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    August 2010 Archives

    Offensive Notes: Florida State vs. Samford

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    Fleet Reed back as top target

    Junior wide receiver Bert Reed caught a career-high 60 passes for a career-high 710 yards as a sophomore and enters the 2010 season as the Seminoles' leading receiver from a year ago.  One of the top all-purpose players in the ACC, Reed finished second on the team in receiving, and third on the team in all-purpose yards with 807 total yards (710 yards receiving, 94 rushing and three on punt returns).  Reed enters his junior season needing only 17 catches to reach the 100 for his career (83 career catches), having already eclipsed the 1,000 yard receiving mark (1,005).

    Easterling: From Diamond to Gridiron

    Junior wide receiver Taiwan Easterling, who has caught 65 passes for 764 yards and three touchdowns as a Seminole football player, was a member of Florida State's ACC Championship baseball team which advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. As a receiver for the 2009 football team he posted career-highs for receptions (35) and yards (442) as the Seminoles capped the season by winning the 2010 Gator Bowl. A reserve outfielder for the baseball team in 2010, he played in 23 games and earned 23 at bats.  Despite not participating in spring practice with the football team, Easterling is expected to start in the opener against Samford.

    Reliford is top returning tight end

    Junior Beau Reliford, who caught 11 passes for 101 yards in 2009, is the Seminoles' top returning tight end for the 2010 season.  A starter in the final five games of his sophomore season, Reliford saw his output increase from one catch for eight yards as a freshman to 11 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns last season. He scored the game-winning touchdown with 6:20 remaining as the Seminoles rallied from a 24-6 second half deficit to win at North Carolina in a nationally-televised Thursday night game. Reliford's game-winner came on an 18-yard pass from Christian Ponder against the nation's top-rated pass defense.  Reliford and junior Ja'Barris Little (one catch for four yards in 2009) are the only two tight ends on the roster who have at least one career reception entering the 2010 season.  

    Offensive Line paves the way

    Florida State's offensive line, generally considered one of the top starting units in all of college football, helped the Seminoles pile up 5,478 total yards and 43 touchdowns during the 2009 season.  Florida State ranked second in the ACC and 28th in the nation in total offense (421.4 yards per game). The Seminoles were third in the ACC (25th nationally) in passing offense (271.8 ypg) and fourth in the ACC (59th nationally) in rushing offense (149.5 ypg).  FSU has improved its total offense output each of the past three seasons. Senior guard Rodney Hudson and senior center Ryan McMahon enter their fourth season as starters, while tackles Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders and guard David Spurlock  - all juniors - are third-year starters who have contributed significantly to that improvement. Collectively the unit boasts 142 career starts.

    Three-year paving project

    Year Pass Rush Total TDs

    2007 3,143 1,659 4,802 27

    2008 2,506 2,328 4,834 45

    2009 3,354 1,944 5,478 43

    Hudson: Two Jacobs better than one

    All-American offensive guard Rodney Hudson, who won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 2009, enters his final season looking to become only the 11th player to become a repeat winner of the league's award for the most dominant blocker. Should he win the award for the second consecutive season, he would become only the second guard in ACC history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.  

    Multiple Award Winners

    Years Player School

    1953-54 Bill Wohrman USC

    1956-57 Hal McElhaney Duke

    1961-62 Art Gregory Duke

    1975-76 Billy Bryan Duke

    1978-79 Jim Ritcher NC State

    1984-85 Jim Dombrowski UVa

    1990-91 Ray Roberts UVA

    1994-95 Clay Shiver FSU

    2001-02 Brett Williams FSU

    2003-04 Elton Brown Virginia

    Hudson in elite ACC company

    All-American offensive guard Rodney Hudson enters the 2010 season looking to become only the seventh player in ACC history to earn All-ACC honors in each of his four seasons.  He earned All-ACC First Team honors in 2008 and 2009 and All-ACC Second Team honors in 2007.  Only one player - Ted Brown of NC State - has earned All-ACC First Team honors in each of his four seasons.  Only six players - three non-kickers - have earned All-ACC First or Second Team honors entering the 2010 season.  Two of the players who have earned All-ACC honors four times are Seminoles - Travis Minor and Brett Williams - making FSU the only ACC school with multiple four-time selections.

    Four Time All-ACC Performers

    Travis Minor, Florida State, RB 1997 (2nd), '98 (1st), '99 (2nd), '00 (2nd)

    Brett Williams, Florida State, T

    1999 (2nd), '00 (2nd), '01 (1st), '02 (1st)

    Will Brice, Virginia, P

    1993 (2nd), '94 (2nd), '95 (1st), '96 (1st)

    Ted Brown, NC State, RB

    1975 (1st), '76 (1st), '77 (1st), '78 (1st)

    Adam Podlesh, Maryland, P 2003 (2nd), '04 (2nd), '05 (2nd), '06 (2nd)

    Nelson Welch, Clemson, K 1991 (1st), '92 (2nd), '93 (2nd), '94 (2nd)

    Iron Ryan eyes perfection

    Fifth-year senior center Ryan McMahon has battled injury and bigger opponents throughout his career, but remains the rock in the middle of position coach Rick Trickett's segment. McMahon, who made the transtion from defensive tackle to center in 2007, is working on a string of 39 consecutive starts entering the 2010 campaign. A Rimington Award candidate for a third consecutive season, McMahon is poised to become Florida State's all-time leader in games started and played. Over the course of his career he has handled all but a handful of snaps to start the Seminole offense.

    Thomas hoping to double-up

    Junior running back Jermaine Thomas, who led the Seminoles with a career-high 832 rushing yards in 2009, returns to a very productive backfield rotation. Thomas' rushing total was the most by a Seminole since Leon Washington rushed for 951 yards during the 2004 season. Thomas enters the 2010 season looking to lead the Seminoles in rushing for a second consecutive season, which would

    continued on page 8

    mark the 10th time for an FSU player since 1990 and 1991. Six Florida State players have led the team in rushing in

    consecutive seasons since the 1990 and 1991 seasons, including Travis Minor, who led the Seminoles in rushing in four consecutive seasons (1997-2000).

    Back-To-Back Rushing Leaders

    Years Player     Totals

    2007-08 Antone Smith     1,611

    2005-06 Lorenzo Booker    1,178

    2002-03 Greg Jones     1,556

    2001-02 Greg Jones     1,651

    1999-00 Travis Minor     1,738

    1998-99 Travis Minor     1,672

    1997-98 Travis Minor     1,480

    1995-96 Warrick Dunn     2,422

    1994-95 Warrick Dunn     2,268

    1990-91 Amp Lee     1,802

    Top seven rushers return

    Led by Jermaine Thomas, the Seminoles' top seven rushers are back on the roster for the 2010 season.  Thomas (832 yards) leads a pack of players including Ty Jones (251), EJ Manuel (196), Christian Ponder (179), Lonnie Pryor (156), Chris Thompson (120) and Bert Reed (94). They combined for 1,828 yards last season.  In all, returning Seminoles produced 1,839 of last season's 1,944 yards (94.6 percent).  The Seminoles lost only one runner (Tavares Pressley to injury) who gained more than 50 yards rushing in 2009.  

    Offense operates with Ginsu precision

    Florida State returns 10 starters from its 2009 offense, which at time was also the Seminoles' best defense. With quarterbacks Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel at the controls, FSU put together 21 scoring drives of 10 or more plays; 14 of which resulted in touchdowns. It registered a season-best 17-play TD drive at BYU which covered 86 yards and chewed a season-high 8:19 off the clock - one of four on the day the win in Provo, Utah. The Seminoles' proficiency  was easily identifiable in other quantitative ways as well.  Their furthest sustained drive covered 98 yards in 12 plays, resulting in a TD against NC State. Of the 21 double-digit scoring drives, 15 of them extended five minutes or longer. On the season the 'Noles put together three scoring drives of 90 or more yards, eight between 80-89 yards, 10 between 70-79 yards and 14 from 60-69 yards.

    Defensive Notes: Florida State vs. Samford

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    A reason to call him Mister

    Florida State senior linebacker Mister Alexander has spent much of his career battling injuries while jockeying between the safety and outside linebacker positions. But a breakthrough 2009 campaign as a reserve linebacker has opened the door for him to open 2010 as the starting strongside linebacker. Alexander finished the '09 season with only 17 tackles, but he made the most of them. The Aldine, Texas native is FSU's top returner with five quarterback sacks and ranks third among returnees with six tackles for loss; numbers which should improve dramatically with more playing time for one of the Seminoles most athletic players.

    Bradham-Smith pile up stops

    Veteran linebackers Nigel Bradham and Kendall Smith form one of the most productive tackling tandems in the Atlantic Coast Conference. As a sophomore, Bradham led the Semioles with 93 stops on the season (61 solos), followed by Smith, who closed his junior season with 85 (45 solos). That's a whopping 178 combined stops for the top two tacklers from last season. In FSU's new defensive scheme, they are expected to be even more productive from their weakside and middle linebacker positions, respectively.

    Fresh faces all around

    Florida State may have a brand new defensive coordinator and two new defensive assistants, but it isn't just the coaching staff that boasts a lot of fresh faces. The Seminoles enter the first game of the year against Samford with a two-deep defensive roster that features 11 student-athletes that did not play for FSU last year. Included in that list is backup sophomore middle linebacker Vince Williams, who is making his return after a back injury forced a medical redshirt in 2009. Junior college transfers Mike Harris and Anthony McCloud find themselves as backups at field corner and nose guard, respectively. Eight of the 11 new faces are freshmen.

    Familiar name, not-so-familiar spot

    Fifth-year senior Ochuko Jenije has appeared in 37 games over the course of his FSU career, but when the Tallahassee native takes the field in the opener things will be quite different. That's because Jenije, who has played cornerback his entire career and started all 13 games at that position a year ago, will line up at free safety against Samford. Jenije has worked throughout the offseason at both defensive back positions and impressed the coaches enough to be penciled into the first team at free safety, ahead of Nick Moody and Justin Bright.

    What a difference a year makes

    Take a look at Florida State's two-deep defensive depth chart for the 2009 season opener against Miami and you won't see many similarities to this year's version of the opening game. Only middle linebacker Kendall Smith, weakside linebacker Nigel Bradham, defensive end Markus White and free safety Ochuko Jenije are returning starters, and White (from right defensive end to left defensive end) and Jenije (from cornerback to free safety) are at different positions.

    Dawkins: A household name?

    Blessed with fantastic athletic ability and a motor that never quits, there have been high hopes for defensive lineman Everett Dawkins ever since he came to Tallahassee from his home state of South Carolina. Now in his third year as a redshirt sophomore, Dawkins may finally be ready and in position to make a serious impact on the defensive front. That's because No. 93 has bulked up to 285 pounds and after bouncing around between end and tackle appears to be set in his new position in the middle at defensive tackle. As a redshirt freshman last year, Dawkins registered 14 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack.

    New year, new hope for consistency

    A combination of struggles and injuries prevented FSU from having much consistency on defense last year, and Seminole coaches hope to change that in 2010. Last season, Florida State had only three defensive players that started all 13 games.

