At some point, after knowing this opponent for six months, and with a lot of hype for the opener as there is every year, it's time to just play the football.
That was the general consensus of players, following Thursday's practice.
"I've hit that point, definitely, probably yesterday or two days ago," receiver Devin Street said. "I'm ready to hit someone else, and go against the defense."
Street's matchup with corner Lamarcus Joyner should be one of the top matchups to watch for on Monday--two all-conference players going toe-to-toe. Joyner moves from safety to corner, where he was still tabbed as a preseason all-conference player. Street says it's not surprising, considering Joyner's abilities.
"He plays fast, physical," Street says. "He's a great player. He flies around, and he plays the game fast."
Anthony Gonzalez will be starting at outside linebacker. Though he's already got one start at linebacker under his belt (against Ole Miss), it's been a long offseason getting ready to take over as the full-time starter.
Gonzalez agreed with Street. The hype has been nice, but at some point, it's time to play the game.
"The game is coming, we're ready to go," Gonzalez said. "We just have to come out, execute, play within ourselves, we'll be fine."
Gonzalez is faced with a big challenge in this first game. It's the first start for redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. The inexperience may be a factor. Winston is a unique talent, and a concern regardless of this being his first start. A former quarterback himself, Gonzalez feels he can relate to what Winston will try to do against Pitt.
"He's a very good quarterback," Gonzalez said. "He's a dual-threat quarterback, and I was a dual-threat quarterback. He can run, he can throw. He's pretty good at it."
Lafayette Pitts broke through in 2012--his first year as a starter. The drill is a little easier this time around, getting a feel for the game as a starter. He too is ready to just play football.
"It seems like this week is dragging, I'm ready to play," Pitts said. "We're going to take every day, every opportunity, to get better and be able to play Monday night."
Pitts--like Street and Gonzalez--also has his own challenge, in defending a speedy group of Florida State receivers.
"It's a bigger challenge, they've got some good receivers," Pitts said. "I can't compare them to anybody right now. It's something new for us. We're going to have to bring our 'A' game."