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Georgia Tech will measure rival readiness

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 10, 2001


TALLAHASSEE -- Coach Bobby Bowden usually tells folks he can't accurately gauge his team until it plays archrival Miami in early October.

Not this season.

Not with No. 10 Georgia Tech on tap Saturday.

"If we don't get by Tech, we know how we stand against Florida and Miami; we haven't got a chance against them," Bowden said Sunday following a 29-7 win against Alabama-Birmingham. "This will tell us do we have a chance.

"If they beat us does that mean you don't have a chance? I'd say it's not likely, not with Florida and Miami down the road and Clemson away. Now if you beat Georgia Tech, does that mean you're going to be as good as Florida and Miami? Not necessarily. But it does mean you've got a chance."

HEARING ABOUT IT: You wouldn't think the Seminoles would need any reminders about their NCAA-leading home winning streak (36 games) and home unbeaten streak (53 games), but they already are getting the message not to let them end.

Sophomore defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said about 30 minutes after Saturday's game he got a call from former FSU linebackers Tommy Polley and Brian Allen, rookies with the St. Louis Rams.

"They said, 'Those last two games are in the past and you've got to tell everybody to step up this week and ... if you miss tackles like you did the last two weeks, we're going to disappoint a lot of people,' " Dockett said.

MAKING A STATEMENT: After a less than stellar performance in the opener against Duke, FSU's only three veteran receivers -- seniors Atrews Bell and Javon Walker and junior Talman Gardner -- shaved their heads to signify a fresh start.

"We really didn't get an opportunity to make things happen that first game," Bell said.

In the opener, the trio combined for six catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns. Against UAB, they had eight catches for 184 yards and one touchdown.

INJURY UPDATE: Oft-injured senior tailback Davy Ford, who sprained his right knee Saturday, will have an MRI today, and freshman defensive back Jerome Carter will have his left elbow X-rayed.

POINT: Bowden said he hopes Georgia Tech's 70-7 shellacking of Navy catches his players' attention. "What they did was impressive," he said.

COUNTERPOINT: But Dockett wasn't that impressed: "Look who they're playing. That's all I can say. They're playing Navy. They know coming in here, they're going to be in for a bigger game."

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