Before choosing to accept the Rhodes Scholarship he won, S Myron Rolle contemplated the implications a yearlong hiatus could have on his football career.
If he were out of sight, a world away in Oxford, England, would he be out of mind?
"When you're not around the college football scene and you're not able to perform on Saturdays for NFL teams to evaluate your performance," he said, "that could hurt."
But Rolle's trepidation was short-lived.
You see, he has a well thought-out plan to be ready for the 2010 NFL draft. He'll continue working out in Orlando with noted trainer Tom Shaw until he leaves in September then continue a regimen there, tapping some of the recommendations from another Seminole standout who was in England on a Rhodes, Tampa's Garrett Johnson.
He has also arranged with FSU's staff to send him game tapes, not only from 2008 but of FSU's opponents in 2009 so he can study different offenses and prepare mentally as if he were lining up each Saturday.
"I've never been one who has a poor work ethic or someone who doesn't want to get better every day, as coach Mickey Andrews says," said Rolle, who's making some public appearances as well as working on a book. "I'm going to stay in shape and work and train while in England so I can come to the February combine in 2010 very much in shape and I can come to impress. That's my stage to show the NFL teams that I haven't lost a step, that I'm still the athlete that I was."
If Rodney Dangerfield voted … : The men's basketball team carried a 16-4 record into Wednesday night's showdown against North Carolina, playing one of the nation's strongest schedules, but the Seminoles have three votes in both the AP and the coaches' polls this week.
"Early on, we tried to play as many players as possible, tried to get them as much experience as possible so that once we got into conference play, they're further along," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "If you're beating teams by 25 and 30 points, people respect that. When you're not, they're not real sure of who you are and what you are."
So how do you change that perception?
"We've got to keep winning," Hamilton said, "and using it as a motivator to work hard and get their respect."
Shades of Gray: None of junior G Angel Gray's numbers will catch your eye if you peruse a box score. She's averaging 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds. But her leadership skills scream out.
"This group of girls, they're so talented, I don't want the moment to pass by and think, 'I should have said this or done that,' " she said. "If I need to speak up, I'm going to do that."
Gray, a tireless worker and part-time starter, has earned the kind of respect to get on a teammate and not have it taken the wrong way.
"Angel knows who she is and she's playing at a high level with the talent that she has, and that speaks volumes to our team," said coach Sue Semrau, who made her a captain about a month into the season. "She has been the difference in our level of aggression on both ends of the floor."
The No. 18 Seminoles (17-4, 5-0), who host No. 3 Duke (17-1, 5-0) tonight for sole possession of first place in the ACC, needed that. Senior Gs Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour aren't as comfortable getting vocal.
"She brings a voice to their knowledge," Semrau said of Gray.
Remembering Yow: The Seminoles will wear breast cancer ribbons on their uniforms tonight in remembrance of North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, an icon who died last weekend after fighting breast cancer for two decades. FSU will also observe a moment of silence.
Brian Landman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3347.