FSU's Outzen ready as 'Noles arrive
Posted: Monday December 28, 1998 09:15 PM
PHOENIX (AP) -- As the Florida State players walked off the airplane and down the portable steps to the tarmac, quarterback Marcus Outzen was easy to spot.
He was the guy with the short red hair gleaming in the Arizona sun, ready to get to work and lead the Seminoles to a national championship in just his third start.
"I've never been one to get real nervous," Outzen said Monday, minutes after the Seminoles arrived at Sky Harbor International Airport. "I've never really been scared or nervous, I take things as they go and make the most of it."
Next Monday night, No. 2 Florida State (11-1) plays No. 1 Tennessee (12-0) in the Fiesta Bowl with the national title on the line. And Outzen hopes to make the most of a rare chance -- beat Florida and win a national title in the second and third starts of his career.
"It's beyond my dreams," said Outzen, who stepped in when Chris Weinke was lost for the season with a neck injury against Virginia on Nov. 7. "I've always dreamed about playing against Florida. And then back to back to have Florida and a national championship game is just a tremendous opportunity for myself and for our team.
"We're all really anxious to get the game on."
The Volunteers (12-0) are anxious, too. They arrived on Saturday, and worked out under sunny conditions on Monday -- temperatures were in the 70s and are expected to stay there all week.
"We came out earlier, and as long as we don't get in the mental mindset that we've been here too long, we'll be OK," Vols wide receiver Peerless Price said before Monday's workout at Scottsdale Community College. "There's no need for us to go out and be trying to knock each others heads off and be all intense this Monday. We don't play until next Monday."
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, meanwhile, has nearly perfected the bowl preparedness package. The Seminoles have won 12 of their last 13 bowl games, and are 15-3-1 under Bowden. The Seminoles begin workouts on Tuesday at Mountain Pointe High School.
A hundred or so Florida State fans and Fiesta Bowl officials wearing gold sports jackets greeted the Seminoles when they arrived at 3:15 p.m. MT, about 30 minutes later than expected. As the players walked to the team buses, they were greeted by bowl officials who stuck tiny Fiesta Bowl emblems on their sweatsuits.
Bowden, his sports jacket full of the stick-ons, then made his way to a microphone.
"We're happy to be here for a lot of reasons," Bowden said. "The last five years or so, all of our bowls have been in Florida or New Orleans, the Orange or Sugar. So we're excited to get away again. I don't have any players (on this team) who have ever played in this bowl."
Bowden plans to let his players enjoy themselves this week.
"The thing we have done is we'll tell them to work hard and then we'll tell them to play hard," he said. "Stay away from this and stay away from this and have a good time."Smiling, Bowden added: "I would hate to come out here and put 'em in jail -- and I appreciate it if y'all wouldn't put them in jail. Let 'em play. They're just kids. I want them to enjoy themselves -- but I do want them to behave."
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