September 13, 2011 - by
Build-up Begins

Sept. 13, 2011

By Bob Thomas,

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With the first hard sellout of Doak Campbell Stadium in two seasons assured for Saturday’s showdown between No. 5 Florida State and No. 1 Oklahoma, the Seminoles dove head-long into game preparation during Tuesday’s workout at the Al Dunlap Practice Fields.

“We had good focus,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said at the conclusion of practice. “We had some good things, some bad things – we’ve got to clean some things up – but I loved their attitude. They went at it. … We had a good, solid Tuesday. I was happy.”

The Seminoles worked out in full pads for 2 ½ hours, working against Oklahoma scout teams and focusing on short yardage and down-and-distance situations.

Fisher said that practice really hasn’t changed much in anticipation of Saturday’s nationally-televised game (8 p.m., ABC), which will also be the scene for ESPN College GameDay. College football’s most popular pre-game show, which will set up shop on Langford Green, begins its three-hour telecast at 9 a.m. Saturday. Fans are encouraged to attend.

Florida State’s second-year coach remembers the days when Doak Campbell Stadium used to rock for night games during the early stages of the 14-year dynasty.

“I think it had a lot to do with those guys on that field,” Fisher said. “All of that noise in the stands is generated by those guys on the field and how well they played. … They used to have a lot of night games and that was one of those things they prided themselves on and that’s the way it was when Florida State built its reputation.

“Hopefully we can re-instill that this week and have a great atmosphere and environment. Hopefully we can go execute and play a great game for our fans.”

Not only did Fisher visit Doak Campbell Stadium occasionally, he has also coached at two schools – LSU and Auburn – that also pride themselves on raucous, night-time atmospheres. He said FSU takes a back seat to neither.

“When its right, this is place is as good as anybody,” Fisher added. “When that chant’s going, that band is cranked up and they throw that spear and everybody’s going, it is as good an environment as there is in college football.”

Notebook items

• Wide receiver Bert Reed (ankle) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (foot) were out of walking boots Tuesday after sustaining minor injuries Saturday. Fisher expects both to return to practice later this week and play against Oklahoma.

• Wide receiver Willie Haulstead (concussion) did not practice for the second consecutive day and has missed two full weeks of practice. While not optimistic that he’ll be able to play against the Sooners, Fisher said he’s more concerned with Haulstead getting better.

• Florida State’s young wide receivers – sophomores Jarred Haggins, Kenny Shaw and Greg Dent, and freshmen Rashad Greene and Christian Green – have been especially impressive through the first two games. The youngsters have combined for 22 receptions, 414 yards and four touchdowns, but now face a more challenging opponent. Fisher’s advice?:

“Play, as I say, like they’re on that yellow school bus going to their high school rivalry game. It ain’t no different. Just go play, do what you can do and let your abilities show. Stay with the process. When nerves and all that hit you, stay with the process, stay with the fundamentals and play fast.”

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