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From here on out it will be full speed ahead for the Seminole football team until the conclusion of the 2006 season. The summer workouts officially kickoff today and will continue until the start of preseason practices on August 7th. The players will get a week off between summer sessions later this month, and a few days of rest before practices officially begin, but for all practical purposes football will be the team's primary focus from here on out.
In addition to lifting weights four times a week, which began in May, starting today several players will take part in daily workouts on the practice fields. According to NCAA rules, a team's strength and conditioning staff is permitted to conduct organized training sessions four times a week for a period of eight weeks prior to the start of official practices. These workouts are not mandatory, but typically a large majority of FSU players participate.
Last year, an average of 50 players took part in the early June workouts and that number grew to 80 or 90 when the next academic session started later in the month. If all goes well, the attendance this summer should be comparable, if not better.
"I think we have more people in summer school than I've seen in a while and that's a good sign," senior linebacker Buster Davis told Warchant.com. "That includes a lot of key people. Probably 95 percent of the people are in summer school so that's a real good number. When you do those off-season drills, the pass (drills) and things like that it's good because football takes time. You only have so much time in two-a-days.
"I'm very impressed with the way the team has answered the call from the strength and conditioning coaches so far. Hopefully, we can press on and this can be the start of another dynasty. I think the way to get started for the next season is preparation and I think we have prepared very well so far."
When Davis signed in 2002, the 'Noles played for national championships in three of the previous four seasons. However, since he arrived on campus, FSU hasn't come close to college football's promised land. That's something he hopes to change in his final season as a Seminole.
"This my last year and you want to go out on top," Davis said. "The next step is the NFL and when you leave you want to make sure you gave everything to your team and your school so you could to help them win a national championship. That's what it really comes down to so that's why it's so important to win it this year."
With the start of the college football season just three months away, both fans and the media have dramatically different opinions on how good the Seminoles will be. Part of the reason for skeptics is last season's 8-5 record and the loss of four first rounders in the April NFL draft. In addition, there are only seven scholarship seniors on the entire roster. That lack of seniors could be why some experts doubt FSU's ability to excel on the field in 2006.
Buster Davis is one of those few seniors and the only one to start all 13 games last season. With such a lack of seniors, experienced players like Davis and Lorenzo Booker will have to go the extra mile to lead their teammates through the workouts, practices and upcoming season.
"As soon as everybody left for the draft, and we knew who was leaving and who was staying, we knew there were only a couple of us (seniors)," Davis said. "We want to do as much as possible since we are the leaders of the team. Everybody is looking for us to take them where we need to take them and that's a national championship."
Warchant.com will have complete coverage of the summer workouts complete with daily reports, interviews, photo galleries, video highlights and player features.
Gene Williams is the founder and administrator of Warchant.com and writes stories and features covering all of FSU's sports with an emphasis on football and football recruiting. During football season, he hosts a weekly sports radio show in Tallahassee on NewsRadio 1270 WFLA, and appears as a weekly guest on 1460 ESPN Radio in Jacksonville. Williams is also a former ACC correspondent for College Football News (weekly national newspaper), and contributes to The Osceola. Story about Gene Williams & Warchant.com.