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    Saturday, March 31, 2007

    FSU Centers Injury Ridden

    Former Florida State offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden stood beside older brother Terry on the sidelines during Saturday's scrimmage. No, he was not selling Cokes.


    FSU's center position is a walking wounded ward. The offensive line began the scrimmage without center John Frady who sprained his neck and suffered a concussion on Wednesday. At Saturday's practice, backup Brandon Davis went out with an injury. Walk-on Philip Browning also worked at center.

    2007 Spring Scrimmage QB totals:

    Saturday Scrimmage:
    Weatherford 14-21 144 (1 TD)
    X. Lee 15-23 for 180 (2 TDs, 1 int)

    All Practices:
    1. Xavier Lee 37 of 56 (66%) 457 yards 5 TD's 2 INT
    (Sacked 1x)

    2. Drew Weatherford 33 of 57 (57%) 406 yards 3 TD's 1 INT
    (Sacked 7x)

    Spring Practice: Day Nine - Full Scrimmge

    Before Saturday's first full scrimmage of the spring, new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher told head coach Bobby Bowden that he felt like the offense was beginning to understand `what we are trying to do' and from the results of the scrimmage Fisher was correct. The Florida State offense looked the sharpest it has been all spring as Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford both had big days. Lee and Weatherford combined to go 29-for-44 for 324 yards with two TD's and one interception. Antone Smith had another impressive outing as he neared 150 all-purpose yards.

    • The scrimmage began with three straight runs by Smith, the longest of the three came on the first play and went for 13 yards. Smith's biggest gainer of the day went for 25 yards after he shed an arm tackle in the backfield. Although it wasn't his biggest run, the best carry of the day by Smith went for eight yards when he made a jaw-dropping cut and broke for the endzone only to trip after eight yards. Later Smith broke off a six-yarder where he carried Dakoda Watson for half of the run. The Seminoles projected feature back also hauled in a dump pass from Lee that he turned into a 24 yard gain and another one from Weatherford he took for 31 yards.
    • Lee posted 180 yards on 15-for-23 passing with one TD and one interception. Lee's longest completion was a 26-yard pass on a dump off to Marcus Sims and his TD came on a great play by Joslin Shaw who took an inside screen 13 yards into the endzone. Lee also hooked up on another TD pass to Greg Carr for 32 yards but it was wiped out by a holding call. Lee also had a few nice runs including a 16-yarder.
    • Weatherford was equally as good going 14-for-21 for 144 yards and a touchdown. His longest completion come on a 31-yard catch and run by Smith. Weatherford also hooked up with Richard Goodman for 27 yards on the first drive and then later hit Rod Owens for a 21-yard gain. His TD pass came on a two-yard pass to Carr in the corner of the endzone.
    • Defensively Dakoda Watson, Toddrick Verdell, Alex Boston, Kendrick Stewart and Neefy Moffett all recorded sacks.
    • Moffett continued his strong spring by forcing a Smith fumble that was recovered by Patrick Robinson.
    • Myron Rolle recorded the only interception of the scrimmage as he picked off a ball inside the ten during red zone.
    • Rolle also recorded a pass break-up along with Roosevelt Lawson and Jamie Robinson who had a sure interception slip away.
    • Letroy Guion had a nice stop 1-on-1 with Smith right at the line of scrimmage and Stewart also registered a tackle for loss.
    • Sims was the star for the offense as the team moved near the goal line. In red zone drills Sims broke off nine and five-yard runs and then in goal line Sims plowed into the end zone on the first two plays.
    • Anthony Kelly recovered a fumble inside the one during goal line drills as the defense responded with five straight stops including the biggest hit of the day. Pat Davis looked like he was cruising into the endzone when walk-on Damion Harris came out of nowhere and drove him three yards back to the cheers of his defensive teammates lined up in the back of the endzone.
    • The field goal kickers also got some work in before practice and during the scrimmage. Gary Cismesia went 3-for-4 with his only miss coming from 50 yards. Graham Gano went 3-for-4 missing his only attempt during the scrimmage but hitting a 45-yarder before the scrimmage.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden
    (on the offense)
    "The light came on. It is flickering. It ain't real bright yet. It came on a little bit. The kids are beginning to grasp (the offense). There was some pretty good hitting going on. Offense got the better of it I thought, the first time. Last week I thought the defense got the better of it. I thought the offense got the better of it today. Still a lot of mistakes we have to get corrected. Anyway, I thought they made a little progress offensively."

    (on Antone Smith's performance)
    "Antone ran well, he sure did. Marcus (Sims) is still running good, hard. (Smith) had some good runs. A guy that had a good day was (Joslin) Shaw. Shaw made a touchdown that I don't know how he got in there."

    (is the offensive line helping the light come on for the offense?)
    "That plus they are beginning to understand what they are trying to do. They had a couple practices since that last scrimmage where they were able to work on plays and try to get the feel of what's happening. Jimbo (Fisher) told me today before practice `I think they are beginning to understand what we are trying to do'. I hope that's the case offensively.

    (on the quarterbacks)
    "The good thing about it is I saw improvement out of both of them. You really see an improvement out of Lee, but the other kid is too. Lee's is probably more."

    Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher
    (on the offenses play in the scrimmage)
    "We are competing on a higher level. There's a lot more intensity. Our toughness is a little bit better. Our effort seemed to be better. We will watch the film and see...we have to contend with our discipline. We still have some crazy penalties and a few missed assignments that we need to start cleaning up, its time. They have been in it long enough. The way our kids competed and got after it, I was very pleased today.

    (on Antone Smith)
    "He is an outstanding football player. He has great toughness. He is getting to be more of the featured back, getting the ball all the time. I think that is even a new role. Saying you want to be the featured guy and being the featured guy, you got to work your way into that. He has showed no signs of not being that guy. He is a competitor, he can catch, he can run, he blocks well, he is tough, he has great top end speed, he makes you miss, he is a very good football player. He seems to be getting better every day."

    (on his younger receivers having a good scrimmage)
    "We have to have everybody who's on the field has to be able to catch the ball and be a weapon. (The opponent) has to account for them so that some of the guys that may catch a few more balls than the other guys can't get doubled and tripled all the time and you can feature guys. When the defense doubles guys and gives you a weakness on a guy he can make plays and they all made plays today. They made a few nice runs and catches and I am very pleased with that."

    (on where the quarterback battle stands)
    "We will just wait and see. We are only half way through. A few more weeks and we will pass judgment when the time comes."

    Offensive Line Coach Rick Trickett
    (on his offensive line)
    "These guys are more talented than the guys I had over the last six years. They ought to be able to do anything I have been able to teach them other guys to do. It is are you accepting it, are you buying into it and are you trying to do what I am coaching you to do?"

    Quarterback Drew Weatherford
    "I think the process just caught up to where we are. We have a good understanding of our offense now and were able to go out and just react and play instead of think too much. As an offense there is a lot of thinking going on but it needs to be second nature. It is starting to get that way. We are not where we need to be but we made some good strides today."

    (on play of some of the receivers like Joslin Shaw and Rod Owens)
    "They came out and have really improved themselves. Joslin had a great day. Rod Owens had that knee problem but he is getting more work and everybody is seeing he is a real player. When he came in as a freshman he did a lot of good things. He has starting to feel more comfortable running his routes, understanding the offense. They both did a lot of good things and it is just more weapons for us to use."

    (on Antone Smith)
    "Antone has been playing well. If the offensive line gives him room to run, he can make things happen. Sometimes he doesn't have room to run and he makes things happen. He is just a great player and we need to give him the ball as much as we can."

