Aug. 8, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Just 12 hours after leaving the practice field for the first time this preseason, the Florida State football team was back at it in the heat Saturday morning.
Coping with a heat index approaching 100 degrees, the Seminoles came through the 2 ½-hour workout in relatively good shape.
“It didn’t look like they had any trouble with (the turnaround) and that was a good sign, because we did go at a pretty fast pace again,” said FSU coach Bobby Bowden. “They didn’t get much time after a night practice and then got back up early in the morning, but I thought they handled it pretty darn-gone good.”
The players will welcome a 45-hour reprieve from the practice field, before resuming action Monday morning, though it will hardly be idle team.
“The seniors will come out to my house and they’ll have supper (tonight),” said Bowden, who has made the Senior Dinner a staple to the schedule throughout his tenure.
Coaches and players will gather at Doak Campbell Stadium to meet with the media Sunday and have their pictures taken, before busing over to the Donald L. Tucker Center for Fan Day, where they will sign autographs. The popular Seminole ISP Sports-sponsored event begins with doors opening at 12 noon and autographs set for 1 p.m.
Still, Bowden, his coaching staff and the players came away from the second day feeling good about the progress that has been made.
“We’ve upped the tempo a little bit at practice this year and it’s been going good,” said junior center Ryan McMahon, a preseason candidate for the Rimington Award. “Everybody’s excited. We’ve been working all summer for camp and to get ready for our first game against Miami and you can tell that our tempo is a little bit faster than it’s been around here for awhile.”
Saturday’s practice brought to the fore the usual ebb and flow exchange between the offense and the defense. While the offense clicked Friday, the defense countered by making more noticeable plays.
Junior defensive end Markus White chalked some of that up to working off the rust.
“Yesterday was a little frustrating,” said White. “I expected to know a little more than I did but it was just (a refresher). Today I feel like I did a lot better than yesterday; like 10 times more so I feel good after today’s practice.”
Among the defensive highlights, senior cornerback Patrick Robinson intercepted a Christian Ponder while senior free safety Jamie Robinson came through with a diving break-up of a pass intended for Bert Reed in pass skeleton.
Still, there were a number of big plays made on offense, especially late in practice when coordinator Jimbo Fisher said his unit appeared to catch its “second wind” and refocus.
Of course, that’s a challenge every day for the players.
“Everything in football is a challenge because there’s always great people and if you want to be the best, or if you just want to be that guy, you have to keep going,” White said. “You can’t stop where the average person stops.”