TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher turned his attention Tuesday to finding leading roles for players who were part of the supporting cast on last year's ACC champions.
The Seminoles lost 11 players in the NFL draft and have to replace first-round pick EJ Manuel at quarterback, NCAA record-setting K Dustin Hopkins and three defensive ends.
Fisher believes he has the talent to offset the personnel losses from a team that finished 12-2 and won the Orange Bowl.
"We have a chance to be a very good football team," Fisher said before Tuesday's first practice of the fall. "I'm excited about this team to see some of these young guys take new roles. I like the experience we've got coming back."
Fisher is particularly high on senior LBs Telvin Smith and Christian Jones and a secondary anchored by senior Lamarcus Joyner.
On way out: G Trey Pettis, a redshirt sophomore, is transferring to Division II Florida Tech, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Florida: Coach targets illegal hits
GAINESVILLE — Coach Will Muschamp is so serious about making sure his players understand the new NCAA targeting rule he's ejecting players (briefly) from practice when they make tackles that could be illegal.
"We definitely have gone over that a lot of times, we even started practicing that way," sophomore DB Valdez Showers said. "If you do something wrong, you get pulled out, too. They are really taking those rules seriously."
DB Jabari Gorman said Marcel Harris and Michael Taylor play very physically, which could lead to an ejection under the new rule: "Their shots are a little bit more different than guys who are settled down in their tackling abilities."
OPEN PRACTICES: Four practices are open to the public: Aug. 15, 2:45 p.m. (lacrosse stadium); Aug. 17, 9:05 a.m. (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium); Aug. 19, 7:45 a.m. (Sanders practice facility) and Aug. 20, 9:35 a.m. (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium).
Antonya English, Times staff writer
USF: New and perhaps improved
TAMPA — Newcomers are practicing two hours earlier than veterans in the first three days of fall practice, letting coaches interact more with young players. A handful are making an impression on coach Willie Taggart.
"(Darius) Tice has shown some things at the running back position. (FB) Auggie Sanchez is a really smart kid, really picking it up quick for us," he said. "Mike White has made some plays, but you can tell he's still learning. When he knows what to do, he makes some really good throws in there. (QB) Steven Bench has done some really good things."
Taggart said he'd shift some younger players to the veteran session, and by Tuesday, he'd done so with freshman CB Lamar Robbins.
PICKING it UP: Taggart said he was pleased with the level of understanding. "What we saw from our guys is that they've been working this offseason. We didn't have a lot of do-overs because guys didn't know what to do," he said.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
Miami: Twitchy in a good way
CORAL GABLES — Listing the freshmen who impressed the most in four days of training camp, Miami coach Al Golden quickly got to highly-touted DE Al-Quadin Muhammad.
"He's high energy just like we thought — twitchy," Golden said. "Excited about him."
Twitchy? Please define.
"You know, it's interesting," Golden said. "It's somebody that's explosive or somebody that's sudden. … Sometimes you can see it on film, but when you see it on this level, when you have a lot of guys that have twitch, sometimes you just seen a little difference in one guy. And I think 'Quan is a very explosive young man. He has to learn the system but he has twitch."