The Seminoles rushed only 17 times in their 26-10 loss at Clemson last season. They totaled only 11 yards on the ground.
"I think the biggest thing with Clemson last year was that they just intimidated us," tailback Lorenzo Booker said. "They were at home and obviously (Clemson's Memorial Stadium) is one of the loudest stadiums in the country. They intimidated us, pushed us around."
After a 251-yard rushing performance Saturday against UAB, the Seminoles are determined to avoid a Tiger repeat. Last year, Clemson stifled the run early and forced the Seminoles to play from behind.
"In the running game, if guys are not running the ball well early, coaches tend not to want to run the ball later in the game," said Leon Washington, who rushed for 104 yards against UAB. "That can't happen. You got to stick with the run."
SPECIAL GUESTS: Visitors to FSU's practice Thursday included ABC's Brad Nessler, Bob Griese and Lynn Swann, who will broadcast Saturday's game. Terry Bowden, a special addition to the broadcast crew, shadowed his father, coach Bobby Bowden, during the practice.
Chris Rix Sr., the father of FSU's senior quarterback, also watched practice, as did Rix's predecessor, 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, now with the Carolina Panthers.
It was Weinke's first practice appearance since the 2001 Orange Bowl, his final game as a Seminole.
"This place has changed a little bit since I played here, but it's always fun to come back," said Weinke, who toured the refurbished Moore Athletic Center after practice. "I enjoy it here, I feel comfortable here."
TICKETS: As of Thursday, fewer than 500 tickets remained for the game against North Carolina at noon Oct. 2. Single-game tickets also are available for Virginia (Oct. 16) and Duke (Nov. 6). Tickets can be purchased through www.seminoles.com or 1-888-FSU-NOLE. The Clemson game is sold out.
GAME TIME: FSU's Oct. 9 game at Syracuse will be televised at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
STATUE UNVEILED: A 9-foot bronze statue of Bowden will be unveiled at 4 p.m. today in front of the Moore Athletic Center.
_ ZACHARY SPAIN, Times correspondent
UF: Jeanne who?
GAINESVILLE _ Its season opener was postponed by Hurricane Frances and its first home game was delayed because of a tornado warning. And just when Florida thought it was poised to play a home game without trouble bearing down, Hurricane Jeanne has doubled back.
"We're all right," coach Ron Zook said. "We're going to lock and load. There isn't any use in getting upset over things that you can't control. The only thing we can control is our preparation for Kentucky and our play against Kentucky.""
Kickoff is still scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.
MAKING IT WORK: Running back Ciatrick Fason has taken the early lead as the No. 1 backfield option, and his 31 carries for 186 yards are third best in the Southeastern Conference.
He turned his ankle, however, late in UF's loss to Tennessee, and sophomore DeShawn Wynn took over. In addition to his late-game action, Wynn produced 15 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Zook said after the Gators' first game that he was rewarding Fason for his work in the offseason by giving him the majority of carries. But with Wynn's recent solid play, things could begin to even out.
"We kind of go with it," Wynn said. "(Running backs coach Mike) Locksley kind of tells us when to go. C-4 (Fason) _ you take this, and I'll take this one. We kind of go like that. And if one of us needs a breather, we just give each other a signal and one of us will run in."
STILL STEAMING: Linebacker Channing Crowder and his defensive teammates have not forgotten that they gave up 30 points Saturday.
"You get mad just to lose," Crowder said. "I don't care if you give up 3 yards or 1,000 yards. You have to get past it. If you're not mad I don't think you're competitive. If I lose in chess, horseshoes, whatever, I'm going to be upset."
Although he said mobile Kentucky quarterback Shane Boyd will present some problems, Crowder has lofty goals for his defense: "They have some strong young runners, a good line, so that's what we're worried about now. The defense just wants a goose egg and that's what we're striving for."
TIME CHANGE: The Oct. 8 game against LSU is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. on ESPN.
_ BRIAN SHAFFER, Times correspondent
USF: Jenkins to start
TAMPA _ Redshirt freshman Mike Jenkins will return to the starting lineup at cornerback Saturday when USF opens its Conference USA season at Texas Christian.
Co-defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz said Jenkins will start ahead of redshirt freshman Trae Williams, who started last weekend but was beaten on the first of three long touchdown passes in USF's 34-3 loss to South Carolina. Coach Jim Leavitt lauded Jenkins' play this week, though both cornerbacks likely will play opposite junior D'Juan Brown.
INJURY UPDATE: Redshirt freshman J.B. Garris, the Bulls' starting Y receiver and an East Bay graduate, practiced with a brace on his left knee. It was not known whether the injury would affect his status for Saturday's game. Garris has three catches for 19 yards in two games, and freshman Jackie Chambers is his top backup.
WHO'S AT RIGHT GUARD?: Leavitt said Tuesday that his team is evaluating every aspect of its play to try to correct the problems that led to Saturday's loss.
"When you're not doing well offensively, you talk about everything. You talk about the color underwear you wear on Tuesday, you talk about the deodorant you're using. Everything."
It was pointed out that Leavitt is colorblind, making the underwear issue an interesting one.
"Therein lies the problem," Leavitt said.
_ GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer