Aug. 22, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida State football team held its 14th day of fall camp Monday morning.
The attention of the coaches and players now turns to Tuesday when the Seminoles will scrimmage inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
"Tomorrow's move day," head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We'll find out the ones that are ready to go and judge the guys we may have to bring along as we go for depth down the road. Tomorrow you'll get a pretty good indication probably of at least who's ready in that opener to have a good chance to help you."
One player that may not be able to help the 'Noles right now is starting tailback Chris Thompson, who has either missed time or has been wearing a no-contact jersey this fall while resting a sore back that sidelined him this past spring.
Fisher said Monday that Thompson could be out for an extended amount of time but the 'Noles should be alright at running back with seniors Ty Jones and Jermaine Thomas returning.
"Hopefully he'll get back but if he doesn't there's very capable guys," Fisher said. "Those other guys are playing good."
While Thompson misses time, two other starters actually returned Tuesday. Offensive linemen David Spurlock (full) and Zebrie Sanders (limited) both participated for a unit that has had some injury concerns through the duration of camp.
MANUEL A STARTER ON AND OFF THE FIELD
As Christian Ponder's backup the last two seasons, EJ Manuel had the opportunity to play as an injury replacement in several games and gain invaluable experience that he will now use as FSU's full-time starter at quarterback.
But there is one component of being a quarterback that Manuel wasn't able to experience very much of the last few years and it involves his responsibilities off the field -- particularly the media aspect.
As the starting quarterback for an elite Division I football program, Manuel must meet with the media at least once per week in a press-conference setting and he generally is required to speak after each game during the regular season. He's oftentimes the headliner of sports articles and reports on television. His photo and action shots are splashed across web pages, magazines and newspapers.
He even had to make an appearance at the ACC's annual media day in Pinehurst, NC last month.
There's a lot of pressure and expectations when your'e the face of a team but FSU's redshirt junior signal-caller is up for the challenge.
"It's been good," Manuel said. "This all just comes with the territory. I am embrace it and understand it's part of being the starting quarterback at Florida State."
Manuel's attitude about his responsibilities on and off the field is a credit to his personality.
Just ask Fisher.
"He's a great person. Not talking about the student or the player, he's a great person," Fisher said. "He has great core values in what he does and what he believes in. I think he exhibits those to his teammates and I think his teammates respect him for who he is as a person. Secondly, he's a great student that represents himself well in the classroom. He is such a competitive guy. He can process information and make decisions. He's very athletic and plays with great toughness. I think he has a chance to have a great career."
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Two recruiting classes into his tenure as head coach at FSU, it's clear that Fisher has a specific methodology when it comes to restocking a roster. Combined, the Seminoles' 2010 and '11 recruiting classes have featured 27 defensive players.
"I'm the only head coach in America that recruits more defensive players that he does offense," Fisher said. "Defense wins championships."
If that's the case, the 'Noles appear poised to compete for a title.
Through fall camp, the Seminoles' defensive unit has been strong on all three levels from the defensive line to the secondary.
And according to Fisher, that all starts up front where FSU has built tremendous depth at the defensive tackle position and boasts a menacing four-man rotation on the ends. Fisher knows what those players can do because he's seen it at practice. Now, he wants to see them perform at a high level each game this season.
"You're never a great team until you're great on defense," Fisher said. "And you're never great on defense until the guys who put their hand in the dirt are great."
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF
There are just 12 days until Florida State's season-opening game against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 3. In celebration, here's a photo of wide receiver Jarred Haggins, who switched from No. 36 to 12 for his sophomore season: