Big Plays Needed

Publisher
Posted Nov 15, 2004


It shouldn't come as a surprise but Florida State's receivers will need a big game in Saturday's home showdown against rival Florida. Last year, of course, the Seminoles emerged victorious when quarterback Chris Rix connnected with P.K. Sam for a 52-yard touchdown with 55 seconds remaining. The Gators' defense enters on a high note following last Saturday's home victory over South Carolina.

Florida State returned to the practice field on Monday to begin preparations for Saturday's showdown against rival Florida.

Prior to practice, a number of Seminole receivers, including DeCody Fagg, watched film of the Gators' defense.

"We started watching them on film and they seem to mix their (pass) coverage," Fagg said.

"They might be press (coverage) on one side, and then they will back up on the other side. We've put in some hot routes and it's just matter of making the plays."

Chauncey Stovall and tailback Lorenzo Booker are the only two Seminoles to catch at least one pass in each of FSU's 10 games this season.

Craphonso Thorpe, meanwhile, has caught at least one pass in 26 consecutive games played.

Dominic Robinson, who had five receptions for 102 yards at Florida Field last season, is averaging 17.2 yards per reception.

UF features one of the youngest defenses in the Southeastern Conference -- six starters are either freshmen or sophomores.

The Gators should get a boost against FSU, since starting linebackers Channing Crowder and Travis Harris should be able to return to the lineup after missing the past two games with injuries -- Crowder with strained tendons in his foot; Harris with a sprained ankle.

True freshman Brandon Siler started in place of injured Channing Crowder at middle linebacker the past two games and had the best game of his career in the win over South Carolina, recording 14 tackles, including four for losses and one sack.

UF's defensive unit ranks seventh in the SEC and 44th in the country in total defense (352.2 yards per game). The Gators are seventh in the conference and 65th nationally in rush defense (156.3); fifth in the league and 29th nationally in pass efficiency defense (112.5); and seventh in the league and 37th nationally in scoring defense (21.3).

Fagg is excited about playing in his first FSU-UF game after growing up in the shadows of Doak Campbell Stadium in nearby Quincy.

"This is gonna be a great week because I know a lot of those guys," Fagg said. "It's going to be a good opportunity for me to do good things against this team."

While the Gators have not won in Tallahassee since 1986, UF has won five road games against ranked opponents under coach Ron Zook.

Zook and the Gators also will head into Tallahassee with nice momemtum.

UF has won two consecutive games to become bowl eligible, and the Gators' performance in the win over South Carolina was their best all-around effort.

"Overall, we're starting to become more consistent," Zook said.

"We're definitely starting to play like we're supposed to play. I think we're continuing to improve. That's what you're supposed to do.

"I've had a lot of people tell me that consistency is usually the last thing that comes with a young group. Hopefully, we're turning that corner a little bit. South Carolina is a good football team that's well-coached. The fact we could go out there and do some of the things we did shows we're improving."


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