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August 8, 2011
Today, the coaches get back to barking. Today, in humidity that shouldn't be legal, Florida State players will start pouring their sweat and souls into another campaign.
And today, as the team makes its way from the locker room to the freshly sodded Al Dunlap Practice Fields, the bricks of the Seminole Legacy Walk will click and clack a tune only football cleats can orchestrate.
The tune and the effort and the barking are all familiar. Fall practice is here.
Today is the unceremonious, yet official start to the 2011 season as Day 1 of fall camp commences at 2:45 p.m. The first five days of practice will be an "acclimation period," meaning the players will practice in only shorts and helmets. But it all kickstarts four weeks of work before FSU takes on Louisiana-Monroe in the season opener on Sept. 3.
"(Expectations) are why players come to Florida State, to win championships," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said during last month's ACC Kickoff. Fisher's team comes into 2011 off a 10-win season, a win over South Carolnia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and is ranke No. 5 in the USA Today coaches poll that was released last week.
"We have to understand that expectations don't win games," he said. "We have to prepare, we have to be very detail-oriented, create great habits because eventually the habits you create become you. And when pressure comes, habits come straight to the surface. So from that standpoint, we're learning to look forward and build our new history."
The Seminoles are looking forward with a new full-time starting quarterback in E.J. Manuel, 16 starters returning and the fruits of back-to-back recruiting classes that ranked among the nation's best. This will be the first opportunity for prized class of 2011 recruits like safety Karlos Williams, tight end Nick O'Leary and running back James Wilder to have formal work with their new teammates.
Camp battles will also begin as the three-deep chart remains fluid at middle linebacker, running back, offensive line, defensive line and safety. Which freshman or junior college transfers can make an immediate impact? Who will be the Seminoles' breakout star in 2011?
Then there are those expectations, which loom larger than they've been here in almost a decade.
And then there's Oklahoma on Sept. 17.
To keep you up to date on everything that happens during fall drills, Warchant.com will have a bevy of information at your disposal from stories to video interviews to commentary, podcasts, weekly Warchant TV features, photo galleries and more. The newest addition is our Preseason Practice Headquarters, which will tidy up all of Warchant.com's exclusive fall camp content onto one convenient page.
So don't miss everything in between the sweat and the barking, the camp battles and the click and clack only cleats can orchestrate.
Today, fall practice begins.