Breakfast With Bobby

So far, so good for FSU. While the 'Noles have waltzed to a 4-0 start, their next four games represent a noticeable increase in talent, importance and pressure. FSU will practice lightly today in preparation for Thursday's showdown at Louisville. "The schedule has worked out pretty good. We've gotten this far without any losses and have made some improvements. But this is a team that will have to continue more to face what we are facing," Bobby Bowden said Sunday morning.

Here are coach Bobby Bowden's comments Sunday morning.

Opening Comments

"Well, I haven't had a chance to look at the film yet – all I saw was on our.... we made our TV show last night and observed it. I thought the game last night we probably accomplished one of the things we wanted to and that was get a lot of guys into ballgame and to get quarterbacks in there early. Not in the fourth quarter when the game is decided, or late in the third when the game was decided, but to get them in there when it counted. Try to get them some experience when it counted. Try to get some of these second-team offensive linemen, who haven't been able to see much action this year, try to get them some work when it counted. At least we accomplished some things in that area.

"Scares you the way they made their first couple of drives on you. That scares you. I think when you play the Miamis and the upper echelon – if you can't dominate Duke – it scares you when you start thinking what's down the road. Because right now are fixing to get into the four most crucial parts of our schedule. Playing four teams that are capable of beating you. So, the schedule has worked out pretty good. We've gotten this far without any losses and have made some improvements. But this is a team that will have to continue more to face what we are facing."

How do you feel after getting knocked down on the sideline?

"I came out lucky. I came out lucky. No (not sore). That's amazing. That guy was coming at me and I could not move. I was afraid to jump that way or that way. I was afraid he would catch me. I don't know why. It did not hurt at all. What I've always done is stay behind the offense. If you have ever watched me on the sidelines, if the ball is going that way, I am back here. If it goes that way, I come down here. I never want to get pinned on that sideline. What happens is you get there, people all around you, and you can't run. You can't take off, because somebody is right behind you. It's the worst feeling you can have. I have seen head coaches get their legs broken. I've seen them get their knees cut from underneath them and have knee operations. It's always in the back of my mind. I was afraid that's what would happen to me if I turned and ran or turned to the side. I was afraid they would catch me right in the back of the legs and ruin my golf game."

Duke was the first team to put seven and eight guys in the box to stop the run. Do you expect to see more of that with the way your team has run the ball so well?

"I think what you will see is (teams) trying to disguise it and trying to mix it. I think they've found out if you are going to do one of them, we can get you. If you are just going to do one we wll figure that out and get to you. Because we feel like we can throw it as good as we can run it. But now what will happen is disguise that thing. I think we will see more of that. I am just glad teams are still feeling like they've got to come up and stop the run because that does open up the passing game."

How much have these first four opponents been able to show you defensively?

"We've had the two extremes. One where they bring everybody up and force you to throw. Then the other extreme, where they've kept everybody back and forced you to run. There's only so many things you can do and I guess we've faced as much as you can face. When we don't face it against an opponent, we face it against our defense here (in practice)."

Are you where you want to be with this stretch of games coming up?

"Well, I think the only way we are going to find out more about this team is against better opponents. We will have to play better opponents, which I feel like we are fixing to start doing. The next four are stronger than the ones we've played. It's going to take that to find out how far along we are. Are we making progress. You played somebody last night that you were simply superior to in talent. The games we've had with Duke down through the years invariably have been close for awhile. Then we've pulled away at the end. That's usually because of more depth, more skill, and that kind of thing. They've always battled us. Now we are going to see big-time quarterbacks and big-time runners and receivers. Doesn't Louisville have 10 starters back on defense? You are going to see veteran teams."

Have you any chance to look at Louisville yet?

"I've looked at them a little bit, sure have. Their defense is probably the best defense we've faced. They challenge you. They are not afraid to challenge you. It's not like they lay back and wait for you to see what you are going to do. Offensively, that quarterback (Dave Ragone) is a big-time quarterback. I am sure he will be a first-round draft choice. Might be the first one taken, I don't know. Good solid football team. Good kicking game."

It's seems like your defense is showing signs of improvement but it still seems to be missing something.

"Exactly right. It's kind of a good news, bad news thing. The bad news is they took the ball and made a couple of nice drives early in the game. The worse thing of all, ate up a lot of time. The good news is they only got three out of that. The good news about our defense this year is most of the points have come in the fourth quarter. We are holding our own for three (quarters). This (Thursday) will definitely be a test for our pass defense."

So much has been made of getting pressure on your opponent's quarterback. It seemed like Duke still got more pressure than your team last night.

"I will tell you a thing we are not doing a good job of – and I am going to talk to the coaches about – and that's containing. The passer is getting out of the pocket and hitting them. I don't know who is suppose to hold him up. But I am afraid we are letting them outside the pocket and get too much throwing time. The touchdowns thrown last night, the guy got out of the pocket – putting pressure up inside – and running way over here and throwing back yonder. I think both of his touchdowns were on scrambles."

By trying to contain a quarterback, does that temper your pass rush?

