Sept. 10, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's game against Wake Forest Saturday is going to have a completely different feel than the team's first two contests.
Not only are the No. 5/6 Seminoles (2-0) ramping up the level of competition following two blowout victories over FCS opponents, the game will also kick off under the high-noon sun rather than the 6 p.m. start time that resulted in the team's first two games being played under the lights.
FSU didn't game-plan specifically for Wake Forest during the preseason but the team did prepare for that pre-determined kick time.
"That's why we scrimmaged at 12:30 every day," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday during his weekly press conference. "That's why our scrimmages were at 12:30 all the way through fall camp. You go back and look at it … a lot of the things we did was at noon. Our kids love it. That's their favorite time to play. They like playing it then.
"I mean they like the night game and environment but they like to get up, get out of bed and get going just like we do at practice a lot."
Wake Forest (2-0) comes to town on the heels of a thrilling one-point win over North Carolina.
Fisher said Monday that change in game time and change in opponent is merely an afterthought as FSU has been and will continue to be squarely on the next opponent.
"We are looking forward to a great challenge," Fisher said. "It's our first ACC opener and it's an interdivisional game so it's a double whammy so we need to be dotting I's and crossing T's and making sure we are ready to play."
The last time the Demon Deacons were in Tallahassee they lost 31-0 but that was an anomaly in what has been a successful recent history against the 'Noles.
Since 2006 Wake Forest has beaten Florida State four times, including last year's 35-30 triumph in Winston-Salem, N.C. that extended the Seminoles' losing streak to three games. It was after that game, however, that FSU went on a run, winning seven of its last eight to conclude the season.
Credit FSU's turn-around with the team's young and back-up players getting back into their comfort zones and not trying to do too much to replace fallen teammates.
"Sometimes when you try harder you do less," Fisher said. "And it's a admirable thing but it's not a smart thing. I think that we realized that these are the players we had, this is what we have to do, everybody do their job, do as well as you can do it and I think we settled into that role and started playing and got into a groove and played pretty well the rest of the season."
FSU's injury situation is a complete 180 from last season when the 'Noles and Demon Deacons squared off. Starters Nick O'Leary and Bryan Stork were able to rest minor injuries in last weekend's win over Savannah State and are expected to return to practice. The team as a whole is "really good" injury wise, Fisher said.
A healthy, undefeated and hungry team will get a chance to test itself against stiffer competition against the Demon Deacons and quarterback EJ Manuel said in his own press conference that he's looking forward to an expanded playbook.
Manuel admitted that in wins over Murray State and Savannah State, the offense utilized only 3 percent of the playoff. The other 97 percent will be available this weekend.
"Definitely excited about it because that's what we did in the summer time," Manuel said. "Coach Fisher likes to throw the kitchen sink at you during the summer time with all the plays and the loads of information and now you can go back into your library and pretty much pick out any book or any play that you want to run versus that team."