Nov. 4, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 24th-ranked Florida State football team bounced back with a “great day” of practice Thursday, according to coach Jimbo Fisher, whose Seminoles entertain North Carolina in Saturday’s homecoming game.
“I was very pleased with the day,” Fisher said. “The execution was good, the mental preparation was good. We ran, caught, blocked, threw on a windy day; the defense was good and the kicking game was solid.”
The Seminoles (6-2, 4-1 ACC) will try and preserve their half-game lead in the Atlantic Division against a North Carolina team that has endured its share of off-field issues, but needs just one more victory to become bowl-eligible. The Tar Heels (5-3, 2-2) needed a fourth quarter rally last week to turn back William & Mary, 21-17.
|Jimbo Fisher Interview|
UNC has managed to remain resilient despite the loss of several key players to suspension, including three for the season, in the wake of an NCAA investigation.
“They are (resilient), but they’ve got good players and they’ve got good back-ups,” Fisher said. “Now they’ve got most of them back, except for the three guys who were permanent. They’ve got a good club.”
Fisher’s sole focus is on his team. The Seminoles are coming off a heart-breaking 28-24 loss at NC State, which could ultimately deny them a shot at the division title. Instead of allowing his team to become distracted by scoreboard watching and talking about the long-term future, Fisher wants the `Noles to approach every game, “like it’s our Super Bowl.”
That is the primary reason he was agitated by the play of his receiving corps during Wednesday’s practice. Thursday, however, was a different story for the group.
“They came out and played; caught the ball, ran routes, got to what they had to get to,” Fisher said. “Like I say, it’s all about focus. When you have focus, you have execution. When you have focus, you play faster and do things.”
It is all a part of Fisher drilling the importance of playing with consistency on a down-to-down basis and not drifting mentally.
Ponder, Hopkins earn ESPN Academic All-District honors
Quarterback Christian Ponder and kicker Dustin Hopkins earned first-team ESPN Academic All-District honors, represented District 3, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). By virtue of their selection, Ponder and Hopkins will be compete against the first-team selections at their position from the other seven districts for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
Ponder holds two degrees from Florida State, earning his undergraduate in finance in May 2008 after posting a cumulative 3.73 gpa. He received his MBA this past spring and is now pursuing a second graduate degree in sports management. He was recently selected as one of 16 winners of the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award. A two-time ACC All-Academic football selection and four-time member of the ACC honor roll, Ponder is one of the most decorated student-athletes in Florida State history.
Hopkins, a sophomore, was the recipient of the Golden Torch Award for boasting the top gpa (3.96) on the football team for the 2009-2010 academic year. A media and communications major, he was named to the ACC All-Academic football team last season, after earning a 4.0 gpa in his first semester at FSU.