FSU uses bye week to clean up mistakes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State picked up double-digit wins over Miami and Duke the last two weeks.

But despite the Seminoles’ scoring output – a combined 81 points in those victories – there is concern over the six lost fumbles in those games. And at times on Saturday, it seemed that Florida State did a better job than Duke at stopping the Seminoles’ drives.

Florida State had four fumbles, losing all of them, in the 48-7 win over Duke. There were three fumbles in the third quarter alone.

“That was total lack of focus,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “That’s my fault as a coach. We’re going to get it fixed.”

It’s a bye week for Florida State (8-1, 5-1 ACC), which is ranked ninth in the BCS standings. But the players and coaches returned to the practice field on Tuesday and the focus this week is on ball security and cleaning up mistakes.

Florida State led 31-7 going into the second half, and the victory was likely in hand – especially with Duke quarterback Sean Renfree knocked out of the game by a second-quarter hit. So the lack of focus against Duke, a team that Florida State has beaten in 18 of 18 games all-time, would appear to be a good reason for the mental lapses.

But the Seminoles also had five fumbles (they lost two) in the 33-20 victory at Miami.

That’s nine fumbles (six of them lost) over two games. After losing just four fumbles in the first seven games of the year.

The fumbles the last few weeks didn’t come back to haunt Florida State, which accumulated 560 offensive yards against Duke and 447 yards vs. Miami. In both games, Florida State had more than 200 passing yards and 200 rushing yards.

Fisher said that overall he’s pleased with how the offense played against Duke.

“Offensively it was a very clean game except for the fumbles late,” Fisher said.

Fisher gave the players Sunday and Monday off to help them recharge mentally and physically. But after nine straight games, plus a long August camp, he is also resting a number of players longer.

Tailback James Wilder, right tackle Menelik Watson and defensive back Terrence Brooks will watch a number of practices from the sideline during this bye week. Both are expected to return to practice on Saturday and Sunday, when Florida State begins its preparations for the Virginia Tech game.

Florida State needs all of its players healthy for what will be a challenging road game with Virginia Tech (4-4). While the Hokies have struggled in 2012, they beat Florida State 44-33 in the 2010 ACC Championship game in Charlotte, N.C.

The rosters have changed dramatically since, but now Florida State must also go to Blacksburg, Va., and fight for a win in one of the most challenging atmospheres in college football.

“That’s one of the toughest environments there is,” Fisher said. “I’m anxious to see how that team will grow and handle that situation.”