August 12, 2008 - by
Torrential Rain Storm Overshadows First Full Pad Practice

Aug. 12, 2008

Tallahassee, FL – The move to early morning practices was supposed to help the Seminoles avoid cancellations due to inclement weather. It sort of worked. The FSU football team was not forced inside due to lightning Tuesday morning but they did go through 12 periods of a heavy downpour that caused the offense all sorts of problems when it came to handling the football. The first 12 periods of the 24 period practice was held under ominous skies before the heavens opened up. The weather became more of a story than the first full pad practice of the pre-season.



  • New football equipment manager Darin Kerns didn’t waste anytime putting his own stamp on the program. The veteran of the Tampa Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs believes FSU has the best helmet in college football (as do many of the nation’s fans according the’s ‘Helmet Clash’ contest). When he came to Tallahassee and saw the team’s practice helmet without a spear on the side he decided to immediately rectify that matter and the spear is now on FSU’s practice helmets.



  • The team worked on both kick and punt returns on Tuesday. Patrick Robinson, Preston Parker, Brandon Paul and Michael Ray Garvin returned kicks while Tony Carter, Bert Reed and A.J Alexander returned punts.
  • After some work in position groups, the QB’s worked with the tight ends and then the receivers. Both units also worked versus scout teams. For the first time this pre-season the offense ran some goal line versus the scout team.
  • In period 13 the skies opened up right as the team moved to the first set of 3-on-3’s of the pre-season. The blocking drill was highlighted by Corey Surrency’s crushing block on Ochuko Jenije that ended up with the junior receiver being swarmed by teammates and his position coach Lawrence Dawsey. Budd Thacker had a nice stop at the first level. Dekoda Watson made two stops, Kendall Smith and Aaron Gresham also had tackles. Recardo Wright had a big hit that dislodged a slippery football and Korey Mangum had a stop at the third level. Paul, Pat Davis and Carlton Jones all turned in some nice runs making it through the gauntlet.
  • Team inside featured the receivers for one period as Drew Weatherford connected with Taiwan Easterling, something you usually don’t see during inside drills. Weatherford ran for a TD and Antone Smith had a nice run as well. Emmanuel Dunbar turned in a tackle for loss as did Everette Brown. Toshmon Stevens had a big hit behind the line but it was back-to-back plays that highlighted the drill. It started with Carlton Jones firing up the offense with a tough run but just as the offense stopped hollering the defense went wild when Nigel Bradham hammered Jones in the hole on the next play for the biggest hit of the practice.
  • In 1-on-1 footing was a big problem with a downpour soaking the field. The weather helped Jenije come up with an interception as a receiver slipped and he benefited with a pick-off. E.J. Manuel benefited from some great routes. Easterling absolutely froze his DB on a stop-and-go route and Manuel hit him in stride for a TD then Parker made a spectacular catch in the end zone with A.J. Alexander draped all over him.
  • While the lines worked in pass rush, the rest of the team was in skel. The defense once again looked good in the poor conditions. Carter and Terrance Parks broke up passes as did Myron Rolle whose PBU turned into a pick for Dekoda Watson. Ponder was able to find Ja’Baris Little and Weatherford hit Parker twice, Smith once and Easterling on a short route that the sophomore turned into a substantial gain.
  • In 11-on-11 there was a ton of fumbles and dropped balls. Budd Thacker and Paul Griffin both recovered fumbles on bad exchanges and Carter had a pass break up for the defense. Despite the weather Ponder was able to complete a pass to Parker and Weatherford found Richard Goodman and Little. Jermaine Thomas had a nice run in the drill. The biggest offensive play was probably turned in by Smith and it didn’t even come on a run. The senior tailback did a great job in picking up a charging defender with a key block.
  • For the first time this pre-season the team worked in goal line situations. On the first play Jones ran for a TD. Ponder scored the second TD on a run but the third attempt was ruined by a botched exchange. Marcus Sims finished the practice with a TD run of his own.



Head Coach Bobby Bowden:

On Tuesday’s practice:

“We got our first real practice in today.  (The rain) hit us about one-third of the way through practice and really drenched us.  But that was good.  We got some good work.  We found out we can’t handle the ball in the rain; we must have fumbled six, seven, eight times.  And that’s due to the wet weather.  That shows you why you need to work in it every now and then because you might end up playing in it.  We were very fortunate that there was not lightning.  I looked at the clouds like they were expecting lighting but we never got the warning from the weather bureau.  Thank goodness we were able to get in a full practice which is very important because we can’t afford to miss any outside practices.”


