Spring Storylines

With spring wrapped up NoleDigest has been looking back at the month of practice for the Seminoles. While there were several storylines coming into spring, NoleDigest looks at the storylines that played out after spring came to a close this past weekend.

Florida State entered the spring with several storylines before practice got underway. With a new coaching staff, position battles and a completely new mindset going into the month of practices coaches and fans had a lot to look forward to.

Now that spring is over NoleDigest looks at the biggest storylines heading into summer as the Seminoles take a break before hitting the strength and conditioning hard this summer.

1) FSU may have its best stable of backs they've ever had: Is that a strong statement? Yes, it is. While FSU has had big-time running backs in the program's history it is hard to match the depth the ‘Noles will have in 2010. They have 4 backs in Jermaine Thomas, Lonnie Pryor, Chris Thompson and Ty Jones who all saw major minutes in 2009 and all of them contributed to the rushing game. Jermaine came close to 1,000 yards, Pryor showed versatility as a fullback and pass catcher, and Jones and Thompson were great in spot duty. In 2010 FSU adds a power back in Debrale Smiley, and Tavares Pressley looks to be healthy. Will there be a 1,000 yard rusher in 2010? Probably not. But FSU is in great position as Thomas has showed his ability to be a workhorse, and Pryor arguably may be the best of them all. The 6 backs will have to share carries but each showed flashes this spring that they can be the primary guy if need be.

2) Coaching plays a big role in college football: I don't think we need to rehash the past 10 years of FSU football, but the coaching side of things for the Seminoles left a lot to be desired. We saw this spring that the new coaches will pay immediate dividends to this team. Eddie Gran has the backs playing outstanding, but most of the improvement was seen on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Stoops, Coach Hudson and Coach Eliot have seen their players make huge strides this spring. Markus White had an excellent spring, and Brandon Jenkins looks like he'll take that next step in 2010. Mister Alexander and Vince Williams looked good at linebacker, and Nigel Bradham looks like he has used Hudson's coaching to put it all together. With the emergence of Terrance Parks and Xavier Rhodes, FSU has seen the defense get better by leaps and bounds this past month.

3) There are still questions at safety, though: The top 4 at corner look set with Greg Reid, Rhodes, Ochuko Jenije and Dionte Allen. Parks locked down one safety spot, but there is a hole at the final position in the secondary. Nick Moody played well at times this spring and he is the front runner to head into fall 1st on the depth chart, but there will be a battle in the fall to earn the starting role. Incoming guys like Mike Harris, Chad Abrams, Greg Dent and Jarred Haggins all may see time at safety as true freshmen in the fall. Gerald Demps has been the primary back-up behind Parks, but can he earn the other starting role? What about guys like JaJuan Harley and Justin Bright? FSU needs to sure up that final spot if they want to have a successful 2010.

4) The offense is set for a monster season: If health doesn't become a concern look for FSU to have its best offense since the Weinke-led dynasty teams. Enough has been said about Christian Ponder. The backs are loaded, and there are big-timers at wide receiver. Teams will have to pick their poison, so to speak, as there are a ton of weapons for Coach Fisher and Coach Coley to use. There was some concern this spring along the offensive line as several players sat out with injury while others didn't have the spring the coaches had hoped. FSU expects to have a healthy Zebrie Sanders and Antwane Greenlee moving forward.

5) The confidence is back with the players: In sports athletes need to believe they are good, and they need to exude confidence to succeed. It's fair to say that players for FSU didn't have a lot of confidence last year and it showed at times on the field. The young guys like Reid and Nigel Carr have brought a swagger to this team that has been missing for some time now. Coach Fisher has worked on and talked about building the confidence back up this spring. Just about everyone who's watched FSU this spring says that the players, especially on defense, have a renewed confidence about themselves. While the swagger isn't back completely the confidence is high heading into the summer.


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