August 28, 2009 - by
FSU Tunes Up For Saturday’s Dress Rehearsal Scrimmage

Aug. 28, 2009




TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Consider Friday afternoon’s Florida State football practice a dress rehearsal for a dress rehearsal.

That’s what FSU coach Bobby Bowden did, after the Seminoles hustled through a 2-hour workout in shoulder pads and helmets, working heavily against the scout team on both sides of the ball in preparation for the Sept. 7 home-opener against Miami.

The Seminoles will scrimmage Saturday morning in front of Atlantic Coast Conference officials, hoping to get a good look from its scout teams, but also a better feel for the nuances that – if not mastered – could prove costly Labor Day night.

“We cut practice down because our last scrimmage is tomorrow,” Bowden said. “There was some good and some bad (Friday). I’m not going to feel good until it’s all good.”

Getting the offense, defense and specialty teams on and off the field will be a priority in the scrimmage. So will improving execution, which has been especially troublesome at times for the young team. Seldom does the scene lead to a change in the depth chart, though it could, according to Bowden.

With Bowden’s coaching staff pushing the little stuff – a sign that the season-opener is fast-approaching – it’s clear where the concerns remain.

“The things that please me most is the kids have shown up, worked as hard as they can and tried to try and play their best,” said Bowden, adding that “missed assignments” were his biggest concern.

And any miscues uncovered in the scrimmage will get the full attention of the staff when the Seminoles return to the practice field Monday – one week before the Hurricanes arrive.

“You can bet your life we’re going to concentrate on execution next week,” he added.

Practice highlights

Friday’s action culminated with an 11-on-11 drill, with both the first and second units getting a four-play series, beginning at the 12-yard and moving closer to the end zone on each snap. Quarterback Christian Ponder, who overcame a slow start on the day threw a pair of touchdown passes, capped by tight end Caz Piurowski’s leaping, short-yardage grab in the end zone.

Not to be outdone, reserve quarterback EJ Manuel drilled a pair of scoring strikes – one to wideout Taiwan Easterling and a second to freshman Rodney Smith.

Both quarterbacks received high marks from Bowden, who watched Ponder and Manuel take turns riddling the defense during 7-on-7 drills with pinpoint accuracy. Ponder went up top for 30-yard scoring strikes to senior receivers Rod Owens and Richard Goodman. Manuel countered by hitting Easterling and Rodney Smith for scores.

Veteran defensive tackles Kendrick Stewart (knee) and Budd Thacker (foot) sat out practice, but are expected back next week. … Linebacker Dekoda Watson collected an interception off a deflected pass. … Freshman cornerback Xavier Rhodes borke up a touchdown pass intended for Rodney Smith in the end zone. … Free safety Jamie Robinson added an end zone break-up of a pass to towering Cam Wade.

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