Florida State Seminoles: Florida State

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
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Wishing everybody a great holiday weekend!

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
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Never forget.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
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Boston strong.
Florida State UniformsSeminoles.comFlorida State used its connection to the Seminole tribe in influencing the design on its new uniforms.

Somehow, Florida State and Miami both just won.

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I'm no fashion critic (c'mon, you've seen my videos) but these guys are gonna look sharp.

The rivals recently unveiled their new uniforms, and neither one opted for an outlandish, over-the-top style, instead choosing to stick with tradition and class. That, in itself, was refreshing. Unlike the dreadful first Maryland Pride uniforms, Florida State and Miami both managed to preserve their history while at the same time get an upgrade. FSU released garnet, white and black uniforms, while Miami will have four new looks: The orange jersey, “Juice”; the white jersey, “Storm Trooper"; a green jersey, “Surge”; and a new alternate anthracite “Smoke” jersey. At home, the Canes will wear orange. The 'U' logo on the palms of the gloves is a creative touch, but overall it's a simple, sleek and clean look that doesn't lose any of its edge.

[+] EnlargeMiami uniforms
Courtesy of NikeMiami added an anthracite uniform to represent its iconic smoke game entrance.
Florida State embraced its namesake, and used the Seminole tribe patterns as its inspiration, while Miami tactfully included the Ibis on the uniform shoulder, helmet and hip of the pants. The Canes' "Smoke" uniform was designed to represent the school's tradition of running out of the tunnel into the smoke before every home game.

It's good timing for both programs for different reasons. As defending national champs, Florida State has a new look -- one that's in the spotlight again as the nation's premier program. For Miami, the tumultuous days of the NCAA investigation are finally behind it, and the Hurricanes got a fresh start.

“These young men, who unselfishly guided us through some very dark days, now display a renewed attitude and spirit," Miami coach Al Golden said in a statement. "These new uniforms capture that outlook."

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The boldest move of the designs was with Florida State, as Nike used a pattern from the Seminole tribe to accentuate the shoulders and neckline. While some might not like the bigger, bolder look, the authenticity of the pattern should be appreciated.

"These uniforms really enhance and embody the Seminole tribe," coach Jimbo Fisher told his team, "which is what we all represent. Without them, we wouldn't be the Florida State Seminoles."

Check 'em out, and cast your votes to let us know what you think.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
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Bo Pelini is the cat's meow.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says spring practice is all about cramming as much information to the mind as possible. Introduce as many schemes, techniques and late-game situations as possible, but remember there is no buildup to a Saturday opponent. The hope is his team will draw on that information when it counts this fall.

It’s best to take that approach when evaluating Florida State’s spring practices and game, which the Garnet won over the Gold 31-14.

This was supposed to be a ho-hum spring for Florida State. That’s the goal when you’re the reigning national champion and return your Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Sure, there are issues on the roster, but those were never going to be resolved in 15 spring practices, not with more than a dozen players nursing injuries.

[+] EnlargeSean Maguire
AP Photo/Steve CannonReserve quarterback Sean Maguire said he "learned a lot" in spring practice.
“We got a lot accomplished and we’re starting to form the identity and the personality of this team,” Fisher said. “... We are nowhere close to where we need to be, but I can picture where we’re going to be.”

That picture, Fisher hopes, is one of him holding the national championship trophy, plastered on all 11,520 square feet of the video board at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where the first College Football Championship Game will be played. Fans were spoiled at this time a year ago when Jameis Winston launched the ball and his path to stardom on his first throw, a 58-yard touchdown. That was a different time, though. This spring was about improving and getting to August.

Fisher said he saw that improvement throughout camp, and it was clear during the second half of spring practice that Fisher was pleased with the progress. Two weeks ago, Fisher called his team “lazy” and was sour on just about every position. He spoke positively about his team during the final eight sessions.

His starting quarterback made strides this spring, although Fisher said it might not always be visible to the naked eye. Fisher said it is about improving the “subtle things” and “all of a sudden it’s a major change.” The backup position looks better than it did a month ago, too.

“I thought the spring went well. I thought I learned a lot,” backup quarterback Sean Maguire said. “I haven’t gone into a camp or a spring where I was a No. 2, but going into it and getting reps the whole time with the twos, I felt like now I know a lot more than I did.”

