Aug. 17, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State football team left the practice field Tuesday with a clear understanding that what had transpired over the previous two hours wasn’t going to fly with coach Jimbo Fisher.
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Facing one of the hottest days of preseason practice, Fisher said the Seminoles succumbed to the, `I’m hot, feel sorry for me blues.'”
“It’s the Dog Days of two-a-days and you’ve got to push through them,” Fisher said, once again driving home his goal of daily excellence in all aspects of preparation for the Sept. 4 opener against Samford.
“For the most part it was not a good effort today in terms of consistency,” he said. “And when there was effort there was not enough execution. It’s not enough to give effort. You’ve got to have effort and execution. If you quit you lose. If you don’t execute, you lose, so it’s no different than quitting.”
Building the necessary mental toughness to succeed requires a team effort.
“We know it is going to be a test coming out practicing every day, especially in the heat,” said sophomore defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel. “We are just building off each other, the enthusiasm and intensity that we bring out there every day. Everybody is just feeling each other’s pain, trying to come together as one team and not worry about the temperature outside.”
Sophomore cornerback Greg Reid described Tuesday’s practice as grinding.
“We have to understand it’s the last week of practice (before school),” Reid said. “We can’t really stop practicing. We have to keep going; we have to keep pushing each other. It’s the last week of practice and we just have to keep going hard.”
Though Reid regularly sets the pace in practice with his competitive spirit, he understands that it doesn’t come easily.
“I’m pretty sure every football player goes through the dog days,” he said. “We just have to have a teammate there to pick us up and just keep going. That’s the key thing. I feel like practice was like that today.”
While Fisher admits that occasional lulls during the long preseason are typical, he wants his first Florida State team to be above that.
“Why does it have to be typical?” Fisher said. “Why can’t you be different? That’s what I keep telling these guys. Great teams don’t think like other teams. Great players don’t think like other players. They think differently. .. Just because you’ve done it in the past, doesn’t matter. Do it the right way every time.”
Thomas showing signs of progress
Jermaine Thomas opened preseason camp looking up on the depth chart, despite leading the Seminoles last season in rushing yards (832) and touchdowns (10). The junior from Jacksonville and classmate Ty Jones have been pushing to unseat sophomore Chris Thompson, who emerged from spring practice atop the depth chart.
While Fisher isn’t ready to make any depth chart proclamations nearly three weeks from the opener, he did praise Thomas for his improved effort and consistency.
“Jermaine is doing better,” Fisher said. “He’s getting his execution better and his technique is getting better. He’s one of the guys I’ve been pleased with as far as attitude toward the thing. Having a great attitude and doing things exactly right is not the same thing, but he’s really working toward it. I’ve been very pleased, for the most part, with his overall performance.”
Versatile Reid Among Hornung Award Candidates
Florida State sophomore cornerback and return specialist Greg Reid set himself apart last season by leading the NCAA in punt returns. He will open the 2010 season as one of 48 candidates for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, which will be presented to the nation’s most versatile athlete.
Created by the Louisville Sports Commission, the Hornung Award will honor the Louisville native, who was a three-sport high school star who went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career at Notre Dame and with the Green Bay Packers. Known as “The Golden Boy,” Hornung won the Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP honors in a playing career which was capped by his induction into both the College Football and NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hornung lined up at quarterback, halfback, fullback and safety for the Fighting Irish and also handled punts, kickoffs, field goals and extra points. He played fullback, halfback and quarterback for the Packers and legendary coach Vince Lombardi, who called Hornung, “the most versatile man ever to play the game.”
Like Hornung, Reid wears No. 5 for the Seminoles. As a freshman he played in all 13 games and averaged an Football Bowl Subdivision-leading 18.4 yards per punt return, which including a 68-yard touchdown return at Wake Forest. A week later at Maryland his 48-yard punt return set up the game-winning touchdown with 1:14 to play. He also averaged 25.5 yards on kickoff returns.
Playing primarily as a nickel back on defense, he intercepted a pass against Miami in his first college game. Two weeks later he returned an interception against BYU 63 yards for a touchdown. It marked the first time a Seminole returned a punt and an interception for a touchdown in a season since 1992.
Reid earned ACC Specialist of the Week honors twice during the 2009 season and was ACC Defensive Back of the Week once. The Valdosta, Ga. native was a consensus Freshman All-American.
“I would love to get that award,” said Reid, who fits the profile of a player worthy of “Most Versatile” honors. “I just came to college to play defense. … I play all of the other positions just to help out. I love the game off football and I’ll play anything – any position.”
Reid is expected to start at cornerback for the Seminoles in 2010 and will continue to contribute in the return game. After amassing a team-leading 1,114 all purpose yards without a single yard of offense in 2009, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has said he intends to provide Reid with an opportunity to contribute on offense this season.
The diminutive all-purpose standout, however, refused to bite on questions about playing offense.
“You have to see in September,” Reid said. “It’s going to be a surprise.”
Well, maybe not a big surprise.
“(Coach Fisher) has been at my high school plenty of times and he has seen me with the ball in my hands so he should know,” he said, flashing a big smile. “He knows how much I love running the ball.”
Florida State fans will want to tune in to WFSU-TV Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for a feature on first-year Seminole coach Eddie Gran and his family, which will revolve the life-changing loss of their daughter Sydney to a rare disease. The feature will also be aired Thursday at 7:30 a.m. on Sun Sports.
Quarterback Christian Ponder will be featured on Raycom Sports’ Emmy Award-winning summer television series, “Havoline Football Saturdays in the South” this weekend. The last of six one-hour episodes, hosted by Tim Brando and syndicated in 65 markets throughout the southeast and Atlantic Coast, will include an in-depth look at Ponder – the MBA holder, Heisman Trophy hopeful and leader of the Seminoles. It takes a behind the scenes look at Ponder and his family at home in Grapevine, Texas. The show is scheduled to air Saturday at 12 noon in Tallahassee on Fox, WTLH. Check the Saturday local listings for times in other areas.
FSU will hold its final two-a-day sessions Wednesday, with the morning practice scheduled for 9:30, followed by a 6 p.m. workout.
The Seminoles have moved Friday’s scrimmage to Saturday, which is tentatively set for 12 noon, but will be closed to the public and media.