January 2, 1999
By BILL KACZOR
Associated Press Writer
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – Florida State defenders say they have been pulling
together since the Seminoles’ only loss after hearing defensive coordinator
Mickey Andrews’ rope story.
Andrews stopped at a hardware store and bought a length of rope as a
prop for his tale about the rescue of a mountain climber.
“He’s holding onto a limb or something and he knows he’s going to fall to
his death, about a 10,000-foot drop to the bottom,” Andrews recalled during a
news conference Friday. “I said, If you were in that situation, look around
this room and see who you would want to have at the other end of that rope.’
“And so they looked around a little bit, looked at each other. You could
see that there were more people in there that trusted the people with them
were afraid they’d turn it loose.”
Linebacker Lamont Green said the story may have been corny but it worked.
The Seminoles did not lose again and ended the season leading the nation in
“It really gets deep into your soul,” Green said. “That kept us together
a lot after the game. You can see a guy down in the street doing something
wrong and you can just look up and say, All right, now you’ve got to hold up
your end of the rope.’ And that’s that. Guys really felt what that meant.”
PARTY POOPERS: Most Florida State players stayed in their hotel on New
Year’s Eve after team captains and coach Bobby Bowden agreed to put the annual
Fiesta Bowl Block Party, featuring a variety of musical groups, off limits.
“There’s people drinking everywhere,” defensive captain Lamont Green
“You never know. You might get a Tennessee fan who just wants to take a shot
at a Florida State guy to get him kicked out of the game.”
The restriction didn’t bother cornerback Mario Edwards, who said he
bed by 10:30 p.m.
“I didn’t come up here, really, to party,” Edwards said. “I came down to
do business. I’ll feel better going home with the national championship than
going home thinking I had a great time for New Year’s.”
NO TAKERS: Ticket brokers are complaining that Fiesta Bowl business has
been slow and they blame an unexpected guest – Florida State.
They had been banking on an undefeated UCLA or Kansas State meeting
top-ranked Tennessee (12-0). Final game losses by those would-be national
champions, however, sent the Seminoles (11-1) to Tempe.
“The problem is that no one expected Florida State to sneak in like
Marty Fettman, spokesman for Ticket Connection in Phoenix, told The Arizona
Republic. “This just isn’t the right matchup, at least for us.”
Some resellers say they already are buying tickets at their $135 face
from speculators. Reed Simon, owner of Team One Tickets and Sports Tours in
Tempe, said wouldn’t even buy at below face value because he didn’t “want to
get stuck with more than 20 tickets come game day.”
Ticketless fans from Florida, where reselling, or scalping, tickets is
illegal, have been unwilling to pay inflated prices.
Simon said Tennessee fans had purchased 476 of the 500 tickets he had
as of Thursday. Only 18 went to Floridians but even more depressing, he said,
is that Arizona residents bought only six.
“There has been absolutely no local interest,” Simon said. “You need two
unbeatens … but neither of them can be from Florida because those schools
the weakest at sending people.”
PEERLESS PRACTICE: Tennessee’s star wide receiver, Peerless Price, likely
will find himself covered by Florida State cornerback Mario Edwards.
“So far they haven’t really said, Mario, you’re on Peerless Price,”‘
Edwards said. “Toward the latter part of practice, coach told me he wanted me
to follow 37 on the practice squad around. Maybe that’s an indication.”
Price wears No. 37.
“He’s a great receiver,” Edwards said. “He can hurt you deep. He can
catch a short pass and turn it into a long pass.”
Edwards, who led the Seminoles with six interceptions and 11 pass
said he has ” matched up against receivers like Peerless Price pretty good
this year. I’ve been pretty successful. It’s just going to be a great battle
between me and that guy.”
PRACTICE WAS PERFECT: Randy Sanders, Tennessee’s new offensive
coordinator, said he saw only the end of his predecessor’s debut as a coach on
New Year’s Eve.
Sanders succeeds David Cutcliffe, who left Tennessee for Mississippi a
ago and coached his first game Thursday night, a 35-18 Independence Bowl
victory over Texas Tech.
“I watching a little Florida State film and (defensive coordinator)
Andrews’ expertise, and lost track of the time,” Sanders said.
He spent the night practicing making play calls, which he will do for
for the first time in Monday night’s Fiesta Bowl against the Seminoles.
Asked how he did, he said: “I made a lot of good calls,” and laughed.
HE’S FAST: The longstanding debate between Tennessee running back Travis
Henry and quarterback Tee Martin over whether Henry has breakaway speed has
apparently been settled in Henry’s favor.
Martin has teased Henry all year about being so slow he had to look for
somebody to run into instead of trying to run away from people.
“I used to call him The Barge,”‘ Martin said. “He moves kind of slow and
just sort of hmmmmmmmmms along.”
But after watching Henry outrun some Vanderbilt players in the season
finale, Martin said he changed his mind.
“Travis is faster than I thought he was,” Martin admitted Friday. “He’s
not that quick, but he covers some ground.”
Martin made it a point to note that Henry is still nowhere as fast as the
Volunteers quarterback, however.
NO HISTORY: Tennessee and Florida State have only played once, a 10-0
Seminoles victory in 1958. Martin said the lack of a history is meaningless.
“It doesn’t have to be a rivalry,” Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin said.
“It’s the national championship. That’s all you have to say. It’s something
out there for us to grab and they’re trying to grab the same thing, and only
one team can win. I don’t care if its Tupelo Mississippi University. This is
for the national championship.”
The Vols and Seminoles do have one thing in common, however. Neither
all fond of Florida.
“For real,” Martin laughed. “I know Steve Spurrier is having a hard time
dealing with the Fiesta Bowl hype.”