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08/06/2013

Seminoles Start the Season by Sending Their Last Tweets

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On the first day of Florida State's camp, one thing that wasn't on the minds of players and coaches was social media. After an eventful offseason that saw many players across the country- both collegiate and professional- run afoul of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Florida State wasted little time banning the Seminoles from that realm of the internet.

But it didn't come from the top this time.

“That was from our unity council,” said head coach Jimbo Fisher. “That was not me. [The team leaders] liked it and they thought we’d eliminate the clutter and other things that go on, that was their decision.”

From shouting slurs at concert security to visceral reactions over parking tickets to getting caught on camera fighting a bouncer, there are plenty of ways social media gets athletes in trouble these days. This past summer saw Heisman winner Johnny Manziel get into worlds of trouble on Twitter and Instagram, oftentimes through no fault of his own, but rather by just being filmed and photograhed, then uploaded by other users of the sites. 

Florida State is no stranger to these kinds of controversies either. Tyler Hunter got himself into trouble on Twitter before last season and a slew of other 'Noles have reputations for being loose cannons on social media sites. 

In an age where interactivity between athletes and fans is at an all-time high, there are a great many drawbacks that come with being so exposed. The Seminoles are going to try to go out of their way to avoid that this year.

"It's just a focus thing," said senior Kenny Shaw. "It doesn't really affect the team, we've got each other. We don't need the tweet world. We got a family right here. It worked last year, it was banned last year and it worked in a positive way. 

"I mean you had some guys that were all like 'oh, man!' but at the end of the day we're all trying to get the same thing [done]."

The ban extends to all social media platforms.

Players will not subject to punishments if they tweet or send photos or update a facebook status while it stands though. This was a move made by the players in solidarity. A voluntary ban.

If it holds up all season that's a good sign for Florida State.

 

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

Giorgio Newberry Changing Sides, Moving to Tight End

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It's been a bad few months for the tight end position at Florida State.

Former Tight Ends coach and Offensive Coordinator James Coley left for Miami at the beginning of the year. And lately a knee injury to Kevin Haplea, Christo Kourtzidis' decision to transfer and Nick O'Leary's now infamous motorcycle accident have the Seminoles pretty thin at the position.

Today at his first news conference of the season FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher announced defensive end Giorgio Newberry would be making the transition to tight end. 

“We’ve moved Giorgio over to play tight end, which was something we planned on doing anyway," said Fisher, downplaying the perceived depth issues mounting at the position.

"I had to talk to him about it," added Fisher. "I think it will give us a tremendous presence on the edge at 6-6 285. He can run, he has power, he’ll set the edge.”

A couple things about this move. Dan Hicks seemed like a more obvious choice to make this transition given the fact he learned the positon last year before injuring his knee and missing the season. 

But when you listen to Jimbo Fisher's logic, it's clear Hicks wasn't the right sort of player. After once again insisting that moving Newberry had always been the plan, Fisher elaborated on why. 

He first mentioned the size and skill level of defensive ends and defensive linemen across the country. If you listen to Fisher week by week, you'll hear a consistent belief from him that the big bodies up front on the defensive line are what wins football games. On Tuesday, Fisher cited the sizes of guys like Mario Edwards, Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine.

“If you watch film, if you don’t have that big physical tight end, those are reasons why we were able to play five and six man boxes on defense and put everyone else in coverage [last year]," said Fisher. "Guys can’t handle those guys [on the end]."

Giorgio Newberry is one of those big-bodied guys, and in Fisher's thinking if he can become an excellent edge-blocker at the tight end position, it's going to pay major dividends for him and Florida State down the road.

“[He has] presence and size," asserted Fisher. "I think for his future. I think he could be a defensive end but I think he could a tremendous edge blocker from what he does."

Whether that is the best move for Newberry's long-term prospects remains to be seen. But Newberry was apparently willing to make the switch with very little hesitation. And certainly there's no reason this couldn't be a big win for FSU in the interim– provided Newberry can block. 

