By Marcus Joseph
Seminoles Spring Football Practice Opens
Tallahassee, Fla. – With off-season changes to the offense and defense, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher looks forward to seeing improvements and development from his maturing team this spring.
“You can experiment a lot in the spring and move guys around and see who the play makers are and who can be versatile and do things for your team,” said head coach Jimbo Fisher during a news conference on Monday. “I’m looking forward to how they can jump up and compete and not only provide competition for starting jobs but for good quality depth. That’s always the key.”
Over the off-season head coach Fisher made some personnel changes switching junior defensive end Dan Hicks to offense and moving defensive tackle Cameron Erving to the offensive line.
One of the biggest challenges of the spring session for the FSU offense will be to find a starting offensive line. The Seminoles struggled last season at the offensive line position giving up 40 sacks for a total of 286 yards.
“It’s a wide open competition.” said head coach Jimbo Fisher. “What hurt us last year may have been one of the best things that happened to us in terms of moving forward because you had to play those guys. The off-season they had was a good one.
Quarterback EJ Manuel looks forward to seeing his offensive line become more vocal, and expects for them to display leadership this spring.
“I expect communication and I expect leadership from those guys,” said quarterback EJ Manuel. “I expect those guys to speak up, whether there’s a problem or whether they want to give props to somebody, I think they should be able to speak out and give their opinion on how they feel.”
“I’ve always felt like the linemen are our anchors as far as offense, so if those guys are playing well we’re all going to play well, he also said.”
EJ Manuel, who finished the 2011-12 season with a total of 2,666 passing yards, 411 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns will be focused on getting accustomed to his starting line this spring.
“I think the biggest thing is just getting settled,” said EJ Manuel. “Obviously, with our line getting a lot better this year and all of the guys being healthy right now, it’ll just be getting used to our starting line and trying to carry that over into the summertime.”
This spring session QB EJ Manuel will also have the opportunity to work with a number of his talented receivers.
“The morale of out receivers is extremely high right now,” said QB EJ Manuel. “I think he’s (Fisher given me more toys to play with because we have more weapons. With all the receivers that we have coming back- I think we only lost Bert (Reed)- and obviously he was an intricate part to our offense, but we have a lot of fire power still. I think its going to be huge. Whoever is in the game at receiver, or whatever we want to do, we can pretty much do it and I think that’s something that coach Fisher will do with whatever game plan he has for us, so whatever we want to do offensively will pretty much be easy for us to do.”
The Seminoles opened their spring practice Monday on the Al Dunlap practice field without pads. The team will be back on the practice field Wednesday, and Thursday for their first day in shoulder pads.