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    Monday, December 31, 2007

    Music City Bowl Was All Academic As Wildcats Take Down Noles 35-28

    There was a big dose of irony for the Noles as they prepared for the Music City Bowl. After all, the mass suspension of players for the game was due to cheating on an online music appreciation course. The irony of ironies. So the Noles were left singing the blues as they headed to Nashville with first team players missing on both offense and defense. The Seminoles were left preparing for the Kentucky Wildcats short 36 players.

    The Noles came to Nashville like so many aspiring singers, writers, and musicians- to face the music. The game was an opportunity for the remaining players to show what they were still capable of doing on the field.

    The first half was marked by momentum changes and questionable calls by the refs. One call saw an FSU TD by wide receiver Greg Carr called back for offensive play calling. The FSU defense played about as good as they could play and made some big calls when it was needed.

    FSU corner Tony Carter's interception and return for a TD tied the game up for the Noles. FSU was able to keep points off the board for Kentucky when the Wildcats missed a field goal to end the half. The first half ended in a 14-14 tie with Bobby Bowden summarizing the sentiments of many FSU fans regarding ref penalty calls when he told ESPN analyst Jack Arute, "It irritates the crap out of me."

    In the third quarter,it was all blue as the Wildcats scored twice to take the lead 28-14, It was obvious that the depleted FSU defense was getting tired. The fat lady was beginning to warm up her vocal cords at the end of the third quarter for her final song in the Music City Bowl.

    When Kentucky scored a TD with under six minutes left in the game to go up 35-21, only the most rabid fan thought the Noles still had a shot.

    However,a blocked Kentucky field goal and a subsequent TD by the Noles gave fans hope as the Noles pulled to within seven with a little over two minutes to go. When an onside kick was recovered by Kentucky, it looked over.

    It looked as if the Noles still had a shot when a fumble by the Wildcats and an almost sure recovery fumble by the Noles was snatched out of the hands of Nole safety Michael Ray Garvin.

    However,the Noles were able to get the ball back with a minute left and drive the ball down the field to attempt a hail Mary in the end zone that was batted away by the Wildcats to end the game.

    The Noles came close but were unable to overcome a lot of adversity. The fat lady finally sang "The King," Elvis Presley's song, "Too Much". There was too much going against the Noles going into the Music City Bowl and in the end it was all academic.

    Poll Results: What Song Will Nole Fans Be Singing

    Results of poll question: "In the spirit of the Music City Bowl, what song will Seminole nation be singing at the end of the FSU-Kentucky game?"

    "Singing The Blues" by Marty Robbins- 61.9%

    "We Are The Champions" by Queen- 38,1%

    Music City Bowl Game Day Facts

    Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. EST

    Television: ESPN

    Announcers: Ron Franklin (play-by-play), Ed Cunningham (analyst) and Jack Arute (sideline)

    Site: LP Field , Nashville, Tn.

    Stadium Capacity: 68,798

    : Bermuda sod- natural grass

    Head Coaches: Bobby Bowden (300-85-4 in 32nd year at FSU) and Rich Brooks (24-35 in fifth year as head coach at Kentucky).

    Line: 10 points

    FSU Bowl Game Record: FSU is 21-13-2 winning their last bowl game in 2006 44-27 over UCLA in Emerald Bowl.

    Kentucky Bowl Game Record: Kentucky is 6-5 winning their last bowl game in 2006 28-20 over Clemson in Music City Bowl.

    FSU-Kentucky Series Record: Kentucky leads series with FSU 3-1-1.

    Stat that matters: If FSU loses to Kentucky, this would be the first time since 1975 and 1976 seasons that Noles have won 7 games or less for two consecutive years.

    Key Stat: FSU is 2-3 in last five bowl games played.

    Last time FSU played Kentucky: Florida State lost 26-24 to Kentucky in Lexingtion in 1965.

    Game Day Weather: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

    Key Players To Watch In Music City Bowl

    Some Key Players To Watch In Music City Bowl:

    For Kentucky:

    Andre Woodson- Will the Wildcat offensive line be able to protect the 6’5” Woodson good enough for him to be able to throw downfield? The Wildcats rank last in the SEC in sacks allowed. If he has time, the Noles are in for a long day. The subplot here is the offensive line is coached by former Nole and FSU coach Jimmy Heggins.

    Jacob Tamme- The Wildcats 6'5", 240 lb. Senior tight end does more than block. Tamme has 53 catches for 584 yards and 5 TDs. Noles cannot ignore him as a receiver.

    Keenan Burton- Will senior wide receiver Burton, who is dealing with a knee injury, be able to play in his last game ?

    Wesley Woodyard- Woodyard is the weakside linebacker for Kentucky. He ranks second in the SEC in tackles.

    Rafael Little - Tailback Little will be the main man since tailback Derrick Locke is out. Key will be for Little to establish enough of a run game to open up the passing game.

    For FSU:

    Preston Parker- Will Parker be able to make some big plays either on the ground or catching the ball ? Parker will need to have a big game for the Noles to have a shot.

    Rodney Hudson
    - Will Hudson who replaces Daron Rose be able to contain the Kentucky rush at his position at left tackle? Kentucky's defensive end Jeremy Jarmon is second in the SEC with 9 sacks so Hudson will have his hands full.

    Alex Boston- Senior defensive end Alex Boston has had less than spectacular success at FSU. The bowl game gives him another opportunity to show his skills due to the suspensions of the starting defensive ends for the Noles.

    Kenny Ingram- Safety Kenny Ingram will be playing at the strongside linebacker place of Dekoda Watson. How effective will he be in a new position and in containing Kentucky's tight end Jacob Tamme?

