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    Sporting News Today: Dekoda Watson

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    By Dekoda Watson

    For SN Today


    We had a talk the night before the Georgia Tech game, and we decided we would walk arm-in-arm out of the tunnel all the way to the sideline--we'd do it together--in support of Coach Bobby Bowden and our program. Nobody is going to break up our home and our family. This is our family and this is what it all comes down to here. We're going to be together, and we're not going to talk down our coaches.


    It wasn't only for our program, but for the fans--the true fans at Florida State who were at the game. The statement was clearly represented. It showed around the stadium, the way the fans erupted, that they knew what we were doing and what it was all about.


    It just kind of shocks me how things have gone lately. Why would anybody say anything to try to bring down a great man like Bobby Bowden? We try to do a lot of good as human beings, but it seems like if you mess up just one time, everybody forgets everything you did before. You're a bad person and you're not looked at the same. Florida State is Florida State because of that man. This great stadium is the way it is because of his work. He's got his own statue outside. He's the one who built the reputation here--the way it is today. Why knock him after he clearly worked so hard for this school?


    That's what shows you the type of people who are out there. It's a lot of fake and phony fans. They're not real fans--they're the ones who are only here when we're winning. A true fan is one who is here during the hard times.


    Let me tell you how much character that man has. For him to say to us before the game, 'Don't go out there and play for me, it's not about me, it's about y'all.' What does that say about him? He told us to ignore all this stuff in the media, and don't play the game just for him. How can you knock a man like that? I think everything that's going around him would affect me if it had a big effect on him, but it doesn't--so we're not going to let it affect the team.


    He's the same guy now that came to my living room when I was in high school. Nothing has changed. When he came to my house, it was like he was at home--the things he did and talked about, the way he presented himself. My mom is a very religious woman, my whole family is. He wasn't just talking all football. He told us that he wanted his boys to go to heaven, and that was the most important thing. I knew right then and there that's where I wanted to go. Football would play itself out, but this was a man who could help me pursue where I needed to be to be a better person. Football is not your God, and it won't always make you happy.


    A lot of people look at him and think he's just old and this and that, but his mind is more powerful than you'll ever know. He knows my sisters' names, and my mom's name--he remembers important things. He's a phenomenal man. I'm happy to have had an opportunity to play for a legend here. I was sitting at a table at his house for a senior dinner, and I asked coach to pass me the butter. I mean, I was sitting in a legend's house asking if he could pass me the butter, but you wouldn't have known he was a legend. He doesn't think he's bigger than you.


    Even though they're trying to take those wins off his record, he'll still be Bobby Bowden. He's still going to have that statue outside. You can't completely knock him off--he will always be a legend in football.


    --As told to Brian McLaughlin

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    I was there on Saturday and experienced the swell of emotion as the players walked on the field with Coach Bowden. Like everyone else, I am disappointed the way the season has played out so far. But after reading these comments, I think I am prouder than ever to be a "true" seminole fan. Thank you Dekoda and Go 'Noles!!!!

    All that i have to say is you are lucky to have coach Bowden as a coach,but no luckier than he to have you as a player God bless you.

    Thanks, Dekoda. That is exactly the way I feel and what I have said. A true fan is a fan whether your team is winning or losing. I think the majority of us feel the same. The press only wants to pay attention to the negative ones. We can't come to the games too often but if they are on tv we watch and on the rare occasion when it isn't we listen on the radio. My best to the entire team and coaching staff.

    I agree with you Dekoda, my fellow South Carolinian. I have been a fan of Florida State, and of Bobby Bowden since the late 80’s (I’m 28 years old). One thing that I will always remember about Bobby is when he said, “If I have won all of my games in my years of coaching, I would have built absolutely no character. You can only build character, in my opinion, through adversity. Those who don’t have character, they are going to wilt right by the waist side.” I believe that we do have a lot of fake fans. I read a lot forums talking about how Bobby is hurting recruiting. I believe when recruits see how some of our own fans talk down about a good man, and how people that hold important positions in offices at Florida State talks about issues that should have been discussed behind closed doors, they are going to be more reluctant to commit. Dekoda, I appreciate your leadership, and the way you are standing up for what you believe in. As for the fake fans, a plan was already in place for someone to take over when Bobby stepped down, but you just couldn’t sit still and be quiet, now you have caused more harm than good. Never give up, be unconquerable, GO TRUE NOLES.


