Ask anyone what the Achilles heel of the 2005 Florida State football team was, and, nine times out ten, the answer will be the offensive line. Injuries, lack of experience and the implementation of a new blocking scheme all contributed to a sub par year for a unit that is traditionally strong for the Seminole program.
Now in the second spring practice session under the direction of coach Mark McHale, who was hired during last year’s offseason, the offensive line appears to be showing signs of much needed improvement.
Arguably, the player who is leading that charge is senior Mario Henderson. Despite a continued shift of players by McHale to find the best functioning pairing of athletes, Henderson has been a staple at left tackle since spring practice began in mid-March.
“Spring is going real good for me. It’s nice to be back in the flow of things,” Henderson said. “I am working real hard and really just trying to help out my team any way that I can.”
After struggling to find his place on the depth chart through the early part of his career, the Lehigh Acres native saw all that change last December. Despite poor showings by the offensive line in the three final regular season games, Henderson helped pace an inspiring performance in the inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game.
His stellar showing in the upset victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies in Jacksonville has since carried over to the spring where, according to McHale, Henderson has graded out the highest among all offensive linemen.
“That was a big game for me and I have been determined to keep that up,” Henderson said of the championship contest in which he found himself in the starting lineup due to an injury to then-starting tackle Cory Niblock. “I’ve just got to not let myself fall back down. I am trying to not let that happen because that would let my teammates down.”
With the spring practice session drawing closer and closer to its end, Henderson and his fellow offensive line mates are hoping to keep improving. Already this spring, a significant change has already been prevalent as there have been far fewer mental lapses by the unit and increased protection for quarterback Drew Weatherford.
“Coach has been stressing to us that we can be great,” he said. “He believes in us and that means a lot to us. Another thing that has helped is all the experience that we have. We are missing guys like (David) Castillo and (Matt) Meinrod but at some point, (John) Frady and Dumaka (Atkins) have started. Jacky (Claude) is a good player for us with starting experience too.”
“As for me,” Henderson added, “it’s real important that I gain the confidence of my coaches and keep that. I am a leader on this team now and I have to play like that.”
Friday, March 31, 2006
Ask anyone what the Achilles heel of the 2005 Florida State football team was, and, nine times out ten, the answer will be the offensive line. Injuries, lack of experience and the implementation of a new blocking scheme all contributed to a sub par year for a unit that is traditionally strong for the Seminole program.
Posted by tallynolefan at 6:22 AM
Mark your calendars for April 8. The Seminole Football team concludes spring practice with the annual Garnet and Gold Spring game Saturday, April 8th at 2 PM at Doak Campbell Stadium. Admission is free for all fans and gates will open at 1 PM. Prior to the game, fans can stop by Seminole Village from 12-2pm on Langford Green where inflatable games and activities will be set-up.
Fans attending the game are reminded that seating is open on the WEST side of the stadium. Fans can enter the stadium through gates B, C, D, F or X starting at 1pm. Restrooms and concession stands will be open on the west side of the stadium only! Free parking is available in surrounding stadium lots.
Posted by tallynolefan at 4:47 AM
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Mention nose guard Paul Griffin, and Florida State tailback Lorenzo Booker responds with a big smile. There's an explanation behind that odd reaction from someone who has been on the wrong end of a bruising collision with the former Pensacola High student-athlete and transfer from Butler County (Kan.) Community College. But Booker understands the importance of defense, and from what he and his FSU teammates have seen, Griffin can ....Read More>>>.
Posted by tallynolefan at 12:05 PM
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
It is coming along. We're making progress, there's no doubt about it. Sometimes I wish we could run every down just to see what we could do. The running game has made progress and I want to keep doing it, but of course you can't do it without a line. I don't care what kind of backs you've got, if you're inferior up front, then you can forget it. But we're getting some good work there (offensive line) and the guys have stayed healthy and are getting better."
Comments: Why is Bobby Bowden seemingly already attempting to make excuses for the running game? Fans will accept no more excuses for his son. Period.
(on quarterback Drew Weatherford's efforts to cut down on his turnovers)
"I don't think he's thrown an interception this spring, has he? That's a good thing. There are so many things that you think of as negatives that are very important in football and one of them is not throwing interceptions. If he wasn't completing as many passes as he normally was, but wasn't throwing interceptions, you'd probably say he still improved. The old expression, `you don't win games, you lose them' is so true. You lose them by throwing interceptions, by fumbling, by taking penalties."
(on the running backs so far this spring)
"Antone [Smith] is doing as good as I'd hoped. (Lorenzo) Booker is doing as good as I'd hoped. (Jamaal) Edwards gives us a little more power, he's 220 pounds now. (Russell) Ball has been the surprise to me, because I see some talent there. Then of course we've got (Pat) Davis who's a walk-on but he's just as tough as is gets."
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:13 PM
The Florida State football team hit the practice fields in full pads for eight periods of fundamental work and then moved to the stadium for an 18-period scrimmage Wednesday afternoon. In field goals before the scrimmage, Gary Cismesia was perfect on attempts from 20, 42, 42 and 47 yards. Graham Gano hit from 20, 42 and 47, but missed his last kick from 47 out. Punter Brent Moody has been serving as the new holder this spring. The Seminoles featured the running game in the scrimmage and Lorenzo Booker led the way with 48 yards on five carries. Russell Ball ran six times for 34 yards while Antone Smith scored on a 32-yard run. Everette Brown had two tackles for loss and a sack for the defense while Derek Nicholson and Paul Griffin added two tackles for loss apiece. Alex Boston had a sack and a forced fumble. In goalline, the defense held the offense out of the endzone on five of seven tries. Brown had a tackle for loss with Jamaal Edwards and Pat Davis picking up the only two touchdowns in goalline.
