The Florida State football team took the practice field for the first time Friday since a season-ending Emerald Bowl victory over UCLA. The Seminoles worked for 28 periods in shorts and for the first time the team was actually on the practice field with the five new coaches that were hired this off-season.
"It was a good start," said head coach Bobby Bowden. "The kids were very excited. They hustled and did some good things. It was like I told them it is just a start, a beginning. The key will be to try to get better everyday."
It was the first practice for new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, offensive line coach Rick Trickett, receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey and running backs coach Dexter Carter. It was also the first practice for Chuck Amato as an FSU coach since Florida State's 1999 National Championship.
"It was definitely different," said running back Antone Smith of the first day. "There are still a lot of things we have to improve in but hopefully in the end we will be better."
"It is fun to get out on the field and coach," said Fisher. "That is what we love to do and that is what the kids love to do, come and play. All the off-season stuff is necessary and we have to do it but when you get out on the field that's their sanctuary. It felt really good."
Fisher brought a new pace to the Seminole practice as the 28 periods were conducted at a very high tempo.
"It is a much faster pace," said quarterback Drew Weatherford who split reps with the first team with Xavier Lee. "Coaches just expect a lot out of us. They have been very successful at other places. They know what it takes to win. They are just trying to implement what they have done with other teams."
"That tempo usually goes back to the coach," said Bowden. "It suits me. You can't get it too up tempo for me."
The excitement surrounding the Seminoles' first practice with the new staff wasn't just limited to the players. It was a homecoming for Amato, Carter and Dawsey and a chance for Fisher and Trickett to begin their FSU careers coaching for a legend.
"I forgot. I didn't realize until the end he was there," said Fisher of coaching under Bowden's watchful eye. "Cause we get started and I wasn't used to that. I will have to remember from now on. It is a good feeling to have the winningest coach in college football standing there looking at you. When you make a mistake he can help you so you can help the kids."
"I have got complete confidence in what they are doing," said Bowden of the new coaches. "I'll watch and I'll criticize if I see something that I think needs to be changed. I feel good confidence."