Sept. 7, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When you’re preparing to play a team like Oklahoma, there are a lot of bases to be covered. Multiplicity, on both sides of the football, is the Sooners’ calling card and the reason FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has revved up the pace and tempo at practice this week.
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“We did a lot of stuff,” Fisher said at the conclusion of Tuesday’s two-hour practice. “We had some bad plays, had some good plays, but we dealt with them and learned to finish. We had a good day.”
One of the things defensive coordinator Mark Stoops’ unit must be prepared for is the Sooners’ no-huddle offense, which operates at different speeds during different times of the game.
“They have just a flying pace, a medium pace and a slowdown pace, where they check and do things at the line,” Fisher said. “They try and dictate the tempo of the game.
“We give (the defense) a pace like that. We can no-huddle for them. You get two or three scout teams going at a time, running back and forth. … You get them ready, because you’ve got to be able to think on the run.”
On the other side of the ball, Fisher said Bob Stoops’ 12th Oklahoma team isn’t much different than those which preceded it. The Sooners like to show multiple looks in an attempt to cause confusion, while remaining the attacking style that they’re veteran coach has parlayed into a great deal of success. Fisher was the offensive coordinator at LSU when the Tigers met the Sooners in Sugar Bowl for the 2003 National Championship.
“They were dominant,” Fisher said, rattling off the names of Oklahoma standouts Tommie Harris, Teddy Lehman and Derrick Strait. “They had great front people, great cover people. …
“They had all kinds guys. Guess what? They’ve got the same numbers. The names have changed (but) they all look the same now. I expect the same dadgum team now. They’re aggressive, they’re physical. They’ve got a ton of blitz packages and I’m sure they’ll come after us like crazy. They make you work.”
Harris issues statement following passing of his mother
Florida State junior cornerback Mike Harris made his first appearance for the Seminoles Saturday against Samford. With an interception and four tackles, he earned defensive player of the game honors from the coaching staff. Shortly after the game he learned that his mother, Gwendolyn Harris, 52, had passed away Saturday.
“It was kind of a bittersweet day for me. When I got the call it really hurt me a lot, because I was really looking forward to go out there and playing in front of my mom. That’s the reason I came back closer to home. It was just real sad that she never got to see me play my first game, but I felt like she was there with me and she’ll continue to be there with me in the future. I thank everyone for the text messages and all the support that I’ve received so far.”
Harris, whose mother had been in poor health, said he will play Saturday at Oklahoma before flying home to Miami. The funeral is scheduled for Tuesday.
Seminoles climb in the polls
The two primary polls – Associated Press and USA Today Coaches – pushed back their weekly release of national rankings until Tuesday afternoon to accommodate Monday’s Labor Day games. It proved to be worth the wait for the Seminoles, who climbed three spots to No. 17 in the AP poll and two spots to No. 18 in the Coaches poll heading into Saturday’s game at No. 10 Oklahoma. The AP ranking is the highest for the Seminoles since they climbed to No. 16 on Oct. 26, 2008 following their 30-20 victory over Virginia Tech. FSU was No. 18 in the 2009 preseason poll and held it again the week of Sept. 20 before falling from the poll for the balance of the season.
Sanders earns ACC Lineman honors
Florida State junior right tackle Zebrie Sanders shared ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors following his dominating performance against Samford. Sanders graded out at 90 percent – 85 percent on running plays and 95 percent on passing plays – as the Seminoles rolled up 481 yards of total offense in Saturday’s 59-6 victory. FSU averaged 9.1 yards per play in helping coach Jimbo Fisher collect his first career victory.
“He just played a complete football game and did a nice job,” Fisher said of Sanders, who led the `Noles with two knockdown blocks and did not have a missed assignment or a penalty. It was the first ACC weekly honor for Sanders, who is a third-year starter for offensive line coach Rick Trickett’s veteran unit.