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    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    Outsourcing Hits FSU Band

    DURHAM, N.C. - The North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Marching Sound Machine has been invited to play at an ESPN nationally televised game as a stadium band for Florida State University (FSU). On Thursday, October 5, 2006, at 7:30 p.m., FSU will play North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., at Carter Finley Stadium. NCCU's marching band will be seated in the stands with some 5,000 Florida State spectators playing FSU fight songs as well as NCCU’s band music and other game cadences.

    FSU is making special FSU shirts for NCCU band members to wear to the event and will pay for the 250 members' bus travel to Raleigh. The Sound Machine will be served a tailgate dinner outside the stadium and play for FSU alumni before the game.

    FSU's band, the Marching Chiefs, was unable to attend because two days of classes would be missed while traveling on Thursday and Friday.

    Mr. Douglas Manheimer, chair of the Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame, personally invited the Sound Machine to play at the game. "We had heard a lot of good things about NCCU's band and were impressed with their performance at the Honda Battle of the Bands," said Manheimer. "Since the Chancellor of NCCU, James H. Ammons, and the Band Director Jorim Reid are FSU graduates, we hoped as members of the FSU family they would accept our invitation."

    Saturday Practice Report

    · Florida State practiced 22 periods Saturday in full pads. It was a morning workout with the team in meetings by 8:15 am.

    · The early part of the practice was spent working against the NC State scout teams.

    · Skeleton highlights: Jamie Robinson and Roosevelt Lawson each picked off passes. Toddrick Verdell had a pass break-up. Drew Weatherford completed a deep out to Chris Davis and had another completion over the middle to Greg Carr.

    · 11-on-11 highlights: Marcus Sims had a big TD run. The two biggest cheers from the on-lookers came on a Drew Weatherford block on a running play and Everett Brown's tackle deep in the backfield blowing up another rushing attempt.

    · Goal line highlights: Marcus Sims had two TD runs and neither was from shot yardage. Derrick Nicholson had a pass break-up on a pass intended for Caz Piurowski.

    · Sunday's practice will be 22 periods and is expected to start at 3:30 p.m.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    (On Thursday's practice)

    "Sometimes when you have an open weekend, it's the hardest time to get motivation out of everyone. But they picked it up a little bit today so that's good. Nobody got hurt. (Shannon) Boatman is still out right now, I hope he'll be ready by Thursday but he couldn't practice today and of course Tony Carter is out."

    (On practicing on a Sunday, which FSU will do tomorrow)

    "I don't like to do it and I wish we didn't have to tomorrow but with the Thursday night game it forces us to do it. We talked about whether or not to practice on Sunday and we decided it was something we had to do. We'll still have time to go to church in the morning."

    Offensive Lineman Shannon Boatman

    (On his injury suffered Thursday)

    "They told me I sprained my LCL, so I'm going to find out for sure today. I think I'll practice tomorrow, but I have to take it day-by-day now. I decided to rest today, I didn't feel like I could go full-speed."

    Safety Roger Williams

    (On facing NC State's young quarterback)

    "You have a young quarterback and you have me and Myron (Rolle) shifting around. Basically our idea is to try and confuse him. Another thing I think the biggest thing we need to do is blitz. That will be a big thing.

    Tight End Brandon Warren

    (On offensive preparations for NC State)

    "It is going pretty good. We have been prepping pretty hard. We know that they are in a bind right now in the ACC. If they want a shot, they really have to win out. We are there in the same spot they are. It's win or go home and we are practicing like it."

    (On playing on a Thursday night)

    "It is exciting to play on a Thursday night but every game is exciting. Especially when you play at Florida State. We are approaching it like any other game."

    New Poll

    There is a new poll question:Should FSU urge Bobby Bowden to retire at the end of this season? Poll will close next Wednesday.

    Poll Results

    The results of the poll:Should Xavier Lee get more playing time at QB was almost 88 % said yes he should.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    How Does Jeff Do It?

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    Thursday Practice Report

    * Florida State practiced for 22 periods in shells (shoulder pads and helmets)

    * The final three periods of the practice session were 11 on 11 drills.

    * Highlights of the 11 on 11 drills were a 37-yard pass from Xavier Lee to Robert Hallback and a 48-yard field goal to end the afternoon by Gary Cismesia.

    * Gary Cismesia was named one of three stars of the week by the Palm Beach Sports Commission - the organization that presents the Lou Groza Award to the nation's top collegiate kicker at the end of the season.

    * The Seminoles will take tomorrow (Friday) off from practice before returning to the practice fields Saturday and Sunday in preparation for its Oct. 5 game against NC State in Raleigh, N.C.

    * Florida State will play NC State in a nationally-televised Thursday night game on Oct. 5. The game is the Seminoles' only Thursday night game during the regular season.


    Associate Head Coach Mickey Andrews

    (On getting in new guys during the bye week)

    Well bye weeks, one reason you have them is to kind of get some guys a little help there. It's also got to serve a purpose for guys that aren't ready to play at the level that they got to play because there are people that we still got to play, and we got to get their game up. When you do that, you got to turn them loose and play football. Can you get somebody hurt doing that, yeah, you can, but you don't get any better watching, you can't go through the motions and get better. You know, we had some that were hurt and didn't practice, we had some that were banged up a little bit and we kind of took it a little easier on them,

    (On the type of teaching that goes on during the bye week)

    We had some things that we had to get straightened out. You know, we worked a little red zone today, worked a little long yardage for the first time, and worked the one-minute drill, some things we haven't worked on this week. We will come back Saturday and treat it like a Tuesday practice and see if we can't get them ready for a Thursday night game.

    Safety and Team Captain Mikhal Kornegay

    (on preparation for NC State)

    "There was a lot of work and a lot of hitting in these last three days in trying to get prepared. The coaches don't want us to get so relaxed and lackadaisical. The coaches don't want us to become lazy or get out of shape so they have been working us trying to get special teams right and to get the offense and the defense corrected. We have been working - doing a lot of hitting and a lot of running."

    (on nearly two weeks off between games)

    "With this game being an ACC game and with NC State having won their game against Boston College we have to try to take out the top dogs. Now they have a target on their back and since we lost to Clemson now have to beat everybody we play. We are approaching every game we play with that mentality - that we have to beat everybody we play.

    Sophomore Wide Receiver Richard Goodman

    (On the receivers getting coached on dropped passes)

    They have been talking to us in meetings and out here on the field if we drop a pass or something like that. I don't think it's just dropping the ball I think it's just a competition between us trying to make a play and take our team to the next level.

    (On the difference between catching everything in practice and dropping a few in games)

    Last year I think I was a little nervous but this year I think I am more anxious that anything. The crowd and the coaches and everything, that doesn't frighten me; I see Greg Carr, Chris Davis and De'Cody out there making plays and I am so eager to make a play because I know what I am capable of doing and sometimes things just don't fall my way.

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Wednesday Practice Report

    • Florida State worked out for 22 periods in full pads Wednesday.

    • The team finished practice with 11-on-11.

    • Highlights for the offense in 11-on-11 included:

    o 10 yard completion from Xavier Lee to Marcus Sims

    o 8 yard run from Lorenzo Booker

    o 2 yard touchdown run from Marcus Sims

    o 2 yard touchdown completion from Drew Weatherford to Marcus Sims

    • Highlights for the defense in 11-on-11 included:

    o A sack by Geno Hayes

    o Pass break ups by Michael Ray Garvin and Roger Williams


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    (On practice)

    "It was a Tuesday type of practice. We went in full pads, got some 11-on-11 and got some goal line. Goal line was about even."

    (On different players seeing playing time on defense)

    "We just have new faces out there. Sometimes they look good, sometimes they get beat. You just have to beat that next man out and go."

    (On Cismesia 53 yard field goal against Rice)

    "We see him hit them in practice sometimes and you know he has the range. The main thing is does he have the accuracy. I thought it was real good, good for him and good for us. If he hits it straight he has a chance to do that."

    (On Marcus Sims)

    "It has timed out good because (Jamal) Edwards has been hurt and can't practice so it gave us a third tail back and he has been running well. He ran well the other night in the game and has been running good in practice."

    CB Michael Ray Garvin

    (On the opportunity to start)

    "I'm just going to take advantage of it. We have some players down and now is my opportunity to step up and make big plays."

    (On working with the first team during practice)

    "It is a lot different from playing second team. With first team you definitely have a lot more reps. You are working a lot harder because you are out there in the game more and it is just preparing yourself more for the game."

    FB Joe Surratt

    (Did you expect to get the ball as much as you are getting it?)

    "I really didn't. I knew I was going to get the ball a little bit. Coaches said that it was going to happen, that fullbacks were going to get the ball. I think we have distributed the ball around well to everybody. It makes it a lot hard for other teams to cover everybody."

    (On his motivation to lose weight this summer)

    "In the spring I was about 270 so my biggest thing was that I was real slow and I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do. I wasn't able to hit the holes as quick as I wanted to and I just wasn't in as good as shape. That was my main thing I just wanted to get in shape and get a little quicker and I think I did that.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Tuesday Practice Report

    · Florida State worked out for 15 periods in shells Tuesday.

    · The first 12 periods the offense and defense worked separately.

    · The team then moved into skeleton drills for a couple of periods before ending with 11-on-11.

    · Starting corner Tony Carter was held out of practice due to a knee injury. The extent of the injury was not known.

    · Some highlights from skeleton drills included Drew Weatherford connecting on at least five short passes to different receivers. Xavier Lee also completed some short passes including a hook-up with Damon McDaniel. Defensively Roger Williams had a pass break-up on a deep ball intended for Greg Carr. Jamie Robinson had the only pick and it came on a deep route down the sideline.

    · The biggest play in 11-on-11 was Antone Smith's burst for a TD that had the entire offense celebrating.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    "We went out in shells and got about 15 periods in. We worked on our kicking game first. It was a pretty spirited practice. We started looking at some stuff for North Carolina State and correct some of the errors from last week. It was kind of like a Monday practice but we went a little bit longer in shells rather than shorts. It was a pretty good practice."