    Greg Reid burst on to the scene as a true freshman last year thanks to his electrifying ability to make magic happen in the return game. Outside of quarterback Christian Ponder and All-American offensive lineman Rodney Hudson, Reid became arguably FSU's most recognized player despite not starting a single game on defense. Well, that will certainly change in 2010 as the true sophomore is set to start at field corner in the opener. Reid, who did appear in all 13 of FSU's 2009 games, had 23 total tackles, two interceptions and six pass breakups in his third-cornerback role in nickel situations.

    Special Teams Notes: Potent in the Punting Game

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    Florida State will look to duplicate its dubious feat in the punt return game in 2009. Led by returning sophomore Greg Reid, who led the nation in punt return average, the Seminoles finished second in the country in team punt return average with nearly 17 (16.96) yards per return.

    Special Teams Notes: Opportunities for Hopkins

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    Kicker Dustin Hopkins has been a tremendous asset to the FSU special teams unit heading into his second season. Among his many list of achievements was finishing in the upper quartile in the NCAA in field goals per game (1.46), where he ended up tied for 22nd.

    Special Teams Notes: Reid and the Recruit

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    It could be another successful season in the punting and kicking game in 2010 for the Seminoles. Sophomore Greg Reid, who averaged 25.5 yards per kick return and 18.4 yards per punt return in 2009, will be paired with the reigning USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year in Lamarcus Joyner to begin the season. Both players certainly hold the accolades to make FSU one of the elite special team units in the country.

    Special Teams Notes: Powerful Powell

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    Punter Shawn Powell enters his junior campaign as a viable candidate for the Ray Guy Award, possessing a strong leg that has elevated his career punting average to 41.5 yards in two seasons. However, the Rome, Ga., native was missing from last year's NCAA punting statistics because he did not meet the 3.6 punts per game requirement. Had he been allowed to show up on the list, Powell would have finished in the Top 50 nationwide with his 41.6 yards per punt average.

    Special Teams Notes: Kicking Off the Season

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    Much of Florida State's kickoff return unit returns from a record-breaking season in 2009. As a team, FSU set school records with 67 kickoff returns and 1,390 kickoff return yards. With an already-potent offense leading the Seminoles in 2010, any sort of special teams success that can aid field position will benefit FSU's agenda.

    Special Teams Notes: A new Block Party begins

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    Special teams coordinator Eddie Gran is widely regarded as one of the best in the business, which is a good thing, considering Florida State's long-standing reputation as one of the most dangerous programs in the nation when it comes to blocking kicks. Throughout Bobby Bowden's tenure (1976-2009) the Seminoles combined for 128 blocked punts and kicks, often coming at the most opportune time. Though the numbers have slowed in recent seasons, FSU still remains one of the most productive nationally.

    Blocked kicks from 2002-09

    1.   Fresno State, 48

    2.   Texas, 46

    3.   Louisiana, 41

    4.   Florida, 39

    5.   Kansas State, 36

          Kentucky, 36

    7.   Nebraska, 35

    8.   Boise State, 34

          UCLA, 34

    10. Virginia Tech, 33

    11. Middle Tennessee, 30    

    12. Florida State, 29

    13. Georgia, 28

    14. Air Force 27

    The Last Time They Met - FSU vs. Samford

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    About the Samford Bulldogs

    Samford is located in Birmingham, Ala., and is coached by 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan. The Bulldogs, a Football Championship Subdivision program out of the Southern Conference, return 15 starters and 69 letter winners from their 2009 team. They are led offensively by junior quarterback Dustin Taliaferro, senior running back Chris Evans and senior offensive lineman Thomas Gray. Senior middle linebacker Bryce Smith, the Southern Conference preseason Defensive Player of the Year, heads a strong unit which also features defensive lineman John Michael Clay.

    Key returnees abound

    Taliaferro passed for 1,692 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions during 2009...Evans enters this season as Samford's all-time leading rusher and is the school's first back to rush for 1,000 yards in three-straight seasons after amassing 1,152 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. A two-time all-conference selection, he also led the team with 38 receptions and is on the 2010 Payton Award Watch List.... Wide receiver Riley Hawkins, a member of the 2008 Southern Conference All-Freshman Team, led Samford in receiving with 34 receptions for 638 yards and four touchdowns and is a dangerous kick returner...Defensively, Smith led all FCS players in 2009 with 7.2 solo tackles per game and is on the 2010 Buchanan Award Watch List. He also earned first team All-SoCon honors last season...Clay is a fourth-year starter on the defensive front and was a second team all-conference selection last season.

    FSU-Samford ties that bind

    Current FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and his legendary predecessor Bobby Bowden both played quarterback at Samford.The school was known as Howard College when Bowden earned Little All-American honors for the Bulldogs, where he was a teammate of Jerry Sullivan, the father of the current Samford coach. Samford assistant Ross Robinson was on the Auburn staff with Jimbo Fisher when current FSU assistant Dameyune Craig played quarterback for the Tigers. Robinson worked on the Auburn offensive staff coordinated by Tommy Bowden. Terry Bowden was the head coach and Fisher tutored the Auburn quarterbacks.

    Alabama and Florida connections

    Samford has eight current players from Florida in RB Alex Barnett (Niceville), WR JaUan Davis (Tallahassee), WR Riley Hawkins (Pace), DL Adam Fischer (Melbourne), DL Calvin Ruff (Tampa), LB Taylor O'Bryan (Orlando), CB Issac Cooper (Fort Walton Beach) and P Greg Peranich (Pace).

    FSU has three players from the state of Alabama in Rodney Hudson (Mobile), Blake Snider (Anniston) and Nigel Terrell (Pelham). Assistant coaches Lawrence Dawsey (Dothan) and Dameyune Craig (Prichard) are also from the state of Alabama.

    Practice Report Video: August 31

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    Jimbo Fisher Daily Show - August 31st

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    Join Florida State football head coach Jimbo Fisher and "The Voice of the Seminoles" Gene Deckerhoff for the latest edition of the Jimbo Fisher Daily Show.

    Coach Fisher and Gene discuss preparations for the Samford game.

    Jimbo Fisher Daily Show - August 31st

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Practice Report Video: August 30

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    Monday Football Press Conference - August 30th

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    Florida State football head coach Jimbo Fisher and starting quarterback Christian Ponder met with the media to discuss the upcoming game against Samford.

    Jimbo Fisher Press Conference - August 30th

    Christian Ponder Press Conference - August 30th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Jimbo Fisher Daily Show - August 30th

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    Join Florida State football head coach Jimbo Fisher and "The Voice of the Seminoles" Gene Deckerhoff for the latest edition of the Jimbo Fisher Daily Show.

    Coach Fisher and Gene discuss preparations for the Samford game.

    Jimbo Fisher Daily Show - August 30th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Sports Illustrated Says Joyner Will Make An Impact

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    Sports Illustrated has released its "Ten freshman most likely to make an immediate impact in 2010" and Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner is on that list. 

    Andy Staples, the author of the article and all-around great journalist, has this to say about FSU's true freshman defensive back/kick returner: 

    "The Seminoles have two potential superstars at cornerback in redshirt freshman Xavier Rhodes and sophomore Greg Reid, but Joyner is too athletic to keep off the field. He may play in sets that require an extra defensive back. Coach Jimbo Fisher said Thursday that Joyner will start alongside Reid as a kick returner. If Fisher and his staff are as smart as they appear, they may also find other ways to get Joyner into the game."

    Fall Practice Report: August 28

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    Fall Practice Report: August 27

    | No Comments | No TrackBacks ACC Preview

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    Kramer and the Calzones

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    Quite possibly one of the greatest episodes in Seinfeld.  And please remember, don't try to use change to pay for calzones, or any other food that costs more than $1.

    Fall Practice Report: August 25

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    Doak Insider Podcast - August 25th

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor, Layne Herdt and special guest Florida State football SID Bob Thomas for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    This week the guys discuss the second football scrimmage, how lightning is wreaking havoc on practice and the AP Top 25.

    Doak Insider Podcast - August 25th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    'Noles in the Pros

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    Here are some recent links from around the web highlighting former Seminoles now in the NFL:

    August 21, 2010

    Antonio Cromartie in Early Running for Father of the Year

    Raiders Count Heavily On 'Super' Mario Henderson

    Former Favre receiver could be joining the Vikings

    Leon Washington's comeback a big deal for Seahawks

    Leon Washington to make preseason debut Saturday

    August 22, 2010

    Wimbley makes a good first-half impression

    Chargers' Tra Thomas retiring

    Henderson gets the best of counterparts

    Mario Henderson did good job on Julius Peppers

    August 23, 2010

    San Francisco Giants Buster Posey Fulfilling Lofty Expectations

    Leon Washington shines in return to action

    Eagles Notes: No Tackles, No Problem for Sims

    August 24, 2010

    Kamerion Wimbley: Shut Down Pass Defender?

    Javon Walker: Troubled talent

    Report: Vikings close to adding Javon Walker

    Sims played well, despite stats

    NFL veteran Derrick Brooks becomes Beyond Sport ambassador

    August 25, 2010

    Batting title will elude Giants' Buster Posey

    Outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley is looking like a steal for Oakland Raiders

    Leon Washington To Be Named Seahawks Starting Runningback?

    Vikings sign WR Javon Walker to bolster battered receiving corps
    Sidney Rice out, Javon Walker in with Vikes

    Everette Brown making plays on Panther D-line

    Anquan Boldin Plays for Far More than Himself

    Barron, Ogletree misses practice time

    Plant The Spear Vol. 1: 'It's Football Season!'

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    Ever seen the movie Wedding Crashers? What am I saying ... of course you have; everyone has seen that movie. It's a classic. It's easily one of the top 10 funniest movies of all time and definitely in my personal top five across all genres. 

    Anyway, you know that scene in the beginning when Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) calls his business partner and best friend, Jon (Owen Wilson), into his office and shouts in exclamatory fashion that "it's wedding season!" Well, that's me. I am Jeremy in this situation and if you have taken the time to read this than I hope you are Jon sitting in my office. 

    In this analogy, it's not wedding season that we are excited about, though. Oh no. It's something far more exciting than that. 

    "It's football season!!" (This is one of those moments where the double exclamation point is critical.)

    That's right, it's football season; the most wonderful time of the year. As of Wednesday we are just eight days out from the first college games of the year and we are officially on the 10-day countdown to the first Florida State football game.

    Ten days. That's it. Not two weeks ... 10 days. That's one day away from single digits; a mark that is always worth celebrating anytime you are counting down to something you've looked forward to for so long.

    I've got the itch that only Osceola and Renegade can scratch.

    We are just 10 days out from the moment when the Seminoles will trot out of the tunnel, dash through the north endzone and come sprinting onto the field beneath the backdrop of exploding fireworks in the high-noon heat of the Tallahassee sun. 

    And yeah, I get it; it's going to be blazingly and uncomfortably hot. If you somehow manage to brave the heat and avoid "super duper combustible melting disease" in which you turn into a puddle on the Doak Campbell Stadium floor, you still are going to miss some of the other games going on throughout the country from the comfort of your living room couch and with the front-row view of your HD TV. 

    But c'mon, man! This is Jimbo Fisher's first game. This is history. Don't you wish you could call up Doc Brown, hop in the DeLorean and go back and witness the first Bobby Bowden-led Seminoles squad emerging from the locker room in the 1970s.

