TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With their regular season behind them, the Florida State Seminoles are moving forward. And in more ways than one.
FSU, 6-6 after Saturday’s loss at Florida, has one more game to play – at a bowl to be determined later this week.
The ACC’s bowl picture is complicated enough to cause a headache, but national prognosticators currently have Detroit, Mich., Shreveport, La., and Birmingham, Ala., as likely destinations.
“We’ve still got one more game to go,” FSU defensive end Janarius Robinson said. “Our focus is going back and preparing for our bowl game and winning and coming out on top, 7-6, with a winning season.”
That’s Part 1 of what should be an intriguing December in Tallahassee.
Part 2, of course, is Florida State’s ongoing hunt for a new head coach, a hunt which could be winding down soon. By the time the Seminoles play again, wherever that may be, that new coach will likely be in place.
It ought to make for an exciting time around FSU’s Moore Athletic Center, but the Seminoles on Saturday insisted that they’re trying to keep their focus on what they can control – which is what happens on the field.
“We’re going to go out there and go day for day,” cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. said. “We can’t really look too far in the future because we don’t know what’s going to happen. So, we’re just going to control what we can control and do what we’ve got to do.”
Added quarterback James Blackman: “We don’t think about it at all. We know we’ve got a bowl game coming up.”
But they might think about it in the days ahead. It would only be natural given that the future course of the program – and the future course of FSU’s underclassmen – will be determined by who takes over.
Besides, it’s not as if they can study film on their next opponent yet.
“It’s everything,” tight end Tre’ McKitty said. “It’s my future. Of course you’re going to pay attention to it.”
The Seminoles do, however, have a few things on their to-do list over the next few weeks.
First will be handling their affairs in the classroom. FSU’s fall semester wraps in two weeks, and interim coach Odell Haggins said that he wants the Seminoles to put their best effort toward their remaining assignments and exams.
“The most important thing now is (to) make sure we finish strong in academics,” Haggins said. “Then, once we get to the bowl game, then we’ll talk about that, one thing at a time, to create great habits.”
And that’s the second part of FSU’s priority list.
After Saturday’s game, Haggins several times stressed the importance of building great habits in all aspects of life, with the idea that good habits away from the field would eventually create good habits on it.
He believes that all the ways that FSU stubbed its toe on Saturday night – whether penalties, missed assignments or missed opportunities – can be avoided by setting a foundation of quality habits.
“If you create bad habits, they’re going to come to the surface when times get tough,” linebacker Emmett Rice said.
So, from now until the end of the season, that’s where the Seminoles will be focusing their efforts.
It will start in the books, but it will make its way to the practice fields in time.
Haggins used FSU’s fight against penalty flags as an example.
“We’re going to get to that in practice,” he said. “We’re going to run for it, the gassers that I implemented. Each penalty, we’re going to run for it.
“It goes back to creating great habits. When things get tough, either you’re going to move forward or you’re going to move back.”
And with both a bowl game and a new era on the horizon, the Seminoles plan only on moving forward.