    On Tony Carter's injury:

    "It doesn't look good for (the NC State game). How long? I don't know."

    On defensive injuries:

    "They have really taken their licks over there. Somebody just has to step up and do the job. That's football."

    Cornerback Tony Carter

    On Michael Ray Garvin's preparation for a start versus NC State:

    "He has been working hard since he got here. He is in shape pretty good for the job and I am sure he is going to do well."

    Running Back Lorenzo Booker

    On how the offense played versus Rice:

    "We executed. With a team like that, you are playing against yourself. Not to put Rice down but it is no secret we were a lot more talented than they were. It is about preparing well and remaining focused when you play a team that is inferior to you on paper. Everybody did a good job executing."

    On whether the offensive line got confident due to the game versus Rice:

    "I don't think it's about confidence. I always felt they blocked good. At the same time it's not just us. Of course we have to get first downs but I think us and the coaching staff did a good job of working together. We had consistent drives. We didn't have a lot of penalties that caused three and outs."

    Q & A: Bobby Bowden Part 2

    I imagine there are some who look good in practice and don't perform well in games?

    BOWDEN: Sure, but that's the pressure factor.

    Last week you closed ranks a little bit and everyone seemed on edge. Were you miffed your team was in that situation and was it a little confounding to you because of what you expected from this team?

    BOWDEN: I'm always miffed when things don't go right. I'm always miffed . . . I've coached long enough not to get alarmed about (offensive struggles). Did you see Georgia yesterday? First half they didn't look like they knew how to play football. I've been through that. I know exactly what is happening. They were not in synch for some reason . . . So sometimes you're lucky to just hang on, hang on, hang on until you finally get something going. If you win by one, “Lord, thank you.” We were supposed to lose yesterday and we won. Thank you. I've been through a bunch of those.

    Everything goes back to Alabama for me. I can remember one year they won a game, lost a game, tied a game and won the national championship. I can remember things like that, which means just because you didn't get off to a good start doesn't mean your season is over. It doesn't mean you're not going to have a good team. It just means your team hasn't jelled yet. It has to jell.

    Were you concerned that you could see a pattern that was forming in the performances after three games that needed a little more attention?

    BOWDEN: I don't think we worked any harder or we emphasized anything more than we normally do.

    You did say last week that you weren't going to go through another game without the ball being thrown to Greg Carr, and you got that fixed?

    BOWDEN: Well, yeah. We might have said that, but what does that have to do with it . . . It did get taken care of, but great players have to make great plays. They have to make them. He made them yesterday. Why didn't he make them the week before, or the week before that? Great players have to make great plays.

    Did you see the end of the N.C. State game last night?

    BOWDEN: No. I saw the highlights. Boston College was ahead of them and they threw a long touchdown pass to the corner.

    That changes what the standings look like even more in the Atlantic Division, doesn't it?

    BOWDEN: Yeah, because N.C. State is undefeated in the division. They've lost several games but none of them in the division and none of them in the conference. That was their first conference game, right?

    Wake Forest is 4-0, which is the best overall record in the division. Are you surprised?

    BOWDEN: Isn't that something - go to Oxford and beat Mississippi there . . . It's amazing. I always thought that guy (Jim Grobe) was one of the best around, that coach.

    Drew Weatherford said after the game that having two quarterbacks makes it tougher for your opponents to prepare because they can't just spend all their time getting ready for one guy. You've had some experience with that over the years, but is that a pretty valid observation?

    BOWDEN: If they are both good it is. If they're not any good, it isn't . . . I think coaches, if you put this quarterback in and run this type of offense, and then put another quarterback in and run another type of offense, that's a problem. You've got to do this for him and this for him. Now you don't have time to work on all that stuff. But our quarterbacks, both do the same thing. They might do it differently. One may be bigger or a little faster, but you'd use the same defense on our guys. You'd use the same defense on No. 9 as No. 11. You'd just tell your rushers to be careful because one of them might run out of there. Or he might throw it farther. You might say something like that, but you wouldn't change anything. Now if you had a Charlie Ward and a Weatherford . . . That kid can run. We'll have to rush him very cautiously. You would have to play that different.

    That's what Florida is doing now with Tim Tebow. When he comes in, he's running. He's like a fast fullback and they are running the option with him.

    BOWDEN: I think that's what Urban wants. That's the offense he wants to get to. A quarterback who can throw and run.

    What is your practice schedule during the off week?

    BOWDEN: We'll give them Monday off. During an open date, we work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We'll give them off Friday and Saturday and have six more days (to prepare for the next Saturday). But because it's a Thursday night game (against N.C. State), we'll work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, give them off Friday, and work Saturday to make up for that. I'm not sure what we'll do on Sunday, probably have to have meetings or something. The NCAA says you have to give them a day off, but (the next) Friday can be that day for us.

    Would you give them the day off if you didn't have to?

    BOWDEN: Take a day off? We'd give them days off when we can. We only have one open date, but the kids need to be off some.

    How much of a different dimension does Brandon Warren give you at the tight-end spot?

    BOWDEN: He's definitely a threat. You can't ignore that position anymore. We've had guys in there who were strictly blockers and didn't catch well, didn't run well, that people could ignore. You can't ignore him. And (Caz) Piurowski is close to the same thing, only a bigger specimen but not as fast. He's not as dangerous deep but he can catch the ball good and he's got a big body that can shield you off in there.

    Piurowski is pretty good at picking up blocked extra points and getting into the end zone for you, too.

    BOWDEN: You know, I didn't even realize you could do that . . .

    Brandon said that the shovel pass to the tight end was put in last week. Whose idea was that?

    BOWDEN: I've seen it with slot backs, but I don't know if I've seen it with a tight end, either. That goes back to your question of why don't you put Booker in the slot. Because you've got (Warren) in the slot. He's bigger and is close to as fast.

    What does it mean to have two tight ends who are receiving threats?

    BOWDEN: It means you can practice and work on it a little bit because you've got two of them. You'd hate to just have one guy because if you build a game plan around him because he can do good things, and then he gets hurt and nobody else can do it, then you've wasted half your offense. You need a guy who can do it and another guy who can just about do it. With No. 1 in there and then Piurowski comes in and tries to do the same things, not as fast but bigger . . . 6-7 instead of a 6-1, so he makes up for it in range and size. Now he's never going to break things like No. 1.

    Brandon has also said that he might play a little defensive end, too. Is that a possibility?

    BOWDEN: He could do it, but the thing is, how do you practice it? . . . But he was recruited as a tight end who could rush the passer if we ever needed it, and that's probably what he'd do.

    Is there a correlation between having two tight ends that are part of your offense and the fact that your defense has played better against tight ends who are receiving threats? In recent years, that position had been quite a bugaboo for your teams to defend.

    BOWDEN: That would help you. If you are out there practicing every day and never saw it, then in a game you saw it, you better have prepared for it. Now if you are out there in practice and our team uses the tight end a lot, that's going to help them, make them more aware of it and they'll try to cover it.

    Joe Surratt has had an impact at fullback. How pleased have you been with his performance?

    BOWDEN: I'm very pleased. You lost your two fullbacks from last year who played for two or three years for us, so Surratt has got to be ready. We have a couple of freshmen coming behind him we think are going to be good, but Joe has to do it. Joe has done a real good job. A fullback's job is three things Ð No. 1, he's got to be a blocker; No. 2, he's got to be able to catch a pass coming out of the backfield; and No. 3, he's got to be able to make short yardage. You don't ask him to make long yardage. That's a tailback. You don't ask him to go way down field for a pass. You ask him to slide out in the flat. That's about all you can get out of a fullback out of an I-formation. What else can he do? He can go straight ahead, out in the flat or block. It's not a glorious position anymore. It's really almost the status of an offensive lineman. And when you get to pro football, it's the same thing. They're using a fullback, or an H-back, or an A-back, which is kind of like a fullback who can run real fast.

    Surratt was a guy who wasn't a highly recruited guy but you apparently saw something in him.

    BOWDEN: When we saw him in high school, we thought he had what you are really looking for in a fullback. He was making yardage. Of course, in high school he weighed 245 or 250 and was playing against 170 pound linemen. Occasionally, there are big guys. But he was able to knock his way through for eight or nine yards and maybe even break a long one at times because he did have pretty good stats.

    You've got a pretty good relationship with his high school coach, Mickey Lindsey at Pace, don't you? Does that help in recruiting?

    BOWDEN: Yeah, sure have . . . When we go out and visit high schools and get to know their coaches, there are some that are more reliable than others. There are some that want to sell you every player they've got, you know. And you darn well know that guy can't play. Then there are some that are very conservative, very cautious. If they say one is good, you better get him. So it helps to know the coach and how reliable his recommendations are. There are some coaches that if they say a player is good enough, you just go and take him. Then there are others that you better look at a lot of film, a lot of film.

    You've now played 16 true freshmen. Is that a record number for you?

    BOWDEN: True freshmen is the key word. We've played freshmen before but not pure freshmen. It probably is. I can't remember playing more than that . . . It's great for morale. The more you play, the better the morale.

    What has changed? Is it circumstances? Are kids better?

    BOWDEN: I think they're pretty good. Dadgummit, you get guys injured, then some are better than what you are playing with, you know. These kids will be pretty good one of these days.

    You had one freshman out there with three days' practice in Kevin McNeil.

    BOWDEN: Sure did. That was an injustice what happened to him. What happened is there was some type of error on his transcript coming from high school, and the NCAA Clearinghouse wouldn't accept it. So they got it all straightened out and sent it to them, and it must have sat on their desk for three weeks and we're approaching the season. This kid can't play until he gets it straightened out. He can't practice . . . I felt so sorry for him. Finally, they said everything is fine, so he's playing in your (fourth) game. He didn't have but a couple of practices . . . (The way he played) Shows you what we saw in him when we recruited him. He's a player.

    Andre Fluellen said that Alex Boston is playing so well at defensive tackle that that could become a permanent position for him. As guys get healthier, could that be the case, that he wouldn't go back to defensive end?

