December 28, 2004 - by

Dec. 28, 2004

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The No. 15 Florida State Seminoles (8-3) held their final full pad practice for the 2005 Gator Bowl at Jacksonville University with 18 periods Tuesday morning as they continued to prepare for their New Year’s Day match-up with West Virginia (8-3). The Seminoles have just two practices remaining before wrapping up preparations for the New Year’s Day game. Senior offensive tackle Ray Willis was at practice Tuesday as he was the final player to arrive in Jacksonville after getting stuck in North Carolina due to winter weather. Defensive end D.J. Norris, who suffered a seizure Sunday, was released from the hospital Monday afternoon but did not return to practice. Highlights of Tuesday’s session included a 15-yard run by tailback Leon Washington and a 20-yard hook-up between quarterback Chris Rix and Lorenzo Booker. The practice concluded with two periods of 11-on-11 and some conditioning.

Following today’s workout, the team was treated to lunch at Outback Steakhouse. Wednesday will be a full day for the team. The Seminoles not only have a full practice scheduled for the morning but will then take part in the “Celebrate Youth” Fellowship Luncheon organized by NFL player and former Jacksonville Jaguar Tony Boselli. Twelve of the Florida State’s seniors will also visit Jacksonville’s Wolfson Children’s Hospital Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. Wolfson Children’s Hospital is one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals. Founded in 1955, Wolfson Children’s Hospital is a 180-bed regional referral hospital serving children and is the only children’s hospital in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.


Head Coach Bobby Bowden

“The facilities here have been very good. This is about as good a facility that we’ve worked out anywhere we’ve been. It’s secluded. The grass is excellent and we’ve got plenty of space.”

“We’re going in full pads again today. Normally we’d go in shells but we felt like we needed one more day in full pads. We’ve just got a couple of drills that we have to do some hitting in. We’ll have to just keep our fingers crossed. There are things that we’re concerned about and I know they are too. Don’t scrimmage one play too much. That’s all it takes to get a couple of good guys shot down. We have to take a little risk.”

“I’ve always felt like the defense would win most battles, if you are a real superior defensive team. But that is not always true. The thing that can disrupt it is the big plays.
One thing a team that rushes that much for can do, and the Pittsburgh Steelers right now are a pretty good example of that, they run the ball so good that when they throw it, it’s very effective. So a team that runs like they do, can run, run, run then fake it and might hit a bomb on you and get their touchdown that way.”

“Some teams physically can play better against a spread team and some teams can’t play as good against a spread team. Then there are some defenses that play better against a regular offense and then there are some that can’t. We think we can play pretty good against each one, any one of them they do.”

(on decision to start Rix)

“He performed better the last game. He’s been more effective. It’s funny, it’s amazing, he’s come in off the bench against Maryland and nearly pulled us out. He’s come in against Florida and nearly pulled us out. It’s what have you done for me lately and lately, he did more.”

(on pulse of the team)

“We’ve got a plan that we’ve practiced, we’ve probably used the last 15 years or more. We just stick with that plan, but you’ve got to allow the boys freedom. The worst thing you can do, to me, is go to a bowl game and then put them in jail, where they can’t do nothing and can’t go anywhere because we have to win this game.”

Senior Offensive Tackle Ray Willis

(on his delayed arrival to Jacksonville)

“I got in last night between 7:00 and 8:00. I got snowed in there was about six inches of snow and it took a day for them to clear the roads. I was visiting my in-laws in North Carolina and got stuck and ended up driving back.

(on his injury status)

“I am going out there today and planning on going full speed. I am going to try and go out there and see who I feel. I am going to give it a go. Hopefully the ankle will hold up and I will be out there Saturday. I need to try go 100% today because this is the day.”

(on playing in the Gator Bowl)

“A win is a win and we want to go out on a win. We don’t want to end our season with a loss. That is my motivation. We want to get a win and I am using that to motivate myself this week. Showing the NFL people what I can do is not the priority. I have done that for four years. This is about just going out there and trying to get a win.”

Senior Defensive End Eric Moore

(on his injury status)

“I’m not really as healthy as I’d like to be. I am still aching but hopefully I will be at 85%. I just need to keep getting treatment. I am resting my foot and when I was home I was icing it and keeping it elevated. It felt a little better until I started practicing again and aggravated it.”

(on his post Gator Bowl plans)

“I am looking at this game as an opportunity to keep improving my game and give the scouts more to look at and also as an opportunity to end my career with a victory. After this I will play in the Hula Bowl and hopefully if things work out I will be in the Senior Bowl too. Me, Jerome Carter and Ray Willis will all be in Hawaii for the Hula Bowl.”

(on the West Virginia offense)

“They are good. The offensive line is technically sound. They put their hats on the right man. We are just going to play our defense and try to contain Rasheed Marshall the best we can.”

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