April 5, 2009
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- You cheered when the Seminoles trotted through the north endzone onto Bobby Bowden Field.
You then shouted with approval when the offense and defense made plays. You also let former FSU standouts Graham Gano and Everette Brown hear your appreciation for their years of hard work when they were honored at halftime.
There's no about it, you made your presence felt.
All 36,000 of you.
Kudos to the fans who came out in droves this past Saturday to take in the sights and sounds of the Garnet & Gold game on the campus of Florida State University.
The 2009 edition of the annual spring game will go down as one of the most exciting in recent memory. From the classic cars on display on Langford Green to the pre-game barbecue contest to the post-game fireworks and everything in between, the atmosphere in and around Doak Campbell Stadium on a beautiful Tallahassee afternoon won't soon be forgotten.
Just ask the Seminole players.
"It was nice to finally get out there and play in front of our fans," redshirt senior safety Jamie Robinson said. "We have closed scrimmages inside Doak so the stands are empty. But it was real good to come out and see so many people that just wanted to see us play. Just being out there under the lights and hearing the crowd cheer makes us feel good and gets us pumped up for the season."
For a team that is looking to build off a nine-win 2008 season by returning to a BCS Bowl Game, every little bit helps.
And filling up just over a third of Doak Campbell Stadium for an intra-squad scrimmage to show support for the start of that quest is a big deal.
"I was surprised to see so many people out there," said sophomore wide receiver Jarmon Fortson, who hauled in a crowd-pleasing 65-yard touchdown pass from redshirt junior quarterback Christian Ponder early in the spring game. "The crowd was real loud and we just fed off of that."
Saturday marked Fortson's first-career spring game and it was also the first for sophomore linebacker Nigel Bradham, whose 45-yard fumble return for a score was one of several big plays made by the defense.
But while Fortson and Bradham had the opportunity to play in Tallahassee in front of screaming FSU fans a season ago as true freshmen, several of their classmates that redshirted did not.
Robinson, who is one of six fifth-year players on the 2009 FSU football team, points out just how valuable a raucous home crowd in the spring can be for young players.
"Anytime young guys without much experience get to practice and play in an atmosphere like this it is really good for them," he said. "It was great because there were so many people here it was almost like it was a real game. The young players get that first impression of being on the field in front of a lot of people and it carries over to the season.
"They get a feeling for what it's going to be like to run out of that tunnel and hear that crowd."
With six home games scheduled for the 2009 campaign - including a season-opening Labor Day showdown with Miami on Sept. 7 - the Seminoles have the privilege to run through that historic tunnel and hear that roar again five months from now.
And they know you all will be there showing your support in big numbers. Just like you were doing on Saturday and just like you will be doing this fall.
So here's to you, the fans of all things FSU football.
See you in September. Go 'Noles!
Need your Seminole football fix even after spring practice concludes later this week? Stay tuned to Seminoles.com as we will highlight a different position on the team each week leading into the summer months. We will start things off on Monday, April 13 with a look at the quarterback position.