Junior-college transfer Chauncey Stovall practiced for the first time in the Seminoles' second session after being cleared academically by the university earlier in the day. Stovall, who originally signed at FSU in 2000 but instead attended Hinds Community College in Mississippi, looked comfortable after watching practice since arriving in town last week.
In fact, coach Bobby Bowden said he would have never thought Stovall had been on the sidelines watching.
"It took two years and a few days, but it's going to work out for the best," Stovall said. ‘I came in thinking, ‘Don't mess up. Do your routes and take your time.' I took my time and felt like I did very well. Right now I just have to get familiar with the plays and after that it's all going to fall into place."
Said Bowden: "I didn't see him drop a pass. If he did, I didn't see it."
Also, redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Henshaw has moved to tight end after approaching the coaching staff about the move. Henshaw was fourth on the depth chart behind Chris Rix, Adrian McPherson and Fabian Walker. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Henshaw belives he's better suited for tight end.
"That's always a possibility," Henshaw said of the possibility of moving back to quarterback. "If the chance comes along and I have an opportunity to move back to quarterback then, sure, I will move back to quarterback. As of right now I feel comfortable at tight end and I am going to stick with it as long as I possibly can. It's just a matter of learning how to block and gaining the necessary weight."
Bowden also believes the move is a good one for Henshaw, who will start out on fourth team behind Patrick Hughes, Paul Irons and O.J. Jackson, who moved to tight end from the defensive line Saturday. Hughes and Jackson are seniors.
"I think it's a pretty good move," Bowden said. "What's happened this summer I think he got to 225 or something like that and had to come down to 210. It's going to be easier for him to go up than down. I think it will be a good move for him because we need some hands in there and he's probably got as good of hands as any of them."
On the injury front Willie Jones suffered an ankle sprain and receiver Greg Moore will have surgery on his torn Achilles tendon Tuesday. On crutches and fitted in a boot, Moore said he suffered a complete tear of his tendon. He is hopeful of returning in time for spring drills.
FSU practiced for 24 periods Monday morning. Not surprisingly, the status of senior guard Milford Brown continues to be a concern.
Brown participated in selected drills. Brown said his status might not be resolved until week's end, while Stovall remains hopeful he will be cleared for today's second practice.
Brown's problem is an eligibility issue, one that actually was initially raised during his recruitment at FSU from East Mississippi Junior College. At issue is whether Brown was a full-time or part-time student at Alabama State prior to attending junior college in 1999. Brown said he was a part-time student at Alabama State, taking 11 hours in the fall semester in 1998 and six hours in the spring semester.
Brown believes the problem stems from a psychology class that was on his schedule during that fall semester. Brown said he didn't attend the class nor signed up for it and thought the problem was resolved last season when he played for the Seminoles -- that additional class would have elevated Brown to full-time status as a student.
Simply, there is concern that Brown, who did not play football at Alabama State, has exhausted his eligibility. Todd Williams continued to work in Brown's slot Monday.
"It was a problem during my recruitment, because ACC schools thought I only had one year (of eligibility) because of my transcript," Brown said. "I thought we got it cleared up. I went back to Alabama State and thought I cleared up everything. Yes, it's frustrating.
"But all the fellas are pulling for me right now. Coach (Jimmy) Heggins wants me to pay attention to everything, so I can get right back in there. Right now he told me to try to watch everything. He let me get a couple reps but I can't really do too much."
Bob Minnix, the university's Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance and Legal Affairs, said the decision concerning Brown rests soley with the NCAA. Minnix also confirmed the decision centers on Brown's status as a student at Alabama State. If the NCAA rules Brown was a full-time student, then he has no remaining eligibilty at FSU. He will be cleared to return otherwise.
"I wish I could give you a time (when the NCAA will decide) but it's out of the hands of our coaches, this office and the athletic director," Minnix said.
