« February 2013 | Main | April 2013 »

39 posts from March 2013

March 31, 2013

Telvin Smith Enjoying New Role as Leader


Telvin Smith is going to be the vocal leader of the 2013 Seminoles defense. Make no mistake about it.

“I wouldn’t say my role has shifted, I feel like I’ve always been the talkative guy on the team or the spirit of the team a little bit," said Smith. "So I wouldn’t say it’s shifted I’d just say more people are depending on me to do bigger things.”

In the past Smith has been a reserve and key special-teamer. With Vince Williams ahead of him the last few years opportunities to play have been limited. But with Williams now departed, Smith has a chance to run the defense himself and become the leader of the unit.

“Last year it was great with Vince, don’t get me wrong," said Smith. "But there’s nothing like filling your own shoes, living up to the expectations that people have been talking about all these years that I’ve been here. I’m just ready to play.”

Telvin Smith came from Lowndes High School in Valdosta. The same high school that also produced Greg Reid and Tyler Hunter. 

There must be something up in the water in Valdosta because all of those guys bring a lot of energy and noise to the football field. Even before this season you could hear the 6-3 215-pound LB out on the practice field chirping at teammates and getting excited. 

Now as the vocal leader of the defense, the team will look to him even more for that example.

And that's just how Smith wants it, he has big things planned for 2013.

“I love the team and the guys that we got running this defense and I feel like we can really put something together," said Smith.

"Everybody’s got the work mentality, everybody’s on the same page wanting to learn the defense. I feel like there’s no selfish guys, everybody’s putting in time, so when you’ve got that attitude out there, there’s always great things that’s going to happen.”

Smith has great instincts and athleticism and so far he has had an excellent camp, leading the Seminoles in tackles during scrimmages and providing good leadership to younger players as they try and get acclimated to the Florida State defense.

As the Seminoles' starting middle linebacker this will be the year for Telvin Smith to prove that his vocal leadership style actually resonates with his teammates.

If it does, Florida State could have an extremely good defense come 2013.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

March 30, 2013

Seminoles Drop Series to Hokies, Lose Game Two of Doubleheader 8-1


For the first time in the 2013 college baseball season the Florida State Seminoles dropped a series, losing the rubber-match game with Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon by a score of 8-1.

“We made some mistakes but you also have to credit Virginia Tech, they took advantage of them and really poured it on, so to speak, and got a big four spot twice tonight,” said head coach Mike Martin. “When you make some mistakes you expect good clubs to take advantage of it and that’s exactly what they did.”

Florida State is now 24-4 with an 8-4 ACC mark. They lead the Atlantic, but both UNC and Virginia have better records in the Coastal.

After holding on to win the opening game on Saturday 11-10, the Florida State lost to Virginia Tech in the nightcap after giving up two four run innings.

“Virginia Tech has a very solid baseball team,” added Martin. “I was very impressed them. I didn’t see any weaknesses; thought they were strong up the middle. They deserved to win the ball game today, no doubt about it.”

Peter Miller took his first loss of the season. He went 3.1 innings, giving up six hits, four runs, three earned while also recording a strikeout and a walk. He was chased in the fourth inning after the Hokies after a run-clearing triple made it 4-0 Hokies.

Miller gave up back to back singles to start the fourth before recording the first out. A throwing error on Jose Brizuela allowed the first runner to score before CF Andrew Rash tripled to make it 4-0 and send Martin and the Seminoles into their bullpen.

Two innings later in the top of the 6th the Seminoles got on the board for the first and only time when SS Giovanny Alfonzo drove in a run on a groundout, but that would do it for the Seminoles offensively on the night. Florida State mustered just 8 hits the whole game.

In the bottom of the 7th Kyle Bird was charged with four runs after first surrendering an RBI double and then loading the bases for Gage Smith. Smith gave up two singles and allowed the fourth run of the inning to cross on a fielder's choice.

Up 8-1, the Hokies had little trouble finishing off Florida State.

