WEATHER COOPERATES AND SEMINOLES GET BACK TO PRACTICE
Offense shows improvement in second full scrimmage but defense remains hard to score on.
FSU Sports Info. release
Tallahassee, FL – The Seminole football team got sent off the field on Wednesday due to lightning. Due to class schedules the team was unable to practice on Thursday but on Friday the weather held off just long enough to allow FSU to get in its second full scrimmage of the spring. After a defense-dominated outing last time, the offense showed considerable improvement Friday but getting in the endzone continued to be a challenge against Mickey Andrews’ defense.
Florida State’s homecoming game with Boston College November 15 has been designated a Blackout game.
Parent’s Weekend will be October 25 when the Seminoles host Virginia Tech.
After individual drills, the scrimmage got started right away as special teams was moved to the end of practice incase the scrimmage was cut short.
Despite sometimes heavy winds, the rain held off until the players cleared the field and the team got through the entire session.
The first part of the scrimmage was run in game situation and the first team offense went three-and-out and then drove down but missed out on points due to an errant 20-yard field goal. Antone Smith, who had an impressive scrimmage, started things out with a solid gain by slicing through the line but he was limited to just four yards by a big hit from Darius McClure. Other highlights included a tackle for loss by Derek Nicholson as he dragged Smith down from behind and a QB pressure by Kevin McNeil who was another star on the day. The offense faced a 3rd-and-6 on the second drive but Christian Ponder and Bert Reed moved the chances on a short play that Reed broke for 40 yards. Korey Mangum helped keep the offense off the board as he broke up a pass on a fade to Rod Owens. On 3rd-and-goal from the 10 Reed caught a Ponder ball and took it to the three yard line but a nice tackle by Jamie Robinson forced the field goal attempt.
The second team offense couldn’t get anything going from the 30 either. Ochuko Jenije had a pass break-up to start things but the offense started rolling after that. D’Vontrey Richardson picked up 11 on a designed run and then rolled out and found Louis Givens on a 20 yard pass. Brandon Paul got 11 on a reverse pitch but was knocked down on a big hit by Jenije. The defense them put the clamps down as Patrick Robinson broke up a pass and Jamar Jackson recorded a sack.
Things didn’t get better for the ones on the next series as they went out on downs, had a turnover and then left the field when the script came to an end. Brown and McNeil combined on a coverage sack to start things off. Myron Rolle had a pass break-up and Jamie Robinson ended the drive when he came down with a Ponder pass that deflected off Rod Owens. With the offense back at the 35, Ponder got great protection from his line and was able to wait for Greg Carr to come free and the two hooked up on a 33-yard pitch and catch. Patrick Robinson turned in a big play for the defense as he broke up a deep pass into the endzone.
The twos were unable to score from the 35 either. Despite a couple eight yard runs from Givens and Paul and a 3rd-and-short conversion by Joe Surratt, the second team offense ran out of plays.
The scrimmage moved into short yardage and the offense did well during this drill. Smith ran for an eight yard gain and then for 27 yards on the next play as he got around the corner. D’Vontrey Richardson broke off an 18 yard run and Marcus Sims took a toss, cut inside and converted a 3rd-and-1.
Before break, the ones and twos ran the 2:00 drill with 1:30 on the clock. Things got off to a good start for Ponder. The sophomore found Owens for 18 yards. The pass was a little high and McClure lit him up but the Jacksonville native held on. Reed hauled in a pass for 17 yards and got out of bounds to stop the clock. Ponder moved the team down to the 25 on a hook-up with Carr. Antone Smith followed with an eight yard run and then Ponder and Owens picked up another three but the drive would stall. On 2nd-and-2 with :08 left there was an offsides by the offense and then Everette Brown ended the scoring threat with a nine yard sack as time expired.
The second team offense was able to score on their series. McNeil looked like he was going to set the defense up with a sack on the first play but Richardson spun away from the end and threw the ball away. Paul followed with a short gain and then Dionte Allen had a pass break-up. On third down Richardson found Taiwan Easterling who picked up seven yards and a first down despite absorbing hit after hit in fighting for the first. The twos faced another third down after back-to-back incomplete passes but Reed and Richardson picked it up on a 13 yard gain. Following a spike, Richardson once again avoided a sack by Emmanuel Dunbar and spun out of trouble but this time he found Carr for 21 yards. With :12 remaining Richardson went to Givens for nine yards and then Reed for four more. On 4th-and-2 with :05 on the clock the sophomore QB found Reed on a slant for the TD.
After break, the one and twos each ran 14 plays from the 50. The first seven plays for the ones ended with a field goal. Ponder and Smith started the drive off with a 39 yard gain on a flare out. After two plays netted seven more yards, Reed looked like he had TD number two but Jamie Robinson had a huge hit on the freshman right as the ball got to Reed at the one yard line breaking up the play. Zack Hobby did connect from 21 yards to put up some points.
The twos ended their drive with nothing to show as far as points go. McNeil had a 10 yard sack on the second play after a five yard Sims run, Kenny Ingram got pressure on Richardson and forced him into the waiting arms of Benjamin Lampkin at the line. The drive ended with the defense stopping Surratt on 4th-and-1.
The second try for the ones was even less productive. Neefy Moffett and Justin Mincey recorded sacks on two plays for a three-and-out. Ingram had a QB pressure on the next play and followed it with another one but this time he skied up to knock down Ponder’s pass attempt as the defense forced another 3-and-out. It did end on a positive note for the offense though as Smith broke tackle after tackle on the seventh and final play for a 28 yard gain.
