Florida State spring football practice begins today, bringing with it the attendant questions borne of a new season. This time a year ago, the big spring question was who would be the starting QB. A National Championship later, I think it’s safe to say the coaches made the right decisions. Today kicks off another run at the title, and, again, there are a lot of questions surrounding the team. Here are some things to watch for.
Who Will Step Up At Defensive Tackle?
The biggest question on defense seems to be defensive tackle, as the ‘Noles replace Timmy Jernigan, Demonte McAllister, and Jacobbi McDaniel. Players to watch this spring include Nile Lawrence-Stample, Eddie Goldman, Georgio Newberry, Desmond Hollin, Kieth Bryant, and Derrick Mitchell. There’s a lot of talent at this position but not a lot of experience. This could be the most important thing to watch. It’s worth noting that Justin Shanks will miss the spring with a shoulder injury. The player to watch here isn’t on campus yet, but it’s newcomer Demarcus Christmas.
Will There Be a Drop-off At Linebacker?
The Seminoles replace two very good starting LBs as the spring opens up, but it seems as if there is more excitment than worries. That is due to the elite recruiting of the coaching staff. This will be a fun group to watch unfold. The linebacker to watch is Matthew Thomas.
Who Will Replace Senior Leaders In The Secondary?
Lamarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks were probably the most-fun defenders to watch last year, and I know that the secondary is full of talent, but I’m very interested to see who steps up and replaces these two. Nate Andrews and Tyler Hunter are the favorites to replace these two and could play either position. Could Colin Blake, Marquez White, Nick Waisome, Keelin Smith, or Lamarcus Brutus finally step up and become key contibutors? Can true freshman Trey Marshall show enough to gain early playing time? So many options– so much fun! The player to watch here is Colin Blake.
Can Stork Be Replaced?
Austin Barron, Ruben Carter, and Ryan Hoefield will battle to replace the Rimington award-winner. Other things to watch on the O-Line is who will the back-ups and reserves be. It’s always important to watch, as you can never have enough big bodies. Bobby Hart is my player to watch.
Who Will Complement Nick O’Leary?
Last year the health and depth of the TE position was such a concern that coaches move Georgio Newberry over from DE to help shore up the depth (he is now back on defense). Kevin Haplea and Jeremy Kerr return from being sidelined last year and could be critical as the ‘Noles would like to use more 2-TE sets in case no one steps up and replaces WRs Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin. I’m very eager to see how Haplea bounces back. He looked very good last spring and is my player to watch here.
Who Will Emerge at Wide Receiver?
Due to a lack of depth last year, Coach Fisher opted to go with the 3-WR look quite a bit, and it worked quite well. This year, however, two of those three will need to be replaced. Can Scooter Haggins stay healthy? Can Christian Green put it all together? Will any of the three sophomores step up and position themselves for a starting gig? FSU recruited very well here in the last class, but unfortunately will not get their three freshman on campus until June. Scooter Haggins really flashed a few years ago, and I’d like to see if he can gain control of a starting position.
Who Will Back-up Jameis?
With Jameis Winston being guaranteed the starting gig, Sean Maguire and John Franklin III will battle to back-up the Heisman Trophy winner — and both figure to get a lot of reps to prove themselves. Fisher seems to truly believe in Maguire, but I wouldn’t count Franklin out as he’s gained a lot of respect after running the scout team last season and has yet to show what he can do with a Spring camp under his belt.
How Will FSU Reload at Running Back?
The ‘Noles replace two of their top backs from last year, and not a person in the country seems worried. Why, you ask? Because the Seminoles have some very exciting and talented players ready to fill the void. Karlos Williams seems to be the sure-fire starter, but Mario Pender and Ryan Green will have something to say about that. Unfortunately, the gem of the 2014 recruiting class, 5-Star Dalvin Cook, will miss the spring with a shoulder injury. Mario Pender is the guy to watch here. Insiders have praised him the last two spring camps– maybe now he’ll finally show everyone else.
Don’t forget the spring game is April 12th! ChopChat will have some of its own in attendence. Also be sure to check back frequently for spring practice updates.
Tags: Florida State Seminoles