Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- FSU coach Bobby Bowden is a lot tougher than I am. The Noles are still practicing. I came inside for a quick reprieve. Weather.com says it's 88 degrees here but feels like 98. That sounds about right. And yet Bowden is standing out there in the direct sunlight, with his hands on his hips, watching as offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher barks out instructions.
There is no quit in Bowden, I tell you.
So far they've just been going through the basic drills, and one player who stood out to me immediately because of his size was tight end Caz Piurowski. He should be more of a factor this season now that the offensive line doesn't need his help as much.
Some freshmen were having trouble hanging onto the ball, but Willie Haulstead had some nice long catches from Christian Ponder, who also overthrew a few balls. Considering how much off-field turmoil there has been for the receiving group, it's nice to see everybody is out there today. Jermaine Thomas looked good catching passes out of the backfield, of course there was nobody there trying to stop him. E.J. Manuel looks like a tall, strong, athletic quarterback who's got some zip on the ball.
Watching these players -- the size, speed and athleticism -- it's hard not see the potential for this team next year. The future is bright at FSU, which is why I don't think Bowden would want to miss it next year.
I'm watching practice from the second level of the baseball field because the media access is very limited on the field, so it's a better view from up there. Problem is, you can't see what half the team is doing no matter where you stand. I'll get a chance to catch up with some players and hopefully a coach or two after practice, though, so check back later for more.