Fire In The Hole

Last week's menu featured chicken, shrimp, deer and pork chops. Today was hamburger Thursday -- cheese, pickles and lettuce were optional. There was cake for dessert. Next week, well, some good buddies from Georgia just might drag their monster-sized smoker into Tallahassee -- and pity the poor hog that ends up on the grill.

Florida State football fans know Brian Sawyer as the Seminoles' veteran long-snapper and special teams captain.

Add wanna-be-chef to his resume.

With help from FSU strength coach Jon Jost, girlfriend Lindsay Dutcher and roommate Josh Bassette, Sawyer has started a new Thursday tradition near the entrance to the Seminoles' locker room.

It's an old fashion, Garnet & Gold cookout, complete with music and lively conversation.

"Coach Jost and I got to talking and I told him if he would buy the grill, then I would starting cooking," Sawyer told TheTerritory following Thursday's hamburger plate special.

"Our first cookout was last week and everyone seemed to enjoy it, so we did it again (today). All the coaches came down, the trainers, some of the mangers, a few players, too. It got busy. It just gives everyone a chance to hang out, relax and talk without worrying about football."

Sawyer, a senior from Cordele, Ga., believes the cookout is just another example of how well this Seminole team gets along.

For the fourth consecutive year, the seventh-ranked Seminoles (5-1) must again pick up the pieces following a defeat against nemesis Miami.

FSU concludes its practice preparation today for Saturday's crucial Atlantic Coast Conference showdown at Virginia Saturday. Kickoff is 7:45 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.

"The Miami game was one of those games, we played hard as we could," Sawyer said.

"I don't think anyone played nearly up to their potential and they got a few more breaks than we did. That's the way it goes in a game like that. Five turnovers from each team? We realize we have a chance to play them again but we also realize we have to win out in order to do that. A couple of undefeated teams also lost Saturday, so that definitely made us feel better. We know we have to win and take care of business."

FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday that he doesn't expect his team to repeat its meltdown from last season.

After losing to Miami, 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.

While Chris Rix suffered four turnovers against the Hurricanes Saturday, Bowden and players say they stand firmly behind their quarterback

"Bottom line is everybody could have done better in each aspect of the game," Sawyer said.

"We are not going to point fingers. Everyone could have done better. Chris knows we are behind him and, win or lose, he our quarterback. When we walked out of locker room Saturday, that game was over.

"What's important is that we pick up where we left off and move forward We still have so much to play for and, again, it would be nice if we would see those guys (Hurricanes) again. It could happen."

Football aside, Sawyer knows for sure what's going to happen next Thursday at lunch time.

He's going to back his truck up, open the tailgate, turn the country music up real loud and fire up the grill.

"Once the players start turning out, there's some chaos around the grill and you have to watch yourself," Sawyer said and laughed.

"But it's a fun. Lindsay bought a cake and she helped pat all the burgers and Josh helped cook. We cooked around 60 to 70 hamburgers. Everyone had either one or two.

"There were some special orders but, you know, I can't do everything (laughing). Some ask (about music) but I don't get to listen to country at all around here. When my truck is backed up, it (country) is all that's going to play. If I am the cook, you have to appreciate the music."

And the cooking as well.

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