Plenty of competition expected at cornerback

For the first time in several years, FSU has a depth chart full of talented and experienced defensive backs and each of those players will be jockeying for position when spring practice kicks off Friday.

Through the years, the Florida State defensive secondary has made a habit of making game-changing plays. The type of plays that swing momentum in the 'Noles favor and drain the life out of an opposing offense.

But in recent seasons, it's a trend that has slowed down considerably.

FSU coaches and players are confident that will change as preparations for the 2007 season officially kick off this week.

"This year is going to be very exciting for the defense, I think a lot of plays are going to made on that side of the ball with as much experience as we've got and the youth everybody's got," redshirt sophomore cornerback Jamie Robinson said. "Everybody is pretty much excited wanting to get out there.

"The young guys – I know me especially – are wanting to get out there and make plays. I am sure everybody feels like that."

Robinson also went on to say that the experience gained as a relatively young secondary a year ago will help this season as the team looks to get back to its play-making ways.

"I think we all pretty much knew in our mind that we all came here from making big plays (in high school) and we all were out there not making big plays that we knew we could make," he said. "I think as the season went on, we got more mature. We got tired of having the big plays made on us. I think we are ready to turn that around."

Making that turn successfully may have a direct correlation with the amount of athletes that inhabit the depth chart.

The argument in years past has been that the talent level and number of gifted athletes at cornerback were not what they once were. That changes this year.

Entering spring practice, FSU has a defensive back depth chart that is deep at both boundary and field sides. Tony Carter is entrenched as the starter at field but will be pressured by junior Michael Ray Garvin and sophomore Patrick Robinson. Robinson will battle for starting honors on the boundary side with J.R. Bryant, Korey Mangum and Ochuko Jenije.

The possibility remains that each of these players could find themselves on either side once spring ball is over.

Once fall practice begins, the highly touted Dionte Allen will enter the fold as well as Bernard Brinson and possibly Brandon Paul if he begins his Seminole career on defense.

"That's something I heard when I first came in (that) the competition level has gone down," Robinson said. "But now there is a whole bunch of young corners coming in and we've got another one (Dionte Allen) coming in that's pretty good. There is a lot of competition in the secondary and the only thing competition does is make anybody better."

While much of the attention this off-season has been placed on the changes of the offensive ball and the renewed focus on intensity and conditioning, it's important not to forget that has a direct affect on the defenders as well.

Continued improvement on both sides of the ball means this spring practice period should be full of compeition.

"The offense and defense always feed off of each other," Robinson said. "Even in games, the offense brings the defense up and the defense brings the offense up. I think that's going to be one thing that helps us this year with the offense being as fired up and as fast paced as they are expected to be. I think that will be a good element for us this year."

Florida State will be without the services of graduate assistant James Colzie, who will not return to the Seminole sidelines this year. His replacement is graduate assistant Chris St. John, who helped coach the linebackers last year.


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