Josh Sweat looks to lead edge unit with departure of DeMarcus Walker
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After a week off for spring break, Florida State returned to practice on Monday at the Albert J. Dunlap Practice Facility and hit the ground running.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher said the Seminoles worked on several new elements, including some red zone plays during the fourth practice of the spring.
“We had a bunch of new stuff,” Fisher said. “We don’t have time to wait; this is the fourth day. We had a ton of red zone stuff today. A lot of running stuff, a lot of red zone, and that’s the hard part. When you get in the red zone and third down stuff, that really becomes (difficult)…I was very pleased with the effort, we just got to get cleaned up, and that’s typical. I thought we’d be right where we were today.”
The Seminoles took 10 days off from practice, but the time away did not appear to impact rising junior defensive end Josh Sweat, who continues to stand out during spring practice after recovering from a finger injury.
““It was good to see Sweat back in there,” Fisher said. “His hand is feeling a little better from the surgery on his finger.”
Sweat is expected to start for a third straight year this fall. The 6-5, 250-pounder totaled 7.0 sacks and 41 tackles while making 10 starts in 2016 despite battling injuries.
Now healthy, Sweat will look to take the torch as the leader of FSU’s edge unit from graduated All-American DeMarcus Walker (16 sacks in 2016).
Sweat, freshman All-American Brian Burns (9.5 sacks) and rising senior linebacker/defensive end Jacob Pugh (4.5 sacks) combined with Walker to give the Seminoles arguably the nation’s top pass rush a year ago as Florida State led the nation in sacks per game (3.92).
The Noles also add early enrollee Joshua Kaindoh – the nation’s top-rated defensive end recruit. An early enrollee, Kaindoh is able to practice with the Seminoles this spring.
Kaindoh missed some time with a minor injury during the first week, but was back at practice on Monday.
“He’s got a great body, strong and athletic,” Fisher said. “He’s got to learn to play but he’s a smart kid and picks things up. He’s very conscientious about his work ethic.”
Scrimmage set for Monday
Fisher said the Seminoles will hold their first scrimmage of spring next Monday. FSU will practice Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday this week.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher post-practice quotes
“Glad to be back, you could tell it was spring. Effort was good, but still sloppy. First day back after Spring Break I kind of figured. Had some good things. Just got to continue to get a little better in that. We had a good tempo before we left and today was a good tempo; we just got a little tired at the end with Spring Break and 10 days off. They were supposed to be running, but I don’t know if they were. It was still good effort, just got to clean some things up. Got young guys in a lot of positions, just your typical spring.”
On picking up from the first week of practice:
“We had a bunch of new stuff. We don’t have time to wait; this is like the fourth day. We had a ton of red zone stuff today. Lot of running stuff, a lot of red zone, and that’s the hard part. When you get in the red zone and third down stuff, that really becomes (difficult)…I was very pleased with the effort, we just got to get cleaned up, and that’s typical. I thought we’d be right where we were today.”
On the leadership of the wide receivers:
“It was a shame Keith (Gavin) got hurt, because he was playing really well. Noonie (Nyqwan Murray) had some plays; Tate (Auden Tate) had some plays. Got to continue to do a lot of the little things, especially when you get in the red zone. One little angle, one little step, the physicality of different things, that’s what we’ve always been great at. We’ve always had great red zones, been in the tops in the country for a while, and that’s where there is a lot of teaching. So, those guys had a pretty solid day. The tight ends and the backs are doing some really nice things, too.”
On the play of the defensive ends:
“It was good to see Sweat (Josh Sweat) back in there. His hand is feeling a little better from the surgery on his finger. Kaindoh (Joshua Kaindoh) was back at it today, but he was on the other field for me to see, but from the boards I saw some good things. Burns (Brian Burns) and those guys flash at you at times. You’re coaching on the run and we’ll look at it on film but they flash at you.”
On freshman defensive end, Joshua Kaindoh:
“He’s got a great body, strong and athletic. He’s got to learn to play but he’s a smart kid and picks things up. He’s very conscientious about his work ethic.”
On the experience of the linebackers:
“Jacob (Pugh), Thomas (Matthew Thomas) flashes at you at times because he’s been in college. Rice (Emmett Rice) and Jackson (Dontavious Jackson), all those guys are a pretty good crew. They jump at you. There’s a lot, when you’re going through the motions and different stuff we do, there is a lot of stuff for those guys to process and they’re doing a pretty good job.”
On the continuity of the coaching staff:
“It let’s you know what is going on, guys get stability, guys build relationships. People don’t realize, ‘change this and change that’, yeah that’s all great, I mean everybody wants change in this world now. But remember, you’re breaking relationships, you’re breaking how a guy gets coached, what he’s told to do, how he knows what coach wants, and there is a whole ball. That really helps when you keep continuity.”