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26 posts from August 2013

August 14, 2013

FSU Practice Notebook: First Seminole Scrimmage in the Books


Thunder and lightning pushed Florida State's first scrimmage of the Fall indoors but that didn't stop FSU from putting in a good day's work inside their new indoor practice facility. 

“I might just scrimmage in here all the time,” joked head coach Jimbo Fisher afterward. “I liked the effort, a lot of young guys jumped out at me on both sides of the ball. Just the athleticism– they made some mistakes too– but just the ability for some young guys who can help us in the mix.”

Several younger players got to see increased reps as a result of injuries on Wednesday, most notably Jalen Ramsey continues to work with the first team defense at corner. Ronald Darby was also back at full speed on Wednesday and spent most of his afternoon with the first team as well, but PJ Williams missed the scrimmage and is day-to-day with a hip injury. 

“I noticed [Ronald] out there a couple times," said Fisher. "He made a couple plays, knocked some balls down. Darby is getting back into the swing of things which is really good.”

##- Jarred Haggins is out for the foreseeable future, possibly the whole season, after being diagnosed with a patella fracture.

“Scooter is going to be out for a while, probably done for the year," said Fisher. "He has a stress fracture in his knee cap. He still has a medical redshirt available.”

FSU now has a glaring depth issue at receiver. With Greg Dent out indefinitely pending his criminal charges, Willie Haulstead ineligible and now Haggins on the shelf with a knee-cap stress fracture, there will be plenty of chances for FSU's first year receivers as well as increased pressure on guys like Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin to produce. Greene was in a green "limited contact" jersey as a precaution on Wednesday.

##- Here's your daily QB update:

“They handled themselves well," said Fisher. "Each had some really high moments; each had a couple tough moments. But I liked how they handled it; bounced right back. I will look at the film to see who was more consistent. Both at times had good days and some really good plays. They handled third down and blitzes really well. That is what concerns you with young quarterbacks; can you throw it when everyone knows you are going to throw it? When they are bringing that blitz in there, can you stand in there and take the heat and do those things?  From that standpoint, I was pretty pleased for the most part.”

##- Ryan Green was one of the young players that Fisher talked about when he mentioned early contributors, Green ran with the two's on Wednesday and afterward Fisher joked "he got his money's worth." Devonta Freeman didn't scrimmage, James Wilder was limited and Mario Pender got dinged up

Florida State is off on Thursday. Camp resumes on Friday with another two-a-day.


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

August 13, 2013

FSU Practice Notebook: Seminoles Gear Up for Scrimmage


A day after conducting their first two-a-day practice of the season Florida State eased up a bit in anticipation of their first scrimmage tomorrow. RBs James Wilder Jr. and a Devonta Freeman were both held out of contact and donned blue jerseys, though head coach Jimbo Fisher said afterward that was done for entirely precautionary reasons.

Freeman- who lead FSU in rushing as a true freshman and finished second on the team last year- may be having one of the best camps of anyone on the roster according to Fisher. With Wilder's size and fan's infatuation with the speed of Mario Pender and Ryan Green, Freeman is determined not to let Seminole fans forget what a dynamic writer he can be in his own right.

“Freeman’s quick and I don’t know why everyone says he’s small," said Wilder. "He’ll get under your pads and run you over.”

##- Fisher told reporters on Tuesday that motivation shouldn't be a problem at this point, even during the dog days of camp. Though there are some young players still learning the ropes, for the most part, "if you [have to motivate them], you've got the wrong team."

##- Tomorrow when FSU conducts their first scrimmage they will also be conducting their first truly live tackling of Fall camp. Up until this point Fisher has let his team pop a little bit, but not tackle to the ground. 

"When bodies hit the ground, people get hurt," said Fisher. "Almost nobody tackles [in practice] anymore."

##- Fisher and staff are still determining how they will run the headsets and maintain communication on the sideline this upcoming season. After having three seasons of continuity, Fisher is breaking in a group of new coaches in new roles and still toying with his gameday communication and who will be up in the box versus on the sideline. 

##- Mario Edwards has been lining up in a number of different places and will be showing a number of different looks this season, whether it's bringing pressure off the edge of the line, from the middle of the line or even dropping into coverage, Edwards will have plenty of chances to impose his will on opposing offenses this upcoming season.

"It's definitely different but after repping it and repping it becomes second nature," said Edwards on Media Day. "It’s fun and it messes with the offense because the don’t know if I’m rushing, dropping and it shows I’m versatile.”

After struggling with his weight early in his freshman season, Edwards is currently 278 pounds and in excellent playing shape.