David Overmyer, who started at offensive tackle last year, got some work at right guard on Wednesday. Mario Henderson and Shannon Boatman received the majority of the playing time at the tackle spots.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:08 PM
Today's postcard comes from Tallahassee, Fla. I was at Florida State's practice Monday and came away impressed with sophomore QB Drew Weatherford. He was very accurate and really comes across as a mature guy ready to lead this program. He said that he feels a lot more decisive now and that having a year of playing experience....Read More>>>.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:54 AM
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
6-1, 200, Quarterback
Leesburg, GA (Lee County HS)
A tremendous athlete and four-star prospect according to Rivals.com who is ranked as the No. 1 athlete in the state of Georgia...the No. 11 athlete in the nation according to Rivals.com who ranked 10th among all prospects in the Postseason Georgia Top 50 for 2006...a five-star prospect according to Scout.com...an All-American selection by PrepStar Magazine...named the Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-State in 2005 by the Georgia Sports Writers Association...threw for over 2,200 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for 1,050 yards and 17 more scores, leading Lee County to a 10-2 record in his final season in 2005...earned honorable mention All-State honors as a junior after passing for 1,758 yards and running for 1,130 yards, scoring a total of 29 touchdowns...named the quarterback on GaSports.com's pre-season All-State Offense for Georgia seniors...ran a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 32-inch vertical leap at the Tallahassee Nike Camp last May, both ranked as the second best numbers among quarterbacks in attendance...also an outstanding baseball player and is the No. 82 high school player nationally according to Baseball America...chose Florida State over Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma.
5-11, 169, Cornerback
Miami, FL (Gulliver Prep)
A four-star player and No. 16 cornerback in the nation according to Rivals.com...listed as the No. 37 overall prospect and No. 5 cornerback in the state on Rivals.com's Postseason Florida Top 100 for 2006...also regarded as a four-star recruit and No. 16 cornerback in the country by Scout.com...named first-team All-State for Class 2A by the Florida Sports Writers Association after his senior season...represented Team Florida in the annual CaliFlorida Bowl and was named to Rivals.com's Florida Hot 11 list after his performance the event's practices and ensuing game...an All-Region selection by PrepStar Magazine prior to his senior season after recording 32 catches for 491 yards and six touchdowns on offense and intercepting eight passes on defense as a junior at Gulliver...clocked at 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at last April's Miami Nike Camp...chose Florida State over Florida, Minnesota and Tennessee.
Posted by tallynolefan at 7:43 PM
Monday, March 27, 2006
The Seminoles held a light 20-period in shorts Monday afternoon after reviewing the film for Saturday's full scrimmage. Cornerback Korey Mangum stood out for the defense with three pass break-ups in 7-on-7 pass skeleton including one on a deep ball to Greg Carr. Robert Hallback scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Keane and Richard Goodman made a leaping catch in traffic for a 25-yard gain to lead the offense in 7-on-7. The last two periods of practice were used for 11-on-11 with Michael Ray Garvin and Emmanuel Dunbar recording pass break-ups. FSU has five more regular practice days remaining, plus the spring game on April 8 at 2:00 p.m. in Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles will return to practice Wednesday afternoon.
Posted by tallynolefan at 9:14 PM
Florida State linebacker Buster Davis never is at a loss for words.That changed last week. Davis, a senior-to-be from Mainland High, had just been told that Penn State Coach Joe Paterno and his staff had singled him out when they were game-planning for the Seminoles before the 2006 Orange Bowl.Davis, just briefly, was speechless."When a guy like that with that stature....Read More>>>.
Posted by tallynolefan at 9:19 AM
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Lawrence Timmons leaned slightly on a big stick - adorned with feathers - that symbolized the kind of spring the Florida State linebacker has enjoyed.
Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews brought out the big stick that is usually reserved for fall, and is always given to the defensive player with the biggest lick. The No. 1 strongside linebacker received it after Friday's practice from Andrews, who challenged someone else to earn it during the next day's scrimmage. Timmons, with a crunching tackle on fullback Joe Surratt...Read More>>>.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:31 PM
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Tight end is another spot in which FSU coaches are going to have to find a new starter after the graduation of co-starters Matt Henshaw and Donnie Carter. Coach John Lilly will have just one scholarship tight end this spring in redshirt freshman Charlie Graham. Backing up Graham will be walk-ons Edwin Pierre and Jonathan Person. Lilly will have more to work with when Brandon Warren and Caz Piurowski, two of the top prep tight ends in the nation, report in August.
"Charlie Graham and a couple of walk-ons will work at tight end in the spring," said Bowden. "The potential once the two freshmen get here is as probably as good as we've had. These kids have got talent. We've got to count them in because of our lack of numbers."
Observations/Recommendations:For some reason, the coaching staff has not put very much emphasis on the tight end position. By the way, tight ends are allowed to catch the ball. Really. FSU needs to make the tight end part of the offense as such teams as Miami has done with success.
Posted by tallynolefan at 9:54 PM
The Seminoles reached the halfway point of spring practice and held their first full scrimmage on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. The offense started out strong in the first series as Drew Weatherford hit Greg Carr for a 28-yard gain and Antone Smith later found the endzone on a 37-yard run. The defense responded though and held the offense in check for the most part for the remainder of the regular scrimmaging. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons led the defense with six tackles (one for loss) and a forced fumble. Defensive tackle Letroy Guion was also impressive, recording four total tackles for loss including two sacks. Defensive end Alex Boston added four tackles for loss as well with one sack. Safety Myron Rolle also had four tackles (two for loss). Smith paced the offense with 51 yards rushing on just four attempts. Russell Ball carried five times for 37 yards and Lorenzo Booker added 31 yards on eight attempts. The Seminoles focused most of the scrimmage on the running game as Weatherford went 2-of-6 for 43 yards. Walk-on quarterback Jared Whipkey had the only other touchdown, running for a 36-yard score.
