Nov. 2, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An overcast sky and some light rain didn’t stop the Florida State football team from continuing its preparation for Saturday’s homecoming showdown with North Carolina (3:30 p.m., ABC) as the Seminoles worked for 2 ½ hours Tuesday afternoon on the practice fields.
While FSU looks to put a heart-breaking loss at NC State last Thursday behind them, head coach Jimbo Fisher has used the two practice sessions thus far this week to put emphasis on cleaning up areas of concern.
|Jimbo Fisher Interview|
The `Noles haven’t been happy with their kickoff return team despite having one of the more explosive returnmen in the country in sophomore defensive back Greg Reid. FSU continued to work on its kickoff return unit Tuesday – one day after Fisher inserted an extra period to work on the specialty in the middle of practice.
“We’ve been trying to focus on that because it’s been one our things,” said Fisher. “It’s not just one individual. Returning is different. It’s getting on guys at that level. We’ve got to keep doing a good job of it, because field position is critical and that’s hurt us a couple of times. Greg’s a great kick returner. We’ve got to get guys blocked and get north-south and give him a crease.”
Fisher also expressed his happiness with the progress that the defense has made.
“They’re doing pretty good,” Fisher said. “Inside drill was pretty good. They got some pressure in team period today. For the most part, they seemed pretty good. I got up there and watched them a little bit and how they practiced. There focus was good. I think everything right now is just a matter of getting back on the field, getting your confidence back and getting back to playing.”
Florida State will face a much improved North Carolina team from the start of the season. The Tar Heels have overcome much adversity, which included started out the 2010 season with two quick losses.
“They’re getting a lot of their guys back,” Fisher said. “They had two tough losses in the beginning. They had Miami going. They were going to score, but Miami got a turnover and the game flipped back around. They’ve done a good job. Last week, they battled and came back and won a good football game. They’ve done a nice job.”
One of the key components for the Tar Heels besides senior quarterback T.J. Yates has been the emergence of senior tailback Johnny White. White leads the team with 713 yards on 123 carries and also has 262 receiving yards on 21 catches. He is averaging 6.8 yards every time he touches the ball. He is coming off a career-best 164-yard performance against William & Mary in the Heels’ come-from-behind 21-17 win last Saturday.
“He’s got 700 something yards,” said Fisher. “They’re physical and like to give it to him. They’ll test you inside. You better be physical and you better be ready. He’s real physical. He’s strong. He breaks tackles and changes direction well. He’s a really good player.”
Florida State is 15-1-1 against North Carolina which includes a 4-0 mark when the `Noles are ranked in the Top 25. UNC’s lone win in the series is a lopsided 41-9 victory in 2001 in Chapel Hill.
FSU will continue with its preparation Wednesday with an afternoon practice session. Tickets are still available for Saturday’s game and can be purchased by visiting Seminoles.com.