Oct. 1, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State will play in its second road game of the season Saturday night at NC State with the guarantee that Seminoles fans won't equal or possibly outnumber the home fans like they did last weekend in Tampa.
In No. 3 FSU's 30-17 victory over USF, a Bulls-record crowd at Raymond James Stadium was at least 50 percent 'Noles fans with the real possibility that the FSU-USF split was more like 60-40 in the stands. Carter Finley Stadium doesn't figure to be nearly as kind for the primetime ACC matchup at 8 p.m.
"Their fans are right up on you as far as being on the visitor sideline, the fans are right on your back," FSU quarterback EJ Manuel said Monday at his weekly press conference.
Not only do the field dimensions play a factor in making it difficult on visitors but the noise levels can cause problems, too. Wolf howls are piped through the stadium speakers and the home crowd will surely be amped up with thoughts of upsetting the No. 3 team in the nation on national television. If FSU wants to reverse what has been a trend of struggles in Raleigh, N.C. -- the 'Noles have lost four of their last seven games at Carter Finley Stadium -- being able to communicate will be critical.
In addition to piping crowd noise into practice this week to get the players ready for the first truly hostile environment they will have faced this season, Jimbo Fisher said Monday that he will have his quarterbacks whisper this week to get everyone accustomed to not being able to hear play calls.
"The whispering, you''ll be shocked how much that helps," Fisher said. "Because you know what it makes guys do? They take things for granted and have to pay attention. They have to focus and it makes them focus."
Unlike the first three weeks of the season when FSU stepped on the gas and never looked back against overmatched foes Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest, the last two games have seen the Seminoles fall behind early.
A second-half 28-14 Clemson lead and early 3-0 USF advantage boast different levels of pressure but so far Florida State has responded the same way: bounce back, take a lead for first time and never trail again.
"The game is 60 minutes long, it's not 59 minutes or anything like," Manuel said. "We have to play out the whole game."
That mentality may come in handy Saturday against an NC State team that has the potential to light up the scoreboard and is probably angry after losing a shoot-out to Miami last weekend, 44-37.
In that game, Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon threw for 441 yards and upped his season total to 1,422 yards passing.
"We know it's going to be a tough game when we get up there Saturday," Fisher said.
FSU-USF GAME THOUGHTS
During his press conference Monday, Fisher and Manuel touched on several topics from FSU's victory over USF. Here are some of the highlights:
-FSU managed to get out of Tampa without any injuries other than a few typical bumps and bruises. Fisher did comment that injured defensive end Brandon Jenkins is still in a waiting pattern with his injured foot and still is not able to put any weight on it.
-True freshman defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. played some meaningful snaps against the Bulls. "We've got to continue to make him grow," Fisher said, before sharing that the five-star recruit is now down to 282 pounds.
"He's going to be a really good player," Fisher added.
-Fisher also commented that redshirt junior defensive tackle Demonte McAllister played an exceptional game in the heart of FSU's defense.
-Manuel said that his one-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Haplea in the victory was one that he suggested to Fisher during the timeout that preceded it.
THREE NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Three Seminoles were recognized by the the ACC Monday afternoon as being players of the week at their respective positions, including center Bryan Stork (offensive lineman), defensive end Cornellius Carradine (defensive linemen) and kicker Dustin Hopkins (specialist).
Stork became the second FSU offensive linemen in as many weeks to take home the honor, joining Menelik Watson after the right tackle was tabbed for the spot following his performance against Clemson. Against the Bulls, Stork had the ball on all 67 snaps and only had one missed assignment while grading out at 77 percent.
"I know he is one of [offensive line] coach [Rick] Trickett's favorites, "Manuel said.
Carradine took home defensive lineman honors after registering a team-best nine tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble that led to a Christian Jones scoop and score.
Hopkins was named the top specialist after hitting three field goals against USF.