Across the field, another familiar face was drenched in sweat, giving hands-on instruction to the offensive linemen -- former FSU and Dallas Cowboys center Clay Shiver. Also in attendance was Kez McCorvey, a former FSU receiver who spent time in both the NFL and CFL before making Tallahassee his home.
It might only be summer drills for the Seminoles, but it's also a critical time for the program as it prepares for the upcoming season. And it's also the time when former players can stop in and give a some quality instruction with the NCAA's blessing -- hence, voluntary workouts.
"It's very exciting to come out here and see the alumni working out and helping the young guys," said Fuller, who is entering his eighth season in the NFL and fifth with the Cleveland Browns.
"We know they have aspirations and dreams to be where we are at, so I try to give out pointers. Not trying to show them that we are bigger and better than them, but to just let them know that guys like Deion (Sanders), LeRoy (Butler) and Terrell (Buckley) would come out and work with us when I was here and they were in the NFL. That's what it's all about. Plus, this helps me stay sharp, knowing that I have to be in camp in 20 days. I like this team's talent. Very impressive."
Originally selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round (55th overall) in 1995, Fuller enjoyed a breakout season with the Vikings in 1997. He led the team in passes defended (18), sixth most in team history, and finished fourth on the team in tackles with a career-high 95. Fuller played with the Seminoles from 1990-94, helping FSU win its first national championship in 1993.
Fuller also kept a close eye on the Seminoles' 8-4 struggles last year. Fuller honestly believes FSU had a difficult time rebounding from the death of Devaughn Darling, who died following an offseason workout with the team in February 2001. He compared the Seminoles' pain and frustration to the Vikings, who also was felled by a player's death. Offensive lineman Korey Stringer, who was beginning his seventh year with the Vikings, died Aug. 1, after suffering heat stroke on the second day of camp.
I was telling the guys I was in Big 10 country. I watched those guys and they weren't that good," said Fuller, who continues to reside in Tallahassee during the offseason.
"I think these guys will rebound well. I tell a lot of people -- and not trying to make excuses -- I see their season as a parallel to the Minnesota Vikings' season. They lost Korey Stringer in training camp and these guys lost the twin (Devaughn Darling) in mat drills and I think it had a big affect on their mental state. I think they were a little cautious last year but I think they will rebound well. And I think the Vikings will do well also."
Across the way, FSU's offensive linemen were huddled around Shiver, who also was on the Seminoles' '93 national championship team and has been tabbed by coach Bobby Bowden as the best center he has coached in his career at FSU. Shiver won the Jacob's Blocking Trophy as the ACC's top offensive lineman in 1994.
"I am just trying to show them a few things, mostly quickness and footwork, hands, things like that," said Shiver, who resides in Tallahassee and is in the skin care business with former FSU lineman Ross Brannon.
"I would say quickness is the biggest thing. Getting them to think quicker and react quicker. If you don't use it, your mind will think a lot slower than it needs to. When they start thinking quick, they start reacting quick and they will be able to move quicker. We worked mostly on some pass stuff today and Wednesday we will work on some run stuff."
Shiver said he also was impressed with the Seminoles' line. The unit returns all five starters from last season and is expected to help set the season's tone.
"It's a very talented group," Shiver said.
"The sky is the limit for these guys. I look at it a lot like our '95 team. The team will live and die with them. We were very fortunate to have a very good offense that year and a very good offensive line. I don't think we had as much talent as these guys but we were able to squeeze as much out of it as we could. We had some talented guys but talking to them and looking at these guys. ... (Antoine) Mirambeau there at center. He is very gifted. I look at him and think, 'Man. He's as strong as I was, bigger than I was, as fast as I was.' But I would say he has more ability than I did at that position but what they do with it is up to them."
Offensive tackle Brett Williams,who received the Jacob's Blocking Trophy last season and has started in each of his three seasons with the Seminoles, was grateful for Shiver's appearance.
"It's great -- we were working on stuff like hand placement, getting low in football position on pass blocking and trying to change direction," Williams said. "Like if you get beat how to recover from it and little stuff that we don't have time to work on. We've had some of the guys in the past come out. After how we played last year they talked bad about us (laughing), it's good to have a few of them stick around. We are going to prove them wrong this year."
McCorvey, considered one of the program's top route runners, believes the Seminoles are capable of rebounding from last year's problems. He also liked what he saw Monday, when 72 players worked out for more than an hour in sweltering heat.
"All these guys out here have their strengths but you have to know how to use that strength," said McCorvey, who teamed up with former Seminole baseball player Adam Faurot, current FSU strength coach Dave Plettl and former FAMU track standout Corey Poole to form the Titus Sports Academy.
"You just can't go out there and run around. If you don't use the things that you are good at, what's the point? This is the time for hard work and preparation. That's how you win. That's the product of that approach."