August 28, 2012

Ultra-confident Waisome ready for starting role

He hasn't taken a meaningful snap yet.

He knows that opposing offenses will in all likelihood take their shots at his side of the field, the opposite of Xaver Rhodes', if they take them.

Yet newly anointed Florida State starting cornerback Nick Waisome has a message for opposing offenses.

"Bring it on."

"I'm ready for it," Waisome said. "That's more plays for me. I feel like I'll be able to make them."

Yes it would appear that confidence won't be an issue for Waisome, who will replace the dismissed Greg Reid at field corner.

"I'm pretty decent in everything I do," Waisome said with a laugh when asked by a reporter about playing other sports growing up. "I'm not even going to lie. I can hold a tennis match with somebody who's probably good at it. I could have played for the high school team but I just didn't. I do a lot of stuff."

Confidence in himself is one of the factors that allowed Waisome to be mentally tough enough to stay focused during a heated position battle with true freshman Ronald Darby.

Darby was one of the most-talked about players of fall camp, yet it was Waisome who continually took the majority of the first-team reps each practice. When head coach Jimbo Fisher released his first depth chart on Monday, he said Waisome proved he was ready during camp to be a starter.

"Nick's been around. Played very well," Fisher said. "Made a lot of good plays, can run. Very intelligent guy, been in the system and I thought he had a very good solid camp and I look forward to watching him play on Saturday."

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Groveland recorded just one tackle last season, worked behind Reid all spring, and entered the offseason not expecting to prepare for a starting job.

Despite the depth in front of him, Waisome prepared ever day as if he would get that shot to be starter-- which he ultimately did.

"I thought I would probably get some playing time this year so I was just trying to prepare myself and become-like be on my skills a lot more and try to work on my technique and stuff like that just in case they would like to use me," Waisome said. "I knew Mike Harris was leaving so in cases like nickel or anything like that I tried to be able to step in there."

Waisome admitted that when he arrived in Tallahassee as a true freshman last season he was a little raw. ranked Waisome, a four-star prospect, the eighth best corner in the 2011 signing class and the 24th best player in the state of Florida out of South Lake High school.

The speedy corner said that in high school he was able to rely more so on his physical skills than technique, so this preseason he has attempted to be better prepared for collegiate route runners.

"I was real weak at double moves and stuff like that, but I feel like my eyes have gotten a lot better," he said. "Quarterback to receiver and then securing myself to make a play on the ball. I feel like I got a lot better at that."

Rhodes describes his new running mate as a guy who always gives extreme effort on every snap.

"He doesn't give up on any plays, he tries to be the best he can," Rhodes said. "He doesn't like to get beat, no corner really likes to get beat but you can see he'll do anything necessary to the receiver or whoever's got the ball to not have it happen, to try to break it up. He'll strip it, he'll do anything, he's just hungry for the ball."

Waisome said that he thinks the fact that Darby did come into camp playing at such a high level did force him keep his focus and raise his game a level during camp. Despite the heated competition with Darby, Waisome said he still does everything he can to help his freshman teammate be successful.

"You can't take it as a threat," he said. "You've got to help each other out. I mean I don't see it as fighting for the position. If he beats me out, he beats me out, that's what it is. If I'm ahead I'm still going to tell him what it is. I'm not scared or anything about him coming in and playing."

That attitude may turn out to be Waisome's biggest asset early in the season. Fisher has already said that Darby will get plenty of playing time and many expect he will play well when given the chance.

But after two full seasons of practicing against the ever-deep FSU receiving corps, the ultra-confident Waisome is ready for anything.

"That' s why I feel like I'm well practiced up," he said. "Ready for any shot they're trying to take at me."

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