The Seminoles return home on Tuesday for a two game set with no. 25 Florida Gulf Coast University.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Seminoles Hang On 11-10, Win Opener of Saturday Doubleheader


The Seminoles took game one of their doubleheader with Virginia Tech by a score of 11-10 on Saturday after a wild 21-run game at English Field.

After dropping Friday's game to the Hokies, the Seminoles were able to rebound in the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader behind some solid relief work and good day at the plate.

The Seminoles batted around in the top of the first, plating five runs and sending 11 men to the dish. After 3B Jose Brizuela extended the inning by beating out a throw to first on a double play attempt to score DH Marcus Davis, the Seminoles plated four more with two outs, including two RBI's by SS Giovanny Alfonzo.

The next inning Florida State pushed their lead out to 8-0 when C Stephen McGee and Brizuela drove in runs with hits and CF Seth Miller added another on a sacrifice fly. 

But that lead did not hold, Scott Sitz, who has been solid for the Seminoles all season, got knocked around in a big 7-run fourth inning that tied the game.

Entering the bottom of the 4th the 'Noles held on to what looked like a stable 8-1 lead, but three errors quickly destroyed the Florida State advantage as the Hokies sent 11 batters of their own up to the dish in the inning. 

The Hokies put together four straight RBI hits despite just one ball making it out of the infield. The inning continued with consecutive fielding errors, first by Sitz and then from Bryant Holtmann (who came on in relief of Sitz). The inning finally ended when LF Tyler Horan was thrown out at third but not before C Mark Zagunis tied the game with a two-run single to right.

Sitz finished the game with 3.2 innings pitched with seven hits allowed and eight runs surrendered, but just one of those runs was earned. 

Holtmann came on to relieve Sitz and worked 2.1 scoreless innings to allow Florida State to steady themselves and come away with the win though. The 6-5 sophomore gave up three hits while stymieing the Hokies' momentum.

The Seminoles retook the lead the next inning when McGee walked with the bases loaded, but couldn't further the advantage in the inning. 

Two innings later in the top of the 7th Florida State increased their lead to 11-8 when a wild pitch scored RF Josh Delph and McGee singled in another RBI.

But Tech didn't go quietly, answering with a run in the bottom of the 7th inning to cut the lead back to two runs, 11-9.

In the bottom of the 9th Robby Coles was tested on his way to picking up his sixth save in as many chances. The Hokies scored one run and had the bases loaded with one out off of Coles before he managed to buckle down and record a strikeout and a groundout to second to escape with a win.

Florida State will play Virginia Tech in game three of the series, game two of today's doubleheader coming up shortly.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

March 29, 2013

Seminoles Stumble in Blacksburg, Drop Opener to Hokies 3-2


Florida State couldn't get the timely hit in their series opening loss at Virginia Tech on Friday night. Brandon Leibrandt took his second straight loss as the Seminoles out-hit the Hokies 11-6 but still fell at English Field 3-2.

“It was a tough loss, but tomorrow is another story” said head coach Mike Martin. “We just didn’t seem to get the key hits when we needed them tonight.”

Virginia Tech's Brad Markey was unspectacular, but effective, going a complete game, giving up 11 hits and two runs while striking out four.

“You have to credit Markey, he did a very good job of getting the curveball over in crucial situations and we didn’t do much with him when it was time to do something,” said Martin. “But give them the credit, they deserved to win and got it done.”

Virginia Tech struck first in the bottom of third after Leibrandt walked two hitters and allowed a single to drive in the first run of the game. Leibrandt walked five in four innings on Friday, taking the loss after giving up five hits and three earned runs. 

“I thought Leibrandt pitched pretty well,” said Martin. “He didn’t dominate but he didn’t give up an awful lot of hits. The walks bothered me though and that’s not going to work.”