    Quarterback Xavier Lee
    (on his improvement in the offense)
    "At first I was lost on a lot of things. I really didn't understand quite a bit. As I watched the film, started scrimmaging and the more practice that I had we started clicking more as a team. I started to understand what was going on a little bit more.

    "I know what to expect on this play. I know what to expect on that play. I am not just going to the line and guessing."

    Running back Antone Smith
    "Today we came out a little flat at the beginning later on in the scrimmage we picked it up a little bit and got a little tempo going. A lot of good things happened for us, a lot of bad things happened for us but we are killing ourselves with penalties, jumping off sides and stuff like that."

    (on his role in the offense)
    "I am kind of getting comfortable again and trusting my line. That is the biggest thing right now, trusting my linemen. They are coming off pretty good. They are doing a pretty good job. Just following them and making plays. That is all I am doing right now."

    Rover Myron Rolle
    (on the scrimmage)
    "It was a little rougher for (the defense) today than it was on Wednesday. I thought it went smoother on Wednesday. We were able to shut the offense out a little bit more. We were making a few more plays. Today they sort of had our number. They were throwing a lot of plays, a lot of misdirection and new stuff at us. So it was harder for us."

    (on his interception)
    "I told myself this morning when I woke up I wanted to make a big play somehow, someway. I got my opportunity. (Lee) threw it up there and I was able to take one down. I should've had one earlier in the scrimmage. I got my hands on it. I just try to do the best I can to help our team win."

    Friday, March 30, 2007

    Spring Practice: Day Eight

    The Seminole football team held a 15-period practice Friday afternoon the day before the first full scrimmage of the season. Friday's practice was unlike any other so far for FSU this spring. It was the shortest practice to date and held later in the day. Also, the backdrop included Terry Bowden doing his radio show live from the practice fields, 100's of high school coaches observing and the smell of steaks grilling in front of a huge circus tent. Florida State will return to Doak Campbell Stadium at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for the scrimmage.

    • Practice started out on a familiar note with the offense and defense working versus scout teams and in position groups.
    • The team moved to 3-on-3 drills and then split up for run and 1-on-1. In run drills Antone Smith once again provided a highlight as he spun off a would-be tackler and broke into the open before tripping. Letroy Guion and Neefy Moffett combined on a stop right at the line on a Marcus Sims carry. In 1-v-1 De'Cody Fagg turned in a highlight reel play as he tipped a ball up and hauled in the pass with a defensive back all over him. Drew Weatherford and Fagg later hooked up on a deep ball.
    • In pass skel both Patrick Robinson and Michael Ray Garvin broke up plays.
    • The practice wrapped up with two periods of 11-on-11. Guion once again had a tackle for loss as the defense was carrying the day before the play of the practice. Weatherford hit Richard Goodman on a short pass along the boundary. Goodman tip toed to stay in and then took it to the endzone on a long run down the sideline.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden
    "We had a coaching clinic; it started yesterday. All the coaches - a lot of them met with our coaches last night - all of our assistant coaches kind of scatter around and get with whichever one they wanted to talk football. We had lectures all day today and of course they came out and watched practice today. It's kind of a demonstration day really. Tomorrow we will have a full scale scrimmage at 12:30. Hopefully, they will stay healthy. We are getting something done."

    (how is the spring progressing?)
    "We are progressing. The thing is that it's very obvious we have been doing so much scrimmaging the offense hasn't been able to work on their execution. That really hurt us the other day - somebody not knowing where to lineup; not blocking the right guy; not taking the right step. So, the offense came out early today just trying to work on running the plays. We are still going through a learning process."

    (on offensive improvement in the scrimmage)
    "From an offensive standpoint, you would, that's what you would be looking for. Seeing if the guys are picking it up - that's the main thing. Are you stepping correctly; are you coming off the ball correctly; do you know your plays, have you got your assignments; have you learned the terminology. Those are the things they are going through right now. Of course, you like to see improvement and you should see some improvement each scrimmage in that regard. Of course, defensively, very much the same thing. It takes longer to install an offense than it does to install a defense."

    (how long has it been since you have overhauled the offense in the spring?)
    "We changed our terminology two years ago. We went with not flip-flopping the line and that changed the numbering system all the way. Usually when you flip-flop the line and you are going to run a 46 and you get in the right formation it goes over there. If you run a 46 from this formation it goes over there. Now it's not that way. All even number plays go that way and all odd number plays go that way. We did that two years ago - but very much the same plays. The thing is - very much the same plays it's just with different terminology. They know more how to do it than they do what to do. They are getting it and they'll get more of it."

    Quarterback Drew Weatherford
    "It's going to take probably all spring. The mechanics that I have been doing have been the mechanics I have done ever since I started playing football. I learned a certain way but I consciously try to get better and better at my footwork and how I hold the ball and everything that he (coach Jimbo Fisher) tries to teach me. It's going to be a learning process for sure but every day I continue to get better and he kind of gets on me more and more every day. The longer it takes the more upset he gets."

    (on the competition with Xavier Lee)
    "It's a competition - there are 100 things were are competing at -- run checks, throwing the ball, attitude, making decisions - all sorts of things. It doesn't necessarily just come down to mechanics but that's something he wants us to be able to learn and he wants us to buy into the whole system. That's what we are both trying to do."

    Quarterback Xavier Lee
    "I think the adjustments have been going pretty good do far. It's bee a little difficult at times but I think it's going to help us out in the long run. The terminology is a lot different than what we have experienced before. Coach Trickett is a very picky guy - he's knows exactly what he wants. If you don't do it correctly he will try to correct you on it and try to help you through it. He's very picky but at the same time it helps us get more power behind our balls and be a lot more accurate."

    "Rolle" Model

    Myron Rolle is the perfect example of a student athlete. He is an excellent student and an extraordinarily gifted athlete. He is the type of player that all coaches dream about getting. He started 10 games in 2006 and had 77 tackles to finish third on the team. With all that, there is one thing missing. Rolle wants to get more interceptions in 2007. His lone interception in 2006 came in the Emerald Bowl.

    “It was good to finally get my hands on one and bring it in,” Rolle said of his interception. “I think last year I was groomed to play a lot of run support. This year I feel we are calling a lot more coverages where I am a lot deeper and playing the pass a little more.

    Mickey Andrews will be happy if that happens this year. “If (the quarterbacks) make a mistake in football you got to make them pay,” Andrews said. “You can't go back and give them another chance. We've got to do a better job at that.” And you don't want to upset Mickey.

    Look for Rolle to have a great season in 2007. He's just that kind of student athlete.

    "They've Got A Whole Lot To Learn"

    "They've got a whole lot to learn.I'm talking about just learning the system. As I watch them out there, I see so many kids who are not sure of what to do. Once they learn what to do, they are okay. We've got some good stuff for them, but they've got to learn what to do. And right now that's the biggest problem."
    Bobby Bowden regarding the new football system

    How Serious Is Geno Hayes Injury?

    Although no local news source is reporting the injury, a Tampa television station is reporting that the injury to Geno Hayes in practice may be more serious than reported. Florida State junior linebacker Geno Hayes injured his right leg during practice on Wednesday.

    According to the station, the team's medical staff treated Hayes on the field for about 10 minutes. Doctors planned to evaluate him further and determine his eligibility for the remainder of the spring.

    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Virginia's Top Receiver Out For Season

    Kevin Ogletree, Virginia's top wide receiver, suffered a serious knee injury and is expected to miss the 2007 season.

    Ogletree tore an anterior cruciate ligament in practice Friday and will require surgery, coach Al Groh said on Wednesday.

