Monday, August 20, 2018


Matt Baker, Times staff writer

Matt Baker, Times staff writer

Matt Baker joined the Times as a sports reporter in 2011. In 2014, he started covering the Bucs, Rays and Lightning. He previously covered high school and college sports for the Tulsa World and minor league baseball for the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. His work has been honored by the Best American Sports Writing series and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is a Hoosier native and graduated from Northwestern University in 2008.

Deondre Francois is a little behind in understanding Florida State's offense, but the gap isn't that big in the quarterback battle. [ OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times  ]

Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Willie Taggart isn't ready to announce who will start at quarterback when the Seminoles open against Virginia Tech in two weeks.But a decision is getting closer."How close? Closer than...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida State linebacker DeCalon Brooks (seen here during the Seminoles' spring game) is ready for a big role this season. [ COLIN HACKLEY | For the Times ]

DeCalon Brooks ready to make a name for himself at Florida State

TALLAHASSEE — DeCalon Brooks doesn't only want to be known as Derrick Brooks' son.Yes, he plays the same position (linebacker) at the same school (Florida State)
Published: 08/19/18
A former junior world champion duck caller will be playing at Doak Campbell Stadium next month. Doesn't that get you at least a little bit excited? [ SCOTT KEELER  |  Times ]

Why you should care about FSU-Samford: This ‘DuckTales’ parody song

When Samford Hall of Famer Jimbo Fisher left Florida State for Texas A&M, we all needed a reason to care about the...
Published: 08/17/18
Florida State coach Willie Taggart starts his first season with the Seminoles in the top 20 on my ballot. [ COLIN HACKLEY | For the Times ]

Full disclosure: My preseason AP Top 25 ballot

We'll find out where Miami, Florida State and the rest of Florida's teams start the season Monday when the AP releases its preseason Top 25 rankings.Until then, here's a sneak peek, in...
Published: 08/17/18
The Dunlap Champions Club in the background meant a reduction in seating capacity at Doak Campbell Stadium. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times ]

Reduced seating capacity coming to college football, including Alabama

The Rays aren't the only team looking to downsize their stadium capacity.It's becoming a trend in college...
Published: 08/16/18
Florida State Seminoles defensive end Brian Burns (99) sacks Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) during the first quarter of the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.  [ MONICA HERNDON  |  Times ]

Brian Burns looking to thrive in Florida State’s new-look defense

BRADENTON — First-year coach Willie Taggart's plan to transform Florida State into a program built on lethal simplicity transcends the offense.The defense will try to live by that same two-word philosophy, which could help...
Published: 08/15/18
Florida State Seminoles quarterback Bailey Hockman warms up before the Garnet and Gold spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday April 8, 2017. [ MONICA HERNDON  |  Times ]

Florida State football quick hits: Road trip bonding and quarterback battle

BRADENTON — Although the recruiting advantage of Florida State's trip to IMG Academy is...
Published: 08/13/18
The Florida State Seminoles practiced Monday at IMG Academy, a prep football powerhouse in Bradenton. (MATT BAKER | Times)

Willie Taggart doesn’t see recruiting perks in FSU’s IMG Academy trip

BRADENTON — Florida State coach Willie Taggart presumably had many off-campus sites where he could have taken the Seminoles for this week's portion of preseason camp.So why IMG Academy?"Look around…" Taggart...
Published: 08/13/18
Wide receiver Van Jefferson (87) runs a drill during a Florida Gators spring football practice on March 16, 2018, at Sanders Practice Fields in Gainesville, Fla. (MONICA HERNDON | Times)

Florida Gators’ Van Jefferson can play this fall

Florida receiver Van Jefferson can play immediately after receiving a waiver by the SEC, the Gators announced Monday morning.Jefferson needed the waiver after transferring from Ole Miss because of its NCAA mess. In two years with the...
Published: 08/13/18
Wesley Chapel native and IMG Academy product Tre' McKitty talks with reporters Monday morning before practice at IMG.

Florida State football starting practice at IMG Academy

BRADENTON — Florida State hit the road to hold some of its preseason camp here at IMG Academy. A few highlights from morning interviews:I asked coach Willie Taggart why he wanted to come to IMG specifically. "Look...
Published: 08/13/18