    BOWDEN: That could be. It happens sometimes. A guy gets moved to a different position and finds out he's better there than he is there. So that could happen.

    Chuck Amato has had a lot of success against you. I know you have to go through self-doubts wondering what he knows because he hasn't had the better team most of those games. Are you looking at doing things differently?

    BOWDEN: Here's a couple of things. No. 1, he was with me for 18 years. He's been to all our meetings and knows everything I'm thinking . . . He's heard how I talk to the boys. He's heard me talk to them at halftime for 18 years. He's heard me talk to them before a ballgame for 18 years. He's been with Mickey (Andrews) for 18 years. He knows what Mickey likes to do on third-and-1. He knows what Mickey likes to do on fourth-and-1. He knows what Mickey likes to do on first down. He knows what to get into that can give Mickey problems. So he does have that advantage. Tommy (Bowden, Clemson coach) has about the same dang thing. He knows what his old man is going to do. . . . That's a little help.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Ball Out for Season

    Florida State true-freshman linebacker Marcus Ball will miss the remainder of the season after he tore the ACL in his left knee Saturday. Ball is tied for fourth in tackles with 13. He returned an interception 54 yards against Rice.

    Ball, a starter in FSU's long-yardage defense, underwent an MRI on Monday. FSU coach Bowden had been saying since the Rice game ended that the injury was serious and that it appeared to be season-ending.

    Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said Ball did not play like a freshman. Bowden praised Ball's impressive start at FSU.

    “I hate that - you hate it for any of your players. He was playing so well,” Bowden said. “He coaches had a put a lot of responsibility on him. He's playing a position you usually put a fifth (defensive) back in. That shows you what kind of talent he has.”

    Comments by Mickey Andrews

    On the Rice game:

    "We got started a little bit slow. (Rice) came out and gave us some new stuff. They have not been a big `21 personnel' team in fact they hadn't run it all year and the veer option. We got fooled on a veer option pass. The cornerback didn't finish the play. He is responsible for his area of the field until he sees the block. We ended up giving up a 32-yard touchdown. It was very well executed on their part. We just weren't prepared for it because we hadn't seen it. We have to be more disciplined. That is part of playing your position, taking care of your assignment. You just got to do it."

    On playing younger players:

    "We got to play a lot of young people. That was good. They did OK. A couple times the first group had to go in and bail them out. That is probably one of the best things the first defense did. They finished the plays. They finished the game. They stopped Rice twice down in the red zone without any points. That's huge when you can do that."

    On the improvement of the defense week to week:

    "If you are missing a lot of tackles or you're busting plays, you are not making progress. We look for individual techniques and improvement. It should get better as the year goes along. We had too many missed tackles, missed assignments the week before. It was a part of the reason we didn't win the football game, a big part. We reduced that some this week. We had some missed tackles. I think we had 11 total which is not bad. Our goal is to hold them under 10. We missed it by one. Overall, you see progress. More importantly we see progress from young people that are getting to play a little bit more. Gaining experience is the only real way you learn how to play football."

    On the injuries to defensive players:

    "We started out the season having to replace seven starters, which we did. Then you lose one of you best defensive linemen in the second game. Then you lose your starting safety in the third game. Now you lose a guy (Marcus Ball) who wasn't starting on our base defense but he was on our yardage defense and about on every kicking team. He was not playing like a freshman. It will be a significant loss losing him. What it does is it gives an opportunity for somebody else."

    On Tony Carter's punt returning:

    "We didn't want to do it (let Carter return punts) to begin with. We let our better judgment get lost in his desire for an opportunity. He did a good job when he was there. We are probably going to have to limit his tries as a punt returner because he is so valuable to us at cornerback."

    On the NC State game:

    "They have beaten us too many times the last few years. It is one of those deals where you have to be prepared to play your best because you got to anticipate they will play their best. They looked pretty good the way they finished the ballgame up against Boston College."

    On Myron Rolle's first start:

    "It was a very nice start for his first time actually starting a ballgame and to get as many plays as he did. He was a little bit anxious early. He didn't do a couple things early (that he did) later on in the game when he got comfortable he was executing a little bit better. He is one of the guys you would expect to continue to improve as he gets more reps."

    On facing a Chuck Amato coached team:

    "That part doesn't enter into it. It is just about who can get their teams...the team that goes out there and plays the hardest and makes plays and hopefully you can make some adjustments to help the kids during the process. I don't see (it being a game versus an ex-FSU assistant) as being a factor really."

    On the importance of the NC State game:

    "I wouldn't say beating NC State is any more important that beating Florida or Miami or Clemson or Boston College. They are another ACC team that you have to compete with if you are going to compete for the championship."

    Q & A: Drew Weatherford

    You were pretty critical of yourself through the first three games. How did you think you played Saturday?

    WEATHERFORD: I thought I played well. There's always plays I wish I would have made. For example, when I threw the ball to Greg Carr in the end zone, I left it a little too far inside and the DB made the play. If I had thrown it two feet outside, he probably would have scored there. Lorenzo Booker on the wheel route, I went back and I ended up having more room in the back of the end zone to throw it than I actually realized. We ended up getting pass interference because the guy was face-guarding and I just threw it at his back. There are always things that you can go back and look at to improve, but all and all I thought I played pretty solid but not spectacular and just did what I was supposed to do.

    The coaches have said that the plan all along was to bring Xavier Lee in on the third series. Were you aware of that?

    WEATHERFORD: Yeah, we talked about it the day before the game just to let me know what the situation was going to be and so I wouldn't be surprised by it. I was fine with it because he needs to get reps when the game's on the line and not necessarily when the game is out of hand. It seems like he's always been put in really bad situations whether we're down or we're up by a lot. Neither one of those gives the coaches a real good evaluation. They want to see him when the game is still in hand one way or the other and see how he plays and reacts, and how the team does, how they execute with him in.

    You've mentioned communication problems on offense this season. Can you explain them?

    WEATHERFORD: We have certain plays where it can be run or pass. Sometimes I'll check and half the line of scrimmage will be run-blocking and have of them will be pass-blocking. That's happened once this year. It's kind of weird. It never happens in practice. There have been times when I've gotten the wrong signal from the sideline - not that the signal was wrong, but I got it wrong.

    Did we see a more determined Greg Carr out there?

    WEATHERFORD: I don't think there's any doubt about it. He was much more intense. Every play, he played hard. Whether he was catching the ball or blocking, it seemed like he was really focused and determined to - not to prove the coaches wrong but to make a statement and show that he's a good player and he's not going to be a guy that just catches the deep ball. But he's going to be in every facet of the game whether it's run-blocking or catching the little slant and making something happen.

    Chris Davis has had some drops and a couple fumbles. When you have a receiver who's struggling compared to expectations, how much do you talk to him?

    WEATHERFORD: It's got to be frustrating for him. He came off the field one time and he was like, 'Gosh, I feel like I have the worst timing. Every time something goes good, I do something bad. Every time I get open, the protection will break down.' Or, he'll get open and I'll miss him. We haven't been able to get on the same page. It's kind of like our offense - there's always something going wrong. That's how I kind of feel for Chris right now. He can't really get in a rhythm and things haven't really gone his way. It's almost a good thing, though. I hope teams forget about him because once they do, it'll get ugly.

    Cismesia Named ACC Special Teams Player ot the Week

    For the second week in a row and third time this season, a Seminole football player has earned ACC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Last week it was Tony Carter that took home the honor, this week it is Gary Cismesia. In earning the award for the second time this season, the Florida State place kicker tied for the fourth-longest field goal in school history when he made a career-long 53-yard field goal in Saturday's 55-7 win over visiting Rice. The Parish, Fla., junior also hit a 32-yarder against the Owls and five-of-six point after touchdowns to give him 11 points in the win.

    New Poll

    Please vote in the new poll: Should Xavier Lee get more playing time at QB? Poll closes this Friday.

    Q & A: Bobby Bowden Part 1

    Even with the difference in talent level, were you pleased with the execution of the offense, going out and doing what you wanted to do?

    BOWDEN: Yeah, the execution was pretty good. They had a defense, a scheme of defense that could really mess you up . . . If a team is a 4-3, they can move these three guys over here, move them here or move them over here. When you are a 3-4, now you've got four guys you can move around. You could really blow assignments. In other words, they could put three men up there and bring two from that side, and the next time bring two from the other side, the next time bring two down the middle, and maybe next time bring all four of them and drop a lineman.They can confuse you.

    That was what that surprised me last night in a positive sense -- that they didn't confuse us more than they did. I could just see us ... what I said to our offense before the game is this is probably a game where we will go nothing, nothing, nothing . . . bam . . . nothing, nothing, nothing . . . bam. But it didn't happen that way. We just picked everything up. We picked it right up. That's encouraging to me.

    You are still getting a lot more drops by the receivers than you have had in previous years. In a tight ballgame, that could hurt you again.

    BOWDEN: Yeah, we had drops. People wide-open would drop the ball, or be slightly covered and would drop it when they're not supposed to. You've got to hope that don't happen at the (wrong) time. We dropped a doggone pass in the end zone against Clemson that would have helped. We ended up getting three instead of getting seven. Boy, we've got to knock that out.

    Have you ever been this thin at receiver in terms of numbers and also having the one guy who can change a game?

    BOWDEN: I'd have to think I have, but I can't recall. . . . When we had Lawrence Dawsey, who'd you have surrounding him . . . Three other guys.

    Richard Goodman probably has more drops than catches?

    BOWDEN: I know it, and it's a shame because he's probably got more talent than nearly every one of them. One of these days that's going to change . . . It usually changes. When he first came here I used to sit up there and watch him practice in the tower. We had Rod Owens and Goodman. One was 85 and the other was 86, and I could hardly get them separated. I remember telling Jeffery, “Jeffery, 85 is not ready. 86, I believe, might be. He catches the ball better. This kid will drop some.”

