Sept. 1, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Crisp and sharp. Those were words Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher used to describe Wednesday’s practice in preparation for the Seminoles opener Saturday against Samford.
“We made plays,” Fisher said, before hustling off to his initial call-in show. “I liked their attitude. They’re starting to get honed and very detailed in what they were doing.”
Fisher, however, stopped short of pronouncing the Seminoles ready to go against the Bulldogs.
“We’ve got one more day (of practice),” Fisher said. “We’ll find out on Saturday, but they’re getting there. We’ve got to have another great practice tomorrow. We’ve got another good preparation day and then a mental day on Friday and a mental day Saturday morning getting ready. We’ll learn to prepare and we’ll see when it comes.”
The Seminoles worked out for two hours in shells – shoulder pads and helmets – in what turned out to be a very hot afternoon. Fisher has carefully constructed his workouts in an effort to both cut down on potential injury and be sure to have the `Noles operating at 100 percent efficiency on game day.
“We’ve had a long camp and you need to be sure you have your legs,” he said. “You’ve got to have morale and legs when you go into this game.
“You can beat them to death during the week but you want them to be ready to hit on Saturday. You don’t want to beat them to death where that body’s so sore they don’t want to hit on Saturday.”
The premise behind the practice schedule is to be sure the players get 48 hours before kickoff to be rejuvenated.
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FSU’s practice structure has changed significantly under the first-year coach, who has already established a pattern for the regular season practices.
Monday practices will be held at 3 p.m. – the same time as the rest of the week – and the team will work out in shells, correct errors and begin installation of the plan for the next opponent.
Tuesday will be a full pads practice, include additional installation, but also focus on first and second down plays, goal line and short yardage situations.
Wednesday’s will be another full pads practice with the focus turning to third down and red zone work, in addition to reviewing the things covered Monday and Tuesday.
Thursday the `Noles will work out in shells, focus on two-minute offense – “polish it all up and we’re ready to go.”
The team will conduct a walk-through on Friday’s; something Fisher instituted with the offense as the Seminoles’ coordinator.
With temperature climbing back into the 90s after consecutive cooler days of work, Fisher feels better about the Seminoles heading into Saturday’s noon kickoff.
“It was hot today and I would like for it to be hot the next couple days and really get them back acclimated to it,” he said. “They’ll be in good shape.”
As for the mental side of the game, Fisher said he doesn’t expect the team to be perfect against Samford, though that’s always the goal.
“If you’re perfect now, it’s hard to stay perfect for 12 games,” Fisher said. There are going to be some little things we need to get ironed out, but I like the progress (we’ve made), their effort and mental approach. They’re going at it and getting better every day. I see little things (improving) each day. That’s what you’ve got to polish up now is the little things.”
Don’t expect the Seminoles to hold back one iota against the Football Championship Subdivision team out of Birmingham, Ala. Fisher said 100 percent of the playbook is in play.
“We’ve got to play this game full bore; full go,” he added. “We’ve got to make plays and play; get our guys on the field and have confidence. We need to play well and give them the whole ball of wax.”
Fisher has steadfastly reminded anyone within earshot that coach Pat Sullivan’s Samford club is a formidable foe and neither he, nor his players, will be looking ahead. There’s danger in that, as the Seminoles nearly discovered the hard way in a gut-wrenching 19-9, fourth quarter rally to beat Jacksonville State at home last season.
Just don’t expect the rookie head coach to bring that game up in his pre-game speech.
“They know what’s at stake and every time you walk in that stadium it’s got to be special.” Fisher said. “We’re not going to dwell on the past. We’re not going to look to the future. We’re going to work on this week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – and get ready to play that game on Saturday.”
The countdown is on.