Saturday scrimmage notebook

Saturday morning, Florida State once again took practice inside Doak Campbell and held their second full scrimmage of the spring. Coach Fisher calls it Christian Ponder's best scrimmage since he has been here, but has few kinds words for the offense overall. The defense gives up a few big plays but comes out on top in the end. Read all about Saturday's scrimmage here.

Ponder came to play

Head coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher said following Saturday mornings scrimmage, "That may have been "As good a scrimmage Christian has had since I have been here."

Just by looking at Ponder's stats, 7-13 for 94 yards, it may not seem that way. After looking at each pass play in depth however, it is easy to see where why Fisher was so impressed.

Here is a complete breakdown of every time Ponder threw the ball in Saturday morning's scrimmage:

1. Throws to Goodman – missed him to the right. It looked like Goodman may have stopped his route on that one and the ball falls incomplete.

2. Bubble to Givens for -1 yard. Jenije makes tackle immediately.

3. Nice throw downfield about 15 yards to Commack. Dropped. Patrick Robinson right in on the coverage.

4. Hits Fortson on a slip screen for 2 yards. Heavy blitz on the play picked up well by Ponder.

5. Hits an open Goodman about 25 yards downfield and play ends for a total of 42 yards. Goodman falls down as it should have gone for 6.

6. Hits Givens on another bubble screen. Goes for 5 yards.

7. Ponder rolls right, hits Goodman 5 yards on an out and the play goes for 11 yards.

8. Hits Givens outstretched hands on an out route but ball is dropped.

9. Ponder had Fortson open downfield, waited a bit too long before airing it out and Korey Mangum is able to get over and break up the pass.

10. Ponder hits Givens on another bubble, Givens goes down immediately.

11. Ponder hit a wide open Jermaine Thomas out of the backfield about 20 yards downfield and he is taken down after gaining 39 yards.

12. Ponder flushed out of the pocket and throws on the run downfield but misses out of bounds on the safe play.

13. Givens drops bubble screen.

So Ponder was 7-13, but there were three drops and one play that was safely thrown out of bounds downfield to where only his receiver could have caught the ball.

Only two bad throws by Ponder today, but none in danger of being intercepted. When you look at it that way, Ponder could have easily been 10-13 for well over 100 yards and at least one touchdown.

For the most part, Ponder made good decisions, nice throws and managed the offense very well. If he can play like this during the season, it won't be his fault if the 'Noles lose any games.

As a whole, offense disappoints

For the most part, the offense did not look like they came to play today. The receivers dropped several balls, the running backs missed a lot of blocks, and the line had breakdowns we haven't seen yet this spring allowing a few sacks.

"I think we came out with the wrong attitude," Ponder said. "It wasn't close to where it should have been. A lot of guys just didn't want to work today."

Both Ty Jones and Jermaine Thomas had good days in the stat line, (minus the two fumbles by Jones), but did not satisfy Fisher at all.

"When they get the ball in their hands, their fine," Fisher said. "When the ball isn't in their hands, they hurt us. [Not] blocking and picking up blitzes.

We all gash when they're running the ball, but I'd rather have a guy give me a five yard run, block everybody and know what's going on, than all of what they're doing."

In short, Jones and Thomas are showing how deadly they can be with the ball in their hands, both breaking a few long runs today, including a 42 yard touchdown by Jones, but they still are lost when it comes to the overall offensive scheme.

The good news there is that this is just spring. If they continue to make the same mistakes heading into fall camp, there could be issues as far as Fisher trusting those guys out on the field.

Fisher continued his critiques of the skill players by having a few words about his receivers as well.

"Too many drops, missed routes, missed sightings," said Fisher. "They make plays at times, but not with any consistency."

It appears that youth could be the biggest issue as far as the backs and receivers go, but Fisher is not allowing that as an excuse anymore.

"They are young, but I'm about younged out," Fisher said, with a little laugh, but clearly serious.

Givens still a bright spot

Although Fisher was clearly disgusted with the play of the running backs and receivers as a whole, he made sure to point out one player that did not take the day off.

"Givens for the most part, stood out to me again today," Fisher said.

Quarterback Christian Ponder confirmed.

"He comes out with the right attitude and really cares about what he's doing," Ponder said. "He plays with a chip on his shoulder and all he does is make plays."

Ponder could not have said it better. Watching Louis Givens continue to embarrass defenders who are on scholarship, day in and day out is no longer a surprise to anyone. Although he is a walk-on, he doesn't play like it and when watching the offense, one would think he is Florida State's go to guy.

Givens was given six carries during the main parts of the scrimmage today and had several balls thrown his way. Fisher is making it clear that as long as he continues to show out, he will continue to get the ball and have chances to make plays.

"Every morning when I wake up, this is what's on my mind," Givens said. "If I'm not studying, it's about football for me."

And it shows. Don't be surprised to see Givens receive a scholarship by the end of fall camp heading into the season, and if he doesn't it would be a shame. He continues to out play guys who have a free ride through school every day, and never one has complained about it.

Defense plays with a spark

Although the offense was able to make plays during the course of the scrimmage, the defense stayed tough and played with intensity for the majority of the scrimmage.

One player that really stood out was Nigel Carr. Carr had two sacks early on and while only being a sophomore, is showing that he can be an emotional leader on the field. He is always hyped up and getting other players hyped up as well.

Towards the end of the scrimmage, when the team went to goal line drills, the defense dominated.

"The defense really won the goal line. They might have stopped them all but that last play," Head Coach Bobby Bowden said.

Ponder, also confirmed the solid play of the defense saying, "The defense played well; they brought a lot of pressure. They had a lot of guys in the right spots and they played a heck of a scrimmage."

** Side note: During the goal line drills, every defensive player on the sidelines were chanting "de-fense", getting the players on the field energized. I have never seen that before and the defense just looked like they were having fun and it translated to great play.

Other news and notes from Saturday's scrimmage.v

Preston Parker attended today's scrimmage sitting in the stands and supported the team. I thought that was cool.

Patrick Robinson didn't have any huge plays today, but he is showing senior leadership out there as I saw him several times, get on younger players to hustle on and off the field, making sure that no one on defense took any plays off.

I'll end with this that should make any Seminole proud.

Dekoda Watson: Watson is sitting out because he has not been cleared for contact. When players are not cleared to play, they are expected to run gasers and work out during the time when they would normally be on the field.

Watson and others were running gasers, Watson finishing before everyone almost every time. After the majority of the scrimmage, the players not cleared for contact either got on the exercise bike or did a few push-ups and sit-ups. Not Watson.

Watson went up into the bleachers and ran stadiums. All 80 rows of Doak too, not just the endzones either. He shows that he is committed to working hard, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will have a breakout season.

Clearly, no one works harder or cares more than Watson does at this point.

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