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MEDIA SCOPE - Sept. 16
Preseason (Aug. 24)
Week 1 (Aug. 31)
Week 2 (Sept. 7)
Week 3 (Sept. 14)
Week 4 (Sept. 21)
Week 5 (Sept. 28)

Week 6 (Oct. 5)
Week 7 (Oct. 12)
Week 8 (Oct. 19)
Week 9 (Oct. 26)

Week 10 (Nov. 2)
Week 11 (Nov. 9)
Week 12 (Nov. 16)
Week 13 (Nov. 23)
Week 14 (Nov. 30)


Exactly what is the college football officiating philosophy? This isn't a sour grapes response, but a legitimate thought process shared by many true lovers of the game. Games are decided by players, at least that is how it should be. Whenever officials step in to make the calls that have bearings on the outcomes, you have a problem. The trend of college football officiating has turned into just that. Referees have been trained to work a game with one hand on the flag and a whistle in the mouth. Every play seems to be a penalty waiting to happen. Anytime a participating team is flagged for ten or more penalties in one game, the referee is playing too big a role. The inconsistencies have factual basis. How can a group of 18-22 year olds legitimately commit three penalties one week and over 13 penalties the following week? The main problem is the amount of judgment calls that officials are forced to make. We are seeing a large amount of 15-yard personal fouls called. The joke of this season is by far the celebration penalty. The problem here is the inconsistency by which officials make this call. There have been numerous occasions this season where the call is made on one team but not called on the other. The interpretation of this rule needs (re)defined, taking into account what exactly is a celebration with a little more leniency.

The halo violation called on punting teams is now a ten-yard penalty. Loosen up on the call.

Every kick return has a 50% chance of being flagged for a block in the back. Referees are looking for this violation much like a teenager leafing through the Victoria's Secret catalog.

Holding calls are way too numerous, especially the ones that have no bearing on the play.
Late hits out of bounds have tied the hands of many defenders (especially when facing a running quarterback).

A good referee is one that is rarely seen or heard, and contrary to popular belief, every play is not a penalty waiting to happen. Let them play.


The difference between the current FSU team as opposed to recent years past:

  • The Mississippi Riverboat gambler concept that was portrayed while dissecting Bobby Bowden over the early glory years has disappeared. You won’t see double reverses anymore – an ole Bobby Bowden staple.
  • You won’t see blocking punts being stressed anymore – another ole Bobby Bowden staple.
  • With all of the blazing athletes, FSU has failed to locate a punt/kick returner that puts the fear in anybody. So far through five games in 2002, the Seminoles have utilized five different punt returners and six different kickoff returners. Last season in 2001, the Noles tried eight different punt returners and five different kickoff returners. Outside of a good field goal kicker in Xavier Beitia, the special teams are lagging.
  • The swing pass and screens to the running backs are gone from the days of Warrick Dunn. The FSU tight end has one catch this year. If you are in your base set with a tight end and a fullback and your backs are not being utilized in the passing scheme, you are left with two receivers period, which is pretty easy to cover.

The coaching departures have caught up with Florida State. Only two assistant coaches remain from the start of the 15-year glory run – running backs coach Billy Sexton and Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews. You cannot replace the attitudes, continuity, and experience guys like Chuck Amato bought to this program. Reflections you can plainly see from this area include chaos on the sideline with communications, as FSU tends to burn all three timeouts in the first 12 minutes of each half while trying to get plays into the ballgame. Defensive players are standing around waiting for the defense to be called while the offensive is attempting to snap the ball.

For folks who are questioning the talent, yes there has been some huge drop offs. The staple of defensive ends has been depleted. The current defensive ends don’t have the capability to speed rush and the cornerbacks just don’t have the speed and covering mechanics.

It’s easy to second-guess calls being made, but that is the beauty of football for the fan. If I were to put my Coaching Minor to a test right now I would say these things:

RAISE THE INTENSITY LEVEL – This is the number one priority, in particular up front for the defensive group. If the players are not following suit, then you start the replacement, regardless of the talent drop off.

DEFENSIVE CONCEPTS – When was the last time an opposing QB looked confused? That look now rests in the eyes of the FSU secondary. Mix it up more. One play you are in tight bump and run, the next play you are in a cover 2. Disguise the blitzes, fake the blitzes, use more blitzes and stop worrying that you are going to get beat on the play if you call it. You don’t need to call frequent blitzes to be successful when the defense is struggling as it is, but you have to at least give the impression that you may blitz or do something else, much like running teams throwing the deep ball just to keep defenses honest. If you get beat here and there, you get beat. You are getting beat anyway. The defense has taken a “ sit back and take what is being given” attitude while constantly worrying, instead of just playing and getting after people. Opposing offenses are dictating what is being called due to FSU having a fear of getting beat on one play. Hint: teams are not beating FSU with one big play; they are moving the ball up and down the field. Picking out a game plan and making it work against the Nole defense has proven to be very easy.

PASS RUSH AND OVERCOMPENSATING - Believe it or not, stop focusing on the pass rush and just work on the stopping the run first. The efforts to find a pass rush haven’t worked, meaning there isn’t one to draw up with the current personnel. Just play defense and stop trying to overcompensate for the weaknesses.

