The spring semester is in full swing, which means college football teams are getting back to work too. The programs have hopes of finally taking the next step toward making the college football playoffs. Such is the case with Florida State football.
In 2022, the Seminoles went into the season unranked. However, they had their moments throughout the year, including victories over LSU and Syracuse and a 45-3 win over rival Miami on the road. Florida State also caused some problems for Clemson and NC State, losing both games by just one point.
After ranking 10th in the last AP poll, the Seminoles have even higher ambitions in 2023 to do even better. Florida State had the second-best ACC record in the regular season, which means an appearance in a conference championship game might not be too far off.
Still, the Seminoles still have a lot to figure out before opening their season against LSU in September. Head Coach Mike Norvell must weigh his options and make many important decisions as the team tries to improve on their 10-3 record. From veterans to underclassmen to transfers, Norvell should use springtime to determine who gets the most playing time.
With that in mind, here are some position battles to watch at the Florida State Seminoles’ 2023 spring training session.
3. Broad receiver
One positional group that Norvell will be keeping a close eye on during spring training is wide receivers. While Ontaria Wilson and Malik McClain combined for just 701 yards in 2022, they also combined for seven touchdowns. Even if they didn’t muster many yards, their efficiency in the end zone is missed.
It’s no secret that Johnny Wilson should be the number one pick at the wideout. In his freshman year as a Seminole, he had 43 catches for 897 yards and five scorers.
Florida State still has a few roles to fill behind Wilson. Mycah Pittman will be returning for his sophomore year, so his experience could set him apart from some of his competitors. He played his first three years with the Oregon Ducks, appearing in two bowl games. The problem is that Pittman had a career-low 10.3 yards per catch last season, a deficiency that could open the door for other wide receivers really expanding the field.
Ja’Khi Douglas and Winston Wright both struggled with injuries in 2022, so their spots in the rotation will depend on how well they’ve recovered in the offseason. Kentron Poitier and Darion Williamson are perhaps the best options for long throws. However, it is worth noting that the latter also suffered an injury last season.
With injuries likely being considered, Norvell needs to see who will be teaming with Wilson in 2023.
2. Defensive tackle
Similar to the wideout position, the Seminoles have too many defensive tackle options for just a few spots in the rotation. You have seven players who have a real shot at the starting job, but only two will end up taking the chance.
Fabien Lovett, Dennis Briggs, Joshua Farmer, Malcolm Ray and Daniel Lyons are all returnees. Lovett played an important role in 2022 until he dropped out of the lineup with an injury. The other four have also had their moments with Florida State in the past and could potentially show that in spring training.
To further complicate matters, Seminoles added Braden Fiske and Darrell Jackson. Fiske was the No. 1 defender on the transfer portal, while Jackson was also one of the best players available at his position.
In 2022, the state of Florida had the nation’s No. 15 defense, allowing just 321.8 yards per game. Also, two of the team’s three losses were by just one point. Depending on what happens in the spring semester, the defense at Tallahassee could get even better.
1st offensive line
The offensive line is another unit with the problem of almost having too much talent. Robert Scott, Maurice Smith, D’Mitri Emmanuel, Darius Washington and Bless Harris all made 44 starts last season, which means the Seminoles will have plenty of forwarding experience in 2023.
Last season, they only allowed 1.54 sacks per game, which was better than Alabama and TCU. On the ground, Florida State’s offense averaged 214.1 rushing yards per contest, good for the No. 13 in the nation.
Via the transfer portal, the team added Jeremiah Byers, Casey Roddick and Keiondre Jones. All three could end up getting a starting role depending on how they fare in the spring. Underclassmen Julian Armella, Jaylen Early and Bryson Estes managed to surprise and climb the depth chart.
Since many of these linemen can play multiple positions, that should make the situation even more interesting. Because of this, the offensive line should create the best positional fight for the Seminoles in Spring 2023 training.