Sept. 15, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In a three-week span, Florida State freshman quarterback Will Secord has served as the left-handed version of Miami's Jacory Harris, Jacksonville State's Ryan Perrilloux and at the moment, BYU's Max Hall.
While Secord is slated to take a redshirt season, his work - and those of the other members of the scout teams - plays a vital role as the Seminoles prepare to face No. 7 Brigham Young, Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The Seminoles spent most of Tuesday's, 22-period practice working against the scout teams simulating the Cougars' 3-4, blitz-heavy defense and their pass-happy, spread-like offense. The more accurately they can resemble BYU's defensive and offensive units, the better prepared the 'Noles will be when game time arrives in Provo, Utah, where the Cougars are working on an 18-game, home winning streak.
"Overall we looked ragged doing it," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said of Tuesday's work against the scout teams. "That's usually what happens. Tomorrow the kids will go in and look at that film and try to polish that thing up. That's what we spent most of our time on today."
Familiarity and repetition work hand-in-hand in the preparation process as the Seminoles face a decidedly different team than they've seen to this point. Bowden, however, is quite comfortable with quarterback Christian Ponder's ability to recognize the correct defense and execute accordingly.
That will be critical against a veteran BYU defense which is allowing just 213.5 yards and 8 points a game.
While the scout team offense can't approach replicating BYU's offensive line, which averages 317 pounds a man, the work against the Cougars' scheme is especially important since the Seminoles' two-deep defense features 12 freshmen or sophomores. Four of those youngsters - Moses McCray, Jacobbi McDaniel, Everrett Dawkins and Demonte McAllister - figure in interior defensive line coach Odell Haggins' plans.
"Having all those young guys in there has been a blessing," Haggins said. "They've got a lot to learn, but they've been doing a good job."
And learning what to expect from the opposition is a significant part of the early-week practice sessions. Especially when the opposing offense is piling up 442 yards a game.
"You hope that every week you get better," Bowden said "You hope that every week, you saw what your mistakes were, and you can improve. That's usually what happens. It takes time. You don't know when it's going to happen. You hope it happens now and everything begins to fit together and we quit letting people slip through for uncontested touchdowns. That comes with playing, getting experience and kids learning to be in the right place."
Bowden is hopeful that a productive week of practice will fully prepare the Seminoles to face a BYU team he described as big, physical and mature.
"They (BYU) know what their doing," he added. "We'll have to really execute good against them."