A junior-college transfer prior to this past season, Fahrenkrug was billed as an instant difference maker along the offensive line for Florida State and opened the 2011 campaign as the starting center. Some early struggles with the shotgun snap and making adjustments at the line of scrimmage necessitated a flip-flop with Bryan Stork over to left guard after two games, and while the 6-4, 315-pounder was indeed better at his more natural position, it's impossible to deny that his shortcomings were a big reason why the blocking up front was substandard more often than not. Once it was time to get prepared for the Champs Sports Bowl matchup against Notre Dame, Fahrenkrug had lost his job to true freshman Josue Matias.
Currently battling a shoulder injury that will keep him out of spring practice, it's hard to imagine Fahrenkrug pulls his way back to the top of the depth chart with the likes of Matias, Tre' Jackson and new JUCO additions Daniel Glauser and Menelik Watson hungry for reps.
A tackle by trade, Faircloth had more than a few starts inside at guard in 2011 when senior David Spurlock got bit once again by the injury bug and Jackson was dealing with knee problems himself. Faircloth was part of the quintet that just couldn't block anybody -- be it on the ground or in pass protection -- at Florida in the regular-season finale, and by the time the bowl game rolled around his banged-up hip had forced him to the sideline. He doesn't require the reps in spring as badly as some of the younger blockers do since he's scheduled to be a redshirt junior this coming year, but it already feels like his chance to lock down a starting gig has come and gone.
Even if the Jacksonville (FL) The Bolles School graduate was 100 percent in March, the best he could have hoped for was most likely a position as a swing tackle off the bench or an emergency fill-in at guard.
The third offensive lineman that will be forced to sit and watch spring practice instead of participating, Foose's story sounds an awful lot like Faircloth's, meaning he has plenty of eligibility left but appears to have been passed on the depth chart by younger prospects with upside to spare. A 2010 signee, Foose heard all about the incredible collection of O-line recruits that were a part of the 2011 class, like Matias, Jackson, Bobby Hart and Austin Barron, not to mention the freshly-redshirted Ruben Carter, Sterling Lovelady and Trey Pettis. Is he a tackle? Is he a guard? Either way, Foose is on the outside looking in from a playing-time perspective.
Following Monday's announcement from coach Jimbo Fisher that Cameron Erving is going to switch from defensive tackle to offensive tackle, it's safe to say the move wasn't made so Erving could ride the pine.
McDaniel was a part of a dominant defensive tackle rotation -- with the exception of the Clemson and Wake Forest matchups, when the Seminoles couldn't get off the field on third down -- for FSU this past season, but then a devastating ankle injury Oct. 15 at Duke shelved him for the rest of the year and put his future in jeopardy. Aside from his health, McDaniel can't take much comfort in knowing that the majority of his time went to the terrific Timmy Jernigan, who developed into a Freshman All-American and has a future so bright it's blinding. The starting nose guard, Anthony McCloud, is an underrated defender in his own right and deserves a fair share of snaps, too.
Originally a five-star recruit in the class of 2009, the 6-1, 297-pounder not only has to rehab like a mad man just to see the field again, but now McDaniel has to hold off a new pair of studs on their way to Tallahassee in Eddie Goldman and Justin Shanks.
The most significant absence during spring practice is that of Werner, who spent 2010 in the shadows of fellow defensive end Brandon Jenkins' breakout season only to leapfrog him in terms of national attention for the first half of 2011. Enemy offensive coordinators finally started to wise up in October and November, as the Berlin, Germany, product saw his numbers take a hit thanks to a steady diet of double teams, but that only opened the door for Jenkins to revert to his play-making form. The 'Noles have arguably the best three-man rotation at D-end in the country with Werner, Jenkins and Cornellius Carradine, but while Carradine will do just fine in Werner's stead, behind them there is next to no live-bullet experience.
Further complicating the matter is the news that Dan Hicks and Toshmon Stevens are both no longer playing defensive end, as Hicks is now a tight end and Stevens a linebacker, which means Giorgio Newberry better be ready for a ton of action coming off a redshirt.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Five Seminoles out for spring practice
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