Control has now been a problem for Leibrandt his past few outings. In his loss against Georgia Tech last Friday Leibrandt didn't walk anybody, but gave up six hits and four earned runs in his 1.1 innings of work. Leibrandt does currently lead the team with 15 walks on the season though, and has not looked sharp in past few starts.

If he continues to struggle, Scott Sitz and Luke Weaver have both been worthy of the Friday night starter spot in the Seminole rotation.

Leibrandt wasn't alone in his struggles on Friday night though, despite collecting 11 hits, the Seminoles stranded five runners and failed to come up with the big inning they needed to dispatch Virginia Tech.

In the top of the 6th DJ Stewart hit a two-run homer, but beyond that the Seminoles failed to plate any other runs and took their third loss of the season to a ball club that, at least on paper, probably had no business beating their ace.

But baseball is a game played on a diamond, not paper, and on Friday night the Hokies bested the Seminoles.

Giovanny Alfonzo continued to hit well for FSU though, going 3-3 on the evening. Billy Strode and Gage Smith were also on point for the Seminoles, combining for just one hit over the four innings of relief they worked after Leibrandt was knocked out in the fifth. 

Florida State has two more chances to redeem themselves and take the series this tomorrow when they play a double-header in order to avoid inclement weather due in the Blacksburg area Sunday afternoon.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

March 27, 2013

FSU Women Fall to Defending Champion Baylor in NCAA Second Round


The Florida State University Women's basketball team is in Waco, Texas to participate in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. FSU Beat Writer Patrik Nohe is back in Tallahassee covering Spring practice. The following is an official FSU press release:

WACO, Texas -- WACO, Texas -- Florida State knew it was in for the challenge of all challenges in Tuesday night's second-round NCAA Tournament game and Brittney Griner and defending national champion Baylor lived up to the hype in the Seminoles' season-ending 85-47 loss.

And while the No. 1-seeded Bears (34-1) were "as advertised" in their 32nd consecutive victory this season and 57th consecutive triumph on their home floor at the Ferrell Center, the No. 8-seed Seminoles (23-10) deserve credit of their own. 

"Fight" was the team's buzzword throughout the season and FSU did just that in its last contest of the year despite Griner's larger-than-life play (the 6-foot-8 center dunked three times in her final home game) and the presence of a sold out crowd intent on loudly sending her out in style.

"We don't play for personal acheivement," FSU senior guard Alexa Deluzio said. "We play for each other so you can't really stop fighting if that's what you're fighting for."

Griner finished the game with 33 points, 22 rebounds and four assists before checking out for good with 6:06 left. Brooklyn Pope added 12 points, Odyssey Sims had 11 and Kimetria Hayden scored 10.

Florida State did force Baylor into committing 19 turnovers but couldn't find the shooting touch on the opposite end. The 'Noles were 18-of-26 from the field (26 percent) and 27 percent from 3-point range and Baylor was able to shoot 56 percent from the field and 44 percent from long distance.

The Bears also won the rebounding battle, 56-25, and scored 64 of their 85 points in the paint.

"I thought we got great looks, we just didn't knock them down," FSU coach Sue Semrau said. "And I thought that because we are an offensive-oriented team that we struggled mentally and maybe a little bit emotionally with our lack of production offensively and it played into our transition defense."

Tuesday's outcome officially marked the conclusion of the career's of FSU's five seniors; Deluzio, Chelsea Davis, Leonor Rodriguez, Chasity Clayton and Morgan Toles.

Deluzio finished her five-year playing in all 131 games and as the fourth leading scorer in program history after scoring nine points against the Bears. She also finished third in career 3-pointers, fifth and third, respectively, in 3-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage and in the top 20 in career assists.

Rodriguez capped off the best season of her career in the top 10 in both 3-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage as she scored a team-high 11 points in the game, including three 3-pointers. Like Deluzio, Clayton also played five seasons for the 'Noles and finished with four points against the Bears.

Toles played just 41 games for Florida State after transferring from Auburn but helped solidy the Seminoles' point guard position and lead their balanced offensive attack into the post-season this year.