    "He tried to make a cut, and it just gave out on him," Groh said on a teleconference with reporters.


    The Maryland football team kicked off its spring workout schedule Tuesday at the Terps' on-campus practice facility with a two and one-half hour session.

    In the first of 15 spring practices, the Terps focused on individual drills for the first 60 minutes before moving into team drills, including a number of 11-on-11 periods.

    When Jordan Steffy signed with Maryland in February, 2004, he became the highest-rated quarterback recruit of the Ralph Friedgen era.

    Then came another highly rated recruit, Josh Portis, who transferred from Florida in January 2006.

    Those two quarterbacks figure to battle it out this spring for the team's starting spot, left vacant by the departure of Sam Hollenbach. Sophomore Chris Turner along with redshirt freshman Jeremy Ricker are also in the mix.

    Leeps On Being Soft

    Preston Parker Likely Out For Rest Of Spring

    Wide receiver Preston Parker suffered a dislocated shoulder during scrimmage and most likely will be out for the rest of the spring.


    Former Nole great Bobby Butler played for Florida State from 1977 to 1980. Now his son may don the garnet and gold one day. The 'Noles are recruiting second generation Brice Butler. Butler is a 6-foot-2, 178-pound wide receiver from Norcross, Georgia. He attended FSU's Junior Day last weekend.

    "It was fun, talking to all the coaches," said Butler. "I knew most of the coaches because my dad went there. It was funny visiting Coach Bowden, sitting down with Jimbo Fisher and the new coaches. I got to tour the athletic center, it was very nice."

    Butler is considering Arizona State, Penn State, and possibly Miami.

    Good news. In scrimmage on Wednesday, senior Gary Cismesia had both his kicks right down the middle from 40 and 31 yards out.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    New Attitude Starts At Top

    You have to hand it to Bobby Bowden. He is saying and doing all the right things in regard to changing the mentality of the football team. A good example of this was at the end of Saturday's practice when reporters asked if he would be telling the receivers to be less aggressive. He replied in no uncertain terms,"We ain't pulling back. We're not pulling back. We've been soft. And we're trying to get out of that softness.”

    Spring Practice: Day Seven

    For the fourth time in the last six days the Florida State football team put on full pads and scrimmaged in Doak Campbell Stadium. The last nine periods of the 28 period practice were spent in a full scrimmage. Both Marcus Sims and Alex Boston had big days for their respective units.

    • The team began the practice working on special teams, specifically on field goals. Gary Cismesia was 3-for-3 during the special teams practice.
    • In run drills Dakoda Watson recorded a tackle for loss, Jamaal Edwards had two nice runs and Joe Surratt had a very impressive run up the middle.
    • One of the highlights of 1-on-1 was baseball star D'Vontrey Richardson connecting deep to Damon McDaniel.
    • In pass skel Darius McClure and Jamie Robinson broke up passes for the defense. Dakoda Watson broke up a pass as well but the tip was hauled in for a TD by Preston Parker. Drew Wetaherford connected on touchdown passes to Joslin Shaw and De'Cody Fagg. Xavier Lee hit Greg Carr in the endzone on a ball Carr skied to pull in. Christian Ponder also had a TD as he hooked up with Preston Parker.
    • In 11-on-11 Antone Smith ripped off two big runs, Edwards had a nice run shedding tackles and Alex Boston recorded a sack and forced a fumble on the same play. The only TD passes came from Weatherford who went to Shaw and Lee who connected with Carr. Tony Carter recorded a pass break-up, Budd Thacker had a sack, Dakoda Watson had a near sack and Anthony Kelly forced a quick pass on a QB hurry to avoid a sack.

    • The FSU quarterbacks had a tougher day Wednesday than they did Monday. Lee had the only TD pass as he connected with Shaw on a five yard strike. Overall Lee was 6-11 for 55 yards. Weatherford went 5-13 for 67 yards and he was intercepted by Myron Rolle.
    • Marcus Sims had the biggest day for the offense. He compiled well over 50 yards including runs of 13 yards, 17 yards and a 15 yard run on 3rd and 10.
    • Edwards had a run of over 10 yards as did Smith who took the ball from the 20 down to the five yard line.
    • In the passing game Shaw had a nice 13 yard run after a short catch as did Parker who went for 20 yards, most of which came after the reception.
    • Defensively it was the Alex Boston show. The soon to be senior registered two tackles for loss and had another sack.
    • Michael Ray Garvin, Jamie Robinson and Darius McClure all broke up passes. McClure's came in the endzone.
    • The biggest hit of the day was turned in by Justin Mincey who had a crushing hit in the backfield.
    • Cismesia remained perfect on the day as he hit field goals of 40 and 31 yards in the scrimmage. It was the first time FSU kicked field goals during a scrimmage this spring.
    • Highlights from goal line included a four-yard run and a three-yard run from the five for Sims plus a TD plunge and a one yard TD by Surratt.
    • Defensively, the defense recovered a fumble inside the three and held Smith to no gain on a goal line carry.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    "The defense really got the best of it. The quarterbacks were not sharp. They had people open at times and really missed them. It was really one of those days we were not sharp. Then they'd make a good play and get a penalty. It was one of those days. On the goal line, we must have had three or four fumbles between the center and the quarterback. We are working new people in there and you will get some of that. The offense was not sharp - but the defensive secondary played much better. If they could catch the ball - if our defensive secondary could catch the ball - they would have had five interceptions. They won't catch it, though.

    (on John Frady)
    "Frady was out there and they had to take him in. I don't know if the heat got to him or what. After about 10 periods he had to go in. (Ryan) McMahon was ... one of reasons the snaps are inconsistent. We are working the freshmen a lot in there."

    (on Marcus Sims)
    "Marcus - from the first scrimmage we had till today - he has improved in each one. I think he is making improvement. He is learning how to run the football the way we want it run. He has made improvement in that regard; he might have been our leading ground gainer today."

    (on picking up the new terminology)
    "They are getting better. They should get better every day they walk out here. They should get better with that. (It's about what I expect) under the circumstances."

    Running Back Marcus Sims
    "I just came out here and worked hard. I felt like I had a good day today and I felt like I was playing pretty good. I've got to work on my blocking a little bit but other than tat I felt like I had a good day. I am always motivating myself; trying to get better. Hopefully, I can get back to that second spot."

    Rover Myron Rolle
    "I think we did pretty well. I think the first team allowed one touchdown on the field and one touchdown on goal line. We had two turnovers in total today. But I think we played pretty well. We executed. Guys made tackles and guys made big plays and that's what you need out of the defense."

    (on his interception)
    "That was very good. It was good to finally get my hands on one (an interception) and bring it in. (One of the receivers) was running s streak down the field, the ball was a little up and Drew (Weatherford) let me or him make a play on it. I was fortunate, we got the turnover and we got the ball back. That's what we are looking for. That's what I am trying to emphasize this spring. I think last year I was groomed to play a lot of run support. This year I feel we are calling a lot more coverages where I am a lot deeper and playing the pass a little more. I think it's great to work against these receivers and work on your pass coverage myself and Roger (Williams) included and the other safeties, as well. It's a good thing to come out here and have to battle in the passing game because that's what we're going to have to do when the games come along."

    ACC Doing Fine With Revenue Sources

    It seems that the ACC league expansion and all that is associated with it is looking good for the financial health of the ACC and its member schools. A recent report reveals the following:

    An increase of nearly $20 million in gross revenue -- a 15.4 percent jump -- over the previous tax year.

    About $6 million of that came from the single line item of football television money.

