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Spring Game Activities

From Seminole Get Down to Fireworks Show, there is something everyone

April 7, 2010



Florida State fans attending Saturday’s spring football game will likely have to make a strategic break for the concession stands. A star-studded flag football game featuring former Seminole stars will take up halftime and the popular fireworks show will return immediately following the game, which has drawn huge interest in coach Jimbo Fisher’s first year.

While FSU’s running game could dominate the real spring game, that is not likely to hold true in the halftime affair. Four of the top five all-time leading receivers in Florida State history will catch passes from either 1992 Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback Casey Weldon or Super Bowl Champion Brad Johnson. But FSU fans should plan to see the defensive stars as well as all-time interception leader Terrell Buckley, consensus All-American Jamal Reynolds and current NFL standouts Everette Brown and Pat Watkins are among the former stars determined to stop any offensive fireworks.

Fisher has personally led the charge to make Saturday’s spring game an even bigger stage for his young football team and Seminole fans appear likely to respond in record numbers. Fisher has changed the format to a true game and will allow his senior players to “draft” their teams on Thursday.

Florida State will host a Seminole Get Down on Friday from 6-10 p.m., shutting down Adams Street in the heart of the city to let fans enjoy a street party complete with live bands, food and beverage vendors and some special guest appearances.

On game day, everyone will have the same chance at the best seats and parking for the spring game as stadium parking lots will open beginning at 10 a.m. Both the parking spaces around the stadium and the seats on the inside will be available first-come, first-served. The old intramural complex on St. Augustine Rd. will serve as overflow parking. Seminole Village will open at 11 a.m. on Saturday with live music, food and fun for fans of all ages including a BBQ contest.

“We are very excited about all the events fans will have an opportunity to see this weekend,” said FSU Director of Marketing Jason Dennard. “We know from the hotels that we have a lot of folks coming in for the weekend and the attendance for the spring game has been growing over the last several years. We hope fans will start with the Seminole Get Down and visit all our venues before ending up at the Spring Game.”

Doak Campbell Stadium gates will open at 3:30 with kickoff set for 5:00 p.m. FSU student-athletes and members of the student-boosters will man each of the nine gates (B,C,D,F,G,J,K,M,X) and accept a voluntary donation of $5 per person, which will go towards athletic scholarships at FSU.

Football isn’t the only option for sports fans in town for the weekend. FSU’s men’s club lacrosse team will play Florida in Doak Campbell at 1 p.m. on Saturday with free admission. The Seminoles will host NC State in softball on Saturday (11:30) and Sunday and the women’s tennis team will host Boston College at 12 p.m. The Seminole Invitational track and field meet will be held at Mike Long Track on Friday and Saturday and all these events will occur within easy walking distance of the football stadium.




Out Like A Lamb

Fisher unhappy with performance on final day of spring practice

April 7, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State football team trudged off the practice field after Wednesday’s final spring practice quietly, past first-year coach Jimbo Fisher, who was not at all pleased with the 14th and final workout.

“It was very disappointing,” Fisher said, summing up the two-hour session. “Sometimes a leopard doesn’t change his spots.”

Fisher’s persistent push to attain consistency in his first spring was one of many challenges the `Noles did not quite master.

“It was the worst ball we’ve played all spring,” Fisher said, launching into a laundry list of breakdowns that didn’t miss a single position segment. “Mediocrity. It’s in their mentality. We accept it around here. I thought we were past that.”

Fortunately, the Seminoles will have a chance at redemption in Saturday’s Garnet & Gold spring game. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m., capping a day full of activities (visit www.seminoles.com for details). Fisher will host a draft party of sorts in his office on Thursday, allowing the team’s seniors to select the squads that will play before, what is expected to be, a record spring game crowd inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

To read the complete release, click here.


Warming Up

Ponder, ‘Noles warm up as spring winds toward Saturday’s finale

April 5, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Luckily for the Florida State football team, the 13th and hottest day of spring practice, included a bit of a reprieve in attire. The Seminoles practiced in shorts, jerseys and helmets Monday; their next-to-last team practice before Saturday’s Garnet & Gold game inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

“The attitude was pretty good today,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher. “For a hot day, the guys ran around pretty good.”

FSU will hold its final practice Wednesday, before the highly-anticipated spring game.