    Roger Williams
    - Senior safety Williams has been burned a lot this year. How will he handle the Wildcat receivers and will Mickey Andrews have a different pass coverage for the bowl game?

    How FSU And Kentucky Matchup In National Stats

    Rankings are based on 119 major college teams:

    Scoring Offense: FSU: #90 Ky: #15

    Rushing Offense: FSU: #96 Ky: #52

    Passing Offense: FSU: #47 Ky: #24

    Total Offense
    : FSU: #82 Ky: #25

    Scoring Defense: FSU: #31 Ky: #80

    Rushing Defense: FSU: #22 Ky: #92

    Passing Defense: FSU: #73 Ky: #21

    Total Defense: FSU: #36 Ky: #65

    : FSU: #51 Ky: #67

    Sacks Allowed: FSU: #52 Ky: #103

    Third Down Conversions: FSU: #108 Ky: #7

    Red Zone Conversions: FSU: #62 Ky: #40

    Five ACC Bowl Games On Tap This Week

    Monday ACC Bowls:

    Humanitarian Bowl: Ga. Tech vs. Fresno State

    Defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta will try to lead the Yellow Jackets to their second Humanitarian Bowl victory in five seasons when they meet Fresno State on Dec. 31 in Boise, Idaho. Tenuta replaces Chan Gailey, who earned six bowl invitations during his six-year tenure with the Yellow Jackets -- but went 0-6 against archrival Georgia.

    Key Stats:

    Georgia Tech is ranked 19th in the nation in rushing.

    Fresno State is ranked 17th in nation in rushing yards.

    Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson vs.Auburn

    Going into Monday night's Chick-fil-A bowl, Clemson and Auburn rank among the nation's top 10 defenses in points allowed. However, Auburn (8-4) ranked 101st in the nation in total offense this season. In an attempt to remedy that situation, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville hired a new offensive coordinator, Tony Franklin, who began installing a no-huddle spread attack in bowl practice.

    Key Stats:

    Clemson ranks #36 in nation in passing.

    Auburn ranks #27 in nation in rushing defense.

    Tuesday ACC Bowl:

    Gator Bowl:Virginia vs.Texas Tech

    The Cavaliers and top defensive end Chris Long will try to contain the spread offense of Texas Tech on New Year's Day when the schools play for the first time.

    Key Stats:

    Virginia is ranked #17 in nation in total defense.

    Texas Tech is ranked #1 in nation in passing yards.

    Thursday ACC Bowl:

    Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Kansas

    The Hokies are,Atlantic Coast Conference champions again and set to meet No. 8 Kansas (11-1) in Thursday's Orange Bowl.

    Key Stats:

    Va. Tech is ranked #5 in nation in total defense.

    Kansas is ranked #2 in the nation in points scored.

    Coaches Hold Final Press Conference Before Game

    FSU Sports Information Excerpts:

    Head coaches Bobby Bowden and Rich Brooks took part in the final bowl event of the week Sunday afternoon. The two veteran coaches met with the media as the head coaches press conference marked the final team event before the game kick-offs at 4:00 p.m. EST Monday.

    FSU Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    On being shorthanded:

    "When we play the game its not like we are going to put a bunch of guys that ain't good football players out there. We still got first teamers, you know? The thing I am concerned most about when people ask is depth. Can you hang in there with them for 60 minutes? That is the big thing."

    On being an underdog:

    "You know, really most of my life has been that way. I was always the runt of the litter. You know coming up through high school and college and we have upset a lot of people as I have come up, you know since being here at Florida State. I really like that role better than being a touchdown favorite. When you are a touchdown favorite you got a lot better chance to win but I really enjoy the underdog role."

    Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks

    On the FSU defense:

    "We are going to need every able body and playmaker that we can get because obviously Florida State defense to me is a lot like some of the ones we played in our league. Georgia is an example. We had a very difficult time moving the ball on Georgia."

    On the importance of Kentucky running:

    "I know for us playing Florida State, if we don't run the ball somewhat effectively we are going to have trouble protecting our quarterback because they rush the passer as good as anybody in the country."

    Sunday, December 30, 2007

    Kentucky Looking For Two Consecutive Bowl Wins In Over 50 Years

    1. Florida State has surrendered at least 40 points in two of its last three games.

    2. Kentucky QB Andre Woodson has averaged 3 TDs per game in last 5 games of the season.

    3. Bobby Bowden has never coached against Kentucky.

    4. Kentucky is trying for bowl wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in more than half a century.

    5. Noles rank 90th out of 119 major colleges in scoring offense while Kentucky is 15th.

    6. If FSU loses to Kentucky, this would be the first time since 1975 and 1976 seasons that Noles have won 7 games or less for two consecutive years.

    Buys And Sells For FSU-Kentucky Music City Bowl

    Kentucky mascot- Another clothed mascot that looks as if it belongs on Sesame Street than at a football game. I am selling.

    FSU will have 50 yards or less in penalties- Noles have a lot of new players that will probably make stupid penalties. They are averaging 64 yards a game in penalties this season. I am selling.

    Bobby Bowden will put on headsets during the game- Not sure why he would since he has nothing to do with play calling. However, I think he will put them on sometime during the game and pretend that he's still the coach. I am buying.

    FSU and Kentucky combined will score 50 points in the game- The Wildcats average almost 37 points a game while the Noles are at 23 points a game. I don't see the Noles scoring a large number of points and Kentucky is missing some of its key players. I am selling.

    Kentucky QB Andre Woodson will be sacked at least two times-Noles will need to get to Woodson to have a chance. I think Mickey Andrew's defense will. I am buying.