    The nine members who formed the conference before the most recent round of expansion collectively received 8.4 percent more cash from the league in 2005-06 than in the previous year.(excludes Miami, BC, and Va Tech)

    Not surprisingly, the football television money is the most important single increase, having gone from $23,176,000 in the 2003 season, the final one with nine members, to $35,750,000 in 2005-06. More than 90 percent of that income comes from a contract with ESPN and ABC that runs through the 2010 season.

    It is also interesting to note that unlike other major conferences,the ACC maintains a nearly 50-50 balance between football and basketball revenue. The Southeastern Conference on the other hand is heavily tilted toward football.

    The ACC reported it disbursed 87.55 percent of its total revenue to its members, a slight decrease from the 88.60 figure of the previous year. The difference is attributable to start-up administrative costs associated with the football championship game.

    All in all, it looks pretty bright for the ACC in the near future.

    "The Best Man Will Play"

    "The first question I asked [Fisher] was, `Is it going to be a fair playing ground?''' Lee said. "Because ... it's been biased ever since I got here, I just want to know if I'm going to get a fair shake. He said it's going to be as fair as possible: `The best man will play.''
    Xavier Lee regarding discussion with Jimbo Fisher

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    Two ACC Players On Lombardi Watch List

    Clemson starting offensive tackle Barry Richardson is one of 43 players named to the preseason Watch List for the 2007 Rotary Lombardi Award. The 38th annual award raises funds for the American Cancer Society and will be presented at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston on December 5, 2007.


    Boston College freshman quarterback Ross Applegate has decided to transfer to another school in the fall, according to BC head football coach Jeff Jagodzinski. Applegate, who redshirted this past season, came to BC from Walton High School in Marietta, Ga.

    Wake Forest rising senior center Steve Justice was named to the 2007 Lombardi Trophy watch list, an award presented by Wachovia Bank to college football's best offensive or defensive lineman. The preliminary list includes 43 candidates selected by the Rotary Lombardi Trophy committee.

    Noles Offer Two Juniors Scholarships

    The "Junior Day" event the FSU coaches hosted this past Saturday provided 70 recruiting prospects the chance to learn more about the Florida State campus.

    The Noles offered Tino Sunseri a scholarship on Saturday. He is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback from Pittsburgh (PA) Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He is considering FSU, South Carolina, and Ohio State among others.

    Bobby Bowden on Saturday personally offered 6- foot 225 pound Davenport (FL) Ridge defensive standout Vincent Williams a scholarship to FSU. He is currently considering Florida, Alabama, and South Florida who have also offered him a scholarship.

    Monday, March 26, 2007

    Spring Practice: Day Six

    For the second straight practice the Florida State football team put on full pads and scrimmaged in Doak Campbell Stadium. The last nine periods of the 26 period practice were spent in a full scrimmage. The majority of the practice was spent in position groups and drills.

    • The team began the practice working on special teams, specifically punt block before breaking into position groups.
    • After spending the first 10 periods on the practice fields, the team moved over to Doak Campbell where they opened up in 3-on-3 drills. The Seminoles also went through 1-on-1 drills, run skel, pass skel, 11-on-11 and red zone.
    • In 11-v-11 Tony Carter had a pass break up and Xavier Lee hit Preston Parker underneath on what turned into a big gainer.
    • In pass skel Carter recorded an interception, Drew Weatherford connected with Joslin Shaw, Christian Ponder hooked up with Parker and Lee hit De'Cody Fagg who broke a tackle and took the pass to the endzone.
    • In red zone drills Weatherford and Richard Goodman connected for a TD.

    • The FSU quarterbacks combined to go 20-for-24 for 259 yards and three TD's. Weatherford was 10-12 for 126 yards and 2 TD's while Lee went 10-12 for 133 yards with a TD and an interception.
    • Weatherford hit Goodman for a 65-yard TD and then later connected with Damon McDaniel on a six-yard score. Lee's TD pass went to Parker for 29 yards.
    • Rod Owens dropped jaws on a 21 yard completion with a great move in the open field.
    • Lee almost had his second TD when he hit Parker for a 44 yard completion to the one yard line avoiding heavy pressure on the play.
    • Defensively Neefy Moffett, Budd Thacker and Justin Mincey all recorded sacks.
    • Tony Carter picked off Lee and Myron Rolle had a pass break up.
    • Jeremy Franklin recovered a fumble and Anthony Kelly had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    "We had a practice day very much like we did Saturday. We went out on the practice fields for 10 periods, then came in here and got some drills for about six periods and then we scrimmaged the last part of practice. We could really use it over and over and over and over. But you can't do it because guys get hurt. We are making some improvement. We are moving some people around especially on the offensive line where they are playing some different positions which means it's a possibility of missing an assignment. The big thing we want to come out of in the spring is be sure we have our best people lined up on the first team an our second best lined up on the second team playing the correct positions. That's the things we are trying to find out and we have to suffer a little bit while we are doing it."

    (on the quarterbacks)
    "Neither one of them stood out. They are equal in what they are doing right now. I'm not going to gauge quarterbacks every time we practice. I wish I could. Right now there is a lot of confusion going on."

    (on spring injuries)
    "Any of them I hate to see that. I just hate to see it. It's part of football but if it happens to Tony Carter or any of the others, I shudder."

    (on pulling back the aggressiveness)
    "We ain't pulling back. We're not pulling back. We have been soft and we are trying to get out of that softness."

    (on young wide receivers making play)
    "Yea, they are making some good plays. They get too many penalties downfield but it's not because they are not trying. We have had a couple of receivers - (Preston) Parker has really had some good plays this spring plus some others but his name is kind of new."

    (on goal line success of the defense -- are you concerned)
    "No, because I am the head football coach. If the defense eats them up, offense bad. If the offense eats them up, they're bad. But they are both my team. Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose."

    (on cutting down on missed assignments)
    "You are never where you'd like to be but you are probably as far along as its feasible right now because of the newness of it. A guy begins to grasp it and all of a sudden you change him over to this position now you have to start over. We are going through a lot of that right now. But we have to get that solved this spring - the fall is too late."

    (on scrimmaging often)
    "You'd like to - you'd like to just scrimmage all the time if you could. That's where they learn and that's where you find out what are they getting taught. But you can only do so many. I don't think we are doing any more than we have. This is the sixth practice and we have had two half day scrimmages."

    Drew Weatherford, Quarterback

    "I didn't feel that sharp today. There were a couple of decisions that I made that I wish I could have taken back and I lost my footing twice which lost us some yardage. Those were both on first downs and those are biog downs for us. I did some good things but there is a lot of room for improvement.

    (on working in a new system)
    "It's no excuse. Everybody at this point has a good understanding of what they are doing. I think we are just not thinking enough. We are not being as disciplined as we probably should be. But that is something they are drilling in our heads day in and day out and we seem to be getting better every day. It's nothing really different than what I am used to."

    (on the young wide receivers)
    "They are getting more and more comfortable every day. The coaches are doing a good job of putting them in situations to succeed what they are good at. We keep on giving Preston (Parker) little swing passes out of the backfield. He is a very strong and aggressive runner - the same thing with Damian (McDaniel). He's dong a good job in putting them in situations they can be successful and they are taking advantage of it."

    Preston Parker, Wide Receiver

    (on his increased role in the offense)
    "I am just working hard. Any chance I get I just try to work hard. Every play I want to work. I thought this spring was going to be easier but it's hard. This is just like the season. I am just trying to work hard to get on the field. I want to make plays to help us win, get back to our old ways, get back to the championship like the old Florida State.

