TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It’s the kind of question that might appear on one of those brain teaser tests.
If Sunday is actually Tuesday in Florida State’s restructured football practice week and Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles are ahead of schedule, what day is it?
In actuality, it isn’t a trick question, but merely affirmation that the Seminoles are full speed ahead in preparation for Thursday night’s ESPN game at NC State.
Fisher has been more than pleased the way his team has prepared to this point for the pivotal ACC Atlantic Division match-up, which will go a long way toward determining the divisional representative in Dec. 4 conference championship game.
“The kids worked really hard,” Fisher said, following Sunday’s 2 ½-hour session. “They came out with a good attitude, got work in, threw and caught the ball really nice, ran the ball, the defense made some good plays. I was pleased.”
Handling a practice schedule that was altered to make best use of the 12-day window between the Boston College game on Oct. 16 and the visit to NC State, the Seminoles have taken the changes in stride. FSU practiced in full pads on Sunday for the first time since Fan Day on Aug. 9, with no ill effects.
“I’m telling you, they came in and clocked in and clocked out,” Fisher said. “They hit that time clock, did what they had to do and were where they had to be. … (Saturday) they were flying around like crazy. I felt pretty good.”
So was quarterback starting Christian Ponder, who worked out for the second consecutive day after sitting out Tuesday through Thursday, to allow his swollen elbow and forearm to settle down. Ponder, who ruptured the bursa sac in his passing arm against Boston College, drew praise from Fisher for the second day in a row.
“He threw real well,” Fisher said. “I was shocked. I thought there might be a little soreness [from Saturday]. He was a lot better. I was very pleased with the way he practiced.”
Ponder’s ability to make all the throws necessary in practice has put Fisher and the Seminoles at ease. Meanwhile, the team has been able to get ahead of the practice curve by working through the weekend; something it had not done previously under their first-year head coach.
“I think we’re ahead of Tuesday,” said Fisher. “We got some third-down stuff in today, which is usually (Wednesday). I thought we made some good progress.”
Stork readying for first career start
Redshirt freshman right guard Bryan Stork is set to make his first career start against NC State, replacing veteran David Spurlock, whose string of 28 consecutive starts will end due to a concussion.
“He’s got a lot of good reps,” Fisher said of Stork. “He’s made a mistake here and there, but he’s stepped to the challenge and he’s battling. When he makes a mistake he moves on and forgets it.”
Stork stepped in for Spurlock against Boston College and played the entire second half for line coach Rick Trickett. Though he received plenty of work during the preseason with the first unit, the Vero Beach native will have had 12 days of additional preparation before taking the field against the Wolfpack.
Fisher is confident that the 6-4, 304-pound Stork will be up to the challenge.
“Stork cares about what he does,” Fisher said. “Stork wants to be a good football player. He’s strong. When he gets his hands on you, he’s strong. He’s tough. He works hard and it means something to him. He works at the game.
“If he makes a mistake it’s not because he wasn’t giving effort, or wasn’t trying to focus on what he was doing. He’s a hard working son-of-a-gun.”
‘Noles make modest moves in polls
The Seminoles retained their spot at No. 16 in the Associated Press poll this week, but benefitted from a rash of defeats by previously unbeaten teams to make modest moves in both the USA Today Coaches Poll and Bowl Championship Series rankings.
FSU climbed two spots to No. 15 in the USA Today rankings and jumped a notch in the BCS rankings to No. 16.