“We’re going to have a hard one,” Fisher said. “We’ll be in pads. We’re gonna bang. We’re gonna get some things on film; different looks that we can teach off of.”

Still, there has been much discussion of Thursday’s draft of players that will make up the spring rosters. Fisher said the draft will take place in his office, with the rising seniors handling the selections.

To read the complete release, click here.




Progress Made

Ponder, Reid steal show in Spring Game tune-up scrimmage

April 3, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A virtually empty Doak Campbell Stadium served as the stage for big performances by cornerback Greg Reid and quarterback Christian Ponder as the Florida State football team held its second scrimmage of the spring Saturday.

Reid intercepted four passes on the day, including a 35-yard touchdown return, that capped a productive day for an improving defensive unit. Ponder, still on the mend from November shoulder surgery, completed 7 of 11 pass attempts for 188 yards and directed the first-team offense to a field goal and a touchdown in two series.

Duplicating those performances next week, in front of what many hope will be a record crowd of 50,000 or more for FSU’s spring game, will only serve to fuel the growing enthusiasm for coach Jimbo Fisher’s inaugural season.

“It was an improvement on last week,” Ponder said of the scrimmage. “I think we definitely improved.”

To read the complete release, click here.




Time To Go

Fisher hoping to see improved execution, discipline in scrimmage

April 1, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There are plenty of positions still up for grabs as the Florida State football team heads into its second scrimmage Saturday. Seminoles’ coach Jimbo Fisher will keep an eye on those, but also the overall progress of his team, which has endured a couple difficult practice days in succession.

“I think we’ve hit a little plateau,” Fisher said, following Thursday’s practice, the 10th of the 15-day spring session. “I thought we could push on some things a little farther now. That’s give and take. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

Beyond the battles, Fisher said he’s looking for improvement in “execution, effort and discipline,” more than anything else.

“I really want to see discipline,” he said. “If a guy gets beat, get beat doing the right technique. Don’t beat yourself. You’re far enough along that you ought to understand what you’re doing now and how to do it. Don’t rat-trap back to old habits. Keep doing the things you’re taught to do.”

Consistent, daily improvement is something the FSU staff has not seen enough of in recent days of practice.

To read the complete release, click here.




Spring Push

Fisher’s push for excellence knows no bounds

March 31, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Throughout his first spring at the helm of the Florida State football program, Jimbo Fisher has made it abundantly clear that he will not settle for anything less than the best effort every day. He’s stressed that point on a snap-to-snap basis and isn’t shy when it comes to displaying his disappointment or recognizing outstanding effort.

Wednesday’s practice – the ninth of 15 this spring – included a little of both from Fisher.

“There was not enough consistency with the way they practiced,” Fisher said at the conclusion.

Fisher and the Seminoles’ coaching staff don’t miss a beat. Every snap is filmed and reviewed by the entire staff. Practice is structured so that players are constantly put in positions where their physical and mental skills are challenged.

“That’s what separates guys – the ability to learn and process information,” Fisher said. “We’re not a very situation-smart football team. That’s why we constantly put them in (situations) and educate them as to what to do.”

To read the complete release, click here.

Second Take

Fisher provides review of first spring scrimmage

March 29, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher came away from Saturday’s spring scrimmage relatively pleased where the Seminoles are, but equally anxious to build on it over the final two weeks of practice.

“We had some good things happen,” Fisher said, following Monday’s practice. “We missed some cuts on some runs; could have stuck a couple big plays early. The defense got better as they went. They gave up some things early and gradually got better and better, which I liked to see.”

The Seminoles were most effective offensively on the ground, as the running backs averaged better than eight yards a carry over the course of 72 plays of straight-up scrimmaging. Debrale Smiley carried the load with 56 yards on nine carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run on the final series with the third-team team. Jermaine Thomas racked up 51 yards on eight totes, including a 6-yard run for the first-team offense. Tavares Pressley’s 39-yard touchdown bolt for the second-team offense was the lone score against the first-team defense.

To read the complete release, click here.


First Shot

Ponder, running game solid in first spring scrimmage

March 27, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Four months removed from right shoulder surgery, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder took all the snaps with the first-team offense in the Seminoles’ first full scrimmage of the spring Saturday inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

Ponder completed 6 of 12 attempts for 91 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Beau Reliford, and reported no discomfort. In fact, he was quite comfortable behind FSU’s starting offensive line, which has four starters back this spring and provided more than ample protection. The veteran unit, led by All-American guard Rodney Hudson, center Ryan McMahon and left tackle Andrew Datko, was equally effective opening holes.

