Tuesday's Premium Practice Report

TALLAHASSEE – Bobby Bowden has presided over the start of 40 seasons as a collegiate head coach, the last 30 at Florida State. Following FSU's Tuesday workout, the 75-year old Alabama native insisted that he is just as excited as he was when he stepped on the field for the first practice of his first season as a head coach, back in 1959 at Samford.

"I can't tell a difference between now and fifty years ago," Bowden said. "Something's still burning and if it ever stops I'm through."

While Bowden may feel the same, he's seeing things differently now – the coach underwent Lasik surgery last month and no longer requires the prescription sunglasses that have become one of his trademarks over the past decade.

Bowden took advantage by spending most of Tuesday's practice focused on redshirt freshman quarterbacks Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee, one of whom will assume the starting job that opened up with the announcement that Wyatt Sexton would miss the season as he recovered from Lyme disease.

Lee – a former standout at Seabreeze – worked with the first team on Tuesday while Weatherford led the reserves. The two will alternate working with the first team on a daily basis.

"I think it's very fair," Weatherford said. "I think working with both the ones and the twos will help us learn our offense better and help both of us make sure everyone is in the right places."

"We'll work them equally and see what happens," Bowden said. "The biggest thing is you've got to see improvement every day."

The team chose "Seminole M.A.G.I.C." as its motto for the season. The acronym stands for "Make a Greater Individual Contribution".

"If everyone takes that to heart, I think we'll be in contention for the national championship," linebacker Buster Davis said.

The Seminoles wore helmets and shorts on Tuesday. They'll add shoulder pads on Thursday; Saturday is the first day in full pads.

"We have to work to get our stamina back," tight end Donnie Carter said. "It's been a long time since we've been in helmets and pads. We'll get a feel for the pads again soon enough."


Already one of the thinnest spots on the roster, the defensive front took another hit on Tuesday when it was learned that reserve defensive end Barry Wright will miss the season due to academic reasons. Wright watched his teammates practice in street lothers on Tuesday.

On a more positive note, Bowden said that it is likely that Broderick Bunkley will be able to play his senior season. Bunkley didn't practice Tuesday, but Bowden said that the tackle could return as early as this weekend.

"He'll be back when I feel like he's done what I want him to do," Bowden said. "There's always a chance he won't be with us but the odds [Bunkley will play] are good if he does what he supposed to do.

It definitely puts him behind, but he got himself in that mess. He can get himself out of it. We'll go with the next guy until he gets there.

The next guy is Emmanuel Dunbar, who caught the eye of coaches with his play this spring.

"Coach Haggins has been pushing me real hard to elevate my game," Dunbar said. "I've also been trying to eat a little bit better and get into better shape so I can keep up with the college game. This is a whole different game from what you play in high school."


Guard Matt Meinrod and Donnie Carter both practiced for the first time in nearly a year Tuesday. Carter was injured in a scrimmage last August when he was hit by Ernie Sims going across the middle. Meinrod tore his right ACL in the season-opener against Miami.

"It feels good – getting back out here," Carter said. "I haven't been in pads since this time last year. Things are totally different when you get the pads on."

"It felt great today," Meinrod said. "I had 11 months off and finally got to at least put on a helmet. I'm not complaining. I thought I did good with my assignments and I thought my teammates did too."


For the most part, Florida State coaches are letting university president T.K. Wetherell do the talking when it comes to the NCAA's ruing on Native American mascots. Bowden did have one thing to say on the subject Tuesday:

"I'm a Seminole and I always will be."


Geoff Berniard worked with the second team at left guard. Last season, he played right tackle.

OL Coach Mark McHale said that John Frady will work out at guard tomorrow. Frady worked with the second unit at center on Tuesday.

Joe Surrat changed numbers from 49 to 32.


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