Room For Improvement

Cornerback once was a marquee position at Florida State. However, the Seminoles did not have a defensive back, cornerback or safety named first- or second-team All-ACC last season. While Stanford Samuels believes the Seminoles' secondary has the talent to distinguish itself in 2003, Samuels says the group must continue to work hard this summer. "I still want stop every pass. I am just going to go about it differently," Samuels said. Click here for all the details.

Florida State cornerback Stanford Samuels made a point to watch himself on film this offseason. He wasn't all smiles as he studied his effort from 2002, especially on man-to-man pass defense.

"I learned a lot," Samuels said.

"I learned I gambled a little too much. I have to give a little more underneath stuff, but I will be able to make more plays. It will all benefit me. I am trying to get in a different mind frame. I still want stop every pass. I am just going to go about it differently."

Cornerback once was a marquee position at FSU. However, the Seminoles did not have a defensive back, cornerback or safety named first- or second-team All-ACC last season.

Samuels, of course, has done some good things at FSU.

For openers, he met the requirements of NCAA Bylaws for an extension of his five-year clock and was granted an additional year of eligibility. Samuels, who turns 23 next month, knows his experience should prove to be a valuable component -- he enters with 23 career starts.

"I am feeling great. Feel rejuvenated, like a new man," said Samuels, who was held out of contact during spring drills following shoulder surgery.

"I am doing all the right things. Taking it as a business instead of taking it as a college student. I was working hard but I wasn't really taking care of my body the way I am now, with all the stretching and icing and getting after it. Maintaining my health."

FSU needs a healthy -- not to mention consistent -- Samuels. He played in all 13 games last season, including 11 starts, and ranked seventh on the team and first among all defensive backs with 53 total tackles. He also was second in the ACC in passes defended with three interceptions and 17 break-ups.

Still, FSU's pass defense struggled early in the season a year ago.

In the season's first seven games, the Seminoles allowed an average of 274.6 passing yards per game. In the last six leading to the Sugar Bowl, FSU allowed just 207.7 – a difference of nearly 67 yards.

Samuels says the unit will demand better production this season. The two-deep depth chart in the secondary features two seniors in Samuels and fellow cornerback Rufus Brown and six juniors -- Leroy Smith, Kyler Hall, B.J. Ward, Jerome Carter, Claudius Osei and Bryant McFadden.

"Now is the time to step up to be seen, to be heard, to be noticed," Samuels said.

"I think everyone in the secondary has taken it upon themselves to gain some ground in terms of where we need to be. I've seen players who have made some big strides. There's no question we have plenty of motivation."


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