    Kentucky QB Andre Woodson will be intercepted at least once- Nole secondary has to step it up and make some big plays. Noles will be missing interception leader Patrick Robinson but I think they will get at least one pick. I am buying.

    FSU QB Drew Weatherford will not be intercepted- Drew has had only one interception this year. Pressure to perform will probably force him to throw some ill advised passes. I am selling.

    De'Cody Fagg will have at least one TD- Fagg will be playing his last game as a Nole on Monday. I think he will get one in the bowl. I am buying.

    Kentucky will rush for 100 yards or more- Wildcats rank #5 in SEC in rushing offense with almost 157 yards a game. Noles are missing some of their key defensive players. I am buying.

    Noles will rush for 100 yards or more- Noles need to run to eat up clock and keep Wildcat offense and Nole defense off the field. They have to run the ball. I am buying.

    Preston Parker will get at least one TD- He has been the playmaker for the Noles this year. I think he will score. I am buying.

    "The Weed" will get at least one FG- Points will be important and Cismesia is making almost 80 percent of his kicks. I am buying.

    Noles will score at least 30 points- FSU is averaging a little under 24 points a game. They need to get the offense going but I don't think they will hit 30. I am selling.

    Top 10 FSU Football Stories Of 2007

    My top FSU football stories and rankings:

    1. Academic fraud case

    Fans and alumni learned in September that FSU had self-reported to the NCAA an internal investigation into academic fraud involving grades and an online course.

    Initially only two FSU football players were said to be involved. In December, fans learned that 24 scholarship players would be suspended for the bowl game due to academic fraud or team rule violations.

    Those involved with the academic fraud will also be out for the first three games of the 2008 season.

    FSU is set to submit a report early in 2008 and await word from the NCAA regarding possible sanctions.

    2. Jimbo Fisher named coach in waiting

    With growing discontent among many in Seminole nation, FSU named offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher head coach in waiting.

    Faced with the likelihood that Fisher would be courted by other schools, FSU negotiated a contract that guaranteed Fisher the head job when Bobby Bowden retires.

    2 a. New Bobby Bowden contract

    Despite several years of mediocre records, FSU negotiated a contract with Bobby Bowden that substantially increased his salary—and will also award him $1 million when he retires.

    3. Fisher almost bolts for WVU

    Fisher was offered the head coaching position at West Virginia but decided to stay at FSU.

    The soap opera saw FSU president T.K. Wetherell email the press from Montana declaring that Fisher was going nowhere...while making numerous phone calls to Fisher urging him to stay.

    4. FSU beats Boston College

    The Noles traveled to Boston in November to take on the No. 2 Eagles and Heisman candidate Matt Ryan. FSU came away with a surprising 27-17 victory.

    5. FSU loses to Miami at home

    In defiance of all logic, the Noles managed to lose to a clearly less talented Miami team in Tallahassee 37-29. Miami scored 13 points in the last three minutes for the win.

    6. FSU loses to Florida for the fourth year in a row

    In a game that was never close, the Noles lost their fourth game in a row to the Gators by a score of 45-12. FSU did not score a TD in Gainesville.

    7. FSU beats Alabama

    In a bowl game atmosphere, FSU moved to 3-1 in beating Bama 21-14 in Jacksonville. Xavier Lee came off the bench to lead the Noles to victory.

    8. Dave Hart Leaves FSU

    After 13 years as FSU athletic director, Dave Hart was cut loose by school president T.K. Wetherell.

    Wetherell managed to get a dig in at Hart recently, saying that the academic fraud scandal was due to "a lack of oversight by athletic department officials, an inattentive faculty member, and a rogue tutor." Hart leaves his position effective Dec. 31. Happy New Year, Dave.

    9. FSU loses to Wake Forest for the second year in a row

    FSU was looking to avenge a 30-0 shutout by Wake in Tallahassee in 2006. Instead, the Noles played below their capabilities and lost 24-21.

    10. Gary Cismesia's 60-yard field goal

    In the one bright moment from the Florida game, kicker Gary Cismesia booted a 60-yard field goal to set an ACC and FSU record.

    Keys To FSU-Kentucky Game

    * FSU must play keep away or possession ball in light of all the players missing on defense. FSU offense must find a way to drive the ball down the field and use up large chunks of time off the clock.

    * FSU secondary must guard against being beaten long and use a defensive scheme that guards against easy TDs.

    * Noles must convert third downs.

    * Noles must keep penalties to a minimum.

    * Drew Weatherford must play smart football and be able to make the correct reads.

    * FSU receivers must step up their game. Fagg and Carr must be on their game.

    * FSU must establish the run early.

    "... I wasn't going to get his job here."

    " I knew for the last few years that my age was going to be a factor as Coach Bowden continued to coach, that I wasn't going to get his job here."
    Mickey Andrews during an interview with reporters who cover FSU

    Note: It really is the height of hypocrisy that the so called "geniuses" at FSU have the audacity to use age against Mickey Andrews who is 65 while saying that age should not be a factor with Bobby Bowden.

    Saturday, December 29, 2007

    Scouting The Kentucky Wildcats

    FSU It's Time has done a break down of all the major units of the Kentucky football team as well as the key matchups with the Noles. Here is a brief scouting report summary:

    Scouting The Offense

    Kentucky's explosive offense should be able to put up points against a Florida State defense that has surrendered at least 40 points in two of its last three games.Kentucky is led by SEC leader Andre Woodson who has a host of receivers and a tight end for his passes. The Wildcats may be missing wide receiver Keenan Burton and some of the offensive line has changed which could affect the Cats and their offense.