##- Another player who will be given plenty of chances to showcase his versatility is LB Christian Jones. Jones has been lining up on the edge frequently and could be a major factor on Jeremy Pruitt's new defense. 

"He can move around, he can cover from there, he can rush from there," said Fisher. "He can do a lot of things."


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

August 12, 2013

A Little More on Jameis Winston's Surging National Profile


Yesterday's media day highlighted one undeniable major fact heading into the Florida State season. Jameis Winston may not be the starting quarterback, but he is already more or less the star of the team.

If you haven't had a chance to check out the Winston article from this morning's paper, I wrote that Winston's star may be surging too quickly though.

To elaborate a little, Jameis Winston's star was essentially born well before he ever even stepped foot on Florida State's campus, back when he featured in ESPN's Elite 11 and became a national recruiting sensation. Wherever Jameis Winston went he was going to be a star, that much was almost assured by the end of his junior year of high school.

Since then that star has surged, Winston has won the fan base over before he's ever played a snap. That's not to say a fanbase can't turn, but right now, Winston is FSU's favorite son. Unfortunately Winston's arrival is likely a little earlier than planned and it's going to force Florida State into a really difficult position with Jacob Coker.

Coker really cannot win. Even if he can earn the job in camp, he faces unbelievable uphill odds. Jameis Winston's leash will be long- especially with the fanbase. He has already been ordained as the future of the program and he is going to be afforded some growing pains.

Coker will have none of that. Every pick, every incompletion and every mistake will be scrutinized and remembered as fans and media bring up Jameis Winston more and more. He will hear boos well before Winston would. He will be judged on the nearly the same criteria that you would judge a senior quarterback on because the Florida State fanbase has already dubbed Jameis Winston the future and they want to see him now.

The unfortunate truth for Jacob Coker is that if he wins the FSU starting job, he may have to be near perfect right out the gate (and sustain it for a while) or else he may never be able to win over his own fanbase. 

It's not fair. But it's the truth. If things had likely gone to plan, Winston would have backed up Coker for a couple of years before taking over. But Winston's star- some mercurial combination of his charisma and athleticism- may have made that impossible.

Unfortunately the best comparison for it would be that Winston's star is like a tropical storm on the brink of becoming a hurricane. There's nothing anyone can do to stop it or hold it back, Hurricane Jameis is arriving on his own time.

I don't think you're supposed to write that about a Seminole though...


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

August 10, 2013

FSU Practice Notebook: Florida State Closes Practice as the Seminoles Go Full Pads


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.


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

August 09, 2013

FSU Practice Notebook: Young DB's Taking Advantage of Their Opportunities, OL Battles Injuries


Florida State was back it again on Friday, practicing for the fourth time on the young season and unlike Thursday, there was hardly a cloud in the Tallahassee sky. With a heat index of 93 degrees and the sun beating down on players and coaches, it was a sweltering day at Florida State.

"Good energetic day," said Jimbo Fisher. "Some of those young guys continued to learn, some of the old guys are getting better. I liked the energy level though and I liked our focus."

Right now a number of Florida State players are working back from injuries that limited them or kept them out of Spring practice. Corners Nick Waisome and Ronald Darby and safety Tyler Hunter were all hampered last Spring and have been working back at varying rates.

Waisome and Darby have both been limited early on and are being eased back into things. Darby had surgery in early January to fix a sports hernia and is being eased in gradually. Waisome (foot) has been working with the second team as he gets back. Hunter missed the Spring with a knee injury but has looked close to full speed and is working with the first team defense.

While Darby and Waisome get closer and closer to being back completely, some of the younger DB's have been taking an advantage of their chances to run with the first team. Sophomore PJ Williams has looked very strong early in camp and following a strong performance last Spring, could be positioned to challenge for some solid playing time this season.

True freshman Jalen Ramsey- a five-star recruit who flipped from USC at the end of the recruiting period- has also been working with the ones. At 6-1 195 Ramsey has good size and excellent athleticism. He'll likely make more of an impact on special teams in year one, but could challenge for a bigger defensive role before long too. 

##- Speaking of injuries, Austin Barron has a broken bone in his foot that will require surgery and a pin to be put through it. He is out 3-4 weks.

“He played all day yesterday, he had a phenomenal day, we ran him with the ones and mixed him in at center, I mean he had a phenomenal day. Walked in [today] and said his foot was sore,” said head coach Jimbo Fisher. “Turns out he had a little break on the outside bone.”

##- Bryan Stork is also being limited during camp (as he will be all year) after he underwent surgery on his big toe this past season.

