Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

One play exemplifies what Florida State Seminoles are seeking

TALLAHASSEE — For Florida State QB Christian Ponder and the offense, the most important pass play of the season might have come early in the second half of Saturday's shutout win against Wake Forest.

Facing third and 14 from his 48-yard line, Ponder perfectly fired a long pass to WR Taiwan Easterling down the sideline for a 28-yard gain. The play kept alive a drive that culminated in a touchdown on Ponder's 6-yard run to give the Seminoles a 17-0 lead.

"You couldn't throw it any better," coach Jimbo Fisher said.

To a coach's eye, it's the kind of throw he knows Ponder can make but hadn't with the regularity many expected this season. The Seminoles are averaging 237.8 passing yards a game, down about 34 yards from last year.

That's due, in part, to the Seminoles running better; they're averaging 196.8 yards on the ground, an increase of about 47 a game. But the passing numbers also underline the inexperience of the receivers and Ponder's comfort staying in the pocket waiting for them to get open downfield.

Can one play change that?

"It gave me some confidence," Ponder said. "I started relaxing a little bit after that. Whenever you make a throw like that and (have) a catch like that, it definitely builds up confidence, and I think I needed that a little bit."

And that could be critical. The Seminoles must continue to hone their passing attack if they are to develop an offense that can carry them to their first ACC title since 2005 and a Bowl Championship Series berth.

"I was a little frustrated after the game on Saturday," Ponder said. "Obviously we should have done better than we did. You look back at the stats and you see 485 yards of offense, put up 31 points, and we're not nearly where we should be. At all. We've still got a lot of room for improvement.

"But for us to be where we're at, it's a good sign, and it's exciting that we can still do so much more. We have to take the right steps to progress."

Road warriors, he hopes: Fisher said his young team didn't handle the environment at Oklahoma, its first road game, very well. But he's not changing the routine and hopes his players learn from the experience.

"I tell them, 'Don't listen to the crowd. Think about the game and play the game and control what you can control,' " he said. "Hopefully we've learned those lessons from our last trip and we'll be able to deal with that a lot better this time."

Shutout reward: As he has for years, FSU director of baseball operations Chip Baker presented the defensive coaches with a baseball that has a nail driven in it to signify last weekend's shutout. FSU hadn't blanked an opponent since the 2008 opener against Western Carolina.

"I remember Mickey (Andrews, former defensive coordinator) had a whole roomful of those suckers in there," Fisher said. "We've got a ways to go to catch him. … It's one of the great traditions at Florida State."

Special performer: CB Mike Harris, a junior college transfer, continues to impress. In just 22 plays Saturday, he had five tackles and forced a fumble that S Terrance Parks recovered. FSU nominated him for ACC defensive back of the week.

Beyond the stats, however, is how he has handled the recent death of his mother, Gwendolyn Harris.

"He's a very good football player and a great kid, works his tail off, and you've got to realize what he's gone through," Fisher said. "Having missed (a couple days for the funeral in Miami) and coming back and being part of this team and being productive. Just the character and what he's doing, he's a tremendous, tremendous young man."

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347. Check his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/seminoles.

One play exemplifies what Florida State Seminoles are seeking 09/29/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 10:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What you should know about new Rays slugger Lucas Duda

    Blogs

    The MLB trade deadline is a few days away, but the Rays aren't procrastinating. Earlier today, they swung a deal for the Mets' Lucas Duda, sending minor league right-hander Drew Smith

    Slugger Lucas Duda will add some (more) power to the Rays lineup.
  2. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets

    Blogs

    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.
  3. Bucs do their best to stiff-arm the expectations

    Bucs

    TAMPA — If you want to see a team giving the Heisman trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    As always, the key to the Bucs success will be Jameis Winston. He still is only 23, but a charismatic leader that this team and this town believes deeply in. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations

    Bucs

    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.

    2008

    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by this much.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]