Written by Danny Morales
The Florida State Seminoles football team has two and a half weeks before they open up the season in Arlington, TX on Saturday, Aug. 30 against the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, but scrimmages have already begun in Tallahassee.
FSU had their first scrimmage of the Fall on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at Bobby Bowden Field inside Doak Campbell Stadium. The ‘Noles focuses specifically on third down, red zone and goal line plays during the scrimmage, while also practicing their two-minute drill.
“Coach (Fisher) runs a great scrimmage.” said running back Karlos WIlliams on Tuesday. “We got out there, warm up. We get warmed up very well. Go through an individual 7-on-7 period and we hit it right to it. It’s pretty much like a game day.”
The scrimmage on Tuesday marked the first time FSU players have seen game-like action since their Spring Game back in April.
FSU has the core of their Championship winning teams from last year back, but did lose top receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw to the NFL. The ‘Noles will have senior Rashad Greene back this season, Greene led the team last year with 76 receptions and sits only 42 receptions short from FSU’s all-time leading receiver Ron Sellers.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is also back for the Garnet and Gold this season, as the redshirt Sophomore out of Alabama is coming off a year in which he threw for 40 touchdowns and 4,057 yards. Winston also took home the Davey O’Brien award last year, given to the Nation's top quarterback.
Also returning in 2014 is one of Winston’s biggest targets in tight end Nick O’Leary. O’Leary finished out last season with seven touchdowns on 557 yards receiving. He had his breakout game last year against Clemson, where he finished the game with 161 receiving yards in the ‘Noles 51-14 victory over the Tigers.
Place-kicker Robert Aguayo is also back for FSU, as the Lou Groza award winning kicker who only missed one kick all of last season returns for his second season as the starter. Aguayo went a perfect 94-94 with PATs (Points After Touchdown), while also going 21-22 with field goals. His only miss came on a 43-yarder at Wake Forest, before that he had made the first 70 kicks of his career, a new FSU record.
With most of the FSU offense returning this year, including their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, the ‘Noles should be early favorites to make it into the first-ever College Football Playoff.
The ‘Noles will have two more weeks of practice before they head out to Texas for the AdvoCare Cowboys Classic against OSU, where they will face their first challenge since winning last year’s National Championship.
“For our first scrimmage, I’m pretty pleased where we are, we’ll wait and see the film to make the final judgments but we have a lot of work to do, but I’m not disappointed at all.” said head coach Jimbo Fisher following Tuesday’s scrimmage. “Knowing where we’re going (we) can start to visualize our time a little bit.”