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LIVE From Pasadena: 2014 BCS National Championship Team Coverage

By: WCTV Eyewitness Sports Email
By: WCTV Eyewitness Sports Email
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Updated: January 6, 2014, 12:04am

34-31, FSU. FINAL!!! Go Noles!!!


Updated: January 6, 2014, 11:59pm

34-31, FSU. :13 left in the game.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 11:47pm

31-27, Auburn. 1:19 left in the game.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 11:37pm

27-24, FSU. 4:31 left in the game.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 11:34pm

24-20, Auburn. 4:42 left in the game.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 11:22pm

21-20, Auburn. 10:55 left in the game.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 11:07pm

21-13, Auburn. End of the third quarter.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 10:50pm

21-13, Auburn. 6:05 left in third quarter.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 10:06pm

21-10, Auburn. End of the first half.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 10pm

21-10, Auburn. 1:28 left in the first half.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 9:49pm

21-3, Auburn. 5:01 left in the first half.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 9:24pm

14-3, Auburn. 13:48 left in second quarter.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 9:15pm

7-3, Auburn. Start of second quarter.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 9:05pm

7-3, Auburn. 3:07 left in the first quarter.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 8:44pm

3-0, FSU with 9:53 left in the first quarter.


Updated: January 6, 2014, 8:30pm

FSU won the coin toss. Auburn receives in the first half.


Updated By: Jason Kahn
January 6, 2014, 5:30pm

Seminole Nation is invading the West Coast with tons of Garnet and Gold all over Southern California.

The Warchant lives in Pasadena, at least for the next couple of days.

"Very exciting. I'd like to see as many Seminoles in the stadium as possible," says Dolores and Keith Downing.

The Downings have lived in Tallahassee for about 40 years, and they are die-hard FSU fans; the proof exists in their 1993 National Championship watches from a game they did attend. They expect he same result in this one..

"Defense, offense, the way they win and the number of points they put up against opponents," says Dolores Downing.

Dolores is not speaking for, but with, the Seminole Nation.

"They say Alabama was good. We're great. 34-13 the final. Go Noles," says Matt Lobelsky, an FSU fan.

"We have waited so long it seems like for this," says Bobbie Warren.

Warren has lived in Tallahassee all of her life, joined by her husband George for the past four decades. They can't wait to witness a potential third National Title.

"If we win, you're gonna see me crying. Their gonna be tears of joy," says Warren.

Many Seminoles fans had very long flights to California, especially those on the East Coast, because of the delays due to bad weather. Some people waited about 14 hours to make the trip.


Updated By: Jason Hurst
January 6, 2014, 5pm

When you play for a National Championship, you wear your heart on your sleeve, you stick your chest out, not afraid to show off your school colors, can't wait for a score so you can begin the Seminole Chant. Tomahawks in full force, you're so confident, you're willing to put a friendly wager on it.

"It's been - a what - 13 or 14 years since we had a National Championship in Tallahassee?" says Antonio Cromartie, former FSU Defensive Back and current NY Jets Defensive Back. "So that's something we are looking forward to. I'm just glad we are getting back to playing the kind of football we are supposed to. Jameis Winston has been tremendous for us, and the defense is playing tremendous also."

While one FSU alum thinks his Noles will win, a prominent Auburn Tiger says otherwise, and is not afraid to talk some trash (all in fun of course).

"Right now, I have a great Twitter war going on with Warrick Dunn @TakeoSpike51," says Takeo Spikes, former Auburn and current NFL Linebacker. "Follow me, and you will definitely see me and Warrick going back and forth, day-by-day. That's the biggest one, Darnell Dockett, but he and I see each other face to face though."

And there has to be a friendly wager? So what's at stake?

"Oh absolutely, and what makes it even better - because you are from Tallahassee correct?" says Spikes. "So the wager will be this - when we win, Warrick Dunn and Darnell Dockett along with EJ Maniuel and everybody else I could not get in contact with alumi from Florida State, we will have to go to one of my partner restaurants in Tallahassee Recess in College Town, and we will make everything be on them. You can come, and you don't have to pay for nothing."

I like the sound of eating and drinking for free; only one problem, Takeo, I'm rooting for Florida State and think the Noles will win. I'm not alone.

Prediction: Florida State, 35-14


Updated By: Jason Hurst
January 3, 2014, 11pm

Florida State is just three days out from possibly winning their 3rd National Championship, the last BCS Title Game in this current format.

