TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With a spirited week of practice in the books, No. 5 Florida State has completed preparation for Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener. The Seminoles (2-0, 0-0 ACC) host recent nemesis Wake Forest (2-0, 1-0 ACC) in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN and ESPN3D, with kickoff set for 12 noon.
“It was a good, spirited Thursday,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “One of the best one’s we’ve had. We had a few things to get cleaned up. We got them cleaned up. I like the way we ran the ball, threw the ball, played defense. I liked our mental frame of mind.
“I’m anxious to watch them play Saturday.”
The Seminoles are certainly anxious to test themselves against, not only an FBS opponent, but one that has managed to win four of the last six meetings between the schools. The Demon Deacons arrive with an unblemished record, thanks to a pair of fourth quarter rallies, including last week’s dramatic 28-27, ACC-opening victory over North Carolina.
After wins against Murray State and Savannah State, a victory over ACC Atlantic Division rival Wake Forest would enable the Seminoles to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2005. That is also the last season Florida State won an ACC Championship.
“We’ve got a big one on Saturday,” Fisher said. “This will be a big game and it’s going to be a very good game. Wake Forest is a very good football team. We need to play really well.”
Intent on returning to that place, the Seminoles begin the meat of their schedule eager to prove that they can perform at a consistently high level, regardless the opposition, each week. Mental discipline is essential to that success. To that end, Fisher has liked what he has seen from his team.
“They’re juiced up,” Fisher said of his players. “I’ve liked their practices.”
The Demon Deacons are known for their discipline on both sides of the football, and they will challenge opposing defenses with a variety of motion packages and misdirection plays. On the field, that will require the FSU defense to maintain gap integrity, play with poise and trust each other.
One other point of emphasis that will be critical to FSU’s success this season will be developing a consistently productive running game. Much of that will come back to an offensive line that has undergone a major overhaul from 2011, and to this point, enabled Seminole ball carriers to average a league-best 7.0 yards per carry while piling up 11 rushing touchdowns.
“At practice and everything I’ve seen, we’re much farther along than we’ve been in a long time and doing some things a lot better,” Fisher said. “We’re a lot more physical, a lot more forceful; picking up blitzes. … There are some smart guys up there. Not just smart, but they’ve got football instincts.
“We need to be able to run that football.”
LB Ukeme Eligwe hand
OL Daniel Foose back
DT Moses McCray head
DT Jacobbi McDaniel ankle
DT Derrick Mitchell back
OUT FOR THE SEASON
TE Dan Hicks knee
DE Brandon Jenkins foot
RB Mario Pender sports hernia