August 19, 2011 - by
Missing Bite?

Aug. 19, 2011

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – They are often referred to as the “Dog Days” of summer; the midway point between the start of preseason camp and the season-opener. It’s when legs become heavy, body and mind become fatigued and the light at the end of the tunnel – the start of the season – is barely perceptible to many.

It’s also the point when Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher begins to formulate opinions, which will impact who plays and doesn’t.

“This is an evaluation time – period,” Fisher said, after the Seminoles showed malaise in the morning session of Friday’s two-a-day schedule. “Right now is when you start evaluating who your football players are; who can go through pain, who can endure, who can execute when they’re tired. This is really when you find out who you are.”

And Fisher didn’t like much about the performance of his team, especially after giving them off Thursday.

“We played a little bit there at the end,” Fisher said. “That’s mindset. That’s leadership. That’s character. It was probably as bad as we’ve had for a while out here. I did not like their body language in practice.”

FSU’s second-year head coach will be watching closely to see how his team responds during Friday evening’s session. It will give him a better idea of what kind of leadership is developing with a team that is still relatively young.

Just don’t expect Fisher to pull his leaders aside and address the issue.

“If I’ve got to yank them [the leaders], then they ain’t leaders,” he said. “If they can’t see that [poor performance] and I’ve got to tap them on the shoulder, then I need to go and get some new leaders. I need to swap them out for somebody else. Leaders, you don’t have to tell anything. We’ll see how they act.”

Scrimmage evaluation

With Thursday off, Fisher addressed the Seminoles’ Wednesday scrimmage performance for the first time. Three players – senior tailback Ty Jones, sophomore safety Lamarcus Joyner and junior defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel – drew specific praise for their play.

Offensively, he cited wide receivers Kenny Shaw and Willie Haulstead, freshmen tailbacks Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr., and quarterback EJ Manuel, for solid performances. Cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Greg Reid and Michael Harris, linebackers Christian Jones and Telvin Smith and defensive linemen Dan Hicks, Bjoern Werner and Everett Dawkins also earned kudos.

Rhodes working off the rust

Sophomore cornerback Xavier Rhodes sat out the spring after undergoing lower abdomen surgery and the long layoff has shown. Lethargic through the first few days of practice the reigning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year appears to be picking up a little steam.

Still, he has a long way to go, according to Fisher.

“He hasn’t really played good,” Fisher said. “He’s been average, for him. He made some plays but he has to get better and push through some things and fix some things. … Those other two might just be playing better. You can only play two of them.”

Odds and Ends

Tailback Jermaine Thomas (migraines) returned to the practice field for the first time in more than a week, but was limited to non-contact work…Tight end Nick O’Leary (shoulder), tackle Zebrie Sanders (groin), guard Henry Orelus (concussion) were also among a group of players who were held out of work…Asked when he could expect his nicked up offensive line to be back to work full-time, Fisher quipped: “It don’t say MD after my name.”…FSU’s revamped practice schedule, following Friday’s evening workout, will include one session Saturday afternoon and a two-a-day on Sunday…The Florida State University Alumni Association’s 60th annual Kickoff Luncheon is scheduled for Friday, August 26 at the Donald L. Tucker Center, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Only 200 open seating tickets remain for the event and can be purchased for $20 (members) or $25 (non-members) at the Alumni Association webpage:

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