Stovall, meanwhile, watched the morning practice and said FSU was still waiting on his transcripts to arrive from Hinds Community College in Mississippi. Stovall, who originally signed with FSU in 2000, needed to earn his Associate Arts degree to be eligible at FSU, has tried to remain patient.
"I talked to my junior college football coach when I was out here (on telephone) and he said they (transcripts) are supposed to be over here by 3," Stovall said. "It hasn't been frustrating because they (FSU coaches) keep telling me I haven't missed anything, so I will be alright."
Defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins is pleased with his unit's performance thus far. Starter Jeff Womble reported in excellent shape and senior Tony Benford is expected to provide quality depth. Additionally, Heggins said Darnell Dockett and Jeff Womble are working to keep pace as they continue to recover from offseason surgery. Also, redshirt freshman Donnie Carter and walkon Mike Shaw have performed well.
Freshmen Broderick Bunkley is a quick learner, Heggins said. Bunkley's conditioning also has improved following a weight gain of 30 pounds since the end of his prep football season at Tampa Chamberlain. (Bunkley told the media that he had gained 50 pounds -- he has actually gained 50 pounds since the start of this senior year in high school).
"It's a lot better," Heggins said when asked about his unit's conditioning.
"Last year Jeff (Womble) ran the first 8 110s (sprints), he made six out of eight. This year he only missed one. Tony Benford only missed one. Before (Darnell) Dockett's and Travis' (Johnson) injuries started bother them a little bit, both of them made all of their (times). That's telling me they are in very good shape. Donnie Carter made all of his. Mike Shaw made all of his except two. So far in the classroom, Donnie Carter and Broderick (Bunkley) they are doing well. They are understanding what I am trying to teach them and the plays. That's a good sign. When they know what to do, they can let their ability work. Broderick is dropping (weight) but he needs to keep dropping. He needs to get down between 265 and 270 (Bunkley weighed in at 276)."
Here's Randy Oravetz's comments following the morning practice.
"Everything went well. It was our first day of lifting - the offense is lifting now after practice. We are healthy. We will continue to work along (Darnell) Dockett (Achilles heel) and Travis Johnson (ankle). They are getting some work but still have a ways to go. Bobby Meeks (ankle) got in some work today. It was a beautiful day. It was warm out here (88 degrees). Good conditioning day. They did a lot of drills and are starting to break into our pass skeletons and a little bit of team stuff. But everybody has a good attitude now. I think they (injured) needed that day off yesterday. Both Dockett and Travis are going to be one-a-day guys and we will just keep working them to try to get them better."
Also, wide receiver Robert Morgan elected to wear a knee brace today to help with stability. Morgan had worn a sleeve over his surgically repaired knee left knee in Saturday's first two practices. Fellow receiver Anquan Boldin continues to wear a knee brace as suggested by team trainers. Boldin also continues to recover from a pulled left hamstring suffered three weeks ago.
Additionally, punter Chance Gwaltney has undergone an MRI and X-rays on his sore left foot, but both tests were negative.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Rix says he's not entertaining any thoughts about leaving FSU early - as long as Bowden remains as head coach.
"Right now I do," Rix said when asked if he planned on playing four years with the Seminoles. "As long as coach Bowden is here, I'd like to be here. I can't predict the future. I know God has a plan for me, and we will see what that is. If I had to decide right now, I'd want to use all my eligibility up. A lot of people I am sure regret doing otherwise. We will see."
It's no secret that defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews was reluctant to play press defense (man-to-man) on the edges last season because of youth and inconsistency from his cornerbacks. Of course, Andrews expects that to change this season, and starting cornerback Stanford Samuels says the unit is poised to prove Andrews right.
"We were young," Samuels said of last season.
"There was a lot of guess work involved in the play. A couple of games we weren't sure of what was going on. Guys were confused. This year we are more experienced, more hungry and we understand what to do. Receivers in the nation are in trouble. That (press defense) is Florida State football. We went away from it last year. I heard it from coach Andrews that he wasn't too happy about having to leave it last year."