The return of FSU football is right around the corner with spring camp starting in just a few days. As FSU faithful anxiously await the opportunity to get an early look at what we feel will be a special chapter in FSU history here are a few things I’ll be looking for this spring session.
It’s still very early in the process and it can be hard to gauge things based on spring practice alone. There could still be attrition both coming and going when the next portal season opens and players could certainly emerge over summer workouts and into fall camp.
However, this will be no ordinary spring camp for the Noles as it should be more of a “fine-tuning” opportunity for an experienced team which leads to the first thing I’ll be watching for.
With FSU returning the most production in college football and having made only one coaching change, most of the program should already be on the same page.
This means they should be able to jump right to more advanced preparation and spend less time hammering on the basics. Of course, they will still work on some of that to shake off the rust and the younger players will need that preparation as well.
However, this season, stability and continuity should be a major advantage for FSU. In 2022, FSU had a lot of new faces to get acclimated and positions that while we felt good about still had questions to be answered.
Coming into 2023, they still have a fair number of transfers to get up to speed but most of them are veteran players who should be able to catch up quickly and a lot of the positions are no longer question marks.
With a veteran squad and continuity among the staff, we shouldn’t see a lot of minor mistakes needing to be corrected. I’m looking for this team to be crisp and able to start working on the finer details during spring which should be an advantage over many other teams who are breaking in a lot of new players, coaches, and schemes as FSU has had to do in the past.
This will be an ongoing observation throughout camp from two points of view.
First, how healthy is the current roster? We saw key players like Fabien Lovett, Winston Wright, and Bless Harris just to name a few that missed significant time last year. There were also players like Dennis Briggs who were returning from injury and didn’t appear to hit full stride until late in the season.
It will be interesting to see how close to 100% they are during spring camp as well as if there are any other players who may have had minor surgeries etc. to clean things up in the off-season. Braden Fiske, a highly touted transfer, is also a player coming off an injury and it remains to be seen how close to 100% he will be by spring.
The other aspect that will be interesting to keep an eye on is how Norvell and this staff handle load management. This is a veteran roster that is talented but not the deepest at certain positions. While you want to keep the physicality up you also must keep players as healthy as possible, and we’ve seen the Noles lose a few players to injury in previous camps.
Of course, there are injuries that you just can’t prevent but FSU should implement some degree of load management to keep the veteran players as fresh and healthy as possible which will be crucial to the level of success they are aiming for this upcoming season.
One of the areas I will be most intrigued by this spring is the secondary for FSU. The Noles finished with a top 5 pass defense last season but there could be an argument that had a lot to do with some of the passing offenses they faced.
I don’t think any of us felt this was a lockdown group, but we know they have plenty of talented pieces to work with. In 2022, we saw a few players regress while some new faces emerged.
Renardo Green looks like a guy who you can count on, Azareye’h Thomas is a talented young player who got a lot of reps last year as a freshman and could be ready for a starting role in 2023. Duke Cooper will be making the transition to safety to help replace Jammie Robinson. FSU also returns a host of other talented players that will be fighting for playing time.
Add into that a new position coach who I’m excited about and think is an upgrade and the addition of the top-rated cornerback in the portal Fentrell Cypress and it could be a big year for this secondary.
I’ll be watching to see how the position battles play out and the overall play of this group develops over the course of spring camp. I’m inclined to believe new defensive backs coach Patrick Surtain, who played DB at a high level himself, will be able to get the most from this group and help carry the flag as DBU at Florida State.
Last but certainly not least, I’ll be interested to see how the new group of transfers transitions to FSU. We know this staff has a successful track record of bringing in valuable plug-and-play pieces through the portal and this year should be no exception.
With the success of 2022, FSU has upped the level of proven talent it brought in. They now have added multiple players who were starters at other power 5 programs or highly regarded players at a lower level. A lot of these players were brought in at positions of need, especially in the trenches.
I have plenty of faith in this staff’s ability to evaluate and develop when it comes to transfers so I won’t necessarily be watching this group to see whether they can play or not because that’s a given, but rather I’ll be excited to see if these look like the pieces that can put FSU over the top for a successful run in 2023.
As the anticipation builds towards what could be a special season in 2023 the spring session will be our first insight into this squad. Changes prior to the fall are almost inevitable but we should be able to get a feel for how this team is going to look and how prepared they are.
It’s an exciting time for FSU football and it will all build to the garnet and gold game on April 15th when fans will be able to pack Doak Campbell Stadium for a first-hand look at the 2023 version of the Noles. Thanks for reading and Go Noles!
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