Timmons received the "Big Stick" award by defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews for the second straight practice for his hit of fullback Joe Surratt at the goalline which forced a fumble. Usually given after games in the fall, Andrews broke out the "Big Stick" for the first time in the spring and gave it to Timmons following a big hit in Friday's practice. It will reside in Timmons' locker until the coaches see another hit this spring worthy of the honor. The offense finished 4-of-8 in goalline to end the practice. Scores came from Jamaal Edwards (three yards), Surratt (one yard) and Pat Davis (three yards, one yard).
The Seminoles will return to practice Monday afternoon.
Posted by tallynolefan at 7:02 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006
The Seminoles held a light practice in shells for 26 periods on Friday afternoon, focusing mainly on fundamentals and segment drills. The first full scrimmage of the spring will be held on Saturday so contact was kept to a minimum Friday. There were two periods of pass skeleton (7-on-7) and two periods of 11-on-11 at the end of practice. In 7-on-7, Derek Nicholson and Myron Rolle had interceptions while Tony Carter and Korey Mangum added pass break-ups. In 11-on-11, Lawrence Timmons broke up a pass and also forced a fumble on a sack. For the offense, Drew Weatherford was able to find Richard Goodman for a 15-yard gain. The coaches worked on punting at the beginning of the day with Graham Gano, Brent Moody and John McKnight splitting time at punter. Chris Davis, Richard Goodman, Russell Ball, Tony Carter and De'Cody Fagg alternated as punt returners.
Posted by tallynolefan at 11:05 PM
Q: The offense has been successful so far this spring. What are your thoughts on what's gone right?
I'm really excited with what the offense has done. We've come a long way. I didn't expect us to start out so smooth. We've had a lot of penalties, but we're making big plays to make up for that.
Q: You have a healthy offensive line in front of you. How does that help things?
All the credit goes to them. The long runs you see, the deep balls, the plays that Greg Carr is making and Joslin Shaw, those are all being attributed to the offensive line. That's the most important part of the offense and they're really showing up in the beginning of spring.
Q: What does an experienced player like John Frady bring to the offense?
It's really nice to have (Frady). He's experience, smart and a good leader on the field. They have some type of unity and chemistry. They've been working together all season. It's tough going into the year thinking that you're going to have set five guys and three of them go out with injuries.
Posted by tallynolefan at 9:08 AM
One exciting development came out of an otherwise dull meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. Highly touted Florida State signee Myron Rolle told the meeting of the Knight Commission that he was instructed by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming to keep Notre Dame on his short list of schools in order to increase his chances to be named MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl all-star game and ensure that he would be a featured player during the telecast of the game. NBC, which showed the high school game in San Antonio on Jan. 7, also has a contract for Notre Dame home games.
This is not the first time that Lemming has been linked to negative recruiting surrounding FSU, but it is certainly the most noteworthy. Lemming is one of many widely known recruiting wonks whose rankings are used by media outlets and fans to determine the quality of a particular class of incoming freshman football players. Lemming's rankings are used by several major media outlets including USA Today. After he made the comments about being told by Lemming to consider Notre Dame, Myron Rolle repeated the remarks after the end of the committee's session.
"He told me if I kept Notre Dame in mind, the NBC (TV) guy would interview me and they would showcase me during the game. He told me I'd have a higher chance of being MVP. I took it as having less of a chance of getting MVP if I didn't keep Notre Dame on my list."
Lemming denies that the conversation ever took place, and claimed that Rolle misconstrued questions about his choice of a college. Rolle has stated several times that he plans to attend medical school after his football career ends and that academics would come first in his selection of a school. Lemming claimed that any questions he had about Rolle's choice of a school only stemmed from trying to discover why he selected FSU over more-ballyhooed academic institutions such as Stanford and Duke. He also accused Rolle of being eager to gain as much exposure for himself as possible.
"Myron is the biggest media hound that I've ever seen, I selected him for this game in September, and he played in the game. (Criticism) is part of the business when you select an All-American team. Myron's taking it to a new level. It hurt his ego when he wasn't first-team All-American."
Lemming's recruiting rankings have Rolle ranked 28th in the nation, while other services such as Rivals.com, ESPN.com, and Scout.com have Rolle ranked as high as #1 in the whole nation. Rolle has enrolled at Florida State already and will be available to join the rest of the team during spring practice and is expected to immediately compete for playing time at safety.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:51 AM
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Q: Where is Drew right now in his progression in terms of where he left off at the end of last season?
We're not changing offenses like we did last spring. Nothing is new, they've seen all of it before. That's the past where he's so far ahead of the game at this point compared to this time last year. So now what you're trying to work on is the details. Now that you know what everything is, you work on the details of your assignment.
Q: Last spring, there were a significant number of injuries to the offensive line. How does it help Drew's development to work behind a line that's healthy?
Here again it goes with the offensive linemen - nothing is new to them. We were installing a new offense. The retention and the carry over has put them much further ahead. And what coach McHale is doing is what I'm doing and we're working with the attention to detail.
Q: What is the notable difference between sophomore quarterbacks that have had a year of playing time versus those that have yet to see the field?
The playing time is what's been official, so you're at ease behind the center.
Q: Are there any negatives of being thrown in at such a young stage in his career?
Sometimes there are, but I haven't seen any with Drew. He works very hard. He's not lazy. He's not complacent. He's got all the things that we're really please with.
Q: Has he approached things differently this spring now that he's the top man on the depth chart, compared to where he stood last season?
He's a very competitive person. He's wants to excel and do that everyday.
Q: I was talking about positives also. Things like dealing with nerves.