There will be questions that still need answers when preseason camp opens, however. It was evident Saturday that Florida State’s passing attack could take a significant step in the wrong direction. Granted, Florida State could have the best secondary in the country, but the Seminoles’ first-team receivers generated no separation from defenders despite Winston getting several seconds to survey the field. On a few occasions, he was forced to his fourth and fifth reads. Winston’s window to fit the ball in will probably be bigger Sunday from the pitcher's mound than it was Saturday from the pocket. Kelvin Benjamin is a potential first-round NFL draft pick, and there is no direct replacement for the 6-foot-5, 240-pound receiver on the roster. Undervalued receiver Kenny Shaw will be hard to replace, too.

“Early they didn’t get open, but that’s kind of expected,” Fisher said. “Then, as the game went on, they gradually made plays, and we helped them get open with some formations and things.”

That stands to be the biggest issue for Florida State as it exits the spring. The defense underwent major changes, but there is talent at every level, and new coordinator Charles Kelly was an in-house hire.

The spring game -- and the entire spring -- was ugly at time for Florida State, but it is still too early to determine how far this team will go. Florida State didn’t look like a team that has 15-0 written on it, but there probably isn't any team with that look on any campus in mid-April. There are questions, but there is more talent.

“You relax and realize the sky’s not falling and the world is not coming to an end,” Fisher said.

ACC spring games preview

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
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Seven ACC teams will play their spring games this weekend, and eight will officially close spring practices in the coming days, as Pitt has opted to have a more fan-friendly event instead of an actual spring game on Sunday before closing practice on Tuesday.

For all of these teams -- including Florida State -- the quarterbacks will be among the most-watched players on the field. In Tallahassee, fans will get a chance to see the Heisman Trophy winner, returning starter Jameis Winston. At every other school, there is an ongoing storyline and competition with the quarterbacks. We’re giving you one additional thing to keep an eye on that might not be so obvious.

Check it out, and enjoy the games this weekend!

CLEMSON

When: 4 p.m. on Saturday (ESPNU) and on WatchESPN

Where: Death Valley

One thing to watch: The true freshman wide receivers. Artavis Scott, Demarre Kitt and Kyrin Priester were all highly touted recruits who enrolled early to help Clemson try to replace Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant (a combined 2,292 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns in 2013).

FLORIDA STATE

When: 3 p.m. on Saturday (ESPN) and on WatchESPN

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium

One thing to watch: The wide receivers. They haven’t exactly earned high praise from coach Jimbo Fisher, who called the receivers out last week for not getting open and making catches. Rashad Greene is the most experienced option as the Noles try to replace Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw, but the staff also needs to see more from players like Bobo Wilson and Kermit Whitfield.

LOUISVILLE

When: 7:30 p.m. on Friday

Where: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

One thing to watch: The safeties. Louisville lost Hakeem Smith, who started 51 straight games, and projected first-round draft pick Calvin Pryor. Jermaine Reve, Gerod Holliman and Chucky Williams are the leading candidates for those spots, but Reve is out for the spring with an injury. Reve and Holliman are the only players with game experience.

MIAMI

When: 6 p.m. on Saturday (ESPN3)

Where: Sun Life Stadium

One thing to watch: Defense, defense, defense. It’s been an area of concern, but the defense showed signs of progress this spring. The Canes return eight starters and 16 players from the two-deep depth chart. Denzel Perryman is now playing middle linebacker, and Dallas Crawford moved to safety to give that position a boost. Those within the program have said repeatedly that the defense has made strides since last season, and overall it was a good spring for the defense. We’ll see if they can punctuate it in the spring game.

NORTH CAROLINA

When: 3 p.m. on Saturday (ESPN3)

Where: Kenan Stadium

One thing to watch: True freshman running back Elijah Hood. The four-star recruit was rated the nation's No. 9 running back in the Class of 2014 by ESPN.com and No. 80 overall in the ESPN 300. The early enrollee has had such a good spring that he could see some immediate playing time, even though the Tar Heels are deep at the position.

