A different kind of family emotion has confronted Florida State coach Bobby Bowden as he prepares his team for Thursday's game at N.C. State.
This time, it's not about Chuck Amato, now the Seminoles' linebackers coach, who makes his first trip to N.C. State since being fired as the Wolfpack head coach two years ago.
Instead, the dismissal of Bowden's son, Tommy, at Clemson, has required Bowden to spend time discussing and dealing with a tough family moment while trying to stay focused on a vital game.
"I don't have to worry about him beating me no more, I know that -- unless he gets his golf game a little bit sharper," said a joking Bowden, who had lost three in a row to the Tigers but will remain 5-4 all-time against his son.
"He'll handle it good," Bowden said. "Tommy's not like me. He's one of those guys who was thinking (about retiring) a couple years down the road anyway. ... He'll probably be in Panama City (Fla.) tomorrow."
That's where the Bowden clan has second homes to use for beach getaways. For the Seminoles, a trip to N.C. State has never been a day at the beach, no matter the circumstances.
When Amato coached the Wolfpack, he had the Seminoles baffled, winning three times, including twice in Tallahassee. Now, it's a different set of circumstances. Amato has stayed away from discussing his experiences at N.C. State, save for a teleconference with reporters last week. He said he was proud of what the program accomplished and knows he will return one day to be a head coach again at another school.
For now, the Seminoles are trying to avoid a familiar Thursday pitfall. They are 4-3 in these Thursday games since joining the ACC. All of the losses have been on the road. They are a double-digit favorite to beat the Wolfpack.
FSU spent last week trying to stay physical in practices. A lack of toughness has been viewed as a contributing aspect to this team's recent slide.
"Our concept is 'pushing the rock,'" said tailback Antone Smith. "Like when adversity gets in your face, are you going to go around it or are you going to go through it? We're going to go through it."
FSU's new offensive coaches, starting with offensive line coach Rick Trickett, an ex-Marine, and receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey, a tough-minded, punishing blocker when he played receiver for the Seminoles, have preached a toughness mindset since they joined the staff.
"Before, I think we definitely lacked some toughness on our team," said quarterback Christian Ponder. "This team is full of a bunch of tough guys, mentally and physically. It definitely changes the whole attitude of the team."
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