With second-half success all season, Florida State is conditioned to face fast-paced attack
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Don’t expect to see the Seminoles gassed when they face the Ducks on New Year’s Day. Conditioning has been an important part of practice for No. 2 Florida State this season and has taken on extra importance this week as the Noles prepare for the up-tempo attack of Oregon.
FSU held its third straight practice in preparation for the Rose Bowl showdown with the Ducks on Tuesday at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility and head coach Jimbo Fisher said the Noles won’t be thrown off by a quicker pace in the National Semifinal matchup.
“It is extremely important, but we see that a lot,” Fisher said. “Now, they (Oregon) do it extremely well, but no-huddle teams are more similar now, or there are more of those than huddle-up teams. So you see it a bunch now. And I thought it was a key last year when we played Auburn. I mean, that was the thing that everyone thought we would fade at the end and that’s when we got stronger. I feel very good about where we’re at and our conditioning is going really well.”
Florida State has appeared stronger in the second half during the 2014 season with several double-digit comebacks, and even erased an 18-point deficit the last time it played in the Rose Bowl against Auburn for the National Championship last season.
“… to play in Pasadena, at least it is good you know where you are going to be, the kind of stadium it is and the weather and I think that will be an advantage,” Fisher said.
Redshirt junior nose guard Nile Lawrence-Stample appeared at practice on Tuesday and participated in some drills. He wasn’t full-go, but Fisher said the 6-1, 314-pounder could be available for the Rose Bowl.
“He’s doing really well,” Fisher said. “He has a chance to be in there. There’s a possibility. He should be out here in the next couple of days in pads.”
Lawrence-Stample was the starting nose guard at the beginning of the season, but tore his pectoral muscle against Clemson.
Seminoles Capture Several All-America Honors
Four Seminoles captured First Team All-America honors on Tuesday as the Associate Press and Sports Illustrated announced its All-America teams for the 2014 season.
Senior tight end Nick O’Leary, senior right guard Tre’ Jackson and redshirt sophomore kicker Roberto Aguayo all nabbed First Team honors from the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated.
Junior defensive tackle Eddie Goldman grabbed First Team accolades from Sports Illustrated, while earning Third Team honors from the AP.
Sophomore defensive back Jalen Ramsey collected Second Team honors from the AP and Sports Illustrated, while senior wide receiver Rashad Greene was named a Second Team All-American by the AP and honorable mention from Sports Illustrated.
Junior defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. captured Second Team honors from Sports Illustrated.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston, redshirt senior tackle/center Cameron Erving, senior left guard Josue Matias and junior cornerback P.J. Williams collected honorable mention accolades from Sports Illustrated.
Fisher a Finalist for Dodd Trophy
Fisher was named one of 12 finalists for the 2014 Dodd Trophy on Tuesday by official from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
The Dodd Trophy is the preeminent Coach of the Year award and recognizes the head coach of a team that emphasizes the highest ideals of scholarship, leadership and integrity on and off the field – the three pillars of legendary coach Bobby Dodd’s coaching philosophy. Coach Dodd is one of only three people that have been selected to the National College Football Hall of Fame both as a coach and as a player.
Each of the finalists led programs that enjoyed a successful football season while also stressing importance of academic excellence and character. The Dodd Trophy celebrates the total football program which includes winning records, the nation’s top APR scores and graduation rates, and a strong commitment to community service.
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Post-Practice Quotes
“Really good practice today. Really excited about how the guys are practicing. Great tempo, extremely competitive. Guys executing and getting a lot better at fundamental things on both sides of the ball. Really, really good practice. I liked everything I saw. A lot of energy. A lot of energy and a very tough, physical, hard practice today from that standpoint. So very pleased with that and getting ready for tomorrow.”
On if Mario Edwards Jr. will be important against Oregon’s spread offense:
“You are going to have to. On the edges, you’re going to have to play well on the edges. Whether he plays on the edges or moves inside or wherever he goes. And the guys on the perimeter are going to have to do that, tackle well, keep edges on the defense and close the space and tackle in space.”
On the importance of conditioning against a high-tempo offense:
“It is extremely important, but we see that a lot. Now, they do it extremely well, but no-huddle teams are more similar now, or there are more of those than huddle-up teams. So you see it a bunch now. And I thought it was a key last year when we played Auburn. I mean, that was the thing that everyone thought we would fade at the end and that’s when we got stronger. I feel very good about where we’re at and our conditioning is going really well.”
On if the players came back with a bigger bounce after taking some days off:
“Oh, they did. It was a tough season, a hard season. But all seasons are hard. You just need that break and that mental break. I’ve been very pleased with how they’ve come back. Their minds are fresh and their bodies are fresh.”
On if going back to Pasadena and having had close games this season when they’ve struggled will be an advantage:
“I don’t think we struggled. I think that was a bad statement. I think we played very well and I think we competed very well. So from that standpoint, I think being able to not panic and handle situations, from that standpoint, I don’t think we’re struggling at all. I thought it was tremendous play. The only undefeated team in the country. And to play in Pasadena, at least it is good you know where you are going to be, the kind of stadium it is and the weather and I think that will be an advantage.”
On a comment from Oregon coach Mark Helfrich where he sees on tape that FSU players feel like they are the better team, and if that is something he has sensed:
“Yes. I do. I think they feel like they can win. They have the confidence that they can make the plays in those moments to win. And that winning is an attitude. It’s a culture. It’s a mindset. It’s the way people think, the way they believe, the way they practice, I mean, the way they live. That’s what you want in your organization. That’s what you strive for as a coach, the most important thing to get in your organization.”
On if that attitude is a learned behavior:
“It has to be. And it is learned from confidence. From doing it over and over again and knowing you can do it.”
On the status of the rehab of redshirt junior defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample:
“Good. Doing really well. He has a chance to be in there. There’s a possibility. He should be out here in the next couple of days in pads.”