Tallahassee, FL - The Florida State football team navigated their way across a patch of ice on the way to the practice field Tuesday for the first time since the ACC Championship game. It was a slow, cold start in the build-up to the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl showdown with South Carolina, which will be played in the climate-controlled Georgia Dome.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher described the first day in pads since the Dec. 4 ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech as “sluggish.”
“They’ve had eight or nine days off and they’re getting back into it,” Fisher said. “It was about what we expected coming back.”
The Seminoles practiced without senior quarterback Christian Ponder, who will spend the next couple weeks recovering from Friday’s surgical procedure to correct the soft issue injury to his right arm – just below the elbow – which has hampered him most of the season.
“We’re going to hold him (out of practice) until the 26th,” Fisher said, following Tuesday’s two-hour workout. “We’re going to let him heal all the way up. (The doctors) feel like he’s way ahead of schedule; feel very good about it.”
Fisher said there’s “no doubt” that the intention is to have Ponder ready to play against the Gamecocks.
FSU will depart from Tallahassee to Atlanta on Dec. 25 and hold their first practice the following morning at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field.
“It’s very important (to Christian) because he’s chomping at the bit,” Fisher said. “He says he’s playing, which, don’t ever doubt him. If he keeps with the rehab he’s doing, it looks like he’s right on schedule.”
Fisher also expects tailback Jermaine Thomas to be back in full practice mode on Wednesday. Thomas missed the last three games with a knee sprain, but was running and conditioning during Tuesday’s practice.
Florida State will practice on campus through Dec. 21 before Fisher releases the team to spend a few days with family before reconvening for the bowl trip.
Hudson is unanimous All-American
Senior offensive guard Rodney Hudson officially became Florida State’s first consensus All-American Tuesday when he earned first team honors from the Associated Press and Sporting News. The NCAA recognizes five All-American teams – American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, Football Writers of America, AP and Sporting News – and requires a player to be named to three of those to be considered a consensus All-American.
Hudson, who was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, has been a first team selection by every conceivable outlet. He is the first consensus All-American Seminole since Alex Barron in 2004.
In addition to the “NCAA recognized” teams, Hudson also picked up All-American honors from Sports Illustrated, Rivals.com and Phil Steele in recent days.
Sophomore defensive end Brandon Jenkins earned second team All-American honors from Rivals.com and was a Sports Illustrated honorable mention selection.
Rhodes nation’s top freshman; other frosh ‘Noles honored
ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Xavier Rhodes added to his budding list of honors Tuesday when Collegefootballnews.com selected his as the Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.
Rhodes, who leads all freshmen with 12 pass breakups and 15 passes defended, also earned first team Freshman All-American honors from Rivals.com and Phil Steele on Tuesday.
He wasn’t the only first-year Seminole to be recognized. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Bryan Stork earned fourth-team Freshman All-American honors from Phil Steele.
Florida State’s youth was especially well-served on the defensive side of the ball, where four more first-year Seminoles were earned honors from Phil Steele. Defensive end Bjoern Werner (third team), defensive back Lamarcus Joyner (fourth team), defensive tackle Demonte McAllister (fifth team) and linebacker Christian Jones (fifth team) were also acknowledged by the publication.