The Noles played the first BCS National Championship Game in the 1998 season, falling to Tennessee. The Noles are hoping for better results this time around.

FSU finished their third practice on a good note. Jimbo Fisher said the team is very healthy, and he likes where his team is at right now.

He said you have to be aware of possible upsets; it happens every year. That’s why preparation is key.

The Noles are not taking Auburn lightly.

Jimbo also had to field the question: “Are you leaving for Texas? If so, Jameis joked he’d leave with you.”

"Yeah, he and I have a tremendous relationship,” said Fisher. “He and I are very close, but we will be right here."

"I think they are a great front,” said Bryan Stork, FSU Redshirt Senior Center, when speaking of the Auburn Tigers. “They are well coached. They do what they are supposed to do. They are where they are supposed to be. I definitely think it’s the best defense we are going to play, their front is very talented, and there are many of them.”

WCTV was also able to speak with a couple of Auburn’s defensive players.

NOSA EGUAE

"We hang our hat on just trying to play good defense in the 4th quarter,” says Nosa Eguae, Defensive End for the Auburn Tigers. “Our deal is going out there and executing when the game is on the line, making big-time plays. But as far as the yards thing – that’s the thing we’ve been working on. We've been working on cutting down the big plays, and that’s something that going to be big time in this game.”

Dee Ford

“That’s pretty much been our responsibility all year, and it starts up front,” says Dee Ford, Defensive End for the Auburn Tigers. “We definitely know what we have to do. I think pressure makes a Quarterback average. We definitely want to put pressure on this Quarterback, really affect his decisions."

WCTV also caught up with a couple of former FSU players.

“I know exactly how they practice, and they have been extra focused this year,” says Menelick Watson. “It's been beautiful to watch, especially guys like Jameis coming into his own. I came in on my visit with Jameis, and from the first day, I knew he was going to be a leader, just the way guys gravitate towards him and how he was able to command everybody just his presence alone.”

Chris Rix at 22-29
“[I’m] so impressed with Jameis as a freshman, taking Florida State back to the National Championship,” says Chris Rix. “The guy has ice water in his veins, and I expect him to keep on playing the way he's been playing. He plays like an upperclassman, he has fun on the field, and I am excited to see him play on Monday night.”

“No one works as hard as our offensive line,” continues Rix. “Coach Trickett will have them ready. I was the only guy that left, so you are talking about four guys we run for I don’t know how many yards last year. Adding Bobby Hart, we haven’t skipped a beat, and we are even better than last year.”

“I think it will be closer than people think; I think it will come down to the 4th quarter. I like our chances. We have a great kicker in Roberto Aguayo. I am picking Florida State by a field goal, ironically,” says Rix.


Updated By: Jason Kahn
January 3, 2014, 11pm

The Florida State Seminoles have won 44 games in the past four years, all under Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.

And the seniors have been there every step of the way.

Of course, they’re hoping to get win #45 with a National Championship.

Two of those upperclassmen are the biggest reason for the Seminoles’ 13-0 record this year.

Lamarcus Joyner and Christian Jones were left with a difficult decision last season: return to school or sign and NFL contract?

Seems like they made the right choice.

And Christian Jones may be enjoying practice in California more than anyone else.

“We’ve been in games in the past where we had to fight to win,” says Jones, FSU Senior Defensive End.

Jones, along with his defensive teammate Joyner, is running after perfection.

A decision to return to school for their senior seasons is a big hit.

“Even now, looking back, when I knew I was coming back, I knew we had a good group of guys coming back, so that kind of got me excited about this whole process,” says Jones.

And now those two veterans are telling the younger draft-eligible players about that process.

“I’ve been in their shoes before, and I believe you shouldn’t rush anything in life,” says Joyner, FSU Senior Defensive Back. “I mean, do the best you can, and let the chips fall where they may.”

The chips have fallen in Pasadena for Joyner and Jones.

The final and biggest stage of their college careers, a game against Auburn, they know will come to the defense.

“We try to make games physical,” says Joyner. “We try to be the team that punches the other team in the mouth. I think it’s going to be a real clash of the titans there.”

Joyner is second on the team in tackles with 64, tied a school record for sacks by a defensive back with 5.

Jones has 49 tackles and 2 sacks.


Updated By: Jason Hurst
January 3, 2014, 6pm

This will be the last BCS National Championship Game; next year starts the playoff system.

