with new digits on the backs of their jerseys. Ronald Darby switches from 13 to 3, with both Justin Bright and EJ Manuel done, he is the only three on the roster. Reggie Northrup is now number 5, opposite Jameis Winston who grabbed it last year. 

-We'll see if number four is really jinxed. Last year both Chris Thompson and Brandon Jenkins switched to it and suffered season ending injuries. This year it will be worn by Marvin Bracy and Freddie Stevenson. 

-There were six quarterbacks lining up behind just five centers at the start of practice. Clint Trickett was lined up under Bryan Stork at the beginning before switching with Jacob Coker and taking some reps under Austin Barron. Jameis Winston was dressed for the first Spring practice after picking up his first career win as a pitcher less than 24 hours earlier.

-Not much more of an update on the QB's besides that though, Fisher said they rotated a lot and all four got plenty of reps with the ones and threes working and the two's and four's working, but as for any early separation, not much to report...

-I didn't get to see much of Roberto Aguayo, but from what I did see he has more of that kicker build than his predecessor, Dustin Hopkins, and seems to boom it off his foot with just as much brutality. FSU is going to need to rethink where on their intramural fields they're kicking though. Where they were lined up today, provided Aguayo has the leg Jimbo Fisher claims he does, they'll be putting a lot of footballs into Gaines Street traffic.

-Chad Abrams looks like he's going to be an absolute monster clearing out the hole for Florida State this year. He hasn't gained weight, but has bulked up and changed his body type some in the weight room over the past few months per Jimbo Fisher.

-OL Henry Orelus has graduated and is no longer on the team.

-Dan Hicks is back at DE after a year at TE.

-Lamarcus Joyner drew great reviews from Fisher. He's been moved back to corner in Jeremy Pruitt's defense and made a very good play on a ball thrown to the slot receiver for a pick today. Fisher said the QB made the right read but Joyner beat the receiver to the spot.

I'll have more football for you later tonight...


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Montay Brandon Gives Seminoles Fans a Glimpse of What Could Be


Last night was frustrating for Florida State basketball fans. As the team squared of with 26-6 Louisiana Tech in the first round of the NIT, Seminoles fans bore witness to their team succumbing to a full court press while their beloved senior captain was ushered out of the Tucker Center one final time with a loss.

But there were moments to hang on to once the disappointment fades.

The team had nine blocks, including seven in the first half. They played extremely good defense all evening. And perhaps most intriguingly, Montay Brandon seemed to remember he was 6-7 220 with excellent ball skills and started to drive to the hoop like it and throw down hard.

Brandon finished the night with ten points, but what was eye catching, bordering on completely frustrating for the FSU faithful were the two monster dunks he threw down in the second half.

Almost like, 'where has that been all year?'

"Unfortunately you would like for those guys to unpack their bags, put their shoes on and take a maturity pill and all the sudden manifest themselves into solid, fundamental players making great decisions," joked Leonard Hamilton after the loss. "I thought Montay showed some glimpses of what he’s capable of doing [on Tuesday night]."

That was never more visible than on the two dunks.

His first was a Sportscenter-worthy kind of throwdown– had it not come in the NIT.

His second coming with just 40 seconds remaining, down five, drew a foul and ended with another emphatic finish. Brandon then showed some of his youth by missing the plus-one on the back end, but the athleticism to split the defense and penetrate to the hoop when the Seminoles needed it– and the aggression to finish strong– was eye-opening.

"You've see Montay go through the growing pains and the last three weeks you’ve seen him play extremely aggressive," said Hamilton. "His defense has really improved, he’s making much better decisions, he’s much more aggressive, but that’s the learning process that sometimes youngsters go through."

"I started to know what was expected each time I started walking on the court," said Brandon when asked what's clicked for him lately. "At the beginning of the season I was kind of at a loss a little bit, but towards the end I talked to the coaches and once I started stepping up my defense my offensive game started coming around too.

"I would say it’s more the mental part of the game. Especially playing at the one most of the year that was definitely a big adjustment mentally and then the defensive part of the game, just being mentally checked in at all times that was a definitely a big change."

A lot of that isn't Brandon's fault either.

Out of high school in Greensboro, NC, Brandon was touted as one of the top small forwards in the nation. His highlight video showed him jumping over defenders left and right and making all kinds of athletic plays all over the court.

Then he got to Florida State and they changed things up on him.

"We started him out at the point guard early in the year, that was a tremendous transition for a guy who played small forward and two guard all his life," said Hamilton.

"All the sudden he comes to Division I and we give him the ball and tell him to run your team and you don’t have really a backup because Devon [Bookert's] not ready and Ian [Miller's] hurt. So that’s it. So that was a pretty challenging situation for him to go into."

As the season wore on Brandon had his ups and downs, but with the emergence of Bookert in his role at the one, and with the confidence gained throughout the course of the season, Brandon ended the year trending in the right direction.

"I think you can just see a little bit of the confidence that’s grown in him," said Hamilton. "But more than anything else, the aggressiveness, the confidence, the instinctive movement on the court now where I can attack the basket and I can contest shots and I can fight screens and I’m quick enough to contain these smaller quicker guards.

"If you notice even as far back as the Virginia game he was guarding their best player for long periods of time. And even with the Wake Forest game, those games where he’s learning how he has to play, but he’s kind of learning on the job without a whole lot of veterans around to show him the way.”

As Hamilton pointed out, this has been a unique situation where the Seminoles have had to play a lot of young players with very few veteran leaders on the team. 

It's been a trial by fire in the truest sense for a lot of those guys, Brandon included. And a lot of that has just been the shell-shock from the change in tempo between the college game and what it was like in high school.

They play defense in college, there's a lot of emphasis put on things that star high schoolers never spend much time on. As Okaro White joked late last summer, they actually watch film. 

It's a big adjustment, and one many players have the luxury of making during their first year behind closed doors in practice, away from cameras and fans.

Not Montay Brandon. But that may not be a bad thing.

“He’s learning and growing and sometimes if you can learn and grow from your shortcomings and you have a defeat and you can learn and grow from it, it challenges you to go out now and work out harder so you don’t see it happen again," said Hamilton.

"Sometimes that’s a learning experience that sticks with them a little longer than some of the other ones.”


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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