Bold Statements From 'Noles
Florida State linebacker Ernie Sims, a sophomore from Tallahassee, has always been pretty confident in his abilities. When he was being recruited by FSU, Georgia and Auburn, Sims asked each school if he could wear No. 34, the jersey number he wore in high school. Three problems: Auburn and Georgia retired No. 34 for Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker, respectively, and FSU retired it for all-American Ron Sellers. Sims signed with the hometown 'Noles after Sellers agreed to let him wear the number. So it should come as no surprise that Sims told the Orlando Sentinel this week that Virginia all-American tight end Heath Miller "won't gain anything" in tonight's game." It's a great chance for me and [backup Ray Piquion] to put ourselves on the map and just to basically whip him and put him in the dirt," Sims told the Sentinel. Miller has caught 117 passes in the past three seasons, more than any other tight end in the nation.
Rix Waiting in Wings
If Florida State quarterback Chris Rix had been healthy enough to play in last week's 17-13 win at Syracuse, Seminoles Coach Bobby Bowden said he would have played the much-maligned senior. Sophomore Wyatt Sexton struggled mightily in his first road game, throwing for only 75 yards in the first half, as FSU fell behind 10-3. Sexton, who will be making only his third start tonight, hasn't faced a defense as talented and fast as Virginia's. And Cavs Coach Al Groh's 3-4 defensive alignment could also confuse Sexton, who has never faced it before. Bowden said he doesn't have a plan for Rix, who is healing from a high ankle sprain. "No, I don't have a plan," Bowden said. "Just win the dang game and see what happens."
Banged-Up Defensive Front
Virginia has one of the nation's most experienced and talented offensive lines. The Cavaliers could be catching Florida State's defense at the right time, too. Two of the Seminoles' starting defensive linemen, nose guard Brodrick Bunkley and defensive end Eric Moore, are questionable for tonight because of sprained ankles. Bunkley, a 291-pound junior, didn't play against Syracuse; Moore, who hurt both his ankles, has missed most of the past two games. Sophomore Clifton Dickson would start in Bunkley's absence; junior Kamerion Wimbley would start for Moore. Even without Bunkley and Moore, the Seminoles held the Orange to 265 total yards, including 58 on the ground.
Along with Rix, the Seminoles should have two other injured players back tonight: wide receiver Willie Reid and tight end Matt Henshaw. Reid, a junior from Warner Robins, Ga., and the top backup behind split end Chauncey Stovall, was held out of the Syracuse game because of a strained hamstring. Reid has caught seven passes for 53 yards. Henshaw, whose father, George Henshaw, is the assistant head coach of the Tennessee Titans, sprained his ankle against the Orange and didn't play in the second half. The Seminoles have completed only two passes to tight ends, one to Henshaw and one to starter Paul Irons.