Aug. 10, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After two days of shorts and helmets, Florida State football practice began in earnest Wednesday as the Seminoles donned shells – shoulder pads and helmets – and got their first taste of contact work.
The cracking sound of pads, however, was often interrupted by to-the-point directives by the coaching staff; truly a sign that the season is closing on the `Noles quickly.
“I thought the defense did really well, but the offense was very sloppy,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said at the end of the third preseason workout. “I mean poor, all the way across in a lot of way. We didn’t execute; tried to give effort but it wasn’t a very good job. We did a poor job of coaching them on offense too. … The situations we put them in were very poor. That was my fault today.”
While Fisher found no fault in the physical effort, he made it abundantly clear that if the Seminoles are to play at a level he expects, it must improve. And while he was largely pleased with the way the veterans on defense performed, he spared no one in his post-practice assessment.
“They were flying around, playing hard,” Fisher added. “We gave up some runs which I didn’t like and we ran the ball well. We didn’t throw very well. We couldn’t pass block, can’t catch, and can’t run routes. I was not pleased with the passing game at all. We had open guys, we missed them. We have to learn to pass block. We have to get better pass blocking and EJ (Manuel) has got to get more consistent. He has to get better at that. He had been doing really good. But a lot of it has to do with the situations we put them in.”
The 2 ½-hour session was spirited, if not crisp, featuring a few sharp hits and flared tempers; about what might be expected on the first day of contact work.
FSU will return to the practice field Thursday and Friday for single, afternoon sessions. Two-a-day drills begin Saturday morning, when the `Noles will don full pads for the first time.
Datko glad to be back at 100 percent
It wasn’t that long ago that Andrew Datko was the under-sized kid on FSU’s offensive line. Now the senior left tackle is projected as one of the top NFL prospects in the country, weighing in at an amazingly trim 320 pounds. More importantly, he’s 100-percent healthy after sitting out the spring following shoulder surgery.
“I feel great,” Datko said. “It’s weird to be out there after sitting out the whole spring with my injuries. (It) took me a few minutes to settle down and play. It’s been like a year. But it feels good to be 100 percent.”
Beyond his physical skills, Datko’s experience is especially important on a team that has nine offensive linemen who have never played a down of Division I football.
Trickett understands importance of being ready
Redshirt freshman quarterback Clint Trickett is getting the lion’s share of the reps as the second-team quarterback early on. While EJ Manuel is clearly the Seminoles’ starter Trickett is keenly aware that he must be ready to play when called on. It’s a lesson he learned from Manuel.
“Knowing in the past five years there hasn’t been a time when the backup hasn’t played a significant amount of time, you know that, and you have to get yourself ready,” said Trickett. “That’s how I took it last year as a redshirt. You know you are not going to play, but you take that attitude and you get better. EJ is a huge help. We talk about offense and logistics. I learn more from watching – what he has done and what has happened in the past.”
The Champ gets a look at the garnet-clad challengers
Roy Jones, Jr., once considered pound-for-pound the best boxer of all time, was a guest at Florida State’s practice. The Pensacola native was an outstanding all-around athlete, and played basketball one season for the Jacksonville USBL franchise. He and his son stuck it out through the entire session Wednesday.
The Seminoles will practice again Thursday at 2:45 p.m…Fan Day is scheduled for Sunday, beginning at 12 noon in the Donald L. Tucker Center…The Alumni Association’s annual Kickoff Luncheon is set for Sept. 26, also at the Tucker Center.