Even in the hottest months of the year, in the "downtime" between the end of spring football and the start of preseason practice, Florida State football players hit the field for intense 7-on-7 practices.
"There were some bloodlettings," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "There is a tremendous competition level around here. Sometimes I had to say, 'Whoa.'"
That's one example of the determination of FSU's players to improve and build on what was accomplished with a national title in 2013. There's no resting-on-their-championship-resume approach. Players simply won't allow themselves to do so.
And that approach has carried over to the first week of preseason practice. FSU returned to the practice field on Monday, and Fisher is pleased with the level of play and intensity.
"The practices are very, very competitive," Fisher said.
Let's take a look at developments from the first four days of practice as we analyze developments with the Seminoles.
Freshmen Impressing Early
Fisher said on Monday afternoon that all 28 members of the 2014 signing class have been cleared academically. And Fisher said he's been pleased with the willingness to learn and early performances of the true freshmen.
"I see a lot of these young guys learning," Fisher said. "All of those kids are doing a really nice job. We're throwing a lot at them early."
Dalvin Cook has quickly worked his way into the tailback rotation, writes 247Sports (subscription required). The offensive and defensive linemen have stood out to Fisher, writes Warchant.com's Powell Latimer and Ben Jones (subscription required).
Consistency at Receiver
Now in his fifth season as FSU's head coach, Fisher has frequently used the word "consistency," in regards to what he wants to see from a wide receiver.
With FSU needing to find pass-catchers to complement receiver Rashad Greene and tight end Nick O'Leary, Fisher knows what he is looking for from a large group of receivers who are vying for playing time following the graduation of Kenny Shaw and the early departure of first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin.
"Consistency," Fisher said. "Guys knowing what to do, where to be and making plays. I've been very pleased with the younger and the older receivers. Not just those young guys—those older guys are doing a real nice job. I want the best players and the most consistent players."
Seniors Scooter Haggins and Christian Green would seem to have an advantage when it comes to consistency—they've been with the program for five years and know the playbook inside and out.
"With the depth we have, we know somebody is going to play and some may not," Haggins said. "That's what really keeps us hungry."
"It's going to come for them because they're talented," Green said. "All of them have great talent. ... It's about learning. You have to be consistent throughout the whole camp and the season. There's going to be ups and downs. You're going to have to be mentally tough enough to handle the ups and downs."
Jameis Winston's Improved Mechanics
It may be tough for Jameis Winston to improve—statistically speaking—on his 2013 Heisman Trophy season. Winston threw for 4,057 yards, tossed a school-record 40 touchdown passes and completed 66.9 percent of his passes.
But Fisher said Winston has shown a desire to improve his mechanics, something that could improve his accuracy.
"He was very anxious to get better fundamentally," Fisher said. "That was what encouraged me. Did a lot of film study, his footwork, his releases. I was very pleased."
FSU's opponents won't be quite as pleased.
Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Bob on Twitter.
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