Davis added five points and three rebounds and junior forward Natasha Howard posted eight points and a team-leading six rebounds. Yashira Delgado scored six points and had two steals. Deluzio and Rodriguez also had three steals on the defensive end.

Baylor never trailed in the game after building an early 11-0 lead.

The contest was watched by former United States President George W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who met with and spoke with the Seminoles in the locker room before the game started. 

March 26, 2013

Seminoles Top Gators 2-1 in Jacksonville


Florida State (23-2) knocked off Florida (11-15) 2-1 for the second time this season on Tuesday night. The Seminoles won the annual series between the rival Florida universities, after winning the first game in Gainesville 4-1 back in Mid-March, Luke Weaver pitched the Seminoles to a victory in Jacksonville to guarantee Florida State at least two out of three.

“It was exciting, it was fun and it’s just something that we are going to enjoy for a couple of days,” said head coach Mike Martin. “We were fortunate tonight to get the win, but very proud to get it done.”

Weaver was lights out for the Seminoles on Tuesday night. The sophomore pitched six strong for the Seminoles, giving up three hits and a run while striking out a career-high nine batters. 

“You look at what has been the story most of the year and that’s our pitching,” said Martin. “It was a game that we got crucial relief work. And you can’t say more about the outing that Luke Weaver had tonight.  To strike out nine in 6.0 innings, I mean that’s a very good baseball team (to do that against).”

“I came out throwing a little too hard, got a little tight in my arm so I had to spot up a little more,” said Weaver. “I was getting a little lackadaisical with first pitch balls so I attacked more and got the counts in my favor."

After Florida State went up 1-0 early, the Gators were able to even the score in the 2nd inning when Connor Mitchell hit an RBI single with two outs to drive in Zack Powers.

That was the only offense Florida would muster all game though.

Unfortunately for Weaver, despite pitching six strong and being good enough for the win, he left with the game in question, tied at one, and took the no-decision.

The game stayed tied until the 8th inning when 3B Jose Brizuela lead off the inning with a double. After a balk advanced him to third, the Gators went to the bullpen and were able to exploit matchups to record the first two outs of the innings.

SS Giovanny Alfonzo came to the rescue for Florida State though when he singled up the middle to drive in Brizuela and give the Seminoles the lead.

“It feels good because last year they shut us out,” said Alfonzo on getting the series victory over the Gators. “It’s nice to know that we won the first two but we still have one more to take care of at home.”

After Bryant Holtmann replaced Weaver for the Seminoles and pitched 1.2 solid innings, Gage Smith (3-0) picked up the win when he replaced Holtmann in the 8th and threw a single pitch to induce a ground ball and escape from a jam.

Robby Coles earned his fifth save in as many opportunities when he worked a flawless ninth to close out the Gators.

FSU and UF will finish their series in Tallahassee on Tuesday, April 9th at 6 PM.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

March 25, 2013

FSU Women Win NCAA Tourney Opener Over Princeton, Baylor Looms


The Florida State University Women's basketball team is in Waco, Texas to participate in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. FSU Beat Writer Patrik Nohe is back in Tallahassee covering Spring practice. The following is an official FSU press release:

WACO, Texas – And the streak -- now officially in its 10th game -- continues. 

The No. 8-seed Florida State women's basketball team opened the 2013 NCAA Championships Sunday night with a 60-44 victory over No. 9-seed Princeton, to extend the program's first-round winning streak to double digits in "The Big Dance."

The 10-game streak dates all the way back to the 1990 season when the 'Noles (23-9) lost to Penn State in Tallahassee. For some perspective on the 23-years-and-counting that separates that last setback, Alexa Deluzio and Chasity Clayton are the only current members of the team that were alive then.

"It helps us to have extra prep time between the ACC and NCAA Tournament to get ready for these opening games," Deluzio said afterwards. "More than anything, though, having a few extra days to rest our bodies after a long regular season really helps us."

