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Through the first two days of fall camp there was one particular group of freshmen that has caught the eyes of not just the media, but also of their teammates as well.
The group consists of true freshmen Mario Edwards (6-3, 295), Chris Casher (6-4, 248), Eddie Goldman (6-4, 320), and Justin Shanks (6-2, 340). The quartet of frosh defensive lineman has not only impressed their veteran teammates with their physiques, but their demeanor as well.
"They're very humble," said junior offensive lineman Bryan Stork. "For being big-time recruits they're very humble and I was very impressed with that. They're very quiet, they stick to themselves, that's probably just because they're freshman, but I expect big things out of them I really do."
"They came in (like that)," added senior defensive tackle Everett Dawkins. "They're not guys who talk a lot. I know Goldman is a pretty quiet guy he just keeps to himself a lot, Mario is the same way. So I mean I think they just came in that way. We gave them a few tips here and there and they're doing great right now."
Like it is for most freshmen, the first week (and perhaps longer) of practice will be an adjustment period. Still the young defensive linemen have showed glimpses of what made them so highly touted out of high school.
"Lot of athleticism," said head coach Jimbo Fisher. "Those guys can rush. Those big guys can rush. We had 1s and 3s on one field and 2s and 4s on the other, so we'll double watch the film on the guys over there, but all those young guys, those DBs, those front guys, they can run. I was watching them do some drills and individual stuff. I'm glad we recruited them."
Fisher is looking forward to what his blue chip recruits can do in the coming weeks once they catch up to the speed of the college game.
He's not the only one.
"If you look at them you can tell they can play," said quarterback EJ Manuel. "I've heard that Goldman has probably the quickest first step out of all the D-lineman we have. That's what I've been told by another D-lineman we have so I'm looking forward to seeing it."
Offensive line ready to prove doubters wrong
After allowing 41 sacks a season ago and suffering a rash of injuries, the Seminoles' offensive line is confident that 2012 will be a better season.
"Everybody is pretty confident," said Stork, who continues to work as the first-team right tackle. "We're feeling well about ourselves. We're on a mission to turn everything around. We've just got to take it a day at a time to get there."
Dawkins said you can already see an improvement for the offensive line, especially sophomore guards Tre Jackson and Josue Matias.
"I go against the guards but both of them have improved to just crazy levels," Dawkins said. "Before they were just freshman, they were OK. But now that they've gotten a lot better it's competition and it's great to go against everyday because it's making (them) better, me better, it's good. They've gotten a lot better though."
So much of the hype about FSU has been centered around its defensive line, but Dawkins said that the offensive lineman can hold their own in practice.
"They're scrappy," he said. "That's one thing you can bet. Coach Trickett, his offensive lines are always going to be scrappy. They're big, they've put a lot of weight on so it's not as easy as it used to be just to get them up off of me."
Expectations are high for FSU once again in 2012. Many believe that in order for the Seminoles to fulfill those expectations the offensive line must improve tremendously. A tidbit that Stork said he and the other offensive lineman aren't paying any attention to.
"We really don't listen to all the media stuff," he said. "We don't talk about it, but we know what we've got to do and we're going to do it and it's just going to be one day at a time."
How FSU will replace dismissed senior Greg Reid at corner and punt returner has been discussed at length. But there is another void left by Reid's departure that must be filled.
At each and every practice Reid was always the most the vocal player on the field. Whether he was encouraging a teammate, or jawing with a member of the offense, Reid's passion was undeniable and infectious.
Senior running back Chris Thompson who has battled through multiple injuries over the last two seasons said that Reid's passion was a big motivator for him during his rehab.
"Just looking at Greg play that did something for me," Thompson said. "It helped my spirits a whole lot. Just seeing the excitement he brought, it just made me want to rush back and get back into the game. Although I didn't need to rush I just wanted to be back with this team again."
With Reid no longer on the team, another Valdosta, Ga. native has stepped up in his absence. On Monday as FSU tried to get practice rolling after each delay with was linebacker Telvin Smith's voice that could be hear across the practice fields.
"Telvin will just pick up where Greg would have took up," said Manuel. "They're both no nonsense guys, they're practice guys. They love the game of football and they respect it. That's what I love so much about Greg and Telvin, Tyler Hunter too. Those guys they love football from that program they come from in Lowndes. Telvin pretty much took that weight up from day one, the first meeting on Sunday."
Redshirt freshman Eric Beverley has received a medical redshirt according to Coach Fisher. The former Jacksonville First Coast High running back suffered a severe knee injury. Beverly will remain on scholarship so he can earn his degree but it won't count towards the 85 limit.
Beverley's scholarship will go to long snapper Chris Revell. Revell, a junior from Tallahassee, is a reserve long snapper and also serves as Dustin Hopkins' holder on field goals and PATs.
In an effort to avoid more rain delays FSU began Wednesday's practice at 5:30 a.m. A number of players are still in class for summer school so Fisher has to find a way to work around their schedules as much as possible.
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