TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State opened its fourth football preseason practice under coach Jimbo Fisher Tuesday and didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the new Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility, featuring the indoor practice field.
The 12th-ranked Seminoles got acclimated to their new surroundings by beginning their roughly two-hour practice inside the comfortable confines of the indoor complex before moving outdoors.
“It was good to have and it’s good to take the heat off the guys when you walk-through and do some stuff and then get out here and practice,” Fisher said at the conclusion of practice. “It was very nice. The kids were excited about it [when] they walked in there. I was excited about it.
“It’s a vital clog to helping us, another piece to get where we want to go as an organization…We’re very thankful.”
Walking away from the first day of work leading up to the Sept. 2 opener at ACC newcomer Pittsburgh, Fisher was both pleased with what he saw and how his veterans had helped prepare the first-year Seminoles throughout the summer months.
“Our upperclassmen did a great job of helping those guys,” Fisher said. “Our guys worked hard; effort was good and pretty decent execution on both sides for a first day. I thought the attention to details was there on some things. We’ve got a long ways to go, but very pleased with what I saw as far as attitude and work ethic and intensity level.”
The Seminoles return to the practice field Wednesday afternoon, once again in shorts, shirts and helmets, as part of the mandatory acclimatization period.
JIMBO FISHER POST PRACTICE comments
“Very pleased with the energy level. I thought our focus for the first day was very well. I really liked how the freshmen incorporated themselves in the practice. We put them in the fire and they’re real quick, just taking reps and being where they are supposed to be, not, as I say, running around like chickens with their heads cut off half the time.
“Very happy with their development… Our upperclassmen did a great job of helping those guys. .Our guys worked hard; effort was good and pretty decent execution on both sides for a first day. I thought the attention to details was there on some things. We’ve got a long ways to go, but very pleased with what I saw as far as attitude and work ethic and intensity level.”
On how Giorgio Newberry looked on the first day at tight end:
“He was good. His size and presence; he had a great attitude and worked very good. With Giorgio, he’s a smart guy. He has a very good learning ability and has great attitude. When we went to him, it wasn’t even a question. These guys will think about, but I was very happy with that and very proud of him for that.”
On going into the Indoor Practice Facility for the first time:
“It was good to have and it’s good to take the heat off the guys when you walk through and do some stuff and then get out here and practice. It was very nice. The kids were excited about it [when] they walked in there. I was excited about it.
“It’s a vital clog to helping us, another piece to get where we want to go as an organization…We’re very thankful.”
On giving freshmen reps:
“The way they’re here now, in the summer running with the guys, working out with the guys, doing 7-on-7’s with the guys, they’re used to being around the guys. So now I like it being out here and having those upperclassmen to be able to teach these guys what to do and where to do it that much quicker.
Players’ POST PRACTICE comments
BRYAN STORK – Redshirt Senior, Center:
“It was a first day, to get the rust off and get back in the hang of it; get in playing shape. We work hard all summer but you can’t simulate really playing football out here in the hot sun.”
On getting inside the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Center for the first time:
“It was pretty cool. I certainly appreciate whoever purchased that one and give them my thanks.”
On changes he’s seen over five years with the program:
“I used to be here when there were hills and Bobby’s [coach Bowden) old tree. I’ve actually got a piece of that old tree. … I watched the field go flat and now it’s this. It’s kind of different. It’s kind of cool to be a guy who went from the last decade and into the changes in this decade.”
On things clicking pretty well on first day:
“They did. Who knows who the quarterback is going to be. We’ve got two rookie guys and they both do well. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Both of them direct the players really well in the huddle.”
On having the chance to play with the same core group of offensive linemen again:
“It’s nice because now we know each other. We’ve spent a long summer together and we can look at each other and tell each other what we’re thinking.”
KENNY SHAW – Senior, Receiver:
On becoming a mentor to the other receivers as a veteran:
“I tell those guys all the time, I’m not that big of a talker on the field so just watch me. It came about like that. Then we’ve got 7-on-7 in the offseason. I help them out with the playbook and stuff like that. … We’re like big brothers out there. It’s weird because I had a guy like that in Bert Reed and now it’s flipped on me and all the other veterans.”