The Seminoles' certainly looked like a rested team inside Baylor's golden-domed Ferrell Center, particularly on defense.

The Tigers (22-7), who have won the Ivy League championship in each of the last four seasons, entered the Oklahoma City Regional shooting nearly 44 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point distance with a plus-19.4 scoring margin. But against Florida State, those shooting averages took quite the tumble.

Princeton finished the game just 17-of-67 (24.4 percent) from inside the arc and 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) beyond it and was held to its lowest point total of the 2012-13 season. Reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, Niveen Rasheed, concluded her career with just nine points on 3-of-15 shooting after averaging 16.9 points per game before the tournament.

As a team, Princeton was forced into 19 turnovers and the Seminoles capitalized with 22 points off those takeaways. FSU also shot 48.1 percent from the field and never trailed despite a 48-34 rebounding disadvantage.

“One of the things that is so important in basketball … we all talk about the scorers, but it’s the playmakers that create the opportunities for the scorers that need to be defended," FSU coach Sue Semrau said. "I thought that’s what we did a good job of. [Rasheed] is such a great player. If we would’ve just tried to take her out of it, I think everybody else is good enough that they could step up. We had to take the players out of it that get her involved. 

"I thought that our team did a great job of understanding that." 

Playing in her first NCAA Tournament, senior guard Morgan Toles scored 12 points for FSU and fellow fourth-year guard Leonor Rodriguez scored 12 of her own. Yashira Delgado -- another tournament newcomer -- added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and a well-timed 3-pointer midway through the second half that halted a 10-0 Princeton run.

Natasha Howard tied her career high with five blocks and scored six points while Deluzio scored seven while battling foul trouble. Chelsea Davis and Clayton scored six apiece.

The Seminoles had kept the Tigers in check through the first 26 minutes of the game but Alex Wheatley's lay-up with 13:45 remaining in the second half cut FSU's lead to single digits at 38-29. Wheatley's bucket helped spark what turned out to be that 10-0 Princeton run, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Blake Dietrick that put the Tigers within a 38-37 score -- FSU's smallest advantage of the night at that point since the scoreboard showed 2-0 -- with 11:07 left to play.

In need of a run-stopping answer, Delgado then heeded that call with her critical 3-pointer at the game's 10:49 mark.

"The ball ended up in my hands on that play and I saw I had an open shot," Delgado said. "I just shot it with confidence and it went in."

Toles then tallied her own jumper to put the Seminoles up 44-39 and combined with Deluzio to add two more baskets and Rodriguez hit a triple and made the highlight tapes with an acrobatic and-one reverse lay-up that gave the 'Noles a 54-39 lead with 5:19 left.

Kate Miller then hit a 3-pointer for the Tigers but it proved harmless as the Seminoles held Princeton to just one two-point basket in the final 4:57 to seal a victory that fittingly started and ended with strong defensive play.

To start the game, Florida State held Princeton to just 20.6-percent shooting from the field and generated a halftime advantage of 31-19 -- the Tigers' second lowest opening-frame output of the entire season. The 'Noles also limited Rasheed to just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first 20 minutes.

“Full court pressure gave us the opportunity to play less time in the half court defensively," Semrau said.

Florida State's Tuesday-night second-round game at Baylor University will be against the hosting Bears. The defending national champions and the tournament's overall No. 1 seed took on Prairie View A&M after the Seminoles' win.

March 24, 2013

Seminoles Take Series Against Yellow Jackets with 8-6 Comeback Win


Down 5-0 in the bottom of the 2nd inning, sophomore 3B Jose Brizuela wasn't about to let the Florida State Seminoles (22-2, 7-2 ACC) go quietly like they had in the first game of their series against Georgia Tech (18-5, 6-3 ACC).

In the day game of Friday's doubleheader the Seminoles had gone without a whimper, letting Georgia Tech plate 10 runs and failing to produce any offense whatsoever to back starter Brandon Leibrandt and the Seminole bullpen.