    Thirty years from now when Fisher is (hopefully) working on his 400th victory, don't you want to tell your kids, grandkids, neighbors, brother's-girlfriend's-sister's-best friend's-cousin's-dog's-veterinarian that you were there?

    I know I do. I want my daughter, who will be 11 months old by Sept. 4, to be there. Sure, she doesn't understand what's going on but someday she will appreciate the importance of her presence on those hallowed grounds that day. 

    If you're coming from out of town but are on the fence about making the trek to Tallahassee, I have a simple solution: do it! Gas is expensive, the drive is long, Samford isn't perceived as an exciting opponent, blah, blah, blah. It's FSU football. Coach Fisher doesn't accept excuses from his student-athletes and the same standards should be extended to us fans. 

    Consider the extra expenses of making the journey an investment. In return for the cash you'd drop on fuel and the time you'd spend on Interstate-10, you get back a competitive football team with a renewed reputation for having the best fans in the nation; a place where opponents are terrified to come play and where dreams of hoisting crystal trophies comes true.

    If you want to be a part of all that, join me, my friends, my family and my coworkers as we help usher in a new era of Florida State football.

    If you are committed, on board and all in like we are, get your tickets to the Samford game, get there early, get loud and let's help 'Nole Nation plant the spear.

    Posey's 10th Homerun

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    It's always a big deal when you get to double digit homeruns in a season, and rookie Buster Posey got there last night with his towering 420 foot shot to center field.

    Check out the video here

    Practice Report Video: August 24

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    Titans All Access With Myron Rolle

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    Check out this great video interview with former Seminole and current Tennessee Titans safety Myron Rolle: click here for video at Titans website.

    Vikings Plan to Sign Former 'Nole Javon Walker

    | No Comments | No TrackBacks is reporting that former FSU football player Javon Walker is going to be signed by the Minnesota Vikings. Walker last played with the Oakland Raiders.

    Walker is very familiar with the Vikings' ageless quarterback. He had some of his best pro seasons nabbing passes from Brett Favre in Green Bay.

    Seminole Football Warriors

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    Florida State just announced their three football warriors for 2010.

    This year's warriors are Christian Ponder, Nigel Bradham, and Andrew Datko. Check out the pictures below.

    Noles No. 20 in Preseason AP Poll

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    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The coach has changed but the expectations have not for the Florida State football program, at least not in the eyes of the 60-member Associated Press voting panel.

    For the 31st time in the last 33 seasons the Seminoles will begin a season ranked in the AP poll. Florida State collected 379 points and checked in at No. 20 when the poll was released Saturday. The Seminoles are one of five Atlantic Coast Conference teams to make a preseason Top 25 appearance. Only the Southeastern Conference, with six teams, has more among Football Bowl Subdivision conferences.

    Jimbo Fisher's first FSU team will face a daunting 12-game regular season schedule, which begins Sept. 4 at home against Samford, but will include dates with four teams which earned preseason rankings. That includes trips to No. 7 Oklahoma on Sept. 11 and No. 13 Miami on Oct. 9 and home dates against No. 18 North Carolina (Nov. 6) and No. 4 Florida (No. 27).

    Three other teams which received votes - Brigham Young, Clemson and Boston College - are also on the Seminoles' schedule. 

    It is hardly new ground for the 'Noles, who since 1978 have been excluded from the preseason poll only twice - in 1982 and 2008 - while under the direction of legendary coach Bobby Bowden. Prior to Bowden's arrival for the start of the 1976 season, the Seminoles had earned just one preseason ranking - No. 19 in 1972 - coming off an 8-4 season under the direction of Larry Jones.

    Fisher is the ninth head coach in the program's history, which begins its 64th season of competition in two weeks. Earlier this month the Seminoles checked in at No. 20 in the preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll, which comprises one component of the Bowl Championship Series national championship selection process.



    1 Alabama (54) 0-0 1491

    2 Ohio State (3) 0-0 1400

    3 Boise State (1) 0-0 1336

    4 Florida 0-0 1237

    5 Texas (1) 0-0 1223

    6 TCU 0-0         1160

    7 Oklahoma (1) 0-0 1104

    8 Nebraska 0-0 1033

    9 Iowa 0-0         1007

    10 Virginia Tech 0-0 973

    11 Oregon 0-0 870

    12 Wisconsin 0-0 822

    13 Miami (FL) 0-0 785

    14 USC 0-0         590

    15 Pittsburgh 0-0 516

    16 Georgia Tech 0-0 511

    17 Arkansas 0-0 496

    18 North Carolina 0-0 397

    19 Penn State 0-0 382

    20 Florida State 0-0 379

    21 LSU 0-0         300

    22 Auburn 0-0 296

    23 Georgia 0-0 206

    24 Oregon State 0-0 198

    25 West Virginia 0-0 184

    Others receiving votes: Cincinnati 108, Stanford 81, Utah 80, South Carolina 71, Houston 66, Connecticut 32, Notre Dame 31, Missouri 27, Brigham Young 19, Arizona 15, Clemson 15, Texas Tech 14, Navy 12, Washington 8, Texas A&M 7, Mississippi 6, Oklahoma State 3, Middle Tennessee 2, Central Michigan 2, Temple 2, UCF 1, Boston College 1, Southern Methodist 1

    Fall Practice Report: August 21

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    Practice Report Video: August 20

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    Noles on Front Page of

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    On Friday afternoon, ACC blogger Heather Dinich wrote a story about head coach Jimbo Fisher and the changes he has made to the Seminole football program...and it made the front page of

    Check out the story here

    Practice Report Video: August 19

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    The Fake Elbow Problem

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    It's Friday, so that means it's time for this week's Seinfeld clip.

    I chose to go the George Costanza route again, and this time, the clip is about him faking an elbow problem. So he goes to see the doctor, and below is what ensues.

    Enjoy your Friday and weekend!

    Another Good Night for Mr. Posey

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    It's that point in the Major League Baseball season when teams have to start making moves if they hope to be alive in the postseason.

    If Buster Posey keeps playing the way he is now, the Giants should find themselves with at least a wild card berth.  

    Practice Report Video: August 18

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    Doak Insider Podcast - August 18th

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor, Scott Kotick and Layne Herdt for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    This week the podcast goes interactive as the guys take fan questions submitted on the Seminoles facebook page.  The guys also discuss the first scrimmage and they debate BYU going independent in football.

    Doak Insider Podcast - August 18th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Go behind-the-scenes with the FSU Seminoles as they prepare for the 2010 football season as Sun Sports debuts its 2010 Seminole Football Preview TV show Monday at 8 p.m. The regional sports network was granted unique access to FSU's football program over the past few weeks and will showcase this behind-the-scenes access in this new half-hour special.

    Sun Sports will take you in the meeting rooms, inside the new strength and conditioning program and on the field as Florida State prepares for their first season without Bobby Bowden at the helm. Meet Jimbo Fisher and his five new assistant coaches and hear what the Seminoles expectations are for this fall. 

    Host: Sun Sports' Paul Kennedy 

    Short video preview clips: 

     On the show... Mic'd Up Sound: Jimbo Fisher at practice, RBs/Special Teams Coach Eddie Gran at practice, Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoops defensive backs meeting Sitdown Interviews: All 5 new assistant coach + 3 returning coaches & Fisher; Candi Fisher, Jimbo's wife 

    Player Interviews: Various Players including Christian Ponder, Bert Reed, Everett Dawkins, Nigel Bradham 

    Seminole Football Preview Airdates on Sun Sports: 
    8/23, 8pm (premiere)
    8/25, 10:30am 
    8/27, 2pm 
    8/30, 6pm 9/1, 4pm 
    9/3, 6:30pm 

    Seminole Football Preview Airdates on FOX Sports Florida: 
    8/25, 6pm 
    8/26, 2:30pm 
    8/28, 11am

    Practice Report Video: August 17

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    Versatile Reid Among Hornung Award Candidates

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    Florida State sophomore cornerback and return specialist Greg Reid set himself apart last season by leading the NCAA in punt returns. He will open the 2010 season as one of 48 candidates for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, which will be presented to the nation's most versatile athlete.

    Created by the Louisville Sports Commission, the Hornung Award will honor the Louisville native, who was a three-sport high school star who went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career at Notre Dame and with the Green Bay Packers. Known as "The Golden Boy," Hornung won the Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP honors in a playing career which was capped by his induction into both the College Football and NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Hornung lined up at quarterback, halfback, fullback and safety for the Fighting Irish and also handled punts, kickoffs, field goals and extra points. He played fullback, halfback and quarterback for the Packers and legendary coach Vince Lombardi, who called Hornung, "the most versatile man ever to play the game."

    Like Hornung, Reid wears No. 5 for the Seminoles. As a freshman he played in all 13 games and averaged an Football Bowl Subdivision-leading 18.4 yards per punt return, which including a 68-yard touchdown return at Wake Forest. A week later at Maryland his 48-yard punt return set up the game-winning touchdown with 1:14 to play. He also averaged 25.5 yards on kickoff returns.

    Playing primarily as a nickel back on defense, he intercepted a pass against Miami in his first college game. Two weeks later he returned an interception against BYU 63 yards for a touchdown. It marked the first time a Seminole returned a punt and an interception for a touchdown in a season since 1992. 

    Reid earned ACC Specialist of the Week honors twice during the 2009 season and was ACC Defensive Back of the Week once. The Valdosta, Ga. native was a consensus Freshman All-American.

    Reid is expected to start at cornerback for the Seminoles in 2010 and will continue to contribute in the return game. After amassing a team-leading 1,114 all purpose yards without a single yard of offense in 2009, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has said he intends to provide Reid with an opportunity to contribute on offense this season.'s pat Yasinskas gives former Seminole Geno Hayes some love in the latest edition of Camp Confidential. 

    Yasinskas had this to say this about Hayes and Buccaneers in his review of Tampa Bay's preseason camp:

    "If you're looking for the strongest unit Tampa Bay has, look at the linebackers. Geno Hayes and Quincy Black have had fantastic camps. Ruud already was pretty good and should be helped by the arrival of the young defensive tackles."

    Jimbo Fisher Mic'd Up

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    Fox Sports Florida has some great video of Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher mic'd up at practice.  

    FLOWERY BRANCH - Before practice on Saturday, Falcons coach Mike Smith broke down the film from the Friday Night Lights scrimmage at North Gwinnett.

    Wide receiver Kerry Meier, running backs Dimitri Nance and Antone Smith received rave reviews. However, Smith didn't like the rash of turnovers.

    Here's his review.

    "Our two young running backs, Dimitri Nance and Antone Smith did a really good job running the football. I thought that we timed up our screens very well offensively.

    New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson wasn't surprised to hear the critical comments that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams made about him earlier Saturday. It's nothing he hasn't heard from Williams directly.

    "I think, for myself, I've got to study more and stay in the playbook. That's the main thing for me," said the Saints' first-round draft pick, who struggled with his tackling and assignments in Thursday night's preseason opener at New England. "I think once I know the plays, I'll basically gain (Williams') trust."

    Williams said earlier Saturday that Robinson has a lot of skill, but "doesn't know how to play" right now.

