Spring Camp Preview: 5 Things to Watch on Offense

The Florida State Football Program’s offseason workouts (better known as “The Chase”) have concluded, the break is over, and spring is in full swing. Which means on Wednesday, March 21 the Seminoles are scheduled to begin spring camp for the first time ever in the Willie Taggart era. This means we will get our first glimpse of the new “Gulf Coast Offense” and the roles that will be needed. That being said; here are 5 things to keep your eye on as we enter spring ball.

1. The Quarterback Battle

Luckily for the Seminoles, they have both Deondre Francois and James Blackman returning this year to make out what should be the most intriguing position battle this spring. Francois is coming off a torn patella following his breakout freshman year and he will be limited this spring giving Blackman a slight edge over the redshirt junior. Blackman, on the other hand, showed great projection as he matured down the stretch after being thrust onto the scene as a true freshman last year. The rising sophomore threw for 2,230 yards with 19 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Therefore with experience being almost equivalent between the two, learning the new offense and becoming an established leader will be a vital factor in who Taggart chooses to play under center.

2. Right Tackle

New offensive line Coach Greg Frey will have his hands full this year when it comes to evaluating & establishing a new image to the Seminoles offensive line. For the most part, the whole line is coming back except for both right tackles; leaving a major hole for Derrick Kelly & Jauan Williams to compete for. Kelly (RS senior), while battling injuries already has experience at the position as he rotated reps at tackle and guard under Former OL coach Rick Trickett. Jauan Williams (RsSo) was a top 200 player coming out of high school; he has yet to meet expectations at the collegiate level. I expect Kelly to move back to his original position this year & maintain his starting role, but if Williams can translate the huge upside he had coming out of high school expect this to be a major under the radar battle going on in Tallahassee this spring.

3. Khalan Laborn

Laborn, a highly sought after recruit from Virginia Beach, VA came to FSU along with fellow RB’s, 5* Cam Akers, and 4* Zaquandre White, in 2017. He was redshirted during his freshman year under Jimbo Fisher which led to rumors about the back transferring from FSU due to depth and the amount of playing time available. However, Laborn shows promising hands and speed out of the backfield which could open the door for him to play a huge part for him in Taggart’s offense. This spring camp will be crucial to see if Laborn does just that and cements himself to the new staff as the third back behind Cam Akers and Jacquez Patrick.

4. Which wide receivers will step up?

After losing Auden Tate to the draft, the Seminoles will only be bringing back two receivers that accumulated more than 6 catches last season. The more fast-paced; simplified offensive philosophy should allow guys like Tamorrion Terry and Keith Gavin, who have freaky athletic size and ability, to prosper in one on one situations. This spring also gives Senior Nyqwan Murray one more opportunity to demonstrate that he can consistently be an elite wide receiver and be an important leader for younger guys like DJ Matthews and Tre ‘Shaun Harrison. Throughout last year the Seminoles receiver group were a little misgiving at times. This spring should give us a good look into if the receivers will be more productive in a simplified scheme.

5. The new offensive scheme

With the introduction of Head Coach Willie Taggart comes the introduction of his offensive scheme called the “Gulf Coast Offense. While Jimbo Fisher ran a notoriously complex offense that took years to fully grasp, Taggart’s scheme is easier to adapt to and learn. Under Fisher, the offense was exposed to complex blocking and protection schemes, passing concepts, and a playbook more diverse than some NFL teams. That being said, it should be the exact opposite under Taggart with simplicity being the solution. Guys who struggled to pick up the old playbook should adapt well to the “Lethal Simplicity” of the new philosophy. For example; now offensive linemen will have fewer men and time to block under the fast-paced spread offense. The scheme should also do a good job of getting the Seminoles elite athletes into space, further utilizing their speed. In spring camp we will see just how well Taggart implements his “score fast and often” method into an offense loaded with potential.








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