    Scouting The Defense

    Stopping the run has been a liability of the Wildcats all season. But the Seminoles have struggled to mount much of a rushing attack this season, averaging only 121 yards per game. The Widcat defense is led by weak side linebacker Wesley Woodyard who for the Wildcats had 124 tackles, 6 1/2 tackles for losses, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 1/2 sacks. He was ranked second in the SEC in tackles.

    Wildcat Players To Watch:

    RB Rafael Little missed three games, two of which were Kentucky losses, because of injuries. When healthy, Little is a versatile weapon. He led the Wildcats in rushing, added 34 receptions and was a solid punt returner.

    TE Jacob Tamme, an Academic All-American, raised his NFL stock with a tremendous finish to his senior year. He had a career-high nine catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the season-finale against Tennessee. He has 5 TDs on the year. Watch for him to see a lot of action if Burton is out.

    QB Andre Woodson in last year's bowl win over Clemson threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns. If he has time, he is lethal. The test will be the Wildcat offensive line and how they withstand the defensive unit for the Noles.

    Burton Doubtful For Music City Bowl As Wildcats Wrap Up Practice

    Kentucky Sports Information Excerpts:

    The Kentucky football team had its final full practice of the 2007 season Saturday afternoon, a two-hour workout at the Vanderbilt University practice field.

    After practice, Coach Rich Brooks said the injured knee of Keenan Burton became very sore after practicing on Friday and that the senior wide receiver was “very doubtful” to play in the bowl game. Brooks also announced that senior offensive guard Jason Leger has been suspended for the Music City Bowl because of a violation of team rules.

    Brooks said that sophomore Zipp Duncan would move from left guard to Leger’s spot at right guard and junior Christian Johnson would start at left guard. Brooks also said that junior DeMoreo Ford and freshman Kyrus Lanxter would get more playing time in Burton’s absence.

    The team will have a brief walk-through practice on Sunday.

    Bubbling Brooks

    Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks is a happy man. His Wildcat team is in its second straight bowl game and Kentucky fans are excited by more than just basketball in Lexington.

    His coaching career started as an assistant freshman coach while working on his master's degree at Oregon State. After receiving his master's degree, he moved to Sacramento, California where he accepted an assistant coaching job at North at Norte Del Rio High School. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach for the Beavers from 1965-1970.

    Brooks accepted his first head coaching position at Oregon in 1977. At his time at the University of Oregon, he won the Bear Bryant Award as the National Coach of the Year and was chosen the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He also became the first coach in school history to take the Ducks to four bowl games.

    After reviving Oregon's football program, Brooks spent a few years in the National Football League, highlighted by two years as head coach of the rebuilding St. Louis Rams, in which the team went 13-19. After leaving St. Louis, Brooks spent four years on Dan Reeves' staff in Atlanta, and served as interim head coach for the final two games of the 1998 season, in which the Falcons went 14-2.

    After two years away from the game, Brooks was hired as head coach at the University of Kentucky prior to the 2003 season. Brooks inherited a team that was 7-5 in 2002, but was yet to feel the full effect of NCAA probation imposed because of recruiting violations committed by a prior Kentucky coaching staff. In Brooks' first three seasons his squads posted records of 4-8, 2-9 and 3-8 (9-25 overall, 4-20 in Southeastern Conference games).

    Brooks coached the 2006 Kentucky squad to a 7-5 regular season. The Wildcats earned their first bowl bid since 1999, a date with Clemson University in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee where Brooks' Wildcats defeated the Tigers 28-20 for Kentucky's first bowl victory since 1984.

    Brooks is now set to see how his team will do against an FSU football program that is accustomed to playing in bowl games.

    Noles Complete Final Full Practice

    FSU Sports Information Excerpts:

    The weather was sunny in Nashville on Saturday and the Seminole football team was able to practice outdoors at Good Pasture Christian School for the first time this week. Florida State practiced for 16 periods in helmets and shorts as the team went through its final full practice of the season. The team got out to practice almost a half hour early after the Music City Bowl coaches' luncheon finished up ahead of schedule. The luncheon, hosted by ESPN's Ron Franklin, attracted nearly 1,000 people and was attended by both teams.

    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    On yesterday's indoor practice:

    "We got a lot out of it. The big thing now-a-days is assignments, assignments, assignments. That is the one thing you can do inside. The thing you can't do is air the ball out. So it was very important we were able to work on that."

    On the role Preston Parker has played in 2007:

    "It is so much better than what we could have envisioned. It would be hard for us to envision what he has meant to our football team. He is probably our most dangerous player. Then we got a tailback hurt and we move him back there and he got 130 or something like that. He has just been phenomenal. I would never have thought when we signed him. I knew he was a heck of a receiver I didn't know he could run like he does or throw the ball and play running back."

    FSU-Kentucky By The Numbers

    50 - Number of times this season Antone Smith was stopped for zero or negative yards.

    36- Number of FSU players not traveling to the Music City Bowl for various reasons(25 scholarship, 11 walk-ons).

    4- Number of FSU first-time starters who will take their place in the bowl (TE John Frady, RG Evan Bellamy, NT Emmanuel Dunbar, SLB Kendall Smith).

    19- Number of rushing TDs by Kentucky in 2007.

    - Number of rushing TDs by FSU in 2007.

    14- Number of passing TDs by FSU in 2007.

    36- Number of passing TDs by Kentucky in 2007.

    " I don't think you can ruin my legacy."

    "I don't think you can ruin my legacy. I don't even know what my legacy is. What I've done, I've done. You can't take it away from me. I really don't worry about that."
    Bobby Bowden answering questions regarding the academic scandal and his legacy

    FSU It's Time New Year Wishes

    FSU It's Time 2008 New Year Wishes for FSU Football:

    * For Mickey Andrews- The very best and a few defensive stars especially in the secondary.