On Sunday, after allowing the Yellow Jackets to jump out to an early 5-0 lead, Brizuela wasn't about to let history repeat itself. After battling to a full count to lead off the bottom of the 2nd inning, the sophomore third baseman belted a ball to right field, took a big turn around first base and beat the throw into second.

"After we got out of the [top of the] inning, Jameis [Winston] brought us all together, like I thought I was just a lineman or something and he was a quarterback talking to me," joked Brizuela. "He just pumped me up and I was in the batter's box trying to have a good at-bat, 3-2 count he fortunately left a pitch up and I drove it and fortunately started things off for the team." 

That hit- and the run that followed two batters later- were the start of a Florida State comeback that saw FSU make up a five run deficit and win 8-6 on Sunday to take two of three from the ACC-rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

"It was just an outstanding win for [the team]," said head coach Mike Martin. "You just can't say enough about what a good job the bullpen did, every single pitcher that went out there held the other club in check.

"After three innings we're down 5-0, our bullpen did a great job of keeping them right there for the next six innings and that's exciting for us. It goes to show you what a great job [pitching coach] Mike Bell has done with our pitchers."

Georgia Tech jumped out to a big lead early, knocking Florida State starter Peter Miller out of the ballgame after just one and a third innings.

The Yellow Jackets plated two in the first inning when RF Daniel Palka singled and a throwing error on Miller allowed everyone to advance and a run to score. The next batter, C Zane Evans hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the second Georgia Tech run of the inning, making it 2-0 before the Seminoles even came to the plate.

After a quiet bottom of the first from the Seminole offense, the Jackets got after it again in the top of the 2nd, scoring three more and knocking Miller from the game with just one out in the inning.

SS Mott Hyde and DH Daniel Spingola singled to start the top of the 2nd inning, LF Kyle Wren (son of Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren) doubled to drive in Hyde and make it 3-0. 3B Sam Dove cleared the bases with a double of his own the next batter to make it 5-0 and Martin had seen enough. He replaced Miller with Bryant Holtmann who was able to settle things down for Florida State.

"Bryant had a very good outing, his cutter was working as well as I've seen it this year," said Martin. "His cutter was getting in on their outstanding hitters, I mean they had ten hits in the first four innings. It was just a great job of pitching from Bryant Holtmann."

Tech finished the day with 11 hits.

Holtmann would work the next 3.1 innings, giving up just one run and two hits while striking out five. His presence on the mound was enough to calm the Yellow Jacket bats and allow the Seminole offense to get Florida State back in to the game.

And the Seminole offense wasted little time clawing their way back in.

After Brizuela doubled to lead off the 2nd inning, two straight sacrifice flies brought him in for the first Florida State run of the game. Two innings later in the bottom of the 4th they got another when 2B John Sansone singled home CF Seth Miller.

But Georgia Tech answered with an insurance run in the top of the 5th when 1B AJ Murray singled in CF Brandon Thomas to make it 6-2.

Florida State wasn't going quietly on Sunday though. The Seminoles used two-run innings in the 6th and 7th to tie the game at six heading into the final two frames.

In the 6th inning the Seminoles chased Tech starter Cole Pitts when they put two men on with one out in the inning. Pitts took the no-decision, going 5.1, striking out one, walking five and giving up five hits. He was also charged for three of the four runs he surrendered, including one of the baserunners that RHP Alex Cruz inherited from him in the top of the 6th.

With two on and one out, Cruz came on to face Sansone who he plunked to load the bases. RF Josh Delph grounded to shortstop next, scoring Seth Miller on the fielder's choice, but a throwing error on the secondbaseman allowed Giovanny Alfonzo to score too and kept Tech from getting out of the inning.

An inning later, trailing 6-4, Florida State tied the game when Miller drove in 1B Casey Smit and C Stephen McGee with a double to right center. The Seminole threat may have continued but with two outs, and men on the corners, Miller was thrown out attempting to steal home after a pick-off attempt at first base to end the inning. 