    (on the team playing tougher this season)
    "We just have to get hyped. Once you get up in the polls it will come back. When you are down you can lose some toughness. We lacked that a little bit. This year we are trying to get that back. Bring the toughness back to Florida State.

    Jamie Robinson, Cornerback

    (on being back out on the practice field after some injuries in 2006)
    "It feels good to be back out here again. I had to fight through some injuries you know the ankle and then the hip. It feels good to line-up again. I am not all the way back to where I want to be."

    (on playing opposite Tony Carter)
    "That's something any cornerback would be excited about. You know getting a lot of balls thrown to his side. I like to have a lot of opportunities. Eventually I hope they won't have anywhere to throw the ball by midway through the season."

    Football Primer

    Here's a question. Are we all football experts? Probably not. With that said, I came across an interesting football primer on football on You Tube. It happens to involve FSU and the Gators. So for those of you that are football challenged, here it is.

    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    Getting Back To Basics

    The best unkept secret for the last couple of years as been the lack of blocking by the offensive line and the receivers. The mantra this year is likely to be- Ok, we know you can catch, but can you block?

    In the half scrimmage on Saturday, coaches and teammates were commenting on the toughness of the receivers. Richard Goodman delivered a big hit on Roger Williams. Greg Carr's blow to Patrick Robinson had Robinson following Carr back to the huddle for a little heated chat.

    “It's real big,” Carr said of blocks down field. “We know that can be the difference between a 15-yard gain and a 60-yard gain - that one block on the outside by the receivers.”

    Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and new receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey have stressed blocking by the the receivers during the first third of spring practice.

    “In the running game when you make big runs, the line gets you the first five and those receivers get you the last 85,” Fisher said. “We're trying to put a huge emphasis on the toughness we're getting downfield.”

    Leeps On The Tower

    Saturday, March 24, 2007

    Colorado Coach Excited About Intensity

    About 200 guests comprised of high school juniors and their parents, along with about 300 more spectators, came out to enjoy a sunny day of Buffalo football and the team’s first practice in pads this spring.

    “I think the whole team is way different,” head coach Dan Hawkins said. “They are all playing better—better intensity, better attention to detail and knowing what they are doing. Even in limited action there was more offense in this scrimmage than there was in the whole spring or fall last year. It’s not even close. The whole team is much better that way.”


    The Gator's junior college transfer Bryan Waggener broke his left foot in spring practice and has been ruled out for the remainder of the spring.

    "Doggone it, that's a tough deal for us and even tougher for him," UF coach Urban Meyer said after Friday's practice. "He's a competitor and he was doing pretty good."

    Spring Practice: Day Five

    For the first time this spring the FSU football team put on full pads and scrimmaged in Doak Campbell Stadium. The team practiced for 28 periods of which 16 periods were spent in the stadium. The last hour inside Doak was spent in the first full scrimmage of the spring.

    • In run drills the offense got off to a fast start as Antone Smith and Jamaal Edwards each had two big runs. Pat Davis broke a long run as did Marcus Sims. Neefy Moffett recovered a fumble as the defense took charge in the second part of the drill.
    • In pass skel Drew Weatherford connected with Greg Carr and also on a deep ball to De'Cody Fagg. Xavier Lee hit two passes underneath that turned into big gains to Joslin Shaw and Fagg.
    • In 11-on-11 Smith broke a few tackles and turned a no gainer into a big run. Pat Davis showed some nice moves on a long run. Myron Rolle and Jamie Robinson combined on a pass break-up but the biggest play was turned in by Letroy Guion who knifed into the backfield, disrupted the hand-off and caused a fumble.
    • In 3-on-3 drills Budd Thacker forced a fumble, Recardo Wright forced a turnover as well on a big hit and Justin Mincey made a big tackle in the first level of the drill.

    Highlights from the scrimmage included: • Jamie Robinson had a pass break up on a third down play.
    • Smith broke a nice run for a first down.
    • Weatherford hit De'Cody Fagg underneath and Fagg took it for a big gainer thanks in part to a big hit downfield by Richard Goodman.
    • Lee had a great series where he led the FSU offense to one of its two TD's. A key play in the drive came on a deep jump ball to Damon McDaniel that the receiver went over the defender and came up with the catch. Lee than completed the scoring drive when he hooked up with Carr for a TD.
    • Letroy Guion registered a sack as did Dekoda Watson who not only had the sack but also forced a fumble.
    • The only other TD came on a 65-yard run by Antone Smith.
    • The wide receiver blocking downfield continued to pay off later in the scrimmage as Lee hit Shaw underneath and he turned it into another long gain thanks to a block by wideout Preston Parker.
    • One of the biggest plays along the line came from Jacky Claude who led the way with a devastating block for a first down on third and short.
    • Lee almost got the third offensive TD of the day on a run when he took the ball all the way into the endzone but was called down at the five.
    • Darius McClure helped keep the offense out of the endzone though with a pass break up right at the goal line.
    • Weatherford and Parker later connected on a nice sideline route.
    • Defensively Jeremy Franklin recovered a fumble, Roger Williams and Geno Hayes combined on a big stop right at the line of scrimmage and Michael Ray Garvin also broke up a pass.
    • In goal line the defense dominated most of the eight plays holding the ones and the twos out on three of the four attempts but on both fourth and ones Edwards was able to score for the offense.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    "We worked about an hour on the practice field and then came out and had a scrimmage (in the stadium). I told the offense - you looked like two different offenses - you went out there at the first of the scrimmage and the first inside drill you couldn't ask for any better. But all of a sudden it shut down, I mean it shut down. The defense has a lot to do with that. They got to find out why. I already know why but they got to find out why. They got to see what their mistakes are and get them corrected. Again, the big thing that is hurting them is missing assignments - don't know what to do, don't know where to lineup, don't know who to block. We got some bad snaps on out shotgun; ball snapped too high. That's the stuff you find out when you scrimmage for the first time.

    "I thought defense did a fine job under the circumstances. As you know, they are missing some men. They are missing some linebackers and probably some defensive people that are not out there. So, you can't assume too much."

    (on the quarterbacks)

    "That will be Jimbo's job to make a decision on that. I thought that - were not blind - we saw who made the biggest plays today - it was Lee. He made the biggest plays."

    (on the blocking by the receivers)

    "That's what we gotta have - we are trying to get everybody involved in the running game. To be honest with you we are behind right now in our passing game. We are ahead of last year in our running game but you can tell that's where our stress has been. We gotta protect our passer better; we gotta get better gun snaps when we are throwing the ball - some things like that. We will work on that."

    (on rotating the quarterbacks with the first team)

    "That's up to Jimmy - he probably wants to see them both under the same circumstances. That's probably what he's doing. Probably getting a better evaluation."

    (on missed assignments)

    "You hope that when they look at the film they learn. But we are doing so much you can't hardy blame them. We are throwing so much at them, especially the reserves, and they are having the biggest problem. But even the first group has to be told where to get at times. Again, if you had the same offensive numbering system that you had last year you probably wouldn't be having problems - it's normal."

    (on the offensive line)

    "They blocked the running game better - blocked the running game better. Still, I'm sure we still have a long way to go with it. It was better than what we have seen."

    Jimbo Fisher

    (on his assessment of the quarterback decision making in the scrimmage) "It seemed to be OK. I don't think we threw too many balls into a crowd. I remember one but I don't remember who did it. I think we had one but I didn't see it from the side. It is hard to tell until I go up there and look at the film. I didn't see any glaring, stupid game management things that will get you beat in a ballgame. We made a few plays when we had to but we got a lot of improving to do. We've got a long ways to go."

