Sept. 1, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Monday usually means a late night practice to make corrections following Saturday’s game. With no game on Saturday and Monday being a national holiday, the Seminole football team held an early practice today. The team worked for 24 periods in pads on the practice fields. This was the first day of Western Carolina week as the scout team was out in gold jerseys and a large majority of the practice was spent working versus the Catamounts.
· Antone Smith got off to a good start during inside. The senior captain took the first hand-off of the drill to the endzone. He also had another nice run. Carlton Jones had two nice runs, one of which was a tough run up the middle. Derek Nicholson and Nigel Bradham had nice stops while Kendrick Stewart and Kenny Ingram had tackles for loss.
· In 1-on-1 Terrance Parks and Korey Mangum had pass break-ups. Christian Ponder hit Bert Reed, Jarmon Fortson and Louis Givens. D’Vontrey Richardson connected with Givens, Preston Parker (who was in a gold scout team jersey) and Fortson. He also had the highlight completion of the drill as Avis Commack went up and over his defender to pull in a Richardson TD. E.J. Manuel completed passes to Parker and Rod Owens.
· In pass rush Ryan McMahon and Rodney Hudson won multiple battles while Zebrie Sanders, Rhonne Sanderson and David Spurlock got wins as well. For the defense Kevin McNeil, Paul Griffin and Markus White had multiple sacks. Budd Thacker, Moses McCray, Neefy Moffett, Benjamin Lampkin and Justin Mincey all got to the QB as well.
· In skeleton Drew Weatherford completed two passes to Bert Reed and also found Fortson, Louis Givens and Antone Smith. Ponder had strikes to Taiwan Easterling, Jones, Cameron Wade and Fortson. Nigel Bradham had the lone break-up for the defense.
· The defense had most of the highlights in 11-on-11. Stewart had a QB pressure as did Nicholson, Ingram, Darius McClure and Bradham. Lampkin had a tackle at the point of attack but Toddrick Verdell had the biggest play bursting into the backfield and sniffing out a reverse and wrapping up for the tackle for loss. The best play for the offense came on a deep bomb from Weatherford to Fortson. Richardson completed a pass to Greg Carr and Ponder found Fortson. Smith had a great run that he broke to the outside.
· In goal line the offense was 2-for-4 with both TDs coming on one-yard TD plunges by Joe Surratt. The two plays from the three resulted in an incomplete pass and a tackle in the backfield on Jones.
Head Coach Bobby Bowden
“They were a little bit more attentive today and I think that’s natural. All of a sudden you have got game week coming up. Sometimes its hard, when you have been practicing, and you haven’t got a game, you don’t get quite as excited. I thought today they picked it up and went at it pretty good. Looked like we threw and caught pretty decent today.”
Have you made a decision on your starting quarterback yet?
“I haven’t. Jimbo’s getting paid to do that. Has he? He hasn’t said anything yet to me.”
Was it easy to get their attention after the results of the weekend?
“I think so. I think they see those games and see what happens and see who is intense and who is not intense, who is laying it on the line and who is not laying it on the line. I think they see that.”
On the weekend results for the ACC?
“That’s only one weekend; that could change – they could win every game next week and all of a sudden that changes. So, that just goes from game to game and season to season. There might be some seasons where you get dominated. But then there are also seasons were you dominate, too. That’s one game and one weekend.”
What are your thoughts on the offensive line?
“Well, I see a lot of kids that are giving a lot of effort. The offensive line coach is beginning to see where everybody ought to be playing. I think he (coach Rick Trickett) moved (Joe) Tonga over to right tackle this week and he moved (Zebrie) Sanders over to left tackle and he felt like it was a better fit. He is still finding things like that out. It only took him two weeks. They are working hard and they are going to have to win buy hustle. They are not as big as you’d like yet but they can move and their attitude seems to be real good. They are very competitive in there.”
The play up front (offensive and defensive lines) was critical in games played last weekend.
“The two things I saw that really determined the winner of the games were the offensive and defensive lines – the line of scrimmage – or the quarterback. I saw some very average quarterbacks last week that could not move their football team. If they didn’t get a blocked punt or a punt return for a touchdown or picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, they couldn’t score. That jumped out at me. You better have a quarterback that can do dome things. Then of course, if you want to win the ball game, do it up front.”
Where is your confidence level in your team?
“We won’t find out until we play and continue to play. Our schedule gets tougher and tougher and tougher as it goes. So we’ll just have to watch and see now how the respond in a ball game. I see how they respond in practice and their effort is good. Their inexperience shows but their effort is good. Execution – execution is going to be the key of the early games especially.”
On a completely new snapper-holder-punter-kicker combination
“We will find out. We will find out in the game how they operate. I’ve got a feeling they might hit a couple of bad ones and get the nervousness out. I remember when we had (Scott) Bentley – you remember Bentley? I remember he was on the front page of Sports Illustrated and he came in here as a freshman kicker and he was supposed to be the answer. And it ended up he was; we won the national championship with him, with his kicks. But I remember his first ball game – he kicked off and nearly whiffed. He nearly whiffed his kickoff. It was just nerves. Those things you expect can happen, you hope they don’t happen, but if it does they will learn from it and they won’t let it happen again.”
Have the kicking units taken extra reps in practice?
“We probably have worked on the kicking game live more than we have any time I can remember. Jody (Allen) is handing that and he has done a real good job of getting the field goals live, the punts live and I think we have done more work on that this year than I can remember in the past.”
Wide Receiver Preston Parker
On the offense’s progression:
“It’s coming along real well. It’s the same thing, but he (Coach Fisher) expects us to know it already. We just have to get to know our playbooks and just know it and help people out who don’t know it. Like me, I still need to look at my books even though I’m still a vet I still miss a lot of assignments. He just wants perfection so we don’t have to hesitate to think about the plays.”
Safety Jamie Robinson
On the weekend’s football games:
“I watched a lot of college football this Saturday. The ACC teams really didn’t do to good this past weekend. You really can’t go off of that it’s the first game. We would like to say that it’s going to be easy so that’s when you get in trouble because we feel like its going to be easy we might let up a little bit. We will have that in the back of our minds knowing how the ACC teams played but we still are going to work.”