January 3, 2000 - by
Notes And Audio From Saturday At The Sugar Bowl

Jan. 3, 2000









FLORIDA STATE:

  • Mark Richt

  • Travis Minor

  • Peter Warrick

  • Chris Weinke

  • Jason Whitaker


    VIRGINIA TECH:

  • Bud Foster

  • Cory Bird

  • Jamel Smith

  • Nick Sorensen

  • Ben Taylor

  • ?


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    QUOTE OF THE DAY:


    “Lay me down and put a blanket on me.” — FSU flanker Peter Warrick on the best way to cover him.


    NOTEBOOK:


  • FSU flanker Peter Warrick was limited to one catch last year in the Fiesta Bowl, but offensive coordinator Mark Richt promises that the Seminoles will do everything possible to avoid a repeat performance.


    “There are a lot of things that are designed specifically for him,” said Richt.


    “If we have to put him at quarterback to get him the ball, if we have to hand him the ball, if we have to have a throw it directly to him, we’ll do that. But I’m hoping as the game progresses, he’ll get his number of touches in the natural way instead of having to fabricate it.”


    However, Warrick doesn’t worry about the stats he’ll put up on Tuesday.


    “On January 4, I’m going to play my heart out,” said Warrick. “I can have one catch for three yards, as long as we win.”


    Maybe one reason why Warrick isn’t worried about his receiving stats is because he has already had a premonition about making a game-breaking play.


    “I lay down every night and think about what I’m going to do,” said Warrick. “The other night, I had a dream that I ran a punt back (for a touchdown). I told Ron (Dugans) and he said, ‘So? I had a dream I caught a touchdown pass.’ So he’s a competitor, too. Hopefully, those dreams will come true.”

    Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster is the man with the unenviable task of stopping Warrick.

    “Ideally, we’d like to eliminate him from catching the football,” said Foster.

    Since that’s easier said than done, Foster at least wants to limit Warrick’s yards after the catch.

    “We have to do a great job in our open-field tackling and our pursuit to the football,” said Foster.

    That applies not only to Warrick but for all of FSU’s wideouts.


    “Their receiving corps, collectively, in our opinion is probably the best in the country,” said Foster. “I know when (Warrick) sat out those couple of games, they didn’t miss a beat. They’re a team that over the years has spread the ball out and gotten into a lot of three- and four-wide, so they’re always going to have great receivers.”


  • FSU placekicker Sebastian Janikowski has already announced that he will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. Quarterback Chris Weinke is still undecided about whether he will return for his senior season.


    “If we don’t win on Tuesday night, that’s one reason (to stay),” said Weinke. “You always want to be part of a national championship team, and I think if you don’t win that game, you always feel like there’s an opportunity next year to try to win it.


    “And just the fact of being a senior on a football team, being a captain of a football team — there’s something special about that. (Also) the opportunity to play another year at Florida State, with the track record and success they’ve had. It would be an opportunity to carry on the dynasty we’re in the middle of now.”


    Weinke said that his age would not be a major factor in his decision.


    “There’s a difference between a 20-year-old and a 28-year-old, but between a 27- and a 28-year-old, there’s not a whole lot of difference,” said Weinke.


    But if the Seminoles win the Sugar Bowl and become the first team since Southern Cal in 1972 to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the AP college football poll, Weinke’s choice could become clearer.


    “Winning Tuesday makes the decision easier, going out 12-0 and a national champion,” said Weinke. “But I can also say it’s not the only thing that’s going to make my decision.”


  • Richt said he will support Weinke in whatever decision he makes, but would love to have him back.


    “He’s really been fun to coach, I’ll tell you that — other than the NC State game last year,” joked Richt.


    Weinke made a believer out of Richt, who initially wasn’t sure he wanted the former minor league baseball player.


    “I even encouraged him to go to another place when he first came back because he was about to mess up a recruiting situation for me, and I didn’t want him to come in for a semester and decide, ‘I don’t want to be around these kids’ and leave on me,” said Richt. “But he came, he was very serious, very committed and has done an awful lot for us.”


    So would Richt take another 27-year-old quarterback?


    “Well, I would take a 28-year-old quarterback if he wants to come back next year,” said Richt.


  • The calendar will say that the Sugar Bowl is being played in 2000, but statistically speaking, the game will count toward the teams’ won-loss records in the 1990s since it is the final game of the 1999 season.


    With a record of 108-13-1 in the 1990s, Florida State already has a solid case to claim that it is the “Team of the Decade.” But the Seminoles could end the debate by notching their first perfect season. Anything less than perfection will be a disappointment for the ‘Noles.


    “From day one, our goal is to win a national championship,” said tailback Travis Minor, who was in second grade the last time FSU finished lower than fourth in the final AP poll. “I wouldn’t say (the season) is a bust (if FSU loses), but there would be a lot of disappointed people because everybody knows what we’re capable of.”


    “Getting here was nice at first,” said offensive lineman Jason Whitaker. “We no longer care about getting here. It’s all about winning.”


  • FSU has been dominant over the past 12 seasons, while Virginia Tech is a program on the rise. That fact has not escaped the Hokies, who view the Sugar Bowl as an opportunity to gain respect.


    “We’re country boys from the southwest hills of Virginia, going against the ‘Team of the ’90s,'” said Virginia Tech linebacker Jamel Smith.


    Smith said the Hokies are motivated by what they perceive as a lack of respect from the media and opponents.


    “The funny thing was on Monday when we got here, we had lots of police escorts, so we weren’t stuck in traffic,” said Smith. “On Tuesday when Florida State got here, all of our police escorts left. They didn’t want to escort us anymore. They wanted to escort Florida State.”


    Smith said he is used to this sort of thing.


    “We’ve been disrespect all season long,” said Smith. “They said we couldn’t win the Syracuse game. They said would couldn’t win the Miami game… It looks like we just responded to the challenge. Do I think we’re getting disrespected in this game? Yes, I do.”


  • There’s certainly a wide array of bizarre sights and sounds in New Orleans, but one of the strangest occurrences this week was Corey Moore’s temper tantrum on Virginia Tech’s Media Day. The All-America defensive end cursed the assembled reporters and stormed out of his interview session.


    Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said Moore wanted to apologize for his actions. However, Moore was a no-show at Saturday’s press conference, where he was supposed to be among five Hokies in attendance.


    Hokie teammate Cory Bird was much more comfortable with the press conference process.


    “All you’re doing is answering questions,” said Bird. “It’s not like ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ That’s nerve-racking, right there.”


    Moore’s behavior didn’t surprise Virginia Tech free safety Nick Sorensen.


    “That’s Corey,” said Sorensen. “He says what he thinks.”


    However, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator said the outburst was out of character for Moore.


    “That’s not the way Corey is,” said Foster. “He’s a great young man and I’m as proud of him as a person as much as a football player. I don’t know what the deal was (with Saturday’s no-show).”

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