"It does but there are times when you are better off keeping him in the pocket where everybody knows where he is and he has to do something. Whereas he gets outside the pocket and starts buying a lot of time and receivers start pulling away from defenders, that's not too good either. There are some quarterbacks you don't mind them getting out of the pocket because they don't throw as well. We've played quarterbacks this this year where we didn't mind them getting out of the pocket because we didn't feel like they threw as well out of the pocket. But those kids last night hurt us out there. But it's not a cure all. Keeping them in the pocket is not a cure all."

It seemed like Chris Rix had a pretty good game.

"I thought he gained something yesterday. I thought he gained something. I thought he became more patient and became more aware of his other receivers. In fact, all of them did. All of them did a better job. Still, there's going to be some mistakes out there – should have done this or should have done that. But I thought he made improvement in that area."

Talk about your special teams.

"We let them out of couple times when we shouldn't have. Overall, our kicking game has been probabaly better than our opponent. We've had some breakdowns but maybe not as big as breakdown as our opponents have had. The kicking game, we've done okay."

You only had two penalties.

"I don't know why that was. That's not like us. I would give anything if we could eliminate penalties. That doesn't remind you of Florida State. It's not me. It's the coaches. They are the ones who coach that thing (laughing). I don't know why we did better but we did."

Leon Washington seems to be showing up more and more each game.

"You talk about somebody coming in and really helping you. Looking for a little help here, a little bit of help there, that's what he has done. He is definitely a threat returning punts, returning kickoffs, covering punts, and covering kickoffs. One of those naturals."

Do you remember looking at him during the recruiting period?

"Ask the Seminole Boosters who I spoke to Jacksonville what I said about him. I said we got the starting tailback on the West team. We signed the starting tailback on the East team. And we signed Leon Washington, who might be better than both of them. That's what I saw of him in high school. I didn't say he was better but he might be because I had seen him on film. Complete player. If we put him on defense, I believe he would make the same contribution."

Does B.J. Ward remind you of anybody by the way he has been able to block kicks?

"It would have been hard to predict that he was going to be the guy that doest that. But he seems to have some knack. There's an instinct in the past. We've had players in the past, very few, players who instinctively who can block kicks. Joe Wessel of course was the first one. Bobby Butler was a kick blocker. Tommy Polley would be one. He blocked quite a few. He might have had three one year. Ward seems to have that instinct. You have to have a sense of timing and you do need leaping ability. And you need courage."

Has Brett Williams been as effective at tight tackle as he normally is at split tackle?

"Probably be better off playing one tackle. Probably better off playing one for him. But he's showing people he can play both. He has been very effective for us. It allows us to play three tackles (Williams, Ray Willis and Alex Barron). I think he stacks up there pretty good. I think he and Walter Jones heads up the class."

You mentioned last night how the Louisville game jumped out at you.

"We played Louisville three years ago. I was hoping that was a one-year deal. It wasn't. We have to go back up there. That's always been a pretty tough place to play, I felt like. And when we played them last, (Dave) Ragone was a sophomore and I knew we would be catching him his senior year. Then they have all those defensive players back, which is what you like to build a team around. Then you have a Thursday night. I just felt like it's unfamiliar territory. Unfamiliar territory. And I am scared of it. Those kind of teams, like we've been in the past, No. 1 they are mad. They don't like nobody. They think they are as good as anybody. And they've got a chip on their shoulder. We've been that same way before. I've coached in those kind of conditions. You are really asking for a fight when you go to play Louisville there. It's like playing Southern Mississippi in Haitesburg. Pretty much the same type of thing. You are asking for trouble. If you noticed, Alabama, Auburn, those kind of people, try to stay away from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Louisville is the same way. You don't want to catch them in Louisville if you can help it either. This will be a good test for us now.

Talk about your schedule.

"It's organized real good. I think the toughest thing will be this week, five days. But we have seven before Clemson, even if it's a Thursday night game. That gives you 10 for Miami. Then you have an open date for Notre Dame. So, I really couldn't complain about the way our schedule is set up. If we can just do it. We will go out this afternoon in shorts and go through a practice. We have to get a game plan for Louisville. We will practice heavy tomorrow. We will let up Tuesday and we will even have to practice here Wednesday mornig before we go. But they have the same problem we've got."

Talk about your starts this season.

"Well, until we start playing better opponents, which we are fixing to start doing, we might not know the answer to that. Again, it's good news, bad news. Good news you are getting off to such a good lead, that's good. The good news is all the scoring is coming in the fourth quarter when you are way ahead, instead of the first quarter when it's even. Again, as we play better people we will find out what the meaning of that is."

Do you ever mention Miami to your team?

"We aren't good enough to look ahead at anybody. I use them as a guage stick. Do you want to be as good as Miami? They looked a lot better after Florida beat Tennessee. Miami even looked better, jumping Florida at Florida. We have our work cut out this week. Then we will have it cut out the next week. We talk about Miami as a gauge. Look at what Miami can do. Look at what Miami has done. They are kind of a gauge right now for the whole nation. We used to be like that. I am a one-at-a-time guy. I am always scared of who we are playing. A quarter and a half I was scared of Duke. They gave us some looks we hadn't seen. And couldn't anticipate. But our coaches adjusted to it good, did the right things."


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