The twos saw their first try end on downs and then the drill ended with a Lampkin sack and strip.
In red zone Moffett opened the drive getting to Ponder and hitting his arm as the sophomore let go of the pass for an incompletion. Smith sliced through the line for five yards and Owens hauled in a Ponder pass for four but Budd Thacker ended the drive stuffing Smith for a loss on 4th-and-1.
The twos got a few yards on their first play with a Paul run but that was quickly wiped out on second down by a McNeil sack. Reed took a short pass and turned it into a 10 yard gain setting up a field goal try but a bad snap and hold resulted in a Graham Gano miss from 30.
It wasn’t any easier getting in the endzone for the ones in goal line as the group went 0-for-4. A bad snap led to a Thacker fumble recovery, Smith was stopped up the middle twice from the one and Thacker caused a turnover on a hit on Sims and Dekoda Watson came up with the recovery.
The twos had a completely opposite experience as they went 4-for-4. Smith started out scoring on a sweep but Aaron Gresham made a great play to track him down and almost dragged Smith down before the goal line. Richardson took the next one in on a sweep as did Smith on the next play. Surratt finished the drill off getting in on a great second effort up the middle.
With a tricky wind, the field goal kickers went a combined 3-for-8 during special teams with one block. Patrick Robinson also recorded a block in punt team.
Head Coach Bobby Bowden
“I think our defense keeps coming around. I don’t think they gave up any long touchdown passes today. That’s a big thing we told them; be sure to try to knock that off. We are covering better. We are putting better pressure and again we must eliminate the bomb. I think they did that today. I think the only time they scored was down on the goal line.”
On the offense’s improvement:
“The offense moved the ball better than they did a week ago but they are still having a hard time getting into that end zone. We will just continue to work on that.”
On the offense:
“We had some more drops today but didn’t have as many. (D’Vontrey) Richardson – at first when he starts practicing, and not inexperienced, not only does he go out and make bad reads but he threw the ball poorly. Today he was making good reads and then just missed them (his receivers). Guys are open – going to the right guy and you miss him by a yard. I think that will come with hard work and patience and confidence.”
On the opportunity for the two QB’s:
“Those quarterbacks are getting some darn good work. Drew (Weatherford) is not in there and they are getting some good work. It’s probably best for us.”
On the FSU special teams:
“We worked on our kicking game after practice. Our field goals were not very good – I don’t think we would be 50 percent. We missed two in the scrimmage and then we practiced it down there and it looked like we might have been 50 percent or less. The wind was a factor but you can’t stop the wind.”
On the play of new safety Jamie Robinson:
“That was a good move (for Jamie Robinson) when Mickey moved him to safety. Evidently he is a better player back there than he is as a corner. Ever since he has been in there he has done some good things. Those are things you find out in the spring; you don’t have time in the fall.”
On the play of Antone Smith:
“He (Antone Smith) had some good runs and then he had a couple of not good runs. I thought down on the goal line the hole was big enough to score on and he got taken out by a good tackle. You have to hand it to our defense. They are tackling better.”
On why the offense may be having a hard time scoring:
“We must continually try to eliminate that (penalties). It seemed like our offensive line would flinch a lot. I know at least three times where the defense would start to fire and come back. Then the offense can’t move; they have to sit there. I call that flinching. They are young and inexperienced. You have got one of them hurt; you had 10 and now you are down to nine. You have a center playing guard. That hurts the continuity. One thing about spring training – you don’t look for continuity that much because the guy calling the plays wants to try different things. It might not fit but he wants to try different things.”
Quarterback Christian Ponder
On the scrimmage:
“I think today everyone made plays. I think I am beginning to make my reads quicker. I had a couple of dumb stuff; I just need to throw the ball away. I held on and it was a sack. I need to learn from that – just watch the film and learn from my mistakes.”
On wide receiver Bert Reed:
“Bert (Reed) is out here every day working hard. He’s a quick guy; you can get him the ball and he’ll make somebody miss and turn short plays in to long plays. He’s a guy that you can trust and get the ball to every time.”
On his assessment of the offense so far:
“Everyone is getting used to everything; learning the plays and getting that confidence. I think that is the biggest holding us back right now is our confidence are we are gaining that back right now.”
Safety Jamie Robinson
ON how he feels he is doing at a new position:
“I’m trying to get a little bit healthy and trying to play like I know how to play. I saw the ball get deflected and it went way in the air (on my interception in the scrimmage). When I was covering my man I got to peak back at the quarterback and see where he was throwing. I was kind of breaking in that direction already. Then I just went up and got it.
“I have felt a little bit more comfortable out there. I am starting to do things and trying to make plays in stead of just trying to be in the spot to get there. I am trying to make plays and not just trying to be in the right spot. I think I’m getting a little bit more comfortable.
Defensive Lineman Budd Thacker
On his goals this spring:
“One of my main goals for spring practice was to focus on my pass rush to make sure I get a good pass rush going. Last we didn’t have much of a pass rush in the quarterback. We have to learn that a lot better and read the pass a lot faster. That’s what I have been trying to learn this spring. They moved me to the three technique which I have more one-on-ones; that’s okay you are just more out there in the open and you have to be a lot quicker. There is a lot more reading and stuff that you have to get used to.”