TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It’s only Monday but the Florida State football team has nearly completed its heavy lifting in terms of preparation for Thursday’s nationally-televised showdown at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium.
The eighth-ranked Seminoles (8-1, 5-1 ACC) wrapped up what was the equivalent of a Wednesday workout under the lights, with cooler temperatures setting in, before making the trek north to face the Hokies (4-5, 2-3). Florida State leads the all-time series, which dates to 1955, 22-12-1. The 36th meeting between the schools makes Virginia Tech the most frequently played FSU opponent outside the state of Florida.
“We’ll have a huge challenge on the road ahead of us,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They have a very dynamic quarterback. He’s big and athletic and they’ve got big receivers and they can run the ball. They’ve got great defense. They’re very efficient. They’re very good. Frank (Beamer) has won a lot of games and of course he heads up the special teams and they’re doing a great job of that. They made some big plays in the Miami game. We’ll have our hands full in all three phases and we need to play a great game, especially on the road. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
In preparation for what is expected to be a raucous crowd, the Seminoles practiced Monday with constant drone of noise piped across the Al Dunlap Practice Fields, in an effort to brush up on their communication skills.
“You just have to make sure that you communicate,” Fisher said. “That’s where I think maturity comes in and we’ve been on the road already a few times, so I think that will help out. …
“It’s a great atmosphere. It’s one of the bigger and louder ones for sure. Their folks get behind things, especially on Thursday nights. We were up there on a Saturday a few years ago and it got pretty loud… They’ve always had that tradition.”
Florida State senior quarterback EJ Manuel grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., and though he has never attended a game at Lane Stadium, anxiously awaits the opportunity to play in his home state for the only time in his career.
“I have never been to a game there, but I know it’s a great stadium,” Manuel said. “They have great fans; everybody in Blacksburg and the surrounding area loves Virginia Tech because that is pretty much all they have. They might be (Washington) Redskin fans too but I know they love VT, so it’s going to be crazy. …
“It is a hard environment. Any team that goes in there and gets a win; you earn it plain and simple. We would be fools to think that we are not going to get their best game of the year. They may have played not as good as they usually played in years past but I don’t think we are going to see the same team that we see on film the last couple of weeks. We are going to see a great team, extreme energy, guys flying around getting to the ball fast. That’s what I have been telling my teammates. We have been stressing that all week. We have had some great practices which I am very confident about and proud of but I know that we are going to get their ‘A’ game this coming Thursday.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
FSU-Maryland game on six-day hold
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Monday that its television partners have exercised their six-day option on the Nov. 17 Florida State-Maryland game, set for College Park, Md. It is one of five ACC games that will be televised either at Noon, 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. on that date. Game times and networks announced no later than by noon this Sunday, Nov. 11.