    * For FSU running backs coach Dexter Carter- A few big backs that can get yardage and find holes.

    * For receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey- A few receivers to complement Prestion Parker.

    * For Bobby Bowden- The wisdom to know that it's time.

    * For offensive line coach Rick Trickett- A few more good lineman in the 2008 recruiting class.

    * For T.K. Wetherell- Resolve to stop making excuses for Bobby Bowden.

    * For FSU football program- A good report from the NCAA.

    * 2008 recruit class- Players who have character.

    * For Geno Hayes- Let your actions speak for you on the field.

    * Xavier Lee- To get his academics in order and be given a fair shot at QB.

    * Jimbo Fisher- Patience...Patience...Patience.

    * Myron Rolle- A breakout year.

    * Patrick Robinson- As many interceptions as in 2007.

    * FSU booster leadership- A mirror.

    * Black uniforms- Deep storage.

    * FSU fans- A lot to cheer about in 2008.

    "... I hate it."

    " If they said 'Yes I did,' then you tell them they can't play, I hate it."
    Bobby Bowden regarding football players who were asked if they received outside "help" in academic fraud case

    Lee To Fagg 70 Yard TD - Play #2 Of The Year

    #2.The Good: With FSU playing Bama at Jacksonville, the Noles were going nowhere until the second quarter when Xavier Lee came in at QB. With FSU leading Bama 14-7, Lee in the fourth quarter completed a 70 yard TD pass to De'Cody Fagg and went on to beat Bama 21-14.

    Kentucky Mascot - The Cat's Meow

    The nickname “Wildcats” became synonymous with UK shortly after a 6-2 football victory at Illinois on Oct. 9, 1909.

    Commandant Philip Carbusier, then head of the military department, told a group of students in a chapel service following the game that the Kentucky football team had “fought like wildcats.”

    The nickname grew in popularity and was adopted by the university. The Wildcat mascot originated during the 1976-77 academic year at UK. Gary Tanner was the original Wildcat, dancing and entertaining thousands of UK fans.

    A few years later, he was joined by another Cat - walking on stilts - who made his appearance during UK's twin tower era of Melvin Turpin and Sam Bowie. Even today, the original mascot is joined by Scratch, who's a more child-friendly mascot and serves as the host of UK's official Kids Club.

    Today, both clothed mascots attend each football and basketball game, several academic functions and generally serve as friendly ambassadors for the University.

    Friday, December 28, 2007

    Cats Continue Practicing For Noles

    Kentucky Sports Information Excerpts:

    Kentucky football team had a two-hour, 10-minute practice Friday afternoon in Nashville as the Wildcats continue to prepare to play Florida State in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl.

    “For the most part they have (responded well in practice),” Coach Rich Brooks said after the workout. “I was pleased with the tempo of practice today. We have to carry that over to the (game) field. We just have to see how that’s going to go.”

    Brooks reported that senior wide receiver Keenan Burton, who is dealing with a knee injury, did not have any swelling in the joint and participated in the first half of Friday’s practice. Brooks said that it is “50-50” if Burton will play on Monday, depending on how the knee reacts to today’s exertion.

    “Keenan is a very important factor you always have to account for,” Brooks said of Burton’s importance to the UK offense. “With him on the field, it opens up everybody else and you can’t concentrate on Jacob Tamme, Steve Johnson, or Dicky Lyons. He’s clearly a guy who’s made big plays during his career and if we don’t have him we’re going to miss those plays.”

    Noles Practice Indoors Due To Weather

    FSU Sports Information Excerpts:

    The Florida State football team was supposed to hold its first Music City Bowl practice in Nashville at the Good Pasture Christian School. That all changed about 6:00 am when weather became a factor and forced the Seminoles to make other arrangements. Luckily the team was able to move indoors thanks to the good people at Gallatin High School. FSU practiced for 18 periods in a basketball gymnasium and an indoor football facility. With just two more practices to go before the Seminoles face-off with Kentucky on Monday, here is what the team had to say before Thursday's practice.

    Head Coach Bobby Bowden

    Opening statement:

    "We are glad to be here. When you come to a bowl there is always some concern about weather. When we left Tallahassee it was 60, 65 degrees, pretty nice weather. When you go away from home you are always afraid you are going to get snow; you're afraid you're going to get ice. I know that folks, I lived up here for a year. I got my master's degree here at old Peabody College. When people ask me now, I say Vanderbilt because that looks better on a resume'. I hope it doesn't get any colder than it is; it's not bad today, I just hope that the rain goes away and we will have good weather for football (on Monday)."

    On the challenges facing Florida State:

    "Our biggest problem is depth as you can imagine. When you go into a season and all of a sudden you have 22 guys, a lot of them played that can't play, depth is the biggest thing. Starting line-ups ain't going to be bad. We are thankful for the bowl taking us. They didn't know what was happening and to be honest, we didn't know either when we accepted this bowl. They have been very good about it. We just hope that we can make a good show of it and give them a great game."

    " We'll be just fine."

    "We'll be just fine. We'll go out and compete like we always have. There are a lot of guys who have opportunities now who haven't had them in the past, and they'll get a chance to show what they got."
    Drew Weatherford regarding suspensions for bowl game

    Answer Is 1352

    For those of you making the trip to Nashville for the game or watching it on television, here are some fun facts about the city of Nashville:

    * Q. What famous Nashville candy is made of chocolate, caramel, marshmallows and peanuts?

    A. Goo Goo's

    * Did you know airmail originated in Nashville?

