September 6, 2011 - by
‘Noles Zoned In

Sept. 6, 2011

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State football team was greeted by the coolest temperatures of the season as they hit the practice field Tuesday in preparation for Saturday’s home game against Charleston Southern.

Responding to the comfortable conditions, the Seminoles earned the praise of head coach Jimbo Fisher, who described it as, “one of our better practices all year.”

While Fisher was impressed with the team’s attentiveness and attitude on the practice field, he admitted that the weather may have also factored in to the focused effort.

“I’m sure it didn’t hurt,” Fisher said. “It felt like it was October.”

In terms of preparing for Charleston Southern, the Seminoles won’t have to make a tremendous amount of changes. The Buccaneers use a similar 3-3-5 scheme that Louisiana-Monroe deployed on defense, and also favors the spread-option on offense.

That could bode well for the FSU defense, which posted its 17th season-opening shutout with last week’s 34-0 victory. The Seminoles have not opened a season with consecutive shutouts since 1980, when they blanked LSU and Louisville to start the year.

“I like our defense,” Fisher said. “They’re very sound. We’ve got good players; we’ve recruited good players. That was a big emphasis on recruiting when we got in here … because I believe you win championships on defense.”

Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with kickoff set for 6 p.m.

• Junior wide receiver Willie Haulstead, who missed the opener while recovering from a concussion, participated in every aspect of Tuesday’s practice and is expected to play Saturday.

• Junior tailback Chris Thompson, who battled a sore back throughout preseason camp, came away from the ULM feeling fatigued, but much better. “He’s starting to look like the old Chris,” Fisher said.

• Fisher announced that starting cornerback/return specialist Greg Reid and back-up middle linebacker Telvin Smith have been suspended for Saturday’s game for a violation of team rules.

`Noles climb one spot in both polls

Florida State has climbed one spot in both the USA Today Coaches and AP polls this week – to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively – following its shutout win over Louisiana-Monroe and aided by Oregon’s plummet from No. 3 following its loss to LSU.

The Seminoles trail Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU in the USA Today rankings, which were released Tuesday in order to include Monday night’s games. FSU’s No. 5 ranking in the AP poll is its highest since spending two weeks at No. 4 in early October, 2005.

Fan vote underway for Davey O’Brien Award

Junior quarterback EJ Manuel has one game under his belt as the Seminoles’ full-time starter, but his impressive resume as a back-up over the last two seasons earned him a spot on the Davey O’Brien Award preseason watch list.

Seminole fans can now have a voice in Manuel’s candidacy for the annual award. Fan voting is open until until Oct. 23 at, at which point the semifinalists will be announced. The fan vote counts as five-percent during each round of the voting process and is combined with the results from the O’Brien National Selection Committee.

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