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October 21, 2013
No. 3 Florida State found out Sunday evening that as a result of their resounding 51-14 rout of previously No. 3 Clemson, the Noles now are in position to play for a national championship. They are ranked No. 2 in the first release of the BCS standings.
They can further solidify their standing by defeating No. 7 Miami in two weeks, but in between they have to take on NC State, which comes to Tallahassee Saturday after back-to-back double-digit conference losses.
One could call NC State a "trap game" for FSU.
"That's be great, wouldn't it?" NC State head coach Dave Doeren joked. However, Doeren knows better.
"If they don't play well, that'd be great, but I'm anticipating a great Florida State team," he said. "That's what we've seen from every game on tape: them dominating people."
Amazingly, FSU may be better this season despite losing key players from last season, including NFL quarterback EJ Manuel. Doeren said that is a credit to the foundation Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has laid.
"Since Jimbo has been there, they have been in the top five in recruiting classes every year, and you are seeing that," Doeren noted. "I think good programs have depth, and they are developing behind that depth.
"They've done a nice job recruiting and developing."
Despite the respect Doeren has for Florida State, he still has every intention of bringing down a Wolfpack squad intent on competing to the final whistle.
"I think any time as a coach or a player you get to play whether home or away against one of the best teams in college, it's exciting," Doeren said. "I look forward to those opportunities regardless of what people may or may not think we are as a program. These are the kind of games that you live to play and coach for.
"There are six games that are promised on our schedule. This is one of the six. It's a six-game season for our players and our coaches. We know that we need to get better as a program now that we are getting healthier. Out of these six games, the ultimate goal is to find a way to get to postseason play."
In the process, Doeren said that he will always keep his eye on the big picture in his hopes of establishing a program much like Fisher has done for Florida State.
"You lay your foundation brick-by-brick," Doeren said. "That's part of it, playing a great team down there on the road and taking your shot. I look forward to that opportunity and hopefully we'll have enough people healthy where we can make a few more plays in the process."
- Doeren spoke extensively on the health of his team. Most everyone who has missed time should be back for the FSU game. Exceptions include senior left tackle Rob Crisp, who is out for sure, and possibly fifth-year senior defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop.
Cato-Bishop returned to practice Sunday, but Doeren said that he "is probably the one we have to see the most out of to say he can play."
When asked about Crisp, who has not played since the second week, and his long-term status, Doeren would only say, "We're still dealing with it."
- One player who is back this week is fifth-year senior and starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell. He tried to play against Syracuse, but Doeren could tell through Mitchell's facial expressions during practice that week that he was not fully ready to test his surgically repaired broken foot.
Doeren said that Mitchell has maintained a "live arm," and on Sunday he alleviated concerns about his mobility.
"We did more of the movement stuff with him, and he looked really good," Doeren said. "Obviousy, there is going to be rust, he's played in one quarter of football this year."
- State fair goers may have been caught off guard by NC State's practice this week. That's because in preparations for playing at Florida State, the volume was turned up as loud as it could be.
"A bunch of people from the state fair were coming over looking through the fence trying to figure out what we were doing," Doeren joked.
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