1998 was the first season of the current BCS format. Tennessee beat FSU in the title game 23-16 at the Fiesta Bowl.

Randy Sanders was the Vols Offensive Coordinator.

"When you play in the first one, you wouldn’t think it would be this long getting back,” says Sanders. “We had a lot of good things going on at Tennessee at the time, had a lot of good football teams. I think being in the first one, not that you take it for granted, but you expect to do it again. The fact it’s been this number of years between the two, not that I’ve worked any harder or any less for this one, but I’ve actually taken the time to appreciate that I’m here."

Sanders will coach in the last BCS game – this time as FSU’s Quarterback Coach.


Updated By: Jason Kahn
January 3, 2014, 5:30pm

It’s been 123 days since Florida State opened the 2013 season, and now the top-ranked and undefeated Seminoles are 2 days from playing for a National Championship.

WCTV heard from Jamies Winston for the first time since arriving in California. Winston is trying to close a storybook season, including some of the challenges he’s had to endure with the sexual assault investigation.

But now, that’s behind him.

The freshman Heisman Trophy-winning Quarterback will be facing a team from his home state of Alabama, the Auburn Tigers. To make it extra special, it will be Winston’s birthday on January 6.

Winston’s stats are remarkable: more than 3800 yards, 38 passing touchdowns. Winston could become the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship in the same season.

He says he’s never won a title, not since high school, and he plans to finish the last chapter in the 2013 season with a win.

"When you got the opportunity to play in a National Championship game, and you're team is the only team on television, and it's my birthday, we're not just going out to play around,” says Winston. “We're not taking anyone for granted. We're going out there to play a great game. We're going to do what we came here to do: 13 games. We've got a 14th one. Why not end this year with a victory?"

Winston told a funny story to the media about taking a trip to Dave and Buster’s with Kenny Shaw. A fan came up to Shaw and congratulated him on winning the Heisman. Winston just laughed, looked over at Shaw, and said, “That’s right. You did win the Heisman.”

This is just an example of Winston’s selflessness. And he’ll need help from guys like Shaw and the rest of the receivers against Auburn’s defense on Monday.


Updated By: Jason Hurst
January 3, 2014, 5pm

Here we are in 2014; and the Noles could make “14” a special number.

FSU could be the first team ever to win 14 games in a season.

The Noles are working hard to make that happen with great preparation at practice in Costa Mesa, CA.

Yesterday, Jimbo Fisher said his team came to work. They understand what is at stake.

But the Noles have been in rhythm this season, going 13-0, but they haven’t been in game action since the ACC Championship.

So how does the layoff affect preparation?

"Timing more so on the offensive side of the ball, you got the timing of the route runnings and are used to being in a certain routine. You get out of the routine; now you try to get back into that routine," explains Lawrence Dawsey, FSU’s Passing Game Coordinator and Wide Receiver Coach.

"Bowl Games are a bit of a challenge; they are a lot like opening games,” says Randy Sanders, FSU’s Quarterback Coach. “We've played 13 games to this point, but you always try to balance, as a coach, how do you practice, how physical are you in practice? Because the best way to be good at football is to play it and practice the way you play. Obviously football is a physical sport and involves a lot of contact. Every time you do that, you are scared to death you won’t get to the game with your best players. Our team has responded well, and I look forward to the challenge."

WCTV is constantly reporting practice updates, giving an inside look as to how the Noles are scheming for their next opponent.

Although this is treated like a business trip, the guys seem relaxed and enjoy talking about off-the-wall stuff, everything from full bears, mistaken identity, and being on a first name basis with their coach (that he doesn’t know about).

"I look like a 12-year-old kid when I shave [my beard], so I am going to keep it,” says Bryan Stork, FSU Redshirt Senior Center. “You know what the trick is to grow a beard: don’t shave it."

"I would definitely vote for our team as a Heisman. When I came back, I gave it to everybody and said, “This is your trophy,” says Winston. “Actually, the other day, in Dave 'n Busters, someone told Kenny congrats on winning the Heisman. I was like, you’re right; he won it for me."

"I just say ‘Jimbo’ rolls off the tongue easier,” continues Winston. “We don’t say ‘Jimbo’ to his face; we just say ‘Coach’, but he knows it. I even think his kids call him ‘Jimbo’; I don’t know."

