The continued growth of the offense is in the spotlight this spring as coaches and fans await an offense that can be a constant threat from anywhere on the field. While they had their moments, there is a ton of room for them to get better.
"Not bad; I loved the intensity," said Jimbo Fisher of the offense in the scrimmage today. "I loved the aggressiveness. Of course we made some mistakes here and there. For the most part I liked what we were doing. Like I say, a few plays you wish you had back, you try to make but that is kind of where you expect to be right now. Get the kinks out but I love the intensity. I love the effort. I like the direction we are going, I thought I saw some good things out there."
The key cog for the offense is the maturation of quarterback Christian Ponder. Today he came out blazing, moving the offense right down the field. At the end of the day Ponder showed that some of the struggles from last year are still there, and that he needs to continue to pound away at those if the offense is going to take the next step. Overall the coaches liked where he is at, but they know he can get better.
"Really nice," Fisher said of Ponder. "He stepped up two or three times and made some good throws. He only ran when he really had to run. I thought his pocket presence, so far in the spring is good, and I think that is a tribute to two things: our offensive line is doing a pretty good job and our backs."
While the offense showed some flashes, the defense has a little ways to go. Simply put Coach Andrews was not pleased with what he saw. "
We gave up too many long runs, too many long passes," said an aggravated Andrews. "We had 50 missed assignments. We got folks who won't fight for the ball. We won't finish plays. There wasn't much out there that looked like defense. There wasn't much that resembled football. (It) Looked like we still had shorts on. You don't play football with shorts on. We could go out here and make excuses. It is the first time we tackled but we are not going to make excuses. We are going to get better."
NoleDigest's Views So Far
Here are some of the things NoleDigest as heard as the team heads into Week 2 of spring:
- The defensive backs have been hit or miss so far. As we saw in the scrimmage today Ochuko Jenije gave up some catches. Out of the corners Jenije struggled the most today, which is a surprise because we have heard he's had a decent spring so far.
- Speaking of cornerbacks, word around the program is that Patrick Robinson is back to the 2007 form that saw him dominate as a sophomore.
- A.J. Alexander is having a good spring as well. The coaches love his potential and feel he could be a major factor this year. He's done well in one-on-ones and is gaining the confidence needed every day. He is learning to trust his speed and learning the nuances of the position. The spot opposite Robinson is anyone's right now.
- Some feel if E.J. Manuel hadn't hurt his finger he'd press Ponder more than some think. It'll be interesting if Christian doesn't make the necessary strides.
- The intensity is there each and every day which is nice. Hopefully people don't read into the occasional scraps here and there because they are just apart of the game.
- Marcus Sims did very well today, and he has looked good all spring.
- Jarmon Fortson is showing he can be a lethal deep threat in 2009.
- Terrance Parks and Korey Mangum have done a respectable job making the move to safety so far. Here is something NoleDigest found interesting….Korey Mangum was surprised with the sheer amount of responsibilities the rover has in the defense. Some don't realize what that position calls for in Andrew's defense.