Sept. 22, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For a second consecutive day the rain stayed away, enabling No. 11 Florida State finish a full week of preparation for Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference opening showdown at No. 21 Clemson.
The Seminoles (2-1, 0-0 ACC) will try and get their ACC Atlantic Division title defense off on the right foot against the Tigers (3-0) by putting last week’s loss to No. 1 Oklahoma behind. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has made a point to emphasize the importance of this game, as opposed to dwelling on the loss to the Sooners.
“Every week’s the same test; every week’s a huge test,” Fisher said, after wrapping up a quick Thursday skull session with the offense. “Last week was a big national game. This week is a big national game. It’s a conference game. … It’s an intra-divisional conference game on the road and you have to learn to win road games in your conference to get through things….
“Clemson has a great ballclub. They’re playing well. It’s a huge, huge challenge.”
The Tigers have a four-game home winning streak against the Seminoles in a series FSU once dominated. Collecting their first win at Death Valley since 2001 will go a long way toward meeting the goals the `Noles established in the preseason, which begin with capturing the school’s 13th ACC Championship.
Florida State may well have to go without starting quarterback EJ Manuel, who did not practice this week after suffering a left shoulder separation against Oklahoma. While Fisher has not ruled out the redshirt junior – Manuel is listed as questionable – he has given redshirt freshman Clint Trickett all of the first-team snaps this week.
Injuries have hit the Seminoles hard over the last week, but Fisher is encouraged by the way his banged up players have responded to rehabilitation and rest. Sophomore wide receiver Kenny Shaw participated in his first practice Thursday since being carted out of Doak Campbell Stadium following a head-to-head collision with a pair of Sooner defenders. If Shaw does not have a relapse of post-concussion symptoms, he will play.
“It was very encouraging,” Fisher said of Shaw. “He was moving around pretty good; played the whole practice. He looked fresh.”
Likewise, senior wide receiver Bert Reed’s sprained ankle continues to improve. The fifth-leading receiver in FSU history will likely be a game-time decision.
Fisher said if Trickett does play, not to expect dramatic changes in the offense. Trickett has complete command of the offense and is capable of running anything signaled in from the sideline. Still, there could be some subtle changes.
“There may be things he does differently than EJ in terms of what he likes and doesn’t like, but he (Trickett) knows all of what’s going on,” Fisher said.
Injury update and report
Fisher said strong safety Terrance Parks.
Among the other players on the official injury report, Fisher said wide receiver Bert Reed (ankle) will likely be a game-time decision.
Wide receivers Willie Haulstead (head), Jarred Haggins (hand) and Josh Gehres (knee) are out for the Clemson game, along with offensive lineman Henry Orelus (head). Quarterback EJ Manuel (shoulder), wide receiver Bert Reed (ankle), cornerback Greg Reid (knee) and wide receiver Kenny Shaw (head) are questionable.