Maybe Jimbo will let them call him whatever they want if they win the National Championship. This is definitely a tight-knit group. All of the coaches have emphasized how much the coaches have bonded with the players.


Updated By: Jason Kahn
January 3, 2014, 5pm

The National Championship Game is only three days away.

The #1 Florida State Seminoles are practicing right now in Costa Mesa, California.

The Florida State Seminoles are holding their third practice of the week, and they will hold one more full practice tomorrow, followed by a walkthrough on Sunday.

Then, at 8:30pm EST on January 6 – The National Championship.

ESPN College Football experts met with the media this morning: former Heisman winner Desmond Howard of College Gameday, NFL Draft Guru Todd McShay and former NFL Quarterback Brian Griese. Florida State may be an 8-point favorite against Auburn, but the experts do not see it that way.

"To me, it's all about matchups,” says Howard. “I'm a boxing fan. I love boxing. And the one thing that you will hear about boxing is that styles make fights. Same thing with football; styles make games. That's going to determine if it's going to be a high-scoring game, low-scoring game, things of that nature. Plus, you've got so much time to prepare for these Bowl Games that anything can happen."

"If the game comes down to the fourth quarter and it's a tight game, Auburn is battle-tested,” says Griese. “They've been through tight games throughout the course of the year, and Florida State really hasn't. So I know that's what Gus Malzahn and his players want - to get into a tight game and to see what happens."


Updated By: Jason Hurst
January 2, 2014, 11pm

This is a once in a lifetime chance for the Seminoles, and they’re going to capitalize on this one.

And Florida State is brooding confidence, not arrogance.

"I don't think we say this out of confidence. Don't need to worry about them; we need to worry about our gameplan and our execution,” says Terrence Brooks, FSU Safety.

"We've got a lot of SEC players and a lot of great athletes, and I think we match up against every SEC team in the conference or better," says Christian Jones, Senior Defensive End.

“We rely on each other; go back to the basics. One team, one heartbeat,” says Telvin Smith, Linebacker.

That confidence starts at the top, and there’s something to be said about experience.

"We have a lot of experience on our staff of guys who have coached in National Championship games,” says Coach Pruitt. “Me, Sal Sunseri, Jimbo, Randy Sanders, Odell Hagans, that's unusual to have that many guys that's been here done it before."

That knowledge is now shared with the players.

After all, it’s number 1 versus Number 2. Execution is crucial.

You got to be able to get lined up. These guys go extremely fast; you can watch Coach Malzahn over the years. He goes really fast; seems like he gets teams discombobulated a little bit. Eliminate the explosive plays.

“We’ve seen tape. There’s a little hole, and Tre Mason slips right though. Tre Mason takes off a 20 throughout this week, emphasizing gap responsibilities,” says Jones.


Updated By: Jason Kahn
January 2, 2014, 11pm

The Florida State football team is soaking up the sun in California, and Day Two of practice in the Golden State is a wrap.

WCTV got a first look at Florida State this afternoon at practice, but after a hard day’s work, the team was treated to some prime beef.

The Seminoles sat down at Lawry’s Beef Bowl in Newport Beach, CA.

While they’d like to cut up Auburn on Monday, the Noles were served a meal that perhaps could taste just as sweet as a National Championship.

“At this point in the season, a lot of them already know the Dos and Don’ts. And so this is that week that they have to be dialed in. They pretty much know that. But there are the little reminders. But I’ll see them at breakfast and be like, ‘Hey, what are you doing today?’” says Kristin Gravani, the team’s nutritionist.

Gravani admits it’s hard to keep tabs on what every player is eating, but she expects them to make the right decision.

“I’m not the food police. But I am there to structure it for them when they need it. So all the food I know they’re getting, it’s all healthy stuff,” continues Gravani.

Even if Chef Jameis Winston is helping put that food in their stomachs, they may have to make up for it in practice.

“I may have to run them more,” says Coach Fisher.

And you know they’ll be hearing from Gravani too because she knows the Noles are hungry for a title.

“There’s a saying that nutrition won’t win you a gold medal or win you a championship, but it certainly can get in the way of doing that,” says Gravani.

Gravani says this year they’ve spent thousands more on food for the team compared to last year during the week of the Orange Bowl.


Updated by: Jason Hurst
January 2, 2014, 6pm

Jeremy Pruitt: “There’s not a happier place than Florida State, day in and day out.”

