TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A light drizzle fell as the Florida State football team walked off the Al Dunlap Practice Fields Tuesday night under the lights after lengthy workout in full gear.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher called it an “efficient day” and was especially pleased with the way the Seminoles continued their preparation for Saturday’s Sunshine Showdown with Florida at Doak Cambpell Stadium (3:30 p.m., ABC).
“The kids were really focused and locked in, but not overly (so) as far as emotionally,” Fisher said. “They were very business-like, and I was very proud of that. You don’t get too much emotion in so you wear yourself out during the week. …
“I like where we’re going; liked the attitude.”
It’s just another indication of the maturity the Seminoles have displayed since the start of camp.
While the fans bases on either side have been caught up in the debate over how a pair of 10-1 teams can be separated by six positions in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings, Fisher and the ‘Noles have largely steered clear of the debate this week. Florida climbed to No. 4 in the only ranking that matters when it comes to national championship implications, while FSU is locked in at No. 10 for the third consecutive week.
Fisher candidly addressed the “respect” card – or lack of it – that is linked directly to those disparate rankings.
“If you play well you get respect,” he said. “If you don’t play well you don’t get respect. That’s the way it is. We have to play the game and play it well. You don’t play it up. Those kids know that. They know when they go into a battle with Florida and we’re both in the Top 10 that you have to do that. I don’t think it’s something you really have to push.”
The Seminoles have handled their business since suffering their lone blemish at NC State on Oct. 6, rattling off five consecutive victories; three of them on the road. The Gators have rebounded from their lone defeat – at the hands of Georgia on Oct. 27 – with three consecutive wins.
FSU, however, has demonstrated its resolve since preseason camp began. They have not only overcome the preseason dismissal of senior defensive back/return specialist Greg Reid, but also the losses of All-American defensive end Brandon Jenkins in the opening game and senior tailback Chris Thompson at Miami, to season-ending injuries.
A win over the rival Gators on Saturday would secure the Seminoles their first 11-win season since 2000. The Florida State record for victories in a season is 12, set by the 1999 national championship squad (12-0).
“That’s why I’m encouraged about where we’re going, because a year ago (losing) guys of that magnitude we could not sustain those hits,” Fisher said. “We were a team and we weren’t old enough and mature enough to handle those. As you become a program you can usually take those hits … and still be able to perform at the level we’ve performed. I’m very proud of those guys.”
Stoops a finalist for national Defensive Coordinator of the Year
Third-year Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was selected as one of five finalists for the national Defensive Coordinator of the Year Award, presented by FootballScoop.com and title sponsor, ProGrass.
Stoops’ unit is the only FBS defense to rank inside the top five in four major defensive categories: first in total defense (236.3 ypg), fifth in scoring defense (13.09 ppg), first in rushing defense (70.6 ypg) and third in passing efficiency defense (96.62). The Seminoles also lead the nation in allowing first downs (13.27 pg) and on third down conversions (25.0).
The other four finalists are Notre Dame’s Bob Diaco, Stanford’s Derek Mason, Alabama’s Kirby Smart and Florida’s Dan Quinn. The winner be selected by previous winners of the award – Nick Holt (USC, 2008), Smart (Alabama, 2009), Vic Fangio (Stanford, 2010) and John Chavis (LSU, 2011) – will be announced on Dec. 4, and recognized at the American Football Coaches Association’s annual convention in January.
Charlie Ward to sign autographs on Langford Green Saturday
Florida State legend Charlie Ward, who led the Seminoles to the 1993 National Championship and won the Heisman Trophy, will sign autographs on Langford Green from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday after participating in a “Chalk Talk” session from 1-1:30.
Ward is participating in Sports Illustrated’s Heisman Tour Presented by Nissan, which is making one of 10 stops on a national tour of marquee matchups this season. Admission to the interactive Tour is free and fans can pick up a Sports Illustrated special edition – “Running to Greatness” – with Ward gracing the cover.