Goal Line Drills

Mickey Andrews knows a thing or two about good defense. He also knows a thing or two about good Bar-B-Q. Andrews, FSU's defensive coordinator, is preparing for the opening of his restaurant and FSU's season. Andrews is especially upbeat about his defense, saying, "There's probably not as many potential superstars as we've had sometimes in years past. But we do have guys who have been to battle. ... There's not as much apprehension on our players' parts or our coaches' parts."

Family members, employees and friends were working feverishly Wednesday at Mickey Andrews' Goal Line restaurant. Kickoff is less than a week away and plenty of preparation and game-planning remain. Chairs were being cleaned. Tables rearranged. Installation of the smokehouse continued.

Andrews, whom coach Bobby Bowden has called the "finest defensive coordinator in the nation," is trying his hand at Bar-B-Q, catfish and homemade pies.

Good Football and good Bar-B-Q -- hey, both will leave a mark on your chin.

Looking calm and relaxed, Andrews is looking forward to the grand opening of his business next Tuesday as well as the start of football season later this month. The Seminoles open against Iowa State Aug. 24 in the Eddie Robinson Classic Aug. 24. in Kansas City.

"There really is," Andrews said and smiled when asked if there were similarities between building a business and a defense.

"The thing that you notice is you have to depend on. ... you get a plan together, what you want to do and how you want to set things up. And you have to depend on other people, tell them what you want and they got to follow through with it. It will be like that when we start serving food. There's no doubt in our mind that the product will be great. But if we don't provide the kind of service that makes people feel at ease and enjoy coming, then they won't come back.

"You may be real good on run defense but you can't play a lick of pass defense. It's still six points every time they cross the goal line (laughing). So, we throw a great product out and we don't give good service, then it doesn't work. People won't come back. Or if we can't put good food out there, they won't come back either. They just don't come in here to enjoy a Coke or something."

While Andrews and partner Ron Gibson, ready themselves for their opening, Andrews also is continuing his preparation for the upcoming season. Of course, the Seminoles are looking to erase last year's 8-4 memory, one that saw the program tumble from among the nation's elite.

While FSU has been given high marks from many preseason magazines, questions remain about the 'Noles' defense. The unit struggled last season, and opinions why varied -- from injuries to inexperience to a lack of talent to scheme, take your pick.

At the moment, injuries remain a cause for concern, as tackles Travis Johnson (ankle) and Darnell Dockett (Achilles heel) continue their recovery from spring surgery. Also, middle linebacker Jerel Hudson must lose weight, and Andrews said Hudson will be moved to the line if his girth is an issue during drills. FSU will also have a two new faces in the secondary -- Claudius Osei at rover and Kyler Hall at free safety.

Don't fret. Andrews is upbeat about his troops because of their talent and depth.

"There's probably not as many potential superstars as we've had sometimes in years past," Andrews said.

"But we do have guys who have been to battle. They've played. They've learned from it. They know more of what to expect. Fundamentally, they are more sound. More prepared to go out there and play a game. The key right now is how hard are they going to work through the season. Not just in the first game but through the entire season because the thing that this group is going to find out, if they've been studying video like we have, that bunch we are playing in that first ballgame is not just any. ... I've talked to some pro scouts that have told me that quarterback (Seneca Wallace) is legitimate, a first-, second- or third-round draft choice. And you look at it and you can see why with all the talent he's got.

Andrews is hopeful his unit learned from his mistakes last season, when it allowed 26.1 points and 356.4 yards -- 230.4 passing and 126 rushing -- per game. FSU returns eight starters and 30 lettermen.

"The group got through with the season last year knowing that none of us had really done the job that you gotta do to compete at this level against the Florida's and Miami's and the other folks," Andrews said.

"It starts in the offseason program and (this) may be as good a offseason program as we've ever had. A good, solid spring. We had a lot of folks get better. So, I think from an experience level and a confidence level. ... you know you can talk about being good. If you don't have the foundation and your kids can't go out there and do it every play, you can't talk your way into being good. You have to go out there and do it during the week and on Saturday and all the offseason work that goes with it. There's not as much apprehension on our players' parts or our coaches' parts."

The same could be said of Andrews' venture into the restaurant business. It was a decision Andrews made with his wife Diane and their two children -- son Ronnie will manage the establishment.

Their 6,000-square foot building, located on Mahan Drive, north of Capital Circle, also features a bar and patio area. Football memorabilia is sprinkled throughout the restaurant. Patrons also will be impressed by two extremely large mounted animal heads -- moose and water bison.

"It was kind of like the deal that a lot (parents) leave their kids their profession," Andrews said. "It's kind of hard to leave a coaching job to your son or daughter. We really did it for our children. The more we started doing the more intriguing it got. I guess probably during the process there has been about four or five times where it was just clear-cut, 'Well, that's the end of it.' Somehow or another you work through the crisis and go on."


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