    And then, Rod got hurt and can't play. But this kid is looking better and better and better because he has speed. Great speed, and had been catching it better. But lately, he hasn't been. He's kind of reverting back because of his inexperience. I've seen it so many times where a boy in high school has a great year, then he goes to college and then the magnitude of it, he can't handle it. Drops the ball, drops the ball. It was very obvious the other night when he dropped one right in his hands and he's looking up yonder somewhere. He's got to look at the ball. Eventually, he'll learn from that.

    The game was out of reach yesterday, but doggone the one in the Clemson game was vital.

    I think he'll overcome that and be an outstanding receiver one of these days because he can fly.

    Greg Carr had been criticized for not having the intensity in practices and games, but could his running style - how easy he makes the game look - give the impression that he's not going all-out all the time?

    BOWDEN: It could be. He's very quiet. Very quiet and not an excitable type of boy, and you might look at him and say he's not into it. But he is in it. He's a competitor. His not getting any balls in the Clemson game is probably overplayed. It wasn't intentional. It wasn't because he's a bad boy. I think he didn't block the week before on a play that would have shook the runner for a touchdown, and coaches might have disciplined him some on that by putting somebody else in the game when a running situation came up.

    You were here when Ron Sellers was here. Are he and Carr similar players?

    BOWDEN: (END BOLD): A little. He (Sellers) was a freshman when I was here as an assistant, and then I left . . . They called him Jingle Joints because of the way he was put together.

    Are you surprised that one of the receivers having the most problems is one of your most experienced in Chris Davis?

    BOWDEN: Yeah, he would have had one of the greatest plays of the day if he had not ended it with a fumble. It was a sensational catch, and stayed on his feet after he did it. I don't know how he did it. Then of course he fumbles the ball. That just kind of nullifies it, you know.

    One thing he can do is get open because he's so quick. It's kind of like Kez McCorvey - he could get open. But (Davis) hasn't done much with it once he's got it. Maybe that will occur before this thing is over . . . Dropping that ball, he's got to quit doing that now.

    Is Goodman or Chris Davis your fastest receiver?
    BOWDEN: Goodman. I think if they got in a race it would be Goodman.

    Have you given much thought to rotating Lorenzo Booker through the slot from time to time and having him and Antone Smith on the field at the same time?

    BOWDEN: (END BOLD) Yeah, we've done that in the past. We did it with Leon (Washington) and Booker. We did it with Greg Jones and Booker. We could do it now. But the guy who has filled that slot is No. 1 (freshman tight end Brandon Warren). You don't need Booker to do it. Let this guy do it. He's 225 pounds, and he can block and he can catch it. He can catch the heck out of it. But you could see that before the year is over, Booker and Antone at the same time.

    Did you talk to Xavier Lee after the game?

    BOWDEN: Xavier? I might have said hello. I might have passed him and said 'Good job' or something like that.

    He just looked like he was happier.

    BOWDEN: That he was happier? I imagine he was. I would imagine he would be . . . He threw like he does in practice some times, which puts the other guy ahead of him. He'd be throwing and throw one a mile overhead here, then hit one. The consistency is not there. Then he goes over, over and over again and gets pretty good at it. Now he did that in the game yesterday. He went out there and threw pretty good, then on third and long, we had to have it, the guy was open, and he threw it way over his head. That's the stuff that's not good. But one of these days, like Goodman, he'll settle down and won't do that. But he's not to that point yet; hasn't had enough experience. I would imagine he feels pretty happy that he finally got in the game and got in there when the score wasn't blown up. It was 14-7 when he went in there. I was reluctant about that.

    Do you feel better about how his performance and will you be more willing to put him in that situation in the future?

    BOWDEN: It's according to who we're playing. But I would like to get him in games as much as we can. A lot of it is according to how he practices . . . That's the thing fans don't get to see. “Why didn't you use so and so?” Well, it might be I watched him practice all week and he didn't look too dang good. Or it might be, “Why did you put this guy in?” He looked good and was ready to go. Fans miss a lot of that.

    Coach, who are some of the players you've had over the years that don't look quite as good Monday through Thursday but then they produce on Saturdays?

    BOWDEN: There are some that play better in games than they practice. They look better in games than they practice ... As long as they practice . . . Now, if they don't practice, I don't like them to look good on Saturday. It's not a good sign. But I don't know many that practiced bad and played good. But there are some that have the reputation that they play better on Saturday than they practiced.

    Poll Results

    Almost 82% of those voting believe that FSU violated Florida's nepotism law when hiring Jeff Bowden as offensive coordinator.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    What They Are Saying About the FSU-Rice Game

    "Nothing that Florida State would accomplish was likely to alter public opinion and disappointment.

    But, on Saturday, a Doak Campbell Stadium crowd estimated at under 60,000 watched the FSU offense do things better and quicker - both on the ground and in the air. And the defense revealed its promising future by turning to its youth early and often."
    Tallahassee Democrat

    "Florida State's marketing department missed a grand opportunity to bill Saturday afternoon's home football game against Rice as "I Love the '90s."

    The 18th-ranked Seminoles took a retro approach in administering a 55-7 beat-down on the Owls, rolling up 500 total yards - 287 of those on the ground - and rolling out youngsters anxious to leave their mark."
    Florida Times-Union

    "Florida State, hungry to rebound from a disappointing loss, apparently needed only a helping of Rice.

    Against the overmatched Owls, the Seminoles rediscovered their running game with Antone Smith and Lorenzo Booker surpassing 100 yards, revitalized their passing attack behind a near-flawless Drew Weatherford and re-established their defensive stinginess with a resounding 55-7 win at Doak Campbell Stadium."
    St. Pete Times

    "Xavier Lee actually took his time strolling off the field Saturday evening. He was well behind just about all of his teammates, and behind Coach Bobby Bowden, usually the last guy off after wrapping up his on-field television interviews at midfield.

    Lee even stopped around the tunnel to make eye contact with the fans who were yelling his name. Then he took off his wrist band and tossed it to one of them, grinning for the first time anyone had witnessed around here in months."
    Orlando Sentinel

    Injury Report

    Tony Carter's first career punt return came at a price. He took a helmet to the left knee, which swelled up at the half, prompting the trainers to hold him out in the second half. Carter said he did not believe the injury was serious.

    Ball doesn't appear to be as fortunate. His left knee buckled while covering a kickoff in the second half and he was carted off the field. "I just heard it was bad," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "It could be a season loss."

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    FSU Dominates Lowly Rice

    Antone Smith ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Lorenzo Booker added 115 yards and a score as No. 18 Florida State beat winless Rice 55-7.

    The Seminoles led 26-7 at halftime on Drew Weatherford's 18-yard touchdown pass to Greg Carr, who also caught a 57-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter from Xavier Lee.

    Florida State (3-1) scored earlier in the half on short runs by Joe Surratt and Smith and a pair of field goals by Gary Cismesia, including a 53-yarder.

    Florida State ran for 287 of its 500 total yards, nearly doubling the 148 yards it had in its first three games.

    Carr, who was not thrown to during limited action in Florida State's 27-20 loss to Clemson a week ago, caught five passes for 107 yards and helped spring two other long gains with downfield blocks.

    The Seminoles rolled up 280 yards offense by the half, exceeding their average from the first three games.

    Rice (0-4) tied the game briefly, 7-7 midway through the first quarter, when Jarett Dillard ran past Florida State's secondary to haul in a 32-yard scoring pass from Joel Armstrong. It was the sixth straight game Dillard has caught a TD pass.

    Quinton Smith ran for 104 yards on 16 tries and Dillard caught seven passes for 113 yards for the Owls, who were beaten 52-7 by Texas last week and have now lost 20 of their last 21 games, leaving new coach Todd Graham still looking for his first victory.

    Florida State's 76-year-old coach, Bobby Bowden, improved his 41-year career mark to 362-108-4, the most in major college history and moving him six ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno, 79.

    Weatherford completed 8 of 12 passes for 102 yards and Lee completed 5 of 11 for 111 yards.

    Cismesia's also had a 32-yard field goal that was set up by a 54-yard interception return by freshman linebacker Marcus Ball, who was carted off in the second half with an injury to his left knee.

    Florida State's 82,000-seat stadium was about a third empty Saturday with the Seminoles coming off last week's loss to Clemson and playing their third straight home game. There were approximately 10,000 empty seats on Nov. 14, 1992 when Florida State routed Tulane 70-7, school officials said.

    No Surprise: FSU 55 - Rice 7

    FSU defeats the hapless Rice Owls 55-7 with the last touchdown being Lee to Carr. Not sure what this tells FSU fans other than we got the win.

    FSU 26 - Rice 7 At Half

    The Seminoles don't seem like world-beaters, even with a 19-point lead. They've made a few big plays, but isn't this what everyone has expected since Day One?

    This game will really tell us nothing about what to expect from FSU for the rest of the season.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    My Keys to FSU-Rice Game

    1. Eliminate stupid penalties and loss of timeouts.

    2. FSU must come out pumped up.

    3. Receivers must eliminate dropped balls.

    4. Have a run game.

    5. QB must be smart and look for open receivers.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    Thursday Practice Report

    • No. 17 Florida State held its final practice in helmets and shorts on Thursday (September 21) in preparation of Saturday's 3:30 p.m. contest against Rice on ESPNU.

    • Both the offense and defense worked against the scout teams for the entire practice.

    • Quarterbacks Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee worked in with the first-team offense.

    • Cornerback Tony Carter had an interception during goal line.

    • Neefy Moffett, Kevin McNeil and Roger Williams had pass breakups.

    • The No. 1 offense finished the day with a two-minute drill.

    QUOTES Head Coach Bobby Bowden
    (On practice this week): "Thank goodness, we have had a good compete week of practice. There is no reason for us not to go out and execute better than we did. So I think our kids will be ready to play anyway, we just have to go out and execute."

    (On moving people around the defensive line due to injuries): "That is football for you. Football is a daggum contact sport. People get hurt. You just have to hope you have reserves that can go in there and play and pick up the slack and maybe become a hero."

    (On Xavier Lee): "I sure want him in there. I don't know what we will do about it but we are going to sit in the morning and have our meeting about what we are going to do. I sure want to see him play. I think he had a pretty good week of practice."

