August 27, 2010 - by
Feelin’ It!

Aug. 27, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There’s a palpable sense of urgency on the practice field as Florida State prepares for its 2010 season opener a week from Saturday against Samford.

Bert Reed Interview

Jimbo Fisher Interview

Nigel Bradham Interview

Photo Gallery

The heightened awareness of the first game fast approaching has raised the Seminoles’ level of play on the practice field over the last week. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Friday’s practice, which included a shower but no delays, marked another positive step in the right direction.

“The defense, I thought did a much better job; was more physical,” Fisher said. “The offense is still doing some good things there. No. 7 (Christian Ponder) had a much better day. He had a pretty good day and was back in groove. We played a lot better around him so he could function and take care of some things.”

Those are encouraging signs for the 20th-ranked Seminoles, who are anxious to get the season started. FSU will practice Saturday, then it’s on to game-week preparation for a visit from Football Championship Subdivision Bulldogs out of the Southern Conference.

“They’re tired of playing each other but they’ve got to understand we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a lot of situations to work on. We’ve got to understand situation football. Like I was telling them, `You can play great in the middle parts of the game or the first part, and all of a sudden play your situations bad and lose the game. Or sometimes you can play average and play situations good and you can come out and win the game.’ You have to understand the moments when you’ve got to get off the field, you’ve got to make first downs. … just different things in which we’ve got to do to be situation-smart.”

Collectively, the Seminoles are smart enough to realize it is time to take their preparation up a notch.

“We’re just trying to get game-ready now and prepare for all kinds of situations,” said junior linebacker Nigel Bradham. “We will be excited for the game and we’re anxious for it to get here. It’s just waiting now and getting better every day.”

Redshirt junior wide receiver Bert Reed admits that he has taken his game up a notch on the practice in anticipation of kicking the season off.

“It feels like it’s here, especially this week,” said Reed, who drew praise from Fisher for turning in consecutive strong performance. “I feel like it’s time to go.”

Reed has an epiphany on practice field

There are few players who seem to enjoy the game of football more than Reed, who often wears a wide smile and hardly qualifies as the shy type. The Panama City native, however, said he’s come to grips with the reason he’s struggled to perform at a consistently high level throughout the preseason.

“My passion is what makes me a special player, especially being my size,” said Reed, FSU’s top returning receiver and a candidate for the Biletnikoff Award. “I just didn’t have the passion when I should have, when I came into camp. I’m starting to find that. It’s starting to get fun again.”

Reed attributed his lack of having fun on the field to misplaced priorities, though his intentions were good. On a team that is woefully thin on experience at the receiver position, he said he was trying too hard to be the vocal leader of a young segment that quarterback Christian Ponder was going to have to lean on heavily.

“I know what to do,” Reed said. “I’ve been in the system four years, but I was thinking about the whole group and being more of a leader. I was trying to do too much and play that role instead of doing what I have to do, having fun and then it comes.

“Trying to go out there and lead took away from my game. I was making mistakes I don’t usually make and I was being inconsistent. … I kind of toned that down and started having fun and it came back to me.”

That leadership role did not come naturally for a guy who has been surrounded by veterans like Rod Owens, Richard Goodman, Greg Carr and De’Cody Fagg.

“All I had to do was focus on myself,” he said.

Reed said his focus is now on setting the right example by showing the way with his practice habits.

“I hadn’t set the tone,” he said. “I’m starting to set it now and we’re starting to go in the direction we need to go in, but it really started with me. I tightened it up and started handling my business.”

High marks for Hudson from across the line

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go head-to-head with senior All-American offensive lineman Rodney Hudson every day?

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Everett Dawkins lives that life – every day. Pitted against Hudson in daily skirmishes at the line of scrimmage has given Dawkins a healthy appreciation of the Outland and Lombardi Award candidate.

“He’s a beast,” Dawkins said of Hudson. “That’s the person you want to beat going against him, because his hands and his feet are so good. We haven’t seen an offensive guard like him. You’ve got to be technically sound and make sure you’re going full speed. You’ve got to use your technique real good and sometimes that doesn’t even work.”

Hudson’s relentless approach and technical expertise is one reason why he’s one of the nation’s top-rated NFL prospects among interior linemen.

“He just squats down and you can’t move him,” Dawkins said. “He’s legit. Once he grabs you, it’s hard to get off him. He won’t let you go.”


• Hudson was named to the official Rotary Lombardi Award watch list Friday…Redshirt senior center Ryan McMahon earned a spot on the official Rimington Award watch list, which was also released Friday.

• While Fisher was pleased Friday marked the first day the Seminoles’ practice schedule was not altered by the weather, he was also happy to get to work in a steady rain for a while. “It was good to get some rain and wet balls to see if we could handle it,” he said. “We didn’t put it on the ground. That was very encouraging.”

• Fisher and quarterback Christian Ponder will hold their first Monday press conference’s of the season this coming week, which will be streamed live on Ponder’s press conference is set for 12:15 p.m. with Fisher to follow at 12:45 p.m. The two will maintain that schedule every Monday – including Labor Day – throughout the regular season.

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