Not much happening today at Seminole camp. The team strapped on the pads for the first time today but the media was allowed no where near the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Facility. Today's practice was closed.
“Yea, full pads [Saturday]," said Jimbo Fisher on Friday. "Won’t be any tackling, though. Still aren’t going to hit the ground until we scrimmage. But we will thud and their knees will feel better. You have to get used to carrying them (pads) practicing in them and the whole thing that goes with it. I say this every year and I know ya’ll don’t believe me, but full pads and shells, there isn’t a whole lot of difference unless you are tackling because you are not cutting so from that point there is some thuddin’ going on out here."
There are still a handful of Seminoles who will not be able to practice in full pads until tomorrow (NCAA rules), but the majority of the team got their first work of the seasons in pads today- and likely got a little early camp frustration out too.
##- One of the other points Jimbo Fisher continues to stress is what a mature group of freshmen he has this year. At least once an interview you'll hear Fisher go out of his way to lay some praise on the rate at which his newcomers are acclimating to college football.
"Those young guys, that is part of it, the speed of the game is always getting turned up as it goes. Who can maintain? Those young guys get a lot of energy in the beginning. They think sometimes in high school camp goes, two, three or four days but this thing keeps going. They are going ‘whoa.'
"[But] this is one of the more mature mental groups that I have had as freshmen.”
##- Chad Abram seems to be settling in nicely at fullback. Fisher took an opportunity on Friday evening to compliment the progress of Lonnie Pryor's replacement.
“He’s doing solid, doing a nice job. He’s blocking a little better, getting used to that, his assignments have been good, not bad with the ball in his hands and I’ll tell you what, he catches it very well," said Fisher. "He’s got phenomenal ball skills. He’s been having a good solid camp.”
Keep in mind Fisher also said on Tuesday that he was going to look at experimenting with some bigger bodies (Jacobbi McDaniel) at the fullback position in jumbo packages and has also mentioned using more two-back sets to try to get both Devonta Freeman and James Wilder on the field at once.
The amount of playing time Abram actually gets this year won't be clearer until we get a few games into the season and start to see whether Florida State has actually added those wrinkles to their formations and packages or if that was all just coach-speak.
##- Tomorrow Florida State will hold its annual football media day. Starting at 9 AM the media (myself included) will bombard players and coaches with questions for a couple hours. This is almost certainly going to be the only opportunity we will have to speak with assistant coaches until after FSU's bowl game.
It's going to be interesting to get Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's take on the defense and how some of the components are coming together. Given the fact Pruitt more or less tossed out an accusation that "other schools" cheat and sneak extra practice time during Spring (with more than an apparent nod and a wink towards his old school, Alabama) within five minutes of his first press conference at FSU, I am hopeful we may actually get some candor from Pruitt tomorrow as opposed to most of the usual camp and coach-speak you hear around this time of year.
##- One player who has no shortage of candor is Terrence Brooks. The senior safety didn't mince words when asked about how players are picking up the new defense.
“There are times where we sometimes try to apply it to Stoops’ defense just to learn it a little bit better," admitted Brooks. "But I mean it’s totally different so you can’t do that. Things move fast out there so the more you learn it and the quicker you apply yourself to it and actually get in and get it down pat the faster you can play.
“Some of the calls are actually the same it’s just different names. Like it’s the same concept and same read but you’ve just got to get those old calls out of your head and really focus.”
Brooks admitted that right now there are moments where the Florida State defense is thinking more than reacting. But he also made sure to reiterate that the learning curve isn't discouraging anyone.
“I feel like Pruitt couldn’t have come in at a better time," said Brooks. "I feel like it’s just up from here.”
##- Finally, tomorrow from noon to 2 PM the Seminoles will hold their annual fan day. Per a Florida State University press release:
"Held inside the Donald L. Tucker Center Aug. 11, fan day is free to the public and offers a unique chance for fans to meet and get autographs from every Seminoles coach and player on the 2013 team."
Doors open at 11. Afterwards fans can attend an open practice at Doak Campbell Stadium at 4 PM. The whole day is free.
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