By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 25, 2000
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke knew he didn't have the best of games Saturday against Louisville, and didn't make any excuses for his uncharacteristic performance.
But coach Bobby Bowden wondered whether a couple of late hits by the Cardinals didn't fluster the usually unflappable senior enough to explain his three interceptions.
"It could have been," Bowden said Sunday morning. "We talked all week that they want to hit your quarterback."
Weinke insisted the Cardinals didn't "rattle" him.
Angered? Well, that's a different story. Several FSU offensive players didn't pull any punches, saying Louisville played dirty.
Defensive end Michael Josiah was called for roughing the passer on tailback Travis Minor's 5-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. A few moments later, he pounded Weinke and drew a retaliatory shove by offensive tackle Char-ron Dorsey.
Early in the second quarter, defensive tackle Donovan Arp plowed into Weinke as he stepped out of bounds. Whether it was a late hit could be argued, but Arp put his head down and delivered an unnecessarily punishing blow to Weinke's back.
"If you're going to hit me, hit me between the whistles, don't hit me after the whistle," Weinke said. "That's all I ask. You can hit me all you want if you can get to me before the whistle blows."
So, what was up with Weinke?
Bowden said he rushed some of his throws and, at least on his last interception, the coach rushed headstrong with a play call that seemed destined to fail.
"I told (offensive coordinator) Mark (Richt) we could get a flanker behind the safety," Bowden said. "Mark said, "We're too close to the goal line.' I said, "I don't care. Run it anyway.' But there was no room. That should not have been called."
SHORT TURNAROUND: The Seminoles have only four days to prepare for Thursday's nationally-televised game at Maryland.
Just once, in 1983, have the Seminoles played a Thursday game without having a bye week precede it.
"It makes it tough to get ready, but it's tough on them, too," Bowden said.
FSU would not have agreed to the game, Bowden said, if the Terrapins had not played Saturday. They beat Middle Tennessee 45-27.
"The biggest concern," senior linebacker Brian Allen said, "is probably hoping you get too fatigued."
TOUGH COINCIDENCE: Backup quarterback Marcus Outzen entered Saturday's game for the first time early in the fourth quarter in a position that should be all too familiar. FSU began at its 2.
Against Georgia Tech, Outzen's lone series started at the 2. Then against North Carolina, his first series opened at the 3.
Outzen moved the team well on all three possessions, amassing 218 yards and a touchdown (against UNC) on 31 plays. But folks remember other less attractive stats -- an interception against Tech that was returned for a touchdown and a fumble to end the drive against Louisville.
MORE THAN HANDS: Receiver Robert Morgan had two catches Saturday, but his best play was a crushing block on safety Curry Burns that allowed Weinke to trot into the end zone untouched from 3 yards.
NUMBERS GAME: Receiver Atrews Bell has 10 catches and a team-high four touchdowns.
INJURY UPDATE: Other than defensive tackle Chris Woods aggravating a sprained left ankle that had kept him out of the previous games, the Seminoles had few serious injuries.
Tailback Jeff Chaney bruised his ribs, receiver Anquan Boldin bruised his left shoulder and fullback Chad Maeder, from Brooksville Central, bruised his right shoulder in his first action of the season. Receiver Javon Walker, nursing a right ankle sprain, didn't play but could be ready for Thursday.