Dodging Lightning and Rain

The Florida State football team dodged lighting bolts and rain drops in their first practice since scrimmaging on Saturday as the team began their preparation in earnest for its Sept. 4 season opener against Samford. The Seminoles endured a two hour delay as a typical late afternoon storm rolled over the practice fields on the FSU campus.

Once the players did come back out, head coach Jimbo Fisher was nothing but pleased with the performance of his players.

"They were absolutely great," said Fisher when practice ended as night began to fall on the practice fields. "Really liked the attitude; come and out got work done. It took them a minute to get going but come out, worked, happy, had no problems with it. I loved their attitude. It was working good before (the lighting came). We really got going into it and had to quit. I was worried about it but they cam right out and practiced their tails off. I'm proud of them."

With just over a week before the season opener in Doak Campbell Stadium, Fisher spoke after the practice session for the first time on his impression of Saturday's scrimmage during which he felt progress was made on both sides of the ball.

"I thought Christian (Ponder) played solid," said Fisher. "He had about four balls that I wish he would have tucked in their a little bit. EJ (Manuel) made some plays; he had a turnover or two that that I wish he wouldn't have just on a flat throw one time, the read was good, he's just got to finish the throw.

"I thought 38 (Jermaine Thomas) ran well; I thought 33 (Ty Jones) - I thought they blocked well. I thought the defense played pretty well; didn't give up a lot of big plays. We hit some big plays on offense but the defense played pretty well and were very stingy on the run. Those guys were filling and fitting and doing all those kinds of things. The linebackers pulled the pin - in other words when they saw things they were pulling the pin. I thought we tackled pretty well for the most part. But I thought Ponder did some real little things in the red zone that allowed us to score some touchdowns."

Fisher spoke especially well of two players on the offensive side of the ball - Willie Haulstead and Andrew Datko.

"Willie Haulstead really came on in that scrimmage," said Fisher. "Haulstead would be starting if we started today.

Haulstead, who played in all 13 games last season with most of his playing time coming on special teams, caught one pass and recorded 10 total tackles.

"Last year I just felt like I was trying to do too much," said Haulstead. "Now I am just letting it come to me. It feels like high school again. I am making tough catches. I am not making all the catches but I am just making some of the tough ones."

"It's huge getting that guy (Datko) back in there on calls and what's going on - he makes a big difference," said Fisher. "I'm sure he was a little (rusty) today after he got going on it and making his calls. Let's put it this way - if you don't notice a lineman that's a good thing. He seemed pretty good for the first time out there.

"It (my shoulder) felt pretty good," said Datko. "It was kind of frustrating standing on the sideline and not being able to contribute, so it felt really good being back out there. This happened to me last year, and I missed a couple of practices. They (the coaches) just wanted me to be healed and I want to play in all 14 games this year, so I didn't want to rush back and something happens where I am out for the whole season."

Fisher also commented that the coaching staff has already begun implementing their practice plan for Florida State's game against Samford.

"We have already started; we started on Sunday," said the first-year head coach. "We started on Sunday, met on Monday and we are starting to put some things in right now. We are going to go full bore - we did some things today. We are starting to do that right now.

While the Seminole coaching staff has already begun to look at game film on Samford, that process will begin for the payers in the coming days.

"They are banged up a sore but they are (get a jump in their step), they will start getting like that and start looking at opponent film and cleaning up and getting ready for games. We have a lot of work to do - a lot of work to do."

NOTEWORTHY: Senior quarterback Christian Ponder was one of 30 FBS student-athletes named to the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award list...To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition...Ponder is one of five ACC players and one of six quarterbacks o the list...Ponder and Fisher were featured in Tuesday's USA Today in a feature titled "Christian Ponder helps Florida State helps Florida State start Jimbo Fisher era" with the url located at guard David Spurlock participated in practice in a limited fashion and is expected back into the full practice rotation on Thursday...offensive guard Blake Snider has been lost to a foot injury that required surgery according to Fisher.

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