Jeremy Pruitt is one of six new coaches added to Jimbo Fisher’s staff this fall, and the Defensive Coordinator is making quite an impression.

“He said something to me that I will never forget in my life. He said, ‘You don’t get what you want, you get what you earn.’ I’d never heard that before,” said Lamarcus Joyner, FSU Senior Cornerback.

Coach Pruitt is not just making an impression on the players; they are also reminding him of why he got into the game.

“I've never been around a group that loves to practice, who loves to prepare like these guys, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been around a lot of good football teams. You have to run them out of our office,” state Pruitt.

FSU leads the nation in scoring defense. The first year Defensive Coordinator didn’t have the magic recipe; he had some ideas, but he listened to his players, got to know them, made some changes throughout the season, and they bought in.

“Coach Pruitt just does a great job in making us believe in him. He's a great motivator, and he's a great teacher. I look forward in going into meetings every day and just figuring out what I can learn from the guy,” states Timmy Jernigan, Junior Defensive Lineman.

Some of those changes included moving Christin Jones from Linebacker to Defensive End, and Lamarcus Joyner shifting from Safety to Corner.

“And to know that he came from a good pedigree under Coach Saban and been around Coach Fisher before, guys who we all respect, the whole country respects. Just understanding that just that alone will get you better, that alone was good enough for me,” Joyner continues.

The schemes may be complicated, but trust me the players and coach are alike; they speak the same language.

“It’s easy. He’s from the country, he talks country, so all the country came in together. So it was easy. We believed when he came in, and let him coach us. We didn’t worry about the coaches before him, even though we have much love for those coaches, Coach Stoops and Coach Greg Hudson,” says Telvin Smith, Senior Linebacker.


Updated by: Jason Hurst
January 2, 2014, 5pm

We are four days away, and Florida State is getting ready for the National Championship: #1 v #2.

The team held their second practice today at Orange Coast Community College in Costa Mesa, which was the first practice open to the media.

WCTV got a chance to talk to the Noles Defensive group earlier this morning, and they said the key to winning this game is tempo.

Starting Defensive Tackle, Timmy Jernigan, turned to WCTV’s camera after last year’s win in the Orange Bowl and guaranteed the Seminoles would be playing for a National Championship this season.

"The leadership that I knew that was going to be in place, “Jernigan explains. “I knew that it was my turn to step up and be a leader. Guys just bought in over the summer, over the spring - to the workouts, to the meetings. Guys just spending time together off the field. You know you never really see one of us by ourselves. You're gonna see a group of at least four of us. You see defensive linemen hanging out with receivers. You don't really see that on other teams. I knew that something special was about to happen."

Lamarcus Joyner, Senior Cornerback, also stated this about playing for Coach Jeremy Pruitt: “Learning football is the easiest thing because we all love football. If it’s important enough to you, you’ll do it, and loving the game and loving the attitude Coach Pruitt came in there with, all the leaders were willing to learn, and it was easy from there.”

Telvin Smith, Senior Linebacker, commented about how easy it is to play for Coach Pruitt: “It’s easy when you listen and let a coach coach you and do his job. As a player, you do your job, and the chemistry - it all flows together, and that’s when the bond comes. You love each other and are able to do what we’ve done.”
WCTV also spoke with some experts regarding the big game.

David Pollack, an ESPN analyst, believes there is a lot of NFL talent on FSU’s team.

Brian Griese is a big fan of Lamarcus Joyner. Griese feels Joyner should have been a finalist for the Heisman. Griese also said Joyner reminds him of Desmond Howard, and if he would have played special teams, he may have gone to New York.


By: Jason Kahn

Pasadena, Ca. -- The top-ranked Florida State Seminoles wrapped up day one of practice on the west coast, and now the National Championship Game is only four days away.

Florida State is not just a hot topic in Tallahassee. College football fans all over the country are talking about the Seminoles, especially in California.

Eyewitness Sports reporter Jason Kahn talked to fans about the Garnet and Gold.

If you think football is just reserved for North Florida and South Georgia, you are wrong. There are plenty of football crazies in Southern California.

Of course you have strong supporters for the local schools around the area, but with the National Championship Game in their backyard, they're starting to hear a lot about the Seminoles.

David King may be an SEC guy, and a South Carolina Alum, but his heart is Garnet and Gold this week.

"I can't wait for it," said David King, Football Fan. "They keep telling me Florida State's got all of these NFL guys. And just to see how they defense the Auburn running game."


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