TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A rash of minor nicks and bruises along the offensive line contributed to Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher’s decision to postpone the first full scrimmage of the season on Tuesday. With FSU’s defense already wreaking havoc on an offensive line in transition early during preseason camp, Fisher thought it would be more productive to have tackle Zebrie Sanders (groin), guard/tackle Garrett Faircloth (knee) and guards Tre Jackson (knee) and Trey Pettis (elbow). All four sat out Tuesday’s practice. The Seminoles are also with senior starting guard David Spurlock, who is being brought along slowly since suffering concussions last season.
“Hopefully a lot of the guys are back tomorrow so we can get them some reps,” said Fisher, who has rescheduled the scrimmage for Wednesday. “We gave them one more day of rest and then we’ll get them out there.”
The biggest drawback due to the absences is how it impacts the coaching staff’s evaluation of the offense. “It kills your quarterback development,” Fisher said. “You can’t get a feel. You can’t judge the skill guys.”
That said, Fisher was pleased with the way the Seminoles went about their business during Tuesday’s 2 ½-hour session, which produced more than a few offensive highlights. “We ran some real good plays there at times,” Fisher said. “It’s been about half-and-half. They’ve won their battles, too. To consistently evaluate them, it makes it hard. To get your guy sitting there – consistently in the pocket – it’s a big factor. Saying all of that – we still made some big plays. We did a really good job on a lot of stuff.”
Playing in the shadow of preseason All-American defensive end Brandon Jenkins has not prevented redshirt sophomore Dan Hicks from being recognized. The son of former FSU standout defensive tackle Dan Footman has built on his productive 2010 campaign as a reserve and is prepared to play an even larger role when called upon.
“He is really coming into his own,” Fisher said. “He’s a redshirt sophomore and is about right where he should be. If he keeps coming, he’s going to have a great future ahead of him. He’ll be playing. He’s earned himself playing time.”
In 13 games as a back-up to Jenkins last season, Hicks registered 18 tackles (13 solos), which included three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. He also forced a pair of fumbles in his first season of action.
Hicks (6-5, 275) pays close attention to the way Jenkins goes about his business and benefits from squaring off against fourth-year starting offensive tackle Andrew Datko every day. He also likes the – “We hunt together” - mentality that defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot instills.
“I feel like I always have to be ready because you never know what might happen,” Hicks said. “I may have to go to the left side or I may have to go in for Brandon (Jenkins). You never know. You always have to be ready. That’s the way everybody is.”
Ty Jones enjoying best camp of his career
There’s plenty of competition for playing time in the Florida State backfield and senior tailback Ty Jones is apparently committed to making the most of his final season with the Seminoles.
Despite his productivity – 877 career rushing yards, a 5.9 yards per carry average and 11 touchdowns – Jones has missed 19 games due to either injury on inconsistency. Fisher has seen a different Jones through nine days of preseason practice. The Tampa native has not missed a day, appears to be in the best physical condition of his career and has been executing at a high level.
“It’s the best camp he’s had here in four years, by far,” Fisher said. “Every day he is being very consistent and working hard.”
Jones’ performance has stood out even more with veterans Chris Thompson and Jermaine Thomas receiving limited work, and touted freshmen Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. pushing for playing time.