TALLAHASSEE -- The No. 3 Florida State Seminoles are prepared for their first true road test of the season.
Last week, the Seminoles headed south to Tampa and beat South Florida in front of a large contingent of FSU fans.
This week, FSU (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) heads out of state for the first time: to Carter-Finley Stadium to face N.C. State (3-2, 0-1) at a venue known for its crowd noise, largely because the stands are situated so close to the sidelines.
“It’s a condensed, kind of on-top-of-you atmosphere,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Those are tough environments; the closer your are to fans sometimes it can bother you.”
To compensate FSU has stressed communication all week, working on non-verbal cues while also whispering calls and piping in crowd noise to practice.
The Seminoles only leave the state for three games all season, but after a closer call than they would have liked last week at USF, the team isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Last week was a good lesson because we could have lost that because of all of the mistakes we made on offense, defense and special teams,” senior defensive end Toshmon Stevens said. “We’re all going back to technique, making sure we pay attention to the little things because it’s the little things that could have hurt us last week.”
Lining up against the Seminoles is a team with plenty of concerns of its own. Admittedly, it might be difficult for the Wolfpack just to keep up with the Seminoles.
Last weekend in Miami, N.C. State surrendered an ACC record 556 passing yards to Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris. This week it faces an even better offense.
“I think as far as the team is concerned, the main problem I’m concerned with is their legs and their health. I mean, we played basically a four-hour game in 90-degree heat with humidity astronomical, too,” N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said of the game in Miami.
“So right now I think the physical fact of getting our legs back [is key], because certainly if we’re not as quick as we can be and as fast as we can be, it’s going to be tough to stay up with the athletes that Florida State has.”
On the other side of the ball, FSU’s top-five defense will look to take advantage of an N.C. State line that is without three of its five starters.
“The problem we have right now is we’re starting our fifth offensive line in six games,” O’Brien said. “We only have one guy that we came into the season in the position that we wanted guys to be in. That’s definitely going to be a concern for us Saturday night against this great front of Florida State.”