One of the areas of concern for Florida State coaches and fans is at the free safety position. The man who's started the past 2 years, Roger Williams, has moved on, leaving the team with only two scholarship athletes at that position. One of those players just made the move this spring as Jamie Robinson moved over to safety after spending his first two years at corner. The battle this year at the free safety position is important because the Seminoles need a guy who can be a playmaker from that position. That's something the team hasn't had since Pat Watkins left several years ago.
Darius McClure is entering his last season at Florida State. Since entering Florida State in 2004 McClure has spent time at both free safety and rover. Darius is entering camp as the starter at free safety. McClure has been a steady back-up and special teams contributor over his career but now coaches and fans will get a chance to see what he can do when he's the primary guy at his position.
Jamie Robinson is the only other contender at free safety heading into fall camp. Coming into FSU Robinson showed promise as a corner but battled injuries early on in his career. With Robinson's size he was a guy some pegged as a safety on the collegiate level. The move was made in the spring when the coaches asked Robinson to make the move over due to a less than favorable depth chart heading into 2008.
It's said that competition can bring the best out of athletes. Darius had what some consider his best spring while Jamie made an extremely smooth transition to his new position. Jamie showed natural playmaking ability as he brought the ability to cover his man and come up in run support when needed. McClure's experience and knowledge of the position helped him standout as he often seemed to be in the right position at the right time. While he may not have the ball skills that Robinson has, McClure improved on almost every facet of his game this spring.
The hard fact for FSU this fall is that there is very little depth at both safety positions this year. Both Darius and Jamie need to have excellent camps and both need to stay healthy throughout the season. The biggest advantage that Darius has over Jamie heading into the camp is that he knows the calls to make for from his position. Simply put, Robinson is still learning on the job and needs to keep the pace when it comes to getting down the right calls. With a defensive line that hopes to get more pressure off the ends look for McClure and Robinson to be able to make more plays than what we've seen from this position lately.
Winner: NoleDigest predicts that McClure will end camp as the starter heading into the first game against Western Carolina. But, we also predict that Robinson learns enough throughout camp and will end up playing more as he learns early, maybe even as early as game 2.