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3 posts from October 30, 2013

October 30, 2013

FSU Wins Exhibition 112-74 Over Southeastern University


Okaro White and Montay Brandon each had 23 points as Florida State University opened its basketball season with a 112-74 exhibition win over Southeastern University. 

While Florida State doesn't start its season in earnest until November 8th, the Seminoles got plenty of opportunities to get in some good work against a scrappy Southeastern team on Wednesday night. 

"I think the guys showed they're capable of sticking and being consistent with our defense in the first half," said Leonard Hamilton after the game.

FSU lead 51-18 at the half and didn't let the Fire get a basket through the first five minutes of action. As the teams headed to the locker-rooms Southeastern was shooting just 23.3%.

Things changed in the second half though as Southeastern began to drive the ball with a bit more success and also pressured the Seminole offense with a full-court press. 

"I thought the second half we didn't get to the dead front which we never let the ball get inside, I think we'll correct that," said Hamilton. "We didn't really shrink the gaps as well, their whole system was dribble-drive and I thought we just didn't contain the dribble on the defensive end but I think we showed we still have a ways to go there, but I don't think it's from lack of talent."

Newcomer Jarquez Smith had 15 points and six rebounds despite -- according to Leonard Hamilton -- regularly playing out of position. Brandon Allen also contributed 11 points on 4/5 shooting and made both of his attempts from beyong the arc.

Seminoles fans will be disappointed to know that Ian Miller and Aaron Thomas sat out tonight for what Hamilton called, "housekeeping" reasons. As per usual, Hamilton didn't specify how long either would be missing.

In their absence Devin Bookert, White and Brandon all played 30+ minutes. White said after the game he had expected to play just 15-16.

Florida State plays next on November 4th against Flagler.


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The Tao of Jaboo (Miami Week Edition)


Every Wednesday Jameis Winston speaks and every Wednesday we'll provide you the highlights of his interview in a weekly feature called, "The Tao of Jaboo."

Jameis Winston stopped by on Wednesday afternoon in what was actually a fairly crowded press conference. Long gone are the days of Winston sitting at a table surrounded by just six or seven reporters. Yesterday Jameis' presser was shown live on ESPN and cut up and played in small segments on newscasts and sports shows around the country.

One reporter asked him, how do you stay yourself in the face of all this?

“It’s never hard to be yourself man, I was born myself," said Winston as the room erupted in laughter. "I’m not expecting to be nobody else, even down the road. That’s how I was born and raised, people seem to lose track of where they came from, I don’t think that I’ll ever lose that.”

With a lot of other players that might be lip service, but so far Winston seems to have remained the same easy-going guy that he came off as last Spring before his name was on Heisman lists and NFL scouts were drooling over him.

“I don’t get that serious," Winston added. "The only time I am really serious is probably when I am doing bad because I need the guys to see that it’s not just a joke. I want them to see that this is serious.

"But we are still going to have fun with it. I am going to be serious, I’m going to look them in the eye and it’s all about the eyes. When you look at your men’s eyes and they see you have that look in your eyes, you can have a smile on your face or you can have a frown on your face. But if they see it in your eyes they know it’s on.”

Moving on to Miami, Winston expects a battle -- if just for the simple reason that it's a rivalry week.

“They have a lot of great players," said Winston. "When you have a great team and with Miami being a rivalry, those great players are going to turn into amazing players. It’s going to be a battle. We are expecting it to be a good game. There is a lot of pride on this game just because of what they have to lose and what we have to lose.”

But as FSU players have also said all week, it's not the same kind of hatred that this team has reserved for Florida.

“It’s more like a brotherly game. It’s a big rivalry but it’s going to be like we are in the back yard," said Winston. "We are just going to be playing against each other and we want to beat our brother. It’s going to be a battle.”

As for how FSU will play, Winston said that this is the sort of game that's easy to get up for. Then, depending on how you look at it, he may have taken a little bit of a shot at NC State.

“When you play on a big stage, that’s when everyone tries to perform at their best," said Winston. "It’s when you’re playing against the teams that people expect you to just go out there and have a showtime game -- that’s when you really have to buckle down and stay focused.

"When we’re playing against Miami, playing against Clemson, everybody’s saying, ‘we’re on the big stage, this is my opportunity to get seen.’ So everybody’s going to be going out there playing good. The games like the NC State’s, the Bethune-Cookman’s, the games where we’re not going to get that many fans, most people are not going to watch the game, those are the games that really show your characteristics as a player.”

More from Jaboo:

##- On his offensive line:

“If you look at us, what’s different than other teams, our linemen are running full speed down the field no matter how long the play is, no matter how short, they’re going to meet whoever scored that touchdown in the endzone. I just think that’s so special, I just think that’s so special and a blessing to have guys like that who are unselfish, they’re blocking hard every play and I know they want to get the ball too. Sometimes I just want to throw a tackle screen to Bobby Hart and let him run wild on the field. I mean I want to do that just for them.”