“We always gauge him, and every four days we give him a break,” said Fisher. “He doesn’t need reps.”

##- Sterling Lovelady worked at center with the ones today. Ira Denson is still day-to-day.

##- So far from watching the first team defense it doesn't look like the Seminoles plan on lining up with more than two linebackers very often this season. Jeremy Pruitt loves his DB's and this may be the most athletic group FSU has had in the secondary in quite some time.

##- Matthew Thomas is a big guy. He's been working with the three's and shadowing Telvin Smith and Christian Jones a lot. How much Thomas plays early in his Florida State career remains to be seen, but he passes the eye test. 

##- Another player who just leaps out at you when he walks by is Demarcus Walker. Fisher joked a few days ago that despite not getting to participate during the Spring, Walker watched so much film and spent so much time at FSU's facilities that it seemed like Demarcus Walker was in Sal Sunseri's office more than Sunseri was.

I thought it was his office and not Sal's,” joked Fisher. “He’s up there watching film all the time. I mean I thought he worked up there.”

So far in camp, Walker looks like he's a bit ahead of the game. So the film study may have paid off.

##- Jimbo Fisher raved about Jacobbi McDaniel. McDaniel has missed two years battling injuries but is healthy and has looked very good early.

"I'll tell you what, I repped him today for the first time in the walkthrough, not full speed but kind of going," said Fisher. "I mean naturally just the way he moved and did some things in there, that body type and the way he controls that body, he's athletic now.

"It was even better than I thought he'd be right now, he's a good athlete. Moves well, controls his body well. If he can play behind his pads that a big load now."

##- Speaking of McDaniel and what a load he can be, Jacobbi has also been getting some reps at fullback in short yardage situations. Depending on how he takes to the role, McDaniel could be a fun player to run behind this season when FSU is on the goalline.


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

August 08, 2013

FSU Practice Notebook: Rain No Threat to FSU's Practice, Haulstead Done


Florida State has just finished up another practice, their third of the young season. In years past a day like today- overcast with thundershowers rolling in throughout the afternoon- would have threatened to cancel practice for the Seminoles.

Not anymore. Florida State made good use of their brand new indoor practice facility and managed to avoid the thunderstorms that soaked the rest of Tallahassee.

"It's been really nice because you don't have to change your schedule," said Fisher. "You already have a plan, you can go right in, it doesn't delay you work, it doesn't delay anything. We've got two plans [now], and indoor plan and an outdoor plan."

Plenty happened out there today, starting with the announcement that Willie Haulstead's career at Florida State is over. The senior receiver has had trouble staying on the field since a vicious hit in practice gave him a concussion a couple of years ago. Now his career is over after he failed to academically qualify for the start of the Fall semester.

“He will not be with us, that’s one [academic] casualty and that’s a shame,” said Fisher. “That’s the first one we’ve had in four years.”

##- Despite a report saying that Mario Pender had been cleared to practice in yesterday's notebook, Pender did not participate on Wednesday. He was out there today sporting a helmet and shorts (no sholder-pads) for the first time this summer. The issue holding Pender up had been a grade that had not posted as of Tuesday evening. The grade is now posted and after a sports hernia and some academic uncertainty, it looks as those the speedster will finally see the field in a game for the first time this Fall.

##- Ira Denson, a true freshman offensive lineman who will be called upon to provide key depth along the line this season, was in a sling with an apparent shoulder injury yesterday. Today he was out of the sling, but still not actively participating in practice. He has an AC joint sprain in his shoulder after catching it on one of the bags during drills. He is day-to-day.

##- Wilson Bell, another true freshman on the Seminole offensive line, has been working as the back-up left tackle behind Cameron Erving.

##- Jeremy Kerr, a freshman TE out of St. Pete HS, was in a knee brace on crutches watching practice today. He had an MRI that revealed cartilage damage and will require surgery. He is likely to be out at least a month, and could now be looking at a redshirt season.

##- Plenty of unique things happening on the defensive side of the ball. FSU is in the middle of learning Jeremy Pruitt's defensive system and have yet to install all the wrinkles that will be a part of the D come the regular season, but make no mistake about it this is not you'r father's Florida State defense. Players line up all over the field and you never know who will be asked to do what on any given snap. On back to back plays this afternon I saw Mario Edwards stunt and rush from the middle, then drop into coverage against Nick O'Leary. There's a lot going on with Pruitt's new system.

##- Terrence Brooks is absolutely locked in. A reporter asked him earlier today what he had seen out of teammate Karlos Williams' in terms of leadership, Brooks replied, “I really couldn’t tell you, I’ve been focusing a lot on what I have to do.” 

