Aug. 20, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Greg Reid affirmed it best last week.
"We are trying to win a national championship!" Florida State's junior cornerback shouted as he and his teammates walked off the Al Dunlap Practice Fields.
Reid wasn't upset that practice was over. He was upset that it never even started.
After warming up and stretching before another day of organized preparation for the 2011 college football season, lightning in the area halted the Seminoles' practice and forced everyone back inside. It was the second weather delay of the week and, if the history of Tallahassee weather is any guide, surely not the last one that FSU will experience this season.
But the days of Mother Nature costing the 'Noles valuable practice time appear to be over. The impending construction of a brand new indoor practice facility will see to that.
"Every afternoon we have a thunderstorm that comes through," FSU Athletics Director Randy Spetman said. "It might go through quickly but the loss of an hour [of practice time], we only get 20 hours a week with these student-athletes. We can't afford to lose that time; it's very valuable time. We've got to keep them focused and keep the energy level up and make sure that we are successful."
The new facility will not only provide the Seminoles a reprieve from the elements, it will also allow the players an area to hone their skills individually throughout the year with no mind for what the weather conditions are like outside. It will give the Seminoles a safe area to improve and will be an added draw for a program that has already has a lot to tout.
Football recruiting has always been strong at FSU but it's been especially potent the last two years. From top to bottom, the Seminoles are on the uptick and the addition of a new facility will only help bolster the recruiting efforts of Fisher and his staff. Recruits visiting campus will get to see that they will have every opportunity to improve as football players at Florida State.
Once the players are enrolled and in school, having an indoor practice facility will also help in the classroom. If the Seminoles aren't delayed at practice because of weather, they won't be delayed in study hall.
When Oklahoma comes to town on Sept. 17 for the biggest non-conference game of the college football season, Seminole Boosters will take the final step before breaking ground on the new facility. At that time, the Capital Campaign will be unveiled as fundraising efforts move from the private sector to the public sector.
There's no doubt that the time is now for the FSU football program. With this final fundraising step, the same is true for the construction of the new facility.
Preliminary images provided by Ellerbe Becket design firm.