Florida State Seminole spring practice 2013 kicked off on Wednesday, March 20 and will culminate with the annual Garnet and Gold game on Saturday, April 13. What can Seminole fans look for during spring practice?
First, the Seminoles have to replace a large number of starters in 2013, especially on defense. Gone are starting defensive ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine. Also gone are defensive tackles Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud. Linebacker Vince Williams and defensive backs Nick Moody and Xavier Rhodes will have to be replaced and, add into the mix, that defensive end Brandon Jenkins, injured in the first game of 2012, will be moving on.
It appears that the ‘Noles are in for a major overhaul on the defensive side of the ball.
This is where you hope that some good recruiting on that side of the ball the last couple of years pays huge dividends. Here's when sophomores Mario Edwards, Jr. and Giorgio Newberry, along with red shirt freshman Chris Casher, can step up and have stellar seasons in 2013 at the defensive end position. They should be pushed by JUCO transfer Desmond Hollin and incoming freshman Demarcus Walker, an early enrollee, for playing time at the DE position.
Defensive tackles Timmy Jerrigan and Demonte McCallister will probably slide into the starting roles with Jacobbi McDaniel returning from a red shirt year due to injury, hopefully playing up to his 2011 season.
Linebackers and defensive backs should be a strong point for the 2013 defense with Telvin Smith and Christian Jones anchoring the linebacking corps and senior Lamarcus Joyner moving from safety to cornerback, leading a very talented secondary. This defense may experience a few growing pains but look for them to come on strong and to hit the ground on fire.
Defensively the Seminoles also have three new faces in the coaching ranks. Jeremy Pruitt replaces Mark Stoops as the defensive coordinator, Sal Sunseri replaces D.J. Eloit as defensive ends coach and Charles Kelly replaces Greg Hudson as linebackers coach. If these coaches hit the ground running and can have the respect and trust of the players, these coaching changes should only be a small bump in the road. As it is any time you have changes taking place, only time will tell what, if any, effect this will have on the 2013 season.
Second, offensively the biggest question mark is with the departure of starting QB E.J. Manuel, who is the heir apparent? From an experience factor junior Clint Trickett enters the spring as the only quarterback that has any college starts under his belt. Trickett started two games in 2011 when E.J. Manuel was injured. Trickett will be pushed hard in what head coach Jimbo Fisher calls a wide open QB competition by redshirt sophomore Jacob Coker, red shirt freshmen Jameis Winston and Sean Maguire.
The offensive line returns four of its five starters from last year so there is only one spot to fill and junior Bobby Hart, with nine career starts, should have the inside track at the right tackle position that is up for grabs.
Five receivers that had 20 or more receptions return for the 2013 campaign. Running back duties will fall to the one-two punch of Devontae Freeman and James Wilder, Jr. who both excelled in 2012.
Other than E.J. Manuel, the most important offensive weapon that is gone would have to be placekicker Dustin Hopkins. Red shirt freshman Roberto Arguayo appears to have the inside track at that position.
So, ‘Nole fans, if a QB to run the offense emerges from spring practice this offense could be pretty good in 2013.
Offensively, from an assistant coaching standpoint, Fisher has three new faces on his staff. Randy Sanders replaces Dameyune Craig as QB coach, Tim Brewster comes in as tight end coach and Jay Graham replaces Eddie Gran as the running backs coach.
Fisher feels that these coaching changes should have little effect on the progress of the Seminole football program. The new hires have more coordinator experience than their predecessors and Fisher feels that this will be a plus for the program but, like any time you have changes on your staff, there will be a hiccup or two. But these hiccups should be few and far between.
Needless to say, Seminole fans will be watching this spring with eyes wide open and an ear to the door, waiting anxiously for the Garnet and Gold game.