March 18, 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:
Florida State opens spring practice Monday in need of two new starters in its defensive secondary.
FSU lost safety Terrance Parks and nickel corner Mike Harris to graduation. Another player, occasional starter Nick Moody, is still on the roster but he has switched from safety to linebacker for his final year.
Harris proved during his two years at FSU how invaluable steady, mistake-free play at the nickel corner position is under defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.
Without Harris, Stoops will use the spring-practice period to open up competition with the hopes that one of the young defensive backs on the roster will step up and provide the same level of consistency.
Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes both return after contemplating an early declaration for the NFL Draft this offseason. Not only are Reid and Rhodes the top returners at the position but they are also the only upperclassmen at cornerback.
That means whichever player does earn the No. 3 cornerback position will be expected to also handle the rigors of working the field or boundary positions in the event of injury, as well.
A pair of rising sophomores in Nick Waisome and Tyler Hunter are the most likely candidates to replace Harris and the competition between the two will be intense during practices. While Waisome is a true corner, Hunter could also work himself into the safety rotation with the loss of Parks.
Keelin Smith is the only other returning cornerback on the roster so depth will be a concern until incoming freshmen Colin Blake and Ronald Darby are added to the roster this summer.
Like Hunter, Brooks has the ability to play any of the positions in the secondary but will begin spring practices as the starter alongside star Lamarcus Joyner at safety. Williams, a former five-star safety in high school, didn't play much defense last year as a rookie but made a name for himself as a kick returner.
Williams will remain on special teams in the return game but a strong first spring in Tallahassee could put him in better position to use his range, speed and big-hit ability for Stoops' defense.
Williams' highlight-heel high-school career and his unique size and speed combination make him a fan favorite. But Brooks is underrated and very talented and it's likely that he'll maintain his starter's status throughout spring and into the fall barring injury.
But that doesn't mean Williams can't make a defensive impact or even make a push for the top spot on the depth chart.
No matter what happens, Williams will get his minutes in the rotation in the 2012 and he needs to have a strong spring practice session after bouncing back from a wrist injury he sustained in the regular-season finale against Florida.