TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ‚Äď The sign outside Florida State‚Äôs practice fields reads ‚ÄúSpeed Limit: Fast,‚ÄĚ but coach Willie Taggart will slow things down every so often.
That was the case Thursday morning, when the Seminoles held a shirts-and-shorts walkthrough inside the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility.
The idea, Taggart said, is to give the players a chance to practice their techniques and strategies the same way they‚Äôd practice anything else ‚Äď slow at first, then building toward full-speed.
‚ÄúAttention to detail,‚ÄĚ Taggart said when asked for the biggest priority in a walkthrough. ‚ÄúRather than putting it on the board in the office, you get them out here and walk through exactly how you‚Äôre going to see it ‚Äď where you‚Äôre going to align and how you should step.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre doing it all, without going full-speed.‚ÄĚ
The biggest emphasis is on proper pre-snap alignment, knowing exactly what to do once the ball is snapped, and using good physical technique.
All the things that can fall by the wayside during the speed and intensity of a live football game.
Taggart said that the Seminoles did well, especially given that this is the first time they‚Äôve had walkthrough with this coaching staff. (They did something similar under their previous staff.)
And he expects it will be even better when they do it again next week.
‚ÄúWe want our guys to snap into those things, and not have to worry about going fast or getting hit or anything,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúJust doing it the right way.‚ÄĚ
More on QBs: At this point, you can‚Äôt blame Taggart for having some fun with it. Asked once again about his quarterback competition, Taggart smiled and said, ‚ÄúWho? The kickers?‚ÄĚ
For the record, Taggart said there is in fact competition at the kicker spot.
Otherwise, there‚Äôs not much to report this week, he said. All three would-be starters ‚Äď James Blackman, Deondre Francois¬†and Bailey Hockman ‚Äď had good days of practice on Wednesday and are coming along.
That said, Taggart knows that fall camp is winding down and kickoff against Virginia Tech is less than two weeks away.
Which means the quarterback race will be coming to an end soon, too.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to make some decisions,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúAnd when we do, I‚Äôm going to let you know. I promise.‚ÄĚ
Unity council serves as ‚Äėvoice of our football team‚Äô: In order to help better understand and interact with his team, Taggart has established an eight-man ‚ÄúUnity Council‚ÄĚ that keeps him aware of team issues, helps mete out discipline and otherwise serves as a direct line of communication between coaches and players.
Think of it as a bridge between the team and staff ‚Äď and a means for players to take ownership of the program‚Äôs culture and in-house policies.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre kind of like the voice of our football team,‚ÄĚ Taggart said. ‚Äú‚Ä¶ I think it‚Äôs very important, because they‚Äôre around each other all the time. They know each other better than any of us. They know the guys that are on the edge and the guys that are going to be straight and narrow. ‚Ä¶
‚ÄúAnd I think that helps. When you get a group of guys that truly care about the team ‚ÄĒ and all the right things that we want to be ‚Äď leading the team, then I think you create a culture that you ultimately want.‚ÄĚ
LB Jackson on the mend: Taggart confirmed Thursday that junior linebacker Dontavious Jackson, expected to be among the team‚Äôs starters this fall, is nursing a tailbone injury, but that he is expected to be available for the season opener.
Jackson‚Äôs 17 tackles a year ago were the most among FSU‚Äôs returning linebackers.
‚Äú‚ÄėD-Jack‚Äô is doing well,‚ÄĚ Taggart said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs getting better. Yeah, he‚Äôll play (against Virginia Tech).‚ÄĚ
Up next: The Seminoles on Friday will participate in the FSU Alumni Association‚Äôs annual fall kickoff luncheon before holding a short afternoon practice. On Saturday, they‚Äôll hold their final fall scrimmage ‚Äď a full-on game simulation under the lights at Doak Campbell Stadium. (Note: Scrimmages are closed to the public.)