April 15, 2012

Spring Game Report Card: Defense shines.

Florida State wrapped up spring football on Saturday afternoon with its annual Garnet and Gold game. The Garnet team came away with a 35-20 victory.

Here are the team's 'grades' for the game, as we take a look at how FSU faired as a whole in the exhibition.

Offensive Grades

Passing Game

The passing game got off to a great start as Clint Trickett went up top to Greg Dent on the first play of the game for a 70-yard scored. EJ Manuel[/d] then responded with a 14-play drive, which included seven pass completions capped off by a two-yard touchdown pass.

Trickett finished the game 12-23 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. The Garnet's other quarterback [db]Jacob Coker looked impressive as he made some tough throws and completed 8 of 11 attempts for 137 yards.

Manuel was inconsistent as he was 28 of 51 for 255 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

The protection was hard to gauge as the starting offensive line was split up between the two teams with Manuel and the Gold having the two starting guards and the other three starters lining up for the Garnet. The QBs were tagged down (We're not calling those sacks) a combined eight times in the games.

Kenny Shaw for the Gold and Rodney Smith had good days catching the balas they each came down with seven catches. Jarred Haggins had three grabs for 63 yards. Both tight ends had solid days in the passing game as Nick O'Leary had five catches for 53 yards and Dan Hicks had two catches for 42 yards.

Overall passing game grade: B-

Manuel had a couple of overthrows and misreads early on but settled in better in the second half and made some good throws. On the other side Trickett and Coker made some nice throws. Manuel's two interceptions are worrisome, but the second came on a tipped pass. Ultimately each team missed some throws here and there, but they both went to the air when they wanted to move the ball.

Top Performer: Clint Trickett

Trickett came out of the gat slinging as he went up top for the highlight of the game on the very first play. He completed just 52 percent of his passes but stepped up in the pocket nicely a few times and showed good command of the offense. His performance on Saturday and throughout the spring has likely cemented him as the No. 2 QB on the depth chart.

Running Game

With each team having mixed offensive lines, the running game was lacking on both sides. The Gold finished with just 84 yards on 27 carries (3.1 per carry) and the Garnet had 52 yards on 31 attempts (0.8 per carry).

Each team's numbers are skewed by lost yardage due to sacks but still there was no real attempt on either side to get the running game going.

Early enrollee Mario Pender had 13 yards on 10 carries with a long of six yards. James Wilder Jr. had 32 yards on 11 carries.

Lonnie Pryor was impressive in limited opportunities, amassing 24 yards on five carries as he averaged 4.8 yards per touch.

Overall running game grade: D

After the game Jimbo Fisher admitted that both offenses were making an attempt to get certain receivers involved and they got away from the running game because of it. The longest run of the game was a 16-yard scramble by Coker. The bright side is that both teams did do a better job in short yardage situations, an Achilles heel in 2011.

Top performer: James Wilder Jr.

Wilder missed the majority of the spring due to off the field issues but made the most of his opportunity the past few weeks. His stat line wasn't overly impressive, but he was easily the most explosive runner on the field. He also was the lone player to not lose yards on a single carry on Saturday.

Defensive Grades

Front Seven

A lot of the running game's struggles had to do with the play of the defensive line on both sides.

The D-line also made it tough for the quarterbacks to get comfortable after the opening possessions. Everett Dawkins had four tackles, two of which were 'sacks' as he tagged the QBs down.

Demonte McAllister had a nice game with five tackles, three solo. Toshmon Stevens, Branon Jenkins, Nile Lawrence-Stampl, and Moses McCray all recorded sacks.

The linebackers put together a pretty solid dy as well. Telvin Smith had eight tackles, seven solo, and three solo to go along with two pass break ups.

Jeff Luc had six tackles, an interceptions and two pass breakups. Terrence Smith played with good physicality as he had four tackles, one for loss, and a pass breakup.

Overall front seven grade: A

Neither side even came close to getting things going in the run game as the defensive line showed off its depth. The starting linebackers worked together for the Gold team, while the second team linebackers did good for the Garnet squad.

Top performer: Cornellius Carradine

Carradine was disruptive all afternoon as he recorded seven tackles, three solo and two sacks. Carradine played well throughout the spring as he filled in for the injured Bjoern Werner.


After a rough start to the game the secondaries both settled in.

Greg Reid and Lamarcus Joyner each made it their mission to not let Kelvin Benjamin beat them as they bracketed him much of the afternoon.

Keelin Smith capped off an impressive spring with seven tackles, five solo, and a forced fumble.

With the exception of the first play of the game both sides did a good job of not allowing big plays. Nick Waisome, who was burned on the Dent touchdown, bounced back with two pass breakups and a sack.

Overall secondary grade: B-

Each team allowed a number of completions early on but bounced back to do a good job the rest of the afternoon to keep each team's completing percentage down.

Top performer: Terrence Brooks

Brooks showed why he's penciled in as the starter opposite of Joyner in 2012 as he took an interception back 51 yards for a touchdown. He finished the game with two tackles, a pass breakup and the big interception.

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