TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) — On Saturday, Florida State hit the football practice field once again for day 2 of fall camp. Back in the spring, Head Coach Willie Taggart saw maturity in wide receiver D.J. Matthews. The junior from Jacksonville appeared in every single game in the 2018 season and started in six of those games. Matthews was also FSU's primary punt returner. On Saturday, the wide receiver explained that after hearing Coach Taggart talk about his maturity, it has only built confident in him on and off the field.
"I've gained more confidence in myself. Just come out and kill because everybody already believes in me so why not just put my foot on their neck. I already know what I can do, Coach Willie knows what I can do, my team knows what I can do, so for me I just gotta show it out," said Matthews. "It's my time. I've got to step up and be an example. I can't be a bad example for the younger people because when I leave, they'll be the next up, and we don't want them to be another bad example for the kids coming out there."
The receiver ranks 13th in program history in punt return yardage with 457 yards. Matthews enters the 2019 season as 3rd on the NCAA's Active Career Leaders List with just over 12 yards per punt return.
The offensive side of the ball will be led by new Offensive Coordinator Kendal Briles. He most recently coached at Houston in 2018. With 7 returning starters on offense, he explained on Sunday that his side is not exactly where they should be, however, it has been all gas and zero brakes so far. "Once we really hone in on knowing exactly what we're going to be doing on a daily basis, like we're installing a bunch of stuff right now, so you've got a little bit of thinking. That's natural," explained Coach Briles. "The guys, from a tempo standpoint, they're coachable. I've been really impressed with the offensive line, they're not in shape. Their mind is telling them to do it but their bodies won't let them right now. But you can see it on tape, they're trying to change gears, get lined up, all that good stuff. So, we'll keep coaching, keep working, and keep getting better at it."
On the defensive side of the ball, eight starters return for Defensive Coordinator Harlon Barnett. He enters his 2nd season as FSU's DC and should be pretty happy with 8 returners. This season, the defense wants to bring an edge to the team and it is definitely something coaches have stressed to their guys. Coach Barnett also said that he likes what he's seeing with FSU's long linebackers. "We charged them with it and they know what we need to do. They're excited and they're showing it so far in these first two days and hopefully it continues on throughout camp," explained Coach Barnett. "There are some long guys out there, man they can get in passing windows, cause vision problems for quarterbacks, so its been looking pretty good for us."
Sophomore linebacker, Decalon Brooks was asked about dropping back in pass coverage in their 3-4 defense, which is something new for the team. He said he's excited to have different styles of defense for the upcoming season. "I always enjoy being in the pass drop especially because I know where to drop, I know how to read receivers. Get out there, pass them off to whoever's on my side, linebacker or safety, or whoever. So, I'm kind of used to it," said Brooks. "We know multiple defenses, from 4 down front to 3 down front so really it's just another good thing we've got in our back pocket, so that's what we're focusing on, having multiple defenses in our back pocket."
The Seminoles face Boise State in Jacksonville for their season opener. The game will be the first meeting between the two teams.