Semi­noles ready to roll

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS TUESDAY -

SUN BOWL to­gether and has gone 2-1 dur­ing three games, with the only loss com­ing to ri­val Florida in Gainesvill­e.

“I’m proud of this staff. They have been pro­fes­sion­als,” Hag­gins said. “This staff has done ev­ery­thing I’ve asked them to do. I take my hat off to them.”

Ari­zona State is coached by for­mer NFL head coach Herm Ed­wards. Ed­wards is in his sec­ond sea­son with the Sun Devils. He has filled out his coaching staff with for­mer NFL coaches and play­ers such as for­mer Cincin­nati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and New York Gi­ants line­backer An­to­nio Pierce.

While the Semi­noles have strug­gled the last cou­ple of years, Ed­wards said his team is ea­ger to face FSU.

“Ab­so­lutely, be­cause of the brand,” Ed­wards said. “They have a tremen­dous brand. There’s tran­si­tion [pe­ri­ods] like any­thing. There’s tran­si­tions some­times and they have gone through that a lit­tle bit.”

The Semi­noles’ run­ning back sit­u­a­tion is fluid.

Start­ing run­ning back Cam Ak­ers an­nounced ear­lier this month he was skip­ping the bowl game and en­ter­ing the NFL draft. Backup Kha­lan Laborn had knee surgery and is not ex­pected to play.

That leaves FSU with Deonte Sh­effield, who has nine car­ries for 48 rush­ing yards and a touch­down as the team’s lead­ing tail­back en­ter­ing the con­test. Backup quar­ter­back Jor­dan Travis has rushed for 170 yards and three touch­downs in pack­ages de­signed for him. Wide re­ceiver D.J. Matthews took reps with the run­ning backs dur­ing one of the first bowl prac­tices.

“I told our kids, ‘We’re go­ing to do what we have to do,’ ” Hag­gins said. “Fit in and let’s go play foot­ball. You don’t make ex­cuses. Go and do it.”

FSU will have to con­tend with Ari­zona State true fresh­man quar­ter­back Jay­den Daniels, who has been im­pres­sive this sea­son, throw­ing 17 touch­downs against only two in­ter­cep­tions. He has passed for 2,748 yards and has rushed for 319 yards and three scores in 11 games.

“You can tell he’s a gym rat,” Hag­gins said. “He stud­ies the film. That kid, pres­sure doesn’t bother him. He’s smooth un­der­neath pres­sure.”

“We got to get him on the ground,” de­fen­sive end Ja­narius Robin­son added.

Hag­gins said there have been no con­ver­sa­tions with the team about next sea­son. He has been fo­cused on get­ting a win. Norvell will likely be eval­u­at­ing things for next sea­son.

“We’re think­ing about Florida State, the things we have to do to go out and play well,” Hag­gins said.

JOHN RAOUX/AP

Florida State quar­ter­back Jor­dan Travis, right, cel­e­brates with quar­ter­back James Black­man after Travis scored ear­lier this sea­son. Travis is one of the Semi­noles’ po­ten­tial run threats en­ter­ing the Sun Bowl.

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