Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday that he expects part two of the Seminoles’ Southern Conference double-dip to be tougher than the first.
A week after opening their season with a 69-0 whipping of Western Carolina, the Seminoles host the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. Bowden said the win over the Catamounts — the biggest rout in FSU’s storied history — went about as well as a game could go, but he doesn’t expect a repeat performance.
“Chattanooga is a lot stronger than Western Carolina, especially physically,” Bowden said during the ACC teleconference Wednesday. “They played each other last year, and it was that way (in the Mocs’ 39-21 win), so I think you’re going to see a better football team playing against us.”
Bowden agrees with the old adage among coaches that teams show the most improvement in their second game, after learning the lessons of the first, but he said he wasn’t sure if it would apply in this case.
“We might can show improvement, in fact we probably will, but not necessarily (on the scoreboard),” he said. “I don’t think we can beat nothing. I still think overall we will improve, but I don’t think you’ll see a score like (69-0).”
Florida State is nowhere near full strength because of suspensions, which is why the games against the two SoCon teams were scheduled in the first place. Numerous Seminoles — media reports have the number ranging from nine to 12 — including several probable starters, will miss the first three games due to suspensions stemming from last year’s highly publicized academic scandal.
The suspensions hit the Seminoles especially hard on defense. Among the players that won’t be in uniform are probable starters linebacker Dekoda Watson, defensive tackles Budd Thacker and Paul Griffin and cornerback Patrick Robinson. On offense, tight end Caz Piurowski is also out due to the academic scandal, while wide receiver Preston Parker, who led the team last season with 1,513 all-purpose yards, is suspended for the first two games because of an offseason arrest.
The Seminoles have been a bit down in recent years from their usual place among the nation’s elite teams — they’ve gone 7-6 the past two seasons — but Mocs coach Rodney Allison said the team that wholloped Western Carolina looked mighty good to him.
“They still got good people and there might have been a slight drop-off but it’s not substantial by any means,” said Allison, who has coached under both Tommy and Terry Bowden. “They easily could be a top team in the ACC because they’ve got some talent.”
Bradford out several weeks
The good news Joel Bradford heard Wednesday was that he won’t need knee surgery. The bad news, he said, is that he could be out for as many as six weeks with a deep bone bruise on his left knee.
Allison also made it official Wednesday that wide receiver Blue Cooper will not play against the Seminoles after tearing a ligament in his left elbow against Cumberland. Cooper said he is going to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham today. Andrews performed the surgery on Cooper's left elbow nearly two years ago after he tore a ligament the first time.
Backup defensive tackle Nick Craig went down midway through practice with what was diagnosed as an arch strain in his right foot. His status is day-to-day.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...