On how the rain affected practice:

“When it first started raining our kids caught the ball.  I was saying to myself that they were catching it better now than they were when it was dry.  Once we got into 11 on 11 and pass skeleton then the drops became more frequent and the fumbles became more frequent.  At least it was a good thing to show the kids that we have got to protect ourselves against that.  Protection of the ball today was not very good in the rain.


“We got through our first day in pads, got a few drills going – a few live drills going and some goal line scrimmage in.  But still, there, we had a hard time handling the ball.  It was a good practice under the circumstances. “


Anyone stand out today:

“I didn’t, it’s hard for me to pick out any individuals (who stood out) in those drills.  When I look at the film, I can see who played good.  Carlton Jones from Tamps ran the ball good today.  He ran good in the inside drills and also on the goal line.  It was a good experience because it is entirely different when you are playing in a driving ran and it was a driving rain not a sprinkle.”


On Kevin McNeil’s status:

“Kevin McNeil was back out there today.  Of course they have to go back to the very beginning of the acclimation process – two days in shots, two days in shells in then into full (pads).  We are going to bring him along slow.  I don’t think any other new guys got back out there.  I’m sure they are all waiting for clearance before they go out there.”


Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher:

On practice:

 “Made some really good plays. Preston (Parker) made a couple of catches, I think Greg (Carr) made one, Corey (Surrency) seems to make one everyday. He’s making a pretty good play everyday. The young tight ends caught a couple balls and moved it around. I think they are going to be good. And two young backs made good runs, 33 and 38, Carlton Jones and Jermaine Thomas both made a couple of really good runs today. And got hit hard a couple of times and got right up, went the next and held onto the ball. You get as much out of that as you do a guy making a run. Made some plays, made some goal line runs. Deuce (Antone Smith) had a couple nice runs, Deuce is playing pretty good ball right now.”


On how the freshman offensive line is doing:

“Today, we are making progress. I mean they are buying in, they’re working. We’re keeping it where we can work it and try not to overload them. Very productive, very intelligent, tough, hard working guys. We got a lot of intelligence, know what’s going on, don’t make a lot of mistakes, I mean they’re making some, but what we’re throwing at them and what they are going against already, I’m extremely pleased.”


On practicing in the red zone:

“The game between 20-20 is always what separates the score and in red zone score and the goal line short yardage situation picking it off. Football is so situational. You always say, ‘finish the play’, but we’ve got to finish drives.”


Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews:

On having to practice in the rain:

“We don’t stop for rain, we just stop for lightning. I wasn’t lightning so we stayed out there. Not sure how much we got done but could be a chance we’ve got to play in it. We know when every game is scheduled. We know who it is, when we play, but we don’t know what the weather is going to be like. We had an opportunity to practice in the rain. Offensively you have a chance to handle a wet ball or whatever. The main thing it does is it gives you an opportunity to see that your footing changes and you got to take different steps when you’re changing directions and stuff like that, but you can’t let it distract you. It’s a shame we had to practice our first day in pads, first time we tackled, that we got such bad footing or whatever but that’s the way it is so you live with it.”


Rover Myron Rolle:

On the freshman making an impact:

“I like the freshman. I think Terrance Parks, Nigel Bradham, Niger Carr, these guys are stepping up to the plate and playing well. A.J. Alexander is playing a new position and he is learning very quickly. I think the young guys on defense are maturing pretty fast and are doing a good job.”


On how to keep the intensity at practice:

“I was looking for guys to keep that intensity. Sometimes you put pads on and it drags you a little bit, you know it’s gonna be a long day, gonna go full contact tackle, everyone to the ground. But our guys, still remained aggressive, still remained very intense, very enthusiastic throughout the whole day and at practice. I think that’s also guys who have that mentality, Dekoda Watson, Darius McClure, Budd Thacker, those guys who are high energy guys already because I’m not really a high energy guy but when I see them going, I sort of feed into that, too. Myself, being an older guy I know the young guys are picking up from it. It’s fun when you have that kind of intensity, that kind of fun out there in practice. Sometimes practice can be a burden but when you have fun and you’re laughing and joking and you’re getting after it, it makes it much better.”


TE Caz Piurowski

On helping out the new tight ends:

“Coach Coley can coach them but I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I’ve done most of the stuff we’re doing. With the experience I can tell them what it’s really like out there and tell them what they’re gonna have to look for on plays and just try to give them the prospective of someone who’s been out there.”


On stepping up to the plate:

“Ever since I was moved back to tight end last spring I just told myself ‘you’re gonna be a junior, you’re not an underclassman anymore, you have to step up and take a leadership role. And also just for yourself you need to step up to the plate and man up and it’s time for you to start producing for this offense.’ I’ve tried to do it all spring and I’ve been trying to do it all two-a-days and I’m gonna try to do the whole season and the rest of my time here.”



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