Seminoles hope maturity will key return to BCS

Associated Press Modified: August 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm •  Published: August 12, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State appears to have it all this season — at least on paper.

And while coach Jimbo Fisher doesn't want his players distracted with the preseason expectations, he said during Sunday's media day activities that this year's team is deeper and, perhaps more importantly, a year older.

"We're going to be talented," Fisher said. "We know what we can do."

Ranked high nationally and a runaway preseason pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the first time since 2005, the Seminoles also headed into last year with similar lofty expectations. But the 2011 season fizzled quickly after three successive early-season losses.

"We pressed too hard," Fisher said. "I hope we learned from our mistakes. You have to deal with it and move on."

Fisher is 19-8 at Florida State in two seasons since replacing the iconic Bobby Bowden, whose 377 wins are recognized by the NCAA as the most among major-college coaches in the wake of the Penn State scandal that resulted in late coach Joe Paterno being stripped of 111 victories.

Florida State finished 9-4 a year ago in Fisher's second year as head coach and has now gone seven years since winning the ACC and playing in a BCS game.

"We've got to do some things," Fisher said. "I think we can right now."

And it starts with defense at Florida State, where a veteran, talented group returns nearly intact.

"They can be dominant," Fisher said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that. And we've got good depth."

Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' unit is again expected to be as good or better than the one that was among the country's best a year ago.

"That was last year," cautioned Stoops. "What we did last year is not going to win us any games. If we stay hungry, we have a chance. We'll work extremely hard to improve on last year."

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