"Some kids were tied up with graduation and everything, I would say, you are dealing with a 100 boys you probably have 90 of them here. It was kind of like Monday night practice. We will practice tomorrow at 9:45 (a.m.) in shells. Give them off Sunday and start back Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. They finished their finals today and now we wll wait for the grades to see how they did."
Could you sense any rust after your break?
"Well, there's got to be some after being that long. Got to be some but it shouldn't take them long to get back into it. They couldn't have gotten terribly out of shape during that time."
Did they seem to be excited?
"Seemed to be. Everybody was on time, except the ones tied up with graduation."
How did your injured players respond?
"You have some of the them that are better. Nick Maddox. Montrae (Holland) is probably better. Antoine (Mirambeau) had his knee operated on, so he will be out. (Broderick) Bunkley was out here today and there was a chance he might be able to play but we will have to see how his knee progresses. Willie (Reid) practiced today. I hope he's able to go. I am hoping those two weeks off have gotten him over the hump."
What happens to the tailback slot, now that Leon Washington has more experience?
"We will just work all three and see what happens and kind of decide. If Willie's healthy, that sure would be a good sign. But we sure proud of what Leon was able to do in that ballgame (against Florida). Of course, Nick should be better now if we should don't rehurt them."
Any more thoughts about Georgia?
"I've been looking at film on them and they sure look good. They look good. They are were they deserved to be. They run good, they hit good. They are a very deserving football team, to be right there they are. They got the best group of receivers we've faced. Excellent passer. Veteran offensive line. They've got a good squad."
Why is Georgia's defense, which is ranked first in the SEC, so successful?
"Well, they are very physical. They can run good. (David) Pollack is really good. He's just a sophomore, I believe. I've been amazed how good he is. He just makes play. Golly. They are good. They have a good, solid football team, no doubt about it. We were talking about it the other night. Have you noticed how many of these top five teams and their coaches are in their second year. (Larry) Coker is in his second year, Mark (Richt) is in his second year, coach at Iowa is in his second year, the coach at Southern Cal is in his second year, the coach at Notre Dame is in his first year. But it's amazing, they've all done well."
Any further thoughts on how the BCS worked out and any thoughts about a potential playoff system?
"I never been in favor of a playoff. I can live with the BCS. I am sure each year they will try to more to it to make it even more fair. But no matter what .... what they set out to do was get a 1 versus 2 and it has done pretty good on that. Now, you go down there and somewhere along there's going to be something and people aren't going to be satisfied with it. The main thing is to put your best two teams together."
Chris Rix is coming off his biggest victory of his career. Does he seem a little more confident?
"We didn't do much today to determine what. But that was mighty good for him – to him and the team. It's encouraging."
Have you talked to Mark Richt at all?
"I think that's the only time I talked to him (BCS selection day). The next time I will talk to him probably will be in New Orleans. I think the 27th they have an FCA breakfast. I am sure he will be there with his team, we will be there with ours. ... Other than that, I am ready for some warm weather."
FSU Sports Information
With finals now in the past, the 16th-ranked Florida State football team (9-4) returned to the practice field as they turn their attention to the Nokia Sugar Bowl and the Georgia Bulldogs (12-1). The team practiced in shorts for 12 periods and as soon as the final horn blew, the questions about former FSU offensive coordinator and current Georgia head coach Mark Richt began.
Richt, head coach Bobby Bowden's long-time assistant, had worked at FSU for 15 seasons before accepting the Georgia job just before the Seminoles battled Oklahoma for the 2000 National Championship. This is the first time the two will face off against one another as head coaches but in 1978 Richt did throw a TD pass against FSU in a game the Seminoles went on to win 31-21.
"I tried to recruit him (Richt) out of high school, said Bowden. "We sat in my old office together. He ended up at the University of Miami but I stayed in touch with him and when a position came open, we were able to bring him here."
The Bulldogs come into the January 1st game ranked third in the BCS and fourth in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and the AP Poll. Richt is 20-5 in two seasons, which is the most wins ever by a Georgia coach in his first two seasons on the job. He also led UGA to its first SEC title since 1982 this year.
"As a coach, I think he (Richt) is a little more restrained than I am, I know he's not as animated as me. Mark is very quiet and very astute at what he does. He is really done a good job of pulling that team together and he is a great staff. They are very well coached."
In other news, FSU Director of Sports Medicine Randy Oravetz has ruled Antoine Mirambeau out for the 2003 Nokia Sugar Bowl and will continue to monitor the progress of Nick Maddox and Montrae Holland leading up to the New Year's Day game.