TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Slipping into their shoulder pads in the dark before dawn Thursday, the Florida State football team continued its acclimatization period, with its first two-a-day session right around the corner.
Junior safety Lamarcus Joyner was raring to go, inspiring his teammates as the ‘Noles filed onto the Al Dunlap Practice Fields for their second consecutive 5:30 a.m. practice, aimed at beating the torrential rains that have pounded Tallahassee each afternoon this week.
“If it rains every day from 12-7, you got to go at 5:30,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said, at the conclusion of the two-hour session. “I hate it for getting the kids in bed and your meeting times and it does rearrange your whole schedule, especially when you are still in school but the same time we got to practice. We wouldn’t have practiced the last two days if we would have practiced at our normal time so you got to do what you got to do. It’s good, it gets it over with then you meet the rest of the day and take off.”
And it sure doesn’t hurt to have players like Joyner leading the early-morning charge.
“He is always awake and he wants to play,” Fisher said. “He had great energy. He is always like that though. Whatever practice there is about six, eight, 10 guys on your team that are always those Energizer Bunny type of guys. Nothing ever seems to tire them and he’s definitely one of them.”
Joyner seems to enjoy the role; part of his growing responsibility as a team leader.
“Today was great,” Joyner said. “Yesterday we had to get acclimated to the practice schedule, but coming back again, [knowing] what to expect, it was a great day. To see a lot of guys feeding off the energy that I brought out there today is just a great feeling. I have to be more of a leader and expect to embrace that role this year.”
There was a noticeably different tone to Thursday’s workout as the ‘Noles followed their somewhat routine schedule, alternating individual and team periods. Fisher’s tone, however, was raised a notch; not unlike the expectations that shadow the seventh-ranked Seminoles heading toward the 2012 season.
“We had a little longer type day today because we got to go really hard,” Fisher said. “It will be a good solid day tomorrow then we got a two-a-day Saturday, which will be a really hard day. So you got to be careful how you manage where you are going with them.”
Collectively, however, there seems to be a universal destination these ‘Noles are targeting.
“We’re trying to take this program in a different direction,” Joyner said. “Everybody was ready for it. We’re trying win. Whatever the head man wants, that’s what we’re going do. We’re going to do what we’ve got to do to win. If that means coming in at 4:30 – coming in an hour earlier – that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Seminoles will practice again Friday at 5:30 a.m. – albeit a light session - then go at it twice on Saturday, including the first action in full pads.
· For the third consecutive year, Football Fan Day – set for Sunday from 12-2 p.m. at Donald L. Tucker Center – will be followed by an open practice at Doak Campbell Stadium. The gates will open at 3 p.m. with the action set to begin at 4:15 p.m. It’s all free of charge.
· Former walk-on Chris Revell has been awarded a scholarship for the 2012 football season. Revell, a junior from Tallahassee (Chiles), will be handling the place-holding chores this season.
· Florida State senior defensive end Brandon Jenkins has been selected as a preseason, second-team All-American by SI.com.
Additional comments from FSU coach Jimbo Fisher
On Thursday’s practice:
“Solid work day, not enough consistency on offense but gave up too many big plays on defense…so it’s not enough consistency in general but it’s the fourth day and that’s probably where it’s going to be. It was a good physical day…like the way we did some things. Our effort is good. We got to execute better on both sides of the ball as we learn what to do. We got a lot of young guys out there and getting in some key positions. We are moving some guys here and there trying to try some things to see where they are at and what we can make adjustments with. Effort is very good. Consistency has to get much better. I think that was the theme of the day.”
On how the players are handling the early practices:
“They come to work. We don’t have bad guys in that respect. When it’s time to work, they work. They do what they are supposed to do…we just got to execute a little better on some things but as far as their attitude and work ethic, if we practice at 3:00 they’d be fine at 3:00.”
On how much you throw at young quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Sean McGuire:
“Everything. Throw it on the wall, see what sticks. Find out who can play and what they can handle. Then you go back…we’ll go back and review everything. After we stick everything in, then we’ll go back and break it down again and review it all the way through. It’s a whole part, a whole system. Throw it all at them then break it down individually again, see what they retain as you go through it and you get more detailed with things as you go…if you don’t you’ll never get things in. We put them right in the same mix and we’ll temper some of the calls. We won’t make as many options in a call that they (the older QB’s) would have…but to get them a base understanding of what goes on. We’ll script a little differently for those two.”
On RB Lonnie Pryor’s role:
“He’s going to play tailback and he was anyway in our one back stuff…when he’s like the way he is now in that 225, 227 pound range that’s really what he is. We will definitely get him some work and we did today.”
On WR Rashad Greene’s recovery from his appendectomy:
“It’s amazing how quick the recovery time was and he was never out of shape so he got back real quick and he’s a hard worker. We’re glad to have him out there.”
On what he wants to see from the receivers as a group:
“Consistency, routes, consistency. I’d rather see them do one thing real good all the time…and quarterbacks, I think we just got to get our passing game, which usually happens early. I mean that takes more timing when you get everyone together. Seven-on-seven is one thing. The ball don’t hit the ground but in 11-on-11 you miss a block, you hit a route, all the different combinations and that’s typical. We had some nice plays. Hit a couple nice plays. Just more consistency.
“Balls in the air, it’s our ball. How’d the ‘Fab Four’ get their name? They didn’t get it cause they caught the balls they were supposed to. They got it because they caught the ones that were tough. That’s what I want. When the ball’s in the air to the receiver, you get a lot of guys that can catch the ball. I can go out there and hand it to them and they can make a play. That’s easy. I mean you got to make plays when guys are being tightly covered and use your size and power and physical over people. That’s the way the game goes.”
On how WR Kelvin Benjamin has benefitted from his lowered body fat (10%):
“Tons…burst off the ball into his route. His endurance…His body quickness. When he gets in and out of his cut now he’s more like a little guy…I like where he’s coming. I like his attitude and where he’s pushing himself right now.”
On CB Nick Waisome:
“He’s been good. We’ve been rotating there at corner with some different guys. Nick’s a competitor. He’s a very good athlete. We loved him coming out. He ought to have a big role for us this year, been doing a good job.”