Nov. 5, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Looking to remain undefeated in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the third-ranked Florida State University football team practiced for 20 periods on Wednesday (November 5). The Seminoles (8-1 overall, 6-0 ACC) play their last conference road game of the season on Saturday when they travel to Clemson for a 7:45 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2.
Wednesday’s practice was conducted in shells (helmet, shoulder pads and shorts). The first portion of the workout covered individual position drills before the FSU offense and defense went up against the respective Tiger scout teams. The last four periods featured an 8-on-8 passing scrimmage and a full-team redzone drill.
“I expect a real tough football game,” Seminole grid boss Bobby Bowden said. “It’s great motivation for them if they can beat us. It’s a case where both of us need to win it for different reasons.”
During the 8-on-8 passing scrimmage, all three Florida State quarterbacks completed a plethora of passes, led by junior Chris Rix (Santa Margarita, Calif.). Ranked 18th in the country with his 2,378 passing yards, Rix was 5-for-8 during the drill. Junior Fabian Walker (Americus, Ga.) went 2-for-4 and freshman Wyatt Sexton (Tallahassee, Fla.) was 3-of-3.
When the full squads went through the redzone scrimmage, both Rix and Walker were effective once again, but this time the defense had some highlights of its own. The number one offense got across the goal line when Rix hooked up with Willie Reid (Kathleen, Ga.) for a touchdown pass. Walker answered with a scoring strike of his own when he connected with senior Joey Kaleikini (Niceville, Fla.)
The defense stepped into the spotlight for the first time when free safety Pat Watkins (Tallahassee, Fla.) went up for an interception against Rix. Florida State’s all-time leader in tackles for a loss, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (Burtonsville, Md.) recorded a sack for the first-team defense.
“We have come together well. Last week was good test for us for playing on the road and we played real well. That’s encouraging,” Bowden added. “I don’t think I could ask anymore and that being the case the thing we need to not do is have a let down.”
The Seminoles have a chance to clinch the ACC title outright with a victory on Saturday. A league crown would be the 11th in 12 years for Florida State and the second in a row. The Seminoles are ranked third by the Associated Press, USA Today/ESPN coach’s poll and the Bowl Championship Series.
Since joining the league in 1992, Florida State has a perfect 11-0 record against Clemson with a 14-2 mark overall. The Seminoles are undefeated at the Tigers’ Memorial Stadium and are averaging 32.7 points per game in Clemson’s own backyard. Florida State has not lost a contest to the Tigers since the 1989 season when CU prevailed 34-23 in Tallahassee.