September 13, 2010 - by
Teaching Moment

Sept. 13, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With an approach to Monday’s practice that coach Jimbo Fisher described as a “quiet, seriousness,” the Florida State football team rolled up its sleeves and got back to work for the first time since Saturday’s lopsided loss at Oklahoma.

“That’s kind of how I thought it would be,” said Fisher, who was pleased with the mental approach the Seminoles brought into and carried off the practice field after a two-hour session. “They just went to work; came out and ran, did plays, get better on technique, threw and caught the ball pretty well. I liked the attitude they had. It was a work ethic day.”

It was especially encouraging because the Seminoles (1-1) don’t have any time to wallow in pity. Brigham Young (1-1) comes to town Saturday (3:30 p.m., ESPNU), equally anxious to rebound for its lopsided loss at Air Force. The Cougars have added incentive because the Seminoles laid a 54-28 whipping on them last season in Provo, Utah, when coach Bronco Mendenhall’s team was ranked seventh nationally and riding an 18-game home winning streak.

Ironically, BYU had shot up to No. 7 by beating Oklahoma a week earlier.

“It’s going to be just as tough a challenge, because I remember BYU beat (Oklahoma) last year,” Fisher said. “They’re going to be very physical; they’re going to be big. They’re going to know that we played well against them last year, so they’re going to want to come in here and play well against us this year. They’re a very well-coached team. They are not going to beat themselves.”

Yet part of Monday’s preparation for the Seminoles included reviewing what transpired Saturday in Norman, Okla.

“It was kind of difficult at the beginning of practice because coach Jimbo said we can’t just flush it immediately; that we need to take in and watch it even though it was kind of gruesome,” said sophomore linebacker Vince Williams. “We had to go back over and see what we did wrong and make corrections and use that as motivation, so that we will not want to feel like that again. We are just going to use that as motivation to push us forward towards BYU.”

Senior free safety Ochuko Jenije said defensive coordinator Mark Stoops drove home a few points in the aftermath of defeat, stressing a, “better sense of urgency and focus.”

Formation recognition, understanding the job at hand and urgently getting to the ball were emphasized. “That and having better positioning on the ball and better tackling,” Jenije said. “It was the small things that really got to us, snow-balled and became a big factor in the game.”

Despite yielding 47 points and 487 total yards, the defense wasn’t the only unit that suffered a long afternoon at Oklahoma. FSU’s offense endured a variety of breakdowns, especially in the passing game, where Ponder struggled to connect with his relatively inexperienced receiving corps. Ultimately, Ponder shouldered the burden of responsibility for the ineffectiveness.

Sophomore wide receiver Rodney Smith said it was a “wake-up call” for the entire unit.

“It just showed us that we (have to) know to practice hard on the small details, because we could have had some big plays in that game if we had just focused on the smaller details,” Smith said.

Fisher, while disappointed with the performance, has chosen to look at the defeat as life-learning experience. Consequently, he expects nothing less than the best effort from his team in the week of preparation leading up to Saturday’s kickoff against BYU.

“Its part of growing up,” Fisher said. “Growing up, not just for football, but growing up for life. There are going to be weeks in your life that are bad, but you’ve got to push through and do what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to go to work every day. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. … What you can control is how you prepare for the next practice and the next game. That’s how we’ve got to focus.”


• Junior cornerback Mike Harris has been excused from practice Monday and Tuesday to attend his mother’s funeral in Miami. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him,” said Fisher, who expects Harris back in time for Wednesday’s practice.
• Quarterback Christian Ponder responded to his sub-par performance against Oklahoma with what Fisher described as a, “very professional practice. … He went out and was Christian today and had a real good day.”
• Fisher reported that the Seminoles escaped from Saturday’s game relatively healthy. “I think from a health standpoint we’re in pretty good shape,” he said, adding that safety Nick Moody (groin) and receiver Bert Reed (knee) took part in all of Monday’s work.
• Kickoff for next week’s home game against Wake Forest will not be determined until Sunday as the networks have exercised their six-day option before determining where the final four ACC games will be slotted among for television.

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