    John Lillard knew people would pay if he could find a way to move the mail faster. He had the first air mail stamp issued in 1877 for balloon service! Although his dream was deflated, he was happily vindicated when the first practical air mail service departed from Nashville on July 29, 1924 in an airplane.

    * Q. What is Nashville's most famous nickname?

    A. Music City

    * Did you know that Music City was the first to enjoy static-free radio?

    Nashville was granted the first FM license in the U.S. in 1941.

    * Q. According to the Lovin' Spoonful, how many guitar pickers are there in Nashville?

    A. 1352

    * Q. After drinking a cup of locally produced coffee in Nashville, which US president coined the phrase "good to the last drop!"?

    A. President Theodore Roosevelt

    Head to Head Matchup: Quarterback

    Kentucky's offense is led by its highly gifted quarterback Andre Woodson, Woodson's junior season was his break out season with Woodson leading the Wildcats to a 7-5 regular season, and their first bowl win in 22 years, in the Music City Bowl. Not only did he lead his team but also led the SEC in passing yards with 3,515, and became only the second Kentucky quarterback to throw 30or more touchdowns in a single season.

    Last fall, he led the conference in passing yards, touchdown passes, and total offense despite a minus-137 net yards rushing.Woodson’s career interception ratio of one per 54.3 passes is the lowest in SEC history for passers with a minimum of 400 attempts.

    The 6-5 and 230 pound Senior is what makes the Wildcat offense go.In 2007, Woodson had 36 TDs, 10 interceptions, and passed for 3.351 yards. His passing completion percentage was 63%. He was also sacked 35 times. In the last game of the season, Woodson threw for 420 yards and 6 TDs in a disappointing 52-50 loss against Tennessee. Woodson has plenty of talented receivers including tight end Jacob Tamme who has 5 TDs on the season.

    A drop back passer in the NFL mold, Woodson isn’t much of a threat to run, but he possesses the deadliest arm in the SEC. "He's not a running quarterback," Kentucky linebacker Derek Nicholson said. "He'll kill you with his arm. He'll pull it down and run if he has to. He's more of a pro-style quarterback where he'd rather throw it all day than pull it down and run." Woodson has minus-167 yards rushing on the year and Kentucky is 104th nationally in sacks allowed with nearly three per game.

    Woodson is in his third season as Kentucky's starting quarterback. He set an NCAA record by throwing 325 consecutive passes without an interception from the end of the 2006 season into 2007. He is third on Kentucky's all-time passing list behind Jared Lorenzen and Tim Couch. He is 31 yards short of catching Couch for second place.

    Key Stat: In 2007, Woodson led the SEC in passing.

    Drew Weatherford will be the starter for the Noles in the Music City Bowl. Weatherford for 2007 ranked 6th in the ACC in passing offense. Of the top 12 quarterbacks in the ACC, Weatherford ranks 9th in least number of TDs with eight. The one stat in which he has excelled is interceptions having thrown only one for the season. He has completed 58.9 % of his passes and thrown for 1,773 yards.

    It is safe to assume that FSU fans know what to expect from Weatherford. He does not have the ability to scramble and does not throw the long ball. It will be critical that Drew makes the proper reads and is able to complete passes that can keep the ball moving. A lot of three and outs will spell a loss given the depleted defensive unit and the inability to put points on the board.

    Key Stat: FSU ranked #4 in passing offense in ACC for 2007.

    Thursday, December 27, 2007

    Can Noles Snag WVa Offensive Lineman?

    West Virginia has lost a commit due to Rich Rodriquez going to Michigan. West Virginia native and five-star prospect Josh Jenkins has decided to open up his recruitment due to the coaching uncertainty at WVa.

    The offensive lineman says that he is now looking at Ohio State, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Penn State. Scouting reports say that Jenkins is a dominant run blocker. He is very quick off the snap. He has a very solid punch and likes to drive defenders five-to-ten yards off the line of scrimmage.

    ACC Bowl Games Begin On Friday

    Friday ACC Bowls:

    Champs Sports Bowl:
    BC vs. Michigan State

    Boston College (10-3) would like to extend the nation's longest active winning streak in bowl games. The Eagles and Matt Ryan take on Michigan State (7-5) in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.

    Key Stats:

    Boston College is ranked 6th in the nation in passing.

    Michigan State is ranked 23rd in nation in rushing yards.

    Emerald Bowl:
    Maryland vs. Oregon State

    The Maryland Terrapins (6-6) take on the Oregon State Beavers (8-4) in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. Like Oregon State, Maryland (6-6) has won its last three bowl games. The Terrapins have outscored opponents by a 95-17 margin during the win streak, which includes a 24-7 victory over Purdue in the Champs Sports Bowl last Dec. 29.

    Key Stats:

    Maryland ranks #5 in total offense in the ACC for 2007.

    Oregon State ranks #2 in Pac-10 in total defense for 2007.

    Saturday ACC Bowl:

    Meineke Car Care Bowl:Wake Forest vs. UConn

    For the second year in a row, the Demon Deacons (8-4) get to a bowl against UConn (9-3). UConn is in its first postseason game since winning the 2004 Motor City Bowl 39-10 over Toledo.

    Key Stats:

    Wake Forest is ranked #4 in ACC in rushing defense for 2007.

    UConn is ranked #4 in Big East in rushing offense for 2007.

    Miami Sack And Fumble Recovery For TD - Play #3 Of The Year

    #3. The Ugly: With the Noles trailing Miami 30-29, FSU got the ball on the FSU 29 with a minute and thirty seconds left in the game. Xavier Lee was sacked and fumbled the ball and Miami recovered and ran the ball in for a TD. The Canes beat the Noles at home 37-29 in a shocker.