He's a lot more settled in what he's doing and in his ability to lead. There's a lot of upside to that certainly.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:38 PM
The challenges for Dumaka Atkins haven't been limited to early-morning mat drills or spring football practices. It also came in his mom's kitchen during spring break, where he tried to limit consumption. For the Florida State offensive lineman, pushing away food has been as important as pumping iron. ''That was rough,'' Atkins said. Starting center David Castillo has graduated...Read More>>>
Posted by tallynolefan at 7:18 PM
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The Florida State football team held its sixth practice of the spring Wednesday afternoon and again spent 14 periods on the practice fields before moving over to the stadium for a half-scrimmage. Defensive end Everette Brown continued an impressive spring with three tackles, which included two sacks, and newcomer Paul Griffin had two tackles for loss (one sack) from his defensive tackle post. Drew Weatherford completed 5-of-10 passes for 58 yards with two touchdowns - both of which came in situational scrimmaging from the 12-yard line an in. Greg Carr caught three TD passes in situational with the other coming from Tommy Keane. Geno Hayes intercepted Keane on a pass in the endzone a few plays later. Lorenzo Booker had the longest rush of the scrimmage, breaking one for 47 yards. Antone Smith also had a big gain on a 31-yard run. In goalline, both the first and second offense were successful on two of four attempts. Jae Thaxton had a big hit in goalline, turning back a runner at the one-yard line.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:28 PM
The offensive line received its first grades of the season following Friday’s scrimmage, and coach Mark McHale said numbers were pretty low across the board. Mario Henderson had the highest grade, but it was still below where he stood at the end of last season.
This time of year, that’s not a huge concern, but McHale did identify several things that need to improve. Low blocking was the biggest deficiency, though Monday the group showed progress in that area. It’s not an easy problem to fix, according to McHale, and will take constant drilling to overcome.
McHale continues to shuffle his first-team. Walk-on Marcus Ford moved to the starting line in place of right guard Geoff Berniard.
“He did pretty good,” McHale said. “He had one run where he crossed his feet, basic fundamentals.”
McHale said Shannon Boatman has to catch up in the mental aspects of the game. David Overmyer is bigger and stronger, but needs to work on lower-body fundamentals. In the first scrimmage, McHale was pleased with how physical Henderson performed.
“He was more physical than he was in the bowl game,” McHale said. “He’s on track to have a good spring.”
So far, the offensive line has stayed healthy unlike last year when injuries forced the Seminoles to rely on walk-ons and cross-trained players to fill positions. Center John Frady has been able to participate despite earlier reports that had him questionable for the spring.
“I was out there with a lot of walk-ons starting in these scrimmage,” McHale said. “I’m glad to see Frady going after shoulder surgery.”
Florida State focused on carrying the ball during Monday’s scrimmage - just over half of the plays were runs - and McHale hopes that is something that will continue through the rest of spring football.
“They have to be able to block,” McHale said. “When stuff moves, they have to be able to block. What happens is when you pound Booker in there and you pound Antone in there, and then they do these stunts and you catch them, what happens? There they go.”
Posted by tallynolefan at 6:33 PM
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
6-2, 202, Quarterback
Colleyville, TX (Colleyville Heritage HS)
A three-star player by Rivals.com...ranked 14th in the nation among pro-style passers by Rivals.com and stands as the No. 50 overall prospect in the website's postseason Texas Top 100 list...listed as 20th overall quarterback in the nation by Scout.com...rated as the No. 19 quarterback in the country on the postseason PrepStar200...threw for 2,214 yards and 20 touchdowns during his senior season at Heritage, while also rushing for 911 yards and 12 scores...named first-team All-District 5-5A by the Dallas Morning News...threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to eventual state champion Southlake Carroll...gained 438 yards of total offense (252 passing, 186 rushing) and accounted for six touchdowns (5 pass, 1 rush) in a game against Richland...father, David, lettered at linebacker for Florida State from 1980-83...an early enrollee at FSU, he began taking classes in January...chose Florida State over Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech.
6-1, 215, Linebacker
Prattville, AL (Prattville HS)
A three-star player and No. 23 outside linebacker in the nation according to Rivals.com...the No. 19 overall player on Rivals.com's preseason Alabama Top 40 list after recording an impressive 159 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior for Prattville...a three-star recruit and No. 1 linebacker in the state of Alabama according to Scout.com...named MVP of the Alabama Junior All-Star game after registering a game-high 12 tackles as a member of the South team...earned first-team All-State honors for Class 6A from the Alabama Sports Writers Association after a senior season where he tallied 90 tackles and six sacks...runs a reported 4.6 in the 40-yard dash...chose Florida State over Auburn and Alabama.
Posted by tallynolefan at 11:23 PM
Monday, March 20, 2006
The Florida State football team had spring practice number five Monday afternoon and held a second straight half-scrimmage in full pads. After 14 periods on the practice fields, the Seminoles moved over to Doak Campbell Stadium for the scrimmage. After going 9-for-9 on Friday, quarterback Drew Weatherford had another impressive outing while the running game also produced some big plays. Weatherford completed 6-of-7 passes for 164 yards with touchdown passes to Greg Carr (46 yards) and Richard Goodman (38 yards). Antone Smith turned the corner and scored on a 35-yard run while walk-on tailback Pat Davis also found the endzone on a 43-yard rush. Lorenzo Booker added a pair of 20-yard runs and a catch of 27 yards. A fifth score came on a 34-yard pass from Tommy Keane to Chase Walker. Neefy Moffett (three tackles for loss) and Andre Fluellen (two tackles for loss) led the defense during the regular scrimmage. The defense got some revenge in goalline drills, keeping the offense out of the endzone on all eight attempts. Geno Hayes had a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery in goalline. Walk-on Marcus Ford worked with the first team offense at right guard during Monday's scrimmage. The Seminoles will take Tuesday off and return to practice on Wednesday afternoon.
