Aug. 23, 2003
Tallahassee, Fla. –
On the final day of preseason practices, the 12th-ranked Florida State University football team worked on one of the aspects that can make or break a game: special teams. The majority of Saturday’s (August 23) morning practice focused on specialties. During the 10-period session, the Seminoles covered kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt coverage, punt block and punt returns.
“It seems that the kids are playing much more like we did when we were successful, but you have to see them against another opponent to judge it,” FSU head coach Bobby Bowden said. “I think there are some similarities from this team to our championship teams, but they have to be proven.”
For two Seminoles, Saturday’s final preseason workout mark the end of the last training camp for one senior and the first of four for a rookie. Senior defensive end Kevin Emanuel (Waco, TX) and freshman linebacker Ernie Sims (Tallahassee, Fla. / N. Fla. Christian) shared their thoughts on finishing camp.
Sports Information: How does it feel to finish your last preseason camp?
Kevin Emanuel: “It feels pretty good. I think that was extra motivation. This is my fifth one so there really wasn’t anything that I hadn’t seen before. They changed it up a little bit with two practices then just one practice.”
SID: Compared to your freshman year, has been easier or harder?
KE: “I think it was a little bit easier this year, but the only thing was that it lasted a bit longer. With the practices before two a days it was a little big longer, but before with the two practices every day for two weeks it was tough.”
SID: How was it different from last year?
KE: “Every year we try to strive for unity and I think we’re a little closer this year. We’re trying to bring everything together, have both sides of the ball together instead of everyone choosing sides. We didn’t want the defense in there own little world or the offense by themselves, I think we brought everyone together.”
SID: What was the hardest part?
KE: “I think the hardest part every year is getting up early. Once you get out here, stretch and get going its fine, but the hardest part is waking up so early.”
SID: As a senior, did you catch yourself thinking back to when you were a freshman?
KE: “You kind of look back. You see the young guys that come in and how they’re trying to learn everything. It’s a big transition from high school to college. When I first came in it was a big transition, because there were so many things that I didn’t know.”
SID: What can you pass on to the younger players?
KE: “Try to learn everything. Get your reps, because you learn everything from repetition. The older guys use to tell me to just get in there, even if you don’t know the plays, show the coaches that you can go hard and that you’re a hard worker. They told me to get as many reps, because with repetition you get better as time goes on.”
SID: What’s the pulse of the team? Are you behind, ahead, on track?
KE: “I think we’re on track, but we never should get to a point where we are at a stopping point where we think we’re fine. Everyday we’re trying to come out here and get better. We can’t think that we’re just right for any opponent, because once you get content with an opponent, that’s when you get beat.”
Sports Information: Was the preseason harder or easier than you thought it was going to be?
Ernie Sims: “To be honest it was harder than I thought it was going to be. In high school I thought the two-a-days were hard, but compared to here it is no competition.”
SID: Can you tell a difference from your first day to your last day?
ES: “Yes. I’m in much better condition. I’m not as heavy as I use to be.”
SID: What was the toughest part?
ES: “Conditioning. I would have thought that the hitting would have been the worse thing, but it turned out that the conditioning was the toughest, to be honest.”
SID: What did you enjoy about it?
ES: “I enjoyed every minute of it, being such great talent is a great feeling. I enjoy everything about being on the next level”
SID: How excited are you for your first game next week?
ES: “Very excited. It’s my first college game, I’m ready to get on the field. I’m excited to go up there and play against the quarterback (Roger HeinzI that I played with in high school on the other team.”
SID: What are you going to take away from your first camp?
ES: “I’ve learned to do everything to the best of your ability and to work hard. You never know when you’re going to need your best and if you let up and all they can go right past you and score a touchdown.”
FSU opens the season one week from Saturday when it travels to North Carolina for an 8 p.m. kick off with the Tar Heels. The Seminoles play their first home game on September 6 at 7:15 p.m. versus Maryland.