April 3, 2012

Insider Report: Offensive line impresses Fisher

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After looking back at the film of Saturday's scrimmage, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was very pleased with how his young offensive line performed.

Fisher said that he was very pleased with how his interior lineman played, but it was hard not to be excited about what 6-foot-5, 304-pound Cameron Erving did in his first scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball.

"I thought up front we did a nice job, we really did," Fisher said. "Cam Erving for his first scrimmage going against Brandon (Jenkins), Brandon got him a couple times but Cam did some really nice things. Did a couple of things on some cutoffs that I've never had a lineman do."

The battle between Erving and Jenkins has been intense throughout the spring, not just in the scrimmage. Fisher said that Jenkins has forced Erving to get better every day in practice just by making him compete.

"He's got a gear in him as a competitor that's pretty special," Fisher said of Erving. "But Brandon's pushing that gear. He makes you, or he'll embarrass you. That's what you want. You want that high standard where guys are going to embarrass you---'You've got to go to my level or else I'm going to make a play every play.'"

In addition to Erving, Fisher said he was very pleased with what guards Josue Matias and Tre Jackson did on Saturday.

"I like (Josue) Matias and Tre' (Jackson) inside," Fisher said. "They're big and physical. They move you. They're really good."

Defensive tackle Everett Dawkins said the difference in the strength from the offensive line this spring compared to last fall has been very noticeable.

"I think they've come a long way," Dawkins said. "You can just tell going against them every day because of practice and stuff. They're a lot more physical, bigger, and older. I just think there's going to be a big difference this year from last year."

With improved blocking up front Fisher said his quarterbacks had an OK day throwing the ball. Starter EJ Manuel completed 19 of 35 pass attempts, but was the victim of six dropped passes. Sophomore Clint Trickett completed 12 of his 17 attempts, while redshirt freshman connected on 16 of 27 pass attempts split between the second and third team offenses.

"I don't think any of them played great," Fisher said. "From that standpoint, some receivers have to get a little better in some places. Tight ends dropped a couple balls, but caught a lot of balls. Lonnie Pryor had a really good day, he had probably five catches on the day, did some nice things."

Overall though Fisher came away from the spring's first scrimmage pleased about the direction his team is headed.

"It was a solid scrimmage. We made progress," he said. "When you went back and looked at it I was very enthused about what we have a chance to be. We're not there, but I am very enthused."

Joyner playing more mature

As his teammates came up to him with questions about assignments and where to line up the first few days of spring practice it was bit strange for rising junior Lamarcus Joyner.

But after a few days he said he became comfortable being a veteran leader for the defense in his second spring as a full-time starter.

"At the beginning of the spring it felt kind of weird, kind of awkward," he said. "I was used to looking up to people like Terrance Parks and Nigel Bradham, now it's my turn. It's starting to feel good. Now it feels really good to be a role model on this team with the younger guys looking up to me and I'm being able to lead by example."

Fisher said that you can see a difference in Joyner so far this spring. Not only is he being a leader, but he going for fewer highlight type plays.

"I see him playing to win more," Fisher said. "Not that he didn't want to win, but sometimes he was so physical in trying to make hits and getting the balls. Now he's playing the ball more, making the hit when he has to make the hit, playing the ball knocking it away. He erases so many things. Just playing more mature."

Joyner said he has enjoyed lining up alongside Terrence Brooks so far this spring and feels they have a chance to be dynamic duo at safety for FSU in the fall.

"It's great," he said. "Coming in, we came in in the '10 class, he feels like my brother. We've got good chemistry together, it's great, we're looking to do big things this year."

That being said Joyner also knows that Karlos Williams is a playmaker at safety as well and will make plenty of contributions in the fall. The biggest difference Joyner has seen out of Williams this spring so far has been his willingness to learn.

"I'd say he's maturing," Joyner said. "Asking more questions, coming for help more than being to himself. Coming in as a five-star with all the hype, everybody just wants to do their own thing, (now) he's looking up to the older guys and following his brother (Vince Williams) because his brother has been through the same thing. He's just trying to get better, asking questions."

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