Dec. 13, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
The ninth-ranked FSU football team continued preparations Saturday for its New Year’s Day rematch with Miami in the FedEx Orange Bowl. The team worked 18 periods in shells as head coach Bobby Bowden tried to ease the group back into the flow after a layoff for final exams.
“We had a good practice today. We got into some contact work, some one-on-one and got the boards out,” said Bowden. “We got in some good physical work.
“Since we’ve been off awhile we’ll probably have to get in to some (hitting). We want to try and limit it as much as we can to avoid injuries but there will have to be some hitting as we lead up to the game.”
The defense was probably the more dominant group today as they limited the offense’s production in one-on-one, pass skeleton and 11-on-11. Despite their show of force, the offense still managed to connect on some big plays.
Quarterback Fabian Walker found receiver Dominic Robinson down the sideline for a big play. The wideout used a double move to free himself from coverage before hauling in the over-the-shoulder catch. Starter Chris Rix also hit on a big completion when he and Chris Davis combined for a 40-yard touchdown in the corner of the endzone. That was the first of two big connections for Rix and Davis.
The Seminoles spent some time working against Miami but coach Bowden pointed out that it is a little easier to prepare for a team that you have already played during the season compared to someone you have never played before. This is just the third time in Bowden’s tenure that his Seminole team has faced a rematch in a bowl game and the first time ever that the game isn’t against Florida.
“In a rematch, you are way ahead of the game as far as game plans go,” said Bowden. “You still have those same notes you had on them the last time. You still have the same plan you had that you can refer to. We found out what not to do and what to do but the same goes for them. If we were playing somebody we never played before, there would be a whole lot of film to break down. Now we just have the last five or six games to break down instead of 11 or 12.”
Florida State is 20-27 all time in the series with the Hurricanes and the intra-state rivalry has been one of the best in all college football over the last two decades. Considering the rivalry and the result in the first meeting, FSU players are understandably excited for the January 1 game.
“It isn’t that often that you get a another chance at a team that beat you earlier in the season, especially in the bowl game” said south Florida native Bryant McFadden. “Heading into bowl preparations I thought we were going out west. When we heard we were going to the Orange Bowl it was a shock and when we heard we were going to play Miami it was even more shocking. We are amped up because we get a chanced to redeem what happened earlier in the year.”