    (How important is it for the team's confidence to win soundly on Saturday?): "You have to keep in mind that you have to win first, just win, win, win. You can not be thinking about, let's beat them bad, then you start to struggle. It would help though, it definitely would help. We need it."

    RB Matt Dunham
    (On getting playing time against Rice): "I just have to stay mentally focused on what I do out at practice because that will reflect on the playing time."

    (Do you know how much you will play?): "Coach (Billy) Sexton told us that we are going to rotate in and out on every other series."

    DE Everette Brown
    (How did you find out that you were starting?): "Yesterday during meetings coach (Jody) Allen came in and told me I was starting and from there that was a plus to me. I have been practicing with the starting defense a whole lot, even my true freshman year so I feel like I fit right in because that is what I am used to."

    (On getting the opportunity to start): "I always believe that everything starts in practice. If you can show it in practice than you can definitely do it in the game. We have a good team so it is competitive out there so it isn't like we are going against a scout team offense. When you are able to get out there and make plays, the coaches are going to see it and they are going to trust you."

    Q & A: Bobby Bowden- Weekly ACC Media Teleconfernce

    What has been your experience with the new time rule changes?

    Bowden: It is making us realize how important timeouts are, and you better be careful with them. Although I don't know if they affect you any more than a review of a play. Anyway they seem more precious than they were. ... I doubt if they'll ever change back. Usually on a rule like that everybody has a difficult time working it and then they finally get used to it and they forget all about it. I imagine that will happen again with this rule. However, I can see where all of us are having problems with it until we get it solved.

    Do you feel like over the last five years that Florida State has lost some of that swagger?

    Bowden: The way the scores are coming out and losing as we have, I think you naturally lose some swagger. In fact when I'm losing I don't want any dadgum swagger. I like to have it when I win. I really don't care much about it. I'm one of those guys that don't especially like that word. I like playing with confidence and courage a little bit more. Anyway we don't swagger like we used to - no doubt about it. I wish we were able to but we haven't been able to do.

    What would allow to get that something like that confidence you had in the day?

    Bowden: You got to start winning. We win some but we lose too many. I think you got to win consistently before you do that. And be honest with you, again that swagger isn't that big of deal to me. ... Nobody dominates anymore, it doesn't seem like. Last week you had Notre Dame to go down, you had Oklahoma go down, you had LSU go down.

    After a couple of things happened last week we're starting to take a second look at the instant reply system. Are you satisfied with it. Is there any particular change you would like to see made?

    Bowden: I can't stand it. I don't think we've had a single instant where replay has helped us. Last week we probably would have won the ball game without the replay when we thought we had recovered a fumble around the eight-yard line with about four or five minutes to go. I haven't learned to like it yet.

    Anything you can do to change it or would you just get rid of it?

    Bowden: I won't make a big pitch to get rid of it just because it hasn't worked out for me like I'd like it to. If everybody says they don't like it I hope we do get rid of it.

    What's your assessment of your offensive line play?

    Bowden: As we go back and look at the film and really dissect it, I ask myself do I like what we're doing. And I go back and study (the Clemson game) film and yes, I like what we're doing.

    But what's the problem? We're not executing. ... I'm going to tell you. One of these days we're going to gel and we're going to be a pretty darn good football team.

    A couple of weeks ago before Troy you said you didn't know what kind of team you had. Do you feel you will get a better sense of it or will it take the N.C. State game to figure out what you definitely have?

    Bowden: When you are playing a game like this where you are supposed to win it, you just want to do the best you can do and feel like it's a good sign. But to say you'll know everything about your ball team when you play somebody you're favored by 25 points, I don't know if you learn much about it.

    It could be five games before we get a feeling. If we don't start to gel pretty soon, I'll really have to do some research. I meant to say soul-searching.

    Punt Returner In Question

    Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said several players will likely get an opportunity during the Rice game on Saturday to get a turn at punt returner.

    Chris Davis opened the competition after fumbling against Troy and not warning Marcus Ball about the flight of a punt against Clemson that bounced of Ball's heel and was recovered by Clemson.

    "We checked to see if they can catch the ball out here," Andrews said. "We have to find out what they will do when the game is going on. We'll kind of rotate that around a little bit."

    Joslin Shaw, Tony Carter and Davis are expected to be in the mix.

    Carter, a starting cornerback, has been working at punt returner and has been hoping to get an opportunity.

    "You just have to be patient back there and judge where the ball is going," Carter said. "It's not very difficult at all. It's just something you have to concentrate on when the guy is running down (at you)."

    New Poll Feature

    I have added a poll feature to the blog. Please vote in the polls. This week's poll is regarding Florida's nepotism law and the hiring of Jeff Bowden as offensive coordinator. Poll closes on Sept. 24.

    Q & A: T.K. Wetherell

    What's your message to FSU fans?

    Wetherell: We're three games into the season. We have nine more to play. We tell everybody and we do this in every sport the same - we evaluate them at the end of the season. You don't change horses in the middle of the year and you don't change coaches in the middle of the season. That's ridiculous.

    Can people put financial pressure on you?

    Wetherell: When you back somebody in a corner, that's the worst thing to do. I think what people need to do is support the university and support the team.

    There's a feeling among a number of fans that Coach Bowden has earned the right to write his final chapter. Do you agree with that?

    Wetherell: We all work for the university and for the betterment of the university. This university and system is bigger than all of us.

    He has earned the right that anybody else has, just like any Dean - they pick their faculty, they are held accountable for those decisions, and there are times we do those evaluations.

    ... Bobby Bowden has coached 50 years. He wants to win more than any of us want to win. He's probably suffering more than any of us right now. (The coaches and players) don't come in here and say let's see if we can get a game plan to embarrass ourselves. They are out there doing the best they can do. They want to win probably more than us. It's their livelihood, their profession, their honor. They'll get it straight if they can."

    And do you think they can?

    Wetherell: "I think they can run the table, I'll be honest with you. ... I think they can win the rest of their games. I don't think there is any doubt in my mind about that."

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Site Calling For Bobby Bowden to Retire

    Florida State's narrow escape against 30-point underdog Troy on Sept. 9 ignited the latest grumbling about FSU's less-than-potent offense. Following FSU's 27-20 loss to Clemson on Saturday, the grumbling gave way to shouting on fan Web sites.

    In the wake of FSU's loss to Clemson, here is the Web daddy of them all:, which has been up and running since January but not really alive until this week. The Web site is reminiscent of, a site that surfaced shortly after the former Florida coach was hired in 2002.

    The Web site is owned by Darrell Frink, who operates Sunshine State Web Designs in Orange City, about 30 miles north of Orlando.

    "We're not a fire Bobby Bowden Web site," Frink said Tuesday. "We want to see him go out with the grace he deserves. I'm saddened by the whole thing. I just don't think he is making good decisions the last five years. I would tell my father that."

    To back up his request of Bowden, college football's all-time winningest coach with 361 career victories, Frink lists several reasons why he is concerned about the program's direction. The Web site is beginning to keep the 1982 FSU alum busy around the clock.

    "We knew when it started in January that it would be low-key until football season," Frink said. "This whole week has been nutty. I've got a lot of people saying I'm lying, that I'm a Gator fan. I'm as legitimate [a FSU fan] as they come."

    A Sampling of Unrest Among Seminoles

    "I know this is sacrilege, but I can't take it anymore. Bobby Bowden has ruined the football team by installing his son as offensive coordinator.

    Aside from the violation of the Florida nepotism law, the guy's a lousy O.C. For a die-hard 'Nole with two degrees from FSU, it is a "dadgum" painful experience."

    Glendale, Utah

    Maybe it's time to boycott 'Noles

    "One major way to show our displeasure with the Seminole offensive coaching is to boycott the games. Being a booster and a season-ticket holder, I know no other way.

    Xavier Lee should be helping to call plays - get him involved.

    Mickey Andrews is a class act. His defense has scored more points than the offense in the first half."


    From 'no excuses' we've gone to no hope

    What a sad, sad situation. Only three games into our "No Excuses" season and we are already the laughingstock of football radio announcers, national TV commentators and football fans in general.

    All the king's horses and all the king's men can't put FSU's football dynasty together again - as long as Jeffy Bowden is driving.


    Wednesday Practice Report

    • 17th-ranked Florida State worked out on Wednesday in shells (shoulder pads, shorts and helmets) in preparation for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Rice on ESPNU.

    • Quarterback Drew Weatherford went 6-for-8 during the 8-on-8 drill with both misses being a pair of drop balls. Weathford's big play was a 45-yard completion to Greg Carr.

    • Also during 8-on-8, quarterback Xavier Lee was 2-of-7 with two drops but he did hook up with Chris Davis for a 25-yard strike.

    • Both the No. 1 and No. 2 defenses had the upper hand during 11-on-11 as the two quarterbacks combined for 7-of-15 passing. Defensive end Neefy Moffett had the lone sack. • Weatherford completed a pair of passes to running back Lorenzo Booker while Lee hit Antone Smith for 15 yards and Davis for 13 more.

    • FSU will practice one more time on Thursday before Saturday's contest.

    • The Bobby Bowden Call-In Show airs Thursday night from 7-8 p.m. on the Seminole Radio Network and can be seen locally WTWC NBC 40 (Channel 12).

    Head Coach Bobby Bowden
    (On Kevin McNeil and the time he has missed)
    "It is tough. It is kind of unfair. Here is a guy who qualified then his daggum papers get hung up by the NCAA for a month and a half. They should have clear it up just like everyone else but it sits on the desk for a week and it has really thrown him behind but the good part is that he is in school now. How much playing he will do if any, I don't know."

    (What are you going to look for out of Drew Weatherford this weekend?)
    "I hope he can have a good day. I hope we can protect him. I hope he can handle the ball real good and make some throws."

    (On Weatherford)
    "He has so much to learn. We forget he is only a sophomore. Even Clemson quarterback who did an outstanding job was a fifth year senior. They grow a lot more at that point than the do now. Just like (Chris) Weinke got better every year."