On the changes he’s seen over the course of his four years:
“I was here with the big bark tree over there. Just walking into it [the indoor facility] I got a little dizzy because it was a little weird. I’m used to coming out here with the grass a little bit rough. Now we’ve got the indoor [facility] and everything. It’s a blessing to have it.
“Honestly as a team we get tired of warming up out here. You saw how hot it was – about 98 degrees. It’s good to know we’re not going to have any cancelled practices this year.”
Thoughts on first day of practice:
“It was actually better than I expected. We had younger guys, older guys – everybody – just moving and no complaining. We had a couple of mistakes, but that’s Day 1 and you’re going to have that. I liked today.”
CHRISTIAN JONES – Senior, Linebacker:
On the first day of practice:
“It was a good day so far. It’s exciting coming back out on a new field. We had a chance to go in the indoor facility to practice, so it was very exciting. We were all anxious to get back out here.”
On seeing the new faces:
“We’ve got a lot of new, young guys in here. We’re still trying to get to know those guys. So far it’s a talented group. We’re going to be pushing them to get the best out of them.”
TELVIN SMITH – Senior, Linebacker:
On the first day of practice:
“The day was great. It’s just great to be back here on the field playing the game we love to play, getting ready for the season. Every year is high expectations for Florida State and we’re just getting here working and trying to live up to those expectations.”
JIMBO FISHER PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
“(I’m) Very excited for today and this camp and to get things going. I was very proud of the offseason that we’ve had. I think every guy looks good. I think we’ve done a great job with our strength and conditioning – our numbers have been really good. The attitude of the team as far as workouts this summer has been tremendous – a lot of leadership from the older guys and even from the younger guys, which was encouraging to see. A lot of the older guys feel comfortable with the younger guys and how they’ve stepped up and the younger guys feel comfortable with their roles. It’s like a family. It’s a great thing. This group is a tight group – one of the tightest that I’ve been around in a long time. You can feel it. I am excited to see some of the younger guys on this team take new roles. I think they can have great roles and emerge on a consistent basis. Offensively, I like the experience we have coming back. Where we are with special teams – the athleticism will make a great difference but we’ve got to grow there. We had some great things that we did on some coverage teams and we had some things last year that we struggled with that cost us at some times. We’ll clean up on our punt team – we had two fumbles and two blocks and now that we’re critical to iron out those, everything else special teams wise we were good. Our punt team, the mechanics of that cost us at times last year and that’s something that we’ve usually been very good on. Kicking, all the guys have progressed and they feel very comfortable and are kicking the ball very well. Defensively, very excited for some new guys. You’re going to see a lot of experience with those back end and secondary guys. A very good group talent wise. Experience wise, up front, we’re good. Still, it’s crazy because we lost a lot but there’s still a lot coming in there. You’re going to have to have guys step up in some roles but with every indication how they responded to the summer, there is every indication that they won’t because the talent is there and they’re attitude seems to be great. I tell them all the time that talent is a gift and attitude is a choice and with the choices right now, I’ve been very pleased with. I’m excited for it, ready for it and we’re ready to kick it off at 4:30 and see where these guys are going.”
On Giorgio Newberry switching to Tight End:
“We were going to do it anyway. The presence, the size and I think for his future. I think he could be a good end, but I think he can be a tremendous blocker. He’s a big guy. If you watch film, if you don’t have that big, physical tight end – those were one of the reasons why we were able to play five, six man boxes on defense and put everyone into coverage because guys couldn’t handle those guys. Those ends are getting bigger and stronger and you’re going to get those edges and be powerful on the stretches on those plays.”
“He can catch the ball. He’s got good hands. He was a basketball player in high school too. He’s a good athlete.”
On the defensive end position:
“I feel very good about where we are defensive end wise. You’ve got to play both sides of the ball and we had the most inexperienced guys at tight end. Both sides are just as important. There was no apprehension, whatsoever. It was going to be something we’ve done either way.
“There’s a group where we feel very comfortable with size and speed and with the things they do.”
