Posted: Friday August 11, 2006 12:13PM; Updated: Monday August 21, 2006 1:15PM
1. The more I see of Greg Carr, the 'Noles' 6-foot-6, "Z" wideout, the more I think he's ready to have a huge sophomore season. Not just due to the fact he he has a gigantic reach and seemed to grab every ball thrown his way in Thursday's practice. Moreso because, when you bring up his freshman year -- in which he had an impressive 30 catches for 618 yards and nine TDs -- the consensus is that he still, to put it nicely, had little notion of the finer points of receiving. Weatherford put it best: "Greg has come such a long way. When he first got here, he was tall with good hands, but he looked horrible, to be honest. He just didn't run routes well at all. And now, he's one of our premiere receivers, and he's going to be one of the best I've ever thrown to."
Carr admitted as much; he said he took considerable flak from No. 1 wideout Chris Davis in 2005 for his sloppy game. "Chris would really pick on me," said Carr. "Sometimes he'd just be laughing, saying, 'My route definitely looks better than yours.' I'm getting back at him this year, though; he can't say the same stuff anymore." That's a valid statement; by every indication Carr is running tight patterns and appears to be just as much, if not more, of a weapon in the air attack than Davis or De'Cody Fagg.
2. The loquacious Buster Davis wants to be an All-America middle linebacker. He went as far as to inquire if he was listed as such in SI's preview issue, which comes out next week. I told him the truth -- that I didn't know. Linebackers coach Kevin Steele is using this angle as a way to get in his senior leader's head; during the team's mini-scrimmage on Thursday, he yanked Davis aside for what seemed like a trivial offense, yelled, "If you want to be an All-American, you've got to do the little things right!" and ordered Davis to do five up-downs. "He didn't do anything wrong," Steele explained later, "but the issue was that he wasn't perfect."
Davis is adamant that, despite one preview publication ranking FSU's linebackers sixth in the ACC (which he called a "slap in the face"), there won't be a drop-off after losing Ernie Sims and A.J. Nicholson. With new outside LBs Lawrence Timmons and Geno Hayes, Davis said, "There's not a group of guys on one team [in the ACC] that can make more plays than us."
3. The kid, the myth, Myron Rolle, was not on full display Thursday, as the true freshman safety sat out much of practice due to effects from the heat. "I was looking for him," Bowden said of Rolle. "I was wondering where he went, and then I saw him on the sidelines." Even in absentia, the player who was once the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2006 remains one of the more intriguing topics in camp -- for both coaches and the press -- because he has a strong chance of stepping in and starting from Day 1 in the defensive backfield. In the short time I watched him in defensive drills, it's clear Rolle has all the physical tools to play immediately; in that department he is no normal freshman. He still, however, is acclimating himself to the nuances of the safety spot ("I still need to get better at disguising what I'm doing," he said) and the hard-core, no-mistakes-tolerated climate created by defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.
"He expects you to be as precise as possible, and he doesn't mess around," Rolle said of Andrews. "I didn't really see this side of him when I got recruited. He was sort of smiling, and nice, and really calm, and now, when he gets on the field, he's like a different person. It was a little strange at first ... but I know my future is in good hands, because he's coached great DBs like Deion Sanders, Samari Rolle, Corey Fuller, Corey Sawyer and LeRoy Butler."
Sophomore running back Antone Smith. By now, FSU fans are familiar with what incumbent starter Lorenzo Booker can and can't do. The less-talked about Smith, on the other hand, could very well be the 'Noles' home-run back of the future. The 5-9, 188-pound runner is built like more of a linebacker -- as compared to Booker's scat-back frame -- but flashes some serious, almost stunning, wheels for a player of any size. "He's going to be lethal," Weatherford said of Smith. "Do you remember that move that Reggie Bush made against Texas, where he looked like he was going out of bounds, and then outraced everyone up the sideline? Well, I think Antone's got that kind of speed. He's going to make some big plays this year."
With offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden's avowed rededication to the running game, Smith could be looking at a 100-carry season. We'll soon find out just how lethal he can be.