    (on Xavier Lee)

    "He made a couple nice throws. Got one to Greg (Carr), made a nice run but you know we could have had one early. We had a dropped ball early in the first drive that could have went up the sideline for 40 or 50 yards or maybe more that we didn't. You know sometimes it who gets the play at scrimmage. The guys around them got to make some plays too. (The quarterbacks) both made some plays and Xavier did some real nice things."

    (on the running game being ahead of the passing game)

    No doubt, no doubt because of our pass protection and what we are emphasizing the running game. We are going to get back to running the football. That's the emphasis on what we are doing."

    Mickey Andrews

    (on his assessment of the defense)

    "If we were keeping score in the ballgame the offense would have scored two touchdowns, I guess an extra point. In the goal line they would have scored two more touchdowns. What I am saying is our objective is to keep them from scoring any points. The ones didn't give up any. The twos gave up two. If we are going to put them in a ballgame they gotta play...not that the ones are playing as well as we want them to yet but the twos they got to raise their level of play. We still got some growing up to do."

    Xavier Lee, Quarterback

    "My mindset was just to try to eliminate the mistakes and go through my reads like I am supposed to and let the practice that we have been doing pay off. I'm getting used to the terminology and used to the plays and used to where everyone is suppose to be. The line was blocking good and gave me time and that helped out a lot. My decision making was pretty good but there is always room for improvement. I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks to improving y the skills I need to work on and everyone cooking in the same side"

    Drew Weatherford, Quarterback

    "I thought (my decision making) was OK. There were times I forced the ball and maybe I shouldn't have. There was a double post we had where I threw it into coverage I probably shouldn't have. All in all I thought I did a pretty good job considering it was the first scrimmage."

    (on the wide receivers blocking)

    "I didn't necessarily see them when I was playing but I could definitely hear them. That really is what makes big plays happen when receivers block downfield both in the run and the pass."

    Joslin Shaw

    (on not being afraid to throw blocks downfield)

    "No I really don't (shy away from blocking). Coming from a running back it is something I had to do. I never shy away from blocking. Its just second nature to me."

    Letroy Guion

    "We did alright today. We didn't do as good as we could have. We are a little rusty. We are just trying to get into the feel on the first day in pads. Hopefully we can get this thing together and start to crack some heads."

    Noles In Half Scrimmage Today

    Safety Anthony Leon will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to assess the extent of his shoulder injury. He heard his shoulder pop during a drill in Wednesday's practice. He is not expected to practice for the remainder of spring practice.

    “I knew something was wrong, but I didn't think it was that bad,” said Leon, who had his right arm in a sling. “I thought it was a stinger.”


    Recent offensive linemen signees A.J. Ganguzza and Antwane Greenlee and wide receiver Cameron Wade were among the interested spectators at Friday's practice.

    Greenlee, an offensive tackle from Columbus (Ga.) Hardaway, was taking his first look at offensive-line coach Rick Trickett in action.

    The team will practice Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with the second half containing a scrimmage in Doak Campbell Stadium.

    "I Like It So Far"

    "Coach (Rick) Trickett is a different kind of coach than I'm used to that I've been around my whole career. A different type of practice, different intensity, but that's the way it is for every position out there with the new coaches. I like it so far, it's not too bad.”
    Caz Piurowski on Rick Trickett

    Friday, March 23, 2007

    Spring Practice: Day Four

    • The Florida State football team completed its first week spring drills on Friday as it worked out for 28 periods in shells (helmet, shoulder pads, shorts).

    • Both quarterbacks Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee shined during 11-on-11 drills with Weatherford completing 7-of-10 passes and Lee going 9-for-10.

    • Running backs Antone Smith and Jamaal Edwards also had outstanding practices as they had several receptions of over 10 yards and broke some long runs.

    • Smith caught passes of 25 and 15 yards from Weatherford as well as a 10-yard strike from Lee. He added runs of 15 and 25 yards.

    • Edwards snagged a 10-yard reception from Weatherford to go along with two 10-yard runs and a seven-yard scamper.

    • Wide receiver Preston Park caught a 15-yard pass from both quarterbacks and fellow receiver De'Cody Fagg was the target of 10-yard passes from Weatherford and Lee.

    • On the defensive side of the ball, Eli Charles had a pair of tackles for a loss, while Neefy Moffett added one and linebacker Geno Hayes had a pass break-up.

    • The Seminoles will be back on the field at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday with the second half of the practice containing a scrimmage in Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Head Coach Bobby Bowden
    "We made some progress; there's no doubt we have a whole lot to learn. I'm talking about just learning the system. As I watch them out there, I see so many kids who are not sure what to do. Once they know what to do they are okay. We got some good stuff from them now; they've got to learn what to do. Right now that's the biggest problem. All the terminology is new, the formations are called different, the numbering is different, the words are different - stuff like that. They've got to learn all of that stuff. They've got to get caught up. It might take them 15 practices to do, I don't know. But we are making some progress.

    "Tomorrow we will do a little scrimmaging and be in full pads. I am anxious to see what happens with that. We need to get in some pads and get some scrimmaging and see what we've learned so far. The effort has been pretty good."

    (On the changes in terminology, etc.)
    "It's typical of having an offense system, numbers, names and everything then getting rid of it taking another one that's the same plays but they are called differently and you execute them a little differently. They'll get it; right now it's just holding them back. It's not so much the blocking - it's who to block. Where to line up? Where do I go? It's more that - it's not as much the blocking."

    (On the offensive linemen)
    "They are more aggressive. They're more aggressive. They are going to have to if they play for Trickett. They'll have to be more aggressive."

    (On new plays)
    New plays - maybe 20 percent or something like that. Nearly everybody in the country is doing this and everybody in the country is doing that and everybody is doing this and everybody is doing that. Then you have the little side stuff you do that's different. Whether it be 20 percent - that could be pretty close. The zone - you have inside zone and outside zone. There ain't no more. It's just two plays. One guy calls it Mississippi and the other one calls it Tennessee. He has to learn the terminology."

    (On Caz Piurowski)
    "I think he was running on the first unit today. I think I saw him on the first unit today. I'm sure he is learning and I'm sure he is not anywhere near where Trickett wants him. But I'm sure he is learning."

    Offensive Tackle Caz Piurowski
    (On switching from tight end to offensive tackle)
    "It's not too bad so far. Coach Trickett is a different kind of coach than I'm used to and been around my whole career. It's a different type of practice, different intensity, but that's the way it is for every position out there. I like it so far, it's not too bad.

    "I like it better; I'm having a lot more fun. I thought I was going to miss getting the ball and getting to make some plays, but I'm actually enjoying blocking and being down there. I actually enjoy how (Trickett) conducts his practices, how he kind of gets on us, during practice I hate it but afterwards I know its for the betterment of the team and the betterment of myself."

    (On learning the new position):
    "The terminology is totally different between tackle and tight end and the new coaches. Technique wise it's totally different also. When I first moved I didn't think it was going to be that different, but it turned out it is."

    (On going back to tight end):
    "I know coach Trickett has mentioned to me you're going to have to know some tight end stuff but that was three weeks ago before we started practicing and he hasn't said anything since."

    Legislature Honors Bobby Bowden

    On FSU Day at the state capitol on Thursday, a resolution in the House recognized FSU head football coach Bobby Bowden for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Bowden himself addressed the House from the well of the chamber.

    "Next year will be my 32nd year at Florida State …I feel like I've been very fortunate to coach this long. … If I can just keep ol' T.K. straight over there," Bowden said of Wetherell, former speaker of the House, who was also in the chamber.


