August 16, 2013

Insider report: Green impresses, backfield goes big, injury report

Ryan Green got his chance to run with the first team in FSU's first scrimmage Wednesday, and the freshman running back made some noise.

"Ryan Green did some nice things," head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He banged and caught a few balls"

To be fair, Green was one of a litany of players that Fisher mentioned from the scrimmage. But Green's teammate's also took note.

For one, Green's backfield fellow James Wilder Jr., said Green had the most reps with the first team of any running back during the scrimmage. Wilder liked what he saw so much that, during Wednesday's scrimmage, he decided to let Green take a few more reps with the first team - and against the first-team defense.

"He was banging," Wilder said. "That showed me a lot. That's not easy. That's Christian Jones and Telvin. That's blending him into the rotation. And after every play he was getting up and helping the defense up."

Green's speed, along with Mario Pender, gives the Seminoles a good change of pace from the power of starting duo Wilder and Devonta Freeman.

And while speed is nice, FSU may not need it if Wilder is as powerful as teammates say. FSU defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan said Wilder is the toughest player he's ever had to tackle.

"When he wants to, he's unstoppable at times," Jernigan said. "When he has his mind made up, he's another animal."

Wilder's 224 pounds is also being augmented by 300 more at times. FSU is adding jumbo packages with Jacobbi McDaniel and Mario Edwards, Jr. as fullbacks.

"That's a lot of weight," Wilder said.

He added that McDaniel has been impressive as a blocker from the first time FSU tried him out.

"When we first put him in there, he didn't know what the play was," Wilder said. "We just said go hit No. whatever. But when he got in there he pancaked the guy, and it was like, wow, sheesh, we could use you back there."

Defensive line seeks to fill shoes of departed players

Most of Jernigan's defensive line teammates from last season now play on Sundays. Left behind are a cadre of players, like Jernigan, who have excelled in limited roles but are still defined by potential.

It's a moniker he's eager to shed.

"Someone from the outside looking in, all they're going to really see is potential," Jernigan said. "I'm just making sure that the potential goes out and plays. I want us to fill those shoes."

That being said, Jernigan knows exactly how big the shoes are left behind by Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine and Brandon Jenkins. He said he was proud to have the chance to play with those players last season, but was focused on the current season.

"Those are huge shoes to fill," Jernigan said. "It's not like we don't know what's going on."

Injury update: Darby shows promise, Erving out temporarily

Despite winning ACC rookie of the year in 2012, cornerback Ronald Darby has struggled to crack the first team defensive back rotation this preseason. He's still recovering from surgery in the spring and isn't back to full strength yet.

But during Wednesday's scrimmage, Fisher said Darby showed signs of getting back to form.

"He's really getting back into playing shape," Fisher said. "You see him flying around making plays. Made two really nice plays down the goal line."

Darby did move up to the first team for the scrimmage and Friday's practice after P.J. Williams went down briefly with a hip bruise. Fisher said Williams is expected back after a few days, but the defensive backfield rotation remains crowded.

Also in the injured list is Cameron Erving and Davarez Bryant. Erving, a junior, is slated as the starting left tackle. Fisher said both players were simply banged up and that he was being especially cautious with Erving.

"He's fine, we're just resting him," Fisher said. "He'll be fine, he'll probably get another day or two. He'll be back Monday. It's important for us to play the other left tackle. He could go right now, I'm doing this on purpose."

The other left tackle, so far, has been junior college transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug. Fisher said he's been impressed with Fahrenkrug's versatility along the offensive line.

"He did some real nice things," Fisher said. "He provided quality depth. We're very comfortable with him going in."

Behind Fahrenkrug is freshman Wilson Bell. Fisher said Bell wasn't ready to play quite yet, but said he liked the freshman's potential going forward.

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