    "...any other head coach in the country... would be out of a job by now."

    " I don't think it's a stretch to say that almost any other head coach in the country, amidst those pair of circumstances, would be out of a job by now. Bowden, on the other hand, just got a raise."
    Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated, regarding the medicore record of the Noles in the last few years and the academic fraud case

    Wildcats Head To Nashville

    Kentucky Sports Information Excerpts:

    The Kentucky football players and coaches traveled to Nashville on Wednesday in order to begin on-site preparations to play Florida State in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl.

    The team will practice Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There will be a walk-through on Sunday and the game will be played on Monday, Dec. 31, at 4 p.m. EST. The game site is LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.

    According to the Wildcats,Kentucky’s numbers won’t be much higher than the Noles. When redshirts and injured players are subtracted, UK will have just 56 scholarship players available for action in the game.

    Head to Head Matchup: Wide Receiver

    Kentucky has a lot of play makers for Wildcat QB Andre Woodson. The Nole secondary will be tested often in the Music City Bowl as the SEC's number one quarterback flings the ball to his gifted receivers.

    6'3" Senior wide receiver Steve Johnson is the leading receiver with 928 yards and 11 TDs. In the last game against Tennessee, Johnson caught six passes for 86 yards and 2 TDs. Johnson has emerged as Andre Woodson’s go-to guy, having caught game-winning TDs vs. Louisville and LSU.

    Close behind Johnson is 6'2" Senior Keenan Burton who has 685 yards and 9 TDs. Kentucky’s Burton has great size and legit timed speed. Scouting reports on him are that he struggles to separate. With every ball he catches it is seemingly contested and he has had his share of drops. Burton may miss his final collegiate game because of a knee injury. He has been battling a sprained ankle since the second game of the season and then incurred the knee strain mid-season vs. Florida.

    Another wide receiver is Junior Dicky Lyons who has 577 yards and 7 TDs. Against Florida, Lyons caught the ball for 124 yards and had 3 TDs. The Wildcats also have their gifted tight end Jacob Tamme. The 6'5" Senior has caught the ball 53 times for 584 yards and 5 TDs.

    The Wildcats have receivers who are tall and have speed which will give the Nole secondary fits. Mickey Andrews will need an excellent game plan to counter the assault by the Wildcat receivers.

    Key Stat: Wildcat wide receiver Steve Johnson is the fourth leading receiver in the SEC for 2007.

    For the Noles. three receivers have done most of the heavy lifting for the Noles this year. Leading the trio is 6'3" Senior wide receiver De' Cody Fagg who has caught 49 balls for 707 yards and 5 TDs. He started out the year slow but in the last four games of the season he has scored a TD in every game with the exception of the Florida game.

    Greg Carr has been a receiver that has baffled Nole fans having gone from 12 TDs in 2006 to having only 3 TDs in 2007. The 6'6" Carr has 696 receiving yards for the year. Carr is averaging over 63 yards a game which ranks him fifth in the ACC for 2007. He has not caught a ball for a TD since the sixth game of the season.

    The third receiver is all everything Preston Parker who has been the offensive player of the year for the Noles. Parker has caught 54 balls for 686 yards and 3 TDs. Parker can make big plays and provide a spark that will be needed in the game.

    Key Stat: The Noles have three receivers ranked in the top 10 of the ACC in yards per game.(Carr, Fagg, and Parker)

    Wednesday, December 26, 2007

    Wake Forest TD Pass - Play #4 Of The Year

    #4. The Ugly: With FSU leading Wake Forest 14-7 at the half, the second half was not so good. With the score tied 14-14 in the fourth, Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner threw a 35 yard touchdown pass down the middle to take the lead 21-14. Wake would beat the Noles for the second year in a row 24-21.

    Tuesday, December 25, 2007

    Head to Head Matchup: Running Back

    The Kentucky running game will be missing one of its key players for the Music City Bowl. Freshman tailback Derrick Locke will miss the bowl due to a fractured rib he sustained in practice. He is the team’s second-leading rusher with 521 yards and leads the team in rushing touchdowns with five. He also has been outstanding in punt and kickoff coverage, making 13 tackles this season. He was named UK’s Most Outstanding First-Year Player by the coaching staff.

    Although Locke is the leading rush leader in TDs, tailback Rafael Little is the leading rusher for the Wildcats with 861 yards and 3 TDs. He is averaging 5.3 yards a carry and his longest TD was for 38 yards. In addition, he was three yards shy of having 300 receiving yards. Little missed games against LSU, Florida, and Mississippi State due to injuries. He is experiencing a dry spell in that he has not scored a TD since September 22 against Arkansas. In the last game of the season against Tennessee, Little rushed for 77 yards.

    With Locke out of the lineup, Junior running back Tony Dixon will pick up the slack. For the season, he has 3 TDs and has rushed for 394 yards. Kentucky's rush offense ranks a respectable number 5 in the SEC but the injury to Locke makes them less of a threat. However, the loss of so many starting players on defense for the Noles in the bowl probably evens that out.

    Key Stat: Rafael Little in 2007 was third leading rusher in SEC.

    For the Noles, FSU did not lose any starters to suspensions. Given the need to score points and move the ball, the Seminoles will more than likely use Preston Parker a lot in the backfield. Parker has provided a much needed spark that unfortunately Antone Smith was unable to do this year. In the Maryland game, Parker was impressive as he rushed for 133 yards and 1 TD. In the last game against the Gators, Parker rushed for 48 yards and also caught the ball for another 55 yards. Although Parker only until recently has been used at running back and has only 269 yards rushing and 2 TDs, he has shown the ability to find holes and move the ball down the field.His ability to also catch the ball will help in play action out of the backfield.

