FSU notes: New voices open spring

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
10:37
PM ET
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's first practice of the spring Wednesday offered few similarities to the way the 2012 season concluded.

A wealth of players have moved on, though Menelik Watson still mixed with his former teammates on the offensive line as Bobby Hart worked at his old position with the first-team offense. Thanks to construction of the new indoor practice facility, even the surroundings were off. But the biggest difference was the raised voices of a bevy of new coaches running through drills that resembled those led by Mark Stoops and James Coley a year ago, but now came with a distinctly new tenor.

Jimbo Fisher
AP Photo/Don Juan MooreJimbo Fisher's new staff members gave the Seminoles' first spring practice a different feel.
"They're a little in shell shock right now," said new defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri. "They're probably in there saying, 'Boy, the man is crazy.' But I want them to think that."

Sunseri was perhaps the most vocal of the new coaches, but there was plenty of volume to go around. New quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders helped Jimbo Fisher corral four candidates vying for the starting job. Charles Kelly, Jay Graham and Tim Brewster barked at their position groups, and Jeremy Pruitt commanded his first practice as a college coordinator.

For all the changes, however, Fisher said the day went smoothly.

"Most of those guys know the tempo of what we do in practice, how we practice, so it really wasn't that big a change," Fisher said. "It's the same tempo of practice, but they may emphasize a different individual drill, add a call or two, just the verbiage. Some of the new stuff was a little different."

Considering the mass of walk-ons, a bevy of players adjusting to new roles and the rust that comes from nearly three months without an official, organized practice, there was still a few moments of chaos -- P.J. Williams caught grief for not wearing his helmet, Giorgio Newberry heard an earful following a misstep during a drill -- and the assignments weren't entirely sharp. That's to be expected on Day 1, Sunseri said, but it's not exactly tolerated.

"The kids are open, they're listening -- and I'm going to ride them," Sunseri said. "I'm going to ride them because it's not easy to do what we're asking them to do."

The hope is things progress quickly as Fisher and his new assistants install more of FSU's offense and defense for Day 2 of practices Thursday. But as starting points go, Fisher said, Wednesday's work was encouraging.

"It's never where you want it to be on the first day, but I'm not displeased at all," Fisher said.
Elder statesmen: Florida State's young quarterbacks may be traversing new territory this spring as they battle to replace EJ Manuel as the Seminoles' starter, but they're not working alone.

While Manuel was forced into the role of mentor for a young supporting cast in recent years, Jacob Coker, Jameis Winston and the other QBs have the luxury of some veteran talent around them this spring -- particularly at receiver.

"It's our job to make those guys look good when they're going through something," junior receiver Rashad Greene said. "They're not as experienced as EJ was, so it's our job to take that role and pick them up when things aren't going good and make those plays when the ball is not so perfect."

It was a typical first day for the quarterbacks Wednesday, Fisher said, with a handful of errant throws or errant footwork, but it was already clear that the experience of FSU's receiving corps provided a distinct advantage.

"Guys were getting in the right spot, which makes it easier on them, making decisions," Fisher said.

Clint Trickett was first up with the first-team offense Wednesday, but as expected, all four of the quarterbacks rotated throughout practice. That was a positive for the receivers, too, Greene said, because a few good throws can make all the difference.

"I try to get reps with all the quarterbacks, just trying to make them feel a lot more confident in what they're doing," Greene said.

Walker sits out: Freshman defensive end DeMarcus Walker missed the first day of spring practice as the NCAA clearinghouse investigated a potential problem with his transcripts.

Walker, an early enrollee in the 2013 recruiting class, has worked with the team throughout the offseason drills, and Fisher had praised his efforts in the classroom thus far, but he said the NCAA simply wants to make sure there are no problems before Walker begins official work with the team.

"I'm anticipating everything will be fine," Fisher said. "I don't think anything will be wrong, but the clearinghouse wants to dot their I's and cross their T's."

Newberry and Mario Edwards Jr. took first-team reps at defensive end Wednesday, with Dan Hicks and Chris Casher working with the No. 2s. Casher, who missed nearly all of 2012 with a knee injury, participated in every drill, Sunseri said.

Extra points: Fisher confirmed offensive lineman Henry Orelus has graduated and is no longer with the team. ... Eddie Goldman took first-team reps at defensive tackle Wednesday. Senior Demonte McAllister, the expected starter, will miss spring practice with an injury.

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