After three straight trips to the national championship game and
14 consecutive top 5 finishes, what does Florida State have to
fear? So what if the Seminoles lost 15 starters, including four
All-Americas? Who cares if this squad doesn't have any Warricks
or Weinkes? The holdovers insist there will be no drop-off.
"People can doubt us all they want, but we have as much talent
as ever," says senior All-America tackle Brett Williams. "The
only difference between this year and the past few seasons is
that we have less experience, but we still expect to win the ACC
and play for the national title."
So does coach Bobby Bowden, although he acknowledges that this
team is far from ready-made. "The last couple of years the puzzle
was pretty much complete before the season started," says Bowden,
71, who with 315 major-college wins trails only Joe Paterno
(322), Bear Bryant (323) and Pop Warner (319). "Coming into this
season we don't have but three or four pieces [in place]. I know
the other pieces are out there. We just have to find them and put
them in the right places."
The most important piece is the replacement for Heisman
Trophy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke. The battle for the job
between redshirt freshman Chris Rix and converted junior receiver
Anquan Boldin (664 receiving yards, six touchdowns in 2000) was
so close in spring practice that Bowden says he may play both.
Rix has the stronger arm; Boldin is the bigger threat to
scramble. Both have 4.4 speed, which will allow Bowden to mix in
the option with his usual pro set. A trio of inexperienced
backs--senior Davy Ford, sophomore Greg Jones and junior Nick
Maddox--shares the bulk of the running load.
On defense Florida State packs plenty of firepower in sophomore
tackle Darnell Dockett, senior free safety Chris Hope and senior
linebacker Bradley Jennings. The 6'4", 260-pound Dockett, the
national freshman of the year after leading the team in tackles
for loss (18), has the strength (a 405-pound bench press) to
bull-rush inside and the speed (4.6) to disrupt plays in the
"There's a whole lot of talent here that people don't know about
yet," says Hope. "Guys are hungry and waiting to show we're not
going to be down."
COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES Jennings (far left) is an established force on a defense packed with young and hungry talent.
2000 record: 11-2 (8-0, 1st in ACC)
Final ranking: No. 5 AP, No. 4 coaches' poll
Average yards of total offense by Florida State in 2000, best in
An opposing team's coach sizes up the Seminoles
"Defensive tackles Darnell Dockett and Jeff Womble are animals.
Last year they were unbelievable coming off the ball. Bradley
Jennings is tough, but I thought their linebackers would be
faster. Safety Chris Hope put some good hits on our guys.... I
don't know anything about Chris Rix as a quarterback. They
don't, either. They want to establish the run. That's why they
lost those two national title games: They got into a throwing
match instead of controlling the line of scrimmage."
Strength: 14th of 117
Sept. 1 at Duke
15 GEORGIA TECH
22 at North Carolina
29 WAKE FOREST
Oct. 13 MIAMI
20 at Virginia
Nov. 3 at Clemson
10 N.C. STATE
17 at Florida