0

Seminoles start spring drills

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State opens its 15 days of spring practice today and new coach Jimbo Fisher can't wait to get started.

"We're ready to roll," Fisher said during a 45-minute update with the media Monday. "Everybody's here doing what they're supposed to be doing."

Most importantly, quarterback Christian Ponder -- his MBA nearly in hand -- has recovered sufficiently from November surgery on his injured right throwing arm to take part in the team's spring drills.

Fisher said he expects Ponder to play in the school's April 10 spring game.

"We ain't going to hit him anyway," Fisher said, noting the quarterbacks will be off-limits to defenders in an otherwise full contact spring contest. "Knowing him, if I had to bet, if I was in Vegas, I'd be putting money on him."

Ponder, who is 13-9 as a starter at Florida State, passed for 2,717 yards and 14 touchdowns last season before being injured Nov. 7 while making a tackle at Clemson. He underwent surgery two weeks later.

Fisher is pleased with Ponder's recovery.

"He's in such great physical condition, his rehab is going to be faster," Fisher said.

Ponder's backup, EJ Manuel, also underwent offseason shoulder surgery and will not be available for much, if any, of the spring drills. Freshman Clint Trickett, son of Seminole offensive coordinator Rick Trickett, and redshirt freshman Will Secord will get more reps in Manuel's absence.

Ponder said Monday he's been throwing without pain in the injured shoulder and that he'd thrown 125 passes Sunday.

Aside from keeping his quarterbacks safe, Fisher plans to scrap the situation-style scrimmage employed by former coach Bobby Bowden in the spring game with a regular game in hopes to attracting a larger crowd.

Fisher praised the efforts of all his players during their offseason conditioning program and looks forward to spring practice in advance of an April 10 spring game.

"The most impressive thing of the offseason to me was we didn't have guys that couldn't make it through the workout," Fisher said. "They all got better. No guys were lagging."

The Seminoles finished 7-6 last year after defeating West Virginia 33-21 at the Gator Bowl in Bowden's final game.