Bowden sums up spring

Bobby Bowden looks back on spring practice and peeks ahead to the fall, when Florida State faces its first 13-game regular season.

FSU head coach Bobby Bowden spoke about the team after spring practice concluded.

"I thought we had a good spring. The bad part was that we had a lot of kids who had to miss because they had surgery. But injuries were at a minimum otherwise.

Bowden Tour Schedule
April 18, Pensacola
April 19, Panama City
April 22, Jacksonville
April 23, Lake City
April 26, Pinellas
April 27, Miami
May 1, Destin Blount/Bowden Classic*
May 3, Atlanta
May 4, Sarasota-Bradenton
May 6, Celebrity Classic*
May 8, Tampa
May 10, Ft. Myers
May 11, W. Palm Beach
May 12-15, ACC Meetings*
May 16, Ocala
May 17, Polk
May 18, Orlando
May 19, California Nike*
May 20, Orange Park
May 31, Ft. Lauderdale
* - non Bowden Tour Events

"The big thing we were trying to do during spring practice was to make everybody get better fundamentally blocking, tackling, catching, not fumbling. I thought every kid made some improvement. All of our quarterbacks made some improvement too. The rotation didn't change any, but it was a good spring.

"Last spring was strictly a spring of unknowns, of question marks. We were trying to solve those questions and I think as the season progressed, we did. This year is just the opposite. We've got so many starters back that we kind of know where we are and it's just a matter of trying to get every person to be better at their position. Then, we must get the chemistry right.

"I felt real good about the last two games last year against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl. I felt like we were back on schedule when we played those two games. It gave us some momentum going into the spring and now we can take that into the fall. I think our boys gained a lot of confidence with those wins and they kind of showed us where we stood. When you play Virginia Tech, it's a good test because they've got a great program up there and you're playing a good team.

"If you're going to put pressure on a specific group and tell them they've got to be the guys that lead us, then the offensive line is the one you'd like to have go out and do it. If they block people, everybody can run the football and everybody can throw the football. Blocking is such a key. I think how far we go offensively this year will rest in the hands of those offensive linemen.

"Chris Rix made progress in the spring. Adrian McPherson made progress as well. So did Fabian (Walker) and Matt Henshaw. I thought Chris Rix ended up having a real good year last year. He should go into this year with more confidence than he had last season. He's got all the tools. He is very gifted, but he's got to improve his decision-making. I think that's a matter of maturity. It will come with him and it will come with the other guys as well.

"Going into last year, we had three starters back on defense (LB Bradley Jennings, FS Chris Hope, RV Abdual Howard) and this year we have all the starters back but those three, so we are much further along. I thought the defense had a good spring. The first scrimmage we had in the spring, it looked like our defense of old. They just shut down the offense completely. Every scrimmage after that the offense began to move the ball and I don't know exactly what that means except that it looks like we've got more work to do. We're veterans now, these kids are veterans. If they can just improve and get the scheme under their belt we should be much improved defensively.

"We didn't have the pass rush last year that we've had in previous years and one of the reasons for that is we used more zone blitzes. We rushed more often with three men, or four men, than we have in the past and that makes getting to the passer tougher. This year I'm sure we'll send more people hunting, trying to get those sacks, because we feel like our cornerbacks have a year's experience now and we should be able to cover better man-to-man which would allow us to go after the passer more.

"Xavier Beitia had a great freshman year and he had a great spring. He kicked a 51-yard field goal in the spring game and kicked one from 50 in the bowl game against Virginia Tech. But the amazing thing about him is his accuracy. He was 16-of-17 last year when you include the bowl game.

"We've got a great schedule and we're playing more games (13) than we ever have. We are going to really have to watch ourselves about how we go about this. We will play two games in August and usually we don't play any in August. Our schedule is very tough. I never thought I'd see the day that we have Notre Dame in Tallahassee, but we've got them here. Florida has a new coach, but it's still Florida and I don't expect that to change. Miami comes off a national championship and we play down there so that's been pretty close to impossible for anybody over the last 10 years or so. We didn't win the ACC last year for the first time and changing that will be a priority."

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