    Bobby Bowden's has observed the offensive line practice in his practice-field tower and he likes what he has seen from the offensive line after three practices. “I know this: They like to come off the ball better . . . and getting after people better," Bowden said.

    FSU QB D'Vontrey Richardson has missed most of spring practice because he is playing for Mike Martin's baseball team. He however has the support of both Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Bowden. According to Richardson, Fisher has told him "that it is fine. He talked about how baseball hitting mechanics and football throwing mechanics are the same thing."

    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    FSU Player Focus Profile: Jamaal Edwards

    Things don't always turn out the way we expected. Running back Jaamal Edwards can attest to that. The much heralded back out of North Carolina has not had the kind of college career that he expected-yet.

    Jamaal Edwards has eight carries and 28 yards to show for three seasons at Florida State.

    Not quite the numbers he had at Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley, where he rushed for more than 4,300 yards and 52 touchdowns his last two seasons.

    “Last season, I started off with ... great two-a-days,” Edwards said. “Then I sprained my ACL after about the third game and I missed six weeks - so that's the majority of the season.

    This season is a big event for Edwards who wants to prove that he is a big time back.So now spring practice is a chance for Edwards to show that he can compete with Antone Smith.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Day Three: Spring Practice

    For the first time this spring the Seminole football team put on pads. The team practiced for 28 periods once again but Wednesday they put on shoulder pads and began to hit. FSU football will practice two more times this week. The team goes back to the field this Friday and will scrimmage Saturday.


    • It was a day of firsts for the Seminoles. The team not only put on pads but they worked on special teams for the first time and referees were also on the field.

    • The offense and defense did scout team work to begin the practice.

    • The lines worked on individual blocking while the receivers and defensive backs went up against one another. Christian Ponder and Greg Carr connected and Preston Parker hauled in a ball along the sideline that he skied to catch.

    • In run drills Marcus Sims had two big gainers, Jamaal Edwards broke a tackle and turned in a couple big runs, Pat Davis had a big gainer as did Russell Ball. Xavier Lee broke the pocket for a nice scramble as well. Defensively Neefy Moffett had a tackle behind the line.

    • In pass skel Tony Carter broke up three passes and Michael Ray Garvin, Patrick Robinson and Jamie Robinson had pass break ups as well. Roger Williams hauled in the lone interception. Drew Weatherford hooked up with De'Cody Fagg and he also hit Joslin Shaw deep.

    • In 11-on-11 Moffett had another tackle for loss. Myron Rolle recovered a fumble and had two of the biggest hits, Everette Brown had a tackle for loss and Jamie Robinson had a big tackle at the line of scrimmage. For the offense, Antone Smith had a nice run he busted up the middle and then broke off another long run after breaking a tackle at the line. Weatherford connected with tight end Charlie Graham who turned a short pass into a long gainer after he shed a tackle. Sims turned in another nice run as well.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    "We got shoulder pads and helmets on today and got a little contact. We had some pretty good contact drills. The kids got after it pretty good. They looked like they hustled pretty good. The intensity was a little bit better but I guess that was because they had the pads on."

    on the progress of the quarterbacks

    "They are making progress but they still got a long way to go, no doubt about it. I think the new system is getting them thinking a little bit more than normally you would want them to. You want them to know what they're doing instead of think what they are doing. I think it is because of the new system."

    Defensive lineman Andre Fluellen

    on his impressions of the offensive line so far

    "The intensity they have is way more serious than they had last year. I think a lot of it has to do with the conditioning they have been doing, a lot more conditioning. Just dropping body fat."

    Rover Myron Rolle

    on the secondary leading the defense in 2007

    "I think so. We have everybody coming back so everybody in the secondary has game experience. Coach (Mickey) Andrews is looking for us to make more turnovers this year. That is what we are emphasizing this spring."

    on the expectations for himself as a sophomore

    "I expect to make more plays out there. I expect to be more aggressive. That's the type of player I am. That's the type of player they recruited here at Florida State. I expect to make a lot more big plays."

    on being back in pads

    "It feels real good to be back in the pads. It was physical with our pads off, now we have a license to hit people. It was a very good practice today. Very tough."

    Linebacker Geno Hayes

    on all the attention being focused on the offense so far

    "We have something to prove but you know they got all the new coaches over there. Everyone is expecting them to do big things. They can have all the pub they want but when it is time for us to show up we're going to show up."

    Ponder Turning Heads

    The QB competition in spring practice is not limited to Weatherford and Lee. Freshmen QB Christian Ponder is turning some heads also.

    “Those two guys are doing great. I'm just trying to get better with every chance I have,” Ponder said.

    Ponder has caught the attention of new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jimbo Fisher. And Ponder is excited about the situation.

    “It's awesome,” Ponder said. “It's so much better - getting a lot of individual attention from coach Fisher. He coaches you so much more technique and all the fundamentals. Everything is more up-tempo.”

    Will Ponder be competing for the starting position this year? Only if it snows in Tallahassee in September.

    Miami Hit With Injuries In Spring Practice

    The University of Miami will unveil new uniforms for the 2007 football season, announced head coach Randy Shannon. The new uniforms, crafted by Nike, are similar to those worn for the past three seasons, with a couple of minor aesthetic changes, including different striping on the front and back and wider jersey numbers. The Hurricanes will also wear black shoes, but the traditional white helmet with the split U logo will remain unchanged.


    North Carolina head coach Butch Davis conducted his first official practice as a Tar Heel on Monday afternoon under sunny skies at Carolina's Navy practice fields. Davis was active throughout the two-hour session moving from station to station to work with specific position groups.

    "I was pleased with the effort and enthusiasm of our players," said Davis. "We were fairly efficient and I think we became a better team today. That's our goal, to be better the next day than we were the previous day."

    As the second week of spring practice resumed Tuesday at the University of Miami, at least three position groups were running thin on available players.

    Senior center Derrick Morse wore a brace on his left knee and was doing drills with the injured players. Coach Randy Shannon said Morse is expected to return in ``a day or two.''

    Jason Fox (Achilles' tendon), Tyrone Byrd (knee), Ian Symonette (knee) and AJ Trump (knee) are other offensive linemen out because of injuries.

    With Morse out, UM had just six healthy linemen available. Matt Pipho and Andrew Bain received the majority of reps at center Tuesday.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    No Decision Yet On Kickers' Coach

    Bobby Bowden said he hasn't decided on which coach will take charge of the kickers. That duty belonged to Billy Sexton, who moved to the FSU Foundation after the Emerald Bowl. Defensive ends coach Jody Allen was recently named as the special teams coordinator.


    Wide receiver Greg Carr didn't participate in the 11-on-11 drills on Monday after injuring himself on Friday, but Bowden said it “was nothing major.”

    Freshman defensive end Kevin McNeil watched spring practice on Monday in crutches and with his left foot in a cast, and he was wearing a patch over his right eye. Although he is still pretty banged up physically, it could have been a lot worse. The freshman defensive end was involved in a severe car accident in Missouri a few weeks ago that tragically claimed the life of one of the passengers.

    New Poll

    There is a new poll: What part of Spring Practice are you most interested in this year?

    Poll Results

    Results of the poll: Should FSU grant tight end Brandon Warren his release? was 70% said No.

    Leeps On Motivation

    "Anxious To See Him Scrimmage"

    "To me he was really the surprise of last spring. If I took one guy and said 'this guy surprised me more than anybody' it would be him. So I'm glad to see him get back out there. I'm anxious to see him scrimmage... I haven't seen any limping or anything."
    Bobby Bowden regarding running back Russell Ball

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Spring Practice: Day 2

    The Florida State football team continued spring practice Monday afternoon. The team went 28 periods in shorts as they continue the process of integrating a new system on offense with four new coaches on that side of the ball. After Monday's practice, there will be only one more practice in shorts. The team will be back on the field Wednesday afternoon in shells for the first time.


