Sept. 15, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher’s mind, games are won before two teams ever square off on the football field.
Outcomes for big games like the one the No. 5 Seminoles will compete in against No. 1 Oklahoma are decided in the days leading up to Saturday. It’s all about who is the most prepared.
“We have talked about preparing for games and we talked about it last year, and we understood it as a young football team last year that you want to play in these games,” Fisher said this week, “but you have to prepare for them more than you want to play in them.
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
|Follow me on Twitter|
“If you’re prepared to play in them, then you have a chance to have success and that’s what we keep talking about, living in the now.”
Of course the final score of any game is ultimately dictated by how the players perform and how well coaches do their job in those 60 sacred minutes. But Fisher’s point is clear; if you want to win you have to prepare.
That same logic extends to the the fans in stands.
While the FSU players and coaches have been doing the necessary homework this week to be fully ready for the many challenges that the Sooners present, it’s on the Florida State faithful to be prepared as well. Above all else, that means understanding when it’s appropriate to be loud and when it’s appropriate to tone it down on Saturday night.
There’s a protocol for that sort of thing — especially against Oklahoma.
When the Sooners have the football, get crazy loud. Scream until it hurts (no pain, no gain … right?). If they get into the redzone, dig deep and turn the decibels up another notch if you can.
Because of the no-huddle, hurry-up offense that Oklahoma utilizes, communication at the line of scrimmage between quarterback Landry Jones and his offensive mates is critical. If the OU wide receivers and running backs can’t hear the calls, they aren’t going to know the play. If they don’t know the play or are second-guessing the play-call that they might not have heard, the FSU defense automatically has an advantage before the ball is even snapped.
“It’s a big factor,” FSU offensive coordinator James Coley said. “When that crowd can affect the other team on offense and their communication and just for one second [that can] have someone blow an assignment. If someone blows an assignment, it hurts the entire play. Defensively, you can make it up. You’re counter-punchers on defense. But on offense, if one guy blows his assignment it can cause total chaos. Bad things happen to an offense and I think the fans create that.
“If they come here and they get loud and it’s tough to hear and for one second some of [Oklahoma’s] young guys are thinking of other things while 83,000 [fans] are going berserk than it plays to our advantage.”
On the flip side, it’s equally important to level off the sound from the stands when the Seminoles are on offense. The idea that crowd noise could factor into the success rate of a no-huddle offense like OU’s remains true for a huddle-up oriented offense like that of the Seminoles.
When EJ Manuel steps to the line and has to call an audible once he reads the Oklahoma defense, it’s critical that his receivers, linemen and running backs are able to hear the new play in their own stadium.
“Please keep it quiet when we are on offense,” Coley said. “Yeah, that’ll help.”
Managing the sound levels is one of the most important jobs for FSU fans this weekend — and in every game for that matter. Oklahoma is bringing a lot of support and will surely make its presence felt when the ball gets kicked off at 8 p.m. and it’s up to each of you to play your very important role for FSU.
Speaking of that late-night kickoff, after a day of fun in the sun around campus, be sure to enter Doak Campbell Stadium as early as possible. Gates open at 6 p.m. and it’s important to start packing the stands soon thereafter. Both teams use the time before kickoff to warm up and get acclimated with the field and a steadily-filling stadium is great for team morale (Seminoles) and to show the opponent (Sooners) that you, the fans, have got the home-team’s back no matter when the clock starts.
Pre-game practice begins at 7:12 p.m. so make sure you are at least in the stands by then.
“Anytime you’re at home – the atmosphere, noise factor, that’s huge on the road for a team to have to deal with,” Fisher said. “The environment here is one of the best. Last year when we played Florida, an atmosphere like that was good and I think it affected the other team and its things you need to do to help our team. I think that’s a part of being able to play in your own stadium and have success.”
Florida State enters this highly anticipated game against Oklahoma with an all-time record of 257-84-4 inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
Make sure you’re prepared to help the Seminoles reach win No. 258 Saturday night.