Dec. 28, 2001
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –
The Florida State football team (7-4, 6-2 ACC) concluded its second full practice at Jacksonville University Friday, December 28 in preparation for Tuesday’s Toyota Gator Bowl. The Seminoles spent 18-periods in shells working in skeletons, 11-on-11 and against Virginia Tech scout teams. The 15th-ranked Hokies (8-3, 4-3 BIG EAST) and 24th-ranked Seminoles will meet in a bowl game for the second time in the past three years when they face-off on New Year’s Day at 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally by NBC.
“I thought we had a good practice yesterday and today,” said head coach Bobby Bowden. “Hopefully we can get in another good one tomorrow and avoid injuries. You have to be lucky in terms of injuries and we’ve had our share of bad luck this season.”
One of the key battles in the 2002 Gator Bowl will be FSU’s 32nd-ranked run defense versus highly recruited Virginia Tech freshman tailback Kevin Jones. Jones, filling in for injured starter Lee Suggs, has averaged 165 yards and one touchdown per game over the last three contests against Temple (155 yds 2 TD’s), Virginia (181 yds 1 TD’s) and Miami (160 yds). Sophomore Michael Boulware, FSU’s fourth-leading tackler with 81 total tackles and team-leader with three interceptions, is a key part of a talented group of linebackers that will try to contain Jones.
“He (Boulware) has the same potential his brother had (Peter Boulware of the Baltimore Ravens),” said Bowden. “He loves to play the game, he is intelligent and he is an athlete. You can see how athletic he is by the interceptions he has.”
When the Seminoles are on offense, they will try to use the one-two combination of leading rusher Greg Jones and junior tailback Nick Maddox. The two have combined for over 1,100 yards in 2001 and are averaging 4.96 yards per carry. They will have to face a Virginia Tech run defense that allows just 2.1 yards per carry and currently ranks second in the nation against the run.
“It’s very tough to sustain long drives down the field against their defense because they jump all over you,” said Bowden. “You may get an opportunity to pop something against them but it is very tough to try to stuff the ball down their throats because that defense is very active. They will play to stop the run first and that will be a challenge for us.”
The Seminoles attended an FCA luncheon immediately following today’s practice and have the rest of the day off before returning to practice Saturday morning.
INJURY REPORT – No new injuries were reported after Thursday’s practice. During Friday’s practice, sophomore cornerback Stanford Samuels sustained a sprained right ankle and will be x-rayed later today and freshman cornerback Bryant McFadden injured his right foot and will also be taken in for x-rays later this afternoon.