NC STATE

When: 1 p.m. on Saturday

Where: Carter-Finley Stadium

One thing to watch: More young wide receivers. NC State has to replace Quintin Payton and Rashard Smith, both starters from last year. The talent pool to choose from includes a host of sophomores and freshmen, including two early enrollees. The leading sophomore candidates are: Jumichael Ramos, who finished the last three games of 2013 strong; Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who led the team in receiving at one point last year as a true freshman; and Bra'lon Cherry, who suffered a season-ending injury against Duke. Freshmen Bo Hines and Stephen Louis enrolled early, and redshirt freshman Gavin Locklear is also in the mix.

VIRGINIA

When: 1 p.m. on Saturday

Where: Scott Stadium

One thing to watch: Improved wide receivers. This is a group coach Mike London has praised this spring, for both its height and athleticism, as the staff has moved toward a longer, leaner look. London recently singled out Miles Gooch, Keeon Johnson and Kyle Dockins -- all listed at 6-foot-3 -- as players who have excelled this spring. Unfortunately, fans won’t be able to see starter Jake McGee, the Hoos’ star tight end who moved to receiver this spring, as he’ll be sidelined with a hamstring injury.

PITT (No spring game)

When: From 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Pitt will host its “Pitt Football Field Pass”

Where: The UPMC Sports Performance Complex

One thing to watch: Instead of a game, Pitt will hold a public event that will include a kids’ clinic, an offensive strategy session with coordinator Joe Rudolph, a defensive strategy session with coordinator Matt House, a recruiting session with coordinator Dann Kabala and a strength and conditioning session with assistant coach Ross Kolodziej.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Fifth-year senior Cameron Erving walked off the practice field Saturday after one of the most interesting practices of his career. For those attending the afternoon practice, it was a bizarre sight watching Erving orchestrate the offensive line considering Florida State’s All-ACC left tackle is still only in his third year playing the position, and not once in his life had he previously snapped the ball. Erving, a potential first-round pick in 2015, would be the NFL’s tallest starting center at 6-foot-6.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsJimbo Fisher moves players to other positions in part to make them better.
The odds that Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher would move his best offensive lineman out of one of football’s premium positions to play center are slim. It is the spring, and nearly the end of it, and Fisher said he is prepping for a worst-case scenario in which injuries force him to reshuffle his offensive line, which returns five players with starting experience.

"Center is like quarterback,” Fisher said. “You can move guards, tackles, receivers. Centers and quarterbacks, that's a learned profession and you have to have as many as you can. … We’re just doing things to develop backups and get other guys snaps.”

Through the spring, Fisher has mixed and matched his offensive line so his five starters have at least an elementary knowledge of playing more than one position on the line. It’s not limited to just the maulers up front either, as Fisher routinely cross-trains his linebackers and defensive backs.

Jalen Ramsey could play three positions in the secondary this fall. The same goes for defensive back Nate Andrews. Several Seminoles linebackers are receiving work at multiple positions.

Cross-training his players is not simply Fisher guarding against a series of injuries that would cause him to revamp his offensive line or back seven on defense. Fisher contends it makes a player better at his starting position. The constant formation and personnel changes opponents present necessitates a comprehensive awareness of the entire unit.

Redshirt sophomore Ukeme Eligwe is campaigning for a starting position this spring. He played in 13 games last season, mostly out of position at outside linebacker. A natural inside linebacker, he was uncomfortable and out of his element flanked to either side of the defense. But this spring he is once again playing inside linebacker and is doing so with a better appreciation and understanding of playing in the middle.

“Whatever the call is I know exactly what the outside man is doing and that makes it easier for me to know ‘I don’t have to go over here because he has the flats, and I can drop,’ so I’m glad I moved to the outside last year,” Eligwe said. “Now it’s a little easier. I know the defense a lot more.”

The 15 practices permitted during the spring are the optimal time for Fisher to explore. Coaches have a limited amount of hours of on-field practice time during the fall. Fisher said the hope is he can build a strong enough base in the spring that if and when a player is called upon in a meaningful situation, he can reach back into his library to bring forth the information he filed away five months earlier.

“It’s demanding on them because they have to learn quickly in a short amount of time, but in the long run it’s going to help. Right now you got to cram as much information as you can,” Fisher said. “If you’re familiar with something, it makes it easy to learn it once the package comes out.”