Posted by tallynolefan at 10:04 PM
6-0, 175, Wide Receiver
Delray Beach, FL (Atlantic HS)
A first-team All-State selection for Class 5A by the Florida Sports Writers Association after catching 45 passes for 1,150 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior for Atlantic...a four-star prospect and the No. 12 wide receiver in the country according to Rivals.com...listed as the No. 2 wide receiver and No. 18 overall recruit in the state on Rivals.com's Postseason Florida Top 100 for 2006...rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com...a postseason All-American selection by PrepStar Magazine after finishing his varsity career with 90 catches for 1,960 yards and 30 touchdowns...a versatile athlete, he was named second-team All-State for Class 5A as a defensive back after his junior season...chose Florida State over Miami, Minnesota and NC State.
6-7, 234, Tight End
Land O'Lakes, FL (Land O'Lakes HS)
An athletic down field target that ranks as the No. 5 tight end in the nation according to Rivals.com...a four-star player and Rivals 250 member, he is the No. 1 ranked tight end in the state of Florida for 2006 according to Rivals.com...named first-team All-State for Class 5A as a senior after hauling in 34 catches for 589 yards and five touchdowns...a member of the ESPN 150, voted as one of the top 150 prep players in the nation for the 2006 signing class...received two out of three stars from PrepStar Magazine and was named an All-Region player prior to the 2005 season after catching 29 passes for 410 yards and scoring six touchdowns as a junior...ranked as the No. 5 tight end in the nation and was named to the PrepStar100...represented Team Florida in the annual CaliFlorida Bowl all-star game...a former high school teammate of current Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford, he had 37 catches for 350 yards and five touchdowns when the duo played together in 2003...father, Paul, was an All-American linebacker at FSU from 1977-80...chose Florida State over LSU, Louisville and South Carolina.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:26 AM
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Every aspiring major college defensive end should be so fortunate as Everette Brown last season.Brown spent his first season at Florida State learning from projected NFL first-round pick Kamerion Wimbley. The North Carolina native admits he wanted to play but taking a redshirt turned out to be a plus. That experience of studying Wimbley will help him this spring as he competes for playing time behind left end Alex Boston, who is hampered by a hamstring injury. FSU concluded its first week of practice and will resume working toward ...Read More>>>
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:12 PM
Saturday, March 18, 2006
At wide receiver, FSU lost a good one with the graduation of Willie Reid, but returns a talented and deep group. Senior Chris Davis returns as the starter at one of the receiver spots and will likely be joined by junior De'Cody Fagg, who may not be completely cleared for the spring after injuring his shoulder last season. Davis led last year's team with 51 catches for 666 yards while scoring five times.
Back after a season in which he tied an ACC freshman record with nine receiving touchdowns is 6-6 Greg Carr. The big-play receiver was third on the team with 618 yards and led the team with average of 20.6 yards per catch. Joslin Shaw has been the most impressive of all the receivers in off-season workouts and could use that momentum to push himself into some time with the first team. Track star Kenny O'Neal and true sophomore Richard Goodman will use the spring to gain the confidence of the coaching staff. Also pushing for playing time will be Robert Hallback and Chase Walker. Rod Owens, a third true sophomore along with Carr and Goodman, will be forced to sit out in the spring after January knee surgery.
"We are in real good shape at wide receiver," said Bowden. "There's a lot of talent there and there is still a lot of youth because we played so many freshmen last year. We'll let them continue to battle. Guys that kind of moved to the top last year and are at a little bit different level are Chris Davis, Greg Carr, De'Cody Fagg and Joslin Shaw."
Posted by tallynolefan at 5:05 PM
The Seminoles held their first spring practice in full pads Friday afternoon, working out for 14 periods on the practice fields and then moving over to Doak Campbell Stadium for a half-scrimmage. Freshman tailback Russell Ball had the play of the day when he took a toss left, broke several tackles, and then reversed field for a 43-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Drew Weatherford was a perfect 9-for-9 for 65 yards in the scrimmage with one touchdown to Greg Carr in goalline drills. The first offense was 3-for-4 in goalline with the other scores coming from Jamaal Edwards and Antone Smith on three-yard runs. Freshman safety Myron Rolle also had in impressive scrimmage with an interception, a tackle for loss on a reverse, and a fumble recovery in goalline. Defensive tackle Kendrick Stewart had a pair of sacks and a tackle for loss while Paul Griffin added two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. FSU will take the weekend off and then return to practice Monday afternoon.
Posted by tallynolefan at 1:37 AM
Friday, March 17, 2006
Just yesterday, offensive tackle Antwane Greenlee said he was leaning to Georgia with Auburn his second school, while Florida State appeared to be a distant third. What a difference one day can make.
The 6-foot-6, 310 pound lineman attended FSU's Pro Day on Thursday and after seeing all the Seminole players headed to the NFL he made a surprise commitment.
"I enjoyed everything that I saw today," Greenlee told Rivals.com. "I got to meet some of the NFL scouts that were here and I toured the facilities and the dorm rooms. Everything I saw was real nice.
"I met a couple of players that are in the NFL right now. I met (Travis) Johnson, Michael Boulware and Javon Walker. In a way it (helped to make his decision). But if you're good enough, you can go to the NFL from anywhere."
