Rainbow Offense

While the final score was tight -- Miami nipped Florida State 16-14 in last year's Orange Bowl -- the showdown wasn't as close as the final score indicated. The Hurricanes outgained FSU in total yards (375 to 206) and scored the final 13 points. Additionally, UM also finished with 218 rushing yards. The Seminoles' offensive attack in that game was vanilla by design, according to FSU coach Bobby Bowden. Well, Bowden promised this year's offensive approach will be different. Much different.

Mistakes cost Florida State dearly in its first defeat to Miami last season.

In the Hurricanes' 22-14 victory in rainy Tallahassee, the Seminoles had a punt blocked, lost an accidental onside kick and turned the ball over five times in a stretch of seven possession.

FSU was much more careful with the football in the Orange Bowl rematch, suffering an interception and fumble. Still, the result was still another defeat (16-14), much to the chagrin of Seminole fans.

The Seminoles also were much more careful in their offensive approach as well, a move FSU coach Bobby Bowden said was by design due to the Hurricanes' vaunted defense. FSU was limited to 206 total yards, nearly 200 less than its season average of 403 yards per game.

"We did play very vanilla in the game last year against Miami," Bowden said during Monday's conference call with the media.

"The reason for that is we just felt it's the only way we can beat them. We'll have to take a different approach this year.

"Last year, I really thought they probably had the best defensive football team in the country and I think the draft bears that out. How many times do you play at team that has four first rounders just over there on defense. We noticed that people that beat them were people that intercepted their passes, or picked up fumbles and ran for touchdowns. We were really vanilla, and that was my decision."

Miami sealed the Orange Bowl victory with a defensive stand with less than two minutes to play. Chris Rix's final pass fell incomplete, and he was just 2-of-12 for 18 yards in the second half.

In the two games against UM, Rix was 26 of 61 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

If the Seminoles are to snap their five-game losing skid to the Hurricanes in Monday's season-opener in the Orange Bowl, Bowden said they will need more offensive punch.

With Rix entering his senior season and plenty of skill around him, including receiver Craphonso Thorpe, who missed the Orange Bowl after breaking his leg against North Carolina State, FSU should have more than enough weapons.

"This year you can forget vanilla," Bowden said of the Seminoles' offensive game plan.

"There is going to be a little orange in there, a little strawberry, and throw in a little grape ice-cream. There is going to be a mixture this year - a rainbow offense."

Bowden also feels more comfortable with Rix, who has enjoyed a solid preseason.

"We took the approach this fall, and I told our coaches to take this approach, 'Don't go out there and start putting limitations on what he can do,'" Bowden said of Rix.

"I think he's ready to do whatever he wants whether it's a short pass, a long pass, flat pass, throwback left, throwback to the right, or a screen pass. I think he's ready for the full package, and that's the approach we've taken."


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