- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Florida State will still hit the practice field five more times before the opener, so Jimbo Fisher isn't making any promises that things won't change by the time the Seminoles take the field against Murray State on Saturday.
As it stands, Fisher has his starting lineup set, and Florida State released its first depth chart of the fall Monday with few surprises.
The two biggest position battles were at right tackle and field corner, and in both cases Fisher went with the player most fans were already expecting, with junior college transfer Menelik Watson nailing down the final spot on the offensive line and sophomore Nick Waisome taking over the corner job held by Greg Reid for the past three seasons.
Watson split time with Daniel Glauser throughout fall practice, and while Fisher said it was a particularly close battle, the reason Watson won the job was simple.
"He played better," Fisher said. "Glauser made tremendous strides, and I'd feel very comfortable putting him in the game and playing him, but I thought Menelik was definitely the most efficient and has a very big upside."
While both Glauser and Watson are in their first year at Florida State, it was experience that may have given the edge to Waisome in the battle for the cornerback job.
Waisome played only sparingly a year ago, but he showed a more consistent understanding of the playbook this fall than true freshman Ronald Darby, who opens the season at No. 2 on the depth chart.
"Nick's been around, played very well, made a lot of good plays, is an intelligent guy who's been in the system," Fisher said. "He had a very solid camp, and I look forward to watching him play on Saturday."
Fisher said Darby will get a chance to play against Murray State, and there remains a real possibility that both the tackle and corner jobs could see more fluctuations after the coaches get a chance to see players in a real game.
Meanwhile, the rest of the depth chart offered few serious competitions.
Chris Thompson is the official starter at tailback, and Fisher said the senior, who missed the bulk of 2011 with a broken back, will get the chance to run the ball often. Still, Fisher expects all three of his running backs to play.
"I feel very good about all three guys," Fisher said of his running back rotation, which includes Thompson, and sophomores Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. "Chris is our starter and he'll get plenty of reps and plenty of carries, but we'll get Devonta and Wilder in. I've been really impressed with Wilder the last week, week-and-a-half."
Only a handful of true freshmen were even listed on the initial depth chart, but Fisher said several will get a chance to see significant action against Murray State.
Receiver Marvin Bracy is also listed as the No. 3 receiver at the Y position and as a backup in kick return duties, but Fisher said the freshman may be brought along slowly after missing significant practice time with a nagging hamstring injury.
"We're still working because he hasn't gotten as many reps," Fisher said. "But we feel very pleased because you can see his ability. He catches the ball on kickoffs very well, working on punts. But we'll have to judge this week how much progress he makes."
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