Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

For Florida State Seminoles, present isn't so tense

TALLAHASSEE — For far too long, the players who passed through the halls of Doak Campbell Stadium seemed trapped in time. They had their memories of better days, and they had hopes for some unspecified point in the future.

It was only in the present tense that Florida State struggled. Almost as if the Seminoles were replaying the same season over and over again. Sort of promising. Sort of good. And, ultimately, sort of a shame.

Which is why the moments after Saturday's 24-19 victory against Boston College felt so different. It is why the scene at midfield looked so meaningful. It is why a current calendar finally seemed right.

For there was coach Jimbo Fisher, sweat dripping from his forehead, cameras pointed in his face, an arm around his son Trey, and the best record in the Atlantic Coast Conference in his hip pocket.

For the first time in seven years, FSU has started a season 4-0 in league play. And for the first time in five years, the Seminoles are ranked higher than the University of Florida.

This is the best college football team in the state.

Or, if you prefer:

This is the best college football team in the state?

"Sometimes, great seasons are made on games that you can scratch, claw and fight. Find a way to pull one out," Fisher said. "But we have a long way to go to where we need to go."

Look, no one is claiming FSU is going to steamroll the nation. Not even the guys in FSU uniforms. The defense gave up running plays of 72 and 48 yards in the first four minutes. Quarterback Christian Ponder threw three interceptions and had a fumble.

And, though Florida has had troubles of its own, there's still a good chance the Gators would be the favored team when they come to Tallahassee in another six weeks.

Still, it has been a long time since there was this much reason for optimism in Tallahassee. It has been a long time since there was this much evidence that a corner has finally been turned.

"Coach Fisher has been telling us that we're on that island, and all the boats have been burned. And we're not going back to what we used to be," punter Shawn Powell said. "He's right. We haven't arrived yet, but I think we have begun a new chapter.

"There's a lot of pictures of guys on the walls around here who did a lot of great things for FSU. We're not going to take them down, but it's time we put some new pictures on the wall. Everybody has a past, but what are you going to do in the present? That's what's important. If we can keep improving and working hard, people are going to remember this team, too."

The story of the season is far from being told. The Seminoles are only halfway through the ACC schedule, and still have road games at North Carolina State and Maryland. There is also a question of just how good the conference is in comparison to other BCS leagues.

FSU's offense seems limited at times, and the defense was crushed in its biggest test against Oklahoma last month. So there is not yet a definitive answer in terms of how good this team can be.

But what Saturday's game showed was something different. It showed character. It showed tenacity.

And by the end of the afternoon, you got the feeling FSU won the kind of game it might have given away in the recent past.

"It's been a long time since we won a game like this. A tough game where the other team may not be as good, but is going to fight you," receiver Bert Reed said. "We showed some fight. We punched back. That says something about us."

They are walking a fine line around Tallahassee these days. Out of respect to the legendary Bobby Bowden, no one wants to sound remotely critical about the lack of success in recent seasons. Yet it seems clear there has been a change in atmosphere, even if players and coaches dance around the explanations.

So they don't talk much about the past. They don't look too far into the future. For a change, the Seminoles are living in the moment. And for the first time in a long while, the present is good enough.

John Romano can be reached at [email protected]

For Florida State Seminoles, present isn't so tense 10/16/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 16, 2010 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov celebrates his second-period goal against the Devils, his eighth overall, giving him goals in each of the first seven games.
  2. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  3. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  4. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'


    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.
  5. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you


    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.