August 13, 2011 - by
Heatin’ Up!

Aug. 13, 2011

By Bob Thomas,

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With temperatures climbing throughout the morning, the Florida State football team took to the Al Dunlap Practice Fields Saturday for the first of five scheduled two-a-day sessions this preseason.

The Seminoles were back in full pads for the morning session – they are scheduled to wear shorts in the evening practice – and worked for nearly 2 ½ hours. The second consecutive workout in full pads failed to produce the same consistent results that FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher had praised following Friday’s workout.

“I wasn’t as pleased,” Fisher said. “We did some good things, but not as much consistency as yesterday. Focus wasn’t there as much. … Drifting, that scared me, and by some veterans on both sides of the ball. That can’t happen. We’ve got to fix it; we can’t allow that to happen.”

Fisher won’t accept the two-a-day schedule as a crutch for a lack of focus and execution.

“There are so few of them (and) I think they are inconsequential,” Fisher said, acknowledging that FSU’s five is more than usual; the result of a compressed schedule between the start of practice and the Sept. 3 opener against Louisiana Monroe. “If we can’t handle that adversity, lord o’ mighty when the schedules comes.”

`Noles get some red zone work against secondary
For the first time this preseason, FSU’s offense went to work against the secondary in the red zone, which put quarterback EJ Manuel and the receiving corps to the test. The tight quarters – from the 15 yard line and then the 8 – puts a premium on precision.

Fisher said Manuel was “solid” throughout Saturday’s morning session, but has room to grow and improve in his red zone precision.

“We’ve got to play better around him (Manuel) and he’s got to pull the trigger,” Fisher said. “Things happen a little faster and quicker on his first day down there. We’ve got to polish a few things up route-wise and him (Manuel) timing-wise. Not that he was bad today; it’s just hard down there. When you first get into the red zone – the tight zone – it’s a different animal. … It takes a day or two to get acclimated to that.”

Fisher added that he has been pleased with quarterback Clint Trickett’s progression. Trickett is currently get most, if not all, of the repetitions with the second-team offense.

Receivers appear to be making significant strides
Throughout much of the 2010 preseason, FSU’s wide receivers drew the brunt of Fisher’s ire when it came to executing with proficiency, especially in practice. That appears to be changing in 2011 as the more veteran receivers, pushed by a small but talented group of newcomers, have been a pleasant surprise.

Senior Bert Reed and seasoned juniors Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith are leading the way by example, with sophomores Scooter Haggins, Greg Dent and Kenny Shaw are following suit. So is redshirt freshman Christian Green, who has the same amount of collegiate playing time as impressive incoming fresh Rashad Greene.

“We’ve had some things we’ve got to work out, but I think they are progressing nicely,” Fisher said of the segment coached by Lawrence Dawsey. “I am not disappointed in them one bit. I mean you always push for great plays and great catches. Those guys out there are [who] can change football games; those guys in space that make the phenomenal one. They’re starting to do some of those. I’m always going to push it because those guys out there, when you get those special ones, they change the whole dynamic of the game.”

Don’t go to sleep on Jeff Luc
While many preseason queries center around the newest players and how they may impact the Seminoles in 2011, there are a handful of sophomores and redshirt freshmen who often get overlooked. That may have been the case with sophomore weakside linebacker Jeff Luc, who came to FSU last season as one of the most celebrated recruits but was relegated to specials teams play and spot duty on defense.

Luc played in eight games and registered eight tackles, but five of those came early on against Oklahoma. Now he’s running second team behind senior and two-time tackle leader Nigel Bradham. That’s quite a climb for a player who missed all of the spring following surgery.

“I’ve been pleased with Jeff right now,” said Fisher, adding that Luc is, “playing probably as good as he’s been since he’s been here at FSU. [He] has a sense of urgency about getting out there and playing.”

Fan Day, open practice highlight Sunday schedule
After a Sunday morning session with the media, the entire Florida State football team will head off to the Donald L. Tucker Center for the annual FSU Credit Union Fan Day presented by Kia Autosport and Tallahassee Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep. It’s a chance for Seminole followers to get an up-close glimpse – and an autograph – from the 2011 squad, as fans can pick up free posters and schedule cards. They can also bring along one personal item to be autographed.

Following the two-hour session the Seminoles will return to Doak Campbell Stadium, where Fisher will open up the 4 p.m. practice to the public for a second consecutive year. Fans are asked to enter the stadium through Gates B, C and F. Restrooms and concession stands will only be open on the west side of the stadium.

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