"We have had our moments this year where we look like we have the potential to be a pretty good basketball team," coach Leonard Hamilton said.
"But I have to admit in practices that we have been extremely inconsistent with our effort, our focus and our emotions. Sometimes when your trying to get to a certain place, you have to assess where you are."
And where they are is indeed an uncertain place. FSU is still trying to recover from losing its heart and soul in shooting guard Tim Pickett. At the same time, Hamilton is trying to meld a unique blend of veterans with five newcomers, all fruits of his heralded recruiting efforts the past two seasons.
While talent isn't lacking, something Hamilton values more is absent.
"Right now we are a team that is talented physically that is having a difficult time accepting the mental and emotional intensity you have to play with to be successful at this level," he said.
"You can attribute some of that to inexperience but not enough to justify where you are. I don't know that frustrated is the right word but I'm very, very concerned."
In FSU's most recent outing, Hamilton's team slogged through a 65-60 loss at home opposite FIU in which they tallied twice as many turnovers as field goals. The Seminoles were out rebounded and out hustled by a much smaller Panthers' team that lost by 51 to UConn and by 13 to Miami earlier this season.
"We came out there thinking, ‘we're in the ACC, we have FSU across our chests, this is going to be an easy victory', and they beat the hell out of us," freshman point guard Isaiah Swann said.
"We didn't come in here and act like we wanted it," sophomore center Alexander Johnson added.
Energy and intensity were Pickett's forte and an asset Hamilton said is an absolute necessity if this season's team has any hope of reversing their fortunes.
"You should never lose to a team that wants it more," he said.
"That is the cardinal sin for a coach to have to admit. Giving up offensive rebounds and giving up loose balls is an indication that the other team is tougher than you. That's pretty much where we are right now."
If the home date with South Alabama isn't enough to draw a rise from the Seminoles, a clarion wake-up call awaits Saturday when FSU will travel to Maryland for its ACC opener.
"It's like the alarm clock is still ringing but were still not waking up," Hamilton said. "It's been ringing for about a month now."