March 4, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
This time of the year, most students at Florida State University are thinking about spring break, but for the members of the Seminole football team, there is some unfinished business that needs to be taken care of before leaving town for the week. Florida State held its third spring practice session on Thursday (March 9).
The Seminoles worked out for 26 periods in pads (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts), concentrating mostly on individual position drills. Midway through Thursday’s workout, Florida State went through a pass skeleton-receivers versus defensive backs-with quarterback Chris Rix (Santa Margarita, Calif.) completing several deep pass, including one for a touchdown to Lorne Sam (Buford, Ga.).
Twice during the afternoon the Seminoles conducted 11-on-11 scrimmages. The offense held its own during the first meeting, but the defense was the more dominate team in the second scrimmage. Linebacker A.J. Nicholson (Winston Salem, N.C.) returned an interception for a touchdown and defensive lineman Travis Johnson (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) had one of several sacks.
“We stepped it up a notch today going in shells,” FSU grid boss Bobby Bowden said. “I hope that we can get a couple of kids back after break. The first three days have been productive. I saw some good things out there today. The biggest play was Nicholson’s touchdown.”
While most students will spend their spring break in spots such as South Beach, Panama City or South Padre Island, three Florida State players are taking a different sort of trip. Sophomore fullback James Coleman (Tallahassee, Fla.), junior tight end Paul Irons (New Orleans, La.) and Rix are traveling to South Africa to perform missionary work.
The trio will join former FSU football player Corey Simon and Ron Miller, a former member of the men’s basketball team, as part of Champions for Christ. Group will spend the next nine days between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Soweto. Two years ago, Champions for Christ established a group in Johannesburg and this year they are going to back to check in its progress while setting up chapters in Cape Town and Soweto.
“It’s a great feeling to offer my services so I don’t feel like I’ll be missing that much,” said Irons, who went on the first trip in 2002. “I’m excited to see the fruit of my labor from the first time. That’s going to be a bigger encouragement than anything to see that it worked the first time and I can do it again because it’s worth something.”
On Thursday, the College Football Hall of Fame announced its nominees for next year’s induction and the list included a pair of former Seminoles. Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Charlie Ward and defensive back Deion Sanders, the 1988 Jim Thorpe Award winner, are among the nominees.
“That is wonderful, they definitely qualify,” Bowden added. “I’m very proud of both of them. Both of them have made a great name for themselves and it’s very pleasing for us to hear that they’ve been nominated for this great honor.”
Florida State resumes spring practice after the university’s spring break.