One of the greatest traditions at Florida State is the rewarding of tomahawk helmet stickers throughout the season. The football coaches award players for hard work on the field and in the classroom by granting these stickers and it is not uncommon by year's end to see a player with a gold helmet full of those cool little decals.
Obviously, I am not a coach and thus have no say-so in the sticker allocation decisions but I thought it would be fun to give some of my own literary tomahawks out each week.
So without further adieu, here's the first-ever Plant The Spear "Tomahawk Allotment."
The first tomahawk goes to the man under center, Christian Ponder. It's no surprise that FSU's Heisman Trophy candidate came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday in the 59-6 beat-down of Samford. We all knew that's what he would do.
But because he had such a great spring and summer, it was easy to forget that the game against the Bulldogs was his first since the vicious hit at Clemson last fall that cost him the final four games of the 2009 campaign.
It's one thing to make a speedy recovery and then go out and perform well while wearing the don't-hit-the-quarterback green jersey in the offseason. It's completely different in live competition but Ponder still looked great as he tossed four touchdowns.
Outside of an interception (due to a fantastic play by a Samford defensive lineman in which he tipped the pass), Ponder's game was nearly flawless. For that, he gets allotted a tomahawk.
Offensively, Ponder isn't the only one that gets a sticker.
I have one for Ty Jones as a reward for that weaving 57-yard dash to the endzone in the third quarter. Here's a guy that many wrote off in the tailback competition during the preseason but his 107-yard performance squashed the notion that he won't be a factor.
Fellow tailback (or fullback, or h-back, do-it-all awesome guy, or whatever you want to label him) Lonnie Pryor gets one, too. Two receiving touchdowns out of the backfield isn't too shabby. It's going to be a lot fun to watch all the creative ways that Jimbo Fisher and James Coley will use his unique skill set the rest of the year.
I've also got a sticker for Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling at wide receiver. Reed notched a receiving touchdown for the first time since October of 2008 and Easterling pulled down a touchdown pass after missing all of the spring while playing baseball for Florida State. For those feats, they've been allotted tomahawks.
Right tackle Zebrie Sanders gets one, too. Did you see the Atlantic Coast Conference's Lineman of the Week 20 yards downfield blocking for Jones on that touchdown run? That's one way for an offensive lineman to earn some style points.
Defensively, I've got to give a lot of credit (and by credit, of course I mean sticker) to Anthony "Amp" McCoud. The junior college transfer finished tied with veteran linebacker Nigel Bradham for the team lead in tackles with six.
Good first game for the big man in the middle of the defensive line.
The same is true for another junior-college newbie; Mike Harris. The talented defensive back missed most of the valuable summer months while waiting to be cleared to play after coming over from California. That missed time working on his conditioning and getting a feel for going up against Division I wide receivers didn't stop Harris from a nice interception against Samford.
Speaking of newcomers, I have to give a collective sticker to the entire 2010 recruiting class. Twenty-six first-time players contributed for the Seminoles in that opening game and of that total, 15 (counting McCloud and Harris) were part of this year's recruiting class.That's incredible.
Three more stickers need to go to the special teams. Kicker Dustin Hopkins gets one for consistently booting his kickoffs into the paint of the endzone. Thompson also gets one for using his blazing speed to block a punt. And of course, the gamechanger himself, Greg Reid, gets one for taking the only punt Samford was foolish enough to send his way to the house.
He's not a student-athlete but I have a final tomahawk sticker that goes to someone who had the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream on Saturday: Jimbo Fisher. FSU's new skipper has always wanted to become a big-time college coach and this past weekend he officially got that chance.
With win No. 1 under Fisher's belt, here's hoping for a whole lot more.
And perhaps another tomahawk sticker or two.