August 19, 2013

Insider report: Numbers, heat, and young WR's

One week, Kenny Shaw was just one of a slew of veteran wide receivers on the roster at FSU. Seemingly the next, Shaw found himself feeling like the grandpa of the unit.

Shaw said he gets peppered with questions daily by Florida State's trio of freshmen wide receivers: Jesus Wilson, Kermit Whitfield and Isaiah Jones. He doesn't mind though - with FSU's suddenly thin WR unit, those players will likely have chances to see the field early. And that means a lot of questions for Shaw.

"We go over signals, and the defense," Shaw said. "That's a big part for them to learn, is just reading the defense. They're asking and it's weird because I've never been one of those vocal receivers, I've always been more watch what I do."

The losses have come since before fall camp: Greg Dent remains embroiled in a lengthy legal process. Willie Haulstead and Scooter Haggins are done for the year. Even Rashad Greene left Monday's practice early with what looked like a hand injury, though details weren't immediately available as to his status.

As it stands currently, Florida State has just four active wide receivers with game experience: Greene, Shaw, Christian Greene and Kelvin Benjamin. For a player like Shaw, it may mean more touches during the season.

"We came together as a group and said we're going to have to pick up the slack," Shaw said. "We knew the Greg situation and the Willie Haulstead situation, we knew we were going ot have to pick it up even more."

It also means Wilson, Whitfield and Jones are no longer stuck behind a bevy of experienced players. They're font and center and working themselves into the rotation. And Shaw's advice to their questions: Watch what we do.

"When they don't watch us, they get in there and mess up," Shaw said. "We just tell them to watch us. Usually we do the right things."

The freshmen have drawn praise from Fisher for their speed and even Jones, billed as a larger receiver, has shown a bit of get-up, as Shaw put it.

They got a further chance to shine in FSU's first scrimmage, and safety Karlos Williams said he's been impressed with the maturity he's seen from them so far.

"I see those young guys keeping their head up when they're getting coached," Williams said. "I see them maturing faster than a lot of freshman that have come in."

I'll take six, please
A dispute over who gets No. 6 has resulted in a stalemate and some schematic changes for the FSU defense.

Both cornerback Nick Waisome and defensive end Dan Hicks wear No. 6, and neither have shown an inclination to change. When asked, Fisher said the issue is "between those guys."

Hicks said he and Waisome met with Fisher about the issue, and the coaching staff will scheme around the players to make sure the two players are not on the field at the same time.

"At first it was a lot of friction between us," Hicks said. "Not vocal, but just like, 'Hey man you give up your number, naw, man you give up your number.' Just joking around type of things. But we had to meet with coach Fisher and he said both of us are entitled to the number."

That comes with the possibility of decreased playing time for one of the two players, but Hicks said he still wasn't planning to change.

"I don't think like that," Hicks said. "If I feel like it's going to limit my playing time, then it's out of my hands, I can't control that."

So far, it hasn't been much of an issue as Hicks has been taking most of the first-team reps at defensive end, while Waisome has worked mostly with the second unit in crowded defensive backfield.

Also in the mix for potential confusion are Karlos Williams and Kermit Whitfield, who both wear No. 9 on the defense and offense, respectively. Both players are in the mix to return kickoffs, and Whitfield got a few reps with the first-team kickoff return spelling Lamarcus Joyner, albeit in a temporary span.

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