Gage Smith, who finished the top of the 7th for Florida State to work out of Brandon Johnson's jam, created one of his own to start the top of the 8th. Smith gave up a single to Murray, before a fielder's choice recorded the first out of the inning. Smith then gave up a walk to Mott Hyde which made Martin go to the Florida State pen for Robby Coles.

"We went down there a little quickly and got Robby," joked Martin afterwards. "But Mamba pitched well."

Coles quickly induced two pop flies to help the Seminoles escape the inning without any damage, leaving two Yellow Jackets stranded in the process.

Cruz came back out to work the bottom of the 8th for Tech but was replaced after recording the first out by Jonathan King. 

That ended up being a mistake. 

King quickly walked Josh Delph before giving up a single LF Marcus Davis to put two on with one out for DJ Stewart. After both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Stewart drove them both in with a single up the middle to give Florida State the lead 8-6. 

Robby Coles came back out to a work a 1-2-3 9th inning to give Florida State the win. It was Coles' first win of the season, and improved the Seminoles to 22-2.

"It was just a team win," said Martin. "And a very important win for us."

It was the 18th straight victory for FSU when wearing their Sunday gold uniforms.

Florida State battles Florida in Jacksonville on Tuesday before traveling to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech for three games next weekend.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Sal Sunseri Bringing Blue-Collar Approach to Florida State Defensive Line


Florida State overhauled their coaching staff this past offseason when the rest of the nation made a run on Jimbo Fisher's assistants. 

After three years of continuity, schools like Kentucky, Cincinnati and Miami came after the Seminole coaching staff hard and Fisher was left trying to hold together a recruiting class while cobbling together a talented group of coaches to help run his program. 

It went pretty well by all accounts. 

“I’m extremely excited to be here at Florida State," said new D-Line coach Sal Sunseri. "I had the opportunity to be down here during the bowl practice and these young kids work hard. Jimbo does a great job with them. They’re finding out what it takes to win, and they did win last year and they have high expectations. We just have to teach them to get to those high expectations.”

Sunseri is just one in a group of coaches new to the program this Spring as the Seminoles kick off practices. Sunseri spent last season at Tennessee where he admits he learned the hard way that, "you need good players."

Sunseri joined the staff as DJ Eliot's replacement and helped coach before the Orange Bowl. That gave him a chance to get to know the players a little bit it still probably didn't prepare them for what to expect once the Spring rolled around.

“I think they’re in a little bit of shell shock right now," said Sunseri after the team's first practice. "They’re probably in there saying ‘boy the man is crazy.’ But I want them to think that because the thing is that every time I go out on the field, it’s like if I was coaching my own son. I am going to demand him to do it right. First of all, for protection. Because if he doesn’t do it right and he gets lazy, to me that’s the most important thing.

"And if they play with the technique and they do what they’re supposed to do, someday they’re going to have the opportunity to fulfill a dream that they’ve been waiting to do for a long time. I’m excited about it. I think they got an idea of what I am going to ask for, so tomorrow will be another day. Hopefully, we get better and they’ve got to learn. They’ve got to understand not just assignments, they’ve got to understand concepts of what’s going on out there.”

That's a big part of this year's new defense, learning the concepts and not just the assignments. It's something that should give everyone a better chance in the NFL where the defenses are even more complex than what Jeremy Pruitt is implementing in Tallahassee.

One thing the guys can expect along the defensive line is that if they aren't learning the concepts they'll hear about it.


"[He] coaches the way that I like to be coached, hard-nosed, they coach with their hair on fire," said DT Tim Jernigan. "He makes sure things get done the way they’re supposed to get done and he lets you know when you’re not doing something right. He don’t care who you are, they let you know.”

"If he's on you and yelling at you it's because you know he cares about you and he's trying to coach you for the player you could be and not the player that you are," added DE Mario Edwards.

