Sept. 23, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Bobby Bowden described Wednesday’s football practice as “frisky.”
Hopefully that’s a good sign that his 18th-ranked Florida State football team will be ready for Saturday’s 12 noon kickoff against USF.
The Seminoles moved briskly through a 20-period practice session in shells – shoulder pads and helmets – on the first official day of fall. If there was any left-over lethargy following Saturday’s win at No. 7 BYU, it wasn’t easily discernible.
“We worked them hard,” said Bowden. “That’s the biggest thing.”
There is an ample amount of respect from Jim Leavitt’s untested, but unbeaten (3-0) Bulls. There is too much at stake against USF, but more importantly, much to gain from another strong performance on the heels of the BYU road rout.
“I don’t think there will be an underestimation,” Bowden said. “I’m not as concerned about them as I am us. We just want our kids to set a level of play and go that way every Saturday, no matter who we face.”
Consistency of performance – something missing from the FSU program in recent seasons – is the next step in the Seminoles’ progression. Not since the start of the 2005 season has one of Bowden’s teams strung together a five-game winning streak. A victory over USF would be Florida State’s third in a row; the kind of momentum it is looking for heading into a stretch of seven consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference games.
“Our coaches drove them pretty good (Tuesday) and they responded,” Bowden added. “Sometimes you have to prod them early and they get the message.”
Last week’s game left the Seminoles battle-worn, and they won’t likely be at full strength by the time the Bulls roll into town for a game that has a load of distractions on the periphery. Starting defensive tackle Moses McCray (elbow) has yet to practice this week, while quarterback Christian Ponder continues to feel the effects of his 11-carry rushing performance against the Cougars.
Neverthless, the first sellout of the season, on a day when the 1999 National Championship team will be honored and FSU fans will be dressed in White Out attire, should provide the kind of atmosphere conducive to sustaining momentum.