Up Close with Jeff Bowden

FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden chatted with the media Tuesday. Here are his comments on a variety of subjects, ranging from Saturday's showdown at North Carolina State to the play of quarterback Adrian McPherson to the effort of his young tailbacks against Georgia Tech. "(We've) been this wide open long ago when we were executing, like we feel like we are now. We feel like we are moving the ball better," Bowden said of the Seminoles' offense.

Here are coach Jeff Bowden's comments from Tuesday.

"I see a lot of guys who play like you think Chuck would coach – they fly to the ball. Fast. It looks like they got real good speed on defense. That's probably the main thing. Play really hard."

Virginia ran the ball on State pretty good.

"Yeah. Their line. ... it looked like Tech and Virginia just said we are going to get after your butt, too. It was too physical football games. Backs ran well. Linemen blocked. They did a great job. They didn't do anything we are not going to try to do. I hope we can do it affectively as they did."

In last year's game you had two key drops late in the game.

"I still don't know, do you think the one in the end zone (B.J. Ward) was a drop. Somebody said they thought it hit his pads. We couldn't tell. We looked hard but couldn't tell. You can't have it when it comes to that. We didn't have the ball a lot at times, but we had it when it counted. That last play to B.J. Ward was a huge play. A difference in the ballgame. Hopefully, it doesn't come to that again. Hopefully, we will have a better answer this year. You just want a player to make a play. It comes down to that. We've done that for a lot of years. We just didn't make the big play that time."

Is this team still being plagued by drops?

"We only had one last game. Craphonso (Thorpe). That was the best (effort) this year."

Talk about P.K Sam (been slowed by hamstring pull).

"He hasn't had as big a year as I expected him to have. He had a big game against Duke. He has missed several games with a hamstring and we are missing him again. The upside is all that time he has been missing, Dominic (Robinson) has been getting reps and getting game experience and learning and making himself better. I miss P.K. because he gives you depth and he does give you a guy who has played in big games like this before. He had a big third-down catch last year in this game, I think on that final drive. I will miss him. But, as far as. ... I think I am okay with Dominic in his absence."

What are you doing to try to curtail drop passes?

"I am doing more warmups now than I have ever done. If you make too big of an issue about it, I am just afraid that's the only thing on their minds. Instead of just playing football, it's don't drop the ball. That's not the way they should be thinking. We are doing more ever since I quit handling the punt team. I have an extra 15 minutes of ball drills that we do every day. Just have to be more disciplined as far as watching the football all the way into their hands. A lot of drops are just undisciplined plays."

Do you beat N.C. State in the same way it upended FSU last year with quick, short passes?

"We are just a little different style of offense. They have a quarterback who just has an unbelievable, canny knack in that short stuff. Complain about his release and all that stuff, but he gets the ball to the guys and they catch. They catch balls. They will throw it downfield, too. Maybe we throw it downfield a little bit more than they do."

Looking back on A.D.'s performance, what particular areas do you want to see improvement?

"I think in all areas needless to say. A lot of it's going to come. It's coming every ballgame. We are taking less sacks. I think you've seen that the last three games. That's big. Our turnovers are down. Yeah, maybe there's some drops, opportunities for turnovers but they are still down. It's the final deal. Turnovers are down. I am just feeling a lot of. ... feeling a little more consitency out there. I just feel like we are moving the ball a little better now."

Having Montrae Holland back should provide a big lift in terms of the running game.

"It will do a lot. He's so strong. I thought Bobby (Meeks) played really well in his absence for his first full start. I thought (David) Castillo (played at center in place of Antoine Mirambeau) really well. I was happier with him than Jimmy (Heggins) was. The first time starting I thought they did a good job. A guy who has started as long as Montrae, you just can't replace him. His leadreship in the huddle, that's an uncoachable thing."

Will you change anything this week?

"I am out of setting the offense, hoping the defense plays well or anticipating them not playing well. We have to do what we do. That was one of the first comments Daryl (Dickey) made early this morning when we started talking about some of this stuff. (Stay) with some of our base stuff. Do what we are doing and try to get a little bit better. That might be all we need. Talked about putting wrinkles in and things like that. But it was a real valid point. We've got good stuff. We just need to get a little better. We can't worry about what they do and how their offense is."

With your young running backs last week, there seemed to be rushing lanes at times that they didn't get to quick enough.

"There's no question two runs that I can think of would have been. ... had Greg (Jones) been there – I don't know of Nick (Maddox) – but if you had that big back he would have run through a couple arm tackles. That's not a knock on Leon (Washington). It's just easier to bring him down because of his size. Greg might have gone a long way on the two that I can remember. It just takes time. I was really happy with Leon. It looked like he got better. Leon ran well. He looks like the kind of back that the more reps he gets, the more at-bats he's going to get better. He's got a good feel. He's got good vision. "

What will it take to convince opponents not to blitz this team?

"I don't know. I think we just have to expect it. If you don't show you can beat the blitz, they are going to keep blitzing. Thank goodness, hopefully A.D.'s showing he can handle it. But what you are seeing, they are getting us, getting us, getting us, then boom, we finally hit something. As long as they keep coming at us. They are going to get us some. We'll just sit in there and hang in there with A.D., we will get them, too."

How important is it to get Robert Morgan back into the mix?

"Real important. I need him. He hasn't been included a lot in the passing game because he just hasn't been catching the ball. Because of drops. He's getting plenty of reps but I was willing to put the Notre Dame game behind and then we come right back in the third-down situation at Georgia Tech and we had another drop. He's going to have to show me that he's going to catch the ball. I held him out of some of those situations. He's real uncomfortable with it right now. The guys that are catching the ball are the guys you have to throw to."

What does A.D.'s performance the past three games say about him?

"I don't know what it says. I just think he's a calm, collected player who doesn't seem to get rattled. Hopefully he's proving that. It seems like he is. I have not seen him rattled. I have not seen the kid rattled from the sideline. He comes to me and if we can get it blocked. ... there are times when he wants to know where the pressure is coming from, he can't see it. He will have a chance to get rattled this Saturday, I promise. It will be interesting to see how he handles it up there."

The offense seems to be more wide open the past few games. How much is that have to do with Greg Jones not being available and how much does it have to do with Adrain playing well?

"It's a little bit of both. We've been this wide open long ago when we were executing, like we feel like we are now. We feel like we are moving the ball better. Feel like A.D. is moving the ball a little more consistently, a little better decision making right now. That's kind of what you are hoping Chris can sit back and see that and learn from that. He has had the pressure on him from day one. Some of its without Greg and some of its with our comfort level with A.D."

Is what you see in A.D. because of what he has done or because you felt there needed to be a change?

"I think he's doing better things right now. I think that's why he's the starter."

Knowing Chuck Amato, do you feel this team is walking into a trap this weekend?

"With Chuck, No. 1, forget the signals. He's going to know all of our signals. If he doesn't know them, he filmed them last year and he's got them this year. He will know most of our line calls. He will know us. He will communicate what he knows about our defense to their coaches on the other side of the ball. His familiarity worries you a good bit. But, he still can't go on the field. Still, just that knowledge, it's a good advantage for them."

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