Switching Gears

Florida State and Miami will still play in prime time, just a few days later than planned. The nationally televised game, originally scheduled for Monday night, was postponed until next Friday as Hurricane Frances moved closer to Florida's east coast. The change also has changed the Seminoles' approach. They will practice today and Saturday.

Florida State has to switch practice gears now that its season-opener at Miami has been moved.

The nationally televised game, originally scheduled for Monday night, was postponed until next Friday as Hurricane Frances moved closer to Florida's east coast.

"It just changes the calendar and you have to go back and change your clock," FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said following Thursday's practice.

"We will work as much as we can with the anticipation that the weather will be such that we can't get to work at some point. It will give us more time to study film, more time to meet and polish our game plan a little more. Hopefully the extra few days will help some of the kids who are banged up, to get a little better."

Frances certainly has FSU's attention. The Hurricane, which has slowed somewhat, is now expected to reach landfall Saturday or Sunday on Florida's east coast.

FSU cornerback Bryant McFadden said he was worried about his family in Hollywood. Center David Castillo, one of a handful of injured Seminoles who stand to benefit from the delay, was also concerned.

"I grew up down there," Castillo said. "I have a lot of family in Miami and family in Palm Beach. I'm trying to convince my mom to either come up here and stay with me for a couple days or go up to Tampa with my brother, but she doesn't want to budge."

Chauncey Stovall didn't have that problem. The senior receiver said about 20 family members were scheduled to arrive in Tallahassee on Thursday and will cram into his tiny apartment.

Junior free safety Pat Watkins, who said he has not practiced the last few days because he didn't feel good, said the Seminoles will have to adjust to the practice changes.

"It takes away from you mentally because you have prepared so much for the game and anticipated it, now it's pushed back," Watkins said.

"You have to dread another week of practice (smiling). We are going to look at as a positive. With it being pushed back, it's giving us more time to prepare. It's a thing we have to deal with and take it in stride."

Andrews, meanwhile, said he has been pleased with his unit's progress. However, he also stressed there's plenty of room for improvement, citing injuries.

"It has been kind of up and down (preseason)," Andrews said.

"When you have guys who are starters who are not working...we've been able to get a lot done and I think the kids understand what we are trying to do. You still have to whip blockers, you have to get to the football, you have to make tackles, you have to pressure, you have to cover and you have to play the kicking game better than we've had the last couple of years (against Miami). We've made progress."

Andrews also said the team has changed its practice habits in preparation for UM.

"One time the kids were concerned about their legs. They are young guys and they will get their legs back," Andrews said.

"We've shortened our practices with that in mind. Shortened the conditioning a little bit, trying to sell them the idea if you do your conditioning during practice, we don't have to do a lot of conditioning after practice."

Randy Oravetz, FSU's director of sports medicine, said the extra few days will benefit the team's injured.

"It gives us an extra week to get a few of these guys a chance to get ready to play," he said.

"Mentally, you have been building up, building up for a game on Monday and now it's going to be extended. A lot of these guys are worried about their families. A lot of guys are making phone calls home and making sure everyone is okay. We have families coming up here to stay with these guys."


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