FSU Practice Report: Seminoles heading in the right direction

DE Mario Edwards Jr. and RB Mario Pender are back at practice this week

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said No. 1 Florida State is heading in the right direction after a spirited practice on Tuesday at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility.

The Seminoles host Wake Forest on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Hear FSU broadcasting legend Gene Deckerhoff’s call of the action live on WBGE 101.9 FM, your only home for FSU football in Southwest Georgia! Pre-game coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. Saturday

FSU expects to have both junior defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. and redshirt sophomore running back Mario Pender back against the Demon Deacons.

The pair missed Saturday’s game at NC State following concussions, but both players practiced on Tuesday in full pads at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility.

“They practiced and were good to go today,” Fisher said. “No effects from anything.”

Edwards is an All-American caliber defensive end, while Pender has been the second-team tailback this season and has two rushing scores.

The return of Edwards makes for some intriguing lineup possibilities for the Noles. Freshmen defensive ends Lorenzo Featherston and Jacob Pugh were game-changers against the Wolfpack and may be able to play opposite or alongside Edwards, who has the ability to play on the edge or on the inside.

“You can have him at the end, you can have him at the three and play those young guys at end,” Fisher said about Edwards after practice. “You can move around. It adds more depth. And then the leadership. He’s really starting to emerge as a leader.”

Greene Nearing Receptions Mark

Senior wide receiver Rashad Greene will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest players ever to don the Garnet and Gold and the Albany, Ga., native is nearing in on his first FSU career record this weekend. He is just seven receptions away from becoming the Seminoles’ all-time leader.

Greene has 206 career receptions, putting him behind only Peter Warrick (207) and Ron Sellers (212).
Greene is averaging nearly nine receptions a game this season (8.8), which ranks first in the ACC and tied for fifth in the country.

Greene’s career-high for receptions actually came against the Demon Deacons, when he had 12 catches for an FSU-freshman record 163 yards at Wake Forest in 2011.

Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Post-Practice Quotes

Opening statement:
“Really liked our practice today. It was one of the best ones we’ve had all year. Offensively, we’ve really started to put it together. Defensively, we had a good solid day. Worked on tackling a lot, worked on assignments with those young guys that are coming on. You see with those freshmen, it is finally clicking in their head. Adding depth to what we’ve got. Adding more consistency. At receiver, at running back, at defensive end, even up on the o-line with some of those young guys, tight end. I mean, everywhere…d-linemen. They were here, but now they are figuring out what to do, how the tempo of the games go and all that. Very excited about the depth and the direction we are going right now. I liked the practice today. We have to go again and do it tomorrow, but I think we are headed in the right direction. Very positive day.”

On how making plays in games helps the younger players:
“It’s, ‘all right, I’m validated. I can play.’ But then, being out here for two months basically, how the tempo of practice is, how we are trying to push you… You know, the thing with those young guys, like in high school, you’d be, ‘I got a week off.’ It’s easier. But now it’s every week you have to grind that out. It’s a learned process, and then the consistency with the assignments. The more they get on the field, the more success they have, the more hungry they get, and then the better they get.”

On the tackle drills this week:
“We had a lot of space-tackle drills. Guys are athletically moving better and stepping on toes. We had some guys, too, that weren’t as healthy in that game [NC State] that I think will be healthier this game [Wake Forest].”

On sophomore defensive end Chris Casher being on a bike at the beginning of practice:
“Yes. He banged up his shoulder. He hurt it in the game, if you remember. He got hurt that the end of that game last week.”

On the status of junior defensive end Mario Edwards and redshirt sophomore running back Mario Pender:
“Really good. They practiced and were good to go today. No effects from anything.”

On Edwards being a stabilizing force on the defense:
“It does. You can have him at the end, you can have him at the three and play those young guys at end. You can move around. It adds more depth. And then the leadership. He’s really starting to emerge as a leader.”

On Florida State’s concussion protocol:
“If there’s anything and it comes to me, it is to [the doctors]. And they make the decision on when they guy goes back in. It has nothing to do with me. We get that directly to [the doctors] and they either come to me and say it is OK or there’s no chance. If things get recognized, we get them off of there and [the doctors] can recognize it and see it. It has nothing to do with me. And I don’t want that responsibility. There is no game or no situation where it is worth a young man.”

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