On defensive end Dan Hicks recovery:
“He’s had a tremendous summer. His conditioning has had no signs of anything that’s going on.”
On the quarterbacks and what they did in the offseason:
“Seven-on-seven, film study and they were constantly up there (office watching film). They ran it, threw, caught – you hear from the older guys that they were very comfortable with what they did and how they led. They called meetings – they did a lot of things together. They were very active and I was very proud with how they approached this summer. That’s not just coming from me, that’s coming from our upperclassmen.”
On where the corners are going to play and mix:
“There’s right and left corners. If you’re a corner, you’re a corner – you’ve got to be able to do both. We’ll have corners. That’s one thing that I’, excited about – we’ve got so many piece of the puzzle to mix and change with and different match up we can create.”
On defensive back Tyler Hunter:
“Tyler Hunter is as good as anybody that I’ve seen out there. Tyler Hunter is phenomenal and can do a lot of things. He’s smart, makes calls, leads – I’m not taking anything away from those other guys but don’t count Tyler Hunter out of that mix. He’s one heck of a football player.”
On the lines:
“The D-line and O-lines are the key to the drill. You’ve got to win the line of scrimmage. We have more depth on the O-line and that’s as good of a group as we’ve had here in a long time. That’s a very good group up front. D-line, I love it. The key to the game on both sides are the guys that put their hands in the dirt. That’s why we could play like we did last year because of the d-linemen. I think we have just as good of a group and I like our group now. I think they’re interchangeable and can keep a good rotation.”
On who will return punts:
“Kenny Shaw is the guy. He’s the main guy and we’ll keep working Rashad (Greene) and we’ve got some young guys that I think we’ll be in there and we’ll see how they feel, but Kenny Shaw has been improving and is very dependable and he’ll be the guy.”
On the changes with the quarterback battle:
“Their consistency. Playing football is playing football. When you play in the spring you have to do it in the fall. We’ve developed consistency and ball control, get the team in the right things, being able to manage the huddle and the game and get us in and out of the right place and if you have the opportunity to win the game, you win it. At any level, that’s your quarterback’s job and you progress from there.”
On if there is more pressure because the first game is an ACC game at Pitt:
“I don’t think it puts more pressure, but it makes the game more interesting. It is what it is. If they’re ready or they’re not ready won’t dictate. You do more to win the game but where their progression is, is based on how they develop.”
On the indoor facility:
“I really like it. We just had a walk-thru in it. It’s very efficient for a lot of things. It will be very handy. Walk-thrus, out of practice, during practice, in- season – you’ll be surprised how much it will be used in the off season for player development. There are a ton of things that it will be constantly used for.”
On running backs James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and Mario Pender:
“I’ve been very pleased. James (Wilder)– I can’t tell if he works out or not, he looks the same and every time he’s on the field he’s going 1,000 miles per hour. He may be the only guy that can go out and take six months off and come out and do the same thing. His strength numbers and his durability of speed, change of direction. (Devonta) Freeman has had a tremendous summer, very healthy. He’s much quicker. Very strong in a short body. (Mario) Pender is very strong and running very powerful. Those young guys – just out there in the walk-thru know what to do. Very encouraged with how their work ethic and attitude has been.”
On the offensive line depth:
“I bet you can count on one hand the guys in America that aren’t having the same problem. Linemen are hard to find. It’s always a concern. We’ve got to continue to recruit. You always wonder that. Even when you do have the depth it’s still a communication issue – that guy hasn’t played with that group. It’s so critical when that group gets together that the unity goes through. We’ve got to stay healthy.”
On the young linebackers and freshmen:
“I like them. They’re a good group. There are some good players in there. They’re a very good mix. This freshmen group – off the field, in the classroom, on the field, in the weight room has been the best group as far as attitude and work ethic and character overall as a freshmen group. I think that those experienced guys that show them the way really helped as the program develops, but this group has been tremendous as far as the little things that usually happen when kids come to college. This group is a very accountable and dependable group.”
On adjusting to the new staff:
“It’s been wonderful. The transition has been good – communication. We’ve all been together at different times and have the same philosophies and beliefs so as far as that transition – what do to and how to do it has been very good.”