- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher said he didn’t have any expectations for Florida State’s first scrimmage.
Well, odds are he didn’t expect the first two players he praised following Monday’s practice would be a walk-on receiver and a backup offensive guard. And not to rain on Jared Jackson's and Kareem Are's parades, but, when it comes halfway through Fisher’s media session, that is more of an indictment of the reigning national champions than anything else.
“It was a very average scrimmage both ways,” Fisher said.
Even the quarterbacks, Jimbo, where Heisman winner Jameis Winston returns?
OK … what about the defensive line, where you have all those five-star recruits?
“No, nothing outstanding.”
Time to try something else: The younger receivers are getting first-team reps and working extensively with Winston for the first time, so what do you want to see more of from them?
“Get open and catch the ball. I’m not seeing enough of it.”
It was evident early on he had no interest in filling up reporters’ notepads with positive spin. Fisher was terse answering most questions, often falling back on the adage that he needs to look at the film. That’s usually coach speak for “I’m none too pleased.”
As mediocre as Fisher made the scrimmage out to be, the reality is it is still the spring. A dozen Noles expected to start or at least play significant minutes in the fall were either held out of practice or in a green non-contact jersey. This is still a program that has recruited as well as any since 2011 and has elite talent at nearly every position.
Coming off a national championship and with a roster made primarily up of players who have experienced losing just twice (if that) since coming to Florida State, there is certainly more incentive for Fisher to try to bring the team back down to earth. The Noles have been adamant all spring complacency has not set in, but Fisher was annoyed at the lack of intensity and enthusiasm Monday. Former coach Bobby Bowden said it is imperative Fisher see complacency and “nip it in the bud” as soon as possible, and maybe that is what the fifth-year coach is doing.
The first scrimmage is far too early to make any type of definitive statement about this team, as inviting as it can be when dealing with the obvious preseason No. 1. Myriad questions surrounded the Noles coming into the spring and some have been answered while others are still coming into focus. There are concerns, but what happens Aug. 30 will not be determined March 31.
“I stay in the reality world. When you expect things you get in trouble,” Fisher said. “You just wait and see what your eyes tell you.”
His eyes are telling him this is an unfinished product. Our heads are telling us it’s only April.
6dJared Shanker and Andrea Adelson