##- On what's he learned from going to Miami with Devonta Freeman this Summer:

“We probably have a similar family in terms of how we grew up childhood wise. To see guys like that, I mean that is what makes you smile as a quarterback, to have unselfish guys around you. Because that is how you win games, when you got guys that want to put it all on the line no matter how many carries, how many receptions, how much playing time you’re getting. They just love the game and they want to win. When you want to win and you want to have success, more than you want to breathe, when you want to do that it just shows the maturity as a team.”

##- On Rashad Greene:

“When you put the ball in this man’s hands, he is more likely to make somebody miss and take it to the house at any time. He is a highlight reel; you give him the ball he might take it to the house. Rashad’s role (in the offense) is key to our success.”

##- And finally here's some great insight on Ronald Darby and the FSU secondary:

“My two best friends are cornerbacks -- PJ Williams and Ronald Darby -- we hang out the most. That’s one thing they always used to make fun of me because when I first got here I hung out with the defensive players and not the offensive players. I mess with them all the time, especially Darby. Me and Darby have a little three finger thing that we do before every game… Darby’s a goofy guy too and we always compete just because we’ve been great friends. They always try to pick me off I always try to -- I mean we try to make each other better -- but our defense just our defense as a whole with Timmy J, Telvin, Christian Jones, everybody just playing together and the way they’ve been gelling, I mean people don’t recognize this is their first year in this defense and the way they’ve been playing is outstanding.”

“What people don’t understand about Darby, he still doesn’t have the speed that he had last year and he’s developed better to his game. Now he’s coming downhill knocking people’s heads off. He’s such an amazing player, this one time me and Marcuss Eligwe about it just last night, we was like Darby doesn’t even know how good he really is because he hasn’t even gotten everything back from last year, but he’s still stepping up to a new game.”


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Seminoles Receivers Take Pride in Their Blocking


If you were looking for one element of the 2013 Florida State Seminoles that best embodies the unselfishness of this team -- you'd be hard pressed to find a better example than the job FSU's wide receivers do blocking down the field. 

"A lot of runs that we get, you guys say ‘oh the back is shifty and he explodes from the line of scrimmage,’ but the big runs down the field happen because the receivers are blocking their tails off," said RB Karlos Williams.

It's an element of the game that largely goes unnoticed. 

Unless of couse a guy gets a kill-shot -- as happened with Kelvin Benjamin last Saturday -- then it's kind of hard to miss.

“I think he was like a linebacker, I knew Karlos was going to get get the pitch and if he would have shot down I would’ve just had to like scrape paint on him," said Benjamin on Tuesday. "But he basically set himself up, because they teach him not to bite on the fake like that and he bit down -- so he really set it up himself.”

"When I saw him come in I was like ‘this should be perfect.’”

Benjamin de-cleated his man and then proceeded to walk directly to the sideline, never checking to make sure Williams scored on the play.

“We knew Karlos was going, we go through that in practice, as long as we take care of our man we know he should get in the endzone,” said Benjamin.

“Coach was laughing with me, he liked that intensity.”

Added Williams: “I think that he knew once I got around the corner and he made that block, he knew it was going to be a touchdown, I don’t fault him for that, I appreciate that.”

That block, however, is not an isolated incident. That's fairly common on this Florida State offense -- if you look for it. 

"Those guys really take pride in blocking," said Williams. "You know Kenny [Shaw] takes pride in blocking, being Kenny’s size you would say ‘Oh he’s not a great blocker.’ Kenny’s a great blocker. He’ll block anybody for anybody."

Shaw is arguably the best blocking receiver on the team. Take for instance this run -- made last season by Chris Thompson -- in which Shaw essentially turns a long run into a touchdown blocking about 50 yards down the field.

“When you're a little guy you’ve got to show you’ve got toughness too," said Shaw.

Florida State's run game has been solid all year and the backs and offensive line deserve a lot of credit. But fans would be remiss not to acknowledge the contributions the receivers have made this year blocking down the field and on the edges. 

"Even our young guys go out there and throw their bodies into blocks," said Williams. "Our quarterbacks do it, you’ve seen [Jacob] Coker throw a block on a reverse for Kermit [Whitfield]. I think it’s the pride that these guys take in it."

For the receivers, a big part of that mentality comes from their coach. Lawrence Dawsey was an exceptional blocker in his time at FSU.

“That’s just something he preaches, 'if you want the ball you’ve got to be a blocker first,'" said Benjamin. "And right after I made that great block I had a great touchdown, so. That’s just how stuff goes around."

Who knew blocking could be so karmic?


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