With Oklahoma and Florida State set to square off in one of the best nonconference games of the upcoming season, I decided to do a little recon on the Seminoles' spring game.
A few quick-hit thoughts based on the first half, which is all I watched:
*Overall, the defense appeared to be well ahead of the offense. Both sides regularly went three and out. The offense was lacking gamebreakers.
*The passing game relied heavily on play action and rollouts to buy time for the quarterbacks in the passing game, which may have been more a function of the watered-down o-line.
*Jimbo Fisher didn't show much in the running game, but Jermaine Thomas looked solid.
*Quarterback EJ Manuel didn't have his best day. He spent a good deal of time running for his life on straight dropbacks, but he still didn't throw particularly well when he had time in the pocket. He appeared more comfortable throwing on the run.
*The offensive line's struggles also may have resulted from the play of FSU's outstanding defensive line. The front four is loaded with studs, harkening back to the best of Bobby Bowden's powerhouses. Junior Everett Dawkins looked particularly imposing.
*As good as the d-line is, the defensive backs could be the best unit on the entire team. This group just flies to the football and can really run. Senior Terrance Parks played well, and explosive cover man Greg Reid displayed a great ability to break on the ball.
*All in all, the D just seems so much more comfortable with defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' schemes. Last year in the OU game, FSU's defenders clearly had yet to reach the point where they were simply reacting to what they were seeing. Most of that hesitation appeared to be gone. They were attacking more and generally playing more aggressively. Top to bottom, this will be one of the best defenses in the country in 2011 – no doubt in my mind.
*Kicker Dustin Hopkins is very good.