NCF Nation: Jamie Robinson
Consider the momentum shifted.
Florida State's running game should be one thing it can count on. Jimbo Fisher needs to keep things simple for rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel, and with a veteran offensive line and talented running backs, it will help take some pressure off of Manuel. So far he's completed 50 percent of his passes. The best defense for Noel Devine & Co. in this game is to keep them off the field, and FSU will need to run the ball and control the clock to do that.
CLEMSON, S.C. -- About those turnovers. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker threw a costly one in the first quarter, as FSU's Jamie Robinson returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown for a 17-6 lead. Mickey Andrews threw his hands in the air in celebration, and it's about time his defense gave him something to cheer for.
So far, the Noles have done a good job of containing C.J. Spiller and putting pressure on Parker. That interception was his mistake, though, as he had a receiver wide open. It's those kinds of plays that will be the difference in this game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The progress Florida State's defense has made this spring could be measured statistically in Saturday's Garnet and Gold game -- five fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews called it the "best job all spring" for turnovers.
"We started slow -- couldn't get a turnover," Andrews said of the defense this spring. "Then we started getting a couple of them. We started getting a few fumbles. We got one interception in the last scrimmage and we got two this scrimmage. Not that that's enough, but it's twice as many as we had in the previous scrimmage. Turnovers, when you get the offense the ball in a short field, you've got a great chance. ... We just have to get better fundamentally and learn how to step it up a notch."
Florida State ranked 62nd nationally in turnover margin last year and 85th with only nine passes intercepted.
Tasked with replacing Myron Rolle and Tony Carter, who combined for 85 career starts, Florida State's secondary was one of the Noles' biggest questions marks this spring. Patrick Robinson and Jamie Robinson, two seniors, have been the veteran leaders of the group. Outside of Patrick Robinson, who has seven career interceptions -- six of which came in 2007, the secondary has combined for one career interception (Jamie Robinson).
Jamie Robinson, who is in his second season at safety and said he feels more comfortable out there, proved it on Saturday with two interceptions.
"We have been lacking in interceptions for the past couple of years," Robinson said. "Generally, whenever a defense doesn't have a lot of interceptions, that falls on the secondary. So, as a secondary, we've been taking that personally and really embraced that challenge and tried to step up to the plate and answer that call of making more interceptions and causing more turnovers.
"It's real important for somebody to step up and take control and take on that leadership role, be able to give the guys some enthusiasm and inspiration to look to, something to feed off of out there on the field. It was real good to embrace that role and be there for the guys and make sure they're playing up to their potential every play."
The Noles appear to have taken steps in solidifying their starting lineup in the secondary this spring, with both Robinsons, Korey Mangum, who moved to rover, and Ochuko Jenije at field field corner. (Andrews, though, said Jenije is a "sometimes player" who has to learn to play every play. "Too many times he lets the receiver or the running back win the battle," Andrews said. "He's making progress.")
Former cornerback Terrance Parks has practiced at both rover and safety this spring, but sat out two days with a medical problem. Star recruit Dionte Allen has also been in the mix.
"We've got the four best players out there," Andrews said. "We don't have many two's that are challenging them. That's not good, because we like to play a lot of players. If we play Miami right now, we could play with four people. The other guys have got to decide they're going to get to the point where we could trust them enough to put them in the ball game. Right now, we couldn't trust 'em. It's not over, we've still got four days, the entire summer, so hopefully we can find them before we have to play Miami."
Overall, Andrews said he's confident with the first-team defense. It's the depth that remains a concern heading into summer camp.
"The first group is getting closer to having a chance to become a good defense," Andrews said. "We don't have enough guys on second team right now that you can put in a football game and say 'sic 'em.' They had to learn the terminology around here. They got 'sic 'em' and 'watch 'em' mixed up. A lot of them are freshmen and they've got to quit acting like freshmen. You've got to grow up sometime. But we've got three more days to see if we can't get a little better and hopefully we can get the progress we've got to have there."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
VIRGINIA -- It will be a family affair this weekend for tight end John Phillips, who will celebrate his senior day at the same time his older brother, Jake, does at William & Mary. Jake is the Tribe's starting quarterback and a team captain. Phillips' mom, Susan, is going to Williamsburg and his dad, Gene, will be in Charlottesville. Phillips is one of 24 seniors who will be recognized before Saturday's game against Clemson. He has been an integral part of the Cavaliers' offense, as he has had at least two catches in every game. He ranks first among ACC tight ends in receptions per game with 4.6.
GEORGIA TECH -- The health of both quarterbacks is a concern. A real one. Tech is hoping both Josh Nesbitt and his backup, Jaybo Shaw, will be ready, but they've both been practicing in a limited capacity this week. Shaw has a leg injury and Nesbitt a sprained ankle. The good news is that neither one has worn the red jersey injured players typically wear during practice and neither are listed as "out" on this week's injury report. Coach Paul Johnson isn't putting a lot of stock into the Yellow Jackets' past success against Miami, considering how different the teams are this season.
FLORIDA STATE -- With safety Darius McClure on crutches this week, the odds of him actually playing on Saturday are slim, but nothing is official until Thursday's injury report comes out. McClure tore cartilage in his left knee last Saturday while celebrating his first career interception, which came against Boston College. Meanwhile, junior Jamie Robinson expects to start in place of Myron Rolle, who will miss part of the game to interview for a Rhodes Scholarship. And Kenny Ingram, who has played significantly at linebacker this season, has reportedly been moved to safety to help with the depth there.
CLEMSON -- The question this week has been whether defensive tackle Dorell Scott will return after suffering a knee injury in the second quarter against Florida State. He missed the Duke game and is listed as questionable for Saturday's game at Virginia, but has been upgraded from a yellow jersey to a green jersey at practice. Scott and defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson are the Tigers' two best interior linemen, but they have played together for only 10 plays this season. Jackson hurt a tendon in his knee in preseason practice and missed the first eight games. The only game they played in together was against Florida State.
NORTH CAROLINA -- Butch Davis has opened up his starting quarterback job and probably won't reveal it until later in the week, if he does at all before kickoff. Cam Sexton wowed and surprised just about everyone with his win at Miami -- his first game in taking over for the injured T.J. Yates -- but his production has slowly decreased since then. He wasn't the only one who could have played better at Maryland last week, but his mistakes were costly. He and Yates have been splitting the reps with the first team this week at practice.