Posted by tallynolefan at 5:29 PM
Their memories raced with a variety of emotions. As linebacker Ernie Sims and cornerback Antonio Cromartie readied Thursday with former Florida State teammates, in what equated as final rehearsal on a pro football future, the flashbacks began. Boyhood dreams. High-school rivalries. College stardom. ''In a way, it seemed like just a year ago I was playing middle-school football, then high-school football at North Florida Christian,'' said Sims...Read More>>>
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:10 AM
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Back for his senior year at tailback is Lorenzo Booker after sharing carries with Leon Washington in 2005. Booker led the team in rushing last year with 552 yards on 119 attempts, an average of 4.6 yards per carry, along with a team-high four touchdowns. Booker is also an outstanding receiver out of the backfield and had 329 yards on 38 catches with a pair of TD's a year ago.
Antone Smith will step in as the No. 2 tailback after finishing third on the team with 188 yards on 36 carries (5.2 ypc) as a true freshman. Smith tied for second on last year's squad with three rushing touchdowns. Sophomore Jamaal Edwards and freshman Russell Ball will also get plenty of carries in the spring.
Running backs coach Billy Sexton will have a new starter at fullback following the graduation of James Coleman and B.J. Dean. Junior Joe Surratt will open as the spring starter after playing in all 13 games in 2005. Walk-on Sean Compton will serve as the No. 2 fullback with freshman Matt Dunham being held out of spring practice. When fall rolls around, Surratt will have to hold off Dunham, who broke a Georgia state high school record with 111 career rushing touchdowns – a mark formerly held by Herschel Walker.
Posted by tallynolefan at 6:53 PM
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I was struck by Coach McHale's statements recently regarding the running game:
"The Seminoles averaged under 100 yards rushing per game and 3.2 yards per carry last season. “That's not good enough,” McHale said. “We charted out 47 passes and 25 runs per game last season. We need to increase the number of carries per game. We need to get better than a 4-yard average. You have to have more at-bats. The more times you throw the worm in there fishing, the more chance you have to catch a fish. You might not catch one the first time.
“We need to up the number of runs per game,and in order to do that you have to give (offensive coordinator)Jeff Bowden confidence that, 'Hey, we've got a little running game going here - let's stay with. Let's not abort to the pass.' "
So why didn't we do this last season when we had Leon Washington and more experience than we will have this year? I think we all know the answer-Jeff Bowden. Unfortunately,in my opinion, Jeff Bowden is back. Hopefully, McHale will have a larger role in the offensive play calling this year. We have seen the tendency of Jeff Bowden. If the run falters, abandon it all together. We shall see if McHale is allowed to have a greater role.
Posted by tallynolefan at 10:54 PM
The Florida State football team worked out for the first time in shells (shorts, shoulder pads and helmets) this spring and practiced for 26 periods with limited contact on Wednesday. The Seminoles will take Thursday off and then hold a practice in full pads on Friday. The last two periods of the day were used for 11-on-11 scrimmaging. Lorenzo Booker picked up 15 yards up the middle on the first play and the offense also got nice gains on the ground from Jamaal Edwards (12 yards) and Antone Smith (10 yards). Neefy Moffett had a tackle for loss and Everette Brown recorded a quarterback hurry to pace the defense in 11-on-11.
Former Seminoles on hand for today's practice included Leon Washington, Matt Henshaw, Kamerion Wimbley, Alex Barron, Bryant McFadden, Greg Jones, James Coleman, Matt Root, Chauncey Stovall, David Castillo, Kyler Hall, Paul Irons, Kez McCorvey and Gerard Ross. Thursday will be FSU's Pro Day with approximately 20 players scheduled to test with 100 or so NFL coaches and scouts looking on.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:45 PM
TALLAHASSEE - Florida State's coaches so often throw around plans to commit more to the running game that Lorenzo Booker couldn't help but crack a joke when he heard Coach Bobby Bowden state that as the No. 1 priority this spring.
"I'm like from St. Louis on that one - the 'Show Me State'," said Booker. Read More....
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:41 PM
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Seminoles held their second of 15 spring practices Tuesday afternoon, working out for 26 periods in shorts and helmets. The team will put the shoulder pads on Wednesday and then go full pads on Friday. In 7-on-7 drills (no lines), Drew Weatherford hit Greg Carr for gains of 20 and 25 yards, and later found Joslin Shaw for two 40-yard scores. Shaw is currently working with the first team at receiver along with Chris Davis. Jamie Robinson had a pass break-up for the defense. FSU went with some full 11-on-11 scrimmaging for the running game and got touchdown runs of 40 yards from Russell Ball and Jamaal Edwards. With FSU's Pro Day coming up on Thursday, several former Seminoles from last year's team were on hand for practice including Brodrick Bunkly, Antonio Cromartie, David Castillo, A.J. Nicholson, Matt Henshaw, B.J. Dean, Donnie Carter, Gerard Ross and Marcello Church. In addition, NFL players Javon Walker, Bryant McFadden and Chauncey Stovall attended Tuesday's workout.
Posted by tallynolefan at 9:23 PM
The Seminoles return four starters on offense, most significantly quarterback Drew Weatherford, who earned freshman All-America honors in 2005 after breaking Philip Rivers' ACC passing yardage record for first-year signal callers. Weatherford completed 276-of-469 passes for 3,208 yards with 21 total touchdowns (three rushing) and 18 interceptions – a number he will look to lower in 2006. Weatherford's passing yardage was the third-best in FSU single season history behind only Chris Weinke (2000) and Thad Busby (1997).
Coaches had hoped to get fellow sophomore Xavier Lee some extensive time this spring, but shoulder surgery will likely keep the talented QB on the sideline until August practices begin.
With Lee on the shelf, Christian Ponder will get a taste of big-time football right off the bat. Ponder graduated from Colleyville (Texas) High School early and arrived in January. Walk-ons Tommy Keane and Jared Whipkey will also get their fair share of work behind center.
