Aug 19, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Leave it to Florida State senior wide receiver Kenny Shaw to sum up the reality of the team's freshmen wide receivers in the offensive gameplan.
As camp nears its official end Saturday and the 2013 season looms just two short weeks away, there's no questioning that Bobo Wilson, Kermit Whitfield and Isaiah Jones are legitimate offensive factors -- with very real responsibilities.
"They're more ready than when I came in," Shaw said Monday after the team's first of two practices. "When I came in we had so many receivers and my reps were limited. Now, they're just in the fire because we've only got four scholarship guys playing and then those freshmen.
"They're in the fire just like us. That's what we call it; 'in the fire.'"
FSU is officially down three receivers because Willie Haulstead (academics), Greg Dent (suspension) and Jarred Haggins (season-ending injury) are each no longer part of the Seminoles' plans this season.
And even if FSU still boasts a quartet of wide receivers atop that depth chart that many offensive coordinators throughout college football would love to have, Shaw, Rashad Greene, Christian Green and Kelvin Benjamin still need help. And not assisting in depth matters is that Greene, who is FSU's leading receiver in each of the past two seasons, exited Monday's early practice a few minutes early after sustaining a finger injury that now has him "day-to-day."
All indications from the practice fields, however, are that the rookie threesome has not only exceeded expectations but has seized the opportunity conveniently placed before them. Simply put, Wilson, Whitfield and Jones have been the talk of camp, drawing praise from the coaching staff and their teammates alike.
Jones brings the size and large throwing target at 6-foot-4; Whitfield has the world-class sprinter's speed; and Wilson is the speedy, do-it-all slot-receiver type that is a staple in Fisher's offense.
"They are good," junior safety Tyler Hunter said. "You can tell they've got a lot of talent."
Of course it hasn't been all perfect. It never is. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday after a blistering-hot practice that -- as is par for the course this time of year -- that Wilson, Whitfield and Jones have "been solid" but "had a couple mental busts when they got tired."
"They've got to learn to grind through but that's typical," Fisher added.
That learning process includes adapting soon to the start of their first collegiate fall semester and then hitting the field under the lights in the front of the nation live on Labor Day against Pitt.
But it's a grind that the 'Nolos are confident its new offensive weapons can handle.
"What's so special about these three guys is that they like to play football," FSU receivers coach/passing game coordinator Lawrence Dawsey said. "They give everything they've got. They go out and work every day and love the contact sport of it and that's what I am excited about with them. Them three guys are going to be real good.
"Florida State fans are going to be glad to have them on their team."
-Sophomore P.J. Williams made his return to action after missing some time with a bruised thigh and Fisher was very complimentary of both he and fellow second-year cornerback Ronald Darby. The closer FSU gets to the regular season, the more and more it sounds like Williams, Darby and senior Lamarcus Joyner are the top three players on the depth chart at cornerback.
-Now at fullback for the 'Noles ... Mario Edwards, Jr.?
James Wilder, Jr. let it slip in interviews last week that FSU's starting sophomore defensive end could be utilized in short yardage situations as a lead blocker. Edwards, Jr. joins defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel as defensive linemen that have been getting some snaps on offense during camp.
"We need big bodies that are athletic and can move people in different things that you do," Fisher said. "... You see it in the NFL a lot."
Bjoern Werner was utilized in a similar role last year; as was former defensive lineman Shayne Broxsie.
-FSU will hold its second and final scrimmage of fall camp Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
The scrimmage is closed to the public.
-Don't forget that Aug. 30 is College Colors Day. Wear garnet and gold to support the 'Noles.