    "Right now I don't have any trust in him," Williams said. "He has to take the next step up in pro football. He's had too much down time and he doesn't know how to take care of his body. Right now, he's my whipping boy."

    Robinson said those criticisms are fair and constructive. And he feels the same way.

    "That was my first game in the NFL. I've gotta look at what I did wrong. I've gotta put the film on, and I've gotta correct it," Robinson said.

    TAMPA -- One evening in November while sitting alone at home in his office, Derrick Brooks realized he would never play football again.

    "In my mind, I was kind of retired at that moment," Brooks said.

    His 14-year career with the Bucs had ended about nine months earlier, when general manager Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris informed the linebacker he would be released along with four other veterans.

    On Thursday, wearing a tan suit and surrounded by family and former teammates, Brooks returned to One Buc Place to allow the team to symbolically mend some fences.

    Brooks had officially announced his retirement a day earlier on his website. But in a ceremony befitting their 11-time Pro Bowl linebacker, who played only in Tampa Bay, the Bucs held a news conference in their spacious meeting room.

    They presented Brooks' wife, Carol, with a bouquet of red roses. Brooks spoke from a podium adorned with a lockerlike nameplate, and longtime play-by-play announcer Gene Deckerhoff introduced highlights celebrating the career of No. 55, arguably the greatest player in franchise history.

    "Derrick Brooks is a name that is synonymous with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said. "In the modern era, it is all too rare for one athlete to wear one uniform for their entire career. Derrick did just that. From our 1995 opening day victory over the Eagles (Brooks' rookie season) to the Super Bowl victory (in the 2002 season), it's been quite a ride."

    Thursday's event was in stark contrast to Brooks' appearance at One Buc Place in February 2009 after his release, when he said he was disappointed with the process that had led to the end of his career in Tampa Bay.

    Brooks pursued playing last season. He had a workout with the Saints and was contacted by the Bears, among others. But those teams failed to meet his private list of criteria.

    "When I'm up here saying I've played my last days, my word is my word," Brooks said. "I have."

    The Pensacola native and Florida State standout thanked his family, teammates and coaches, starting with legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden, whom he credits with keeping his priorities straight: faith, family and football. Of Seminoles defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, he said, "If you had another ounce to give, he wanted it."

    Brooks credited former Bucs coach Sam Wyche with drafting a "linebacker that most said was too small coming out of college to play the position." And he said former coach Tony Dungy's call to community service shaped his life off the field and prompted such endeavors as the Brooks Bunch, a charitable foundation for youths, and Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School, a charter school in Hillsborough County.

    He said he began valuing education in the fifth grade when his father whipped him for being a class clown.

    "He gave me a whipping right there with a belt. You do that today, you go to jail," Brooks said. "I thank him that he loved me enough to do it, because I was a class clown. I was a serious distraction in the fifth grade. That's kind of when the priority began to be set that it was academics over athletics, period."

    Brooks is the third member of the nucleus of the Bucs' dominating late 1990s-early 2000s defense to retire since 2008, joining Warren Sapp and John Lynch. Cornerback Ronde Barber, the only active player from the Bucs' Super Bowl team, attended Thursday.

    Brooks believes he, Sapp and Lynch could be worthy of enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he doesn't regard his likely election as a sure thing.

    "You don't catch those (chickens) until they hatch," Brooks said. "If you build up that anticipation figuring you're entitled to something, this business has a way of humbling you. All the way up to the Hall of Fame, you can still be humbled. ... I really don't feel that entitlement. You appreciate it when it comes."

    Seminoles are No. 21 According to Sports Illustrated

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    Sports Illustrated released Andy Staples' preseason top 25 Monday afternoon and the Florida State football team is slotted at No. 21.

    Staples had this to say about FSU: "The Seminoles may as well be Georgia: ACC Edition. FSU's offense is in great hands; all five offensive linemen return, and Ponder could wind up a Heisman candidate. FSU's defense, however, was atrocious last season and should look radically different thanks to first-year coordinator Mark Stoops. Expect to see defensive back Greg Reid -- the nation's top punt returner in 2009 -- on the field most defensive downs, and expect to see more variety from the Seminoles in terms of formations and blitzes. FSU doesn't have a superior athlete at every position anymore, but adjustments in scheme should prove that the Seminoles haven't fallen nearly as far as they appeared to last season."

    Practice Report Video: August 16

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    Florida State's Tyler Holt cashes in on Tribe offer

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    Courtesy Paul Hoynes,

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tyler Holt asked and the Indians gave. The question is will they do the same to sign their top four picks in the June draft by Monday's midnight deadline.

    Holt, drafted in the 10th round out of Florida State, told the Indians he wanted $500,000. He put it this way in a July 29th article in the Tallahassee Democrat, "The Indians know what I want. ... They'll decide if they want to give it to me. If not, I'm coming back to school as fast as you can say 'Seminole.'"

    The Indians announced Saturday that they'd signed Holt. Yes, he got his $500,000, which according to Baseball America, is the highest bonus given this year in the 10th round and three times above MLB's unofficial slotting for a 10th-round pick.

    "We wanted him," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting. "We feel he's an offensive center fielder and leadoff hitter. He was one of the elite college bats in the country."

    Holt, who hit .355 with 87 runs, 26 doubles, three triples, 13 homers and 48 RBI at Florida State this year, will report to Class A.

    Buster Posey goes yard...again

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    Although the San Francisco Giants lost to the San Diego Padres on Sunday, rookie sensation and former Florida State great Buster Posey hit his 9th homerun of the season in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

    Oh yeah, he also went 3-4 to up his batting average to .337.  That's the best on the team. 

    Rookie of the Year anyone? 

    Practice Report Video: August 14

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    Another Preseason Honor for Ponder

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    ESPN ACC Blogger Heather Dinich released her rankings of all 12 quarterbacks in the ACC, and Christian Ponder comes in ranked at #1.

    Ponder was also named the preseason ACC player of the year by the media just a few weeks ago at ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro.


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    It's time for this week's Seinfeld post, and I couldn't think of anything better than to bring Newman into this blog.

    The video speaks for itself.  Enjoy your Friday!

    More Greg Reid On Youtube

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    Yesterday I posted a really good highlight video of Florida State's Greg Reid. 

     Well, his star power on Youtube continues to grow as someone posted another new video (this one with some pretty cool effects) of the Seminoles' speedy star Thursday afternoon.

    Click Here to order your 2011 calendar today!

    Practice Report Video: August 12th

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    New Ravens receiver Boldin as good as advertised

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    Courtesy of Matt Vensel, Baltimore

    As the football came out of orbit, an oblong bomb falling out of the bright blue summer sky, Anquan Boldin was in hot pursuit.

    The Ravens' new wide receiver had spent much of Monday morning's training camp practice serving as a $28 million decoy, drawing multiple defenders as soon as he darted off the line. But finally, near the end of practice, the Ravens turned Boldin loose and gave the purple-clad fans on hand what they wanted to see.

    At the snap of the ball in a 7-on-7 passing drill, Boldin {photo by AP} bolted down the left sideline, again taking two defenders along for the ride. Meanwhile, quarterback Joe Flacco pump-faked, then, off his back foot, heaved a high-arching deep ball from midfield to the end zone.

    When Boldin kicked it into another gear -- the one scouts said he didn't have coming out of Florida State in 2003 --  "There's no way ..." quickly turned into "Wow, he actually got there!" as the ball landed softly in the outstretched arms of the 29-year-old receiver.

    The ensuing roar from the happy campers in attendance, maybe the loudest cheer of camp, echoed this city's longtime yearning for a top-flight, play-making wideout.

    Their wish was granted in March when the Ravens acquired Boldin from the Cardinals, who had already made a major financial commitment to fellow Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald and didn't want to pay Boldin the big bucks, too.

    Boldin was instantly embraced by Ravens fans, tucked tight to their chests in the hopes he'll never slip away. Physical, passionate and tough as nails, Boldin is a lot like Ray Lewis -- but with stickier hands, a swifter 40-yard-dash time and braces.

    You know "he plays like a Raven," that oft-used cliché that gets bandied about every time the microphones come out?

    This is the type of warrior John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome first had in mind.

    Tempers Sim-mering after hot day at Eagles camp

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    BETHLEHEM - The morning session was hot, hot, hot. We don't have those fancy National Weather Service stats here, but our gauge, which measures the extent to which the polo shirt sticks to our back, indicates that this was the warmest day of camp, the adhesion level rising up from the kidneys, through the middle of the back and well into the shoulder blades.

    Tempers flared a bit, as well. The catalyst, as has often been the case, was new weakside linebacker Ernie Sims, who caught running back Eldra Buckley as Buckley reached for a high Kevin Kolb screen pass. It wasn't really a live tackling drill, and Sims didn't really tackle Buckley, as much as he tried to remove his head from his shoulders.

    Offensive teammates, most notably left tackle Jason Peters and center Mike McGlynn, came over for a friendly chat with Sims, while corner Asante Samuel chirped something about "putting on white [defensive] jerseys if they didn't like it." (If you're wearing a defensive jersey, you get to hit Ernie Sims? How would that work, exactly?)

    Sims has made a habit of this sort of thing, and is something of a Lehigh fan favorite because of it. Of course, in the regular season, after refs mark off 15 yards a couple times, that might be less the case. (In fact, this is exactly the sort of hit that is now going to be penalized, the way the traveling refs explained it at camp last week.)

    "It is what it is, I guess . . . It's part of practice. Everybody's fired up. But when something like that happens, you've got to stand up for your guys," McGlynn said. "They'd do the same thing if we did that to one of theirs."

    Given a little more media nudging, McGlynn revealed more of what he really thought.

    "When a guy's defenseless like that [long pause], there's not much more I can say," said McGlynn.

    Sims didn't see it that way.

    "It was hot today. It was a rough day mentally and physically,'' Sims said. "You had to go out there and fight the heat . . . the play where I made the hit, I just made a good read. It was a screen; I saw the tackle and the guard come out. Just playing football, pretty much. I saw Buckley go up in the air. I didn't try to go all through him, but I took a little shot at him, and he kind of hit the ground. It was a good play, though."

    Reminded that this was not a universal opinion on the field, Sims said his way of handling such disputes was to "play football."

    "If they don't like it, it is what it is," he said. "At the end of the day, when it comes game time, they know that I'm going to step up to the plate. That type of stuff is going to happen; I expect offensive players to step up for their teammate. At the same time, my defensive players are going to step up for me. That's the way a team works. But on game day, we all work for each other."

    Buckley, applauded the day before when he bounced off a Samuel hit to gain extra yardage, never has complained about any of the shots he has taken, and he didn't start.

    "That's the kind of player he is, he's flying to the ball, just trying to make contact," Buckley said. "I gotta respect that, because I'm the same kind of player. If I get in the open field, I'm gonna lower my shoulder. I just gotta respect his game, and hopefully, he'll respect mine . . . Whatever it takes for him to get better, he's got to do it."

    Buckley said he felt his teammates' reaction stemmed from the fact that this wasn't a live period. As Eagles coach Andy Reid joked, "He missed it by one play," Sims delivering the hit on the final snap of a passing drill, before a live session.

