November 24, 2009 - by
Volume Up

Nov. 24, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State closed out Tuesday night’s 22-period practice inside Doak Campbell Stadium to the steady drone of piped in crowd noise, much like they did a few weeks back in preparation for a trip to Clemson.

The ear-piercing sound over the stadium P.A. won’t do Saturday’s scene at Florida justice when the host Gators try to close out a perfect regular season and carry their No. 1 ranking forward with a win over the Seminoles.

“We turned the noise up as loud as we can get it, because that’s the way it’s going to be there and communication is going to be difficult,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.

Getting acclimated to what will be a raucous environment isn’t the only obstacle standing between the Seminoles and their first win against a top-ranked opponent since knocking off Florida at home in 1996, but it’s a starting point in a week of preparation.

Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher isn’t only concerned about freshman quarterback EJ Manuel comfortably getting in and out of the plays called from the sideline.

“We do that all of the time,” Fisher said. “It’s talking in the huddle and communicating and guys having to pay attention. It’s as much on the listeners as it is on the talkers. The line of scrimmage is not a big deal. That’s stuff you focus on all of the time. It’s just communication in the huddle and all of those things.”

Of course, it’s also being able to execute what is being called – against the nation’s top-rated defense.

Fisher wasn’t overly pleased with the performance in Tuesday’s practice, which he described as, “very average.”

Fortunately, the Seminoles have a few more days to pick things up.

One offensive position group that will play a vital role if the ‘Noles are to find success against the Gators and snap a five-game series losing streak is the play of the tight ends. That group has to both help slow Florida’s pass rush and open some running lanes, as well as contribute as receivers.

Tight ends coach James Coley said his two primary position players – Beau Reliford and Ja’Baris Little – must be at their best.

“They’ve got to bring their A game,” said Coley. “They’ve got to play better than they have all year long. That’s our goal because we know it’s going to take our best to compete on Saturday. It’s going to take our best to be the dominating team we want to be. We’re going to have to work hard all this week to get better and we are getting better.”

As there is every week, a premium will be placed on offensive execution. Controlling the football and the clock could go a long way toward a victory against a Florida team that has struggled at times to produce points offensively. Contributing to that with turnovers creating a short field can be costly, as it was last year.

“You want to execute (and) try not to turn the ball over,” Bowden said. “That’s what causes routs, turning the ball over. Last year we turned in over four times, I think.”


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