Aug. 9, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The tempo was quick and the temperature hot as the fifth-ranked Florida State football team pushed its way through 2 ½ hours of work on the Al Dunlap Practice Fields Tuesday.
A good portion of practice saw the Seminoles’ first- and third-team offenses and defenses working on one field, with the second- and fourth-teams working on another. It’s a high-volume work environment, that’s especially challenging for the 27 first-year scholarship players.
“Some of those rookies on the second day, (with) the tempo we go at, it’s good for them,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They pushed through it though. I was happy for them. For the most part (it was) pretty good. We had some mistakes but the way we are practicing and as much as we are getting in there the first two days, I was happy.”
While the players benefitted from cloud cover throughout Monday’s opening practice, the sun broke through Tuesday, pushing the heat index to 108 degrees at one point. With mandatory water and rest breaks built into the schedule, the Seminoles pushed through, successfully maintaining the tempo that Fisher prefers throughout the workout.
Fisher said he notices a difference in the tempo through the first two days, which he attributes to the squad’s overall experience. This is FSU’s second consecutive fall practice under his discretion and it has also had two spring sessions.
“I just think it has quickened because of the familiarity of the program,” Fisher said. “It’s a matter of knowing what to do in the offense and the defense. Guys in the program, with the same coaches, I think they understand more of what we want. I also think there is a great camaraderie between them.”
And it’s the camaraderie that helps the team get through the difficult times as they build toward the season.
Asked, what has stood out through two days of work, Fisher did not hesitate with an answer:
“Attitude; love the attitude, love the work ethic. We are getting better, we are competing and I love the competition. Guys are going at it, battling, scratching, picking each other up, pad each on the butt and go back and go after it again. Battle like your enemies and pick each other up like your friends. We are practicing the way we are supposed to practice and acting like a team does.”
ESPN stops by campus
The ESPN DirecTV bus rolled into Tallahassee Tuesday, along with personalities Desmond Howard and Jesse Palmer. While Howard and Palmer took in practice after visiting with the staff, ESPN’s behind-the-scenes GameDay staff visited potential sites for the set when the show comes to town for the Sept. 17 game against Oklahoma.
Just before practice, Fisher appeared on College Football Live, where he answered questions from Dari Nowkhah.
Asked about the raised expectations for the 2011 `Noles, Fisher said:
“We embrace them. That’s why I wanted to be the coach at Florida State. … We understand that expectations aren’t going to win championships. We’ve got to go out and live in the now and prepare for those championships hopefully coming up in the future.”
Nowkhah also asked how the team will benefit from the experience quarterback EJ Manuel has gained over the past two seasons.
“We know he can play, he knows he can play and more importantly, our kids know he can play,” Fisher said.
Beyond the notable appearances of Howard and Palmer, a few other familiar faces dropped by practice Tuesday. Among them were former FSU linebacker and one-time UCF coach Gene McDowell, the Seminoles’ first All-American. Also on hand was former offensive lineman and three-year starter Tony Yeomans (1986-89). … Former defensive line standout Dan Footman, the father of sophomore defensive end Dan Hicks, attended Monday’s practice.
Wadsworth selected FSU’s Legend
From walk-on to All-American, former Florida State defensive end Andre Wadsworth (1994-97) has been selected as the school’s 2011 ACC Legend. A member of four ACC championship teams, the Seminoles compiled a 42-5-1 record during his career, which began when he arrived from Miami as a 215-pound defensive end. As a senior he won ACC Player of the Year honors after registering 16 sacks and earning consensus first-team All-American honors. Wadsworth was a second-team All-ACC performer as a sophomore and a junior, transitioning from nose guard to defensive end, when he was a first-team pick in 1997. He finished his career with 23 sacks and was subsequently the No. 3 overall player chosen in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, which remains the highest ever by a Seminole. Wadsworth’s three-year career was cut short by injuries. He will be recognized as FSU’s ACC Legend at the league’s 2011 championship game in Charlotte, N.C.
Jenkins makes Hendricks watch list
Florida State junior defensive end Brandon Jenkins has been selected as one of 35 preseason candidates for the 2011 Ted Hendricks Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive end. A preseason All-American and a candidate for a host of other national awards, ranked third nationally with 13.5 sacks in 2011 and tied for fourth with 21.5 tackles for loss. The Hendricks is named in honor of the former University of Miami star who was college football’s first three-time All-American and went on to NFL stardom over a 15-year career.
Comings and goings
Quarterback Will Secord practiced on a limited basis for the first time since dealing with an issue involving a wisdom tooth extraction. Tailback Jermaine Thomas (migraine) sat out Tuesday’s practice, while offensive lineman Jacob Stanley (lower back) and wide receiver Scooter Haggins (cramps) were treated near the end of the workout.
The Seminoles will practice again Wednesday at 2:45 p.m…Fan Day is scheduled for Sunday, beginning at 12 noon in the Donald L. Tucker Center…The Alumni Association’s annual Kickoff Luncheon is set for Sept. 26, also at the Tucker Center.