##- True freshman Ryan Green may just be the fastest player on the team according the Jimbo Fisher. If that's the case he certainly looks the part, it's hard to tell that Green is a freshman when you see him in pads. 

##- Jesus "BoBo" Wilson was working at kick returner at the start of practice.

##- The number of talented corners on this team continues to grow. Five-star freshman newcomer Jalen Ramsey has received some reps with the first team and has already caught the attention of his coaches.

"He's going to be a very good player, he's going to be a very good player," said Fisher. "He's athletic, those young corners are talented."

##- Somebody asked me about Jameis Winston putting on some weight earlier on Twitter. I would guess he's added about ten pounds of muscle since the end of last year. When he came in he was actually on the thin side, not so much anymore.

##- Finally, Jared "Scooter" Hagans is still rehabbing his knee injury and has been held off to the side so far in practice.

"He's just getting that knee back," said Fisher. "He does a limited practice so much and then we cut it back and then he gets back in it. We don't want to bring it along [too fast]. He's about right on pace, he'll be fine."


Keep checking back on the blog for more FSU updates through camp...

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

Seminoles Enjoying New Facilities During the Dog Days of Summer


Florida State is settling into some nice new 15-million dollar digs after the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Facility flew up in the shadow of Doak Campbell Stadium this past offseason. 

Despite breaking ground just this past November during the weekend of the UF-FSU game, the facility flew up over the course of the last seven months until its completion in late July. Now it stands between the football stadium, Dick Howser (baseball) and the school's soccer facilities, a massive struture comprised of three fields- two outdoors and one housed inside a giant field-house.

Florida State began its camp on Tuesday and already players are noticing a difference.

"It's really good, I mean I love it," said safety Terrence Brooks. "We're still in the heat a lot so it doesn't really make a big change [right now]. But it's real nice on that indoor field. They really did a great job on that. We go in there to warm up and stuff and it feels just as good as the grass does outside. I love what they did with it."

The team still spends most of its practices outside. This is Florida after all and being acclimated to the heat is an advantage that Jimbo Fisher and company are not willing to give up by moving practices inside full-time.

But the fieldhouse allows the team to warm up inside without damaging the grass surface on the two outdoor practice surfaces. The indoor field uses synthetic turf that mimics grass (as Brooks mentioned) so the players don't require a change of footwear when moving from outside to inside.

The indoor portion of the practice facility also allows the team respite from thunderstorms, hail, hellfire and several grades of ballistic missile (allegedly). All kidding aside, with the thunderstorms threatening earlier today, the thought of cancelling practice never even had to cross Jimbo Fisher's mind this afternoon.

Having an indoor facility is something that Fisher had pushed for since arriving in Tallahassee. The annual loss of several practices to Florida thunderstorms was a regular occurence at FSU in years past and a competitive disadvantage considering those were reps the team couldn't get back.

Those days are over now, FSU is just the second school in Florida with such facilities (behind UCF). But it didn't seem like this day would ever come to some players.

"To be honest with you, I didn’t think I’d be here to see this," joked Christian Jones on Tuesday. "Because they’ve been saying this since I was being recruited that they were going to have this. So it’s crazy for us walking out here being able to see it."

"I was like 'ooh is it going to get built?' or whatever, and then we start seeing them breaking ground and I was like OK that's perfect," said Brooks. "Me and Tyler Hunter couldn't wait to get on in there so one day we just pretty much snuck on in there, went and did some drills and stuff like that, just got a feel for it."

The Dunlap Athletic Center will also serve as a nice recruiting tool for Fisher and staff come this fall and winter. Having the best facilities has become "an arms race," according to new FSU Athletic Director Stan Wilcox. Well now the Seminoles can consider themselves well-equipped. I'm sure Fisher and his coaching staff have already made good use of that pitch out on the recruiting trail.


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

August 07, 2013

Florida State Names Stan Wilcox as New Athletic Director

Director of Athletic Stan Wilcox

Florida State didn't wait long to find their next athletic director. Just a couple months after Randy Spetman stepped down and Vanessa Fuchs took over in an interim capacity, President Eric J. Barron found his man in former Duke Senior Deputy of Athletics Stan Wilcox.

Once a basketball player at Notre Dame, Wilcox earned a law degree from Brooklyn Law School and went to work at the NCAA league offices for a time before becoming an associate commissioner in the Big East Conference. 

Prior to Wilcox's most recent position at Duke, he was the deputy athletic director at Notre Dame from 2005-2008.

