Florida State junior receiver Robert Morgan has tried everything he could to recover from a broken toe, a must with the loss of Marvin Minnis, even heeding the advice of a popular commercial.
"I said I've got to drink a lot of milk; I've got to get my calcium up and I've got to get back and help the team," he said before Thursday morning's practice.
But Morgan, who missed the last three games but finished sixth on the team with 19 catches for 366 yards and three touchdowns, wore a blue non-contact jersey as the team continued preparations for its showdown against Oklahoma. He remains less than 100 percent and said he probably won't know until the game if he is completely healthy.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: Coach Bobby Bowden can see some similarities between this trip to the Orange Bowl and the one in 1994 against Nebraska. Both of his teams entered the game with a loss (Notre Dame in 1993, Miami this year) but were vying for the national championship, at least a share of it. Both times, the Seminoles featured a high-octane offense led by a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (Charlie Ward then, Chris Weinke now).
And both times, FSU was a prohibitive favorite.
"The thing that scares me more than anything right now is when we played Nebraska, we were 17-point favorites and we kicked a field goal at the end of the game to win it and they missed one to let us win it," Bowden said. "Now, here we are favored over them by 12 and I'm thinking, "Oh, oh. Here it comes again.' "
HART TO HART TO HART: FSU athletic director Dave Hart Jr. and son Rick will be going at it, sort of. Rick Hart is the director of marketing and licensing at Oklahoma. OU athletic director Joe Castiglione hired young Hart. One of Castiglione's major jobs came as the director of communications and marketing at Missouri two decades ago. Who hired him then? Dave Hart Sr.
ODDS AND ENDS: A team function kept senior center Jarad Moon from attending Thursday's Micron.pc Bowl between North Carolina State and Minnesota, but he was keenly interested in the result. N.C. State first-year coach Chuck Amato is not only the longtime FSU assistant, but he will be Moon's father-in-law. Moon traveled to Raleigh to propose to Amato's daughter Selena during the Thanksgiving break. A June 23 wedding date was set. Freshman defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who was unable to beat inclement weather and get out of Maryland to make it to Miami on Wednesday when the rest of his teammates arrived, practiced Thursday.
ONE FOR THE SOONERS: Oklahoma came out ahead of Florida State in the chase for a prized recruit.
Brent Rawls, one of the nation's top prep quarterbacks, chose to attend Oklahoma over Florida State next year.
Rawls threw 35 touchdowns and ran for 10 touchdowns this season at Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian.
"It crossed my mind to wait and see who won to see where I'd go," he said.
BULKING UP: One person coach Bob Stoops often credits for Oklahoma's return to national prominence hasn't thrown a pass, scored a touchdown or called a play. Jerry Schmidt's contribution has come in the weight room and on the practice fields, where stories of his strength-and-conditioning program have become well known in only two years on the staff. Stoops made Schmidt his second hire after seeing the results of Schmidt's work while an assistant at Florida. "After our first conditioning workout, I didn't know if we'd beat Norman North," Stoops said, referring to a Norman high school.
_ BRIAN LANDMAN, TIMES WIRES