Final Chance

It's no secret Florida State wants to end the season on a good note. Well, Jacksonville has been kind to the Seminoles in the past. FSU is 4-0-1 in five previous Gator Bowls, including a 31-12 victory over West Virginia in 1982 in the teams' only meeting. Of course, Seminole fans are far more interested in possible coaching changes following Saturday's bowl game against West Virginia.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is the first to admit the Seminoles' offensive production this season wasn't what he expected.

Bowden also says he knows what needs to be changed, though he hasn't specified if he means plays or people.

Bowden also has stressed he can fix his team's problems, which were magnified on the stat sheet. The Seminoles averaged 24.7 points and 364.7 yards this season, both 23-year lows at FSU.

While how Bowden will deal with his concerns remains the center of speculation in Tallahassee, the Seminoles continue preparations in Jacksonville for Saturday's Gator Bowl against West Virginia.

Both teams seem to be warming up to the idea of playing against each other in a game that will help set the offseason tone.

"The practices have gone well and the focus appears to be where you would want,'' Bowden said.

Added West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez:

``The biggest thing you hope for during bowl week is that the guys stay focused throughout the week and concentrate in practice. I think we've been getting that and I think they're excited about the chance to go out and face Florida State.''

The game marks the final appearance for 19 FSU seniors, including quarterback Chris Rix.

Rix, who will return to California following the game to begin training for the NFL combine, started the 2002 Gator Bowl as a redshirt freshman in 2002 against West Virginia.

Rix completed 12 of 25 passes for 326 yards with two touchdown passes and another touchdown run. Rix, whose career has bounced from awesome to awful, enters the game with 8,223 passing yards.

He is only the 10th player in ACC history to pass for 8,000 or more yards, joining former FSU Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke (9,839).

FSU players headed to the Senior Bowl include All-American tackle Alex Barron, cornerback Bryant McFadden, receiver Craphonso Thorpe and defensive tackle Travis Johnson.

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