March 3, 2011 - by
Toughness. Effort. Discipline. Nole Pride.

March 3, 2011

By Kerwin Lonzo,

Toughness. Effort. Discipline. Nole Pride.

That’s the platform of the Florida State football team’s “4th Quarter Program” and those are the words along with four fingers on the back of the players’ offseason conditioning shirts. The Seminoles went through another one of those workouts Thursday afternoon at the Turf Field on campus.

“They’ve had great attitude, no complaints, no griping,” FSU head football coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They do what they have to do. Their effort for the most part has been good.”

Florida State’s “4th Quarter Program” isn’t anything new. The Seminoles as well as other schools around the country typically have an offseason conditioning program for their players. It’s another circuit of agility drills that coaches have put together for the players – drills that the majority of them are familiar with.

The difference lies in the fact that the coaches continuously stress to the players that anyone can perform when you’re fresh especially in the first quarter. It’s the taking it to the next level and being able to execute even at levels of exhaustion in the fourth quarter when you and your opponent might both be struggling.

Florida State enjoyed much success in the fourth quarter of games last year. In 2010, the Seminoles were 29-of-50 (58 percent) on 3rd down conversions in the fourth quarter – their best percentage of any of its quarter – while their opponents were just 21-of-55 (38.2 percent). FSU also had a combined time of possession of 106:56 in the fourth quarter compared to its opponents 103:04. The most staggering statistic however was in points as the Seminoles outscored their opponents 108-45 in the fourth quarter.

Bottom line – the program is designed to teach mental toughness which helps the players produce in the fourth quarter.

From speed and power improvement drills to technique agility to group agility drills, FSU players have gone through the circuit for the last couple of weeks before taking next week off for spring break. They will wrap up the “4th Quarter Program” the week before spring practice begins on Mar. 21.

“I really have liked their focus and maturity level about the way they are going to work,” Fisher added.

Other Notes from Thursday:
Fisher met with members of the media Thursday after the workout. He said that CB Xavier Rhodes, DT Jacobbi McDaniel, S Nick Moody, OT Zebrie Sanders and OT Andrew Datko have been participating in the conditioning program very little if any due to recovering from some surgeries. A few other Seminoles missed Thursday’s workout. Fisher said DT Moses McCray will be back for spring practice. LB Holmes Onwukaife and LB Jeff Luc both have had surgery and will be out for spring. Fisher will officially release an injury report for players out for spring practice the week before practice starts on Mar. 21.

Fisher was asked about what he’s seen out of quarterback EJ Manuel in terms of leadership:
“Great. He’s been phenomenal on and off the field. I’ve always said that EJ is a very natural leader. He likes the role and accepts the role and our kids like him. He holds himself to a high standard. We’ve had some other guys really leading pretty good too.”

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