Offseason Promise

Florida State's returning players will have plenty to think about this offseason. Topping that list is last Thursday's Orange Bowl defeat to rival Miami. The Hurricanes rallied from a 14-3 deficit to upend the Seminoles 16-14 for their fifth consecutive victory in the series. Of course, the two teams open the 2004 season in Miami on Labor Day.

Sophomore linebacker A.J. Nicholson opted to take a positive approach.

He pointed out the Seminoles return 10 starters on offense and a bevy of talented defensive players who saw significant playing time. In fact, many believe that younger talent was better than the seniors they will replace.

"It's disappointing," Nicholson said of the Orange Bowl defeat.

"We gave it our all but we came up short. We have to work harder (in the offseason) to achieve our goals. They (Hurricanes) didn't have a lot of big plays.

"I guarantee this won't happen next year. It (series)is going to turn around. It's going to stop one day. And next time we play them it will stop. We have young guys who are eager to play and willing to learn. So I am excited about the upcoming year. It's looking good for the future."

Quarterback Chris Rix says the defeat will motivate the Seminoles during the offseason. FSU had won five straight before UM's streak began in 2000.

"It better motivate us, losing your last game to the team you are going to play your next game," Rix said.

"We should be thinking about Miami day and night until we play them next time. ... We have to get ready to play them next game and we have to be prepared to win the game."

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