By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – Florida State will walk into a packed house Saturday at Raymond James Stadium and the welcome wagon will include USF’s head coach.
Skip Holtz spent a good portion of his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon talking about the benefits of a team like the No. 4 Seminoles facing off against a USF program that continues to build memorable traditions.
“I think it’s great that we’ve had the opportunity in three years now to play Florida, Florida State and Miami, and with Central Florida coming on,” Holtz said. “If we’re going to play, we might as well keep everything in state and play each other. I think this is healthy for the entire state of Florida.”
The Bulls are looking to go 2-0 against FSU in the series that started with a 17-7 USF victory in 2009. USF has played Miami four times, Florida once and Holtz is excited to have the UCF rivalry rekindled once the Knights get going in Big East play. The Bulls are 4-0 against the Knights in a series that had its last installment in 2008.
“One of the things I have not liked about the Big East to this point in time is we don’t have any geographical rivalries. We don’t have a natural rivalry game, and that’s one of the things that excites me most about Central Florida coming into the Big East,” Holtz said. “I think these games are healthy for all the programs and I think this is where you grow.”
Tall Task Ahead
Holtz summed things up pretty well when he said this year’s version of the Seminoles is putting up “video game-type numbers.”
FSU is the only team in the country that ranks in the top 10 in 10 statistical categories, including No. 2 in total defense (184 ypg) and No. 4 in total offense (574.50 ypg).
“This is probably the best football team we’ve played since I’ve been here,” Holtz said. “At the same time, we’ve played in some big football games in the past. You have to line up and you have to play it. I don’t think the players will be intimidated.”
Bulls Get Healthy in the Secondary
A huge plus for USF in its mission to defend against FSU’s strong pass attack is having all hands on deck. Safety JaQuez Jenkins (back spasms) is back to full speed at practice and star cornerback Kayvon Webster should be ready to go as well after having knee issues last week at Ball State.
“That’s what we need. JaQuez was back running around well today. Kayvon Webster he was running around well today,” cornerback George Baker said. “It’s good to know that we’re going to have those guys back, and we’ll get after them.”
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