Winding Down

The Florida State Seminoles are winding down preparations for Thursday's Orange Bowl against Miami. The Seminoles also have enjoyed their free time, with scheduled stops at the beach, local restaurants and nightly treks to South Beach. One of the best stories of the week involves All-American offensive lineman <b>Alex Barron.</b> Click here for the details.

Both teams attended at FCA breakfast this morning, with former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne serving as guest speaker.

Linebacker Michael Boulware spoke for the Seminoles, while Kevin Beard had honors for the Hurricanes. On Sunday night, the two teams ran into each other at a local steak house.

While the chatter between players has been low-key, a chuckling Brian Sawyer told TheTerritory Monday night that "for such a prestigious private school, they have some of the dumbest players I have ever seen. Plus, their fans are so obnoxious. Everywhere we go, it's 'Miami this and Miami that.' It makes you want to beat them in the worse way."

UM, of course, has beaten the Seminoles the past four games in the storied rivalry. FSU hopes to end the streak Thursday night in Joe Robbie Stadium.

Sawyer says FSU's practices have been high-spirited and productive. He also says defensive end Eric Moore, who has been slowed by an ankle sprain, expects to play. "I don't think he has a choice," Sawyer said. "He wants to be out there."

Sawyer and his FSU teammates have a free night this evening. While players are prohibited from driving their vehicles -- "They collected our keys right when you get here," Sawyer said -- shuttle service has been available from the team hotel to various spots around Miami, including South Beach. Curfew tonight is 1 a.m.

It moves up to midnight on Tuesday and 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

"It's just so expensive," Sawyer said and laughed.

"I think I had a $20 hamburger yesterday. It's silly. A bunch of us were going to try to go together and get a (boat) charter -- we wanted to catch some sailfish -- but we just didn't have enough time today. Plus, it has been so windy."

Sawyer said the most humorous event of the trip thus far was watching Barron, a 6-foot-6, 310-pounder, try to ride a wave runner at the team's Beach Bash over the weekend. Barron started off well but once he fell, it was all over.

"He was struggling big time to get back on the jet ski," Sawyer said. "Here we are, heading back to the bus and Alex is still out in the water, trying to get back on. It was comical. We sat on the bus 20 minutes waiting on him. I don't think they (lifeguards) could help him back on. He finally got back on and we finally got to go back to the hotel."

Sawyer believes the Seminoles are focused on the task at hand in terms of preparation for the Hurricanes.

"It's going to come down to turnovers, defense and special teams -- just like last time," Sawyer said.

"We get the running game going like we can, and everything should be fine. We will be good to go. Everyone is practicing hard. The coaches have been getting after it as usual, and as the game gets closer, you will see everyone really (get focused). Tomorrow is our Thursday practice, so to speak, so we are just about done. Everyone is tired of hitting on each other. We want it (game) to get here."


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