TAKE THE HEAT OFF THE RECEIVERS - Offensively, the tight end minus well not even be on the field. Granted a receiving tight end rarely existed at FSU, but it has gotten so bad at this point, that opposing defenses have just completely written this position off and focus everything they have on the mighty receivers FSU employs. There is a huge need for getting other players into the passing game. See next point.

MORE TAILBACKS – The previous aspect leads to utilizing senior Nick Maddox a little more at tailback. Personally, Greg Jones as a 250-pound tailback is exciting and he is awesome between the tackles when defenses are not bent on stuffing him at the line of scrimmage, but I felt he would have made a better fullback. It is too late for that now. His 40-speed is good for such a big cat, but he doesn’t have that acceleration to blow past the linebackers and turn a 12-yard gain into a touchdown run. Keep Jones with the majority of carries, but utilize Maddox more.

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE - QB Chris Rix needs to be taught more patience. Coaches should literally tie his shoelaces together some at practice, because when Rix takes that three-step drop, he is thinking tuck and run way too often when nothing is open immediately. He may be a descent running QB, but the problem here is that as soon as he tucks that ball, his eyes are leaving the downfield receivers. Coach and stress him to scramble while looking down field. There is no run/pass option, only a run option at that point.

NOT A PROBLEM. - The receivers are fine. The highly rated offensive line would be more fine if Rix could force opponents to fret more about the pass. You cannot throw deep on first down and have an incompletion, and then run Greg Jones between the tackles on second and ten. In other words, way too many third down situations for an under developed Chris Rix.

A LONG TIME COMING - Someday the coaches will attempt to remedy the penalty problems that have existed over the last 10+ seasons, especially in key situations. An answer isn’t easy to find. I would look around and see what other programs are doing. But ignoring the problem any longer isn’t the answer with talent gaps decreased. Trust me when I tell you that a feeling exists amongst the FSU faithful and coaches, that everyone has just accepted triple digit penalty yards as a normal plight for game day.

COACHES MUST SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY - Coaches need to look in the mirror a little more and take a larger responsibility. No need to hit the panic button just yet, but the string of losses to unranked opponents is obviously cause for concern. The biggest fault I find with the current staff can be summed up in the words of ex-Seminole running back Eric Shelton, who signed with FSU just two seasons ago, transferred to Louisville just last winter and is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. While trying to help his Louisville teammates out with scouting his ex-ball club this past week leading up to the Thursday night match up, here were some very relevant statements that caught my eye:

QUOTES - “They are a little more laid back down there (FSU). That is one of the first things I noticed when I got here to Louisville, the coaches are way more intense with screaming and yelling during practice." Shelton said. ``We know what they're going to do. We just have to come out and play hard. That's the main thing. At FSU, if we were playing a Miami or Florida, they might come up with some different stuff, but if it was an ACC or any other non-conference game, you just strapped it up and played hard.''

If a kid who played for both schools can realize it, then it must be true. The staff has lost their intensity, and it shows in the player’s actions. The under ranked teams that are beating FSU do so against very vanilla schemes that stress just lining up and beating the man in front of you. Talent alone isn’t going to win FSU ballgames anymore. All things even, the scale has been tipped away from talent and more towards coaching decisions. Bobby Bowden doesn’t call the X’s and O’s on game day. He has a major problem right now. How do you tell your own son and a defensive coordinator of 23 years that you are changing things up? However, if anyone can make the right decisions defensively, Mickey Andrews can.





The new gold tops with the train rolling down the track on the sleeves is an instant classic.



The best of the Nike/Denver Broncos look alikes with the strips down the side.



Traditional green and white, not too gaudy. The grey trim around the numbers was a real nice touch.



Stuck inside of Mobile, with the Memphis Blues again. Nice compliment to the All-White look.



Much like the above photo, so a close #5. The Spartan All-Blue uniforms are not too shabby either.



Nike came and tampered with a good thing, but keeping the classic gold pants with gold helmets was a a thumbs up.




The Terps keep getting closer to those old 1970's uniforms. A few jazzy stripes didn't hurt the change.



When you think of Golden Hurricane, you think of these uniforms. Still keeping up with the Nike/Denver Bronco looks of the world. Golden!



This look has been in since last year. Still, Hawaii continues to lead the nation in good looking off-the-scale designs, which date back to the rainbow stripes on the sleeve.



Again with the Nike common theme. The new look gives the Golden Bears a winning start on the field for once.




No, this is not the Sooners in disguise. Couldn't these folks have come up with something a little more original? Only a traditional power like Oklahoma could get away with this type of classic look.



The Cardinal messed with a tradition and added the black to demonstrate what type of year was in store. After giving up 65 points last week to Arizona State, maybe the black eye matched.

(some things go hand in hand for 2002)



The red pants, the red pants. Stick with a familiar site that opponents dread.


The All-Garnet look has been utilized in the past, but FSU gets recruits with the classic approach that coordinates with the helmet staple.

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Editor: Dave Hershorin