August 18, 2011

Insider Report: Players recap scrimmage

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Florida State wrapped up its first preseason scrimmage on Wednesday night inside Doak Campbell stadium.

On Thursday several players met with the media to discuss how they think things went, they mostly reiterated what Jimbo Fisher said the day before, that things were even and each side had to earn everything they got.

"It was a good day," starting quarterback E.J. Manuel said of the scrimmage. "Felt efficient, I think the O-line did well, defense played great, everything that we got-all the plays that we made- we had to make them. They had to be accurate balls, good catches and getting up-field getting yards so it was a good day."

On the defensive side of things senior outside linebacker Nigel Bradham said he thought it was good day as well. He said he felt assignment-wise the defense was ahead of where they traditionally are during a first scrimmage.

"I feel like we played pretty well," Bradham said. "A lot less missed assignments than normal for a first scrimmage, we usually have a lot more missed assignments but this scrimmage we didn't have that many. Of course we had missed assignments but it was a lot more limited than in the past."

It was also the first time that Bradham and the other linebackers got a chance to see how the new depth at defensive line would translate to game situations.

"There was a situation yesterday when Vince (Williams) was at mike and he pretty much just-they ran a power play and the guard pulled-and he shuffled the whole way and made the play in the backfield for a tackle for loss," Bradham said. "Guys can't get hands on you like they used to so that's a big difference."

Williams said that as a veteran, his goal during the scrimmage was to eliminate mistakes, and make the plays he expects to make.

"You're trying to weigh the amount of plays you have versus the mistakes you make," he said. "Because as an older guy you should pretty much know the entire playbook. So you want to capitalize on all the plays you should make and really minimize the mental mistakes."

Don't call it a competition

With Telvin Smith moving to middle linebacker this spring and pushing starter Vince Williams it has been described as a position battle by most.

Except for Williams and Smith.

A few days into preseason camp Smith said he didn't look at it as a competition with Williams. He said that they both had the same goal and that Williams had been extremely helpful with the transition.

On Thursday Williams echoed a similar sentiment.

"I really wouldn't call it a battle. When you have two people that bring completely different things to the game, you know what I mean, it's not really like it's a battle," Williams said. "And then we're two totally selfless individuals.

"I could see if I was competing against somebody who was like 'I want this to be mine and I want this and I want this.' But it's kind of not like that, it's not really a competition or a battle because we both understand that we both have something unique to offer the team and that the team needs both our unique abilities to get to where we're trying to get to."

Williams said he's not going to be a guy that has a problem splitting time with someone else who has a better skill set at something than him and Smith is the same way. He recognizes there are things Smith does better than him, and that he also brings a unique style.

"Telvin's more of a longer rangier guy. He's fast, slimmer lean, plays against the pass very well, plays against the run very well," he said. "Me I play a lot of zone, I'm good in zone. I'm a bruiser, I can come down hill, I blitz well and things of that nature. Those are probably the most glaring things, there's other things to our game like if you break it down you could see."

A lot has been made about Smith being too small to play middle linebacker (Smith is 25 pounds to Williams' 240), but he said in FSU's system the linebackers are at times interchangeable.

"It's all universal, linebacker is linebacker…especially the way our defense is designed," he said. "A lot of the things we do when we're shifting and we're rolling our coverages and stuff people end up in different linebacker's positions."

Abram adjusts to fullback

When head coach Jimbo Fisher approached Chad Abram after the spring about switching from safety to fullback, he thought Fisher was joking.

He hadn't played on the offensive side of the ball since youth league days, and his only carries had come in pick-up games at the park.

Now 10 days into preseason camp the 6'0, 240-pound sophomore said the transition is going much better than he expected.

"It's coming a little easier than I thought it would be," he said "The coaches think I'm picking it up real fast."

He said he actually thinks he's picking it up a lot quicker than he did safety, but that the first practice was still rough.

"The first day in practice we were practicing handoffs from the quarterback and I fumbled it trying to grab it," he said with a laugh. "It went all up in the air."

Part of what has made the transition for Abram is that like safety, fullback is still a very physical position.

"I think Chad is doing a tremendous job at fullback," Williams said of Abram. "He was hitting people when he was wearing white shirts (defense) so now he's just switched over to the red (offense) jersey and he's still hitting people. So it really hasn't changed anything."

Abram said he still struggles with technique and picking up blitzing schemes, but that he has leaned heavily on starter Lonnie Pryor/

"Anything I'm not clear on Lonnie always comes up to me and tells me 'Chad if you need help come to me, I've got you," he said of Pryor. "And I ask Coach Gran a lot, and (Debrale) Smiley helps me too."

Quote of the day

Vince Williams on playing with his brother again:

"It's really awkward. He's just a different person now. When I played with my little brother in high school he was a little freshman and he actually wasn't that good. But now he has this whole different persona about him, just the confidence that he's been able to develop. It's amazing watching him back there doing things. Sometimes he surprises me like 'Wow that's my little brother, I used to have pillow fights with this guy and he's like a monster now.' So it's kind of amazing."

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