    • Freshman quarterback D'Vontrey Richardson practiced for the first time this spring.

    • The start of practice was spent in position groups.

    • The quarterbacks worked with the receivers and backs and then the offense worked together as a whole.

    • The offense and the defense did face on numerous occasions. In rush drills Antone Smith had a big run through the middle. Both Jamaal Edwards and Marcus Sims turned in big gainers as well.

    • In 1-v-1 drills on the outside Richardson connected with De'Cody Fagg and Joslin Shaw on a deep ball.

    • In 11-v-11 Smith had big runs on the inside and outside. Budd Thacker registered a tackle for loss and Pat Davis turned in a nice run as well. Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee each connected on passes to Preston Parker who had an impressive practice. Edwards had a strong inside run and Smith broke another big gainer. Lee recorded a big run on a scramble while Eli Charles registered a sack.

    • In pass skeleton Jamie Robinson recorded three pass break ups and Patrick Robinson broke up a pass as well. Weatherford connected with Richard Goodman on a deep ball and Parker caught balls from Weatherford, Lee and Christian Ponder.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    "We made some progress today. The biggest thing we did is missed assignments, busting plays. We have thrown a whole lot at them, a lot of new stuff at them. New names at them. They busted a lot of plays that was the worst thing they did. They hustled good."

    on Jody Allen's new role as special teams coordinator

    "In the first place you have to have somebody that wants to do it. He wanted to do it. He has done such an excellent job with the parts he had last year. I think it is a good move. You have to have somebody that wants to do it, if you don't you divide it.:"

    Quarterback Drew Weatherford

    on his early discussions with new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher

    "Well obviously at first we just got to kind of know each other. (The discussions) weren't really football based as we started to get closer and closer we started to get into more into the logistics of the offense. How things are going to be run and what he expects out of his quarterback. There are certain attributes you have to have to be able to lead a team and if you don't have those you won't play for him."

    Offensive Line Coach Rick Trickett

    on the progress so far

    "We have thrown a lot at them. I am sure their heads are spinning a little bit. We got a long way to go. I see some signs. I think we will get there. We just, right now, we have a lot of work to do. We have to keep sawing that wood."

    Wide Receiver Coach Lawrence Dawsey

    on how the offensive staff is working together

    "I have worked with Jimbo (Fisher) and a lot of these other coaches. Coach Trickett is the one I hadn't really coached with or worked with. I knew him but I had never really worked with him before. By being here since January it feels like I have been around these guys for about 10 years. Everybody is working together and having fun. It doesn't feel like a job right now. Coming out and working and having fun with each other. That's what it is all about. Everybody is after one goal and that is to win a National Championship."

    FSU Retro Look Back:Peter Tom Willis

    Peter Tom Willis played for the Noles from 1985-1989. To many younger Nole fans, Willis is thought of as the hard hitting analyst for the FSU football games on the radio. Since 1998, he has served as the radio color commentator for the Florida State University Seminoles, where he played his collegiate football. Currently working in the broadast booth with him is "the voice of the Seminoles", long time FSU play-by-play announcer Gene Deckerhoff.

    Originally from Morris, Alabama, Willis, who came to FSU from Morris, Alabama, had to bide his time and wait for his chance behind some great Seminole signal callers. In fact, he did not start until his senior year, but he made the most of it by setting a total of 15 new school records in 1989. He surpassed Seminole great, and fellow Hall of Famer, Gary Huff to become Florida State's top single season passer with 3,124 yards. He also set the record for passes completed in a season (211), most 300-yard passing games (six), as well as touchdown passes in a game (six). In addition to a fantastic senior season, Willis set five Florida State career records including best passing efficiency at 148.5.

    Willis' senior season saw the Seminoles lose their first two games before roaring back with 10 straight wins over the likes of Syracuse, Auburn, Miami, and Florida. On a team that many considered the nation's best at year's end, Willis helped put the exclamation point of that notion with a 41-17 win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.

    During his successful senior year in 1989 (his first and only season as the starting quarterback), he led the team to 10 straight victories, including an impressive 41-7 win over the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl. It was also during that year that he set several team passing records.

    After college, he went on to play professional football for the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. Willis was inducted as a member of the Florida State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    2007 Look Ahead: Offensive Line

    The offense has been analyzed from ths perspective of the QBs, running backs, receiver, and tight ends. Perhaps the most significant question for the offense in 2007 will be the offensive line. As they say, it all starts up front. Last year, the running game was lackluster at best. A lot of that can be attributed to the offensive line. That is why Bobby Bowden brought in Rick Trickett.

    Does Trickett have the players present to make this a better offensive line? As Trickett said initially,“I'm not a miracle worker. I'm a harder worker, and so will be the offensive line. If they're scared of hard work, they are going to have a problem.”One thing is sure. The players will be leaner this year.

    Gone: OT Mario Henderson (13 starts); OG Cory Niblock (10 starts); TE Brandon Warren (requested transfer but has not requested an appeal hearing yet); OL coach Mark McHale.

    Coming back: Key players - C John Frady (13 starts); G/C Dumaka Atkins (backup to Frady last season before moving this spring); T Shannon Boatman (12 starts); OT/OG David Overmeyer (4 starts); G Jacky Claude (13 games); T Daron Rose.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    2007 Look Ahead: Defense

    The defense will be starting new players in Spring practice due to injuries. Kevin McNeil, who was the projected starter at left end, is out with a broken foot following a car accident. Walk-on Eli Charles will work in the No. 1 spot. At defensive tackle, Letroy Guion and Justin Mincey will hold down the fort this spring while Emmanuel Dunbar (back) and Paul Griffin (knee) watch from the sideline.

    As stated previously, the biggest change on defense will be at the linebackers position due to the departure of Timmons and Davis.

    The most stable area on defense will be the secondary since every scholarship player is back from last season.Despite the lack of seniors, Mickey Andrews' unit will have lots of game experience. Seven players in the secondary have started multiple games in their careers, and two others, Darius McClure and Patrick Robinson, logged extensive minutes on the field last season. The key for the secondary is to get better than they were last year.

    "Technology Has Forced It"

    "Technology has forced it. A school that has somebody with all of the technology available will get a year ahead of you recruiting. They don't only know the seniors, they also know the juniors and the sophomores. We have been behind in that area. We will catch up now."
    Bobby Bowden regarding the hiring of Bob LaCivita as Football Director Of Player Personnel

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    Noles Hold First Practice

    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."

    Leeps Gets Excited

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    2007 Look Ahead: Linebackers

    188. That is the number of combined tackles that departed linebackers Buster Davis and Lawrence Timmons had for the Noles in 2006. New linebackers coach Chuck Amato will have to find new talent to fill the huge void left by these two great linebackers. Linebacker Geno Hayes who had 59 tackles in 2006 will look to help fill that void.

    The defense is not bare however. A Mickey Andrews defense always has played a lot of players so FSU has a number of quality linebackers that will compete for starting time. Surgeries will keep linebackers Marcus Ball and Derek Nicholson, out of contact for Spring practice.

    “It's exciting to know that you've got a number players returning that have played in key, big ballgames,” said Andrews, who on Friday begins his 24th spring practice as FSU's defensive coordinator. “We had some success last year but not at the level we would want.

    If I know Mickey Andrews and Chuck Amato, FSU will not have a fall off in this area for 2007.