Saturday, April 21, 2018
Colleges

FSU starting to fill holes in spring football

Florida State started spring practice last year with sky-high hopes for a national title run.

This year the Seminoles still have high hopes but more questions to answer as they start practice today and head for their April 13 spring game.

Here are five things the Seminoles hope to accomplish:

1. One QB or two?: With EJ Manuel moving on to the NFL, the Seminoles are in search of a quarterback — or two. Junior Clint Trickett enters spring as the No. 1, based on his experience as a starter in two games last year when Manuel was injured. But he will be challenged. Coach Jimbo Fisher used a two-quarterback system as an assistant at Auburn and LSU. Might he try the same approach with redshirt freshman Jameis Winston and Trickett? Some combination of sophomore Jacob Coker and redshirt freshman Sean Maguire could be in the mix as well. "If you think it's something that benefits the team, that makes them score more points and win more games, then you obviously are open to it," Fisher said. "If you don't, you don't. … But to say you wouldn't do it? No, I would never say I wouldn't do anything because I don't know what'll pan out."

2. Refine the defense: FSU ranked second nationally in defense last year but loses a ton of talent, including defensive linemen Anthony McCloud, Everett Dawkins, Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius "Tank" Carradine. Also, former Alabama assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt replaces coordinator Mark Stoops, who became Kentucky's head coach. "You'll see a lot more movement probably now from third-down situations, second-down situations," Fisher said. "Linebackers will be going to pass rushers. You'll see much more versatility, I think."

3. Revamp backfield: Chris Thompson and Lonnie Pryor are gone, but the Seminoles have a lot of depth at running back. It will be interesting how they integrate redshirt freshman Mario Pender with veterans Devonta Freeman and former Plant High star James Wilder Jr.

4. Integrate new staff: FSU lost seven assistant coaches in the offseason, including Billy Napier, who lasted barely a month before bolting for Alabama, so getting the new staff to mesh is a priority.

5. Cornering: Among key position moves this spring is safety Lamarcus Joyner moving to cornerback. He'll need to iron out his technique beginning this spring.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

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