    Antone Smith is the rushing leader for the Noles with 663 yards and 3 TDs on the year. He has not shown the ability to regularly find holes and run between the tackles effectively. Fullback Seddrick Holloway could be a key player on critical third downs. The Noles will need to pick up third downs in order to ground out yards, eat up the clock, and keep the Nole defense and Wildcat offense off the field. The shake up on the offensive line could thwart those efforts however.

    Key Stat: Noles rank #8 in ACC in rushing offense.

    Examining The Impact Of Missing Players: Secondary

    The secondary for the Noles will be missing corner Patrick Robinson who is tied for third in the nation with six interceptions. Not a good thing when you are going up against one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

    Robinson has been replaced with Michael Ray Garvin. On the year, Garvin has one interception which he returned 43 yards for a TD. His major stats have come from kick returns in which he is the leader on the team with 697 return yards. For the year he has recorded 44 tackles.

    The secondary has been an area which has been a question mark all year as teams have been able to burn the Nole secondary. The secondary will have to have an outstanding day if the Noles expect to compete with the Wildcats in the bowl.

    Unofficial Secondary Depth Chart:

    LC: Tony Carter, Jamie Robinson
    RC: Michael Ray Garvin, Korey Mangum
    FS: Roger Williams, Darius McClure
    RV: Myron Rolle, Anthony Houllis

    Merry Christmas !

    Examining The Impact Of Missing Players: Linebackers

    The linebackers for the Noles will be without starting strong side linebacker Dekoda Watson and his backup Marcus Ball. Not a good situation for Mickey Andrews and linebackers coach Chuck Amato. They will definitely earn their salary for this bowl game. With the loss of Watson and Ball, the Noles lose two players who combined for 74 tackles and 4 sacks in 2007.

    To replace Dekoda Watson at strongside, the Noles will use safety Kenny Ingram. His bio does not mention Ingram ever playing linebacker so this will be a new position for the 6'6", 222 lb. Junior.

    The middle linebacker spot will be occupied as usual by Derek Nicholson as well as the weakside linebacker spot with Geno Hayes.

    Unofficial Linebacker Depth Chart:

    SLB: Kenny Ingram
    MLB: Derek Nicholson, Recardo Wright
    WLB: Geno Hayes

    Monday, December 24, 2007

    Happy Holidays To All !

    I want to wish all those who read FSU It's Time, those who have posted comments, and those who have emailed me a Happy Holiday and a very Merry Christmas ! May you, your friends and family have a wonderful holiday and as always, Go Noles!

    Hokie Deep Pass - Play #5 Of The Year

    #5.The Ugly: With FSU leading at Virginia Tech 21-20 in the fourth quarter, Hokie QB Tyrod Taylor threw a deep pass for 45 yards to the FSU 1 yard line. The Hokies would score and take the lead by 28-21 and never look back as they defeated the Noles 40-21.

    FSU It's Time Lump Of Coal Awards

    Lump of coal awards to those in college football that have been bad this year:

    * Nick Saban and University of Alabama for showing us what college football should not be.

    * Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN for his many blunders and his blatant "homer" attitude toward Ohio State.

    * Former FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden for keeping the money.

    * Bobby Petrino of Arkansas who replaced Nick Saban as the biggest liar of the year.

    * The Orange Bowl committee for picking Kansas over Missouri.

    * Steve Spurrier for being Steve Spurrier.

    * The NCAA for its politically correct attitude and arrogance.

    * The FSU tutor and athletes who chose cheating over doing the right thing.

    * Sports talk host Dan Silio (and I use that term lightly) who has to be one of the rudest and dumbest guys around.

    * To all the college coaches that lied to their alumni and fans that they were not looking for another job and then left.

    * FSU linebacker Geno Hayes for promising more than he could deliver in the Florida game. Let your actions speak louder than words Geno.

    * FSU Booster leadership for helping to provide a huge salary increase for Bobby Bowden despite mediocre years.

    Examining The Impact Of Missing Players: Defensive Front Four

    FSU's defense took a major hit and will look a lot different for the bowl game. On the defensive line, FSU will not have the services of defensive tackle Letroy Guion or defensive tackle Budd Thacker. Each of them started eight games this season.

    Nose tackle Paul Griffin and defensive ends Neefy Moffett and Justin Mincy are also staying at home. The defensive front four will be very thin for the bowl game with several walk-ons listed on the depth chart. These missing players had a combined 102 tackles and 5 sacks for the season. Guion with 31 tackles and 1 sack is a huge loss for the defensive line along with Thacker with 23 tackles and Griffin with 24 tackles.

    Everett Brown with 35 tackles and 6 sacks will start at left end for the Noles and will be backed up by walk-on Benjamin Lankin. Injury-plagued Emmanuel Dunbar with only 1 tackle has played in two games and will vie with Kendrick Stewart for the starting nose guard. Defensive tackle Andre Fluellen has 16 tackles and 1 sack. Right end Alex Boston has 20 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks on the year and will be backed up by walk-ons.

    It goes without saying that the Nole offense will be critical in helping to keep the defense off the field due to the reduced numbers. However, FSU has not been able to sustain drives all year long and ranks 9th in the ACC in third down conversions.

    Unofficial Defensive Front Four Depth Chart:

    LE: Everett Brown, walk-on Benjamin Lamkin
    NG: Emanuel Dunbar, Kendrick Stewart
    DT: Andre Fluellen
    RE: Alex Boston, walk-on Lamkin/Garrison Sanborn