    (How much has Myron Rolle improved since he first showed up at camp?)
    "All I can say is that he has probably improved but he hasn't had as many at bats as he got during the spring time where he was going every series just about. He will be starting now this week with (Anthony) Houllis out."

    WR Chris Davis
    (What have you had to work on coming into this week?)
    "I just think we need to execute what we have been doing. What ever we are doing or what ever we can we just have to execute."

    (On need to make plays as a senior)
    "Anytime they call my number I feel that I need to come up with the play or make something happen. I just need to lead by example."

    (On his first three weeks)
    "There is always room for more work. I don't think I'm playing at my best potential right now. I have a lot more to give."

    CB Tony Carter
    (On the defense)
    "Coach (Mickey) Andrews is telling us that we need to be hungry for it. The first two games we look pretty impressive out there then the last game we gave up too many big plays and we are trying to eliminate that. We need to come out and play a lot hard and make the tackles when we have too."

    (On Rice)
    "You have to go into each game trying to get a shut out and most of all trying to get a victory. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day so we aren't going to take them lightly at all."

    (On his number of reps at punt return)
    "I have been getting a lot of reps today so we will see what happens on Friday."

    (How do you feel returning punts?)
    "Confident, confident, I am ready to make something happen. I know what it feels like to have the ball in my hands now so hopefully I can get comfortable catching them and trying to make a score for us."

    Q & A: Bobby Bowden Part 2

    So the fact that this was a loss, maybe you'll put things on the table?

    BOWDEN: Might be. We'll look ... I think our kids are playing hard. It's just the dadgum execution of the thing.

    Were you happy with moving Alex Boston inside and will it stay that way?

    BOWDEN: I haven't studied it. I haven't talked to coaches. They'll be grading the film today. I'll grade the film too and then talk to them about it.

    What were the timeout issues in the first quarter where you burned all three timeouts in a blink of an eye?

    BOWDEN: Defense called how many of them, one? Defense called one. ... One the first one (by the offense), something happened. They lined up wrong, so the quarterback called time out. I believe that's what happened. Then the next one, was the defense. Then the third one ... Did it hurt anything. It's the first half. What can it mean in the first half?

    You wouldn't be able to challenge a call without a timeout.

    BOWDEN: I haven't thought about that. We've about determined we wouldn't use a challenge until the second half anyway. We're going to save our challenge if we can. Plus, the fact that they are going to look at every play (in the replay booth). Sometimes I wish they wouldn't, maybe they wouldn't have seen that fumble. It works good and bad ... But yes, that was very poor management of time outs.

    It looked like you ran straight at the defense a little more, kind of like you did late against Troy. Was that because they were banged up with their linebackers and safety or did you see anything after Troy?

    BOWDEN: Going dead ahead? That's the style nowadays. It's the style. It's the zone blocking. You take the ball to a certain point and sometimes it will break back over here or bounce outside. Sometimes it goes straight in there ... . There is a science to that doggone thing. We've popped some through there. We've just got to get better at it.

    Is that at least something that was encouraging?

    BOWDEN: Well, we worked on it last week, so you'd say, 'At least what you worked on, you did better.' But the only thing is I think you sacrificed some of your passing game, you know? You ran the ball 38 times, which is good if you are making real positive yardage. But if you had thrown it 10 more times, would you have broken something? We don't know.

    Greg Carr didn't have a chance for a catch last night. He was one of your most productive players last year and now he's not getting on the field. What is behind that?

    BOWDEN: Like I said, a lot of it is he's not our best blocker. When we are trying to run the ball, we put somebody in who can block for him. Now you've got your top receiver out. That's why I said I'm not sure I'm willing to do that anymore. He probably got caught out of the game a lot.

    Does that also have to do with his route-running and his day-to-day preparation?

    BOWDEN: I think his preparation has been pretty good. He's got some learning to do, which he'll get. He's what, a sophomore? He'll get it.

    The defense allowed three touchdown drives of 80 or more yards against Clemson, one for 85 yards. They are so good at times, so is that inexperience?

    BOWDEN: I don't know. That's not a good sign ... One thing, our offense ain't turning the ball over on the goal line. It's not like our offense is fumbling on our 10 and the other team scores. At least the offense is getting the ball out of there ... But I'm amazed that they got three drives over 80 yards for touchdowns. That ain't supposed to happen.

    Clemson does have a great offense, though. He's got every offensive lineman back from last year. Maybe his first and second team. I think he loses four of them next year and the other one will probably go out and go first round. This is there year, offensively especially. That quarterback is a fifth-year senior. His offensive line is experienced. I said it before, I think at the ACC (Kickoff), Clemson may be the team to beat. They should have beaten B.C. They could be the team. Their offense is tough.

    You won the first four games with Tommy and now he's won three of the last four. How do you account for it?

    BOWDEN: I think everybody in the conference has gotten better ... Somebody asked me on TV last night if we had fallen back. We're not quite where we were. Maybe we are lacking one super runner or super lineman or one guy who could put us over the edge. The thing is, Clemson and everybody else has gotten tougher.

    But Tommy is the only coach you are going against who is your son?

    BOWDEN: Yeah, I can't stand him ... He got the best of us last night, no doubt about it ... It hurts as much as any (other loss). It's good for him, but it doesn't help me a bit ... I like to see him do good, but not at my expense. The best I can hope for Tommy is for him to go 11-1, lose to us. That's why this thing is no fun anymore for your family. He's got to beat me and I've got to beat him, and neither one of us is going to give the other anything. Just because he's my son I'm not letting off, and just because I'm his old man, he's not going to let off, either.

    ... What is happening at Clemson is happening with Tommy, who happens to be my son. But it could have happened with any other coach, too, who had been there. They might have won last night, too.

    Next year, we've got most of ours back and he probably loses some pretty good ones, maybe that thing turns around. .. We've still got too much. This team here looks like a team with potential that you can tell ain't there yet. If we can continue to just manage to win, if we can win until we finally grow up and get it together, that's kind of where it is ... It's not like we can walk out there and just beat people ... Troy and Georgia Tech were close yesterday, so they are a little bit better than people think, and Tech had a warning from our game and they were still 14-14 .. Everybody is getting pretty good players.

    It's not any fun anymore, is it? You don't know who's going to sneak up and knock you upside the head do you?

    BOWDEN: You don't know ... You sure don't know ... As long as I've been here, we probably went years where we didn't lose to anyone where we were heavily favored, like a Troy or Southern Miss. Now you are seeing more of it now.

    How hard is that at this stage of your career when you look back and there were so many games you won by large margins and now everything is a dog fight?

    BOWDEN: It's changed that way. When we first got in there, we had some blowouts. But dadgum, I think everybody has gotten better, especially at their place ... I don't like the losses any less than I did 30 years ago. The thing I probably accept more than I used to is a close win. A close win is a win to me. A win is a win to me. You can have all that other stuff, I just want to win. Now when we do something bad, I like to know why we did it and see if we can get it corrected. But I've learned to be happy, very happy, with a win.

    After last night, do you fight the temptation to make changes just for the sake of making them?

    BOWDEN: I want make them just to make them. If we see anything that needs to be changed, though, we're less likely to back down off it.

    On that fumble, could you see the 'mutual possession' that they called?
    BOWDEN: I couldn't tell on the highlight film. All I know is our guy came up with the doggone ball.

    Based on your comments last night, it appears "mutual possession' is not a phrase you were familiar with?

    BOWDEN: I've heard it on a forward pass, but never on a fumble. I've always heard if two guys go up for a pass and they both come down with the ball that the offensive guy gets it, but I've never heard that on a fumble.

    You are fixing to play a Rice team that is making a dramatic change in offense. How difficult is it to go from option personnel to a pro set? They are running a spread.

    BOWDEN: It takes time. You've got to recruit that kind of player. I think Nebraska showed you that. Nebraska has always been a pounding team, an option team, then all of a sudden they hire a pro coach and he changes it, and they don't go to a bowl for the first time in 30 years or something like that. But now he's doing better, beginning to get his kind of material in there.

    Have you ever tried to make that kind of change in your career?

    BOWDEN: You know, the most drastic change I've probably made is in the last two years where we quit flip-flopping our line. That was a pretty big change. A lot of that is mental because the thinking changes. That's probably the biggest change I've made ... I've run the Wing-T, I've run the option, I've run the triple-option, I've run the pro-set, the pro-I, the spread. So I've brought a lot of different things to fit the personnel.

    Do you have second thoughts about not flipping the offensive line?

    BOWDEN: No, I think it's fine. I think all the pros do that. I don't know if they are flipping or not. I would think out of 120 college teams, I would think 110 of them don't flip. It might be all of them don't flip now that we don't. I don't think the pros flip flop a lot.

    Are you confident after three games that you have a playmaker?
    BOWDEN: Is there somebody who can break a dadgum game open? We sure haven't. We still have to remember it's only three games. We've got time for that to happen. But right now, it hasn't happened, and we sure need it to happen.

    How much tougher is it that you don't have a guy like that to make defensive coordinators nervous?

    BOWDEN: Now we did have that with Carr last year, so we've got to get that going again. We tried to get into the running game more yesterday, and that's not my mentality ... Last year everybody wanted to know where he (Carr) was so they would put two guys on him ... We got receivers hurt last night and got in a bind there for a while. De'Cody (Fagg) had to come out and (Joslin) Shaw, who backs him up, hurt his ankle and couldn't go back in. We put a freshman on that side and it got a little tight.

    Was there anything physically wrong with Carr?
    BOWDEN: I don't think so ... I'm going to take a look at that, what we are doing.

    Did you catch any of the Louisville and Miami game? How surprising was that to you? It hasn't been a good year for the ACC.

    BOWDEN: Boy, I know it. No. 1, Miami came out and went right down the field and scored, running the ball. Then that dadgum Louisville. I couldn't believe how good they are. It was amazing. They have really gotten good.

    Seminole Fans Angry About Timeouts

    FSU fans are still fussing about FSU's timeouts again Saturday. FSU called three with 6:17 remaining in the first quarter. Two were on the offense.

