FSU-Miami Preview: Seminole Keys to Victory

It's offical, the annual matchup between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes is just a few days away. As the 'Noles prepare to head south, take a look a look at some of the things that they must do to earn the first FSU victory in the Orange Bowl since 1998.

Drew Weatherford must continue his strong play – A no brainer, the play of FSU's redshirt sophomore quarterback is obviously crucial to the success of his team against the Hurricanes. After struggling to read the unexpected Miami defense a year ago in his first ever career start, Weatherford returns as a seasoned veteran with 12 ballgames under his belt. Helping matters is the fact that Weatherford, in addition to excelling on the practice fields, has become obsessed with the film room and has been watching hours of FSU-Miami footage. His studious attitude toward preparation and his strong relationship with his teammates could mean big things for the offense not only against the ‘Canes but for the rest of the season.

The offensive line must win the battle in the trenches – FSU's offensive line has got to protect Weatherford at all costs. Boasting one of the nation's premier defensive lines, Miami will undoubtedly bring the pressure in hopes of keeping Weatherford off rhythm with the plethora of talented receivers on the Seminole roster. The offensive line appears to have turned the corner after a miserable 2005 campaign and avoided the injury bug through the spring and fall practice sessions. If the right side of the line can become as strong as the left-side duo of Mario Henderson and Jacky Claude, the Tribe may be able to slow down the Hurricane rush.

The Seminoles must establish the run – The Hurricanes know that receivers Greg Carr and Chris Davis are talented players, and if the Seminoles want to create mismatches with those players against the ‘Canes young corners, establishing the run is a must. If tailbacks Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith can show the defense that the Tribe's off-season work to become less one-dimensional, Miami may be forced to crowd the box and put their inexperienced defensive backs in one-on-one situations.

The Seminoles must not look past the Hurricanes – The hot topic throughout the off-season has been that Miami, not FSU, has battled with controversy. It has been almost commonplace to hear the next in a series of problems occurring in South Florida. Standout offensive players Tyrone Moss and Ryan Moore being suspended, the turnover in coaches and player brushes with the law have been just a few of the Hurricanes problems. But FSU must not take the ‘Canes for granted as they will still field a team of many of the nation's premier college players. And in a game like FSU-Miami, everybody comes to play.

The defense must put pressure on Kyle Wright – Last year, the Seminoles managed to sack Wright a staggering nine times. And while we all know how much Weatherford has improved in his young career, the same is probably true for Wright. If the Tribe can get in face like they did last year (and it will definitely be harder as the ‘Canes are focusing on more three-step drops), than the Hurricane defense may be in for a long day without the two previously mentioned veterans in action serving as safety nets for Wright.


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