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Quick thoughts from FSU football’s spring game

The announced attendance was almost half of what it was last year.
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
FOR FILE-  Aerial of Florida State University campus with Doak Campbell Stadium in the foreground, Tallahassee.
SCOTT KEELER | Times FOR FILE- Aerial of Florida State University campus with Doak Campbell Stadium in the foreground, Tallahassee.
Published Apr. 6, 2019

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.


  1. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to drive past Pittsburgh guard Xavier Johnson during their game Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Tallahassee.
  2. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (22) smashes into LSU Tigers safety John Battle (26) in the second quarter. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
  3. BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times
Florida Gators wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) catches the ball near the end zone in the third quarter in a game against LSU at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, October 6, 2018.
  4. Pittsburgh's Justin Champagnie (11) and Florida State's Malik Osborne (10) battle for a rebound in the first half in Tallahassee on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.
  5. Florida State quarterback James Blackman (1) throws during the first half of the 2019 season opener against Boise State in Tallahassee.
  6. Feb. 14• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a press conference Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. Norvell is Florida State's new coach, taking over a Seminoles program that has struggled while he was helping to build Memphis into a Group of Five power.
  7. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens.
  8. FSU booster Brian Murphy (far right) sits with his wife, Renee, son, Parker and daughter, Devin, at Doak Campbell Stadium.
  9. Florida State fans will have the opportunity to cheer on their Seminoles against LSU at New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2022 and at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium in 2023.
  10. ESPN films game action  on the final day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore. Fields in Clearwater last year.
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    Duke guard Tre Jones celebrates after scoring against Florida State during a tight Blue Devils home victory.
  12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. watches the leaderboard after his run during NASCAR auto race qualifying at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Fla.