Don't be surprised if Florida State's tight ends take a more active role in next Saturday's spring game and into the 2017 season.
Redshirt junior tight end Ryan Izzo said Saturday that Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher is implementing more formations to get the group more involved in the offense. Izzo said the tight ends have lined up out wide in an attempt to give redshirt sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois more options.
"After having all those playmakers leave last year, we knew we were going to have to step up," Izzo said referencing the departure of former receivers Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield and Bobo Wilson. "We're going to get those opportunities, so I think me and Mavin [Saunders] teaching Tre' [McKitty] the process of what we're doing right now so he can get used to that role."
Rudolph, who led FSU with 880 receiving yards last season, declared for the NFL Draft while Whitfield and Wilson are graduating. Along with tailback Dalvin Cook, who was second on the team with 488 receiving yards, the Seminoles lost four of their six leading targets.
FSU has used spring camp, which ends with next Saturday's spring game, to continue its receiver transition, which really began in the final six games of last season. Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate, who will be juniors next season, saw more playing time and added much-needed elements to the offense.
Although FSU has five scholarship receivers in camp, for some, their growth has been slowed by injuries. Fisher said its likely sophomore Keith Gavin could miss the rest of spring due lingering ankle injury. Redshirt sophomore George Campbell has been in and out of camp while recovering from surgery on his core.
Tate, who missed practice Thursday with a concussion, returned Saturday. It's resulted in Murray and junior Da'Vante Phillips as the team's unscathed receivers this spring. Those injuries have placed a premium for Fisher to involve the tight ends in the passing game.