    But Reid sat Sims out a while after a big hit in a similar situation last week.

    "His first reaction is, he wants to take your head off, and I appreciate that, I think that's contagious," Reid said. "I like that attitude . . . When the ball's in the air, on a screen-type pass, he's kind of going for ball and player all at the same time. Sometimes a collision will take place. I didn't see anything that was extremely bad, but at the same time, you don't want to do anything to hurt your teammates."

    Read more: 
    Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else
    Courtesy Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic

    FLAGSTAFF - Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett isn't the type to ask where the lines of good taste, decorum and political correctness are located. And coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't the type of guy who minds pointing out when Dockett and other players have crossed those lines.

    And that's fine with both men, who not only understand each other's position and personality, but have grown to enjoy them.

    In Whisenhunt's eyes, Dockett has matured greatly over the past year. Oh, sure, there has been the occasional transgression - taking a shower over the Internet this spring, for instance - but Dockett has never done anything malicious, never hurt anyone but himself off the field.

    "Darnell was obviously a highly emotional, highly intense player," Whisenhunt said. "There is a period where you both have to gain the respect of each other. I've asked Darnell to do some things since our first year and he's done them, besides play good football.

    "When you have a player who is doing things right, who is helping young players . . . showing up every day to practice even when he's nicked up, there are a lot of things like that that have really earned my respect for Darnell. And, in turn, it makes you want to have that player in your program for a long time."

    It's not coincidental that the Cardinals were ready to talk contract immediately after Dockett regularly attended off-season practices and workouts.

    He didn't do that the previous two years because he was upset the club wouldn't give him more money. The team's stance was that it had extended Dockett's contract in 2006 and wasn't about to address a deal that didn't expire until after the 2012 season.

    General Manager Rod Graves and Drew Rosenhaus, Dockett's agent, have had preliminary discussions about a new deal. Traditionally, the Cardinals wait until midseason to extend contracts, but Dockett's deal might be different.

    At least Dockett thinks so.

    Big things from Timmons?

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    Courtesy of Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Linebacker James Harrison believes linebacker Lawrence Timmons will have a better 2010 than he did in 2009 for one big reason: He'll know what he's doing.

    "We all expect a better year out of him," Harrison said. "Last year he was doing some things that were just learning things, knowing where he was supposed to be when certain plays are run. He was out of position a lot more than we were used to seeing at that position."

    They were used to seeing Larry Foote play there. Foote fled to the Detroit Lions last season when he realized he would lose his starting job at inside linebacker to Timmons. He's back now and being paid like a starter to back up Timmons and James Farrior.

    Timmons will know the defense better this season, Harrison said, so he can react rather than think while playing.

    Harrison wishes the officials would react differently too, like throw a yellow flag when he's getting held or clotheslined by offensive tackles. It was an issue in 2008 and Harrison said it got worse last season when he was held more than ever without penalties called.

    "I got used to getting two people blocking me or getting held. It's just something you have to fight through. There's nothing you can say. You can say whatever you want to, if they don't call it, they don't call it. I don't know what else I can do. It was probably worse last year than it had been the previous two years."

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    Greg Reid Makes Plays

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    Check out this video of FSU's star cornerback/returner Gerg Reid making plays last year as a true freshman. 

    With a full season of experience, an offseason in Vic Viloria's weight program and more responsibility heading into his sophomore campaign, imagine what he's going to do this year.

    Practice Report Video: August 11th

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    Doak Insider Podcast - August 11th

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor, Scott Kotick and Layne Herdt for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    Several major developments emerging as week one of the 2010 football preseason camp is in the books. This weeks podcast is full of details from the first week of practice. The guys discuss who has stood out in week one, they recap media/fan day and they preview the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

    Doak Insider Podcast - August 11th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Ex-Buc Derrick Brooks officially retires from NFL

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    This Guy is All In!

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    Some fans love their team and school a little too much.  Is this one of those people, or is this an acceptable form passion for your team... you decide!  IPTAY

    Not Your Average Cheese Wagon

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    "I Want A McRib And I Want It Now"

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    The woman in this surveillance video is seriously disturbed.

    Some Things Never Change

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    Former Seminole linebacker Ernie Sims was always known for his intensity at practice.  I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.  An excerpt from's Don Banks camp postcard from Eagles training camp.

    New Face, New Place

    Sims -- whom the Eagles got from Detroit for a fifth-rounder in a three-way trade with Denver last April -- is all of 25 himself. And though he racked up only 49 tackles in an injury-marred campaign last season, the fire he brings to practice has at once impressed and unsettled his teammates. That massive hit on Buckley came when the back had gone airborne to try to reel in a catch on a screen play in a passing drill; fullback Leonard Weaver noted that some team elders had to instruct Sims to calm down. Center Mike McGlynn audibly expressed displeasure right after that hit, fearing for his teammate's health. Then ... those are two offensive players.

    Bradley is a huge fan of Sims, for one thing; the ever-vocal Samuel essentially went into a seizure of pleasure at the sight, and seems all too thrilled to foster an offense-defense turf war; the same goes for another former Patriots cornerback, Ellis Hobbs. And Sims doesn't exactly shy away from his rep. Pressed later about whether he'd been going for the ball or Buckley, Sims chuckled, wryly. 'Twas the latter.

    Practice Report Video- August 10th

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    Courtesy of Dan Graziano,

    LATROBE, Pa. -- NFL referee Bill Leavy may have come clean about mistakes he and his crew made during the Super Bowl four years ago, but it doesn't change the outcome and it certainly doesn't change the way the Pittsburgh Steelers feel about their victory over the Seahawks in that game.

    "I'm not giving my ring back," Steelers wide receiver Hines Wardsaid Monday between practices at Steelers training camp. "You can' t change history. You can't go back in the record book just because a referee made some bad calls. I'm sorry that he said it, but there's nothing we can do. We can't turn back time."

    Working practice at Seahawks camp last week, Leavy told the Seattle media that he regretted some calls that were made in that game and felt bad that they impacted the outcome.

    "I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better," Leavy told reporters. "I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn't good enough."

    Seahawks players took the comments in stride, and Steelers players who were on that championship-winning team were asked about Leavy's admission Monday.

    "If he really feels that way and it's really bothering him, then I genuinely feel bad for him," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "He's an official and I have nothing bad to say about him. I thought he called a great game."

    Ward didn't necessarily agree with that. He just took the stance that there's nothing anybody can do about officiating calls, and there's no point in dwelling on them.

    "He made some bad calls both ways," Ward said. "You just have to overcome. We never make excuses for referees making bad calls. We move on."

    No surprise that the Steelers, who won their fifth Super Bowl that year and their sixth three years later, can take that stance. It must still be a little bit harder to swallow for the Seahawks, for whom that was the only Super Bowl appearance in team history. But here at Steelers camp, there wasn't a lot anybody could do about it but shrug and smile.

    "That game," wideout Antwaan Randle El said, "is in the books."

    Practice Report Video - August 9th

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    Practice Report Video - August 8th

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    Practice Report Video - August 7th

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    Practice Report Video - August 6th

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    Practice Report Video - August 5th

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    More sacks is goal for Timmons

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    Courtesy of F. Dale Lolley,

    LATROBE - Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons isn't one to jump around with a myriad of theatrics when he makes a big play.

    He usually just goes about his business in a quiet workman-like way.

    But that doesn't mean when it comes to goals, Timmons hasn't set some lofty ones for himself.

    Heading into his fourth NFL season and second as a starter, the 24-year-old Timmons has sacks on his mind. And lots of them.

    "Sacks, that's definitely where the money is. I always love the sacks," Timmons said at the Steelers' training camp at Saint Vincent College.

    "I had seven last year, and I feel like I could have had way more. I'm definitely going to be in double digits this year."

    For a player not given to bravado, it's a bold guarantee.

    The 2007 first-round draft pick feels that in Pittsburgh's attacking 3-4 defense, there will be plenty of sacks to go around. Though he also expects outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley to be in double digits in sacks again, Timmons feels there will still be plenty of opportunities for him working from an inside linebacker spot.

    "I'm in the nickel package and we blitz a lot on third down," Timmons said. "And in base, we blitz too. I can see myself getting some blitzes there and capitalizing on getting a lot of sacks."

    Timmons recorded his seven sacks in only 14 games last year. He missed two games with a hamstring injury that nagged him all season. He missed the opener against Tennessee with the injury and also sat out a game at Denver in Week 9.

    Though Simmons did not start a game in his first two years, the Steelers felt confident enough in his ability that it granted starter Larry Foote his request to be released following the 2008 season, opening a spot in the lineup for Timmons.

    "It was one of those things where I just saw that Lawrence was ready to play," said Foote, who rejoined the Steelers as a free agent this season after one year with Detroit.

    Despite the injuries, Timmons didn't disappoint, recording 86 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles to go with his seven sacks.

    "I hate the fact that I had those injuries that set me back. But it's football," he said.

    Timmons spent the offseason working out, trying to better equip his body for the rigors of an NFL season and to avoid a similar fate as last season. He's put weight, and is up to 244 pounds.

    But it is not so much the weight as it's how his body has been reshaped.

    "I was training two times a day in the offseason for a period, trying to get lean and running a lot," Timmons said. "I run a lot at my position.

    "You're always striving to be better. So, hopefully, I'll have a better year than I had last year."

    Time To Get Excited

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    After 17 straight seasons in the tank, Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Greg Brown has reason to celebrate.  Even though it was a meaningless win and this should go down as season 18 in the tank.  Go Bucs!

    Seminole Football Academic Warriors

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    Academics are certainly a priority to Jimbo Fisher and his staff, as a new display was just installed in the atrium of the Moore Athletic Center on Monday.

    The "Seminole Football Academic Warriors" are the ten players with the top grade point averages on the football team.  Their pictures are displayed accordingly, and highlighting the list are Christian Ponder, Ochuko Jenije, Dustin Hopkins, and Nick Moody.

    In addition, every player with a 3.0 GPA (or above) is listed by name below the ten pictures.

    Check out the new display below.  

    That's A Catch

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    I haven't seen many better catches than this one.

    3D Movies Will Never Be The Same Again

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    FSU Dismisses WR Jarmon Fortson From Football Team

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    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher announced that junior wide receiver Jarmon Forston has been dismissed from the team for violating team policy.


    Fisher called an impromptu meeting Sunday to notify the team before making the announcement.


    "We wish him the best," said Fisher. "We'll miss him, but we have to move on."


    No further comment will be made by the university, its coaches or players, regarding the matter.

    The Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament will be nationally telecast on ESPN-2 Saturday, Aug. 7 in a one-hour special starting at 12 p.m. ET.

    The event features the nation's top coaches from the ACC and SEC partnered with former athletes and current celebrities in two-man teams competing for a scholarship purse of $400,000.

    ESPN college football play-by-play announcer Rece Davis and analyst Andre Ware serve as commentators for the golf action that includes two-time defending champions Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe from the University of South Carolina, current NCAA National Champion Nick Saban from Alabama, 2007 tournament winner Frank Beamer from Virginia Tech and many others.

    "Many of the coaches will wear microphones to allow viewers to listen in to their conversations on the course," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. "It really gives an inside look into these coaches' personalities and how competitive this tournament really is. It should be a very entertaining afternoon of golf."

