Tribe ready to travel to Death Valley

Thursday afternoon, Florida State put the finishing touches on their game plan for this weekend. Dekoda Watson talked about playing for Coach Andrews. Christian Ponder discusses his health and the challenges presented by Death Valley.

Watson says defense owes Mickey

Earlier this week, longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews announced that this season, his 26th, will be his last. Andrews has long been known for fielding some of the best defenses in the nation every single year. It is unfortunate that in his final season, the defense has been worse than ever.

"I feel like we're going to play for Coach Andrews," Watson said. "This season hasn't been what we wanted, but we can control what how we play from here on out."

Ponder ready to play

Against North Carolina State, quarterback Christian Ponder suffered a rib contusion as he scrambled for a first down in the first quarter. He was limited in practice early this week, but took all his normal snaps on Wednesday and Thursday.

"I'm definitely feeling a lot better than I expected," Ponder said. "No matter how much I'm hurting, I'm not staying off the field. I put my heart and soul into this thing and I wanna play I'm sure I'll have to play through a little pain, but nothing that's unbearable."

Although Ponder is expecting to play through some pain this weekend, he doesn't feel that it will limit himself or offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher's confidence in opening up the playbook.

"Not at all (will Jimbo hold back on play-calling)", Ponder said. "If I felt like he was going to do that, then I would probably let E.J. play."

Escaping Death Valley alive

If Florida State wants to keep any hope of an ACC Championship alive, they must win this weekend in Death Valley. Clemson Memorial Stadium is widely considered one of the toughest and loudest places in America to play and won't be kind to the Seminoles.

"It's definitely a heck of an environment," Ponder said referencing his last trip to Clemson when he was a backup. "It's gonna be loud and pretty hostile. We have a lot of young guys that haven't experienced an environment like that yet, but we should be alright.

"It was about the same as Blacksburg. Definitely loud and hostile in both places so I would say they are about the same."

Florida State will leave Tallahassee Friday afternoon for South Carolina. The 'Noles and Tigers are set to kick off in front of a national ESPN audience at 7:45 pm Saturday night. As of Thursday afternoon, a few thousand tickets still remain, but Clemson officials are confident they will come close to, if not sell out the game.

Nole Digest Top Stories