Nov. 4, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – While most of America was wrapped up in the presidential election, it was business as usual Tuesday afternoon for the 24th-ranked FSU football team. The Seminoles spent 22 periods on the practice fields getting their first look at Clemson. The players were told to take care of casting their votes before they came to meetings early this afternoon and then turn their focus to Dabo Swinney’s Tigers.
· Most of practice was spent with both the offense and defense working versus scout teams.
· 1-on-1 took place inside the 20 and Drew Weatherford connected with Preston Parker. E.J. Manuel connected twice with Rod Owens and once with Cameron Wade. Dionte Allen broke up a pass for the defense.
· In pass rush Zebrie Sanders won a couple battles and Rodney Hudson, Antwane Greenlee, Brandon Davis, Andrew Datko, Ryan McMahon and David Spurlock also had wins. Markus White had a great drill with three wins and was the only defensive lineman to win multiple battles. Everette Brown, Everett Dawkins. Moses McCray, Toshmon Stevens and Paul Griffin all got to the QB.
· In skeleton, Christian Ponder and Preston Parker connected on the biggest play of the drill as he went deep to the junior for a TD. Ponder also found Marcus Sims, Taiwan Easterling and Greg Carr. Drew Weatherford hit Easterling, Ja’Baris Little, Louis Givens and Owens twice.
· In 11-on-11 Ponder found Parker once again and then completed a great pass to Easterling that the freshman turned into a big gain after he hauled in the ball. Weatherford connected with Corey Surrency and Cameron Wade. Ty Jones and Jermaine Thomas had big runs. For the defense White and Brown had sacks and Toddrick Verdell had a QB pressure.
Head Coach Bobby Bowden
“For some reason, we threw and caught better today than a long time. I hope we can protect our passer Saturday. That will be the biggest challenge I think, is protecting our passer ‘cause their defense is very strong and big and good athletes. They’ve got a lot of skill on offense. They’ve got guys that can fly on offense.”
On last year’s offensive linemen who made their first starts against Clemson in 2007:
“That’s true, that’s exactly right, against a very good defensive football team and if you remember, we had our chance to win it in the fourth quarter. We were down on the 20, first and 10 with a six-point deficit which means if we scored and kicked the extra point, we’d probably win the game and they sacked us a couple of times.”
On how the team has recovered from Saturday’s loss:
“I haven’t seen any let down at all. I saw good spirit out there today. This has been a good group of kids as far as willingness to work. They come out to work. You don’t have to prod them that much.”
On what you discovered after watching film:
“That’s what that film is for, boy, to look at your mistakes. And every play, there might be one mistake that caused you to fail, just one mistake, not like 11 guys, just one mistake.”
On Greg Carr not having much success against Clemson in the past:
“Every receiver would like to get that ball and they’d like to get it a lot. We’ve got so many of them, we can’t get to all of them. I’d love to see him (Greg) finish his career with some good catches.”
Wide Receiver Greg Carr
On Christian Ponder:
“We just know Christian is going to make his reads and when he has to run, he’s going to run, when he has to sit in there, he’s going to sit in there. We trust him regardless of the situation. We know he’s going to go in there and make the right decision and lead us down the field.”
Linebacker Toddrick Verdell
On the first day getting ready for Clemson:
“So far (our preparation for Clemson) has gone pretty good. We have been studying a lot of film. We just have to tackle from the line of scrimmage and when they (C.J. Spiller and James Davis) come out of the backfield we have to attack them because they do have great speed and quickness and they are both very talented. Our game plan is to come in a tackle.”
On the mood in the locker room after Saturday’s loss
“That’s how it is when you lose. We had some guys that were hurting because that is a devastating way to lose in the manner that we did. But it’s not going to affect us. We are going to come out, have good preparations this week and look forward to coming out and playing well.”
Kicker Graham Gano
ON his health:
“It’s getting there (his leg injuries); I still have a few pulled muscles but it is something I am getting treatment on and it’s getting better.”
Is there more strain on your leg when you kick off?
“Yes, there is a little bit more strain but that’s what I’m saying about having to get in there (the training room) on Sunday and get some treatment and have to get extra treatment. I have to take care of it and not kick too much during the week.
Where you disappointed about not getting to kick to end the game on Saturday?
“It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for everybody. But I was hoping to kick an extra point – not for the tie but for the win. Yes, I wish I could have gotten out there and kicked it either way.”
On being named a Groza Award Semifinalist
“Yes, it’s pretty exciting. I have always wanted to be on the Groza list. It’s exciting. I’ve dreamed of it (having a great season) but I just need to keep it up because I didn’t think that this would happen. I’m just doing what I do in practice and just can’t really think about it during the game. I just come out and when you kick you don’t really try to think about many things. You just go out there and do what you do in practice.”