As Greg Reid sat in front of a group of reporters discussing Florida State's upcoming spring practice there was one word he kept coming back to-Mature.
Entering his final spring practices the rising senior defensive back is looking to be a veteran leader on and off the field during his final year in Tallahassee.
"Just being mature," he said of his goal for the spring. "Just going out and trying to know everything I have to do and just kind of make it just a habit. That's the main thing, just being mature and just whatever I've learned the last couple of years just try to make everything become a habit."
Mature is not a word that has been used to describe the 5-foot-8, 185-pound defensive back during his first three seasons at FSU. Reid, flamboyant player, has drawn the ire of fans at times as he's been guilty of trying to do too much at times for the defense.
Last season he also slipped up off the field as he was suspended for a violation of team rules against Charleston Southern and later in the year involved in an incident with Tallahassee Police over his friend fleeing police and leaving Reid's scooter behind. Reid was arrested but the charges were dropped and he wasn't suspended.
Since those incidents though, head coach Jimbo Fisher has said that the former Valdosta Lowndes high five-star has become one the team's best leaders with his encouragement and work ethic during practice.
"Right now on the field and off the field, what he's doing is the accountability he has right now," Fisher said. "His ability to push other players. Whether you see it or not, people follow him. He has charisma, people like him, they follow him and because the way he practices so hard and competes so hard. "
Fisher said in addition to being a leader, Reid has also earned his teammates respect as he has been able to gamble less on the field and still be the high energy guy who waves to the crowd before each punt return.
"They've seen him emerge form a guy that was a highly recruited guy who made all kinds of plays but then sometimes would lose, not discipline but would try to make too many plays," Fisher said. "They see he's being disciplined, they've seen him mature, I think the kids respect him and they still see that instinct and his love to play."
Reid said he still feels the same was when he arrived on campus, but he just knows when to tone it down now.
"I feel like I'm the same guy but it's just a point that going on my fourth year now it's kind of at the edge of just be mature about it," Reid said. "Just make everybody look at me as a leader to become an impact player. That's what I'm trying to do by my work ethic, not always about my mouth and yelling and hollering, having fun. Even though that's what I do and have fun, but it's about just knowing how to do it and the way to do it."
Pryor coming full circle
Running back Lonnie Pryor has been asked to do a lot of things in his Seminole career. Recruited as a tailback, Pryor made a full-time flip to fullback two seasons ago at the request of head coach Jimbo Fisher.
After excelling in that fullback role, one he will continue performing, Pryor's career now has a measure of symmetry as he will add some reps at tailback to his workload this spring.
"That's exciting, they want me to lose a couple of pounds to play running back again," Pryor said. "But it's exciting, hopefully it's going to feel like high school again, getting to run the ball and do different things like that."
As for the weight transformation, Pryor's changes are nearly complete. The rising senior was 235 pounds at the end of last season, and by his estimation, he now stands just a handful of pounds away from his target weight of approximately 220.
"I think he's much more effective when he's 218-220 pounds, he's moving better," said coach Fisher. "We'll get him back at that weight."
Pryor said just five pounds here or there will make a significant difference in his quickness of the line. As for the back-and-forth nature of his backfield career, Pryor couldn't say much more than he was just "excited" to have the ball put in his hands more often.
"I came here to play running back so I'm going back there for this spring," he said. "Just excited, I can't wait to get out there today, run the ball and have fun. Can't put it into words, I'm just happy I guess."
Safety amongst team's deep positions
There likely is no argument against wide receiver being Florida State's deepest position in the spring and fall of 2012. But when asked Monday about the positions he is most interested to see, coach Fisher sounded genuinely excited about his many options at safety moving forward.
Even with the departure of starter Terrance Parks and Nick Moody flipping positions, the Seminoles have plenty of capable bodies to play either side at safety.
Returning starter Lamarcus Joyner was a revelation in 2011, bringing his blend of speed, instincts and pure tackling ability from the corner position. And by year's end, Terrence Brooks made a lasting impression that he may be the one to replace Parks in the starting lineup.
"A bigger role (this year), that's what they're waiting on," Brooks said. "I feel like I can really play, and I'm just ready to get on the field and show people what I can do.
"As of right now I know I'm at safety," he continued. "But I really don't know the nickel situation because I did play there last year, I had a lot of fun there and I love that position. We'll see how it works out."
Brooks' second point is one worth remembering. Last year in the Mark Stoops defense, both Joyner and Brooks found their way into the slot from time to time to defend in nickel and dime passing situations. That type of ability to move up and cover at the line will help the case of any defensive back, as one safety spot and perhaps two corner roles are up for grabs.
Fisher added Monday that he liked the progress of Karlos Williams, who remains at safety, in the offseason. In addition to Williams, Fisher gushed about the potential of rising sophomore Tyler Hunter, projecting Hunter as someone who could defend in the slot or as a safety.
"Tyler Hunter is an exceptional athlete, a big-time athlete," said Fisher. "One of the top one's we've got."
As they head into spring practice with some significant slots up for grabs, the safeties will be among the most active contributors to spring practice. Outside of Joyner, the battle for starting and support reps appears to be wide open for one of the Seminoles' deeper positions.
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