So far Sunseri has already told Edwards he needs to get in shape in about as many words. It may be jarring but it's the kind of tough love a lot of players need. 

Sunseri has an extremely impressive resume, he's coached some very good players like Julius Peppers for instance and given the NFL ambitions of most of the team's defensive linemen, this group has figured out that Sunseri is a good guy to listen to.

Guys like Edwards and Casher both point to the pros Sunseri has helped create before admitting they need to take in all the coaching Sunseri can give.

Even if it's a bit harsh.

"I was always taught to listen to the message, not how it's delivered," said DE Chris Casher.

“Oh I love it, I came up playing football you know, you understand that they’re just trying to get a point across," said Jernigan. "They’re just trying to get you better and it’s only going to set you up for life after football, it’s going to make you a tougher person and make you be able to adapt more easily to certain situations.”

That blue-collar, lunch-pail approach is exactly what the Seminoles defensive ends need. Florida State's defense will need to be nasty next season to compensate for breaking in a new quarterback. That all starts up front in the trenches where Sunseri is installing a workman-like ethic and trying to elevate the level of play of the whole unit.

"I’m going to demand and they’re going to be relentless competitive people," said Sunseri. "I’m going to push them to the ultimate. They’re not going to have a chance to relax because this game is very physical and you’re playing a four-three and two defensive ends, you have to be dominating, you have to rush the passer and stop the run. When fatigue sets in, most of us turn into cowards, so what I try to do is work them as fast as I can and as hard as I can to get them to play with the best technique because that’s what’s going to happen in the game.

"Technique ultimately wins on the field.  If you have technique and you have smarts, you’re going to be a good football player.”


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

March 23, 2013

FSU Women Prepare for the NCAA Tourney Gauntlet


It's not so much the first round draw that the Florida State women's basketball team faces that seems daunting- it's the venue and the team looming in the second round that seem almost unfair.

The Lady Seminoles, an 8 seed, will face off with Princeton on Sunday at 5 PM in Waco, Texas. That, in itself, is a tall enough order but looming in the wings should the Seminoles advance are the top-ranked, defending national champion, Baylor Bears with star Britney Griner.

"I don’t even know who we’re playing after Princeton," joked head coach Sue Semrau. "That’s something we have to do a good job of thinking about our first opponent, that’s the only game that’s promised and we’ve done a good job in the past of being able to really focus on what we need to focus on."

The Seminoles are back in the tournament after a one-year hiatus. Under Semrau the Seminoles had reached the dance for seven straight years before 2011-12's disappointing season. Since that point the team has been deeply motivated to return to the NCAA tournament and redeem last year's team.

This year they were 22-9 and more than happy to take an 8 seed when the tournament committee made its selections.

"It’s great, that’s something that going into the postseason was obviously on our mind strongly," said Semrau. "I’m really proud of this senior class that made this push and made this happen this year."

"We’re expecting a tough first game, Princeton is not an easy team. We watched film a little bit yesterday, they’re very fundamental so that will be tough," said senior guard Alexa Deluzio. "But I think our team is just excited to be back in the tournament, last year we didn’t make it so we kind of had that hunger to get back and we accomplished that.”

But Florida State isn't just happy to be back in the tournament, they're looking to make a statement. They know what a meeting with Baylor in the round of 32 would mean.

They also know they can't look past Princeton.

"Princeton’s a really solid team," said Semrau. "They have the player of the year in the Ivy, they have the defensive player of the league in the Ivy. They are certainly a quality basketball team."

But while Semrau refuses to even acknowledge the challenge that may lie just a round ahead, joking she's never even heard of Britney Griner, her team is acutely aware.

"I mean obviously, we as individual players we kind of look forward to that matchup, we have to take care of Princeton first like I said they’re not an easy team at all," said Deluzio. "Baylor’s a tough team, but that’s going to make the victory that much more sweet.

"I’m looking forward to it."


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



Powered by TypePad