Tallahassee, Florida- August 3, 2012
A day that began with a buzz finally ended with a clap of thunder.
After managing just 45 minutes of work over a three-hour stretch, a third weather alert sent the Florida State football team to the locker room Monday with a premature conclusion to the first day of practice.
Football coach Jimbo Fisher set the tone for the 2012 season with a Monday afternoon press conference, just 18 hours or so after the Seminoles reported for the start of practice.
“It’s good to be back,” Fisher told the media. “I’m feeling anxious to get things going. Glad the summer is over and get back to football and having some fun. Looking forward to an outstanding year. I think our guys did a great job of conditioning this summer- it was one of the best ones we had in a lot of different aspects. Not just in strength, but in conditioning parts; just changing bodies and certain things and the way we’ve trained.”
Florida State opened camp with a No. 7 national ranking in the USA Today Coaches Poll; a clear sign that there are lofty expectations for Fisher’s third squad as the head coach. Fisher said he embraces those expectations, because they only come to teams that have the ability to achieve at a high level.
With a veteran defense, a senior quarterback in EJ Manuel and a deep well of skilled position players, the Seminoles will set out to improve on last season’s 9-4 campaign. From what he has already seen, the ‘Noles appear to be a more mature and physically gifted group than the squad that walked away from the Champs Sports Bowl with a hard-earned 18-14 victory over Notre Dame to close out 2011.
“I like the attitude and demeanor of our football team,” Fisher said. “You’re always happy in the beginning, but I see a more mature group that’s more comfortable going into the season, because I think they understand the expectations - what the staff wants, how we coach, the way things are going to be done and they’ve been through it.
“It’s filtered through down to the young guys. We have two older groups of guys that I think are really doing a great job of affecting the young guys and those younger guys have bought in and adjusting and trying to contribute in any way shape or form.”
While the weather failed to cooperate on opening day, the Seminoles have ample time to get ready for their Sept. 1 opener at home against Murray State.
The Seminoles are set to return to the practice field Tuesday, beginning with flex at 4:35 p.m.
Additional quotes from Jimbo Fisher at his Monday press conference:
“It’s good to be back. I’m feeling anxious to get things going. Glad the summer is over and get back to football and having some fun. Looking forward to an outstanding year. I think our guys did a great job of conditioning this summer- it was one of the best one’s we had in a lot of different aspects. Not just in strength, but in conditioning parts. Just changing bodies and certain things and the way we’ve trained. I like the attitude and demeanor of our football team. In the past couple days, you’re always happy in the beginning but I see a more mature group that’s more comfortable going into the season because I think they understand the expectations - what the staff wants, how we coach, the way things are going to be done and they’ve been through it. It’s filtered through down to the young guys. We have two older groups of guys that I think are really doing a great job of affecting the young guys and those younger guys have bought in and adjusting and trying to contribute in any way shape or form. Very excited about the day; hope the weather holds up and figure out what we can get done out there. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to getting some of those young guys out there for the first time and also some of those older guys that have been injured and matured and ready for big seasons. I’m anxious to get them on the field. This is a fun time of year when you get to watch them mold a bunch of different guys into one group and get them to understand. As a coach, that’s one of the things that I enjoy; to bring all of the different personalities and interactions into one common goal. Which I feel much more comfortable about what we’re trying to do and with the ability to recruit some of the guys that have the hardwiring of accomplishing things that have come from some great programs. I’m looking forward to it. “
On the departure of Greg Reid:
“I love Greg to death. It’s just a situation where rules are rules of which we have to go by. We wish Greg all the best. I still think that he can have a career and reach all of his goals. I wanted him here as bad as anybody. That’s part of this, a lot of good things and some tough things. There was an issue with the standards we go by and it had to be done. I still think the world of him, love him and we’ll help him in any way that we can. He’s on track to graduate, so he can go somewhere and have a good semester and play ball and go on and play pro ball and be one semester off his degree and get that taken care of. Wish him nothing but the best.”
On if he’s got the feel for the team yet, considering his philosophy of each team has a one-year life span:
“I haven’t because in the summers we are so restricted on being with them. It’s a tough scenario. You have to listen to the players when they come by and do things. I think they have a quiet confidence. I think there is an urgency. Just like with EJ, I think the world slowed down. I see it in Brandon Jenkins. He was ready to go to the NFL and could have been an NFL player, but there is something about seniors and getting enough of them that have played and that are quality and that have leadership ; the world just slows down for you. I see a quiet confidence in a group of guys that just know what to do. This is one of the first times where the program is starting to take that turn of how we want to do things and it takes that group. I think guys are comfortable of where they are, what they are doing and what is expected of them. I see a quiet confidence, I really do.”
On what he’s trying to accomplish during these first two days of practice:
“I think the upper classmen will set a standard of what we expect. Like I said before, we have ability, we know what to do and we have to improve with the technique of it and the details of everything. The greatness is your details; everyone has a generality of how to do things. That’s what we’re really looking for; for them to set the standard of excellence every day. “
On TE Kevin Haplea:
“He called us. We didn’t go after any of the Penn State players and we’re not going to, but he was a guy that we recruited out of high school. He was someone we really liked. We were one of the schools that he was interested in if we showed interest in him. We looked at our situation, we had a scholarship, we evaluated film and he started at different times as a freshman and sophomore. He’s a quality player, great guy and we loved him out of high school, great student, great guy. To me it was a no brainer. We didn’t want and go pick players, but we knew him and I thought it would be another big athletic body that we thought can affect and help us win. He’s played in a lot of big time games and environments, he can run, block, catch and do a lot of things. It’s like getting a free agent at the end we had cap room.”
On physical transformation:
“Some of those younger defensive linemen, you start to see the baby fat come off. They’ve trained for a year, they’ve eaten right ; those younger guys you see those bodies really transform and then the seniors; you start to hit that second maturity stage. Those guys have been in the program for three or four years. I see the biggest difference in our big guys. Those little guys, they’re always ripped up.”
On DT Jacobbi McDaniel and the defensive line and a possible redshirt:
“We’ll play it by ear because he does have that redshirt year and that’s only fair to him. He’s an outstanding guy, he’s a great player and leader and I think he has a chance to be an NFL player. We’ll see where he is at that time.”
On the offensive line:
“We’ll see when we get out there, but they look the part. They’ve worked hard this summer. Even though they’re young, they’ve gone out there and done it. They haven’t done it a bunch but they’ve done it and they’ve come back; a lot of those guys played in the Florida game and against Notre Dame. Some of them have been in earlier games. Knowing that you’ve gone out there and done it and had success it makes a huge difference from just going out there hoping you can do it. That’s a group that I’m anxious to see from size potential to strength, body types and athleticism. I’m always skeptical of that.”
On the situation with DB Tyler Hunter:
“He’s doing very well. I think it’s taught him a huge lesson. He’s going to continue to meet with Chief (David) Perry and get council, learn and educate himself. He’ll still continue in ride-arounds and get the appreciation in order to stay on the team. I took it extremely seriously and we all did. Law enforcement guys sacrifice for us every day. We take that very serious and not just wash it under the table, you guys know me better than that. There’s not much that gets by with those types of things. It’s a part of growing as a person. It’s a very demeaning thing to say for folks that sacrifice for us every day. I want him to have a great understanding for what those guys do and what their families have to go through. He’s handled it very well, from the day it happened he knew it was a bonehead thing to do. The difference is that he tweeted it and that is why twitter isn’t with us because it is a power and a privilege to do it. We’re not banning it; we’re going to educate the use of it before it’s reinstated. Words are maybe the most powerful thing you have out there.”