July 27, 2004 - by
Seminoles Have A Full Day Of Photos, Interviews At ACC Media Day

July 27, 2004

Senior Craphonso Thorpe and junior A.J. Nicholson represented Florida State University and the Seminole football program at the annual ACC Football Kickoff, the leagues preseason football media day. Following an ACC players’ morning photo shoot and a luncheon with ACC Commissioner John Swofford, the duo endured more than four hours of radio, television and print interviews on Sunday afternoon. The experience also allowed the players an opportunity for fellowship with their ACC foes.

Here’s a look at what Thorpe and Nicholson had to say in one interview session:

Craphonso Thorpe

On his health:

“I’m doing good. I’m coming along great and I am back close to 100 percent. Actually, I’m faster and bigger now than what I was before I got hurt. Recently, about two weeks ago, I ran a 4.20 hand held time in the 40 and I’ve put on about 14 pounds since last season, so everything is going pretty good.”

On his injury:

“I think it made me refocus. Sometimes, you tend to kind of lose sight of what’s really important to you and what you have to do. This definitely made me refocus.”

On toughness of schedule and opening with Miami:

“First of all, when Miami has beaten us the past four years or so, I feel like the games have come down to one or two plays in each game that went their way and didn’t go our way and was the difference maker in the game. We just need to put together a whole game. Every time we lose, we have a great first quarter, a great second quarter or maybe not so good of a third quarter or not so good of a fourth quarter. We just need to put together a whole game and I think we’ll be okay.”

On confidence of this year’s team and QB:

“Definitely (confident about this year). I feel like a lot of times when our quarterback makes mistakes, I don’t ever get mad at him because he’s just trying to make a play, trying to make something out of nothing. Sometimes instead of throwing the ball away, he’ll throw it up and try to give us a chance at it. That’s what I love about him. He has faith in us that we’re going to get him out of jams. Or when things aren’t looking so good, he feels like he can depend on us. He feels like he can throw the ball up and no matter how many people are back there, we’re going to come down with it. He has faith in us that we are going to get the job done. I tell him to do what comes natural. Don’t feel like you have to go out and prove yourself to 80,000 people, just do what you can do, no more or no less and everything will be okay.”

On if offensive line being as good as people say:

“Definitely. I feel like we have the best team right now that we’ve had since 1999. I actually feel like it’s better than the team we had in ’99.”

On whether Chris Rix’s performance in last year’s Florida game proved something to the team:

“I wouldn’t say prove, because he doesn’t have to prove himself to us. We know what kind of competitor Chris is. He never gives up. Yes, though, that game was definitely a great example of him showing that he is going to keep fighting until the last possible second.”

On the other receivers on the team:

Willie Reid, Chauncey Stovall and De’Cody Fagg have been doing a great job during the offseason. All three of them have gotten faster, stronger, bigger. They’re solid receivers but just haven’t been given a lot of opportunities. I definitely think they can come in and fill P.K.’s (Sam) shoes. Not down-talking P.K. but that’s the great part about Florida State. Even when you may have a first-teamer or starter out of the game, his back up comes in and does just as much damage.”

On running game:

Leon’s (Washington) a game-breaker. Everybody knows that. On special teams, running the ball, out of the backfield catching it. When the ball gets in his hands, everybody stands up with excitement to see what he’s about to do. With Lorenzo (Booker) back there with him, they’re constantly pushing each other to get better. That’s a really great situation to be in, at Florida State period. We have All-Americans backing up All-Americans. You have another man who is just as good as you, maybe better, pushing you to do your best every single play. That’s what’s so great.” On Coach Bowden:

“I think Coach Bowden’s a great coach. He has a great scheme that he’s been using for awhile that’s been working real good for us. He is surrounded by great assistant coaches. We’re in a great position to learn if you kind of take everything in.”

On experience of the offense:

“I definitely think it’s going to help. Everybody that’s here now, the upperclassmen, coming in, everybody’s goal was to win a national championship before they left, if not one or two. With this being our last season, that’s everybody’s focus right now. With everybody being older and having more experience, it only makes it that much better.”

A.J. Nicholson

On depth of the linebackers and how they fared in spring practice:

“Spring went very well. We have a lot of great linebackers on our team. With guys like Ernie Sims, Ray Piquion Buster Davis, Sam McGrew, Marcello Church and the list goes on. We have a whole lot of linebackers who are committed to excellence.”

On this year’s linebackers not having the familiar names like Pope and Boulware and able to go about business quietly:

“It’s not going to be quiet; I am going to tell you that. The players have more enthusiasm, more of an edge, more of a go-getter attitude.”

On linebackers coach Kevin Steele:

“Coach Steele is a good man, he’s a great coach. He’s been a blessing in disguise. He’s energetic. He’s a guy you can get a long with, really talk to, a guy you love to play for. When you have that type of coach, everybody loves it.”

On describing this year’s defense in three words:

“Simply the best.”

On key to stopping Miami:

“Let me say this about Miami. Whatever 11 guys they have out there, they’re going to be good, but the 11 guys we have out there are going to be good too. We’ve got to play four quarters of ball and we’ve got to go out there with the mindset that we’re going to win the game and that’s how we have to look at every single game we play.”

On playing at Miami:

“Well, it’s at their field, at their house, so they’re going to be like you are not going to come into our house and try to take over, but it does give us that aspect that we are going to be away so as a team, we are going to focus together with no outside distractions. It does give us that advantage.”

On replacing former Seminole Darnell Dockett:

“Dockett’s a great player. You can’t replace him, you really can’t, he’s one of a kind, but we have some great players who will step up in Travis Johnson and Brodrick Bunkley. We’ll be fine, we’ll be just fine.”

On intensity of practices:

“It’s incredible to see athletes like that compete to their highest ability and the back ups competing too. At practice or playing, it’s always a competitive nature, a good-spirited nature because we get along well. But it’s a war out there, I’m not going to lie to you and you’ve got to be ready to play every down, every day.”

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