Seminoles trying to keep focus on CSU

Florida State is in a no-win situation Saturday. If the Seminoles beat Charleston Southern 100-0, nobody will be impressed. And if they struggle even one bit, everyone will wonder what's wrong.

The breeze before the storm.

It's a full two weeks of anticipation at Florida State with the Oklahoma game -- the Seminoles' biggest in more than a decade -- looming Sept. 17. All the conversations, all the debate is focused on that game.

But, oh yeah, the Seminoles do play on Saturday. They face Charleston Southern in one of those name-the-score, payday games to pad the schedule. The Buccaneers reinforced belief that they are one of the NCAA's worst teams by getting pasted 62-0 last Saturday by Central Florida. It has led to questions about whether the Seminoles will stay awake in practice this week in preparing for a team they will clearly out-man.

Not so, according to quarterback E.J. Manuel.

"We don't have a choice as far as how we prepare," Manuel said. "We're going to go hard every single day. It should be a light practice, but we're still going to practice extremely hard Monday] and take it seriously. We're not going to take a week off or anything like that."

The Seminoles naturally hope they won't have to work up a sweat against Charleston Southern. Their hope is to get the starters on the sideline early in the second half.

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has preached the common coaching mantras about staying focused, getting better, worrying about what FSU can control and not the opponent's supposed inferiority.

"It's about us," said Fisher. "The layers don't always believe it, [the media] doesn't always believe it and the fans don't always believe it," Fisher said. "Sports is more about you and what you do than the other people. The other people affect it, but you have to control what you can control."

He did like what he saw from the team's opening performance, albeit after struggling through the first quarter on offense.

"As a coach, you're never happy," said Fisher. "You always see things. Hopefully, we'll peak at the right times and do what we've got to do, but I am very pleased for an opening game as far as their maturity, how they approached it, the communication levels. They went out and competed in the game. I was proud of that."


Legendary coach Bobby Bowden created a stir last week when he showed up for the Florida Gators' home opener, not that of the Seminoles. He was in Gainesville to visit with long-time coaching pal Howard Schnellenberger, who announced his retirement from Florida Atlantic after this season. The two will coach on opposite sidelines of a Jan. 21 all-star game. Bowden revealed he has not spoken to Fisher since last January, but the two exchange e-mails. Bowden has not attended an FSU home game since his forced retirement. ...

A win Saturday gives FSU its first 2-0 start since 2008, and another shutout would be the first back-to-back shutouts since 2003. ...

WR Bert Reed is three catches away from tying Greg Carr for fifth place on the all-time receptions list.

SERIES HISTORY: First meeting between the two teams.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Despite the appearance of some erratic throws, Manuel received a high grade from Fisher after film review of the opener. Fisher liked the way Manuel managed the offense, made the proper checks and got the ball to the right player. He said it was only natural for Manuel to have extra nerves in his new role as the mainstay starter. The Seminoles are hopeful they will get the matchups needed to generate an explosive running game this week. They managed fewer than 100 yards rushing against ULM, largely because of the way the Warhawks stacked the line of scrimmage and had the kind of fast athletes on defense to thwart power rushing.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Hard to find anything of concern from the first game. The Seminoles gave up only a couple plays longer than 10 yards and rarely allowed ULM in position to even think about a field goal. This week will be more of the same. But expect FSU to be working behind the scenes on its defensive game plan for Oklahoma. Any new wrinkles or formations the Seminoles are planning for the future won't be shown this week.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "No one ever wants to be disrespected. How do you give respect to somebody? By preparing, giving them your best, your 'A' game. You respect your opponents by preparing your best and playing your best." -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher on preparing for Saturday's game against underdog Charleston Southern.

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