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Amato says (wink, wink) familiarity offers no edge

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published October 5, 2006


Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will tell you that familiarity can in fact breed success.

Exhibit 1 might just be North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato. The longtime defensive assistant at FSU is 3-3 against his old boss going into tonight's game in Raleigh. Amato is 21-22 against the rest of the ACC.

After 18 years at FSU, Amato knows Bowden's offensive tendencies and philosophies, which do come into play even though he's no longer calling plays. More important, Amato knows the tendencies and philosophies of defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.

"You have to stay aware of what he knows and what he thinks you're going to do," Bowden said.

Andrews said that was the most evident in 2001, the second matchup with Amato.

FSU called for a punt block, Amato picked up the signal, called for a fake and converted it. N.C. State went on to upset FSU in Tallahassee, 34-28. No ACC team had won there before.

"We've changed an awful lot since he's been here ... and he's changed," Andrews said, adding that Amato has gone through a number of assistants. "He may convince those kids it makes a difference. Maybe he's right."

Amato coyly attributes his success against FSU to wearing out "a lot of rosary beads," and his familiarity with FSU's staff had little impact on the games.

"They know me, too," he said. "And it sure didn't help that first year we played them seven years ago. They took down our pants in front of 50,000 people and spanked us."

So no edge, then?

"I'll take it to my grave," Amato said.

A DIFFERENT CARR: FSU can only hope receiver Greg Carr is more of a factor tonight than he was last year against the Wolfpack. Carr entered that game on a hot streak with 16 catches for 332 yards and five touchdowns in his previous four games. The Wolfpack, surprising FSU by going almost strictly to a three-man rush with eight defenders in coverage, held him to no catches.

He had just eight catches for 148 yards and no touchdowns the rest of the way.

But after a slow start and a short stint in the doghouse, Carr broke out against Rice with five catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

"I think it was huge," quarterback Drew Weatherford said of Carr's last game.

"He's one of our most explosive weapons. I think it's essential for us to get him involved in the game. He's a big-play threat and he's just something the defense has to worry about every time he's on the field. It really did help our offense open up a lot just in the fact that he came out and had a big game."

Said Carr: "I'm just trying to get better each game, regardless of who it is."

IN ROD WE TRUST ... NEXT YEAR: Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said Monday that speedy receiver Rod Owens, still working his way back after knee surgery, will apply for a medical redshirt this year.

"I just told him to stay out there and keep working as if he was not going to redshirt, but we've pretty much concluded a few weeks ago that was not going to be the case," he said.

HIGH MARKS: Nothing will be official until next month when signing date rolls around, but you can expect the men's basketball team to land one of the nation's top classes, at least by one recruiting service.

Dave Tellup, director of basketball recruiting for scout.com, said oral commitments from 7-foot-1 center Solomon Alabi, 6-9 power forward Julian Vaughn and 6-6 wing Jordan DeMercy will put FSU easily in its Top 25.

And when you consider the Seminoles have landed two more touted post players to go along who will join Uche Echefu and Ryan Reid, Tellup said that "sends a message that Florida State, recruiting post players in particular, is doing a tremendous job."

Brian Landman covers Florida State athletics. Reach him 813 226-3347 or at landman@sptimes.com.