The top-ranked Florida State Seminoles held their final workout on campus Monday in preparation to face No. 2 Auburn in the BCS championship game.
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Coach Jimbo Fisher was ready to play weeks ago.
Florida State didn’t need a four-week break after the Seminoles won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. The roster was healthy and the program had completed its first undefeated regular season since 1999. The Seminoles outscored their last nine opponents by a combined score of 484-79.
They were the epitome of a team on a roll.
”I would have been tickled to death to play the very next week after we played Duke, we were playing so well,” Fisher said. ”When you have those delays, the key is getting that timing and rhythm back. But the key is you can’t be ready to quick. You’ve got to time that thing up to hopefully hit it right in stride.
”I like where we’re at right now. Hopefully those last 3-4 practices out there I think we’ll really be honed in. That’s kind of where you want to be.”
Fisher gave the team a week off during exams before returning for five sessions of mostly fundamental work. The team took time off for a holiday break then returned for five practices ending Monday. Tuesday is a travel day before a final five workouts leading up to the championship game Jan. 6. The Seminoles began heavy Auburn preparation after returning from the holiday break.
”It’s kind of hard because you get the first five and then you know you have a break to go home,” Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin said. ”A lot of guys tend to do this, `Oh, I’ll just get through these five practices then go home on break.’ But, really, coach Fisher has been preaching to us, telling you, `Don’t lose the practices. Go out there and have fun and go hard every day.”’
Fisher doesn’t want to lose the rhythm the team built over the course of three months. The schedule turned choppy simply from the bowl schedule. Normalcy usually doesn’t return the week of the bowl as teams have media responsibilities and a variety of other planned appearances organized by the bowl committee.
Fisher said that won’t be the case in Pasadena.
”The good thing, there’s not many in this game,” Fisher said. ”There’s only two nights we have to go somewhere. This is not as much of the bowl situation that you have at other bowls sometimes. It’s kind of like more of a business-like trip. A couple things will be fun, but it’s not as many things. Hopefully those distractions will keep it down.”
Fisher said the schedule will be similar to what the team is on in Tallahassee. The media responsibilities are not extremely different, except for Media Day on Jan. 4 that includes the entire team. There is also a team dinner Jan. 3.
The coach wants the players to have a unique experience with several players making their first trip to California, but he constantly preaches the primary reason for playing inside the Rose Bowl with college football observers watching across the world.
”California, that’s going to be crazy. I can’t wait,” Florida State cornerback P.J. Williams said. ”We’re just ready to get up there and be able to have fun and get ready for this game and being able to perform in a big game.
”No, I don’t think (it’s hard to focus). We’re here all day every day doing the same thing. Working hard and going at it. The coaches make sure our heads stay right. … We know it’s still a business trip.”