Simmons Ready to Live the Dream

"I think all the guys have marked this day on their calander as a 'money game'. This is one of those games where a lot of people are going to be looking at us and that gives us a great opportunity to prove that all the hype about how explosive this offense was going to be this preseason wasn't a fluke," said Simmons.

Are you getting excited for the game on Thursday?
Simmons: We've been in game situations like this before. The Georgia game really helped us out alot as far as a hostile environment and being on national television. We've really been in this type of situtation before. We'll all be fired up, me included.

How many trips did you make over to see Florida State as a kid?
Simmons: Not really too many as a kid. I watched them a lot on televison. I didn't really know many guys over there until high school, and then I started going to more games once I started being recruited.

Talk about playing Florida State in Tallahassee.
Simmons: I played there a couple of years ago. This week will obviously be different because the last game I went out there and it was already a blowout. It will kind of be a like a home game for me because I'll have so many people there from home.

Talk about the importance of scoring early and establishing the offense.
Simmons: We just want to go out and execute as an offense. We feel like we haven't had that break-out game yet. We look at this as the perfect opportunity to do it. We also realize that this is a 60-minute game, it won't be won or lost in the first few minutes. If we happen to start out slow, we just need to stay focused and know that good things are going to happen for us. Of course we want to come out focused, come out strong, but if they throw a wrinkle at us early we just have to adjust and play on.

Does the fact that FSU plays more man coverage a good thing or a bad thing?
Simmons: Whenever you pressure people like they do you open yourself up to big plays. They make you execute as a offense. You have to make the throws, you have to make the catches, and you have to make the runs. That's what we've been trying to do all week in practice and hopefully that's what we'll be able to do Thursday night.

Is this game a bigger game than some of the other ones?
Simmons: I think all the guys have marked this day on their calander as a 'money game'. This is one of those games where a lot of people are going to be looking at us and that gives us a great opportunity to prove that all the hype about how explosive this offense was going to be this preseason wasn't a fluke. We will take it upon ourselve to prove somethings to everybody. We are taking it upong ourselves to go out imp

Are you worried about the weather?
Simmons: Of course we want good weather- that gives us the chance to really open up everything. Given that we have played in bad weather, I think we probably won't be worried about it, but if rains hard like last week, that gives us an advantage because we've won it already and they've lost.

Talk about the importance of getting Bernard and Chad Jasmin back.
Simmons: It means a great deal. We'll have a little more balance running the ball. Yusef has done a great job-he's gotten close to a 100-yards everygame. Given that Bernard and Chad back it just gives more power in the running game. Having gone out and played in big games before it just gives us a better chance to win. Those are two guys that have been there a for a while and played in big games before. They just give us a better chance to win.

Is it the Tigers turn to finally beat FSU?
Simmons: I think so. We've prepared for it. We've worked hard all season, all offseason, spring ball, summer and two-a-days. This is what we've worked for to finally get the opportunity to make that big jump. We've beaten every other team in the conference besides Florida State. We've seen some other teams cross that barrier, but we feel like it's our time. They are a still a dominant team, but we feel like this is our best team in four years to go down there and pulling off the upset.

How did you feel about Louisville beating Florida State last week?
Simmons: I was rooting for FSU, just being from down there and knowning a lot of the guys I wanted them to win. Anytime an ACC school is playing an out of conference team you root for the ACC school. I really don't think it means too much for us as far them losing last week though. It doesn't take much for them to get fired up and we won't need anything to motivate us either. This is one of those games where when you see each other on the other side of the field, and emotions are going to flare.

Does FSU play more man coverage than anyone else you've faced to this point?
Simmons: Probably so, just from film we've seen, they like to get up in your face and beat you up at the line. I don't know if they'll be so quick to give up their philosophy against us. I don't think they are worried about us making big plays which would force them into zone. That's what they've been doing for 100-years it seems like, and they've been successful. Hopefully we can capatilize and make some big plays, and really that's up to us. It's not going to be so much them making mistakes We need to do all the little things to win, jump and catch the ball at it's highest point, or make a throw in tight coverage to make the big play.

How long have you been dreaming about this moment of playing at Florida State?
Simmons: Really since I was starting to get recruited in high school. I dreamed about one day playing at Florida State or against them at some point in my career. The moment I signed with an ACC school I thought about it- going down there and beating them.

How difficult has been having to focus on the short passing game with so many teams playing zone coverage?
Simmons: It would have been tough had it not been for the Georgia game. We took some chances downfield we just didn't capatilize on them. As a quarterback I need to take the short passes and live to see another down. But when you look at this team on film and realize that you will have the opportunity to go downfield, you start salivating and realizing that this might be the week where things start to open up.

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