April 11, 2007
The Florida State football team took to the practice fields for the final time this spring on Wednesday. The team practiced 26 periods of which 13 were spent in Doak Campbell Stadium in the final half scrimmage of the season. The offense had one of its best scrimmages as Xavier Lee, Christian Ponder and Drew Weatherford combined to throw five TD passes. Rod Owens hauled in two of those strikes and Greg Carr had the longest reception of the day on a 51-yard TD pass.
PRACTICE & SCRIMMAGE HIGHLIGHTS:
The practice began with the team working in position groups. The linebackers then worked versus the running backs on pass protection, before splitting up into run drills and 1-v-1.
In 1-v-1 Ponder connected deep with Carr, Weatherford threw a nice out pass to Jordan Dobbie and Patrick Robinson picked off a pass.
In pass skel Weatherford hooked up on a deep passes with Joslin Shaw and Richard Goodman. Lee hit Antone Smith on a deep pass after Smith ran a pattern out of the backfield and also hooked up on nice passes with Carr and Damon McDaniel. Ponder went long and hooked up with Dobbie while D’Vontrey Richardson also hit Dobbie deep. Defensively Michael Ray Garvin had a pass break-up and Darius McClure knocked De’Cody Fagg’s helmet off on a big hit but he could not knock the ball free.
While the receivers and DB’s were working versus one another the offensive and defensive lines squared off on the far practice field.
The final period on the practice field ended with 3-on-3 drills.
In the scrimmage the offense had a good day led by the quarterbacks. Xavier Lee went 7-11 for 68 yards and a TD, Christian Ponder was 4-5 for 48 yards and a TD and Drew Weatherford was 7-11 for 167 yards and three TD’s. None of the quarterbacks threw an interception.
Antone Smith ran seven times for 44 yards to lead the backs.
Rod Owens led the receivers with two TD’s while Carr, Shaw and Antwaun Green each caught a TD pass as well.
Weatherford threw back-to-back TD passes of 50 and 51 yards to Owens and Carr respectively. He also hit Shaw on a 10-yard TD pass. Lee’s TD pass went to Owens and covered eight yards while Ponder hooked up with Green on a 30-yard score.
Smith turned in the two longest rushes of the day and both went for 16 yards.
Defensively Everette Brown, Eli Charles and Recardo Wright all recorded sacks. Geno Hayes dumped Smith for a five-yard loss on the first play of the scrimmage and Andre Fluellen recorded a tackle right at the line on a 3rd and five play. Both Patrick and Jamie Robinson broke up passes.
In the kicking game Gary Cismesia hit 2-of-3 attempts with the longest coming from 27 yards. Graham Gano went 2-of-4 but hit one from 42 yards on a low snap. His other make came from 35 yards.
In goal line, Wright recorded a tackle for loss and the defense held the running game to no gain on three plays. Marcus Sims scored twice from in close, Lee ran one in and Weatherford hit Jonathon Person on a TD pass in the back of the end zone.
Head Coach Bobby Bowden
“They (the offense) had the better day today. Offensively we just executed better; didn’t make as many mistakes as they had in the past. The biggest thing that I think our offense has got to work on is our third and one. I think the defense is stopping us too many times on third down and one. They had a touchdown on third and one today – fourth and one I think – but they had to throw a pass to do it. That’s the only part where it looked like we need some work there. We have to get that next fall I guess because all your spring training is over except for the spring game.”
(on Antone Smith’s progress in the spring)
“Anton has done well. He’s not a surprise – he is doing what we expect him to do. The bigger surprises are the guys behind him because Antone, you expect it of him. He has run well. We have blocked better for him and he has done good on getting some extra yards. The other backs are running good, too. That’s good news, too.”
(on Drew Weatherford connecting on deep passes)
“You like to see that. You need that. I think a couple of them were busted coverages where they just left somebody wide open down there. But, still you have to protect your quarterback and still, your quarterback has to hit them. We had some nice long throws for those touchdowns.”
(how much has Drew Weatherford improved in the new system?)
“I’m sure they have gained. I’m sure they have gained on it. But No. 9 (Xavier Lee) has really come along. He had more room for improvement and he’s probably made more improvement. I think light’s are coming on for both of then (Weatherford and Lee) – (Christian) Ponder even did some good things.”
(on the receivers catching passes)
“They caught much better today then they did the other day. Very few drops out there today.”
(on Coach Rick Trickett’s intensity)
“Usually it catches over to your players. They see that enthusiasm and they see that intensity and they know they’re going to have to do it. It has a good effect. I think they’ve responded the best they could. Some have responded better than others. But they are trying to respond. It’s probably harder on the older guys because you are having to change the things they were doing and do this whereas the younger guys, they don’t have to change, because they never did it any other way.
Quarterback Drew Weatherford
“I feel really good; I feel really confident in the system obviously and in the guys we have around each other. We all have confidence in one another and we know that we have been working hard. We fell really excited about the spring game and we think we are going to have a lot of success. It was probably easier than I thought it was going be to pick up the offense because coach Fisher and his GA’s do a great job – the GA’s spend countless hours with us without coach Fisher to learn the actual offense. Adapting to the new coaching style, the tempo that they set and the intensity that they brought is definitely the biggest change – that was the hardest thing to adapt to. I think we have finally got it.”
(on the competition for a starting job)
“They (the coaches) really haven’t mentioned it very much at all (the quarterback competition). We just come out every day and try to compete. There is a long way before our first game and we are going to have probably wait until summer and somewhere in two-a-days before they make a decision. There’s a lot of work to be done and there’s a lot of improvement for our team to make before they even make that decision. I wouldn’t be half the quarterback that I am if I didn’t have it (the competition).”
Rover Myron Rolle
“The defense – we are going to be prepared to play (on Saturday). The offense is a very tricky offense – they play very hard, very aggressive and they play very tough. We have to match that intensity or even better it and just come out here and everybody do their assignments and I think we’ll do okay. We have everybody coming back and I think we have done a pretty good job of trying to get our hands on more passes this year and be a little more physical. It’s something we have improved upon but Tony Carter went down with an injury and that set us back a little bit. For the most part I think our unit has improved since the first day of spring. It’s very important (to make big plays) because I think we can be tone setters and let the receivers know they can’t run across the middle and catch the ball or just create turnovers and make the quarterbacks a little weary of throwing the ball deep. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing on Saturday and I know the other DB’s are as well. It’s very important to make a statement out there in the secondary because we have a lot or opportunities to day that.”