Courtney Abbott is looking forward to the start of practice on Monday. Abbott also continues to recover from a kidney infection that has slowed him this summer. Click here for an update on Abbott, who attended summer school and has enjoyed the transition from high school to college."/>

On His Own

On His Own

Nicknamed "Baby Shaq" because of his 6-foot-9, 334-pound size, freshman offensive lineman <b>Courtney Abbott</b> is looking forward to the start of practice on Monday. Abbott also continues to recover from a kidney infection that has slowed him this summer. Click here for an update on Abbott, who attended summer school and has enjoyed the transition from high school to college.

Courtney Abbott plans to be all eyes and ears when Florida State opens practice on Monday.

"My goal this year is to pay attention and learn," Abbott said on Sunday after participating in the team's conditioning drills.

Players checked in with the training staff at 2:30 p.m. and then proceeded to the practice fields for conditioning testing. Thirty-two players who did not meet the summer attendance criteria had to run 16 110-yard dashes.

And, for the first time, the group also included freshmen such as Abbott who are expected to provide quality depth and could see playing time this season. Freshmen were required to run eight sprints.

"This is the first time we've tested freshmen," said Randy Oravetz, the Seminoles' Director of Sports Medicine.

"We decided that some of these freshmen will be playing and we needed to see what kind of shape they are in. Most of them were here for the second six weeks. They are not in bad shape, I will say that. All of them didn't make their test (times). But I was impressed that we had a good summer."

Specifically speaking of Abbott, Oravetz said, "I thought he did well for himself being the first time, all of your peers watching you. I thought he responded pretty well. I know his mom is glad he's down here eating with us."

Nicknamed "Baby Shaq" because of his 6-foot-9, 334-pound size, Abbott, an offensive lineman from Atlanta Westlake, is eager to begin. He looks agile and athletic for his massive size.

"I am trying to learn from an All-American in Alex Barron and an All-American in Ray Willis," Abbott said.

"I have the perfect opportunity to learn from two great players. I am calling this a learning year. That's my goal. Plus, I want to make As and Bs in the classroom. I want to make a 3.5 grade-point average."

Abbott said he did well in his two summer course and also made nice progress on the practice fields despite being slowed by a kidney infection.

Abbott, who did not make all of his times in his eight sprints, had a bag of ice wrapped around his lower back to help ease any discomfort. He also continuest to take antibiotics.

Still, it was hard to keep the friendly grin off his face.

"I am real excited to get going," Abbott said.

"I've been here the entire summer -- I took two classes. It was hard in the beginning because you have to get up early and you have to be hard on yourself. But it got easier as it went. I did well."

A smiling Abbott also says he has survived the transition from high school to college. He cited the team's conditioning drills as proof.

"At the beginning of the summer, the transition from being a high school athlete to these 110s. ... when you first start running these 110s, you think, 'Oh, my God,' " Abbott said.

"Then you start running eight and you are about to fall out. Then you run 12, and 12 you are about to fall out. Then 14, and at 14 you are about to fall out. Then, when yo go home, you are like, 'Oh, I just made 14 110s.' I thought I would never make it, but you feel good about yourself."

Abbott, who also played basketball at Westlake High School, is noted as a strong pass blocker. However, he admits he needs to improve on his run-blocking skills.

"Since I am tall and big and have long arms, I can get on somebody quick," Abbott said. "Plus I can see over the line, see what the ends are doing. See what the linebackers are doing.

"I have to learn to stay low. I want to see how Alex stays low and run blocks. I am ready to get out there and learn and see what it's about."

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