Aug. 28, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The 11th-ranked Florida State football team completed its preparation for Saturday’s season opener at North Carolina with a 15-period practice session on the FSU practice fields. The Seminoles play the Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill in a game that will be regionally televised by ABC Sports beginning at 8 p.m.
The Seminoles’ first string offense and defense spent the afternoon practice against the Tar Heels’ scout teams. The offense and defense practiced separately and the two segments did not engage in any 11 on 11 drills. The team practiced in shorts (no pads) with minimal hitting as is customary during the final practice of a week leading up to a game.
“We got it in thank goodness and everything has been done,” said Head Coach Bobby Bowden. “It looks like all three tailbacks (Greg Jones, Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker) will play. I feel sure we will get all of them in the game. I don’t worry about the contact with Greg — I worry about the cutting. He hurt it (against Wake Forest, Nov. 2, 2002) from cutting. He’s been tested contact wise – he has had some pretty good collisions.”
Jones enters the 2003 season with 1,917 career yards and needs only 83 yards to become only the ninth player in school history to rush for 2000 yards in his career. Jones, who led the ACC in rushing with a career-high 938 yards in 2002 despite missing the last four games of the season, is ranked ninth in school history in rushing.
Bowden says he has a good feeling about his team heading into the 2003 season.
“There’s not doubt about it – just because they are older,” said Bowden. “That defensive group – it will be their third year together. That gives you a better feeling. The fact that your quarterback is now a veteran and its looks like they accept him good. I feel much better in that regard.
“I have a much better feeling but the thing I don’t know is what kind of feeling has North Carolina got,” he continued. “They have got everybody back too, and they’ll have a good feeling but I like what I’ve seen so far.”
Bowden also announced senior Jesse Stein as the Seminoles’ starting punter. Though he has not punted for the Seminoles during his career, he handled the kickoff duties for 11 games during the 2001 season. He recorded 15 touchbacks on 65 kickoffs and was the back up to Xavier Beitia on point after touchdown and field goal attempts.
“Stein will punt,” said Bowden. “He and the other kid (Chris Hall) and just like that and you nearly wish both of them could punt. Stein is a senior and the other kids got a couple of years so we are going to let him punt. He has been punting real good but the other guy has too.”