Weekly Rewind: Concerns at CB, WR

August, 12, 2012
8/12/12
8:25
AM ET
Every Sunday, NoleNation will take a look back at the week that was around Florida State, recapping the top stories and shedding a little light on a few that might have fallen between the cracks.

Week 1 of fall camp is in the books, and while it hasn't gone exactly according to plan, a few storylines began to emerge.

1. The weather

Fans pining for an indoor practice facility got plenty of ammunition during the first week of practice, with Monday's workouts washed out completely, while Tuesday and Friday included lightning delays. The rest of the week, Jimbo Fisher dodged the raindrops by having the Seminoles practice at 5:30 in the morning -- a diversion from the normal schedule that players didn't seem to mind too much.

“You wake up early and get it out of the way," senior fullback Lonnie Pryor said. “It’s early, but once you’re up and get going [practice] goes kind of good and the rest of the day is just free.”

2. The offensive line

No unit will be under more scrutiny leading up to the start of the season than the offensive line, which allowed the most sacks in the ACC last season and remains something of a work in progress for now.

Bobby Hart, who started the final nine games of the 2011 season, has been working almost exclusively with the second-team offense, while junior college transfer Daniel Glauser has seen plenty of action with the No. 1s at right tackle. Meanwhile, Bryan Stork has seen the bulk of the first-team reps at center, while Austin Barron, the projected starter at the end of spring practice, has been largely relegated to second-team reps.

The shake-ups aren't necessarily an indication that Barron and Hart won't be in the starting lineup against Murray State on Sept. 1, but Fisher said there's still more he needs to see from the line.

"We've got plenty of good guys," Fisher said. "It's who can be the most consistent to let you know who you can count on and let you know how to plan, when does he need help, when does he not need help. Consistency is the key."

On that end, Fisher said there's more work to be done. But given last year's struggles, he said the offensive line overall has shown great strides thus far.

3. The defensive backfield

When Greg Reid was dismissed a week before camp opened, the secondary became an immediate focal point.

Reid's reps have gone to sophomore Nick Waisome thus far, and he's done a reasonably good job with handling the role, Fisher said.

But when it comes to pure buzz surrounding a player, it's been freshman Ronald Darby that has topped the list. He's still a bit raw, but Darby has impressed teammates and has clearly put himself in the mix for a job.

"The fact that he has the raw instincts and the speed to match it, that's his biggest thing," quarterback EJ Manuel said. "That's what you want in a corner, someone who's instinctive. That's what Greg did. Hopefully Darby can contribute early, and I think he can. He has the maturity to do it."

While Darby and Waisome figure to battle for playing time, it's been tougher to get two other corners on the field.

Xavier Rhodes continues to be bothered by a knee injury that kept him out of spring practice, while redshirt freshman Keelin Smith is expected to miss a couple more days of practice due to a knee injury of his own.

4. The wide receivers

The receiver position figures to be a strength for Florida State, but Fisher isn't exactly thrilled with how the unit has performed thus far.

"We had a couple nice big plays, but more consistency," Fisher said. "Ball's in the air, it's our ball. … You've got to make plays when you're being tightly covered and use your size and power and physical over people."

It's not all bad, however. Fisher praised Greg Dent, who has looked sharp despite wearing a non-contact jersey while recovering from an injury, and Fisher has raved about the progress made by 6-foot-6 Kelvin Benjamin. And, of course, star sophomore Rashad Greene has already made his share of plays even after Fisher predicted a slow start following an appendectomy just two weeks ago.

5. The running backs

It was a bit of good news, bad news for FSU's tailbacks during Week 1.

Freshman Mario Pender's season ended before it got started, as Fisher announced the tailback would miss the year following surgery to repair a groin injury.

Pender wasn't likely to earn significant playing time this year, but given the number of question marks surrounding the players ahead of him on the depth chart, it's still far from an ideal spot to have a serious injury.

On the flip side, however, senior Chris Thompson and sophomore Devonta Freeman appear fully recovered from back injuries that held them out during spring practice.

Thompson has looked particularly sharp, taking virtually every rep with the starters and turning in his share of nice runs.

"It's been a journey, man," said Thompson, who broke two bones in his back against Wake Forest last season. "This whole year has been a rough year for me. But now I can really say that I'm feeling good. Feeling great, to be honest with you."

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Impact Performance Nominees
The Capital One Cup Impact Performances Of The Week include John Crockett of North Dakota State, Cody Kessler of USC, Dak Prescott of Mississippi State and Rashad Greene of Florida State.
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