It would be na´ve to believe Fisher is not cramming that same information for his own use. He is interested to see how Ramsey works at nickelback or how Erving responds at center and whether it might give Florida State the best chance to win. The spring is meant for tinkering, but it also gives Fisher an opportunity to appraise his roster and formulate a way to get the best 11 players on the field.

“You don’t know a guy can do this [at a different position] and you can mix and match to get the best personnel on the field in different packages,” Fisher said. “… You’re always looking for that.”
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Torrential downpours pelted the roof of the Albert J. Dunlap facility on Monday, but Jimbo Fisher’s ears were not in tune to the rain. The only thunder the Seminoles coach wanted to hear was when linebacker meets running back at the goal line.

One week removed from a scrimmage in which he dubbed his team “lazy,” Fisher beamed following Monday’s scrimmage when discussing the Noles’ toughness.

"Much more intensity, more physical, more plays being made. For instance, a guy was covered tight, made a great throw and catch. A guy gets out in the open field, some guy comes flashing out and makes a play,” he said. “Still have to get better, but it was a very physical, good scrimmage."

The message was sent last week that Florida State would not rest on its laurels from 2013. Fisher was laconic after the Noles’ first spring scrimmage, and the few words he had for his team gravitated around the term “average.” He needed to see a renewed toughness in a team that has all the tools to land a place in the inaugural college football playoff. And if the Noles were not going to show that grit, then Fisher felt he might as well be the one to bring it out of them.

The end of practices would be goal-line drills, often the ultimate test of a team’s bravado. It’s the 11 best on offense and 11 best on defense, scrapping for each and every yard. Linebacker Ukeme Eligwe said Fisher told his team he’s going to find out how many of his players are equipped to play for the Noles.

“There was some pops today,” Fisher said.

Sophomore defensive back Jalen Ramsey prides himself on his physicality, and he said the secondary on Monday laid some big hits on the young, inexperienced receivers. Ramsey was impressed to see the receivers -- all but two weighing less than 200 pounds -- get up and jog back to the huddle each time, though.

“Was a lot better intensity out there, a lot better toughness showed by everybody,” Ramsey said. “… Coach told us to step it up, toughen it up, have more competition out there so we really worked on that in practice last week and wanted to show it [Monday] in the scrimmage.”

Florida State is far from a complete team -- injuries and departures have created concerns -- but the attitude the coaching staff is looking for is taking shape.

Asked if this Monday scrimmage looked like a Florida State practice, Fisher once again was short. Except this time, however, he was considerably more affable.

“Yes,” Fisher responded. “Much more that way.”
It was reported Wednesday that Florida State was altering its Seminoles logo, the university has released a statement on the forthcoming changes to one of college football’s most recognizable logos.

The new logo, which will be released April 11, has been under discussion for almost two years after issues reproducing the Seminole Head.

“The issue was that our Seminole Head, while as recognizable and iconic as any in all of sports, does not reproduce well in a number of mediums,” the university statement said. “It is particularly difficult to embroider and impossible to accurately represent on some materials including at midfield at Doak Campbell Stadium. We believe this image is the best in all of sports and that the result of our efforts will maximize the symbol on a national level.

“The refined logo will allow us to use it more prominently across all platforms including our uniforms, sideline apparel and graphics.”

It was originally rumored the Seminole Tribe of Florida requested alterations to the Seminole logo, but both the Tribe and Florida State said the changes did not come at the Tribe’s behest. Florida State said in the statement Nike helped recreate the logo.

“We tasked Nike for help in refining the logo so that consistency can be achieved without diminishing the identity of the iconic image,” the statement said. “We arrived at a design that can take FSU Athletics into the future.”

ACC lunchtime links

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
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Lots of news out of Tallahassee ...

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
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The ACC is a football conference!
Through the first third of spring practice, guard Kareem Are was still walking the sidelines in street clothes. It was the story of the spring for Florida State’s top early enrollees -- they all were expected to contribute early but were sidelined for various reasons.

