Aug. 29, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As far as countdown-to-kickoff items go, Monday was a big day at Florida State.
As will be the case each Monday throughout the college football season, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and starting quarterback EJ Manuel answered questions at a press conference inside the Moore Athletic Center at Doak Campbell Stadium.
With Fisher’s first press conference as a second-year coach and Manuel’s first as the Seminoles’ starter int the books, that’s one less thing on the to-do list before this Saturday’s season-opener against ULM kicks off at 3:30 p.m.
Each Monday, The Doak Insider page here at Seminoles.com will feature a notebook touching on some of the items from the press conference.
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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Let’s get started with Press Conference Post Card No. 1.
EFFORT ON THE FIELD AND IN THE STANDS
The FSU-Oklahoma game may be sold out as the nation awaits what could be the biggest game of the year, but the Seminoles’ first two contests of the season before that showdown are not.
And Fisher wants to see that change.
Monday, Fisher sent out a “call to arms” of sorts for the fan base, encouraging everyone to attend the game if they have the opportunity to do so. FSU’s coach said that he expects a lot of out his players and he expects the same from ‘Nole Nation.
“If you are going to be a top-notch program and you want to win championships and you want to play at a high level, every time you walk in that stadium it ought to be sold out,” Fisher said. “I mean, Nebraska has been sold out since 1962. You don’t walk in there and see any empty seats. You want your players to play they best they can every week and you want the stands to be as full as they can be every week. It should be every week.
“There’s two obligations there on both sides.”
A LOOK AT THE UPDATED DEPTH CHART
Coinciding with the press conference was the release of FSU’s updated depth chart on the heels of fall camp.
So, what did we learn from the revised placement of the Seminole players? The ‘Noles have a lot of starting-caliber players — on defense especially.
Entering camp, there was a lot of attention paid to the battle at safety between veterans Terrance Parks and Nick Moody. Parks came into the fall listed ahead of Moody but with a small “or” in between the two, meaning co-No. 1s at the position.
Monday’s depth chart, which is still tentative heading into the opener, has Parks and Moody in the same spot. The same is true at middle linebacker where the same set-up and terminology is being listed for Vince Williams and Telvin Smith.
Essentially, all it means is that FSU has four starters at two positions. Expect all four of those student-athletes to rotate frequently depending on the offensive personnel and formation across the line of scrimmage.
“That’s what happens when you get good players,” Fisher said. “You have depth. You have to keep guys fresh.”
Other items of note on defense include the nose guard and cornerback positions.
Jacobbi McDaniel came into camp fighting for a spot at defensive tackle with Everett Dawkins but he is now doing the same thing with Anthony McCloud at nose guard. The two will rotate with the first-team unit at that position.
At cornerback, Mike Harris overtook the starting job at boundary in place of Xavier Rhodes. Fisher has praised Harris play since camp began and he was rewarded with a starting role on paper. Harris, Rhodes and the starter on the other side, Greg Reid, will all play a lot together.
“We’ve got three starters; we’ve said that the whole time,” Fisher said. “[Xavier] missed some of spring and Mike has played extremely well. And [Xavier] has played well. You start two of them. And Greg is playing well. From that standpoint, we just had to pick one and we decided to start Mike. They all are going to rotate and play just as much.”
“Mike has done very well and played very well and we rewarded him for playing as good as he has been playing,” Fisher added.
EJ MANUEL TIME
He’s bided his time patiently. Waiting and preparing for the moment when his number was finally called.
It’s Manuel’s team now.
A highly-touted quarterback prospect, Manuel was the first signal-caller that Fisher recruited. A respected developer of quarterbacks, Fisher hand-picked Manuel and brought him to Tallahassee from Virginia Beach, Va. to be the starter at Florida State one day
After serving as Christian Ponder’s understudy the past several years, it’s now that time.
“I am very proud to be the quarterback of this university,” said Manuel, who has a 4-2 record and two bowl victories to his credit already. “I take it very seriously. I don’t want to let the fans or anybody like that down.”
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF
This isn’t press-conference related but it’s still worth mentioning. There are only five days until FSU’s first game of the season. In celebration, here’s a photo of the one and only Greg Reid: