Fabian Walker was given a closer look with the first unit while the patched-up offensive line continued its work."> Fabian Walker was given a closer look with the first unit while the patched-up offensive line continued its work.">

Smoke Signals

FSU coach <b>Bobby Bowden </b> is confident his team won't repeat its meltdown from last season. The seventh-ranked Seminoles (5-1) continued preparations for their crucial ACC showdown at Virginia (4-2) Saturday. Bowden called Wednesday's session a "spirited practice. The kids really jumped around, hustled around and did some good things." Additionally, reserve quarterback <b>Fabian Walker</b> was given a closer look with the first unit while the patched-up offensive line continued its work.

After losing to Miami last season, the Seminoles went into a highly-publicized tailspin -- on and off the field. They lost at home the following week against Notre Dame, leading to player finger-pointing and a quarterback change.

Bowden, however, is pleased with his team's attitude and approach following Saturday's 22-14 home to the Hurricanes.

"I see a much more spirited football team now than I saw last year," Bowden said.

"This is an entirely different attitude this year than what we had last year. They've done everything we've asked. I haven't heard any grumbling -- just from you all (media). Sometimes we don't do it and you all think it up (laughing). Nah, I don't think we've had any (grumbling)."

While frustrations immediately surfaced following the game Saturday -- defensive lineman Darnell Dockett felt the team needed more leaders to emerge - Bowden felt it was the normal emotion that accompanies any loss.

"You know, even if they had not it probably wouldn't have been any different from Texas, LSU, those other people (who lost). That's just players. Now that they've been through it, they know better," Bowden said.

Tailback Leon Washington agreed with Bowden.

"We are definitely a team," Washington said.

"We understand out limitations. We understand our goals. We under our quarterback (Chris Rix) is out leader. Everyone understands that and everything is going well."

MORE SNAPS

While FSU coaches remain adamant that Rix is the Seminoles' starter, Walker was given a closer look with the first unit. Walker, however, downplayed the extra snaps.

"Yeah, it was a little different but I am just trying to help the team improve," Walker told The Territory. "It's not something I am shooting for, to get more reps. It's to improve myself and get better on certain things, and I will let the rest of the stuff take care of itself."

FEELING GOOD

Although David Castillo saw practice time and jogged from the field to the locker room, true freshman John Frady is scheduled to make his first career start against the Cavs. Plus, Ron Lunford, who has spent most of his time at tackle, will make his first career start at guard.

"I am feeling good," Frady told TheTerritory.

" It really helps get a lot more reps. Me and Lucky (Lunford) have been working together all year on the second team, so the chemistry is there so we are just moving it up to first team."

While FSU running backs have been given more blocking responsibility in pass downs to help the Seminoles' young line, Frady doesn't look for FSU to drastically change its game plan for the Cavs. Virginia plays a 3-4 defense and with an emphasis on stopping the run.

"Coach calls the plays according to what he thinks is best,‘ Frady said.

"Whatever he calls we are going to block as best we can. I don't really see him trying to adjust his calls to suit us. Whatever he says, we're going to block it. They (Cavs) are big up front, they play head-up center, head-up on the tackles. They are reading hats, trying to stop the run. That's their big thing. Anybody who plays a 3-4 is going to bring some blitzes. You don't get enough pressure with three folks. We are going to have to do our best to try to pick up what they bring."

SETTING THE TONE

Washington, who was the Seminoles' lone rushing bright spot against the Hurricanes with 26 yards on six carries, believes FSU must establish its ground game at Virginia.

"We have to get the running game going," Washington told The Territory.

"They are going to try to stop the run, but we must get our running game going. Running backs are getting healthier so that's important, too."

Washington says the Seminoles have been upbeat in practice.

"Practices have gone really well. Really well. When you practice well you play well, so that's a good sign," Washington said.

"We are trying little things to make it more easier on the offensive line, since we got the new guys. We are getting some base (pass) protections in there, not trying to make anything more difficult. That's a little more responsibility on the backs now -- we have double reads. With the veteran line before everyone got hurt, it was more of a one read. We are trying to make it easier on the offensive line. But we are going to be fine."

HIGHLIGHTS

During one-minute drills, Rix connected with P.K. Sam for 20 yards. Following an incompletion, Rix threw a short lob Sam for another 20 yards. With 18 seconds remaining, Rix hooked up with Craphonso Thorpe for a 30-yard score.

During 11-on-11 drills, junior Charles Howard had one sack and two quarterback hurries. Freshman Clifton Dickson also pressured Rix a number of times.


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