Christian Jones and Terrence Brooks provide steady play in expanded roles.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State football team is a week into fall practice and head coach Jimbo Fisher likes what he sees.
After a day off on Monday, the Seminoles hit the Al Dunlap Practice Fields hard on Tuesday, donning pads for the third time and completing their second two-a-day practice of fall camp. Following the 9:30 a.m. morning session, Fisher said he thinks the Seminoles are ahead of last season’s pace both on and off the field.
“I think we are much more physical up front (this year),” Fisher said. “I think we’ve been able to run the ball much better in camp. Our knowledge of what we are doing – getting in the system – not just the X’s and O’s part, but how we go about things. Things that are accepted in the program and practice habits, and things like that. I see the older guys reinforcing that. As coaches, we do not have to get on those guys. They do it, and we can stay with the coaching. Our leadership from that standpoint has been very good.”
Two veterans that have been standing out in camp are junior linebacker Christian Jones and junior safety Terrence Brooks.
Jones moved to weakside linebacker this season after starting all 13 games at the strongside linebacker position a year ago. The 6-4, 240-pound Winter Park, Fla., native is making a case that he can pick up where current Buffalo Bills rookie Nigel Bradham left off a year ago.
“I like what Christian is doing,” Fisher said. “He’s athletic. He flashes at you. He’s so athletic and long. He’s doing a better job in the box now taking things on. For the most part, Christian is having a good camp.”
Brooks is expected to take over the starting free safety job after serving as a backup and playing primarily in dime packages last season. He also has experience at cornerback, and Fisher said the 5-11, 196-pounder could play there if needed. Brooks is most valuable to the Noles right now at safety, however, as it’s one of the toughest positions for younger players to learn.
“There’s a lot to learn at safety,” Fisher said. “You are in the pass-game, you are in the run game. It’s a combination – where your fits are and where you are helping. Safety can be a very complicated position. (Brooks) is doing a nice job. He’s played the best going in. He’s probably played the most consistent. He’s a cover guy, he’s making some plays and he’s learning to be much more consistent.”
Brooks has donned a blue non-contact jersey for all of camp, but hasn’t missed a practice.
Moments after the Seminoles left the field following the morning practice, storms hit and lasted much of the middle of the day. The skies cleared later in the afternoon and the Noles returned for a 7:15 p.m. practice. FSU will practice at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday before gearing up for its first closed scrimmage of the preseason on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.