March 16, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the first time since defeating Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl, the Seminole football team in its entirety was at practice Monday afternoon. Following a busy pro day, the team hit the field for 28 periods in shorts in what will be a jam-packed three weeks as the coaching staff plans to have 13 of the 15 allowed practices in the time between now and the Garnet & Gold Game on April 4.
· During 1-on-1 E.J. Manuel, in his first practice as the team’s No. 2 QB, completed passes to Louis Givens, Bert Reed and Richard Goodman. Ochuko Jenije had a pass break and an interception for the defense. Ventoure Watkins also broke up a pass.
· In 7-on-7 Patrick Robinson had a strong drill with a forced fumble and a pass break-up. Jamie Robinson broke up a pass as did A.J. Alexander. Ponder was strong for the offense with deep TD passes to Jarmon Fortson and Bert Reed. Reed hauled in another Ponder pass as did Goodman and Jermaine Thomas. Manuel had completions to Goodman, Givens and Josh Gehres.
· Practice ended with 11-on-11. Both Thomas and Ty Jones each had two nice runs. Ponder took all the snaps after E.J. Manuel hurt his hand on a defender’s helmet. The junior QB connected with Wade and Thomas and twice to Reed. One of Reed’s catches was a highlight reel leaping grab.
Head Coach Bobby Bowden
On the first practice:
“It was a good first day’s practice. You could really tell the difference three years ago when we came in and put this offense in how the kids struggled with it that first spring. Then last spring when we started first day you could tell they were a lot further along. They began to grasp it better. Of course today it even looked much better. Naturally the offense is going to be way ahead because they got so many boys coming back. Especially the offensive line. We haven’t had that in a long time.”
On the road a head:
“We got a lot of work to do. The key will be the kids building on what happened today by getting better the next day and better the next day.”
Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher
On the first day:
“Not bad. I mean we had a lot of mistakes. A lot of good things. The effort was good, I mean for the most part. We had a couple young guys that got confused at the end when they get tired. For the most part the focus, the concentration, the guy’s attitudes, the things they did, I was pleased in that part of it. We got a long way to go and we gotta get a lot better.”
On how much he will throw at the players this spring:
“We got to be careful. We’ll throw it in, see what they can handle and go from it. We’ll try to put a good little bit of things in and try to utilize some different personnel.”
Quarterback Christian Ponder
On the first day:
“It was good. It is good to be back out here. The time off was good. It allowed us to get away. Everyone is hungry to get back out here and practice. There were a few mistakes but that is why we practice, to get better.”
On whether he feels the offensive continuity with so many players back:
“I do feel that. We already have great chemistry together. We have been working together on our own since we came back this spring. We have a lot of areas in which we need to improve but there is a lot to be excited about.”