    The show will also feature exclusive interviews with the participating coaches and highlights from the long drive and putting competitions that took place prior to the golf tournament.

    The nation's premier head coach and celebrity golf event was held at the beautiful Reynolds Plantation resort on Lake Oconee outside Atlanta. Over the past four years, the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge has provided more than $1.9 million in scholarship and charity to its participating universities.

    In all, 12 teams hit the links in the featured event, all vying for the $120,000 first-place scholarship prize. University teams competing include:

     TEAM:                                   COACH:                                CELEBRITY:                          

    Alabama                      Nick Saban                 Steve Sloan

    Clemson                      Dabo Swinney            Dwight Clark

    Florida State                Jimbo Fisher               Terrell Buckley                                    

    Georgia Tech              Paul Johnson              Jon Barry

    Maryland                     Ralph Friedgen           Stan Gelbaugh

    Mississippi                   Houston Nutt               Wesley Walls

    North Carolina             Butch Davis                Natrone Means

    N.C. State                   Sidney Lowe               Monte Towe

    South Carolina            Steve Spurrier             Sterling Sharpe

    Vanderbilt                    Bobby Johnson           Will Perdue

    Virginia Tech               Frank Beamer             Brad Clontz

    Wake Forest               Jim Grobe                   Billy Packer

    In addition to the $400,000 scholarship purse, an additional $135,000 was donated to Chick-fil-A's WinShape Homes, a long-term foster care program. The Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge is a significant contributor to the Chick-fil-A Bowl's overall annual charitable and scholarship donations. The Chick-fil-A Bowl leads all bowls in the country in charitable giving, including gifts of more than $5.8 million since 2002.

    Past winners:  2009 South Carolina (Spurrier/Sharpe / -12, playoff winners), 2008 South Carolina (Spurrier/Sharpe / -12), 2007 Virginia Tech (Beamer/Dell Curry / -10).

    The 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge will air again on ESPN in December - on a date to be determined - the week leading into the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

    For more information on the event, visit

    Courtesy of John Hickey,

    For a guy who many might think has a right to be mad at the world, Leon Washington isn't walking that path in the Seattle Seahawks camp.

    In short order, the Pro Bowl running back suffered a compound fracture of his right leg, a change in the NFL rules that diluted his chances for a big contract - he went from unrestricted to restricted free agent - and a trade that took him from a contender with the New York Jets to a Seattle team that is trying to rebuild.

    The man wears a perpetual smile, at least he does while walking on and off the field. Once the helmet goes on and the faceguard blocks the view, maybe things change. But maybe not. Washington seems genuinely glad to be with the Seahawks. And he doesn't want to settle for just getting back to being healthy. He wants to be a star again, too, and in so doing help the Seahawks, a team that has only won nine games total the last two seasons.

    ``It (playing healthy) is one of my goals,'' Washington said. ``It's not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to become a Pro Bowl player again.''

    That may take a while. He's being held out of many contact drills during the Seahawks' practices in Renton on the shore of Lake Washington. Still, he seems spry and quick in the drills he is being allowed to do, and perhaps he will make it all the way back.

    ``He's got a great attitude,'' coach Pete Carroll said of Washington, ``He's a really strong character kid and a wonderful kid to add to the team. Once he becomes part of the full action he's going to have an influence on the other guys as well. I think (Washington is) a really great asset as we begin to put things together.''

    Jaguars showing interest in Ponder

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    Courtesy of Charlie Bernstein,

    The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback depth chart currently shows a 32-year old David Garrard, who has spent the majority of his career as a backup, a 29-year old Luke McCown who has made all of seven career NFL starts and an undrafted rookie from Edinboro College, Trevor Harris.  

    There may be a few teams with a worse lineup of quarterbacks and less upside, but you'd be hard-pressed to name them.  This particular situation didn't happen overnight, as the Jaguars have ignored the quarterback position in the draft for many years.  In fact, the Jacksonville Jaguars have gone longer without drafting a quarterback than any other NFL team as the last signal caller they selected in any round was Byron Leftwich all the way back in 2003.  

    Although Leftwich obviously didn't turn out to be the player that the team hoped he would be, there's no reason that they were scared off from any quarterbacks in the draft for seven years.  Even teams like the Colts, Patriots and Steelers who have established stars at the position have drafted multiple quarterbacks since the time that Jacksonville grabbed the former record-setter from Marshall.

    Faced with a fairly desperate situation at the quarterback position with no viable young, developmental option, the Jaguars are seemingly ready to take another plunge. Jacksonville inquired about the Florida State University practice schedule and sources tell us that they are and have been interested in FSU senior quarterback Christian Ponder.  Ponder, a Heisman candidate possesses a strong arm, high football IQ, and solid mobility.  

    It's a long way until next April's draft, but keep your eye on the Jaguars interest in the FSU signal-caller. 

    Doak Insider Podcast - August 6th

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    Join Ryan Pensy, Brandon Mellor, Scott Kotick and Layne Herdt for the latest edition of the Doak Insider Podcast.

    Preseason football camp is open and the podcast is full of details from the first day of practice. The guys discuss the what stood out in the first practice, the Noles starting the preseason as #20 in the coaches poll and they preview the Virginia Tech Hokies.

    Doak Insider Podcast - August 6th

    If you would prefer to download the podcast to your iPod or other .mp3 device click here.

    Want a Twix?

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    Friday is definitely the best day of the work week.  So for a laugh, I've decided to start a Seinfeld tradition here on the blog on Friday.  

    So for this week, let's remember the time when George Costanza had his twix stolen out of the vending machine.  Remember, it's the only candy with the cookie crunch!

    This Could Have Turned Out Bad

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    Time is running out on the 2010 summer.  If you are planning to beat the heat this weekend at one of the great water parks around America have fun.  But remember the video below is a very bad idea:

    Preseason Preview - Florida State

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    Courtesy of


    It's not just a new season at Florida State.

    It's new everything.

    From the coaching staff to the nutrition staff, from the weight room to study hall, and from strategy to media accessibility, this entire football program has undergone massive overhaul. As practice began Aug. 5, it was an entirely different operation.

    Of course, the most glaring change is at the top. After 34 years at FSU, Bowden is retired and traveling from his homes in Tallahassee and Panama City, Fla.

    "It definitely is different," said quarterback Christian Ponder. "It's hard to believe that Coach Bowden is not here anymore."

    But there is also renewed excitement among the fan base and within the program for first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher and a revamped coaching staff that is much younger, much less connected to FSU. Large crowds formed whenever Fisher spoke during an offseason tour of various FSU booster clobs.

    "Change brings optimism. Optimism brings hope. And hope creates excitement. That's where it's at," said Fisher, who spoke to 17 Florida State booster organizations across the state.

    "Understand this," said Fisher, talking to one group. "We didn't get into this situation overnight. And you're not going to snap your fingers and say we're going to win.

    "I don't know how long it will take. But I know we'll get there."

    Fisher waited on Bowden's coaching staff for three seasons before getting the chance to succeed him. The new coach has had to be careful about not stepping on Bowden's legend while putting his own stamp on the program by changing almost everything.

    After calling out his team after a spring scrimmage, Fisher saw a better effort in the spring game, followed by a better focus in summer conditioning. That helped convince Fisher the Seminoles are on the right track.

    "I want it to happen quickly," he said.


    --QB Christian Ponder has his own Heisman Trophy website (, something that coach Jimbo Fisher endorsed. The Seminoles believed it was necessary to promote Ponder, especially his combined athletic and academic prowess, to help bring positive attention to the program. It has worked so far. Ponder was a runaway winner in ACC preseason Player of the Year balloting, even though the league has other experienced quarterbacks coming off better teams.

    --Coach Jimbo Fisher has changed just about everything with the program. A couple of the latest changes are a return to a mid-afternoon practice to force the players to work out in extreme heat and get them better conditioned. Fisher is also following the method of mentor Nick Saban by not allowing freshman players to be interviewed and greatly limiting access, if any, to his assistant coaches. He is of the one-voice, one-team philosophy that Saban uses at Alabama.

    SPOTLIGHT ON SEPTEMBER: Go ahead and circle Sept. 11. The Seminoles travel to Oklahoma in one of the marquee matchups of the weekend. This could make or break FSU QB Christian Ponder's campaign for the Heisman, not to mention the psyche of the team. This game is a measuring stick for FSU's direction. (And new FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops takes on older brother Bob's Oklahoma team.) The Seminoles play three of their four games in September in Tallahassee, including the ACC opener against Wake Forest on Sept. 25.

    KEYS TO SUCCESS: The Seminoles have all the qualities to be great on offense. They have a three-year starting quarterback, the entire offensive line returns, the backfield is back, receiver depth has improved. In addition, the Seminoles have a strong kicking game -- with their punter and placekicker and their returners. This will be how FSU wins. The Seminoles have to excel with their offense and field position and take advantage of a consistent placekicker for points. But for this team to reach a higher level, they have to stop people, or at least force a few possessions without allowing a first down.

    AREAS OF CONCERN: It's all on defense. The Seminoles have been woefully lacking on the defensive line, both in pass rush and sweep containment. That will be a priority in new defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' scheme. The other glaring defensive issue is safety, where the Seminoles had to replace both starters. One of the biggest problems is the overall lack of talent, which can only be addressed through recruiting. The Seminoles made gains the past two years, but they will be forced to play some guys earlier than normal and hope they can mature fast. For this team to be successful, they cannot get into these track meet games where the last team with the ball wins.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's something every kid dreams of. To be placed in the same sentence with the Heisman Trophy is pretty amazing to me. It's honestly a dream come true. As a kid, it's something I always wanted." -- Christian Ponder, on getting promoted for the Heisman Trophy.


    HEAD COACH: Jimbo Fisher, first year.

    MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER: QB Christian Ponder -- The Seminoles have not had a quarterback they leaned upon any harder since Chris Weinke graduated in 2000. That was also the last time the Seminoles reached the BCS title game. But in this case, Ponder doesn't have the same supporting cast, so his importance is magnified. So much is riding on his surgically repaired right shoulder. Even with the injury last season, forcing him to miss the final three games, he still posted the sixth-best season for total offense in ACC history. He is one of the rare three-year starting quarterbacks in FSU history.

    BREAKOUT STAR: CB Greg Reid -- Though he did not start a game as a freshman last season, Reid made his greatest impact as a kick returner. He led all FBS players in punt returns with an 18.4 average and his spectacular return against Maryland, breaking tackles and tight-roping sidelines, set up the winning touchdown in the game that enabled FSU to have a winning season and continue its bowl streak. He was used on defense in nickel back formations, but this year, he becomes a starter and is expected to be the team's best cover corner and kick returner since Terrell Buckley departed in the early 1990s. Reid did not disappoint in spring practice, named the team's Defensive MVP.

    NEWCOMER TO WATCH: CB Lemarcus Joyner -- The Seminoles' highest acclaimed signee was the fourth USA Today national Defensive Player of the Year to sign with FSU, joining a pair of former superstars, Derrick Brooks and Antonio Cromartie. Like Greg Reid did last year, Joyner will likely start the season as a kickoff return specialist and possibly be used in a dual punt return capacity with Reid if needed. But with a void of great cornerbacks on this roster, he's expected to challenge for playing time. He might even be used in some situational roles on offense. In high school, he helped Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas win a state title while racking up 1,091 all-purpose yards as a senior.