Dalvin Cook tore the labrum in his shoulder and is sidelined until the summer. Kain Daub has an NCAA Clearinghouse issue and can’t practice. But as for Are, a junior college transfer, there were questions surrounding his absence from the first five practices. There were whispers he came in overweight -- he dropped 15 pounds before practice started -- but Jimbo Fisher never said Are was dealing with a specific injury.

Whatever the case, Are, listed at 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds, is emerging as the star of the spring despite practicing only three times. Following a Monday scrimmage in which Fisher expressed disappointment with nearly every facet of his team, he made a point to heap praise on the junior.

“[Are is] learning what to do, but I’ll tell you what, very talented, very good player,” Fisher said. “I’m extremely excited. He has a chance to really help us. He’s a big, athletic guy, learns well, you can coach him hard, takes criticism. … He’s done his work and he paid attention when he was sitting out.”

Considering how the early enrollees have fared thus far, it is only fitting even Are had trouble getting cleared at Florida State. He planned to enroll for the start of classes Jan. 6, but by mid-January he was still being held up by online classes he took previously.

The Seminoles brought in Are, ranked No. 46 in the ESPN Junior College 50, with the idea he would immediately add depth and push for a starting spot in 2015. The Noles return four of their five offensive linemen from a season ago but will undergo a complete overhaul next offseason. In only three practices, Fisher said Are has exceeded expectations.

Senior right guard Tre' Jackson was not available for Monday’s scrimmage, so it was the newcomer Are receiving the bulk of the first-team snaps. Lined up across from Are occasionally was former five-star defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., the No. 1 recruit in the 2012 class, who was in harmony with Fisher regarding Are’s quick start.

“He’s definitely aggressive, that’s one of the good things I’ve noticed about him,” Edwards said. “He loves to pile you in the ground if you let him, and he has strong hands.”

ACC's lunch links

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31
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Hot: Florida hoops. Not: Florida football.
Florida State is halfway through its allotted spring practices, and Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher is so confident based on the first seven sessions he is thinking of adding another two games to the schedule.

“We’ll probably go 17-0,” Fisher joked Saturday. With the new college football playoff, 15 is the maximum number of games a team can play.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsJimbo Fisher is eager to see how his team handles Monday's first scrimmage of the spring.
Following that opening one-liner, Fisher had some positive and negative reviews of his team.

“It’s hard to tell until you get to scrimmages because you’re working situations. I see a lot of good things out of younger guys, a lot of the older guys are starting to get in the groove and take on the leadership role, so it’s probably where I thought,” he said. “I’m not real excited, but I’m not real down. I’m not either way. I’m just kind of waiting to see and trying to be patient of where we go.”

Following Saturday’s practice, the fifth-year coach mentioned that the team is improving, but he is waiting for the Noles to take the next step. Despite returning Heisman winner Jameis Winston, nearly the entire offensive line and several defensive playmakers, this is a team dealing with question marks that need answering by September.

Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. are giving way to Karlos Williams, and Timmy Jernigan and Kelvin Benjamin are potential first-round picks that have to be replaced. The defense is undergoing a leadership overhaul.

It can’t be expected for every issue to be resolved in 14 spring practices and a spring game, but Fisher is looking for glimpses before the summer recess.

Football is increasingly becoming a game built on exploiting matchups and situations, and much of the first seven practices have focused on situational football, Fisher said.

“Fundamentally, we’re getting better, but we need to learn to get more intelligent [in situations] -- how to play, how to think, that’ll allow us to play faster and more efficiently. I think that’s the next step we need to get to,” Fisher said. “We really got to take our time and work situations to understand how to be a smart football team, play with intelligence and play at an elite level and separate ourselves.”

The coaching staff will get its best view of the 2014 team on Monday during the Noles’ first scrimmage. Fisher will better be able to gauge the maturation of his underclassmen starters and whether the upperclassmen have heeded the advice of the departed leaders Monday when Fisher does his best to simulate the bright lights that will be on his team in Dallas against Oklahoma State in the season opener.

“Consistency and who’s ready to play and see how they step up with the scoreboard on,” Fisher said are what he’s looking for most Monday. “I’m anxious to see. We’ll work situations. I’m not worried about yards, not worried about touchdowns, I want to get guys in situations and see how they play.”

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