Oct. 19, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State football team returned to the practice field Tuesday after a two-day hiatus from football.
With the Seminoles idle until traveling to NC State a week from Thursday, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher gave his team a couple days to recover from Saturday's physical, 24-19 victory over Boston College.
"For me, personally, it's huge," FSU quarterback Christian Ponder said of the two-day break. "You need kind of a mental break from football; to step away."
The rare open weekend on the schedule will provide Ponder and a number of his teammates to recover from physical ailments. Ponder ruptured the bursa sac in his right elbow and according to Fisher, won't be getting a lot of physical repetitions in practice until the weekend.
Despite the physical nicks and dings, Fisher came away from the Boston College game even more convinced the Seminoles - who debuted at No. 17 in Sunday's inaugural BCS rankings - are moving in the right direction. While the victory was far from aesthetically pleasing, it supported Fisher's long-held theory that playing well in timely situations - on both sides of the football - can produce victories when your team is not at its best.
"We all scratched, clawed; that's what I'm excited about," Fisher said. "We're playing well as a team.
"I'm more encouraged coming out of this ballgame than coming out of the Miami game. ...We figured out how to win when we didn't have our A-game."
The Seminoles produced two touchdowns and a field goal on three trips into the Boston College red zone. The Eagles also converted three scoring opportunities, but were forced to settle for three field goals in the face of a determined defensive effort. FSU's defense did not allow BC to net positive yardage on nine plays from inside the Seminoles' 20-yard line. The Eagles finished with minus-two yards in 18 plays on the FSU side of the 50-yard line.
As a result, Florida State heads to NC State in a week with a chance to seize control of its destiny in the ACC Atlantic Division race. The Seminoles (6-1 overall) are 4-0 in league play for the first time since 2003 and have their first five-game winning streak since 2005. NC State (5-2, 2-1 ACC) and Maryland (4-2, 1-1) are the only divisional opponents with just one conference loss.
"I can't remember, since I've been here, being at the point that we are now," said Ponder, who arrived at FSU in 2006. "It's definitely a positive, but at the same time, we've got a target on our backs."
As for the sub-par performance against the Eagles, Fisher said:
"It happens in athletics. I'm not excusing it. ... If you allow it once, you will allow it twice. You can never accept it."
That is exactly why Fisher and his staff spent Tuesday's workout - in shorts and helmets - stressing fundamentals.