    “Timeouts were unnecessary,” offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said. “(On the first one) we got the play in. Drew misread his play on his wristband, and that's the best I can give you.

    “I had one error that caused a timeout. It was our second offensive timeout where I had a wrong number typed. We ran a naked call and had the wrong personnel in.”

    Q & A: Jeff Bowden

    Again, no points in the first half. Why is that happening?

    Bowden: It looks like turnovers right now to me. We had a drive going on early, and we fumbled the ball. That's probably the best explanation I can give you.

    Your offense ranks 105th nationally in total offense. What has to be done to get it better?

    Bowden: I would be more concerned with being 3-0 rather than where we are ranked. It's not the standards you want, but neither is 2-1. Going into this last game I would have stayed happy with the plan we had, had we come out with a win.

    The only other thing that you could have done for us is to kind of revert back and spread the field and give Drew some more at-bats where he can build up those great passing stats and maybe throw some picks. No, I'm not happy with that (FSU's 105th ranking).

    Beyond the quarterback position, do you have the right personnel in the game? Is that something you have to look at?

    Bowden: Yeah, a little bit. Greg Carr has got to play better and practice better. He is going to try, but he has done neither.

    You're feeling really good about Rich Goodman, and he drops a touchdown. You say, “Shoot, why wasn't Chris Davis in there?”

    Well, because Rich had played well and you had no reason he wouldn't make the play. I'm going to guarantee the right people are in the right position next time.

    You had your running game going a little bit.

    Bowden: That was one thing I told the kids. We said before the game we were going to stay with the run and be patient with the run. Last year we were real quick in the second half to abandon it and to go to the pass. That's exactly what they wanted us to and we didn't do it. We gave ourselves a chance in the game. We got back in the game. Late in the game the biggest mistake we made was a third-and-1 that we didn't convert, we should have converted. That was Joe (Surratt's run in the fourth quarter for no gain).

    Wasn't that kind of an expected play?

    Bowden: Let me put it this way. If they expected it, they didn't defend it because we blocked. We just didn't hit the hole.

    Greg Carr, we didn't really see him Saturday night (with no passes to him).

    Bowden: You saw him more in the second half. He hasn't played well in games like I expect him to. He hasn't blocked like I expect him to. On top of that, we had some routes that Chris Davis was a little better running at then Greg. And we felt comfortable with Richard Goodman.

    Isn't it tough to keep arguably your top player out?

    Bowden: If it costs us a game, yeah. But that didn't cost us a game.

    Your dad wants to see Xavier (Lee) in the game. Will there be a specific plan?

    Bowden: We had a plan last week. We had a plan the week before. I sure would like to see that plan happen.

    Evaluate your offensive line.

    Bowden: We're not playing as well as we can yet. We showed the offense a bunch of cutups where we had some potentially big runs in the game where we are either falling off a linebacker block, not cutting off the backside, or we do that and a run bounces to the outside and a receiver is not blocking on the perimeter. They were all pretty bothered by what they saw. There was a lot of potential for big runs in that ballgame.

    Still not reading the message boards or papers?

    Bowden: Why?

    Well, your starting quarterback is taking a lot of heat right now.

    Bowden: Every team that just lost, that's the guy probably taking the heat right now.

    Does he have happy feet?

    Bowden: He hadn't had protection like he's getting (now). . . . I think the protection in my opinion has been pretty good. . . . Now I'm waiting for the light to click. It's there - sit in there, be patient, let things happen. I think he will. That's why I'm not going to panic on it yet. It's too early - too early in the year.

    In previous seasons when you've had a starting quarterback maybe not playing as well, sometimes you have made a change to create a spark. You're not at that point yet?

    Bowden: I don't know. It's something we'll talk about it.

    Are you saying you don't have a clear number one right now?

    Bowden: No. You're not right about that.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Tuesday Practice Report

    · Florida State worked out for 22 periods in full pads Tuesday on the turf practice field.

    · The first 16 periods were spent working in individual units before the offense and defense began to work against one another.

    · The last two periods were spent scrimmaging and working on goal line.

    · Anthony Houlis suffered a knee injury. The extent of the injury won't be known until Friday.

    · Former Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Pitt and Washington State football coach Jackie Sherrill stopped by practice today before he spoke to the Tallahassee Quarterback Club this evening.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    "Lightning got us last night and we had to work inside. Last Wednesday it was the same way - we gat a half of a practice and we had to go inside. So, it was very important we got out here today. We need good weather again tomorrow.

    will there be any or many changes this week?


    what challenges are the receivers facing?

    "They see their mistakes. Again, you missed practice Wednesday afternoon (last week) - half your practice - you do your throwing later (in practice). You miss all that darn stuff and it kind of shows. You tell them why they dropped the ball and tell them to correct it.

    on getting Xavier Lee in the game vs. Rice

    "Right now, we are going to have a set plan. A lot of times, you have a set plan and you look up and you are behind by seven and you are scared to change. We sure want to get him in there, I know that."

    on Anthony Houllis

    "Houllis, I think is out for this game. Might be out for a while, to be honest with you. You like to have them both (Houllis and Myron Rolle) but I feel like Myron is ready to do the job."

    on Houllis's Injury

    "It's his knee. I think its more cartilage than anything else. More cartilage.

    on the Play of Alex Boston against Clemson

    "He did pretty well. I think everybody would be very pleased with the way he played. Stepping in there for the first time and playing a new position. He seemed to play it pretty well. We didn't get much of a pass rush in that game however.

    Former Mississippi State Head Coach and current TV analyst Jackie Sherrill

    "I am up here to speak at the Quarterback Club and I got a chance to come up here and see coach (Bowden) and talk about years ago when he was at West Virginia and I was at Pittsburgh. I am still made at him. He cost us a National Championship when we came down here and played in 1980. (Our friendship) goes back to the 70's. Probably even the late 60's."

    Safety Myron Rolle
    on replacing Anthony Houllis this Saturday versus Rice

    "I am happy about it. It is something I always envisioned when I decided to come to Florida State. Now it has become a reality. I just want to play as well as possible."

    on how Anthony Houllis is handling the injury

    "You can see in his face that he is upset. He just told me to play my hardest and fill the hole as well as possible."

    on how his preparation for the Rice game will change

    "It won't be any different. I will approach it the same way as I do every week. Coach prepares us like we are going to start every week. I just hope to execute and I will do my best to play well."

    Defensive lineman Alex Boston
    on his role with the team

    "Right now I'm helping out the team wherever they need me. Hopefully the injured players will be able to come back within the next few weeks. I just go in and play game-by-game right now."

    on getting some guidance from Andre Fluellen in last weeks' game

    "Andre was trying to help me feel my way through the game. I was helping him make some plays in the backfield. He was really helping me out and we had a good time."

    on the adjustments he's had to make

    "It's been pretty much the same for me. It's just now you're taking on more of a guard than a tight end. The weight difference is there, but the assignments are mostly the same."

    Q & A: Mickey Andrews

    Clemson had some long scoring drives.

    Andrews: Our objective is three-and-out, and we didn't get it done. . . . Two ways to gain field possession. Either you gain it when you've got the football. The offense is responsible for field possession just like the defense is. You don't get first down, you don't gain field possession. If we don't force people to kick the ball and create field possession, we're not doing what we're supposed to do. It was very disappointing to let them take the ball and move it like that.

    How did Alex Boston do (at his new position of defensive tackle)?

    Andrews: He did pretty good. He and (Andre) Fluellen were both at new positions. They did pretty good.

    Is that the way it's going to be on the defensive line from now on?

    Andrews: They are part of our 11 best players right now, so that would be our plans.

    Considering that you all lost on defense (from last season), is the defense playing where you thought it would, or even a little better?

    Andrews: We didn't play as well this past Saturday as I thought we would. We gave up too many big plays and too many scores. Our objective is to hold a team under 15 points. Had we done that we would have won the ballgame. . . . We talked about making big plays so much I think we got a little wrapped up in trying to make plays instead of - 'doing my job first.' ”

    Xavier Lee Unhappy

    Florida State's coaches acknowledged Monday that they're concerned about the way their offense has sputtered during Drew Weatherford's second season as a starter, but they aren't any closer to giving backup Xavier Lee a chance at the top job.

    In the 18th-ranked Seminoles' first two Atlantic Coast Conference games - a 13-10 victory over Miami and a 27-20 loss to Clemson - Weatherford has passed for just 277 total yards. But in separate interviews, coach Bobby Bowden, offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden and quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey each said they expect the sophomore to rebound.

    In the meantime, much of the focus has shifted to Lee, who obviously was frustrated on the sideline during the second half of Saturday night's loss to Clemson. He sat by himself with a towel over his head for much of the third quarter.

    After first telling reporters Monday night that he didn't want to "say the wrong thing," Lee acknowledged that his frustration stems from being told he would definitely play in each of the past two games. But he didn't hit the field against Troy and then was called upon only to throw a desperation pass as time expired Saturday.

    "There's nothing I can do," Lee said. "I just keep practicing hard and keep being patient, but I don't want to be happy with broken promises.

    "I just want to play when there is still some game going on. It doesn't matter what quarter."

    Lee said several Seminoles have told him they want to see him receive a chance.

    "A lot of players have my back," Lee said. "They want to see me play. That's what I came here to do is play. It kind of [stinks] to have my talent wasted - me or Drew sitting on the bench. [The coaches could] split it or something."

    Dickey said the redshirt sophomore's frustration hasn't affected his performance.

    "I couldn't be more pleased with his preparation and also his patience," Dickey said. "He's ready to play, he wants to play, he's eager to play, he's looking for an opportunity, and so am I. I'm anxious for him to play, and I'm looking for an opportunity for him to play that's going to be the best situation for him and our football team."

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    Monday Practice Report

    Florida State worked out for 10 periods in shorts Monday evening. The team spent the first two periods working on conditioning indoors and then finished the practice working eight periods in Doak Campbell Stadium. The offensive and defense spent the practice working independently of one another. Kevin McNeill went through his first practice with the team and is expected to see action versus Rice Saturday. Tony Carter was named ACC Specialist of the Week after returning two blocked kicks for touchdowns.


