Four Quarter Effort

Florida State's defensive unit has spent most of season's first month talking about finishing games with a flourish. Now it's the offense's turn. The Seminoles will get an opportunity to turn in a complete performance Saturday against Duke. "I think it would be a mistake if we use this week as a go-through-the-motions kind of game," quarterback Chris Rix said Tuesday. "We really need to focus on the little things and execute. Aim for as near as perfection as possible."

Florida State's defensive unit has spent most of season's first month talking about finishing games with a flourish.

Now it's the offense's turn.

The fifth-ranked Seminoles (3-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have outscored their first three opponents - Iowa State, Virginia and Maryland - 88-14 in the first half. However, FSU has been outscored 46-31 in the game's final 30 minutes. Starting quarterback Chris Rix admitted the Seminoles would like to change that trend in Saturday's home against Duke (1-2, 0-0).

"I think it's a mental thing, a psychological thing," Rix said Tuesday.

"It's something you really can't work on the practice field. That's something you need to get yourself disciplined in your mind, both offensively and defensively. We've both been guilty of that this year. Sitting on leads, getting comfortable, getting complacent. I think it's something the coaches are going to stress. It's something the players have to realize."

Rix, who is third in the ACC and 42nd nationally in total offense (222.7) and has thrown a touchdown pass in 13 of his 14 career games and has over 200 passing yards in 10 of his last 11 games, believes the Seminoles can't afford to sputter against the Blue Devils simply because of what the future holds.

The next month could prove to be FSU's most difficult stretch with games against Louisville (1-2), Clemson (2-1), top-ranked Miami (3-0) and No. 12 Notre Dame (3-0). November features road dates at Wake Forest (1-2) and No. 17 N.C. State (4-0) and home games against North Carolina (12-) and No. 12 Florida (2-1).

"We need to play all four quarters because against teams like Notre Dame, Miami, even Louisville - a lot of our opponents we are going to face before the season is over, we are going to need all four quarters," Rix said.

"I don't think two quarters is going to do it. Yeah, we have the talent for it to be that way. But teams are not going to give up when they play Florida State. That's something we need to realize. Fortunately, it hasn't bitten us in the butt these first three games. That's something we need to discipline ourselves to play all four quarters and not get comfortable."

Rix also admits it's important not to overlook a Duke team that it has beaten 10 consecutive times, scoring more than 50 points seven times, including a 70-26 victory in 1995. Defensively, the Blue Devils have made strides under new coordinator Ted Roof, allowing o345.7 yards per game as compared to a 492 average last season. Duke also is second in the ACC and 12th nationally in turnover margin (plus 2.00) and has a league-high seven interceptions.

"It's a very easy opportunity for us to get in that complacent mode after beating a good Maryland team convincingly," Rix said.

"We've got Duke at home, it's a night game, it's Parent's Night, everyone is all smiles. It can't be that way if we execute for four quarters like we are suppose to. This is a game where everyone should know their assignments and we should go out and execute like we do in practice. Not saying they are a scout caliber team, but with the talent level and speed, I think being superior on our side of the ball, I think we really need to take advantage of that and fine-tune everything we have to do in preparation for Louisville, in preparation for Clemson, which beat Georgia Tech, we have some tough games coming up - I don't even have talk about Miami.

"I think it would be a mistake if we use this week as a go-through-the-motions kind of game. We really need to focus on the little things and execute. Aim for as near as perfection as possible."


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