Aug. 20, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Just like the PGA Tour, Saturday is the moving day for the Florida State football team, which will hold its final preseason scrimmage at noon inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
“Tomorrow decisions are made,” Fisher said, after the Seminoles wrapped up Friday’s two-hour practice is shells. “Tomorrow is movement day; who are you going to play, who (do) who you think can play, who you think can work. It’s a big day for them.
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“Both sides want to do well, but we as coaches have to find out who can play and who can’t play and put guys in situations.”
FSU senior quarterback Christian Ponder is eager to see how his unit performs after a sub-standard effort in last Friday’s scrimmage.
“It’s very important for the offensive side, but as a team, as a whole,” Ponder said. “The last scrimmage the offense performed pretty poorly and we’ve made a lot of strides this week to improve. I think tomorrow is going to be the big ending of camp. Guys have got to come out and fight for a job. A lot of guys can make a statement for starting jobs. I think it’s very important for us to end camp on a good note and go into the school year and really starting the season with a right note.”
Saturday’s scrimmage will be followed by two days off the practice field as the Seminoles prepare for Monday’s start of classes. Both Fisher and Ponder said the ability to focus on the task at hand is critical to the teams continued development.
“I don’t want to see a lot of MA’s (missed assignments),” Ponder added. “I want to see a lot of guys have the focus. A lot of guys didn’t have the focus last scrimmage.”
Attitude, effort and intensity have been more than buzz-words throughout Fisher’s first preseason camp. The players who bring those three things to the table in the scrimmage – on both sides of the football – can separate themselves as several position battles continue with the opener two weeks away.
“It’s good to see when the offense makes plays, but it’s good to see when the defense makes plays as well,” Ponder said. “Back and forth; I just want to see us have a good battle and a good scrimmage, (where) everyone make plays.”
Fisher moved the scrimmage from late Friday afternoon to high noon Saturday in an effort to simulate the conditions for the opener, which will kick off at 12 noon.
“I want them to get used to the heat that time of day; getting up (early) and having a pre-game meal … get that routine going,” Fisher said. “You want to put them in that situation as much as you can: where it’s at, how the heat is going to be, where the sun is. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, but it could do that on game day. We’ll have to take the conditions as they come.”
Fisher, `Noles draw crowd at annual Kickoff Luncheon
A sold-out crowd in excess of 1,500 packed the Donald L. Tucker Center exhibition hall Friday afternoon for the Florida State Alumni Association’s annual Kickoff Luncheon.
With the voice of the Seminoles, Gene Deckerhoff, handling the MC duties, the 2010 FSU football team was introduced one by one. But the star of the show was first-year coach Jimbo Fisher, who was joined on the dais by FSU president Dr. Eric Barron and athletic director Randy Spetman, among others.
Fisher received a standing ovation before delivering his State of the Seminoles address.
“Expectations are high at Florida State for one reason,” Fisher said. “There was a man that coached here right before me who set a standard that everything is measured by. He was more than a coach to me. He was a mentor, he was a friend and in my opinion he’s the greatest coach in college football history.”
Bobby Bowden retired after 34 seasons and paved the way for the start of the Fisher Era, which begins in earnest with the Sept. 4 opener against Samford.
“The first step of getting Florida State back on top is getting back to being ACC champions,” said Fisher, mindful that the legend won 12 league titles. “We have to get back to the top of our own conference. No matter what happens in those first three games, conference games start. Every one of those games is vital because your ultimate goal is to win that ACC Championship.”
While thanking the crowd for supporting the Seminoles, he also encouraged them to be there on Saturdays for each of FSU’s seven homes games.
“We have to understand the importance of every game,” Fisher said. “That doesn’t just go for our players. Every time those young men get to run through the tunnel we need 83,000 people cheering them on no matter who were playing. I’m telling you that is what builds tradition. We have forgotten that a little bit because sometimes we take things for granted with all the success we had.”
Hopkins on Groza Award radar
The Lou Groza Award, presented to the nation’s top kicker, has a special meaning when it comes to Florida State. Former Seminole Sebastian Janikowski (1998 & 1999) was the first and remains the only two-time recipient of the award. Graham Gano added his name to the list of distinguished winners following the 2008 season.
Sophomore Dustin Hopkins hopes to continue those ties and will enter the 2010 campaign as one of 30 kickers on the Groza preseason Watch List. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission released the names of the top challengers for the award Friday.
“To be mentioned with some of the best kickers ever, like Janikowski and Graham, is humbling,” said Hopkins. “I’m just going to try and live up to their standards.”
Janikowski, a rare first-round draft choice, continues to excel for the Oakland Raiders. Gano took the free agent route to the NFL and enters his second season with the Washington Redskins.
Those standards are certainly high, but Hopkins’ impressive freshman season for the Seminoles seems to indicate that he is on the right path. With 97 points in 2009, the Houston, Texas native authored the most prolific scoring season by a freshman kicker in FSU history. He capped the season with a Gator Bowl-record four field goals in the win over West Virginia.
From the moment that Hopkins drilled his first collegiate field goal – a 52-yarder in his debut against Miami – he set the bar high. On the year he was 19 of 27 on field goal attempts, including of 11 of 13 from inside 40 yards. After a slow start, he carries a streak of 33 consecutive successful PAT conversions. Equally impressive, Hopkins drilled 24 kickoffs for touchbacks, which ranked fourth nationally and led the next closest ACC kicker by nine.
Hopkins is one of five ACC kickers on the Groza Award watch list.