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September 17, 2005

Pre-game Notebook

Florida State and Miami will open the 2006 season on Labor Day, the schools announced on Thursday.

ESPN will televise the game, which will be played in the Orange Bowl, and plans to use it as a lead-in for the following week when it takes over Monday Night Football from ABC.

"The Seminoles and Hurricanes rivalry is one of the greatest in college football and having these teams showcase their talents in front of a national audience to kickoff the season is tremendous," Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said in a released statement.

The two schools originally agreed to open the 2004 and 2005 seasons on Labor Day, but the 2004 game was pushed back because of Hurricane Frances.

Florida State also announced on Thursday that it has agreed to play West Virginia on a home-and-home basis in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The school has previously released non-conference games against Troy State (2006), Colorado (2007, 2008), Nevada (2008), BYU (2009, 2010) and Oklahoma (2010).

Bringing the noise

Florida State coaches had crowd noise blasting at Doak Campbell Stadium on Thursday as the Seminoles' offense practiced. This weekend's game at Boston College, which will be the site of ESPN's GameDay broadcast, is expected to attract a rowdy crowd.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford said he hoped Thursday's practice helped him prepare for the crowd noise in what will be his first road start.

"I hope I'm loud enough that [teammates] can hear me," Weatherford said. "There are a lot of things I have to say, but that's typically to the linemen. The receivers won't be able to hear me."

Weatherford may also get his first chance to fight the elements as the weather forecasts in the Boston area call for rain this weekend.

"I've lived in Florida my whole life so I know what rain's all about," Weatherford said. "I don't think that will affect me."

Williams at full speed

Roger Williams practiced most of the preseason as the starting free safety. Then a hamstring injury knocked him out of the final preparations for the Miami game.

Williams bounced back, though, and said he played nearly 40 snaps against the Hurricanes.

"It twitches every now and then but I won't let that hold me back," Williams said. "The only thing I can do is keep getting treatment. I'm full speed on the field. The last two games, it didn't give me any problems."

Though he's just a redshirt sophomore, Williams is a standout on special teams where he started last year. Though he is officially listed as the backup to senior Pat Watkins at free safety, FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews refers to Williams as "another starter."

"Roger picked right up where he left off," Andrews said. "Of course he was limited with that hamstring. The biggest thing was his conditioning. You can't condition when you're hamstring is acting up. But he looks like he's back to where he was."

That's reassuring to Williams, who said he first injured the hamstring during a conditioning drill. He said he also understands he will continue to play a big role on this defense whether he's a starter or not.

"I was working with the 'ones' before I got hurt," Williams said. "I can't really tell where things would be right now if I hadn't gotten hurt, but I know Coach Andrews has a lot of trust in me and I still would have gotten a lot of time on the field."

Mini Q&A with De'Cody Fagg (by Pat Flynn)

Q. Do you think that you guys can go out and throw all over Boston Colleges pass defense, like you did against Citadel?
A: We just talked about treating this game the same as we treated Citadel. They've got us as the underdogs. They've got us going in there and losing. We just want to show everybody what we're capable of doing by going out and jumping on them from the start.

Q. Is it motivating being the underdog for a change?
A: We don't like being the underdog, but by them calling us the underdog it's just pumping us up, getting everybody motivated to go out there and show everybody what we can do. We're 2-0 and got Miami behind us, and they're telling us we're underdogs, so we are just going out there motivated and getting ready to win.

Q. Boston College is known for having big, strong guys. What do you see on that defense.?
A: We watched film on them. They're pretty short, but they're thick. We just need to go out there and be ready for battle, and see what's going on on the field

Injury update

Sophomore linebacker Jae Thaxton, a standout on special teams, will not play this weekend after sustaining a concussion against The Citadel. Center David Castillo (foot) and receiver Willie Reid (knee) are also out.

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