March 17, 2012
The Florida State football team starts spring practice March 19 and Seminoles.com has got you covered. In preparation this week we will break down each position on the team with a list of scholarship players lost, returning and added while previewing what to watch for as the Seminoles hit the field in preparation for the 2012 season.
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS SPRING:
The majority of Florida State's stellar defense returns for 2012 but there are still some large shoes to fill when spring practices start Monday.
When Nigel Bradham exhausted his eligibility at the conclusion of FSU's Champs Sports Bowl victory this past December, he took with him three years of unmatched production at the weakside linebacker position.
Bradham, who will hear his name called in next month's NFL Draft, led the Seminoles in tackles in each of the last three seasons -- a feat that hadn't been accomplished since FSU great Marvin Jones did so from 1990 to 1992.
So who takes over for Bradham?
That's the question 'Noles linebackers coach Greg Hudson will be intent on answering during the spring-practice period.
Smith served as Williams' backup in the middle last year and finished the season eighth in total tackles with 42. The Valdosta, Ga. native also used his defensive-back like speed to get into opposing backfields and registered 8 1/2 tackles for loss and three sacks.
There's still the possibility that Smith could remain at middle linebacker and be used as a "1a" and "1b" starter along with Williams because of the position change for Nick Moody.
A four-year player at safety, Moody returns for his redshirt-senior campaign with a new look. Naturally talented at stopping the run and producing big hits, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher announced last month that Moody would be making the transition into the defensive front seven where he would be better suited to utilize his skills.
Moody's ability to grasp his new responsibilities will be one of the bigger story lines for the Seminoles this spring because there is a starting job to be earned.
After losing Arrington Jenkins and Holmes Onwukaife, FSU isn't particularly deep at linebacker so Jeff Luc, Terrance Smith and Nigel Terrell developing their specific roles and the process of sorting out the depth chart will be another area of emphasis over the next month.
The case could be made that Moody is the biggest wild card among the FSU linebackers because it's not yet known how much of an impact he'll make but Luc presents some intrigue because of his untapped potential.
A former five-star prospect, Luc has been primarily a special-teams player and has battled with various injuries throughout his time in Tallahassee.
A powerfully-built big-hitter, Luc was rated as the nation's No. 1 middle linebacker prospect as a senior in high school but at FSU he has worked on the outside as well.
Without much depth at any of the three linebacker spots and a starting job to be earned, Luc could finally get the opportunity to contribute on a steady basis for the Seminoles' defense this season.