Thursday, April 4, 2013
Benjamin trying to match hype to results
By ESPN.com staff
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Because he looks like a tight end and runs like a tailback, and because he already has compiled a healthy backlog of practice field mythology that's told and retold by teammates, the hype for Kelvin Benjamin will never completely dissipate. His potential is so high that the dearth of production might never completely overwhelm it.
Kelvin Benjamin has constantly produced in practice but has seen minimal impact in games.
Reality for Florida State's most intriguing pass-catcher has been far different than the legend, however, even as he vies for a starting job in his second spring with the Seminoles. And the reviews from coaches are tepid.
"Solid," Jimbo Fisher said of Benjamin's spring performance. "He's OK."
For a player who spent last spring racking up platitudes generally reserved for superheroes, this is not the progress Florida State fans had hoped to see, and Benjamin is all too aware that he hasn't lived up to the promise.
"I think I showed a little glimpse here and there, but overall I could've done way better," he said. "Once you get all the hype, there's basically nowhere from there but down."
That's one way of looking at it. Another might be that, after two years in Tallahassee with just 30 catches under his belt, there's nowhere for the redshirt sophomore to go but up. After all, there were those glimpses.
Benjamin never cracked the starting lineup in 2012, but he did make an impression. He found his footing in the second half of FSU's opener and finished the game with 50 yards. A week later, he hauled in two touchdown receptions against Savannah State. By midseason, he was perhaps the Seminoles' best big-play target, catching 19 passes for 327 yards. Fans sensed all that potential might finally be tapped, and they begged Fisher to make Benjamin a bigger part of the offense -- particularly along the goal line.
They got their wish, but Benjamin didn't deliver. In the final seven games of 2012, he caught just 11 passes and one touchdown.
The problem, he said, was focus.
"I wasn't ready when my name was called," Benjamin said. "I didn't start; we had Rodney [Smith] in front of me, and I'd come in the second half for my first catch and my focus wasn't there, my focus wasn't on the game anymore."
To read more of David M. Hale's story, click here.