Downright Offensive?

On paper, Florida State's performance on offense in its 10-7 victory over Miami Monday night may not have been very aesthetically pleasing.

In the mind of head coach Bobby Bowden, however, there was a bit more to be optimistic about.

"We did good things out there (on offense)," Bowden said. "But they weren't the things that generate the kind of stats that people are interested in."

Speaking with the media after a Tuesday morning film session, Bowden praised his offense for the picking up subtle victories against the Hurricanes. Included: advancing the ball when starting field position was deep in FSU territory and opening running lanes against a talented and deep Miami front.

Most emphatically, Bowden drew a positive out of the play of his quarterbacks, though Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford combined to complete just 8-of-26 passes for 74 yards.

"The biggest thing is that they didn't lose the game for us," Bowden said. "The fact that we won a ball game like this has got to help confidence for them even though it wasn't a good game statistically."

Reluctance when throwing, Bowden observed, was a downfall.

So was inexperience. Weatherford, the starter, admitted that he was caught off guard by the frequency that the Miami secondary employed zone coverage. The Hurricanes often harried with blitzes but Weatherford was sacked just once.

"There were times that I wasn't comfortable out there," Weatherford said. "It wasn't that I never lost confidence out there, it was just that I never found a rhythm. It's tough to play when things are kind of stagnant out there and you're not making any (big) plays." Returning to the lineup after Lee was given a series in relief, Weatherford did provide the clincher. His 2-yard sneak with 1:22 to play allowed the Seminoles to pick up the first down that allowed the remaining time to be run off of the clock. Opposition was another talk point. With the help of ten returning starters, the Miami defense held FSU to just 170 total yards. UM limited the Seminoles to 165 yards in last season's game.

"These are the same guys that held us without a touchdown (on offense) last season," Bowden said. "Who knows, Miami could be one of the best teams in the country by the end of the year."

Outsiders will call for change but Monday's performance went to plan according to many Seminoles.

"We knew it was going to dogfight from whistle to whistle," senior center David Castillo said. "We knew there wouldn't be many yards and that we couldn't turn the ball over. Our quarterbacks did a great job of not giving the ball away and playing within themselves."


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