Mike Norvell’s first spring game with the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday showcased transfer quarterback McKenzie Milton and an improved defensive line.
After transferring from UCF earlier this year, FSU quarterback McKenzie Milton was throught to be the frontrunner for the starting job.
Through much of the spring practices open to the media, redshirt sophomore Jordan Travis had looked like the leader, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
Milton showed Saturday that he’s still capable of once again being the star QB he once was at UCF in his unofficial debut at Doak Campbell Stadium.
“It’s been a long time since I was able to do that,” Milton said. “I don’t take it for granted at all, the past couple of years. Just a blessing to be out there, and just a blessing to be wearing this logo — it’s something I’ll cherish for this next year and just have fun with it.”
Milton struggled with his accuracy during the spring practices that were open to the media, the Tallahasee Democrat reports. He seemed to have found a rhythm just in time for the spring game as he looked far more comfortable and efficient.
It wasn’t until the end of the third drive that he ran the offense but he converted a pair of third downs on his opening drive with completions to Jashaun Corbin and Malik McClain.
The 27-yard completion down the sideline to McClain was near perfect and it was followed by a back-shoulder throw to redshirt freshman receiver Bryan Robinson for a touchdown.
Milton used his legs to keep a few plays alive and had a downfield pass to freshman wide receiver Joshua Burrell which led to a field goal, but Travis also had a strong game who led a 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game — including a 44-yard touchdown pass — and finished 8 of 14 for 115 yards and a touchdown, per the Tallahassee Democrat.
Milton finished the spring game completing 6-of-11 passes for 96 yards and one touchdown.
The Seminoles had four sacks in the first four series and finished the two-quarter scrimmage with 11 sacks over 12 drives, and Norvell said he’s seen improvements throughout the spring.
Redshirt senior defensive end Jermaine Johnson proved to be a force to have to handle in Norvell’s eyes
“I think Jermaine Johnson showed even early today that he’s a force to have to handle there off the edge, in the run game, in the passing game,” Norvell said.
A few guys have grown and Norvell has taken notice.
“I think Dennis Briggs, Fabian Lovett, those guys are a year stronger, a year more confident through the understanding of what we’re asking them to do schematically.”
One guy in particular that stood out was redshirt sophomore Akeem Dent, who appeared in seven games with five starts and recorded 13 tackles last season. He also accounted for one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.
“A guy that showed up today that gave up an early play but I thought responded was Akeem Dent,” Norvell said after the spring game. “Akeem is somebody I want to see take the next step.”
Norvell said the team will review the entire spring game and work on the necessary changes in their final spring practice before concluding the spring session. The team is set to kick off their season Sept. 5 at Doak Campbell. against Notre Dame.