The absence of Lee is not a favorable aspect of spring training for the QBs. It will be important for one of the other QBs besides Weatherford to step up and hopefully for all to avoid injuries.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:33 AM
Monday, March 13, 2006
The Florida State football team held the first practice of the spring Monday afternoon in Tallahassee. The Seminoles worked out in shorts for 26 periods, spending most of the day on fundamentals within their segment. Per NCAA rules, FSU will practice again Tuesday afternoon in shorts, Wednesday in shells, and then go to full pads Friday with an off-day scheduled for Thursday. While the team mainly focused on the basics, the coaches did mix in some 7-on-7 pass skeleton scrimmaging. Drew Weatherford hit Chris Davis for a 40-yard gain down the sideline against Tony Carter, who bounced back on the next play and broke up a pass. Weatherford again hit Davis for 20 yards and later found Greg Carr, who reached over a defender for a 30-yard reception. J.R. Bryant had an interception off true freshman Christian Ponder while Geno Hayes and Toddrick Verdell added pass break-ups. The Seminoles will return to practice Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:23 PM
On paper,the 2006 Florida State football team looks like it might be going through a rebuilding year with just six scholarship seniors on the roster. But, when you talk to the coaches and players, they are confident that this team has as a good a shot as any at making a run at another national championship. A total of 27 true and redshirt freshmen saw action last year for the Seminoles, more than any other school in the country. It has always been said that Florida State doesn't rebuild, it reloads.
So what is the prognosis for the 2006 year? For starters, only one experienced QB,Drew Weatherford will be in spring practice. Xavier Lee will not participate due to surgery on his right shoulder.
THE SEASON AHEAD
In Florida State's favor in the fall is a 12-game schedule that features an unprecedented eight games on Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, a home field advantage as significant as there is in college football. For the second year, the Seminoles and Hurricanes will open on Labor Day (Monday, September 4th at 8:00 p.m.) That game in the Orange Bowl will again go a long way in deciding the ACC title race as well as the national championship. After an October that includes four road games, Florida State closes with four straight home games in November concluding with the Florida Gators on November 25th. If the Seminoles can get through the league schedule, they will have a chance to defend their ACC title in Jacksonville on December 2nd.
"We've got a very favorable schedule which really sets Miami up as a very big key," said Bowden. "It's not a game where if you lose, there goes the season. It's not that kind of game, but it will really set the tone. The schedule is favorable because we have eight home games. Then if you make it to the championship game, it's also in Florida. Now it's just a matter of staying healthy and gelling. It's not like we have to break in a new quarterback which we've had to do two of the last five years. Although we have 10 starters back, we play so many people that that's not a real big factor for us. We may not have a lot of starters back but we have a lot of experience coming back. Our speed should be an advantage because this team is as athletic as we've had."
Posted by tallynolefan at 6:27 AM
Sunday, March 12, 2006
As spring practice is set to begin tomorrow, here is the injury list:
Pos. Name Injury Status
DE Darrell Burston Right shoulder No contact
DE D.J. Norris Left shoulder No contact
CB Tony Carter Left shoulder No contact
CB J.R. Bryant Left shoulder No contact
FS Roger Williams Left shoulder No contact
WR De'Cody Fagg Shoulder No contact
WR Chris Davis Injury No contact
LB Jae Thaxton Left ankle No contact
DT Letroy Guion Injury No contact
OL Cory Niblock Left knee Out
QB Xavier Lee Right shoulder Out
WR Rod Owens ACL Out
Posted by tallynolefan at 5:39 PM
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Pro Football Weekly's 2006 Draft Guide projects that 11 players from ACC schools will be first-round picks in April's NFL talent grab. Four FSU players - Ernie Sims, Brodrick Bunkley, Antonio Cromartie and Kamerion Wimbley - are in that group. That matches the number of Southern Cal players in the magazine's mock draft, and only two players from national champion Texas are projected as first-round picks.
Posted by tallynolefan at 10:38 PM
2006 FLORIDA STATE SPRING SCHEDULE
March 13th First Day of Spring Practice
March 15th Practice #2
March 16th PRO DAY
(held @ the band/turf field)
March 17th Practice #3
March 18th Practice #4
(First practice in full pads)
March 20th Practice #5
March 22nd Practice #6
March 24th Practice #7
March 25th Practice #8
(First full scrimmage)
March 27th Practice #9
March 29th Practice #10
March 31st Practice #11
April 1st Practice #12
April 3rd Practice #13
April 5th Practice #14
April 7th Make-up Day
April 8th Spring Game @ 2:00 p.m.
(Doak Campbell Stadium)
NOTE: Practice Times TBA.
Posted by tallynolefan at 12:21 PM
Friday, March 10, 2006
It was the early 1970's and since "Huff" sounded like "Puff," they called him "The Magic Dragon."
In Gary Huff's very first appearance on the varsity for the Seminoles, he displayed his "magic" to enforce that nickname. In the fourth game of the 1970 season, Florida State was losing to the University of Florida, 38-7, with less than seven minutes left in the game. Out of desperation, Coach Bill Peterson sent Huff, the Seminoles' third-string quarterback into the game. Two pass plays later and FSU had passed for a touchdown. FSU held the Gators, got the ball and moved down the field and scored on another touchdown pass. Soon thereafter, FSU got the ball again and scored another touchdown through the air. The game ended UF 38, FSU 27.
While the game ended in a loss to the Gators, the Seminoles won hope for the future. For quarterback Gary Huff, in his first FSU varsity appearance, had thrown three touchdown passes in less than seven minutes.
Huff had a storied career at FSU (1970-1972) and ended up with 6,378 passing yards and 62 TDs which rank high in the FSU record books.
Huff sums it up by saying that he was "so blessed to attend Florida State when I did. I went through the school of accounting that was one of the best in the country. I played quarterback for college football's most prestigious passing team and went to a bowl game. I played baseball for a team that went to the playoffs and had recently played in the College World Series. I have had so many experiences at FSU that allow me to relate to many different groups of FSU graduates that makes living in Tallahassee such a pleasure for me."
