Preseason Camp

FSU reported for preseason camp Tuesday and one of the first orders of business was the varsity conditioning test for players who did not meet the attendance criteria for summer workouts. While those cleared watched, including incoming freshmen, 16 others were off to the races under overcast skies. Click here for all the details, including quotes from <b>Stanford Samuels, Michael Boulware, Ernie Sims </b> and strength coach <b>Jon Jost.</b>

A winded Stanford Samuels found a soft spot on Mike Long Track and sat down. After a few minutes, he caught his breath and a wide smile spread across his face.

"Man, now it's time for football," Samuels said and laughed.

"We don't belong out here on the track. This isn't us. It's easy to look good without pads. But I also know what we are capable of doing with pads on. Now it's time to get down to business."

Indeed.

Florida State reported for preseason camp Tuesday. One of the first orders of business was the Seminoles' varsity conditioning test (16 110s under a specific time) for those players who did not meet the attendance criteria for summer workouts.

While the exempt players watched from the stands, including incoming freshmen, 16 others were off to the races under overcast and threatening skies Tuesday afternoon.

"Everybody really worked hard this summer," said linebacker Michael Boulware, who missed conditioning time to visit his girlfriend (engaged to FSU softball pitcher Jessica van der Linden ) and attend the Atlantic Coast Conference media day.

"You can tell that we really want it this year and we're willing to give the extra effort to get it, so it's a good sign. I know that definitely the work ethic is not going to be a problem. We've got to still build mentally as a team and build that unity, but other than that, we'll be all right. I enjoy the running. I have a few aches and pains here and there, but it ain't nothing to slow me down."

FSU strength coach Jon Jost, who devised the incentive plan for summer attendance, also gave the Seminoles a passing mark.

"It worked out real well," Jost said.

"They've worked hard all summer and done everything they've supposed to do... and they're in shape. That's a big advantage for guys not having to do it (conditioning test). The first day they can start practice and be fresh and not have aches and pains. Everybody training the whole summer is far more beneficial than doing it one day before we practice."

Players who were required to run included Rufus Brown, Chris Davis, Joey Kaleikini, Dwight Williams, Sam McGrew, Wyatt Sexton, Xavier Beitia, Eric Broe, David Castillo, Chase Goggans, Chris Hall, Andrew Henry-Kennon, Jessie Stein, Robert Hallback, Samuels and Boulware.

Henry-Kennon, the Seminoles' reserve center who spent the summer working in the banking field in both Tampa and Tallahassee, had the most difficult time. He tweaked his right hamstring and aggravated his right knee during the first set of sprints and was unable to continue.

"I think we're in pretty good shape," said Randy Oravetz, FSU's veteran director of sports medicine. "We only had one or two guys struggle. When we had the mile and a half (previous conditioning test), how many guys didn't make it? A lot.

"So this is good."

FSU opens practice Wednesday afternoon. Media/fan day is scheduled for Sunday and the first two-a-day practice will be held Monday. The first scrimmage will be held Wednesday, Aug. 13.

The Seminoles also are in excellent shape. Only three players have not been cleared medically -- Matt Heinz (back surgery), Brian Ross (fractured leg suffered in spring drills), and incoming freshman Alex Boston. (knee surgery).

The Seminoles enter practice on a mission, saying they are carrying a renewed commitment and improved psyche. Samuels, in fact, offered a candid appraisal of what he believes are the concerns of FSU fans everywhere.

"Quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, secondary," Samuels said without hesitation.

"When you talk about the defensive line, you talk about the inefficiencies last season. The offensive line is losing all that experience. At quarterback, will Chris Rix be consistent? At secondary, all you hear is we are too slow and too small. And can they prevent the big play?

"Well, we want to show people otherwise. We want to show people we will be strong in every area."

While the Seminoles began to make their way back to the athletic center for dinner and more meetings, there was no denying the excitment. Ernie Sims is one of the newcomers who can't wait to get started.

"I've been waiting for this a long time," Sims said.

"This has been a dream to play for this great, tradition (rich) school. It has been a dream. I would love to see the veterans just get out there and just, you know what I am saying, carry me along so I can get experience. That's the main thing. We have a great class coming in. We may not have had the top recruiting class and everything, but we have some great players coming in. I think we are going to do pretty good this year."


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