TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden could imagine how QB Christian Ponder felt a day after absorbing a helmet to the back and bruising his ribs.
"Usually, the next day it hurts the worst," he said Sunday morning, a day after the Seminoles' 45-42 win against North Carolina State.
But Bowden didn't sound overly concerned that his star would be affected as the team prepares for this weekend's game against the resurgent Clemson Tigers. Ponder took the hit late in the opening quarter and played the whole game, something that wasn't a foregone conclusion at halftime.
Unless you asked Ponder.
"I didn't want to come out, and that thought didn't come into my mind," he said.
ACC guidelines don't require a school to update an injury report (except for season-ending issues or surgeries) on Sunday, but Ponder meets the media each Monday afternoon.
WHO MAKES THE CALL? Though defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews hasn't officially said this will be his final season, it sure seems that way. Bowden, who hopes Andrews comes back, said he would "definitely consider" the input of Jimbo Fisher.
"He's the future," Bowden said of Fisher. "He's going to be the next head coach when I leave here, everything's in his hands."
SMALL CROWD: Though he knows the team record and the school's distance from population centers are factors, Bowden, for one, was surprised by the empty seats at 83,200-seat Doak Campbell Stadium. There were a lot. School officials announced 67,712 tickets were distributed.
"The first shocker of the day was when I came out of that tunnel and looked down there and didn't see anybody in that end zone," he said.
Earlier this season, Bowden praised the fans for coming early and filling the section in the end zone near where the team warms up, which he said inspires his players and can affect an opponent's mind-set.
"That's the first time I've seen it that light in a long time," he said. "I thought homecoming would make up for the slack. I really thought there'd be enough homecoming people that people will still fill it up."
LIMITED ROLE: Senior WR Louis Givens, whose quickness has led to his emergence as a key offensive contributor (especially running the end-around), was limited Saturday to special teams after breaking his right hand Friday horsing around at the team hotel.
GAME TIME: The Clemson game Saturday is set for 7:45 on ESPN. FSU has lost its past three there (2003, 2005 and 2007).
NUMBERS GAME: FSU's win snapped a five-game home losing streak to Division I-A competition (Boston College and Florida last season, then Miami, USF and Georgia Tech this season). Remember, there was a time that FSU went 54 straight games without a home loss.
Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3347.