The Seminoles six primary ball-carriers – Debrale Smiley – combined for 262 yards on 31 carries (8.4 ypc) and three rushing touchdowns. “There was good and some bad things,” said first-year coach Jimbo Fisher.

“We will look at the film and make some evaluations, but the enthusiasm was there. We made big hits, and some big plays. It was pretty clean. It was far from perfect.”

To read the complete release, click here.


Getting It

Productivity picking up six days into new defensive scheme

March 24, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – While Florida State’s defense remains very much a work in progress, the sixth session of spring football practice produced a variety of big plays from a unit that is still in the early stages of grasping a new scheme. Leaping interceptions by linebacker Nigel Bradham and Jeff Luc, sacks by ends Markus White, Brandon Jenkins and Dan Hicks and a run-stuffing backfield drop by tackle Jacobbi McDaniel marked signs of progress during Wednesday’s practice.

“The defense is starting to get things down,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said afterward.

Midway through the second week of implementing coordinator Mark Stoops’ new plan, the defensive players are decidedly upbeat.

“We had some moments today where you could see

the whole defense as a unit pretty much working together,” said Bradham, the top returning tackler. “We had 12 plays straight with the (starters) where we had everything right. It’s just the chemistry. We’re communicating more. We’re starting to learn our checks and adjustments.”

One of those adjustments helped Bradham make the play of the day, a leaping interception of a Christian Ponder pass.

To read the complete release, click here.

A Third Down

The Seminoles wrapped up their fifth of 15 spring practice sessions Monday

March 22, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State spring football practice is officially one third complete following Monday’s work on the Al Dunlap practice field, the first time the Seminoles have gone at it in full pads.

“We’re getting there,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher. “The attitude was pretty good. … What they’ve got to understand is bringing that effort and enthusiasm every day.”

Five days in, Fisher said he’s beginning to see progress from the defense, which is undergoing a complete overhaul in scheme under coordinator Mark Stoops.

“I think the defense is really starting to make some strides,” Fisher said of the unit, which will rely heavily on zone coverage schemes. “You start to see it click; breaking it down in pieces and pulling it more and more together in the end.”

To read the complete release, click here.

Take-Home Work

Defense excitedly tackles new scheme – with a playbook

March 18, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No unit on the Florida State football team is facing a steeper learning curve over 15 days of spring practice than the defense, which will be completely different under new coordinator Mark Stoops.

The switch from a predominantly man coverage team for the past quarter century under Mickey Andrews, to one that will play zone as its base will test all the defensive position segments. There’s a need to learn both new terminology, as well as new techniques.

And there’s also the matter of some take-home work that is completely foreign to veteran Seminole defenders.

To read the complete release, click here.

Fisher Era Begins

New coach and staff hit ground running on first day of spring

March 16, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – From the time that Jimbo Fisher cross under the arched entrance to the Florida State football practice field the Seminoles seemed to jump to attention.

The first day of spring football practice marked the on-field changing of the guard – the first of its kind in 35 years – and the tempo was decidedly different as Fisher and his five new assistants pushed the `Noles for the next 140 minutes at a different pace on Tuesday.

“It was great,” Fisher said, at the end of his first practice as Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden’s successor. “The effort was good. The tempo was good and the attitude was good.”

It was also good to see quarterback Christian Ponder back under center for the first time since undergoing right shoulder surgery in November. Just four months into his rehabilitation, Ponder went the distance in practice, directing the first-team offense.

To read the complete release, click here.

New Voice For Doak Campbell Coming In 2010

First Down, Florida State! For the first time in 25 years, a new voice will fill Doak Campbell Stadium and Seminole fans will help decide who will take over the public address duties.

Nick Menacof retired after 25 years on the P.A. at Doak following last season and four finalists have emerged from a screening process.  Each of the four finalists will announce one quarter of the Florida State Spring Game on April 10 and FSU fans can cast their votes on Seminoles.com following the game.  The web site will accept fan feedback from April 10 until noon on April 13th.

Florida State plans to play a true game this spring and the quarters will be divided up between Tallahassee radio personalities Woody Hayes and Preston Scott, Panama City radio announcer Jim Dooley and Tallahassean John Summers.

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