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Monday, April 1, 2013
FSU week in review: Trickett, WRs shine

By David M. Hale

Clint Trickett
Clint Trickett's consistency has won out thus far in Florida State's quarterback derby, as his accuracy has overshadowed the big arms of Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State is halfway through spring practice, and while the bulk of the big questions looming over the team still need answering, there's been some marked progress along the way. Here are a handful of the most noteworthy stories from Week 2 of the spring.

Trickett leads the pack: By no means is the quarterback competition drawing to a close. If anything, it's just getting started. But as the calendar flips to April, it's clear that the veteran, Clint Trickett, is leading the pack.

While Trickett might not have the arm strength or mobility that has made Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker such intriguing options, he's got the best handle on the offense and, during the practices open to media, has been the most accurate of the bunch.

Meanwhile, Coker and Winston have both been somewhat limited during practices. Coker is still bothered by a foot injury that had him in a walking boot for several weeks, and he's been relegated largely to shotgun formations and prevented from running at full speed. Winston continues to split time between football and baseball, and Fisher admitted this week that on days when Winston pitches for the baseball team, he's held to a limited number of throws during practice.

Of course, that's no indictment on what Winston's capable of doing. He's already shown off the big arm and impressive athleticism, which means the battle will rage on for the starting job.

"[Winston] puts it on the money and gets out of the pocket when he needs to. But I love Clint, too," safety Terrence Brooks said. "I wouldn't want to be in a position to pick who's going to be our quarterback because they look real good."

The defense has a whole new look: The base defense might not have changed dramatically from what Mark Stoops ran last year, but Jeremy Pruitt is definitely putting his stamp on things as the new defensive coordinator.

FSU's defenders have raved about a more aggressive approach that likely means a lot more blitzing -- from linebackers, safeties and corners -- and a lot more cross-training. Karlos Williams has been working at safety, nickel and linebacker, Giorgio Newberry and Chris Casher have worked out of the 3-4, covering tight ends, Christian Jones has worked as a pass rusher with his hand on the ground -- it's been a little of everything thus far.

In fact, the blueprint for what Pruitt's hoping to do with FSU's defense comes straight from Tuscaloosa, and FSU's players have been watching plenty of tape on Alabama's national-title winning defense from the past few years.

"The guys we have, we have so many great athletes on the team," Jones said. "To be in a system like this, it's going to showcase our skills more. I'm excited for it, and once we get it all down, we have a really dominant defense."

The receivers should be deep: Fisher has raved about the work of his receiving corps thus far, highlighted by a sterling few weeks by Greg Dent and some strong performances out of the tight ends. So while the quarterback is a big question mark, it certainly sounds like whoever wins the job should have an array of targets.

"The receivers are really learning all the spots," Fisher said. "They're being interchangeable, so you can move them around and create more ways to get them the ball. … It allows guys that get hot, you can move them to positions to get them the ball more. I'm very pleased with what they're doing."

Walker is still waiting: While Newberry, Casher and Dan Hicks all battle for the vacant starting job at defensive end, freshman Demarcus Walker has yet to go through a full practice with the team.

Walker was an early enrollee after spurning Alabama at the last moment, and he worked with FSU's players during fourth-quarter drills last month, but thanks to an issue with the NCAA clearinghouse, Walker isn't allowed to join in spring practice. Fisher continues to believe it won't be a significant issue longterm, but each day Walker misses is time he could've spent earning a share of the reps at defensive end.