TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- In Florida State's penultimate game of 2012, Karlos Williams finally reached his potential. It's just that his breakthrough performance didn't exactly come in the fashion anyone had anticipated.
Williams, a safety during his first two seasons with the Seminoles, was an emergency substitute at linebacker in FSU's ACC Championship Game win over Georgia Tech, racking up a game-high 11 tackles in the process. Immediately fans wondered if he'd finally found a niche. Williams wasn't so sure.
"I definitely didn't want to end up playing linebacker," Williams said.
Williams said his height wasn't ideally suited to the position, and as one of the team's faster players -- and starting kick returner -- he wasn't all that interested in adding any significant weight.
As it turned out, however, Williams didn't need to make the switch to find a chance at a full-time job.
With Lamarcus Joyner's unexpected switch from safety to corner, Williams is finally on the verge of locking down significant playing time, and he didn't have to move from safety to do it.
"I've been preparing myself for the past two years to be in the starting position if I've earned the right," Williams said. "So this spring I'm trying to earn the right to start."
Ironically though, Williams' new role might not be limited exclusively to safety. With new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt taking a more aggressive approach on the pass rush, Williams could still find himself playing some nickel and, of course, some linebacker on a part-time basis. And that, Williams said, is just fine.
"Hopefully, in this system, playing the money linebacker a little bit," Williams said. "I hope I get a little more experience with that."
Playing with pain: Florida State's quarterback battle remains wide open, but two member of the four-man competition are playing with some minor retrains.
Jimbo Fisher acknowledged Wednesday that Jameis Winston's throwing has been limited due to his obligations on the baseball diamond, where he's been one of FSU's top relief pitchers.
"We've got to be careful when he pitches," Fisher said. "But not a lot. He's pretty durable."
Meanwhile, Jacob Coker is still feeling the effects of a foot injury that limited him during fourth-quarter drills and has him in a walking boot at times.
"He's not all the way healthy," Fisher said. "That foot is tender and that's why we'll put him in the gun a little bit."
Fisher said Coker has been used more in shotgun formations during practice and hasn't been asked to run.
"He's very athletic, and right now he isn't getting to show it," Fisher said. "But I'm not concerned because I know he can do those things. I want him to win from the pocket right now. It bothers him a little bit when he throws, but not too bad, and it'll be something that heals up. He's still done a nice job this spring."
Line 'em up: Fisher said two of his defensive linemen are making strong progress early this spring. Jacobbi McDaniel, who missed much of the past two seasons with an ankle injury, has worked his way back into the mix at defensive tackle.
"He's getting better every day. He's getting that feel again, and I'm hoping he can have a good spring and summer and really help us in the fall."
Defensive end Chris Casher has also sat out the past two years, and his just starting to shake off the rust.
"The last practice, we really started seeing some of the quickness and athleticism develop back," Fisher said. "What he's got to do this spring is be very solid, very fundamental, and really make sure he lays the groundwork here. He can be a good player."