Sept. 22, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As he exited the practice fields Tuesday afternoon following a 22-period session in full pads, Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden didn’t hesitate to explain what his football team is focusing on this week.
After dismantling No. 7 BYU last weekend in Provo, Utah and consequent return to the top 25 in the national rankings, Bowden knows exactly what is on the minds of FSU fans everywhere. The win over the Cougars was a huge step forward but this Saturday the Seminoles must avoid taking a few steps back when a talented USF team comes to town.
“They did a good job of driving them,” Bowden said about his assistant coaches, “because after a game like that there’s always a chance of a letdown. That’s what we cannot afford; we are not good enough for a letdown. But the coaches drove them pretty dadgum hard on a very hot day.”
The Seminoles were very impressive against BYU but the coaches and players know there is always room for improvement — and that means correcting mistakes at practice.
At the heart of that logic is an FSU defense that is still battling the learning curve.
“If we could just eliminate errors we would be so much better,” Bowden said. “We have come down each week on errors and we still need to get them down in the single-digit category and we will be OK. You take that game the other night. All those short passes they caught didn’t do a bit of good. They fumbled the ball. But then one cheap touchdown.
“We can’t give those kind of things up.”
While the defense continues to work out the kinks, the offense continues to impress. Quarterback Christian Ponder was terrific against BYU and the receivers made plays when they were called upon.
But the return of the running game and the emergence of a stable of talented tailbacks is what caught everyone’s eye last Saturday. After a coming out party of sorts against the Cougars, Bowden mentioned Tuesday that one running back in particular really stood out.
“I’ll tell you who ran good today; Pressley,” Bowden said about redshirt junior Tavares Pressley, who saw the first action of his FSU career against BYU after a knee injury sidelined him all of last season. “He’s beginning to get a feel of this thing.”
Pressley’s successful return from a significant knee injury only adds to a depth chart that already features the likes of Ty Jones, Jermaine Thomas and exciting true freshmen Lonnie Pryor and Chris Thompson.
With five capable runners able to carry the football for FSU, Bowden can’t remember a time when he had so many options at the position.
“It beats only having one back there because the most injured position in football is probably running back,” Bowden said. “You need all you can get back there. It always seems like somebody is getting injured back there.”
The Seminoles will be out on the practice fields tomorrow afternoon as they get ready to make a little history on Saturday when they will wear all-white uniforms at home for the first time in school history.
All fans that attend the game against USF are encouraged to help FSU White Out Doak Campbell Stadium in time for kick-off at noon.