The Florida State defense dominates the day in the first official practice of the 2022 football preseason.

It’s back, baby!

We did it!

After a decades-long offseason, Florida State’s soccer team was back on the practice fields Wednesday afternoon for the first practice of the 2022 preseason.

And I’m here to offer some observations from the two-hour session. Although I have to throw in the qualifier that I always offer from the start of training: they are not in the pads. Just helmets. And, of course, there is no tackle. Or even a thud at this point.

As FSU head coach Mike Norvell said afterwards, “We’re basically in pajamas.”

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So day one is not the best indicator of what a specific team or player may be like. But it’s a gauge.

And with that in mind, here we are.

The defense won easily. This shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise. The unit fires the vast majority of contributors from a season ago, including eight starters. It showed.

Not only did the FSU offense essentially do nothing in the 11-on-11 portion of practice (more on that in a moment), but the receivers also struggled to win one-on-one. .

I thought second Omarion Cooper (big surprise, right?) was the most impressive cornerback of the day. The guy is just competing. And even when he’s beaten the line of scrimmage, he always seems to be able to get back into play and make the pass very hard to catch or impossible to catch.

I thought the two highly regarded freshmen, Azareye’h Thomas and Sam McCall, both also had terrific first days. McCall had two PBUs in one-on-one drills and another in 11-on-11, where he came on a blitz and then got a pass to the running back.

Thomas also had some one-on-one PBUs, then made terrific play on the final 11-on-11 play, where he was able to sniff out a screen pass, beat his blocker, and make the play for no gain. He just seems to see the field – and understand the concepts – at a high level for someone so young.

Second year Kevin Knowles also had an impressive day, recording the only interception when he came forward past a deep throw from AJ Duffy at Micah Pittman in individual exercises. Pittman seemed to be ahead of Knowles, but the ball was a little behind and Knowles made a very nice play on it.

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