The Seminoles took to the practice field once again today, continuing their preparation for Thursday's Peach Bowl against the Houston Cougars. Our staff is making its way to Atlanta presently after spending time with family, but please enjoy this practice report, courtesy of Seminoles.com:
ATLANTA, Ga. - Florida State returned to the field for day two of practice inside the John and Mary Brock Football Facility on the campus of Georgia Tech in preparation for its match-up against Houston at the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
The Seminoles, who are appearing in their fourth consecutive New Year's Six/BCS Bowl game, are looking to improve to 5-1 in bowl games under head coach Jimbo Fisher. But the Noles are fully aware that their New Year's Eve contest against the Cougars won't be an easy task.
"A good normal Tuesday practice; I liked the guy's effort, a very physical practice," said Fisher. "A good effort, competitiveness; I really liked the energy level. The guys were out here early with some juice and energy and I like that. I was very pleased with how things went today."
Looking to end the season on a high note, Florida State's intensity level was at an all-time high in an effort to replicate Houston's high-octane attack.
Quarterback Greg Ward Jr., has paced the Houston offense all season averaging 40.6 points per game, while tallying over 486 yards of total offense. The dual threat Ward has thrown for 2,590 yards on the season to go along with 1,041 yards on the ground. He ranks second nationally in rushing touchdowns with 19 and 10th in completion percentage at 68.1 percent.
The Cougars have also been impressive on the defensive side of the ball holding opponents to under 21 points per game. Houston has held the opposition under 15 points five times including a 34-0 shutout against Vanderbilt.
Houston secured its first 12-win season since 2011 with a victory over Temple in the American Athletic Conference Championship game on December 5. The Cougars have collected three wins over ranked foes this year and have posted a 4-1 record on the road with their lone loss coming at Connecticut.
Day two of bowl week continues for the Seminoles Sunday evening with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site. It will be an opportunity for the players and coaches to visit the home and birthplace of the Civil Rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Florida State will also get a chance to meet Civil Rights leader Dr. C.T. Vivian at the historic Ebenezer First Baptist Church.
Florida State will hold its next two practice sessions on Monday and Tuesday inside the Georgia Dome. Stay tuned to Seminoles.com throughout the week for continued coverage of the Florida State football at the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher: Post Practice Quotes - Sunday, December 27
"A good normal Tuesday practice; I liked the guy's effort, a very physical practice. A good effort, competitiveness; I really liked the energy level. The guys were out here early with some juice and energy and I like that. I was very pleased with how things went today."
On preparing for the absence of Everett Golson:
"We have been working on that earlier in the year too with different situations and when he was hurt J.J. (Cosentino) was the backup. J.J. got plenty of reps, we rep those guys all the time. J.J. will be number two."
On how J.J. has evolved this year:
"You saw him in the game; he knows where he is going, he is big, strong, he can get the ball down the field. He runs better than you think he does. He has knowledge of what is going on and gets the ball very quick down the field. He has a good command of the running game, I like him."
On the experience of having Golson on the team for one year:
"It was an extremely positive experience. What he gave us in the first half of the year, I mean the guy had 11 touchdowns; he was the second leading passer in the ACC when he got hurt. I mean the guy had three or four turnovers all year; we were 6-1 with him as a starter. A tremendous year for him; I don't know if we are 10-2 without him. It helped Sean (Maguire) grow in a lot of ways, his work and the way he has done things."
On the difference of J.J. now to a year ago:
"What was different for J.J. though, I think he came in here and it was a big shock to him. They were a very successful high school team but they didn't throw the football a lot and you saw his talent. But just the exposure to the passing game and all the multiplicities that go on with it, I think was very eye opening and now I see him calm down and see the talent that we saw in the workouts and things we have."
On the seniors on defense and what they bring to this year's team:
"It was the old school things of I think we have better athletes playing football than we ever have in college football right now. But I don't think we necessarily have better teams because guys are leaving so early. You see with fourth and fifth year guys, the maturity level, the weight room where you get to develop for four to five years, maturity of going through practice, maturity of just life in general of how you play and the mental toughness it takes. Look at what Giorgio Newberry did, Lamarcus Brutus, you can go right down the line - Reggie (Northrup), Terrance (Smith), I mean everybody. All those guys; football is a game of execution, its performance and as you get older you understand that better. If you have a chance to keep those fourth and fifth year guys around, you have a chance of being very, very good.
"I don't blame guys for leaving early if they got the talent and will be a high pick, I think so go too early. If you're not in the first round or high second, I don't know why you go. I don't see the value of that. Staying for that fourth or fifth year, I think you become a better player, I think you enhance your values, I think you become a better person; you're mature and ready to handle the things that come at you in life."
On Jalen Ramsey growing as a leader:
"Leadership is like coaching. Certain guys, you have to get on, and certain guys you have to nurture. (There are) certain guys you have to kick in the tail...That's why I think great, great players have a harder time coaching. They want everybody to see the game like them. That's why I think a guy like Jalen - who is a practice machine, a workout machine, a competitive machine...Getting other guys to understand that. It's not showing them how to do it, it's getting them to do it. I think that's where he grew as the year went on and on."
On seeing that change from Ramsey:
"He has. He has spent time. It matters. Early when you are so young ... It goes back to what I was talking about again. I need to establish myself. I have to get myself (established) and I don't feel like leading until I have done something myself. So then what happens, you get part of one year out of those guys of true leadership. Like he is really starting to show. Just think if you had another year or so - just how much better your team would be as far as having that great player really understand that. It's not that he didn't. That's just part of the maturation. That (players) are leaving so early, that makes it tough."
On Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Randy Sanders this season:
"He did a great job. Randy is a great coach - a great quarterback coach. We are on the same page. We have a lot of the same philosophies. He's a big part of our staff."
On giving Coach Sanders more responsibility with calling plays:
"There were other areas of the program that I needed to be in. Different teams take different areas of concentration from the head coach at times. You have your set role, but you can tweak and turn in certain areas. You have to have people you can trust. I've got to leave this...you've got to leave your kids sometimes. You can't be with them all the time. You have to leave them with somebody. Randy has tons of experience and he is a great coach."
On if it was tough giving up complete reigns on calling plays:
"Sometimes it does, but I get back into it. I don't all the time. Sometimes he'll do it and then I will get back into it and go. Having somebody there that can do it can definitely help. We have a lot of guys that can do it. This is a very good staff, very experienced in a lot of ways. I turn a lot of responsibilities over to a lot of guys on this staff."
On visiting the College Football Hall of Fame for the first time on Saturday night:
"That was great just walking around and seeing it...To me it's what it's about. You see the legacies and impacts of so many guys and the lives (they touched). Not just the wins. You can feel it in there. I could stay in there for a week."