The intensity peaked during the final four periods of practice, when the Seminoles conducted a mini-scrimmage.
"The guys had their music up another notch today in the locker room," tailback Leon Washington said. "We were bumping around and getting excited about this. I woke up ready."
Highlights came on both sides of the ball.
On offense, freshman tailback Antone Smith shook four defenders on his way to a 25-yard touchdown run. Xavier Lee lofted a 30-yard touchdown pass to Chris Davis a few plays after an impressive, tackle-shedding run by Jamaal Edwards.
Defensively, safety Roger Williams – recently promoted to the first unit – recovered a fumble and helped his unit turn away the offense of seven of eight tries in goal line drills. Jae Thaxton and Kendrick Stewart snared sacks.
"Goal line is our main focus," Williams said. "(Defensive coordinator Mickey) Andrews will hop on that and talk with you about that all day. For us, there's motivation not to have to run as much.
"It did feel good for us to get out there and get moving around in all the gear. I've been ready to hit someone. It's been while. Everyone was moving good out there and the young guys looked ready for it, too."
Williams, who is now listed ahead of Pat Watkins on the depth chart, is one of two defensive backs that have been promoted to the first team during the week. Tony Carter unseated fellow freshman J.R. Bryant at the field cornerback position on Tuesday.
After five consecutive practices, the Seminoles have an off day to rest on Sunday. Not that it will be uneventful – Media Day begins at 10 a.m. and will be followed by Fan Day the Leon County Civic Center at 2:30 p.m.
"The break will help us," Washington said. "You wish you could come out here in pads the first day when your're not so tired out there. But that's the game of football, you have to play a little bit tired."
Highlights next week include the first day of two-a-day practices (Monday), a kicking scrimmage (Wednesday) and first full scrimmage of the fall (Saturday in Doak Campbell Stadium).
There are two evaluation periods," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "The first is when you come out there and everybody looks equal. Then you start putting those pads on. Some of those guys that didn't look as good start looking better."
"We try to ease them into it. Worst things that can happen to this football team is to get a bunch of injuries. For the first five days we have been very fortunate."
"I've been very happy with what I've seen so far with punting and kicking," coach Bobby Bowden said of Gano. "Those two guys (Cismesia and Gano) will continue fighting for it and see who's the best. If he's the best kickoff man than it will be him."
Bowden has hinted on more than one occasion that he would consider using different kickers if one surpassed the other in either placekicking or kickoffs. So far, Cismesia is the most likely candidate for field goals and extra points, but Gano's strong leg makes him a potential contender for kickoffs.
"Cismesia is the guy, but he's got to ward off (Graham Gano and Chase Goggans)," Bowden said. "Right now, he's in the driver seat. He's the incumbent."
Gano holds the high school state record for longest field goal (65 yards) and once kicked a game-winner from 57 yards.
Cismesia was promoted to the first-string last season after Xavier Beitia's midseason fallout. He hit a perfect five-for-five against Duke, but was pulled in the regular season finale for Beitia when he missed field goals of 32 and 39 yards.
KELLY EAGER FOR TIME
After enrolling at Florida State in January out of Jones Community College, Anthony Kelly switched from linebacker to defensive end – a switch that could provide him with an increased role this season with the Tribe.
With the departures of standouts Chauncey Davis and Eric Moore to the NFL and with Kamerion Wimbley being the only returning defensive end on the roster with any real significant game experience, playing time is still up for grabs.
Kelly is confident that he can make the most of the opportunity.
"I know that it's my first year in the system but I think I can contribute," Kelly said. "I am just going to do what I have to do to make the most of my chance here and show the coaches that I want to be a part of our great defense."
If Kelly cannot somehow find his way into a starting or second string role, the Daytona Beach native said that no matter what he is going to see the field and play his best.
As it works out now, I am a third stringer but in our defense I am still going to get to play if that's where I wind up," Kelly said. "We rotate our guys so much that everyone stays fresh and lots of guys get out there. I just have to stay focused."
ODELL LIKES WHAT HE SEES
With the loss of Travis Johnson to the professional ranks and the other holes that have arisen at defensive tackle with the loss of Clifton Dickson and the absence of Broderick Bunkley for the time being, defensive line coach Odell Haggins has had to be very patient with his young players.
At the conclusion of Saturday's practice, Haggins said he was pleased with the development so far.
"It's too soon to say exactly who it that is really catching my eye but they are doing ok," Haggins said. "I mean it's still hit or miss out there sometimes but for the most part they are doing good things. We still have a few scrimmages coming up to really see what they have."
With so many young guys dotting the line, Haggins says that patience is needed.
"I am taking everything real slow and teaching them," Haggins said. "I give them a break here and a little break there and they have been very receptive. They are doing real well."
PLAY OF THE DAY
Smith took a handoff right tackle and beat the defense end to the sideline. With one compact shift, the Pahokee speedster shook Marcello Church and a defensive back. From there, it was a footrace to the front corner that he won.
The play drew a favorable response from teammates and the three-dozen or so spectators on hand.
"Kinda reminded me a little of me," Washington said. "That's what he's on scholarship to do here. I'm sure we'll see lots more of that.
- Wide reciever Fred Rouse also didn't scrimmage. The only thing we could find out is that he has a "hurt leg", according to Bowden.
- Fan Day begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Leon County Civic Center.