TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- For all the buzz about new schemes and aggressive tweaks to the defense, odds are Saturday's Garnet and Gold game will feature a relatively vanilla approach as Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt winds down the spring.
The quarterback battle has been the hottest topic in years among Florida State fans, but coach Jimbo Fisher has yet to draw any lines of demarcation on the depth chart, and he insists the four men vying for the job will again rotate reps Saturday.
And after four weeks of intensity, the battle scars are showing. As many as a dozen key members of the 2013 Seminoles team won't be available for the spring game due to injuries.
So, what's there to be excited about as Florida State's spring practice comes to a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion? Actually, there's still plenty worth watching, even if some of the biggest curiosities will remain just that until fall camp begins in August. Here's a rundown of some of the most noteworthy items of intrigue on display Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The QBs, of course
OK, so no one's anticipating that Fisher will name a starter, but the spring game will at least provide fans with a chance to gauge for themselves just how far along each of the four quarterbacks is at this point. Fisher plans to rotate quarterbacks with the first team, but as spring has progressed, Clint Trickett and Jameis Winston have gotten the bulk of the snaps with the starters. Will that be the case again Saturday? Fisher's fine with keeping that a mystery for now, which at least keeps the intrigue level high.
Tackles vs. DEs
It has been something of a war of attrition in the trenches thus far in spring practice and, particularly on the defensive side, the depth chart has been severely muddled by a slew of injuries. Florida State was already dealing with a dearth of scholarship bodies on the offensive line, but with Demonte McAllister and Timmy Jernigan -- the two projected starting defensive tackles -- out for the spring game, those matchups are even less interesting.
On the edges, however, things are bit more intriguing. Bobby Hart has managed to hang on to the No. 1 spot on the depth chart at right tackle, while Cameron Erving looks to take a big leap on the opposite side. Meanwhile, Mario Edwards Jr., Giorgio Newberry, Dan Hicks and a slew of candidates hoping to replace a vast amount of departing talent at defensive end will actually provide a nice test for those experienced offensive tackles. Add in a dash of new scheme from Pruitt's defense that has had Newberry and Chris Casher dropping into coverage and Christian Jones playing on the line, and the edge rushers may provide the best accounting of where things stand at the line of scrimmage for FSU.
All about the Benjamin
If Florida State fans are looking for big plays, there's probably no better player to watch than Kelvin Benjamin, who has made the practice field his personal playground for the past two seasons. Of course, the biggest question is whether Benjamin is ready to turn that practice-field dominance into game day performance, and Fisher said he's feeling more optimistic on that front. In FSU's two spring scrimmages, Benjamin hauled in nearly 300 receiving yards.
Get your kicks
Pinning a significant part of the spring-game enthusiasm on the special teams isn’t normally a good sale's pitch, but in this case, FSU's kicker and punter actually offer plenty of intrigue. Cason Beatty was last in the ACC in punting average last season, but he improved down the stretch and insists he's made great strides this spring. Kicker Roberto Aguayo has earned his share of platitudes from those who've seen him in practice -- including raves from Fisher throughout the spring -- but Saturday will give fans their first real glimpse of the man replacing the Seminoles' all-time leading scorer, Dustin Hopkins.
Still standing in the secondary
So the depth in the secondary might not be particularly strong at the moment, with four key members out for Saturday's game, but what remains of FSU's defensive backs should at least be prepared to give those aspiring quarterbacks a good test. Lamarcus Joyner has made a smooth transition to corner this spring without limiting the number of big hits he's delivered in practice, while Karlos Williams continues to adjust not only to a starting role at safety, but Pruitt's jack-of-all-trades approach that has him working at nickel and linebacker, too.