“I am thrilled and very thankful to President Barron for affording me this great honor. I have followed Florida State athletics from afar and through the ACC Conference and have always been a big fan of FSU’s student athletes on the field and in the classroom,” said Wilcox via a Florida State press release.

“I look forward to continuing in the great tradition of previous Florida State athletic directors as well as addressing the challenges and opportunities that this outstanding athletics program will hold.”

FSU announced Wilcox officially this evening at 5:15. He spoke at length about the needs facing Florida State University in his opening remarks, highlighting economics and facilities specifically as places that the Seminoles needed to remain competitive.

President Barron spearheaded the search for Spetman's replacement. After narrowing the search down to four candidates, Barron and the search committee travelled to Atlanta to conduct interviews with the finalists. 

Wilcox wowed them.

“I am excited about the future of Florida State’s athletics program under the direction of Stan. His exceptional portfolio of strategic planning and fundraising experience and his reputation as a motivator, effective communicator and facilitator, as well as a commitment to the education of our student athletes made Stan a clear choice,” said Barron.

That choice wasn't made known until this morning though. FSU contacted Wilcox early this morning with the news he was the guy and the rest of his day was a blur, he had to hurry, find a flight, make it to Tallahassee and within 12 hours of the call he was standing in front of media and his new colleagues shaking  Dr. Barron's hand.

"I was in Durham, sitting at my desk, getting ready to go on a staff retreat," joked Wilcox. 

Tonight he finds himself in Tallahasseee as the head of one of the biggest Athletic Departments in the country.

Barron becomes the first African-American AD in the history of Florida State University and one of just a handful minorities serving in that capacity anywhere in the country.

Quotes on FSU's new Athletic Director:

"Stan is a quality person and an excellent administrator with a wealth of experiences in college sports.  In my opinion, Florida State has made an outstanding choice. It will be great to have him join the ranks of ACC Athletic Directors and lead FSU athletics."

– John Swofford, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner

“I’m looking forward to meeting Stan and welcoming him to the Seminole family, said head football coach Jimbo Fisher.  “I’m looking forward to us working together and continuing to build the great tradition of Florida State football.”

– Jimbo Fisher, Florida State University Head Football Coach

“I have watched Stan Wilcox perform at such an efficient level during his career and I knew that at some point he would have his own program to run.

 I saw him grow as associate commissioner for football in the Big East when I was at Miami and then watched him excel as an associate athletics director at Duke since I have been at Florida State.  I can’t think of a more qualified person to take over our program at this important time for both Florida State and the new ACC.  With the growth of the ACC, it has the potential to become the greatest conference in the history of college athletics.  We are very fortunate to have a person of Stan Wilcox’s character and experience taking over our program.”

 – Leonard Hamilton, Florida State University Head Men’s Basketball Coach

“Florida State is gaining a highly seasoned professional in Stan Wilcox, who has an outstanding track record, ‘moving the needle’ at every turn. A truly gifted and well-respected leader, Stan has the distinct ability, relationship skills, and industry knowledge to be the ‘clubhouse leader’ within all of college athletics. Personally speaking, I could not be more euphoric for Stan, Ramona, and their very special family, for this is a magical moment for both the Wilcox family and Florida State University.”

– Kevin M. White, Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics

“Over the past five and half years Stan and I have worked through many issues concerning intercollegiate athletics. I have a great deal of respect for his insight,

wisdom and demeanor which makes him an excellent decision maker. The staff and student athletes at FSU will truly benefit in the coming years under Stan's leadership.”

– Jacki Silar, Duke University Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Student-Athlete Welfare/Senior Woman Administrator 

“Stan is an excellent addition to the Florida State family. He is highly respected – at all levels – within Duke University and beyond. From a coach’s perspective, he will be an athletics director who will provide the support, leadership and passion to create a culture of excellence. In all instances in which Stan and I collaborated, he handled them professionally, ethically and responsibly. Most importantly, all generated terrific outcomes. Florida State is gaining a tremendous asset by adding the Wilcox family to their own.”

– Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University and USA National Team Men’s Basketball Head Coach

“We could not be more excited for Stan to take his next step professionally at Florida State University.  In my 30-plus years in college athletics, I have never been associated with a person with more integrity or reliability; he will be a terrific ambassador for Florida State and the Tallahassee community.  We certainly thank him for his time and effort spent in helping our football program reach new heights both academically and athletically, and wish him, Ramona and their family the best of luck going forward.”

– David Cutcliffe, Duke University Head Football Coach


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

August 06, 2013

Seminoles Start the Season by Sending Their Last Tweets


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.


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Giorgio Newberry Changing Sides, Moving to Tight End


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...



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