Five Observations from the spring game
Florida State wrapped spring practice with the Garnet and Gold Spring Game on Saturday. Although this year's game was short on intrigue, given a returning Heisman winner at quarterback and lots of returnees around him, here are five immediate observations from the game.
1. Freddie Stevenson ran the ball extremely effectively in the first half. He did an excellent job of finding the right hole and making the right cut on a way to an 18 carry, 85 yard, and one touchdown performance. Stevenson will be the team's starting fullback in the fall, but proved that he can also be dangerous with the ball in his hands. It looks as if Florida State's trend of excellent fullbacks will continue.
2. Sophomore receiver Isaiah Jones did not have a touchdown, but showed a great deal in how he did the little things. He was extremely physical after the catch and turned that into quite a bit of extra yardage. While he was working with the second team a performance like that, five catches for 81 yards, will definitely increase his minute on a team looking to replace a physical Kelvin Benjamin.
3. The backup quarterbacks both played extremely well during the spring game. Sean Maguire got off to a hot start going 12 for 19 for 162 yards and a touchdown at halftime. Franklin, meanwhile, only threw 10 passes, but was able to move the team down the field at the end of the game. The last drive resulted in a touchdown to Scooter Haggins. Both players looked more than capable of running the offense effectively. Franklin was also able to flash some of his incredible speed and evasiveness while running the offense.
4. The linebacking corps stole the show on defense. They were excellent in both types of coverage, man and zone, and did an excellent job in pass rushing and run defense. Terrance Smith was all over the field and broke up multiple passes. E.J. Levenberry and Reggie Northrup led the team in tackles and Ro'Derrick Hoskins had a 63 yard interception return for a touchdown to end the first half. They played with a lot of discipline as well showing great gap integrity and preventing backs from running free.
5. Kareem Are is going to be a very important player for Florida State if the Seminoles want to repeat. He has been participating in practice for less than two weeks, but is already seeing significant time with the first team. He was working with the second team during the game and the defense were blitzing and stunting to his side constantly. He did not miss a single block and did an excellent job of identifying his man. He switched sides in the second half to work with the first team and continued to excel.