    Offense -- QB Christian Ponder, RB Chris Thompson, FB Lonnie Pryor, WR Bert Reed, WR Jarmon Forston, TE Beau Reliford, LT Andrew Datko, LG Rodney Hudson, C Ryan McMahon, RG David Spurlock, RT Zebrie Sanders.

    Defense -- DE Markus White, DT Everett Dawkins, DT Jacobi McDaniel, DE Brandon Jenkins, LB Kendall Smith, LB Mister Alexander, LB Nigel Bradham, CB Greg Reid, CB Ochuko Jenije, SS Terrance Parks, FS Nick Moody.


    -- LB Nigel Carr, a projected starter and one of the top players of spring, was arrested July 25 on two felony burglary charges. According to police, Carr broke into a car and stole credit cards and other items. He had also been charged with possession of marijuana in a previous incident, but police agreed to let him avoid arrest after being cooperative and having no prior criminal charge. But the felony charge triggers an automatic school policy that prohibits any athlete from playing until the felony has been resolved. After that, it will be up to head coach Jimbo Fisher on how to proceed. The likely scenario is that Carr will either be dismissed from team or be forced to miss a large portion, if not all, of the season.

    --LB Mister Alexander made significant progress and will be Nigel Carr's replacement at strongside linebacker.

    --The Seminoles appear to be in good shape with their incoming freshmen class. CB Mike Harris and DT Damien Jacobs were cleared for practice after meeting academic entrance requirements. Harris, a junior college transfer from El Camino CC in California, could challenge for playing time in a thin secondary.

    --DT Moses McCray (elbow, shoulder) has fully recovered from offseason surgery and should contend for a starting position.

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The buzz surrounding the Florida State football team and first-year coach Jimbo Fisher was raised a few decibels Friday, when the Seminoles checked in at No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches preseason poll.

    The Seminoles received 374 points from the panel of 59 voting coaches, which includes Fisher. FSU is one of five Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the poll, trailing Virginia Tech (No. 6), Miami (13), Georgia Tech (17) and North Carolina (18).

    Preseason Top 25 appearances have been the norm for the Seminoles, who have earned a spot in the preseason coaches' poll 13 of the last 14 years. Fisher, just the ninth coach in the program's 64 seasons of football competition, is the first to have a preseason, nationally-ranked team heading into his inaugural season.

    Florida State will have every opportunity to improve its standing throughout the 2010 season. Four of its opponents - Oklahoma (No. 8), Miami, North Carolina and Florida (3) - are nationally ranked from the outset. Three others - BYU, Boston College and Clemson - received votes.

    The USA Today/Coaches preseason poll could foreshadow a changing of the guard among the nation's elite. While defending national champion Alabama was the runaway No. 1 choice, seven teams - including Florida State - were ranked despite not closing the 2009 season ranked in the Top 25.

    Fisher's first team has grabbed a Top 25 ranking in virtually every preseason publication. The Seminoles could add on another on Aug. 21 when the Associated Press preseason poll is released.

    Aug. 6
    2010 preseason poll

    Team (first-place votes)
    2009 record
    Final 2009 rank
    Alabama (55)
    Georgia Tech
    North Carolina
    Oregon State
    West Virginia
    Others receiving votes
    Cincinnati (12-1) 135; Houston (10-4) 76; Brigham Young (11-2) 66; Arizona (8-5) 65; Mississippi (9-4) 48; Clemson (9-5) 44; Stanford (8-5) 41; Connecticut (8-5) 40; Notre Dame (6-6) 38; South Carolina (7-6) 38; Washington (5-7) 26; Missouri (8-5) 23; Navy (10-4) 12; Oklahoma State (9-4) 11; Boston College (8-5) 10; Michigan State (6-7) 10; Arizona State (4-8) 6; California (8-5) 6; Texas Tech (9-4) 5; South Florida (8-5) 4; Texas A&M (6-7) 3; Northwestern (8-5) 2; Temple (9-4) 2; Central Michigan (12-2) 1; Mississippi State (5-7) 1; Nevada (8-5) 1; Northern Illinois (7-6) 1; Southern Methodist (8-5) 1.

    Dekoda Watson impressing at Bucs practice today

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    Retweet from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations department from practice today:


    Rookie LB Dekoda Watson showed off intriguing blitz ability a moment ago. He hit the tackle then spun off & was by him in a flash.

    Patrick Robinson NCAA Cover - Just say 'no' to the other guy

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    Love EA Sports' NCAA Football video game but don't want to buy it this year because of the cover athlete? (no need to mention his name)

    Just found this custom cover of former Seminole and 2010 first round draft pick Patrick Robinson floating around the web.

    Just print it out and replace the stock cover with this one. It is a lot more aesthetically pleasing.

    Comparing 1976 with 2010

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    A lot has changed since 1976.  That was the same year that Bobby Bowden roamed the sideline as the first-year head coach of the Florida State Seminoles.  

    Fast forward to 2010 and it is the first day of practice for first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher.  

    Here is a look back at 1976.

    President - Gerald Ford
    Defending National Champion - Oklahoma Sooners
    Price of an FSU Ticket - $7
    Bobby Bowden's Salary - $37,500
    Gas - $0.59 a gallon
    Gallon of Milk - $1.65
    Can of Soda - $0.15

    DJ Eliot was born on August 14, 1976
    Vic Viloria was three years from being born (1979)
    Jimbo Fisher was 10 years old

    Top Song on the Billboard Chart - Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
    Best Picture - Rocky 

    Rome May Soon Be On Fire Again

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    With the news out this morning that Shaquille O'Neal wants to fight ESPN host Jim Rome, I hearken back to the time when Rome tried to make a fool of NFL quarterback Jim Everett.  Didn't work out so well for Rome:

    One Sentence

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    Fall Camp begins tonight at 6:00 p.m. 

    Isn't it funny how one sentence or a headline can say so much more than ten paragraphs could even hope to summarize?

    One sentence--that's all it is.  And yet it almost seems to take on a life of its own.

    When you read that sentence, do thoughts start to swirl in your head? Do those emotions that have lay dormant since the spring football game begin to take life once again? 

    Well they should!

    I can finally stop writing blog entries about yearning and waiting for football.  I can stop the babble about missing the sport that all of us Seminole fans have come to know and love.

    And yes, I know some of you out there might think, "This Scott guy is full of it!  We still have 30 days to kickoff, so shut it, Kotick."

    Well yes, you're certainly right that kickoff is on September 4th.  I'm fully aware of that.  The schedule on my wall reminds me of that about every 20 seconds throughout the workday!

    But that one sentence (the lead for you journalism connoisseurs) gives me excitement, and it should give you that same feeling.

    There are plenty of storylines that we could go into for fall practice, but I'll spare you the details.  One thing is certain: we're going to learn a whole lot at this first practice, and it'll be great just to see the team play football once again.

    That's it for this blog entry, but rest assured you rabid, garnet and gold-bleeding, devoted Seminole fans: we'll have you covered right here on for the best coverage of fall camp.

    The work finally starts, and I for one, am stoked that's it here and I can taste the feeling once again.

    It's in the air: football is back.

    That sentence should be more than enough to get you through Thursday.  


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    In case you have missed it here is one of the top shots in trick basketball history:

    Leon Washington feeling blessed by second chance

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    Courtesy of John Boyle,

    RENTON -- Leon Washington isn't all the way back, not quite yet, but it was clear watching him Monday evening that he has come a long way since his 2009 season ended with a potentially career-threatening injury.

    And it wasn't the ease with which he ran during his limited work in the Seahawks' afternoon practice session that told the story. It was the carefree smile on his face as he goofed around with his two sons, Leon Jr. and Noel after the practice had concluded.

    This wasn't a player concerned about a comeback. When four-year-old Leon Jr. chased after his dad wearing way-too-big gloves, half-blinded by his father's giant helmet, Washington wasn't a man wondering how his surgically repaired right leg will hold up when he eventually takes his first hit. No, Washington looked content with his new team, with the way his leg is recovering from a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula, and with where his NFL career is headed after five seasons with the New York Jets.

    "Man, just the smell of football, I missed that so much," he said. "This is truly a blessing. I had a lot of support along the way. My wife, so much love along the way. Ever since I got injured she's been wonderful. My kids have been so much motivation for me."

    Washington still has a little ways to go. It's been a long road back since he suffered the injury in the seventh game of last season. He isn't quite 100 percent, and he will always have a metal rod in his right leg: "At least I know I can't break that leg again," he jokes.

    So far in training camp, he has only done individual drills and returned a few kickoffs, but has been held out of team activities to avoid contact. But after the Jets decided that the running back was expendable -- the Seahawks gave up only a fifth-round pick for Washington, a Pro Bowler as a kick returner, and the Jets' seventh round pick -- he is brimming with excitement about his second chance in the NFL.

    "The Seahawks brought me in and trusted me," Washington said. "This show isn't over, the best is yet to come. I'm still working, I still have faith that I'm a really good football player, so I just can't wait to get out there and get that first tackle in."

    The Seahawks' interests in Washington came about in an unusual way. While still the coach at USC, Pete Carroll began following the Jets last season because former Trojan Mark Sanchez was their starting quarterback. And it was during those games that Carroll became infatuated with Washington, though obviously without having any idea he could end up coaching him.

    "I was watching every game, hanging on every aspect of it, and Leon was tearing it up," Carroll said. "I wasn't of course thinking anything at the time, but I just thought he was a really big factor. In fact when he got hurt, I thought that was really going to be a big blow for their team ... To get him on our team felt like really something special. Hopefully he'll be able to add quite a bit for us."

    Washington, who began his career with the Jets as a fourth-round pick in 2006, was an explosive play maker before the injury -- he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2007 and averaged over five yards-per-carry in each of his past two full seasons -- and he firmly believes he will return to that form this year. In fact, as a player who has mostly been known as a third-down back during his career, Washington thinks he's ready to handle an even bigger role. Seahawks running backs coach Sherman Smith agrees that Washington is capable of carrying a bigger load.

    "Sure he can," Smith said. "People label him as that ... But no, he's not just a change-of-pace back. He can be a first-down back and get in there and get it done, so I'm not labeling him."

    Even though Washington grew up in Florida and went to Florida State before moving to New York, he has fully embraced life in the Northwest. A big outdoors enthusiast, Washington was on his way to go fishing with Seahawks tight end, Chris Baker, his former teammate in New York, when he found out he had been traded to the Seahawks.

    "I love it," he said of his new home. "I'm a huge nature guy. The mountains, freakin' bald eagles, fishing, my boys are going to love it. I can't wait to get a chance to go hiking and all of that. I love it."

    And it is abundantly clear after watching Washington and his family for even a few minutes that his sons and wife, Charity, are a big reason for his positive outlook. Of course, a player who nonchalantly told his team doctor, "Hey, I think I broke my leg," while on all fours, moments after a season-ending hit, wasn't about to let on to his wife that he might have been worried about his future.