Gary Huff was inducted into the FSU Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
Posted by tallynolefan at 5:42 PM
Thursday, March 09, 2006
6-3, 240, Defensive Line
Kingsland, GA (Camden County HS)
A four-star recruit and No. 20 strong-side defensive end in the country according to Rivals.com...member of a Camden County team that has won 56 consecutive regular season games, a Georgia state record...a three-star prospect and No. 48 defensive end in the country as rated by Scout.com...named the Region 3-5A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior...received All-State honors from the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2005 after recording 88 tackles and seven sacks... runs a reported 4.59 in the 40-yard dash and earned Camden's `Super Cat' Award for a power clean of 325 lbs...chose Florida State over Georgia and Louisville.
6-5, 275, Defensive Line
Folkston, GA (Charlton County HS/Hargrave Military Academy)
A four-star prospect and the No. 7 ranked overall recruit on Rivals.com's Prep School Top 50... rated a four-star player and No. 10 defensive end in the nation by Scout.com...originally a member of Florida State's 2005 signing class that ranked No. 2 in the nation according to Rivals.com...was the No. 65 ranked player in the country in 2005 and was named All-Area, All-Region, and All-State after racking up 86 tackles and nine sacks as a senior for Charlton County... ran an impressive 4.7 in the 40-yard dash at this year's Hargrave Combine... chose Florida State over Florida and Georgia.
Posted by tallynolefan at 4:00 PM
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
More than five years after Devaughn Darling collapsed and died during a Florida State University football practice, the odds of his family recovering $1.8 million in compensation from the Legislature are uncertain.
"We're still spinning our wheels in the same place. It really would be a blessing to get past it," said his mother Wendy Hunter, who appeared at a news conference here on Monday. In happier days, she drove the 13 hours from her Houston home to see Devaughn and his twin brother Devard play at FSU home games.
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:35 PM
Monday, March 06, 2006
Leadership Award (Offense) - David Castillo
Senior Year (2005): Veteran who the coaches counted on to make the proper calls at the line of scrimmage...a three-year starter at center...known for his leadership skills on and off of the football field...played in 11 games, starting all of them...missed the Citadel and Boston College games due to a foot injury which required surgery but returned in time for the Syracuse game...was named a 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic second team All-American...one of just two players from the ACC to be honored...a 2005 National Football Foundation $18,000 postgraduate scholarship winner as a finalist for the Draddy Trophy billed as the "Academic Heisman"...earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science and is currently working on a second degree in dietetics...while working on his second degree and playing football, he took the MCAT exam and plans to enter medical school in the fall of 2006...the second Florida State football player in the last 20 years (also David Palmer in 1987) to follow a pre-med curriculum.
Posted by tallynolefan at 10:37 PM
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Florida State football coaches entered offseason workouts last month in search of more leadership from their players. And during the early morning, when most FSU students were still asleep, Bobby Bowden's staff found their players in Tully Gym, where players worked on running and agility skills.
That was especially true in the last workout this week, in which the seniors took over the drills from coaches.Read More...
Posted by tallynolefan at 8:26 PM
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Florida State freshman safety Myron Rolle was honored last weekend in Beverly Hills, California as he was named the winner of the 2006 Watkins Award. The Watkins Award is presented by the National Alliance of African American Athletes and is annually awarded to a high school student on the basis of academic achievement, athletics, and inolvement in the community. Rolle earned a 4.0 GPA at The Hun School (Princeton, NJ) and was listed at the No. 1 high school football player in the nation by ESPN. He enrolled at Florida State in January and plans to attend medical school.
Posted by tallynolefan at 10:52 PM
Friday, March 03, 2006
Antwane Greenlee couldn't believe his eyes on Thursday. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound lineman looked down at his phone and saw a text message. It said to call Mark McHale at Florida State. McHale's message was to offer him a full scholarship to play football at Florida State.
"I was surprised, I've never seen a letter from them at all," said Greenlee. "It was out of the blue. I grew up an FSU fan. I was like, who is this? Are you kidding me?" The Columbus, Georgia native played tight end as a junior but will move back to offensive tackle as a senior. When he played on the line a season ago, the Hardaway High School product averaged five pancake blocks a game.
"Coach McHale said to keep in touch," said Greenlee. "He will send me text messages, he can't call me because I'm a junior."
Posted by tallynolefan at 5:18 PM
Thursday, March 02, 2006
One of the Seminoles top recruits will unexpectedly get a good deal of time in spring ball. And it’s not Myron Rolle, the No. 1 recruit in the country according to ESPN.com. Or really any of the other top 100 recruits who were able to enroll early.
Christian Ponder, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback from Colleyville, Texas, will start the spring backing up starter Drew Weatherford.
Weatherford goes into the spring as the starter, where he was most of last season. “He’s had a great offseason program,” Bowden said.
However, there won’t be any battle with Xavier Lee, at least not in the spring.“Xavier Lee, No. 2, is going to miss spring training because of a shoulder operation,” Bowden said. “He’s going to get way behind
Posted by tallynolefan at 10:26 AM
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
With only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee, the Seminoles needed to sign two quarterbacks for the Class of 2006 for depth reasons. One of the quarterbacks signed, D’Vontrey Richardson, was considered by Scout.com to be the top athlete in the state of Georgia.
“There’s a reason why he’s the No.1 player in Georgia,” Scout.com Southeast Recruiting Analysis Scott Kennedy said. “He can play quarterback, safety, wide receiver and he’s even big enough to play linebacker in college. However, with his arm I think he has what it takes to play quarterback at Florida State.”
Posted by tallynolefan at 10:33 PM