Sunday Blitz

Thanks to a dramatic rally at home against Georgia Tech two Saturdays ago, FSU finds itself in a good position as September begins to give way to October. With Duke on Saturday, followed by an open date, the 'Noles seem assured of going into the Miami game unbeaten and ranked near the top five. "Right now we are where we want to be. We are executing, the coaches are preparing us well and we are playing as a team -- that's the most powerful thing we got right now," Darnell Dockett said.

Thanks to a dramatic fourth-quarter rally at home against Georgia Tech two Saturdays ago, the Florida State Seminoles find themselves in a good position as September begins to give way to October.

When the real fun starts.

With Duke on Saturday, followed by an open date, the Seminoles (4-0) seem assured of going into the Miami game unbeaten and ranked near the top five.

While FSU took another leap of faith with a dominating 47-7 victory over Colorado Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium, the Seminoles opted not to pound their chests.

Players continue to say this is a different team, one built on cohesiveness and not individual glory.

Even so, the verdict is not yet in.

Not with second-ranked Miami beginning to come into focus on the horizon.

"Right now the biggest thing is we have to make is corrections," nose guard Darnell Dockett said.

"We have to get ready for next week (against Duke), then take that bye week and just get ready for some real football. Right now we are where we want to be. We are executing, the coaches are preparing us well and we are playing as a team -- that's the most powerful thing we got right now."

Dockett's absolutely correct.

It shows, too.

After four games, the Seminoles defense has allowed two touchdowns. Led by sophomore defensive end Kameron Wimbley, the Seminoles recorded six quarterback sacks, forced four fumbles, batted passes, battered runners and had reserve end Chauncey Davis block a punt and return it for a touchdown against the Buffs.

"First of all, I think it starts with the chemistry," Wimbley said of the Seminoles' about-face this season.

"Our guys are together now. I believe we are all on the same page and we put the team first. Maybe in the past individuals were more focused on themselves. I think when we put our faith in everybody, everybody can get out there and contribute."

FSU's offense got into the act as well.

Quarterback Chris Rix, admittedly more comfortable in the shotgun, and clearly more effective in it, had a career day Saturday.

Taking advantage of a Colorado defense that shut down the run but allowed the turnpike-like space for quick air strikes to the edges and underneath, Rix went 30 of 39 for a career-high 394 yards. Receivers Craphonso Thorpe and P.K. Sam needed calculators to add their final tally -- 18 catches for 324 yards and two scores.

At least on Saturday, the no-huddle was a no-brainer.

"For us, we run so much in practice that the no-huddle doesn't even really get us tired," Thorpe admitted.

"Practice is way harder than the game for us. I don't think for a defense you can really practice for the no-huddle, not at the tempo we run it at. I think it's definitely an advantage for us. I think he's a lot more comfortable in the shotgun, period."

Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden also was pleased with the results, saying the Seminoles had no other choice but to throw the football.

"We just felt like it was going to be futile to go in there and try to run the ball and try to establish the run and be hard-headed about it," Bowden said.

"We just made the decision early on in the week that we were just going to throw it before they forced us to stop throwing. We got down on the goal line and dadgum couldn't get the thing in the end zone, and that really irritated me. That's what they were going to give us.

"I think we all felt they were pretty big and stout up front. I just didn't feel like we were able to push those guys out of the way. They gave us some things on the edges and it was good to see Chris take advantage of them and be effective."

Still, the lone negative was the Seminoles' red-zone blues.

FSU had to settle for a career-best four field goals from Xavier Beitia after reaching the red zone four times against Colorado during the game's first 38 minutes. The Seminoles also lost possession on downs at the Buffs 37-yard line.

In those red-zone possessions, FSU completed just two of six passes -- one was ruled a team pass on a Rix spike to stop the clock in the closing second of the second quarter -- for seven yards and rushed four times for zero yards.

"We had a few big plays but we got in the red zone several times and had to kick field goals. Against some other opponents, I don't think that's going to be good enough," Thorpe said.

"We need to go sit down and somewhere along the line, go back and see what we did wrong because we need to be putting the ball in the end zone."

Of course, FSU put the ball in the end zone enough to buffalo the Buffaloes. On a day FSU celebrated the reunion of its first championship team, the Seminoles inched closer to a return to championship form.

And Dockett is one who believes the most important ingredient in that formula in the Seminoles' unity.

"If somebody gives up a touchdown, we don't bicker, we don't yell, let's communicate well. Let's get it back. Let's get out there and play harder the next play," Dockett said.

"I think that's what Colorado was feeling - we didn't let down. We played hard through the fourth quarter and they started giving up on themselves."


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