TALLAHASSEE — After his team wore its specially designed all-black uniforms for the first time — and lost in 2006 — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said he might retire them.
It didn't happen. The Seminoles wore them last year in a win against Duke and will break them out for their "Blackout Game" (the fans are encouraged to wear black) Saturday night against Boston College.
"We're doing it for Nike," Bowden said.
The company, which pays FSU $1-million a year, likes its more visible schools to don the unique uniforms; in FSU's case, they were also designed to honor the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
"Everyone looks forward to it the whole season," QB Christian Ponder said. "It's different. It's fun."
But in the past, especially in 2006 against Boston College, some of the Seminoles enjoyed wearing the uniforms a bit too much. There was a lot of pregame preening and picture-taking. Not so much afterward.
"That first game when we got to wear them it was definitely a distraction, but now I think everyone's used to it," Ponder said.
Never a doubt: Some folks were probably wondering how FB Marcus Sims would respond last weekend after how the Georgia Tech game ended — he fumbled at the 1-yard line.
Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher wasn't one of them.
"I never doubted him," he said. "He's a good football player. He's a good athlete. He cares. He practices hard."
Against Clemson, Sims only had one carry, but he broke a tackle in the backfield and went for 7 yards. More important, he had key blocks, including on a long run by Jermaine Thomas and on a 1-yard touchdown run by Antone Smith, and he had a shove that helped Ponder score.
Déjà vu all over again: As the defense was preparing last week for Clemson and its screen passes, DE Neefy Moffett made a bold prediction about one particular screen play.
"I don't know if he has some special powers," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said, "but he said, 'If they run that, I'm going to intercept it and score a touchdown.' One of the guys said, 'You'll never get in. (No.) 28 (C.J. Spiller) will run you down.' Neefy said, 'He might run me down, but he won't keep me from getting in that end zone.' "
Sure enough, the second time Clemson ran that play, Moffett jumped up and made his first career interception and ran it back for a score, carrying Spiller for the last couple of strides.
"I hope we have a player or two that has that same kind of feeling again this week," Andrews said.
Kicking off: If the soccer team is to make its fourth straight trip, and fifth in six years, to the College Cup, the national semifinals, it likely will need its freshmen to play like veterans. The Seminoles (14-2-3), who open the NCAA Tournament against Mississippi Valley State (10-10-2) at Auburn at 3 p.m. Friday, start four freshmen and rely heavily on five:
Forwards Tiffany McCarty and Toni Pressley, midfielders Tori Huster and Casey Short and defender Ella Stephan.
"The NCAA Tournament is a different type stage," coach Mark Krikorian said. "Between the nonconference and the conference schedule, it certainly gives you the best opportunity to prepare players for what they're in store for now. The other side of that is that we have a number of young kids that have international experience. But this is a different stage. My hope is and my belief is they'll come out and recognize, 'Hey, this is just another game, we just need to go out and do the things that make us successful as players and a team.' "
Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3347.