    Rest assured there are plenty of fans who will stick with you guys through thick and thin. I am so proud you choose to play at Florida State. I am proud to be a fellow "Nole" in the Florida State family along with all the athletes.

    Dekota,i love the way u and all the other playerswalked out of the tunnell last week. I hope that u guys will do that agint florida too (and knock tebow on his butt a few times). Just one guestion, what advice would u give to a upcomming high school freashman who wants to play linebacker? well thanks for what u do on and off thefield and remeber god is always with u.

    The bottom line is FSU is not USC, Ohio State or Notre Dame. Those colleges have an extensive history and have had an influx of different coaches of many decades. Bobby Bowden is Florida State University Football. There is no history before him of any significance. The standards of winning are set by him and the amazing staff and players he recruited and molded. Bobby Bowden is 80 next month. How much time does this man have to coach respectively. Bobby Bowden should be able to coach as long as he wants because he is FSU. I will always be a Seminole, but it will never be the same to watch FSU without Mr. Bowden. Knowone will ever come into BOBBY BOWDEN stadium as a coach and be even close to the high standards he has set in terms of winning. Bobby Bowden said that "tough times never last, but tough people do." Those words have helped me through some of the most difficult times in life. Anyone who wants Mr. Bowden out now is not a true seminole. FIGHT, FIGHT FOR FSU AND BOBBY BOWDEN

    Dakota sounds like a player of the old. Strong moral value and convictions. Momma raised em' right. The players need to take stock in there defensive leader. Florida State won't get better because of Bobby, or Jimbo. They'll overcome this adversity by becoming leaders on the field like Dakota, and Christian. They can't do it alone though. Bobby does represent a dying breed; their called "Good Men!" Take stock in that...CRITICS!

    We love Bobby,Keep coaching and fighting Bobby, don't let them get you down.

    I am from NJ and was a freshman at FSU in 1973 when we went 0-11, and was there in 1974 when we went 1-10. The stadium was an erector set and there were articles continually in the Flambeau about abolishing the football program. I was on the track team and our workout room was a universal lifting machine outside and under the stadium. Bobby Bowden came to town and all of that changed forever. I was back on campus last year at the FSU-FL game for the first time in two decades. The change in the FSU campus and sports facilities are a direct result of the notoriety and attention he has brought to this fine school these past three decades. He raised the awareness of FSU nationwide to the point where some of the finest teachers and students from other states looked at FSU as a viable alternative. Look at the average SAT scores from 1975 versus today and one could argue that FSU became a national caliber academic choice for so many programs directly due to demand he created for this institution. When one looks at the totality of his contributions, that have so heavily influenced the caliber of students, teachers and athletes that FSU has today, there is no doubt that Bobby Bowden is a person we should be extremely proud of every single day he is a part of FSU. I am so proud of Dakota, Christian and the rest of the Seminole Family for hanging tough during these times and there is no doubt with their character, hard work and dilligence we will regain our place in the college sports world. However long that takes, we must all understand what Bobby Bowden has done for FSU and be eternally grateful to this special individual!

    I've had the opportunity to experience in person, two National Championships, countless ACC Titles, and many victories over great teams. I have seen and cheered for some of the greatest football players ever to play the game. I have celebrated the good times and remain optomistic about the future. I don't care what the press, or other team fans think. Alabama would not have fired the Bear, (heck he is still alive in their eyes), Georgia would not have fired Vince Dooley, and Coach Bowden should leave when he is ready. When the team walked out with Coach Bowden with their arms locked and I saw no black shirts, my faith in Florida State was restored. I plan to enjoy and savor every game until Coach Bowden retires. Go Noles!!!

    The whole team and Coach Bowden are in my prayers, us real fans stand behind you all the way no matter what. I am glad to see the team has the courage to stand up and voice their feelings as many of us fans are as well. I am outraged at what they are doing, it is wrong, Coach Bowden made FSU Football what is it and if anyone thinks differently they are wrong. He has been an important part of each and every players life therefore he has made FSU Football what it is. God Bless Bobby Bowden and my Seminoles.

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