"I think we're feeling good actually," said freshman tight end Austin Holt. "Monday after practice we hit the film room. Coach Mendenhall and the rest of the coaching staff took a sledgehammer to us. But you know what? We've learned from that and we're done with it and ready to move on towards Florida State. Since then, we've had really good practices."
"It's good that a loss like that happened early," said J.J. Di Luigi. "That way we can make the changes we need to make and progress. I think we learned some things from that game and now we're working on those things. We're now ready to move on."
"I think as a team it was a great lesson for us," added quarterback Jake Heaps. "We have to scratch and claw our way through the game, and we just have to execute and that's the biggest thing. We were really close to jumping up on Air Force. [After] the fumble and the two other turnovers after that, it just kind of spiraled down from there. If we take care of business it's tough for other teams to stop us. I think the great thing is we looked backed at it and we stopped ourselves. No one did anything special that we couldn't handle, so I think that is a positive for us that it's in our own hands and in our own destiny."
Although a true freshman, Heaps is mature beyond his years and doesn't feel the pressure of playing a team like Florida State on the road.
"No, if you've prepared yourself well through practice, then there is no need for pressure," said Heaps. "You just have to take advantage of the opportunities that you have, and go out here and make it count in practice. If you don't make it happen in practice, then yeah, you're going to start feeling some pressure. Hopefully that doesn't happen."
Following Tuesday's practice, the Cougars came off the field looking as though they had been put through the wringer. Out of breath and barely able to speak, both Holt and freshman wide receiver Cody Hoffman expressed how excited they were for this Saturday.
"We're still mad about the Air Force Game," Hoffman said. "Florida State came here last year and beat us here, so we're looking to get this taste out of our mouths by going to Florida State and returning the favor. I'm excited and I really can't wait."
"I'm excited about Florida State and it's going to be a good game," said Holt. "They lost a game last week and so did we, so I think we're both going to be hungry and ready to fight for a win. We're going into their house, so it's going to be a good game I think."
Di Luigi also believes this weekend's game is going to be a hard-fought one.
"We're both coming off a loss," he said. "We're both going to come out firing off hard to get that win and try and regroup our team. It's going to be a battle."
Although a freshman, Hoffman will actually see more reps against Florida State. He's progressed enough to win a vote of confidence from his coaches and earn a starting spot this Saturday.
"We're just trying to get all the best weapons on the field at the same time," said Hoffman. "I've been waiting for this since I got here. Being the starting receiver out there, it feels good. It's going to be fun being able to start against Florida State. They're a good team and they have a good defense with a lot of speed. We just have to come out and work around that."
Di Luigi was complimentary of the Seminole front seven.
"Florida State's defense is really good and they're big, athletic guys with great feet," said Di Luigi. "They're a physical team and run a lot of zone, while at the same time they have the ability to man you up. It really depends on how they want to play us. They can do both. The linebackers are big and fast and they're a good solid defense. It's going to be a good contest."
The Seminoles may be big up front, but according to Hoffman, the Florida State secondary fits a different mold.
"Florida State aren't really the big hitters," Hoffman said. "They're the smaller, faster-type guys that you have to worry about. They're really talented and athletic, and so we'll need to be on top of our game to match their athleticism. I'm ready and I can't wait."
"I really respect Coach [Jimbo] Fisher, but they're not unbeatable," Heaps said. "They're not necessarily anything we're going to back down from, so I'm really excited for this week and I'm excited to see how our group handles things and how we come back and battle for this next game."