April 7, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State football team trudged off the practice field after Wednesday’s final spring practice quietly, past first-year coach Jimbo Fisher, who was not at all pleased with the 14th and final workout.
“It was very disappointing,” Fisher said, summing up the two-hour session. “Sometimes a leopard doesn’t change his spots.”
Fisher’s persistent push to attain consistency in his first spring was one of many challenges the `Noles did not quite master.
“It was the worst ball we’ve played all spring,” Fisher said, launching into a laundry list of breakdowns that didn’t miss a single position segment. “Mediocrity. It’s in their mentality. We accept it around here. I thought we were past that.”
Fortunately, the Seminoles will have a chance at redemption in Saturday’s Garnet & Gold spring game. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m., capping a day full of activities (visit www.seminoles.com for details). Fisher will host a draft party of sorts in his office on Thursday, allowing the team’s seniors to select the squads that will play before, what is expected to be, a record spring game crowd inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
As for how the Seminoles will perform, Fisher left that squarely on the shoulders of his players and the team leaders.
“It’s up to them,” he said. “We’ve hand-walked them to everything. You can only feed them so long. Every once in a while they have to eat on their own.”
Despite Wednesday’s practice field performance, Fisher is excited about the fan base buzz that seems to be following the Seminoles into Saturday’s spring finale.
“It seems like it, it sounds like it and I hope so,” Fisher said, when asked if he could detect the build-up. “It does have an impact, not only on (the players) and how they play, but I want them to come see some of the hard work these guys have done. Maybe we won’t do the same things we did today. It affects recruiting. It sends a message about your program and I think that’s the important thing – where you’re at and what you’re doing.”
There have been enough bright spots throughout spring practice – from Christian Ponder’s return, the continued improvement of the offensive line, a new defensive scheme and a re-commitment to special teams – to provide some story lines come Saturday. Now the `Noles can add extracting themselves from Fisher’s doghouse to the list.
Fisher said there’s one way for the Seminoles to do that:
“Play football like I want it played, (with) consistency, passion, toughness, effort, discipline and a little bit of pride.”