Working Hard

Florida State senior cornerback <b>Bryant McFadden</b> is anxious to pick up the pace as the Seminoles continue their summer conditioning drills. McFadden, a senior from Hollywood, Fla., arrived on campus as one of the nation's most highly-touted cornerbacks. His rise at FSU has been steady, but he's searching for better consistency and production to cap off his collegiate career.

While Mother Nature has chased Florida State indoors at times this summer for conditioning drills, senior Bryant McFadden is one player who plans to make the best of any situation.

Especially since the Seminoles are looking to pick up steam heading into the start of two-a-day practices next month. The Fourth of July holiday, which passed last weekend with a bang -- no pun intended -- marks the final summer reprieve for many players.

"I would rather work out on the field every day, but if you have to go inside you want to make it a great substitute," McFadden said.

"Whether you know it or not, time is gonna go by so fast before we are in two-a-days. So, we are trying to get in all the work we can until the initial practices start. You just have to keep picking up the pace."

McFadden believes FSU's secondary will help set the pace when practice begins.

Six seniors are scattered among the listing of players available in the defensive backfield.

McFadden should contend for All-America honors and is recovered from a groin injury that kept him all but out of the Orange Bowl games against Miami.

Also returning is Leroy Smith, who played in all 13 games last year, starting three. Smith tied for the team lead with three interceptions and is an outstanding veteran.

Also returning for his true sophomore season is Antonio Cromartie, who lacks only experience to become a star. Junior Gerard Ross and redshirt freshman Jhermaine McAroy also are expected to contribute.

FSU is very solid at both safety positions with returning starters and back-ups at both free safety and rover. Senior Jerome Carter is looking to have a breakout year. He is backed up by a pair of seniors with starting experience in Kyler Hall and Claudius Osei.

Senior B.J. Wardhas already set the school record for his blocked kicks on special teams, but his play at free safety was outstanding last year. Junior Pat Watkins will be listed behind the veteran at the position and all he did was tie for the team lead with three interceptions.

"I am ready to see, as far as the secondary, exactly how we are going to put it together because we have a lot of exciting guys out here ready to play football," McFadden said.

Of course, McFadden is also excited about his final season. That's why he's so focused on making the most of each day, whether Mother Nature cooperates or not.

"Right now I am trying to work on all aspects of my game -- speed, quickness, strength, ball instincts. Everything that can help me be a better player," McFadden said. "I am willing to work.

"This is my last year. Time has gone by so fast. This is more serious than it has ever been for me right now because a lot depends on all well I play this year. It feels different but it's fun, too, because I get a chance to compete against some of the other senior cornerbacks in the nation. Not really comparing myself but challenging myself to be better."


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