Here are coach Bowden's comments following Tuesday's second practice.
"Felt like they were kind of get out, so we went out in shorts tonight and really rehearsed. Got a little pass skeleton, one-on-one and stuff like that. No hitting. Tomorrow we will go out in the morning and work on our kicking game and then afternoon we will have a scrimmage. It will be kind of like the same schedule as of (last) Saturday. Again, we are just trying to be sure they know what to do. And tomorrow again, we will scrimmage and see how far along we are. See if they have grasped the concept better. That's what you find out from your scrimmages. You take a chance when you do, but you have to do it."
How did the meeting with Doug MacMillan of the Todd M. Beamer Foundation go this afternoon?
"Very good. They came in and talked to the players about what it was about and he went through the scenario again of what happened on the plane as far as they can tell. Their foundation, of course, is trying to raise a lot of money in that regard. They did a very good job. I am glad my players can sit here and they need to hear things like that. So, it was very good. Gave them all shirts and gave them all hats. He came by the office and we talked and had a nice little visit with him before they met with the players. I think they had lunch with Dave Hart."
As two-a-day practices near a welcomed conclusion at week's end, third-ranked Florida State is dividing its attention between itself and opening opponent Iowa State. The Seminoles' offensive and defensive units have spent more time working against the scout teams in preparation for the Cyclones.
"We are doing a lot more team stuff, a lot more against the scout team, trying to pick up on Iowa State's defense," senior split tackle Brett Williams said Tuesday.
"They run a lot of 50 and they do a lot of slants and angles up fronts. We have to be smart in what we do. We just can't go out there and try to destroy him because you get over-aggressive against a defense like that because they make you pay. They are pretty decent. They have a lot of good athletes and they play very hard, so anytime you play a defense that hustles every play it's going to be a tough challenge."
Of course, FSU has challenges of its own.
Injuries have taken a toll on FSU, but at least defensive tackles Travis Johnson and Darnell Dockett appear to be doing much better. Johnson, of course, aggravated his surgically repaired ankle in last Saturday's scrimmage and has spent this week on the sidelines. Johnson, however, is antsy.
"They (trainers) are keeping me out for some reason," Johnson said and smiled.
"I am begging to try to get in the scrimmage (Wednesday), but right now they have me coming back Thursday. We are banged up. Right now we only have four guys practicing – four-and-a-half counting Darnell. Everybody is going to be alright I think. But right now it's just a hard time. Everything happens for a reason, so I figure once we are back, we will back."
Dockett says he's nearly back from offseason Achilles tendon surgery. The Seminoles' interior defensive line is the team's biggest question mark, due to a scrimmage knee injury to starter Jeff Womble and the recovery time of Johnson and Dockett. Senior Tony Benford continues to work with the first team, while Brian Ross and Donnie Carter seem to be rounding into form.
Dockett promises he will be ready for the opener.
"I have to get my quickness back," Dockett said Tuesday.
"I'll be abusing those offensive linemen. I should be ready. I wanted to come out today and make it feel like it was a quarter of a real game. I went through all the drills full speed, no limp. Did a lot of quickness drills. It's coming along better. I will do a little work in the evening and go 100 percent in the scrimmage. I want to go all out. I played 15 plays in the first scrimmage, but after Anquan (Boldin) went down my coach was like, oh, no, you need to go to the sidelines. It's coming along well. Sucking it up, basically blocking everything out. I have to keep getting the footwork right, get the quickness back, get the game stamina back up. I should be alright by next Saturday."
One of the better stories on defense has been the play of junior linebacker Allen Augustin. Augustin has played all three linebacking spots and is considered the unit's fourth starter, according linebacker coach Joe Kines.
Augustin, voted most dependable linebacker during spring drills, sported a smile even after Tuesday's difficult practice. Defensive players had to lift weights for 30 minutes following conditioning drills. As trainers rinsed out their water coolers, Augustin walked by and asked to be sprayed by the water hose.
"We are getting through," Augustin said.
"This is when we find out who is going to play in the fourth quarter down in Miami, the score is tied and it's getting hot. That's what say to myself actually. How I keep pushing. As long as I can get on the field and help the team out, I am happy. It's really hard to get good at one position, though. You get a couple of reps at WILL, a couple of reps at SAM, a couple of reps at MIKE. Football is like, you have to repeatedly teach yourself, get your muscle memory up so you can do the plays. That's the advantage I don't get but I am on the field so I can't complain."
Augustin started at weakside linebacker for an injured Kendyll Pope in the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech and also filled in for Pope during spring drills. A former walk-on who made his mark on special teams two years ago, it's easy to understand why Augustin wants to be on the field. He also has kept a close guy on the newcomers and offered encouragement. Like his teammates, Augustin wants to simply help the Seminoles erase last year's struggles – even if it means struggling through two-a-days.
"WILL (weakside), that's where I feel the most comfortable because that's where I've been playing the longest," Augustin said. "I am not the fastest guy in the world, so I can appreciate getting banged up a little (at middle linebacker). The young guys, the thing with them they will give you a great play once but the next play, they will probably blow it. Getting weary. We are not as top speed like we were. Sometimes we don't feel like we are national championship caliber team but we know we will be there. We are banged up but we are Florida State. We are going to have to play like Florida State."
Junior-college transfer Chauncey Stovall is still learning how to play like FSU. Stovall also continues to work on his conditioning – he hopes to lose eight pounds by the opener. Stovall looks good in drills but has had disappeared at times during scrimmage situations.
"I am still messing up a little bit but I will be okay," Stovall said. "The speed, getting shape. I am a little bit too heavy right now, I think I can get down by the time the season starts. Weighing between 211 and 215. Want to get down to 207, 208. I am learning a lot of different stuff. It's a lot different from high school and juco. It's going to work out for the best. You need to know when to do this plant, do these steps, how to get to the ball."
And, speaking of the ball, FSU running backs are have quite impressive in terms of tucking it and running in scrimmages. Newcomers Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington each busted out long-gainers Tuesday morning, while fellow freshman Torrance Washington has worked with the first unit due to injuries to P.J. Selvidio (leg) and B.J. Dean (knee). Walk-on James Coleman from Florida High also has worked in the rotation.
"(We are) getting better," running backs coach Billy Sexton said. "Selvidio is nicked up. B.J. is nicked up (knee). So we are having to work the two freshmen – Torrance and James Coleman (Florida High). Torrance has gotten better. Assignments were better. Playing with more aggression. Made some nice plays (tailbacks). The rookies are finding where to go and finding the blocking schemes and really starting to get a feel for it."
NOTE: Free safety Kyler Hall rolled an ankle in Tuesday's morning practice. Hall, wearing a brace for support, participated in Tuesday's second practice. Hall, of course, still can't participate in contact drills following recent hand surgery.