Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews and Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle are good friends who coached together at Clemson for two seasons in the late 1970s.

Tuesday night they'll be trying to outmaneuver each other as their teams vie for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl.

"He's an outstanding football coach and what they've accomplished this year certainly bears that out," Andrews said. "Rickey may have done his best job of coaching this year and took a quarterback [Michael Vick], an unproven guy with a lot of ability, and gave him what he needed to become a great player as a freshman."

Andrews was the secondary coach at Clemson when Bustle, now 46, was his graduate assistant for the 1977 and '78 seasons. Bustle later joined Andrews on the staff of the Arizona Wranglers of the USFL. Andrews was the defensive coordinator in 1983; Bustle coached the running backs.

"We're good friends and I have great, great respect for Mickey," said Bustle, Tech's offensive coordinator since 1995. He also coached at the school from 1987 to 1993 before going to South Carolina for the 1994 season.

"It will be a great challenge for us to play against a Rickey Bustle offensive team," Andrews said.

"Mickey taught me a lot," Bustle said. "He's a competitor. The aggressiveness of the Florida State defense is a reflection of his personality."

Stellar Seminoles

Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden will speak at the 8:30 a.m. service Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Covington, a New Orleans suburb. Wayne Miller of the church, figuring Florida State would be here this weekend, wrote to Bowden in August and asked him to attend and participate and Bowden told him he would. . . .

Seminoles wide receiver Peter Warrick might have won the Heisman Trophy had he not been suspended for two games after being arrested for illegally obtaining a discount on clothing at a Tallahassee department store. But FSU senior defensive lineman Corey Simon, who said he will be in a Bible study group when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, claimed Warrick is a person of good character.

"For him to make a mistake in his life and then have it be totally blown out of proportion and still be talked about to this day, I don't think that's fair," Simon said. "Everybody sees Peter as being this criminal or this bad guy to society when in fact that's not Pete at all. And this team knows that and that's why we elected him offensive captain [for this game], because he is a great person. He does have morals, he does have things that he stands for and we respect him as a person. And that's why he's our captain."

Hokie Happenings

Virginia Tech did not practice today. It had meetings. In addition, the team's seniors visited New Orleans Children's Hospital. . . .

Hokies starting cornerback Ike Charlton, a redshirt junior who graduated this month, said he will considering giving up his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft if it appears he will be an early-round pick.

"If I have a chance to go early, it's something I'll consider, but not until after the Sugar Bowl," he said. "I've got more important things to focus on right now."

Charlton, who is 6 feet and 203 pounds, has made 51 tackles this season, returned two fumbles for touchdowns and was named second-team all-Big East. . . .

Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer is being more lenient with his players than Bowden is. The Hokies' curfew is later; the number of places put off limits to the players fewer.

Staff writer Angie Watts contributed to this report.