TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State opened the spring with more significant questions looming over the team than in any season since Jimbo Fisher took over as head coach. The past four weeks certainly haven't provided answers for them all -- including some of the most hotly debated -- but there have been some clues as to what the Seminoles will look like in the fall.
The defensive scheme: Fisher opened spring by assuring there would be few changes on defense despite three new coaches, including a new coordinator. It didn't take long to see he was bluffing. Jeremy Pruitt had players watching game film of his old Alabama teams during the offseason, and he's installed an aggressive new scheme that includes shifting players around, dropping linemen into coverage, bringing linebackers to the line of scrimmage, and blitzing early and often. "I love this defense," safety Terrence Brooks said. "It's amazing. A lot more blitzing, a lot more chances to make plays, moving guys around. Everybody's learning but we're picking it up every day and it's getting a lot better."
The right tackle job: Fisher might never offer Bobby Hart a full-fledged endorsement after the young lineman squandered his starting job with a lackadaisical approach last spring, but there was clear improvement for Hart this time around, and he managed to hold on to his spot atop the depth chart throughout. Moving Bryan Stork to right tackle and giving Austin Barron the starting job at center remains a possibility -- or a threat, depending on how much of the debate is based around motivating Hart -- but for now, Hart looks to be on solid ground.
The position changes: Any lingering doubt about Lamarcus Joyner's move to corner seems to have dissipated quickly, as the senior has made a smooth transition to his new role and earned raves from Fisher after numerous practices. Joyner's speed has been on display, but the new job hasn't convinced him to play any less physical. Meanwhile, Dan Hicks' move back to defensive end after a lost year at tight end has gone well, too. While Giorgio Newberry, Mario Edwards Jr. and Chris Casher still work to find consistency, Hicks has clearly pushed his way into the battle for significant playing time.
Fisher means business: If anyone thought Fisher might rest on his laurels after his first ACC championship or make excuses after losing a ton of talent to the NFL, he's made a point of squashing those doubts this spring. Fisher has ratcheted up enthusiasm, cautioning that his team still has a ways to go, but insisting there's a ton of potential on the field. He's raved about the physicality, praised all of his quarterbacks and, for good measure, laid down the law after practice Wednesday. Fisher put a final spur into his team by cutting practice short, lambasting the players for lack of effort, then setting a precedent for what's to come. "We were not mentally ready to practice and that will get you beat," Fisher said after Wednesday's practice. "If we haven't learned that lesson around here by now, we're going to get that point across, I promise."