August 7, 2011

Four Seminoles who need a productive fall camp

With the start of fall camp on Monday we take a look at four players who are in need of a good camp. Some it may be because they have someone coming up behind them looking to take their job, others it may be because they have had to battle back from injuries.

4. Bert Reed-Reed is far and away Florida State's most experienced receiver with 141 career receptions. The Panama City native has come up big in the clutch before with game winning touchdowns against North Carolina State in 2008 and Boston College last season (on a reverse). But for every spectacular play Reed makes it seems there is always a player later that just makes you scratch your head. His off the field troubles were well documented, but with this being his senior year it is his last opportunity to prove he can be that dependable target for E.J. Manuel. With younger receivers Jared Haggins and Greg Dent making strides in the spring it makes this camp that much more imperative for Reed to prove he's ready to lead the receivers segment.

3. David Spurlock-- After missing the majority of last season and the spring due to concussions, Spurlock will need a good fall camp to shake off the rust. The 6'4, 308-pound lineman is slotted to start at left guard if he can stay healthy. When he is able to strap it on, Spurlock has shown he can be one of the tougher guys in Rick Trickett's segment. In a 45-17 blowout win over Miami last season prior to be injured, Spurlcok graded out with a season-best 85 percent. A strong camp from the senior would alleviate a lot of worry for himself and the rest of the team about the offensive line, which struggled in the spring with the absence of him and starting tackles Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko.

2. Jermaine Thomas-- Thomas earned the starting job during fall camp last season, but a knee injury limited him to just one carry in the final four games of the year. Much like Reed, Thomas at times shows flashes of greatness, only to then make a baffling backwards cut that nets a loss of yards. During the offseason the former First Coast High star didn't do himself any favors after being arrested twice for driving with a suspended driver's license. After sitting out the first few weeks of spring practice and team activities, Thomas was commended for his renewed focus once he returned to the team. More than any other position on the team, running backs will not be afforded slip-ups this season. The senior will have to stay on top of his game throughout the season with the return of leading rusher Chris Thompson, fellow senior Ty Jones, and the addition of blue-chippers Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr..

1/ Vince Williams-- After playing in 11 games last season, Williams is expected to take over the starting middle linebacker job from Kendall Smith, who graduated. But one of the biggest surprises of the spring was not just the move into the middle for sophomore Telvin Smith, but the fact that he could push Williams for the starting job. A good camp could help Williams hold onto the starting job in the middle he earned in the spring. As he did in the spring Williams must not only star on the field, but as the middle linebacker, he must be the leader of the defense off the field as well.

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