Without Kevin Haplea the Seminoles were already down a blocking tight end. With Nick O'Leary expected to get most of the receiving work, Newberry will focus on the blocking side of things and could prove to be like more of a third offensive tackle if he can consistently seal the edge on run plays. He has the size and frame to do it, he even played some high school basketball before coming to FSU. Whether or not the transition works though, time will tell.

For now though, Newberry and Bobby Hart just need to work out who keeps number 51.

UPDATE: Newberry has changed his number to 4.

 

I'll have more for you later today...

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

FSU Practice Notebook: Pettis Transferring, Foose Officially Done, More From Opening Day

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Football is officially here today and with it came the first Jimbo Fisher press conference of the young 2013 college season. The presser was chock-full of classic Jimbo witticisms and hyperbole– Jimbo-perboble, as I've joking dubbed it in the past– as well as plenty of new information on Fisher's Seminoles as they head into a new year.

First and foremost OL Trey Pettis will be transferring from Florida State before the start of the season. The 6-5 350-pound redshirt sophomore from Deland, Florida struggled to gain traction on the Seminole offensive line and will look for an opportunity to play elsewhere in the future.

Florida State also lost another offensive lineman to a medical inegilibility. 

"Dan Foose, we've actually officially medicaled him," added Fisher, "But he's been medical for probably two year now. We just wanted to give him a chance to come back physically, it's just going to be a tough one. Now he'll just get his degree and [hopefully] do well."

Down two offensive lineman already on the first day of Fall camp, Fisher bristled when asked what he would do about an already thin offensive line getting thinner. 

"You know how many offensive linemen they carry in the NFL?" Fisher asked the room full of reporters. "Eight."

And while he maintained he would prefer not to get down that low on his roster, Fisher also took the opportunity to talk up some of his incoming freshman and tout the veterans he has returning. With the exception of Menelik Watson, FSU returns all four starters from a solid 2012 unit, behind that Florida State has very little experience along the line.

##- Giorgio Newberry will be moving from defensive end to tight end. I'll have a full article on that later today...

##- Fisher says he is extremely happy with the progress Dan Hicks has made as he recovers from the knee injury that kept him out during last season. Hicks had made the transition from defensive end to tight end last year before flipping back to defensive end this Spring. Now with a newfound need at tight end (following Kevin Haplea's injury and Christo Kourtzidis' transfer), Hicks appears entrenched on the defensive line. He seemed like the obvious candidate to switch to tight end given his history, but Newberry it is.

##- Fisher spoke at length about his belief in the evolution of the game towards bigger sets and more specialization. Two examples in particular were having larger blocking tight ends to help assist in rushing sets and utilizing the fullback position differently. Fisher raved about how important it would be to have big bodies on the edge given how good defensive lineplay has gotten. He also mentioned using big-bodied players (for instance DT Jacobbi McDaniel) at fullback in some sets while also using two-back sets more frequently.

##- In a preview of tomorrow's print feature: Jimbo Fisher has definitely not handed this team to Jameis Winston. Jacob Coker will be given every chance to win the starting quarterback job over the coming weeks and Fisher didn't rule out heading into the Pitt game with both quarterbacks if this battle isn't decided to his liking by September 2nd.

##- I'll have a write-up on the new Indoor Practice Facility tonight, but for now, here's a quick tidbit. Whereas a decade ago players may have had to switch cleats and go through a ten-minute transition period switching from outdoor grass to indoor astro-turf, the advent of field-turf or synthetic grass means the Seminoles will waste no time changing shoes heading between the indoor and outdoor surfaces at their practice facility. 

##- James Wilder is apparently now running a 40-yard dash in the high 4.4's. If true, this could mean the 6-2 230-pound back will be even more of a load to bring down this year.

##- Fisher said he is yet to see the race between RS Fr Mario Pender and newcomer Ryan Green, but it's between them for the fastest tailback.

##- Finally, the Twitter ban (more on that tonight, as well) came from FSU's Unity Council– comprised of players– not head coach Jimbo Fisher. 

 

I'll have more for you throughout the day...

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


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