Florida State Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Seminoles

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2014

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates after a 2-yard pass for a touchdown to take a 33-31 lead over the Auburn Tigers in the final moments of the fourth quarter during the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl on January 6, 2014 in Pasadena, California. Florida State lead 34-31 after a successful extra point.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The defending national champion Florida State Seminoles held their annual Garnet-Gold game on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee. Seminoles fans got their first look of the calendar year at Heisman winner Jameis Winston, who took a break from the baseball diamond. 

Check out the grades and analysis from the game here. 

Florida State Seminoles Spring Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst HalfFinal
Pass OffenseC+B
Rush OffenseB-C+
Pass DefenseB+B
Rush DefenseCC
Special TeamsDC
Garnet-Gold Spring Game


First-half analysis for the Florida State Seminoles spring game

Pass Offense: Winston, who went up against the first-team defense, looked like he had plenty of cobwebs to shake off before he gets to fall camp. He completed fewer than half of his passes, although he did have six completions go for 20 or more yards. But he also threw two interceptions, one of which was in double coverage. He finished the first half just 13-of-31 on his pass attempts.

The story of the first half was actually the battle for the backup job between Sean Maguire and John Franklin III. Maguire, who played all of the first quarter for the gold team as well as some of the second quarter, was probably the best quarterback on the field during the first half. His best play was a 27-yard dart to Rashad Gholston for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Rush Offense: There wasn't much to Florida State's rushing game in the first half. The team's top back Karlos Williams was held out of the game. So that left Freddie Stevenson, who's listed as a fullback, to carry the load on the ground. 

Stevenson didn't look half bad, scoring Garnet's first touchdown of the game on the ground in the second quarter and showing good speed. However, he did fumble on what was looking like a promising drive for Garnet in the first quarter. 

Pass Defense: The only quarterback who had any sort of consistent success against this pass defense was Maguire, who was going against the second-team defense. Against Winston, the Seminoles secondary picked off the Heisman winner twice and limited him to just one touchdown pass. The secondary also picked off Maguire at the end of the second quarter and took it back to the end zone to give Garnet a 24-7 lead.  

Rush Defense: There were hardly any rushing attempts during the first half by any squad. But for the first-team defense to give up chunks of yards to Stevenson, who is a fullback on the roster, is concerning. Granted, it's the spring game, and the defense has just five returning starters, so everybody is learning how to line up correctly and communicate. 

Special Teams: If there is one focal point that the Seminoles need to work on this summer, based on the spring, it's the punting game. Three punts in the first half went for less than 40 yards, and none went for 50 or more. While punters seldom saw the field last year in Tallahassee, the defending national champions have to be able to win the battle of field position, and punting is a huge part of that. 

Coaching: There's not much to coaching in the spring game. Jimbo Fisher, who's in the first year of his new contract, held out plenty of players to avoid injury, didn't allow punt returns and prohibited the quarterbacks from being tackled. Plenty of other players donned green "non-contact" jerseys, including star wide receiver Rashad Greene. So Fisher was playing it plenty safe to keep his team healthy in this game. 

Phil Sears


Final Analysis for the Florida State Seminoles

Pass Offense: With a running clock that didn't even stop in between possessions in the second half, not much changed from the first half to the second half across the board. 

Winston got more comfortable as the game went on, finishing with 396 yards while completing 27 of 56 passes. Maguire all but locked up the backup job with a strong showing. Franklin III looked impressive on a late two-minute drill that ended in a touchdown. And Troy Cook saw minimal playing time as Winston's backup on the Garnet team. 

Rush Offense: Fisher held out all four scholarship running backs from the spring game, so the rushing attack wasn't much to write home about. Again, Stevenson looked impressive as a fullback who was playing running back. That could set the stage for an interesting one-two punch in the backfield this fall. 

Pass Defense: The secondary started to struggle a bit in the second half as Winston began to find his receivers. Still, the secondary played well throughout the game, especially with Fisher almost calling exclusively pass plays. This unit led the nation in interceptions last year with 26, and it looks like it'll be among the country's elite again in 2014. 

Rush Defense: It's almost impossible to judge the rush defense of this team considering that none of the scholarship running backs played and the backups who did get carries were few and far between. A concern, though, was that Stevenson was able to have the day he had. But with a young unit on defense that is still learning one another's tendencies, you have to think that come the fall, this unit—led by Mario Edwards Jr.will be swallowing up running backs. 

Special Teams: The punting game improved in the second half a little bit with one punt going for a touchback. But still, special teams had a rough day. Three punts went for less than 40 yards in the game, and Roberto Aguayo, last year's Lou Groza Award winner, went just 1-of-2 on his field-goal attempts. 

Coaching: Nobody got seriously injured for the Seminoles in the Garnet-Gold game, and that was due primarily to Fisher's precautions. Plenty of guys were either held out altogether or wore green "non-contact" jerseys. A coach's only real job in the spring game is to walk away with his team healthy, and Fisher accomplished that. 


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