Oct. 18, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sunday was actually Tuesday for the Florida State football team, at least in terms of preparation for Thursday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference date at North Carolina.
The Seminoles hit the practice field in full pads Sunday for a 22-period session that drew high marks from the coaching staff.
“It was a pretty lively practice,” Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said, after the ‘Noles wrapped up work on a brisk day. “They were hitting pretty dadgum good.”
Bowden said he hopes to nicked up senior linebacker Dekoda Watson (groin strain) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (ankle sprain) available for a game the Seminoles must have to stay in the wide-open Atlantic Division race. Watson has been limited to non-contact work, while Robinson has been practicing.
“I thought our tempo was good,” said FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. “The guys’ attitude was good; the work ethic was good.”
Fisher indicated that the Tar Heels’ ACC-leading defense will provide the offense with its toughest test of the season.
“North Carolina is a very physical, tough, football team,” Fisher said. “We’re going to have to match their toughness up front. Their front is very good. We’re going to have to play with a lot of enthusiasm and concentration because one slip-up against those guys and it can be disastrous. Not just a loss. They have the ability to hit you, sack you, cause turnovers.
“They’re No. 5 in the country. Usually teams are fast up front or big up front. They’re both. … They are guys who are going to make a lot of money on Sundays.”
The Seminoles will counter with an offense that has produced at least 400 yards in five of six outings this season and is coming off a season-high 539-yard output against Georgia Tech.
Quarterback Christian Ponder, who is coming off back-to-back, career-high passing performances, has been the catalyst. Ponder, who had five touchdown passes against the Yellow Jackets, will be facing a unit that has allowed just one touchdown pass all season, is yielding just 125 passing yards a game and has collected eight interceptions. Much of that success can be attributed to relentless pass rush, which has come through with 15 sacks this season.
Florida State will return to the practice field Monday and wrap up preparation for the Tar Heels on Tuesday.