Florida State report
Seminoles try to avoid troubling lure of New Orleans
Posted: Thursday December 30, 1999 08:48 PM
Bowden has his Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl for the fifth time since 1989. AP
NEW ORLEANS (CNN/SI) -- Before Florida State can try to beat Virginia Tech for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl Tuesday, it first has to lick New Orleans.
"Definitely, something can happen in a town like New Orleans," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "I know for a fact a lot of things could happen. It's not because the people here are bad. It's because you have all these people in town from all over out and about.
"One of the worst things is you have fans meeting players at bars and they want to buy them drinks."
Bowden has his Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl for the fifth time since 1989. He knows New Orleans, which in the last 15 years has become one of America's worst cities for crime and has had major problems with police corruption.
New Orleans police officers briefed Florida State and Virginia Tech players about the city upon their arrival, informing them of what areas to avoid. Bowden has taken that a step further. He has installed a 1 a.m. curfew and has placed the casinos off limits.
"I'm not in favor of gambling or lotteries," Bowden said. "I just always felt like that brought about crime. I think statistics say those things bring crime."
Large gatherings of people also can lead to crime, and the throngs were already gathering in the French Quarter and around the FSU team hotel as early as Tuesday.
"We've had players get in fights in the street and get banged up to where they can't play," Bowden said. "But I expect things like that to happen. That's life."
As far as beating Virginia Tech, Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews continues to try to solve some of the rust problems his team faced in losing last year's national championship game, 23-16, to Tennessee. The Seminoles and Volunteers each had long layoffs last year, but Tennessee played two games after FSU was finished with the regular season. The Seminoles are in a similar situation this year. Virginia Tech last played Nov. 26, FSU on Nov. 20.
"We were rusty last year," Andrews said Thursday. "We've scrimmaged a little bit more this year because of the layoff. You can't be a great defensive team that plays on a national championship level without tackling well. Tackling drills don't help. You have to tackle live people." The Seminoles practiced in full pads on Wednesday, concentrating on tackling, before shifting to shorts on Thursday. Safety Sean Key intercepted two passes.
"We're hitting more before this bowl than we have in the past," Andrews said. "You can't lower your expectations. We have to be more demanding of them. But, they have to be more demanding of themselves. The players need to give everything they've got and execute. When you're successful, you tend to drop your standards a little bit. I hope we haven't done that. If we have, we'll have trouble being number one. It's the most demanding game we've played."
Safety Todd Frier (foot strain) and tailback Davy Ford (ankle) missed practice Thursday. ... Florida State will practice Friday following a Super Bowl-like media day from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Superdome.
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