FSU-UCLA pregame notebook

Florida State faces UCLA tonight in the 2006 Emerald Bowl from San Francisco.

The Florida State football team's game against UCLA will officially mark the final chapter of a holiday season spent far away from home.

Besides California native Lorenzo Booker and a few other Seminoles that have traveled to the Golden State, the majority of the team has never been this far west. Not helping matters was the fact that the players had to spend Christmas away from home.

Needless to say, it was an adjustment and still is.

With so many players from the state the southeastern part of the United States, having family in attendance and home and away games is a given. For starting quarterback Drew Weatherford, the trip has been especially hard because of the fact that he has such a large family.

"It's a lot different because every Christmas of my life I've always been with all eight of my siblings and my mother and father," Weatherford said. "It's a little different deal being on the other side of the country with everybody back down south."

At least a few members of Weatherford's immediate family are present at each of his games but the trip to the Emerald Bowl will prove to be a little too far for them.

Instead, some members of the Weatherford clan that can make the trek will be in the stands when FSU faces UCLA today at 5 p.m. eastern time.

"I will have family there but it won't be direct family," Weatherford said. "I've got cousins and aunts. Some of them live in California and in Texas. I will definitely have family represented.

"I don't know if that's possible for me to play without family there."

TRIP TO THE WESTSIDE HELPS RECRUITING

FSU has been known to recruit some talented players from the state of California.
,br> Booker and former defensive tackle Travis Johnson are just two of the more recent players that have come from that area of the country that have had a strong input on the team.

In recent years, however, the Seminoles have not been in the mix with as many prep athletes from California. Their trip to play in the Emerald Bowl should help provide a boost in the future recruitment of those players.

"California is the No. 1 producer of college players," FSU Coach Bobby Bowden said. "They are way ahead of everybody else. But it does help. Just the fact that you are on television and in the press. This is probably good for us, just the year we've had. To be in California is good."

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