FSU - Monday practice report

Coach Bobby Bowden saw improvements in the pass protection during Monday's practice. There were also a number of position switches along the line, including rotating the tackles and guards, and moving John Frady back to center to compensate for injuries.

Florida State's trio of quarterbacks are trying to separate themselves as much as possible during spring practice. But there's one thing that unites them: Without good blocking, they won't amount to much. Of that, Bowden is sure.

"If the protection breaks down they are helpless. Now, the protection today was so much better out there when we were doing our 11-on-11," Bowden said after Monday's practice. "They protected the passer better and he completed a nice share of passes."

There were plenty of changes along the line Monday. One of the team's objectives during the spring is to make sure all the right players are in the right positions, Bowden said.

"Right now, it's early, but I'm thinking Jacky (Claude) will start at left guard because I want (Matt) Meinrod at right guard," offensive line coach Mark McHale said. "(David) Castillo's out with that injury, so I better have a center polished this spring."

McHale rotated the tackles, guards, and moved Frady back to center since he has the most experience, and Castillo is sitting out indefinitely.

The redesign in blocking technique, and position switching is leaving some players with a lot to take in.

"It's a lot like having another class," Frady said. "We have our playbooks that we go over. Sometimes, when I'm up at my apartment. I'll go over run plays tonight, then tomorrow I'll go over my pass protection."

The technique and playbooks are divided into smaller sections for the players to go over each night. Every section is a small piece of the puzzle that McHale hopes to have assembled by two-a-days. McHale also wants to have the positions set in stone when spring practice comes to a close.

"The zone blocking is going to take me all spring to get the stunts," McHale said. "Our tackles still have to learn to set in on those speed rushers. By the last scrimmage of two-a-days I want this thing rocking and rolling"

Once the techniques become second nature for the linemen it will be up to the skill players to take over and turn the adjustment in line strategy into positive gains on game day.

"It's basically running the same play a bunch of ways," Leon Washington said. "There's going to be a bunch of big plays, but there's going to be a bunch of bad plays also."

Bad plays? Perhaps that's not the best description. Essentially, the changes to the offense will open up the chance for homerun plays at any point, but missed assignment or poor execution would also be magnified.

"I could get ball on the one yard line, and bust it for 99," Washington said. "Or if a guy misses his block, there could be catastrophe in the backfield."

But Washington still feels good about the overhaul in blocking schemes despite it's potential to unravel. It will clear his running path, and spread the defense.

"Last year we would get in the I-formation, and teams would stack nine in the box," Washington said. "It was hell trying to run the ball."

LEWIS TAKING HIS LESSONS: One of the players that McHale is trying to mold into a starting player by fall practice is Cornelius Lewis. McHale said Lewis, listed at 6'4" 305 lbs., is pushing hard at practice, but he still has a lot to learn.

"He could be another guy in the fall that we will upgrade," McHale said. "Right now, he is a young pup. He looks soft, and he's coming off the ball hobbling."

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: Coach Bobby Bowden said Monday quarterbacks Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee will receive the same number of snaps with the first team as starting quarterback Wyatt Sexton. But with the rash of injuries to the first team line, even second-team work will resemble the starting crew because of the number of linemen that will practice with both.


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