TALLAHASSEE — Florida State capped off its second spring under Willie Taggart with Saturday’s Garnet and Gold exhibition game at Doak Campbell Stadium.
A few quick thoughts from the glorified scrimmage (a 27-21 Gold win over Garnet):
1. The more things change, the more they stay the same. FSU’s best players from last season are … still its best players. Cam Akers rushed for two touchdowns. Tamorrion Terry caught a streaking 50-yard touchdown pass from James Blackman (who finished 23-of-37 passing for 415 yards and three scores). And the much-maligned offensive line is still a glaring weakness. The lines gave up five sacks, had four poor snaps and committed three penalties, and that was just the first half.
2. The Seminoles have some promising young defensive talent, especially in the secondary. Wesley Chapel High alumnus Isaiah Bolden had a pair of early pass breakups – a nice comeback from the shoulder injury that limited him to only one game last year. Five-star freshman defensive back Akeem Dent recovered a fumble and broke up a pass in the first 10 minutes. Sophomore tackle Robert Cooper was disruptive in the middle, and freshman linebacker Jaleel McRae had seven first-half tackles.
3. Spring games are opportunities to see breakout players, and this one had a couple. Armwood High alumnus Warren Thompson took advantage of a defensive breakdown for an 80-yard touchdown. It’s not right to call Khalan Laborn a breakout player, but he was contributing again after sustaining a serious knee injury last year. And Louisville transfer Jordan Travis (22-of-28 for 241 yards) looked like an adequate option at quarterback. It’s still uncertain whether he’ll receive the NCAA waiver he needs to be eligible immediately.
4. The dropoff in enthusiasm was evident. Last year’s spring game drew an FSU-record crowd of almost 54,000 fans, including legends Bobby Bowden, Deion Sanders, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Brooks. This year’s crowd was nowhere near that, in size or intensity. The announced attendance (27,901) seemed generous. That’s not a surprise given last year’s 5-7 flop, but it was impossible to ignore.