Countdown To Kickoff

<b>Florida State </b> will have the entire summer to prepare for Miami next year when the two teams open the season on Labor Day Monday (Sept. 6). At the moment, FSU coach <b>Bobby Bowden </b> is thankful the fifth-ranked Seminoles (5-0) had an extra week of preparation for Saturday's showdown against the second-ranked Hurricanes (5-0) at Doak Campbell Stadium. Kickoff is noon and the game will be televised nationally by ABC.

FSU was off last Saturday after winning at Duke Sept. 27, while UM is coming off a dramatic win over West Virginia last Thursday. Bowden said he's not worried about losing momentum from the Seminoles' start.

"I would think if you have a lot of rhythm going and everything is going real well, that it might disturb the rhythm some. I think that would be more likely if you have two weeks off in a row," Bowden said following Wednesday's practice.

"That could get you to lose a lot of stuff. I think it probably helped us in regards to getting some injured boys another week of rest, and be able to study what they (Hurricanes) are doing another week. That just about wraps it up. Tomorrow (Thursday) will be our final workout to be all polished. Make sure we know what we are doing, know how our assignments."

Bowden repeated he doesn't expect the Hurricanes to tweak their offense despite losing leading rusher Frank Gore to a knee injury. Fifth-year senior Jarrett Payton will make his first career start. Jason Geathers has moved from receiver to running back to help with depth.

"They present quite a few problems with their offense," Bowden said. "I don't expect them to change their offense because of losing their tailback. I don't expect them to change it at all. I don't think they have to because of their depth."


Bowden said a key to the game will be FSU's ability to handle tight end Kellen Winslow, who enters as UM's most prolific receiver this season: 242 yards and a touchdown on 25 catches. And that, for the most part, was while being double-teamed. The Seminoles expect to defend Winslow with linebacker with linebacker Michael Boulware.

"He affects it (game) as much as any individual out on the field probably," said Bowden, who earlier in the week said Winslow was likely the top player in America.

"There's probably more attention played to where he is, what formation he's in. They put him everywhere. Wideout, Tight end. Throw back. Flanker. So, we have to know where he is because he's a catcher."


Bowden applauded the effort of WR Dominic Robinson, the team's fifth leading receiver (six catches for 113 yards).

"I congratulated Dominic Robinson in front of the whole team -- I don't think he missed a pass all week," Bowden said.

"He just caught the heck out of the ball. I challenged them (receivers) early in the week about not dropping anything. He had a tremendous week catching the ball."


Guard Bobby Meeks said he was cleared by team physicians to play Saturday. Meeks has missed time this season due to asthma, pneumonia and swollen tonsils.

"I feel a lot better than I did Monday. I got a lot of reps in," said Meeks, who added he wasn't worried about his health. " I'm going to play. That's it. I'm going to play. "Not really (worried about health). I'm worried about them, and going out there and getting it done."

While Meeks returned, Eric Broe, who started in place of Meeks against Duke two weekends ago, missed practice after he re-aggravated his knee a day earlier. Broe, however, stressed he would be ready for the Hurricanes as well.

"Kind of a re-aggravation of the knee," Broe said.

"Nothing new. It's just the same problem I've pretty much dealt with this summer. It was obviously re-aggravated when I was hit by the car. I am still hoping to play. I am trying to be as structured as I can be with rehab and my treatment. I am hoping to get anything aggravated in there relaxed in order to get ready to go Saturday."

Ron Lunford, meanwhile, could be the most important player in the mix, as he continues to work between the guard and tackle slots.

"I'm ready to go, man," Lunford said. "I just needed a little bit of experience, and now I'm ready for anything. I'm hoping to do better, get better for my team, and me."

Lunford admitted it felt good to be an important part of the equation on the Seminoles' offensive line.

"At first, I was just a body to fill in. I don't think I was really considered to be playing that position at first," Lunford said.

"It wasn't until the week of Duke that they really considered me – Coach (Jimmy) Heggins (offensive line coach) told me, ‘You need to go out there and learn guard, because we might need you. Eric Broe and Bobby Meeks are dinged up.' It was big task for me, but I think I did pretty good in the Duke game. Scored about 80, which is pretty good for my first time at guard."

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