Practice: Begins Tuesday and will run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Spring game: 5 p.m. April 10, Doak Campbell Stadium
QB Christian Ponder spent the last four games of the season as a sideline observer (right shoulder surgery) but it wasn't lost time. "At times, it kind of gave me a coaching perspective a little bit and it kind of makes things come to light as to what I need to do and what everyone else needs to do," said Ponder, who will be participating in spring practice. "It was kind of unique seeing things that go on that I didn't realize; a lot of things I might have missed because I was playing." He's not just referring to how he executes a play, but how he prepares to execute. More accountability is at the crux of a new beginning under coach Jimbo Fisher.
A head start
The Seminoles had four members of the signing class enroll early — heralded LB Jeff Luc, DT Anthony McCloud, RB Debrale Smiley and QB Clint Trickett. Fisher said the 6-foot, 249-pound Luc is already a "man. He's not in an 18-year-old body" and looked in offseason drills as good as advertised. McCloud (6-2, 303) brings power and size (especially needed with former Hillsborough High star Moses McCray out as he rehabs an elbow). Smiley, like McCloud, has played a year (both were at junior college and come to FSU with three years of eligibility), is a physical back that Fisher likes. And Trickett will get more reps than you might expect with EJ Manuel out (shoulder).
Ready to roll
For as many true freshman who played last year, the Seminoles redshirted 10 others and those players have ability. Are they ready? Keep an eye on DL Demonte McAlllister, the former Alonso High star who sat out after having knee surgery. He can play inside or on the edge (a position of greater need), DE Dan Hicks, CB Xavier Rhodes and S Justin Bright and S Gerald Demps. Remember, both starters at S have graduated. MLB Vince Williams (back injury) is also back after sitting out last year, which looms large given that two returning LBs, Maurice Harris and Aaron Gresham have been medically DQ'd.
Fisher re-made his staff with five new hires (defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, linebackers coach Greg Hudson, defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot, running backs coach/special teams Eddie Gran and quarterbacks coach Dameyune Craig) as well as promoting one (James Coley) to offensive coordinator. The group jelled nicely on the recruiting trails to land a top-shelf class, but now comes an even bigger test — teaching and developing the players. And let's face it. This will be another test for how well Fisher transitions from an assistant to the boss.
Greg Reid, CB: The freshman was the top punt returner (18.4 yards), but showed his inexperience at nickel. He figures to get a shot as a starter.
Beau Reliford, TE: Took over for the injured Caz Piurowski and did well (11 catches, 101 yards, two TDs).
Willie Haulstead, WR: As a freshman, played mostly on special teams (one catch, 10 yards) but will get more of a chance at WR.
Brian Landman, Times staff writer