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Spring practice wraps up for FSU’s Justin Motlow

An announced crowd of more than 49,000 watch the Florida State Seminoles, including Justin Motlow (86), in the team’s spring game April 9 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
An announced crowd of more than 49,000 watch the Florida State Seminoles, including Justin Motlow (86), in the team’s spring game April 9 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

ORLANDO —Florida State brought more than just its football team to Orlando. The Seminole faithful, announced at 49,913, came to Mickey’s neighborhood April 9 for a glimpse of the 2016 edition.

FSU’s spring game was held in the Citrus Bowl because of renovations being done to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

Seminole Tribe of Florida citizen and FSU Seminole Justin Motlow wore No. 86 for the Gold team, which faced their teammates on the Garnet team.

Several former Seminole players watched from the sidelines, including Jameis Winston and Nick O’Leary from the 2013 national championship squad. The game, which finished in a 24-24 tie, signaled the culmination of the spring practice season.

Motlow, a redshirt sophomore who will be entering his third season on the team this fall, said no matter where he is on or off the field, being a representative of the Tribe carries great significance.

“I love representing the Tribe; I always will, no matter what I do, not just football, but everything in life. It’s a true honor,” he said after the game.

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher opted to play a lot of starters and second stringers for a majority of the game, including in the waning moments when the teams traded touchdowns before Ricky Aguayo’s 46-yard field goal ended the scrimmage in a deadlock.

Motlow was one of 15 wide receivers listed on the rosters. His playing time was sparse. He lined up as a kick returner once, but the ball was kicked to the other returner. He also saw action on the kicking team for three other kickoffs.

“I was on kickoff today and I’m hoping that’s something I can work my way onto during the fall,” he said.
The former Tampa Catholic standout played one series at wide receiver in the fourth quarter, but it was a quick three-and-out with three pass attempts that never came in his direction.

Overall, Motlow, who briefly played in two games last year, said spring practice was full of improvement. He believes he is “closer than I was a year ago” to seeing more playing time.

“I grew as a player. I’ve learned the playbook a lot better,” he said. “I just felt like I definitely improved my game a lot and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

FSU is coming off a 10-3 season. The team is ranked in the top five in some early polls for the upcoming season.

FSU will return to the Citrus Bowl for its season opener Sept. 5 against Ole Miss on a Monday night. The game is one of three the Seminoles will play away from Tallahassee, but in Florida. They will visit the University of South Florida in Tampa on Sept. 24 and play at Miami Oct. 8.

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