    "Leon is a very strong man," Charity said. "I took it a lot harder than he did. When he came out of surgery, I was the one crying. He had to comfort me."

    With a second chance and a new team, Washington is just looking for a chance to prove to himself that he can be even better than he was before. Charity, however, says she has a bit more of a vindictive streak than her husband.

    "He just wants to show he can play again," she said with a grin. "I'm the one who wants him to show the Jets that they made a big mistake."

    "You can't escape Alcrotraz"

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    Courtesy of Rich Cimini,

    CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets like to believe they're building a dominant secondary. At the same time, an archipelago is forming in their defensive backfield.

    On one side, there's Revis Island -- assuming cornerback Darrelle Revis ends his holdout. At the other corner, there's Alcrotraz.

    "You can't escape Alcrotraz," Antonio Cromartie told

    [+] EnlargeAntonio Cromartie
    AP Photo/Kevin RivoliWith Darrelle Revis holding out, the Jets will put receivers on "Alcrotraz."

    Cromartie figured the secondary is big enough for two monikers, so he decided to create his own. A Twitter follower suggested "Alcrotraz," and he went with it. He's planning to market the nickname, with T-shirts due out in a few weeks.

    New identity, fresh start.

    After a bitter divorce from the San Diego Chargers, with whom he went from All-Pro to problem child in two years, Cromartie is hoping to resurrect his career with the Jets. Healthy again and comfortable in Rex Ryan's man-to-man scheme, he wants to be the cornerback who terrorized opponents with 10 interceptions in 2007.

    Cromartie also wants to clean up his off-the-field image, which has taken a beating because of his well-documented paternity issues. In March, at the time of the trade, he admitted to fathering seven children with six women. The Jets gave him a $500,000 salary advance for outstanding child-support payments.

    Still only 26, Cromartie has acknowledged that he's made "wrong decisions," but he's trying to show more maturity. On July 2, he married Terricka Cason, who starred on E!'s reality soap "Candy Girls." Three months ago, Cason gave birth to Cromartie's eighth child, Jerzie.

    "Marriage makes me think more of my family and providing for my family," Cromartie said. "I'm not just playing for me. ... I have a great, supporting wife. She's by my side, day in, day out. I've learned that you need a supporting cast in life."

    Cromartie said he's settling down. That, no doubt, will prompt some snickers. Is it lip service? Only time will tell.

    For now, Cromartie is impressing on the field, dazzling his new teammates and coaches with his raw athleticism. He received the ultimate compliment from the defensive coaches, when he was moved to left corner, Revis' position. Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery called Cromartie "a freak of nature," with Ryan adding, "If you think you're open, don't forget he's got arms that are about 6 feet long."

    It's hard to find a 6-foot-2 cornerback with blazing speed. After 2007, Cromartie looked like he was on the fast track to Canton, but his play slipped in 2008 because of a fractured hip -- only two interceptions. He played through the injury, which hampered his ability to turn and open his hips, especially to the right side. A cornerback with a bad hip is like a quarterback with a sore arm.

    Cromartie followed with another lackluster season in 2009, recording only three interceptions. He blamed it on the Chargers' shift to a zone-oriented defense. People close to the Chargers said he became disinterested and lacked toughness, sealing his departure with his infamous "Matador" tackle on the Jets' Shonn Greene in last season's playoffs.

    Former Chargers defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who coached Cromartie in his '07 breakout season, believes the Jets got a steal with the trade. In fact, they consulted him before pulling the trigger, trying to determine why Cromartie's career had gone south.

    "The X-factor was him respecting who he's working with," Cottrell told "He's like a lot of players. Some guys won't show it or say it, but he's not afraid to. He's got to respect you. That's the way God made him.

    "The main thing is being straight up with him. Rex has the right type of demeanor. There's not going to be any problem. Don't B.S. him. Don't try to sugarcoat it."

    Cottrell was asked about Cromartie's physical talent. The old coach laughed.

    "He is, without a doubt, one of the finest athletes I've ever been around," said Cottrell, who coached Hall of Famer Bruce Smith with the Buffalo Bills. "He could probably be a Pro Bowl receiver."

    Said Jets secondary coach Dennis Thurman: "If he plays the way we think he can play, look out."

    The other day, Cromartie said he and Revis have the potential to be one of the greatest cornerback tandems in history. Without a doubt, the scheme is right for him. He likes the challenge of jamming a receiver at the line and playing man-to-man, claiming the Chargers' zone scheme drained his aggressiveness.

    There are whispers that Cromartie's hip still is an issue. Actually, his "good" hip became fatigued in minicamp, prompting some rest. But if healthy, and motivated, he could return to his '07 form. He already has a catchy nickname.

    Escape from Alcrotraz? Not on his watch.

    'Choke at Doak' still haunts Gators

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    Courtesy of Chris Low,

    We continue with our House of Pain look at the 50 most painful outcomes in college football history. Today, it's Nos. 40-31. 

    There's not a Florida fan anywhere who will ever forget the "Choke at Doak." It wasn't even a loss, but that didn't lessen the sting then ... or now. 

    No. 36: Florida 31, Florida State 31 

    Nov. 26, 1994 

    The Gators had taken Doak-Campbell Stadium by storm and led 31-3 entering the fourth quarter. Steve Spurrier's Fun 'N Gun offense was having its way, and it looked like Florida was going to have a win for the first time since 1991 over its bitter rival. But the Seminoles staged one of the most improbable comebacks in college football history and pulled within a point with 1:45 remaining. There was no overtime in those days in college football, and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden elected to kick the extra point and play for the tie. His explanation was that he simply couldn't stomach losing that game after making such an incredible comeback. Making matters worse for the Gators, they got a rematch with the Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl a little more than a month later and lost that game, 23-17.

    FSU Football Offseason Highlights

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    Tickets On Sale For 59th Annual Kickoff Luncheon

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    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Few things signal the start of a new football season like The Florida State University Alumni Association's annual Football Kickoff Luncheon. The 59th annual luncheon is set for Friday, Aug. 20 at the Donald L. Tucker Center, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. and the program beginning at 12 noon.

    First-year Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher will address the crowd and the 2010 Seminole football team will be introduced. University President Dr. Eric J. Barron and director of athletics Randy Spetman will be joined on the dais by the "Voice of the Seminoles" Gene Deckerhoff, who will serve as master of ceremonies.

    Legendary professor Tommie Wright will open the program with his most famous composition, the FSU Fight Song, which he wrote 59 years ago at the beginning of his career in the university's College of Music.

    Tickets are $20 and available online at, by calling (850) 644-2761 or in person at the Alumni Center, located at 1030 W. Tennessee St., Tallahassee, FL 32304. Parking is free. This year's luncheon is sponsored by the FSU License Tag and FSU Credit Union.

    Having Fun In Russia

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    If this were an Olympic sport Russia would take Gold.

    Patriots Sign FSU's Rod Owens

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    The New England Patriots signed two little known players Monday morning.

    The team added wide receiver Rod Owens and tight end Carson Butler to its roster according to the Boston Herald.

    Owens is an undrafted free agent out of Florida State.

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    The third time will be the final stop for Jacksonville native Laveranues Coles.

    The 32-year-old former Florida State wide receiver, back with the New York Jets after two previous stints, will retire whenever this one is over -- whether it's in the preseason or with a Super Bowl victory.

    "This is it," Coles said Monday after the Jets' first training camp practice. "This is the last hurrah. The boat stops here, trust me."

    Coles, entering his 11th season, signed a one-year contract last Friday with the team he began his career with in 2000. But both he and coach Rex Ryan acknowledged that it doesn't necessarily mean he'll be with the team even beyond training camp.

    "He could get cut," Ryan said. "He could make the Pro Bowl. But I was up front with him."

    Coles, a Ribault graduate who spent last season with Cincinnati after leaving New York as a free agent, will serve as insurance for Santonio Holmes -- if he lasts beyond camp. Holmes was suspended four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

    "I'm a realist," Coles said. "I look at things the way it is. Of course they have a great core without me. The circumstances call for them to bring somebody else in like myself, a veteran guy, to try and help out while he's gone."

    Coles ranks fourth in Jets history behind Don Maynard (627), Wayne Chrebet (580) and Al Toon (517) with 459 catches. Coles is also 35th on the NFL's career list for receptions.

    Second season another beginning for Brown

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    Courtesy of Scott Fowler, The Charlotte Observer

    SPARTANBURG There's a saying in the NFL: "The eye in the sky don't lie."

    Players repeat it. Coaches believe it. Videotape - shot from above the action that can be so chaotic in real time - is the league's slow-motion truth teller.

    Everette Brown, the Panthers' second-year defensive end, knows this. So during the offseason, Brown decided to study his rookie year with Carolina - one play at a time.

    "I looked at myself a lot on film," he said. "I looked at games last year, and I really didn't like what I saw. I saw a guy who was inconsistent."

    True. Brown played as a reserve in 15 games last season and made little impact. If I asked you what was the signature play of his rookie season, what would you say?

    To be fair, with Julius Peppers and Tyler Brayton installed as the starters, Brown didn't have a ton of chances. When he did, his production was of the "almost" variety - he had 16 quarterback pressures, which was second among the defensive ends behind Peppers, but only 2.5 quarterback sacks. Brown almost would get there, and then the ball would be gone.

    Late in the season, he did have a sack of Brett Favre in the December win against Minnesota - a nice highlight for anyone. But in general, Brown's rookie year was forgettable. It also was something that made you wonder if the Panthers trading away their 2010 first-round choice to get him really made sense - they did that in the 2009 draft so they could select Brown in the second round.

    Brown grew up in Stantonsburg, 225 miles east of Charlotte, before going to Florida State. He's a high-character guy. His high school coach once told our reporter David Scott: "How many times can you say your best student, your hardest worker, your best player - your best kid - are all the same person? We had that with Everette."

    For a defensive end, however, Brown is undersized. He's 6-foot-1 and weighs about 258, which means the behemoth offensive tackles who block him often are 5 inches taller and 60 pounds heavier.

    For Brown, then, the game is all about speed. He will never overpower offensive tackles regularly, so he needs to be able to out-quick them.

    "For me, what's so important is my takeoff," Brown said. "Getting that initial burst. I have to make sure that's consistent. If that's slow, then I'm slow, and I'm not going to win."

    At Florida State, Brown also faced big offensive tackles and routinely whipped them with his speed. In 2008, as a junior, he had 13.5 sacks and was runner-up for ACC Player of the Year to Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer.

    The NFL, of course, is different. Brown knows another NFL truism, too: Many players make their biggest leap between the first and second year of their careers. Brown believes he can do that. He said his technique is better and his offseason workouts have been helpful.

    "I feel more explosive and faster," he said. "I can go longer and harder.

    "I want to take it upon myself to hold myself accountable on every play, to make sure I did something to affect the offense and help our defense be successful."

    Panthers defensive coordinator Ron Meeks had great success with speedy, smallish defensive ends at Indianapolis, where Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis became Pro Bowlers.

    It's very possible Meeks won't start Brown again this season - the Panthers might use Charles Johnson and Brayton on the early downs - but then try to get Brown more pass-rushing opportunities on third-and-longs than he had last season.

    When he gets chances, th