Spring practice at Florida State starts the week of March 2nd. After a 2008 season that saw the Seminoles win 9 games, fans are excited to see the team continue to improve as they get back to the elite level of college football. Entering spring 2009 there are several questions that need to be answered for the Noles. In the first position preview NoleDigest looks at the defensive backs for FSU, which is a position that lost a lot after the 2008 season.
What to look for: FSU loses a 4 year starter in Tony Carter and a guy in Garvin who was a starter and key back-up for the past 3 seasons, thus they must find a guy who can be the other starter opposite Patrick Robinson. Patrick is a guy who has NFL potential, and he is a guy the coaches will lean on to use the spring as a platform for a strong senior season.
The early front-runner to earn the other starting spot is Korey Mangum. There's been a little talk that he may get some time this spring at rover, but for now we're listing him as a corner. Last year Mangum started a few games and was a major contributor for the Noles. This spring he needs to improve his technique and build upon last fall.
Other key contributors: Ochuko Jenije is the player fans should keep an eye on over the spring. Last year he played in nickel and dime packages and was a key back-up at his corner position. Jenije has always had the speed, and it looked at the end of the 2008 season that he was starting to put it together on the field. He's a guy, with a solid spring, that can earn a starting spot heading into the summer.
Questions to be answered: With little depth, can FSU come out of spring healthy at corner? How much has redshirt freshmen A.J. Alexander developed over the past year? Can Terrance Parks get qualified and be the player coaches expected him to be?
Key Returnees: Senior Jamie Robinson
What to look for: Safety is probably the position hit the hardest in the off-season for FSU. They lose all 3 rovers in Rolle, McClure and Lawson, and they lose the key back-up to Robinson when McClure graduated. What are the coaches going to do here over the spring? Jamie is locked into the starting free safety position, but after that the door is wide open. FSU returns redshirt freshmen Nick Moody and Ed Imeokparia, two players who missed their freshman season with injuries. Nick is penciled in as the starting rover heading into spring, and Ed is expected to compete for back-up time as a free safety. Can these guys make the necessary improvements to be contributors in 2009?
Other key contributors: We already mentioned the talk of Korey Mangum cross-training, and there's been talk that if Terrance Parks can get his act together he will make the move to safety in the fall. Other than that the coaches are going to have to wait until the summer when the freshmen class of 2009 arrives.
Questions to be answered: Can someone step up this spring and take the rover spot? Can Jamie stay healthy this spring? Are Moody and Imeokparia talented enough to be contributors? Who's going to provide the depth for FSU in 2009