Aug. 10, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State’s All-American linebacker Chris Hope visits with seminoles.com each day to give his thoughts on pre-season practice as he and his teammates prepare for the 2001 season. Hope, an Academic All-America as both a sophomore and junior, is a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate defensive back. The Seminoles begin their quest for a birth in the Rose Bowl on Sept. 1 against Duke.
As one of the returning veterans, how important is your leadership to the overall success of the 2001 team?
Since we have a small senior class, the leadership I give is going to be very important. Being one of the returning starters on defense along with Bradley Jennings and Atrews Bell and Javon Walker on offense, we are looking forward to being leaders. We have to be vocal and lead by example because there are a lot of young guys and they are going to follow our lead. It is going to be very important that we jump in the front of the line in practice, lead the drills and show enthusiasm to bring the team moral up.
What went into your decision to complete your fours years of eligibility and not move on to the next level until next year?
I wanted to get the opportunity to graduate and earn my degree and there is nothing like a senior year. I talked to Jamal Reynolds and Travis Minor (my former roommates) and they stressed to me that I needed to enjoy college while I could because football becomes a business after that. As a leader, I want to help this team play as well as it can and win another national championship. My teammates mean a lot to me and I enjoy being with them as well as practicing and playing games with them.
What is tougher – being an All-American on the field or an All-American in the classroom?
Being an All-American in the classroom is tougher. I feel being a student is harder because of the time management skills you must learn. You always have to study in addition to practicing and watching film. It is sometimes hard to come home late after practicing and eating and then have to study. There are times when you don’t want to study but you have to. Being successful in the classroom and on the football field during my career at Florida State has been very rewarding.
What is your best attribute as a football player?
My best attribute is my knowledge of the game of football. I may not be the fastest or strongest player, but the combination of my football knowledge of the game and my overall athletic ability, I feel, makes me a complete player.
What is your best attribute as a student?
My best attributes are my study habits and my ability to retain knowledge. I go to class and take good notes and I am able to understand and learn what is being taught. I am confident in my studying abilities and feel that I am a strong test-taker. I also enjoy going to class and learning the material especially in my major of communications.
What have you done to prepare yourself for the upcoming season in terms of physical conditioning?
I have worked very hard to prepare myself for the season. I have gained a lot of muscle and I have been running a lot. I have also watched my eating habits, which has made me feel better. I am actually faster and quicker and I fared better in all of my physical tests coming into the season as compared to last season. I can jump higher, run faster and feel great heading into practice.
Do you think about the heat related incidents among college and football players? If so, how are you preparing yourself to practice in the environment?
My preacher told me before I left to come back to practice that everything is in God’s hands. The unfortunate incidents that happened are all in God’s control. I worry about the heat because we play in Tallahassee where it is very, very hot. We all have to worry about it because I never thought it got as hot in Minnesota or up at Northwestern University as it does here. I think about those incidents because we do so much running. In addition, we are all about speed and quickness at Florida State, so it scares you. At the same time, you have to trust in God and hope everything works out well and we continue to grow and get better as individuals and a team every day.