No specialization for FSU's receivers

Ridiculously deep at the receiver position, Florida State must find ways to get the ball into the hands of players like junior Kenny Shaw, who is believed to be the best route runner on the team.

Florida State has eight scholarship wide receivers -- Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Dent, Christian Green, Rashad Greene, Jarred Haggins, Willie Haulstead, Kenny Shaw and Rodney Smith -- that all deserve significant playing time this season, and coach Jimbo Fisher has been known to rotate as many as six into the lineup fairly regularly on game day.

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However, thus far during spring practice, the installation of the offense has featured a lot of "22" personnel, which means two running backs and two tight ends in the formation, as opposed to all the four-wide looks the team ran in 2011.

That being said, each of those wideouts is responsible for the entirety of the playbook and can't simply settle into a specific role, like being a slot guy or a deep threat exclusively.

"I like to think of myself as being about whatever," Shaw said Friday. "I'll play slot. I'll play outside. It doesn't matter to me. Wherever coach puts us, we're going to get the job done."

While he was complimentary of all the quarterbacks throwing to him, Shaw had great things to say about freshman Jacob Coker, who is attempting to unseat sophomore Clint Trickett as the primary backup behind senior E.J. Manuel.

Waisome: 'I'm going to go ahead and race him'

Sophomore cornerback Nick Waisome didn't make much of an impact as a true freshman last season, getting some special-teams work and a bit of garbage time on defense but little else.

Nevertheless, the 5-10, 176-pounder earned the respect of the locker room because of his blazing speed, as even though Waisome himself was prohibited from talking to the media in 2011 -- Fisher doesn't make first-year 'Noles available -- other players told a story about the Groveland product beating renowned sprinter Karlos Williams in a race after being egged on by Bert Reed.

According to Waisome, once the smack talk starts, before he knows it he's competing for bragging rights inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

"That's technically how it goes," he said. "Back then, it was Bert. Bert was there. He talks a lot, so he got us into it. So I was like, Alright, forget it, I'm going to go ahead and race him. We did. We did. We competed."

Since he's unlikely to beat out returning starters Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes at corner, Waisome believes his wheels make him an excellent option at nickel back, as oftentimes an opponent will put its fastest receiver in the slot with hopes of exploiting a mismatch.

Reid: 'Every play on that field counts'

A game changer as a return man on special teams from the moment he arrived at FSU in 2009, Reid has a chance this season to break the career punt-return yardage record originally set by Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.

While the Valdosta (GA) Lowndes High School graduate has done some damage over the years returning kicks, he appears to be behind Williams and Lamarcus Joyner on the depth chart there and may only be asked to return punts in 2012.

Perhaps lightening his load isn't a bad idea, as Reid took a step back at corner this past year, possibly because he had too much on his plate, although it's not in the 5-8, 185-pounder's nature to just walk away from a challenge.

"I always look it as I can do more," he said. "It's the game of football. Every play on that field counts, so I'm trying to be there every snap. Every play, I'm trying to be whatever. That's the key thing with me. In between the lines, every play counts. So I'm trying to be on the field and be that person that either makes the play or helps his teammate make the play."

Reid was unaware of the fact that he's close to passing Sanders for a school record, and while he did say it would be a fine accomplishment, he was quick to mention that teams goals are more important to him.

Smiley: 'Coach wants you to know them all'

The Seminoles have been depleted at the tailback position for most of the spring, as senior Chris Thompson is dealing with back and hand injuries, Devonta Freeman has a back issue of his own and James Wilder was suspended from team activities due to a legal problem -- it has since been resolved and the sophomore returned to action Thursday.

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As a result, Fisher has been employing a pair of slimmed-down fullbacks, fellow seniors Lonnie Pryor and Debrale Smiley, at tailback, giving his ground game more muscle in the process.

Fortunately for Pryor and Smiley, they already knew what they had to do going from blockers to ball carriers.

"Coach wants you to know them all, because basically you're the running back," said Smiley. "He wants you to go in the hole the same, to block as well. So, basically, he really wants you to know both of them."

Despite coming to Tallahassee with a strong résumé as a prepster, the Thomasville, Georgia, native has only been credited with 10 carries for 39 yards and one TD in his Garnet and Gold career.


John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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