Sept. 24, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On more than one occassion on the practice field, Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has been heard bellowing, “you play like you practice.”
Collectively, the 18th-ranked Seminoles (2-1) hope that’s exactly the case when they take the field Saturday at high noon against USF (3-0) in the first meeting between the in-state schools.
The Seminoles will break out their all-white uniforms at home for the first time against the Bulls, in a game many will use as a measuring stick. Coming off an offensively-impressive 54-28 rout of No. 7 Brigham Young on the road, Bobby Bowden’s team wants to prove that it has everything necessary to stay among the nation’s ranked teams, and a win would certainly affirm that notion.
“We’re excited about every game, but coming off a big win like we just did, we have a chance to prove it wasn’t a fluke; that we are the real deal,” said senior tight end Caz Piurowski, who grew up not far from the USF campus. “We had a real good practice (Thursday). We came out and started off real strong. What’s been so good about it is that anytime we started faltering, someone was there to step it up.”
There is ample respect among Seminoles for the USF program, which played into the heightened intensity throughout practice this week.
“We know USF has a good team and we have to be prepared,” freshman defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel said.
“The response this past week has just been incredible,” senior receiver Rod Owens said of the preparation. “The tempo has been there. Everybody’s tuned in and focused. There’s no horseplaying. Everybody’s locked in and grasping everything the coaches have had to say.
“The coaches haven’t really been coaching effort. Everybody’s been on task. … We’re correcting mistakes and doing everything we have to do on Saturday.”
Still, there are skeptics who wonder whether the Seminoles can build on their recent road win and avoid the pratfalls often associated with attempting to follow up a big victory. Owens, however, said he and his teammates combat that by merely focusing on the task at hand.
“We have our own personal challenges,” Owens added. “Everything everybody else is wondering – we really don’t worry about that. It’s about our team. We’re just worried about our process, staying disciplined, keeping our heads up and doing all of the right things so we can have a great season and a win on Saturday.”
While the message on the practice field and in the locker room has been focus, there will be ample opportunities for the fans to be distracted Saturday.
The 1999 national championship team, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, will be honored prior to the game. Captains Peter Warrick, Corey Simon and Todd Frier – who will serve as honorary game captains – will be back along with a host of their teammates.
Then, of course, there’s the White Out promotion. FSU fans are asked to where all-white shirts and caps to the game, or purchase the official game shirts before kickoff of the season’s first complete sellout.
“We are definitely excited to wear the all-white uniforms,” said senior free safety Jamie Robinson. “It’s historic because FSU has never worn white uniforms at home before so it’s going to be fun to be a part of that on Saturday. It should be exciting for the fans and we want to see them in all-white too.”