Seminoles have little turnaround time for next game


There aren’t many positives to a short week for a college football team.

Practice time is condensed dramatically. So is recovery time. There are fewer hours to correct the mistakes from the Monday night opener, and fewer hours to prepare for the following Saturday’s opponent.

It’s not an ideal situation — no matter who the upcoming opponent might be.

But if there is one positive for the Florida State Seminoles after their 24-3 loss to Virginia Tech in the season opener, it’s that they don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for themselves.

And if they play well against Samford on Saturday, that taste from the season-opening defeat won’t be quite as bitter.

“I wish we played tomorrow,” FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell said. “I wish we’d come out here and practice a little bit and then go play. Because really, at the end of the day, that’s the only way to (get over the loss).

“But these next couple of days of practice are going to be critically important for us. Not just for Saturday, but for moving forward. Because, again, you don’t learn a lot from the wins. You learn a lot about yourself, and you learn a lot about what really matters as a football team, when you get a butt-whipping.”

What Florida State fans are hoping to see Saturday is a butt-whipping of an opponent. And Samford, an FCS school, would seemingly be the perfect candidate.

Especially if you go by recent history of short-week games.

Since 2009, 17 teams have played on a Monday night and then on the following Saturday. Those teams are 16-1, with an average margin of victory of 34.9 points.

The only program to lose the second game? Virginia Tech in 2010, when the Hokies were upset by FCS James Madison. (The Hokies went on to win 11 consecutive games, including a win over Florida State in the ACC Championship Game.)

But FSU fans also recall how difficult their own short-week game was in 2009. After losing to Miami in heartbreaking fashion, the Seminoles came back five days later and found themselves trailing in the final minute against Jacksonville State. Two touchdowns in the final 35 seconds prevented an embarrassing loss to an FCS school.

Nine years later, the Seminoles are playing another FCS program in a short-week game. This time it’s a Samford team coming off a 66-7 win over Division II Shorter University.

Quarterback Devlin Hodges, the returning Southern Conference Player of the Year, completed 25 of 36 passes for 330 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Samford, which went 8-4 last year and advanced to the FCS playoffs, was the preseason choice to win the Southern Conference in 2018. The Bulldogs have played SEC teams each of the last two seasons, losing to Georgia 41-14 in 2017 and to Mississippi State 56-41 in 2016.

The Seminoles are heavy favorites, obviously, but there is the challenge of playing a capable, albeit smaller, college football team that has four extra days of rest.

“We’re going to be ready,” running back Jacques Patrick said. “It’s tough to play two games in one week, but we’re up for the challenge. This is Florida State.”



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