Notes from the FSU Fourth-Quarter Drills


Yesterday’s conclusion of the annual FSU fourth-quarter drills gave us our first real look at the latest incarnation of Seminoles football, and although the entire team was not present due to injuries, class, and the fact that some freshmen are still finishing high school, I noticed a few interesting things as the team worked out in the IPF.

Leading Off

Florida State said goodbye to a number of phenomenal leaders after last season. Cameron Erving, Rashad Greene, not to mention the two players who represented FSU at 2014 ACC Media Day, Jameis Winston and P.J. Williams. A year earlier, the ‘Noles parted ways with team leaders Telvin Smith, Terrence Brooks, and Lamarcus Joyner.

So who will step up to take the reigns this year?

That will pan out over the months leading up to the season, but we got some glimpses yesterday. Senior safety Tyler Hunter isn’t too vocal, but he showed nice hustle in leading by example. Junior defensive end DeMarcus Walker is more outspoken, at times admonishing teammates for not performing up to par. And sophomore wide receiver Travis Rudolph led nicely in Greene’s stead, routinely leading his groups through drills.

Also leading his group was junior kicker Roberto Aguayo, who was absolutely busting his tail. At one point I watched as Aguayo led his group through a footwork drill, then, seemingly unhappy with his results, went through the drill one more time, only to resume his spot at the front of the line after the extra repetition.

And quarterback Sean Maguire, who did not participate, drew praise from head coach Jimbo Fisher. Fisher said of the junior: “I see a very good leader. He had a hand that was tight (today), but he had been having great fourth quarter drills. The presence, the command, talking more to guys. (He knows it’s) my time.”

Fisher also spoke highly of sophomore left tackle Roderick Johnson, who took over at the key spot during last season. Said Fisher: “Big Rod (Roderick Johnson), he acts like he’s been here 10 years with the way he works. He’s a veteran already.”

Weighing In

One off-season goal that many ascribed to sophomore defensive end Lorenzo Featherston was a charge to add some mass. The 6-7 Featherston was listed at 220 pounds last season, and he doesn’t look to have added much to that. He still moves quite well, but that was never really the issue with Featherston. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a change over the spring and summer.

Fellow sophomore DE Rick Leonard did need to shed a little weight, and appears to have done so. He seemed trimmer through the midsection. Fisher also indicated that Chad Mavety, who could very well start at right tackle, has gotten his weight down as well, along with other unspecified members of the offensive line.

The New Guys

FSU has some early enrollees who are even more physically impressive in person than on film. Specifically, safety Derwin James, running back Jacques Patrick, and wide receiver George Campbell all present imposing statures. James tossed his shirt when a number of players threw the ball around following drills, and he’s as cut as anyone on the team. Patrick looks like he’s going to be a real challenge to tackle, as he should provide a nice contrast to Dalvin Cook and Mario Pender. And at 6-3, 186, Campbell won’t be the easiest to bring down either, especially given his effortless 4.3 speed.

Fisher commented on the entire group of early enrollees and how well they’ve adjusted to training: “This group here really jumped on it very quickly. There were one of the quickest groups we’ve had. Dalvin (Cook) and some of those guys did it last year too, but as an overall group all eight of them did it very quickly.”

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Scant Injury Issues

Finally, Fisher touched on early injury concerns, and at present, FSU is in pretty good shape, beginning with sophomore tight end Mavin Saunders:

"“Just a slight (hamstring pull). A couple guys had an ankle or two that just swelled up. Dalvin (Cook) has a foot that’s been bothering him but he’s fine, he ran outside and (we) just gave him a week off. (Da’Vante) Phillips was someone that had to have surgery, someone said it was a nerve, it wasn’t a nerve. He will be two months or so, he’ll probably miss the spring but it’s not nerves or anything. He’ll be fine. All the guys on the sidelines will be in there, just nicks and knacks and (hamstring) here or an ankle or something like that.”"