Seminoles Begin To Gear Up For ACC Showdown At N.C. State

By: FSU Sports Communications
By: FSU Sports Communications

Tallahassee, FL - Florida State was back in full pads for Wednesday’s practice, just eight days before the Seminoles travel to NC State for a pivotal Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division showdown.

After a day in shorts, the Seminoles went at it for 2 ½ hours on the practice field, culminating with some additional conditioning. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he’s using the open week to re-emphasize fundamentals, sharpen skills and introduce some of the plan for facing the Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C.

“You’ve got to get the rust off,” Fisher said. “You’ve got to get them out practicing fast. They’ve been out of pads for about three days and they’ve got to get banging. … They haven’t played since Saturday. It was a good work day.”

For the second consecutive day, second-team quarterback EJ Manuel received all of the work with the first-team offense and quarterback Christian Ponder continues to recover from a swollen right arm. Fisher described Manuel’s work as a “solid day,” and was also encouraged by Ponder’s progress.

“(The swelling) is coming down good and we’ve been pleased with the progress with it,” said Fisher, who expects to have Ponder back in the thick of the practice mix by Saturday.

While most of the focus has been on self-improvement, Fisher said the Seminoles have also begun to install some of their plan for the Wolfpack, introducing much of it to the scout teams.

“We put some of the things in we think will be the problem areas and some of the base things we’ll do,” Fisher said. “We didn’t go extensively into it.”

The pace of installation will undoubtedly pick up throughout the week as the Seminoles prepare to face an offense, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, who leads the ACC in passing offense and total offense. At least defensively, the additional time will be spent on finding ways to contain Wilson, who has tossed a league-leading 18 touchdown passes and is averaging 332 total yards per game.

“He’s an athlete and he’s very accurate with his throws,” said FSU junior linebacker Nigel Bradham. “His feet – what he can do on the ground – is just incredible. You never know what’s going to happen when he’s back there because he’s such a playmaker.”

To that end, Fisher doesn’t mind having the additional preparation time.

“Anytime you can get more it’s better,” Fisher said. “They’re similar to some other teams we’ve played and we do a lot of things that they do, so (the defense) gets a lot of looks at it from us. Anytime you get more time it’s always better.

“You have to be careful, though. Sometimes if you get more time, you get more complicated … and you can start chasing ghosts, too. You’ve got to be careful in an off-week not to add so much that it gets too crazy.”

Ponder one of 10 finalists for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award

Florida State senior quarterback Christian Ponder was selected today as one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Ponder has posted notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. He is one of four ACC players who made the list of finalists.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates that was announced in August. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website through December 6. Fans can vote for Ponder at www.seniorCLASSaward.com, which will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner. The winner will be announced on Jan. 10, 2011 prior to the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game.


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