Aug. 19, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When the full pads go on, Florida State’s running game seems to come to life. At least that continues to be the case throughout preseason practice.
With tailbacks Tavares Pressley and Ty Jones getting their first extended work since returning from hamstring strains, the Seminoles moved the ball effectively on the ground throughout the second half of Wednesday’s afternoon practice.
“We ran ‘ol Pressley a lot today just to see what kind of shape he was in,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. “He ran good but he gave out.”
Pressley was the primary ball-carrier for the first-team offense during 11-on-11 work, when the Seminoles started at the 50 yard line. He repeatedly ripped off runs between 6-12 yards, displaying power and speed, though he did lose a fumble downfield. That fumble proved costly when Pressley landed on the football, knocking the wind out of him, and ultimately ending his day prematurely.
Still, it was the first significant contact work Pressley has had in more than two years, since transferring from El Camino (Cal.) Community College. He missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, suffered early in preseason camp.
“(Pressley) did some good things and some bad things,” offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said. “When you hit it up in there now, this ain’t junior college. There are men on the other side.”
Jones also received significant work with the second-team offense and was largely effective running between the tackles.
While Jermaine Thomas earned a break throughout a large chunk of scrimmage work, 212-pound freshman tailback Lonnie Pryor continued to rip off yardage after initial contact and earn the coaching staff’s praise.
“The guy that keeps looking good is Pryor,” Bowden said. “Sometimes he looks like he’s the best back we’ve got. He just does better than he’s supposed to do. He’s supposed to faint every now and then, but he ain’t fainted yet.”
Wednesday’s practice concluded with the customary goal line drill, which was once again dominated by the offense.
Thomas and Jones scored on runs of 3 and 1 yards against the first-team defense, while Pryor added a 3-yard touchdown run and Jones another 1-yard scoring burst, against the second-team. Walk-on fullback Danny Gard had the key blocks on the last two scores.
With five practices remaining in preseason camp – counting Saturday’s scrimmage – Bowden said he’s seeing progress.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, especially on defense,” Bowden said.
The Seminoles will practice twice on Thursday, and squeeze in one workout following Friday’s Kickoff Luncheon at the Donald L. Tucker. … Former FSU fullback Zack Crockett, who spent 14 seasons in the NFL, attended Wednesday’s practice. Crockett is scouting for the Oakland Raiders, for whom he played the majority of his professional career. … Offensive tackle Terrance Parks was back in action for his first contact work after recovering from a hamstring strain. … FSU spent the first half of Wednesday’s practice working in segments and installing offensive and defensive schemes.