Tavares Pressley came to Florida State in 2008 with high expectations after having a brilliant 2 year JUCO career. The former JUCO All-American was one of the premier 2008 signees for the Seminoles, and he was expected to be an instant impact guy once he stepped on campus. After getting qualified in the summer Tavares came in ready to go. Early on the talented running back was adapting well. After a few practices Pressley suffered an ACL injury, causing him to miss the entire 2008 season. Pressley had surgery last year and has been doing rehab since.
With mat drills here and spring practice down the line, one of the major questions fans of FSU have is when Tavares will get a chance to finally step on the field for the Seminoles. As of right now, Pressley says that it's going to have to wait until summer as the trainers and coaches want him to continue building up the strength in his leg before the 2009 season starts.
"I'm not doing mat drills and I'm not going to go through spring (practices)," said Pressley. "During mats the trainers and coaches want me to ride the bike at a certain speed for that station. Towards the end of it I am going to try to get in there and do some of the stations. During spring I'm going to be doing individual workouts like the sand pit and stuff like that. It looks like I will be 100% when summer workouts begin."
Tavares told NoleDigest that early on he was having soreness with his workouts and that he wasn't feeling on track with his progress in rehab. He says now he's on the right track, and that building the strength in his leg is now the primary focus.
"I'm taking the knee day by day," explained Pressley. "There is still a little bit of pain during workouts, but I am running without a limp now. At first it was taking a while, but now I really feel I'm on track. They have me doing leg presses, running in place, doing lateral movement and stuff like that the build the strength up. As far as stopping and starting and that kind of stuff the knee doesn't bother me. Right now working on the strength is the focus because the stability is there. By summer the doctors think I'll be all good."
Pressley took the long road in getting to FSU, and he's been dying to get on the field to play for the Noles. Initially Tavares was down after the injury, but he says he took the injury as a learning experience.
"Honestly, it gets to me that I'm not going to be able to go through spring," Pressley said, "but I've taken this whole ordeal as a chance to learn. I'm ready to move onto the next chapter of my life. The injury made me realize that I can't worry about the future all the time and that I need to worry about the here and now. When I came here I was too caught up in getting to the league and all that, now I'm just focused on getting back and helping my team."
Tavares told NoleDigest that the support he's gotten from the coaches at FSU has helped him throughout his injury and rehab. The future that the Seminoles have on the field excites Pressley, and its something he can't stop looking forward to.
"Coach Fisher and Coach Carter have supported me throughout this whole thing and it's something I really appreciate," stated Pressley. "They've been keeping up with me to make sure I'm good (with rehab). We've been talking about next year; seeing how good we're going to be is exciting. For me I've got to be patient and wait till it's my time."
Pressley intends on using the summer workouts to get back into playing shape and prepare for the season. His goal is to help the team any way he's needed. While he doesn't expect to get a ton of carries next year, he does expect to make an impact.
"Over the summer I'm focused on getting 100% on the same page with my teammates," said Pressley. "All of the running backs are good friends and all of us want to do our part for the team. We all realize that no one is going to get a ton of carries, and that it's a team effort."
"I've been lifting everyday getting ready, man," continued Pressley. "I'm 198 pounds right now and over the summer I'm planning on getting back to 215 before the season. The legs are the area of focus until the season starts. By then I'll be ready to make it happen."
Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Tavares as we track his progress from now until the start of the 2009 season.