FSU football linebacker Tatum Bethune makes a solid first impression

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With all three starting linebackers returning after last season, Florida State hardly needed to wade through the transfer portal at this position.

The way Tatum Bethune played through three spring football practices showed why the Seminoles added him anyway. So far, few first-year players have popped up more than the UCF transfer linebacker.

Not that Bethune’s first impression of quality is surprising.

With the Knights last season, Bethune earned second-team all-AAC honors from Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele after recording a team-high 108 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and three-quarter rush.

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The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Bethune displays the same instincts and aggression that made him a force as a three-year contributor to UCF. He impressed again at the third of 15 FSU spring training sessions on Wednesday.

“Explosiveness, toughness and all those things you want to see in a linebacker position,” Seminole head coach Mike Norvell said of his impressions of Bethune. “It’s a ball accelerator. He doesn’t look his size – his body, his weight, his strength and all that. It packs a punch and is a real accelerator.

“He can see through some of the things that work in front of him. He had a few plays today that were flash plays that you want to see a guy with those instincts and that physique when he gets there.

Tatum impresses in full pads

Practice No. 3 meant that FSU could wear full pads, so the Seminoles embraced contact far more than their previous two sessions.

There were more 1v1 drills. There were more scrum settings. And there was more opportunity to observe which linemen and linebackers stood out as opposed to when tackles and heavy contacts were previously not allowed.

Thus, for the first time this spring, Bethune was able to fully deploy its talents. And his teammates are already noticing his impact.

“I love him. He’s my dog. He’s a good player,” FSU defensive lineman Fabien Lovett said. “I like the way he attacks the ball and does his job. He’s an enforcer. Today he made a big game and I congratulated him.

“It’s all about the big games. And not even necessarily on the big games, but do your job. But if you can make a game, go for it. And he went and did it.

First-year linebackers coach Randy Shannon recruited Bethune while serving in the same role, in addition to defensive coordinator, for the Knights from 2018 to 2020. Bethune’s familiarity with Shannon was a big part of why he joined FSU.

Shannon will have plenty of options with Bethune in the mix. He has Amari Gainer, FSU’s active leader in tackles with 193. He has Kalen DeLoach, who won the Seminoles Most Improved Defensive Player award after totaling 69 tackles last season. He has DJ Lundy, who also recorded 69 tackles last season and has benefited from an increased role.

And now Shannon has Bethune, who might be better than all of them.

” He is very intelligent. He’s definitely a student of the game,” DeLoach said of Bethune. “He arrives in a new system. As a group, we want to help him as much as possible, so he can be on the same page as us.

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Watch: FSU OL Dillan Gibbons recaps first spring training in the pads

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Curt Weiler, Democrat of Tallahassee

Offensive line impressions

FSU’s offensive line appears to be showing significant progress after being one of its worst positional groups in recent years.

The Seminoles fired four starting offensive linemen from last season, and they’ve each made a strong impression this spring. Offensive line transfer additions Kayden Lyles and Bless Harris have also held firm so far.

Lyles and Harris not only give FSU quality depth, but they also give the Seminoles the opportunity to mix up their starting five to create the best offensive line possible.

“They got better from tackle to tackle, guard to guard,” Lovett said. “They have improved in all areas. This is Coach (Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line) (Alex) Atkins. I expected them to improve thanks to the coach they have.

“He’s the kind of coach that pushes them to lead and improve at the end of the day. And at the end of the day, you always train against guys like us. So you’ll be fine. »

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Watch: FSU’s Robert Cooper speaks to the media after spring football training

Florida State wrapped up its third spring football training on Wednesday.

Chris Nee, Democrat of Tallahassee

Defensive Line Impressions

Norvell called Wednesday’s practice the best first padded session he’s had since being named FSU head coach.

The number of contributors on the Seminole defensive line is part of what has fueled Norvell with such optimism. Besides running back Treshaun Ward and maybe a few others, FSU’s talent players mostly took a step back on Wednesday while positional groups like the defensive line caught the eye.

From veterans like Robert Cooper to rising players like Joshua Farmer to new faces like announced transfer Jared Verse, there were plenty of defensive linemen who blinked. Then there’s Daniel Lyons, the first freshman who keeps turning heads.

“So far I see a lot of natural things in him, hand placement and stuff like that,” Cooper said. “All freshmen have something to work on, but I definitely see a lot coming from Daniel. He’s definitely a bigger, longer guy, so I see a lot of good things coming from him.

Contact Carter Karels at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Carter Karels.

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