    Head Coach Bobby Bowden
    "We had our honor roll where we talked about the good plays from the last ball game. We spent all day - a lot of time grading the film of the players. We've definitely got to get out tomorrow; we've got to get out. The weather is driving us inside too much I think it probably had a little bit of an effect last week because we had to go inside and practice our passing game some. We missed some time on that and it kind of shows up. I hope tomorrow we can get outside."

    Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden
    on why the offense was unable to score a TD in the first half "Turnovers, right now that's what it looks like to me. We had a drive going early on but we fumbled the ball and that is probably the best explanation I can give."

    on FSU's running game
    "I told the kids, I said before the game we were going to stay with the run; we were going to be patient with the run. Last year, we were real quick in the second half and abandon it and go to the pass. That is exactly what (Clemson) wanted us to do and we didn't do it. We gave ourselves a chance. We got ourselves back in the game. Late in the game the biggest mistake we made was the third-and-one that we didn't convert that we should have converted."

    Safety Myron Rolle
    on his increased involvement in the Clemson game "I prepared myself to be ready. It was the same type of preparation that I have pretty much had the first two weeks. I was happy I was able to get into the game and make some contributions when I was in there."

    Quarterback Drew Weatherford
    on the positives he saw when watching the game film "The fact that we could run the ball versus a really good defense like Clemson was a positive. It showed a lot on the part of our running backs and o-linemen. There was good blocking downfield. We are never going to quit. This team never has and it never will. We have too much character on this team ever to just lie down."

    Carter Named ACC Specialist of the Week

    Florida State sophomore cornerback Tony Carter was named the ACC football specialist of the week for his outstanding performance for the Seminoles against Clemson. It marks the first time this season and the first time in his career Carter has been so honored by the league. It marks the third time in the first three weeks of the season a Florida State player has been named ACC Player of the Week.

    Carter scored eight of the Seminoles' 20 points in Saturday's 27-20 loss to Clemson. After the Tigers' first extra point attempt of the game was blocked by Lawrence Timmons, Carter scooped up the loose ball and raced 90 yards for the defensive point after touchdown. It was the first time in school history that a Seminole had scored defending a PAT. Almost 15 minutes later, the 5-9, 170-pound sophomore from Jacksonville, Fla., picked up a blocked Clemson field goal attempt and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown.

    Florida State plays host to Rice in a non-conference game at Doak Campbell Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPNU and is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

    McNeil Cleared To Play for FSU

    Kevin McNeil was so certain that his college career was on hold, he took a job on the Florida State campus just days following the Seminoles' Labor Day game at Miami.

    The NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse had flagged a course McNeil had taken in high school. That meant McNeil likely wouldn't be allowed to enroll at FSU until January.

    But today he attended class, worked out in the strength room and was prepared to join the team at practice in the evening. McNeil won his appeal with the Clearinghouse.

    He could play as soon as Saturday. The defensive end had impressed coaches prior to being ruled ineligible by the Clearinghouse.

    "It doesn't seem right that he was put in that kind of position, where he can't practice ... then all of a sudden he can play - he's eligible," FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said.

    Although he has missed both class work and practice, it was hoped that McNeil could catch up with both.

    "It will take some extra work on his part, both in that (academics) and football," Andrews said. "He hasn't (played football) in two or three weeks now. He has some catching up to do, but he may be the healthiest body Jody (Allen, the defensive line coach) has got right now."

    Q & A: Bobby Bowden Part 1

    Your offense has scored three points in the first half of the three games this year. What can you do to improve that production?

    BOWDEN: Execution is the only thing ... We were not sharp last night. We were not sharp whatsoever with our passing game. We were just not sharp at all. I don't know why. We've just got to get the execution. If we had executed against Troy and didn't fumble the football we probably would have scored a couple of times in the first half. Last night ... field position has been critical, too. All I've seen is the highlight film and it didn't have much of the game on it. It just seemed like every time we got the ball we were on the 8-yard line, 20-yard line. Seems like we'd have a long way to go and it makes it very difficult to produce points ... I know against Troy we were backed up the whole time, it seems like ... (Against Clemson) We had it four times the whole first half, and the fifth time we killed the clock to get off the field. That's not many at bats, and you've got terrible field position to start with. In a close game you don't want to do anything real stupid. It's the same thing with Auburn and LSU. It's tougher to score nowadays. It seems like everybody is playing better defense.

    Tommy is averaging, what, 40 something points a game until yesterday.

    The fact that you had just four first-half possessions and you went about 10 minutes of game time without the ball because Clemson got the second-half kickoff, did that also contribute to the lack of continuity on offense?

    BOWDEN: Yeah, it's hard to score when you don't have the ball. I think the second quarter we might have had it three minutes ... So anyway you didn't have the ball. That's one explanation. The big thing is not executing. If you are executing, you've got a chance to move the ball and you've got a chance to score. But also you need some field position. You need field position, and I don't think we've had it. The best chance we had last night to getting field position was when they punted out of their end zone, fourth down and a billion. We rough the punter and we fumble or touched the ball down here. Now instead of getting the ball on the 50 or closer, we finally get it down on the 10-yard line. That's an 80-yard swing ... You've got a long way to go.

    But our defense scored off that. Blocked a field goal and scored (on Clemson's next possession), so it didn't have any affect on the game.

    ... The questions y'all ask me today are going to be the same ones they get at Notre Dame. The same ones they get at Oklahoma. The same ones they get at Tennessee. One of the best games yesterday was Auburn and LSU, 7-3. That was one of the best games there was, but they are having problems, too. You simply got to execute better. That's the only thing I know.

    What's the solution to that?

    BOWDEN: Practice, practice, practice. That's the third game. We've got 10 or 11 more games. Just practice and try to solve it ... We go into that first ballgame and the one thing that is good is our passing. We were sharp against Miami. We didn't throw as often, but we were sharp. We won the game with it. Then you play against Troy, and it's the same. Now you're really sharp throwing the ball. Now you go out there yesterday, and you weren't sharp at all. You hit some, but you weren't sharp. You overthrew the ball, under-threw the ball, didn't protect, too many people around the passer, receivers drop the ball. It just wasn't enough to win the game.

    When you look at your offense right now, do you see a void of play-makers? You're not getting guys to make big plays. Receivers don't seem to be getting separation.

    BOWDEN: We're not getting big plays. We're not getting big plays.

    Why is that?

    BOWDEN: Players need to make big plays. We're getting the ball to them. Now someone asked me why we didn't play (Greg) Carr more last night. Well, we were trying to run the ball more, so we were trying to get receivers in there who could block. Now it's keeping one of your best threats out of the game. I'm not sure I'm willing to go with that. I'm not sure I'm willing to give up that passing threat to hammer in the run. I'll have to look at that real good. It's just the third game of the year. We've still got time to adjust.

    When you don't have guys who are making big plays, and you are not getting field position, aren't you really up against it then? Then you are looking at needing a 12- to 13-play drive to score.

    BOWDEN: What kind of drive did we get to score?

    You had the three longest drives of the night in terms of the clock, over five minutes, and you had to punt after the first one.

    BOWDEN: Well, it's one of them things where we did some things good, but we didn't do good enough to win the game. We just didn't do good enough to win the game.

    You've compared your quarterbacks to pitchers, getting hot and cold. Is there any chance you are going to look at Xavier Lee?

    BOWDEN: If you had many more like last night, you'd have to. I don't know ... I think that was just kind of an off-night or something. We need to (see Lee). Our hope was to get him in there against Troy for a quarter and a half, or something like that. But the game was tight and you are fighting to come back, and your quarterback is throwing well. Then last night, you are tied up to the end of the game. I think what happened at the last is we were thinking about overtime. That's where we'd like to be. Let's get this thing into overtime. I think even Tommy was sitting on the ball, but his back broke it. Why was he running the ball when he had a minute and a half to go or something like that, you know.

    But they quick snapped. They were trying to hurry you up and mess up your tempo and they caught you?

    BOWDEN: They did, didn't they? They did a good job .. The game could have been won on that fumble ... (FSU's Lawrence Timmons appeared to recover a fumble by Clemson quarterback Will Proctor in the final six minutes, but Clemson retained possession). You talk about one play, we could have sat on it right in front of the goal posts and won the game. There was maybe five minutes left. We could have worked it down there and might have scored a touchdown. But instead they got it ... They had to punt there, but a lot of time it gets down to one play.

    When you look at the highlights and see where you got caught on the long run by James Davis, what exactly were you trying to do at that point?

    BOWDEN: All I saw was the highlight film. They got three big linemen in front of him. It was like a tank. It was like three tanks in front of the guy. It looked like they just pulled them out. I couldn't study it by that film last night. I'll have to get the film and look at it, but he had a wall of blockers out there, boy. Somebody might have missed a tackle.

    You talked last week about how hard it is to get players motivated for a game against a team like Troy. Do you risk falling into the same situation with Rice this week, even coming of this loss?

    BOWDEN: We need a win so bad, I'd be surprised. The rough thing so far is we've had to play 60 minutes every game. Sixty minutes. It's not like some games where you get into it, and two and a half quarters, middle of the third, you've got it wrapped up. We've had to play 60 minutes. You're afraid to sub. You're afraid to put in somebody who hasn't been in there. The fact that we need this win so much, I don't think there will be a letdown. The kids have played hard every game but the offense needs to execute better. The defense has been playing good enough to win, I think. And our kicking game has been extraordinary.

    You've said before that the general tendency of coaches is not to lose a game, not try to win. Then you use that fear thing where you are afraid to substitute. Is there some point, though, where there is the temptation to stir up the pot? When you see a team laboring and laboring and laboring, and you are just not seeing the response that you want, do you think about making changes?

    BOWDEN: Usually it takes a loss. When you are winning, you don't like change. If you get a loss, you maybe look at thing.

    Three substandard performances by the offense, by the measuring stick used around here, wouldn't be enough?

    BOWDEN: Not if we win. To a coach, the objective is to win, not (get) style points. I'd like to get style points, but the win is what you want.