Great team, those Seminoles of 1993. Looking back, that FSU team was delight for the senses. It was explosive, and it was relentless. It had the dynamic Charlie Ward, who won the Heisman, and All-American linebacker Derrick Brooks. Warrick Dunn was a freshman. Oh, were those guys fun to watch. Together, they won FSU's first national championship and, because of it, they will be cherished forever. On the other hand, with one more win, this FSU team will be better. Wonderful team, those Seminoles of 1999. Looking back, they were a force. They were unbeaten, and they were fierce. They had Peter Warrick, who finished sixth in the Heisman voting, and Chris Weinke, who would win it the following season. Together, they were the first team to ever lead the polls in every week of the season. Lots of nice memories there, too. On the other hand, with one more win, this FSU team will be better....
There is something familiar in the way he runs. On the field, Lavonte David moves across the field like a predator closing in on lunch. He is uncommonly fast, and he almost never seems to take the wrong path to the ballcarrier.
If you didn't know better, you might swear you had seen this kind of speed before — in a linebacker named Derrick Brooks.
When David hits, something tickles at the memory, too. David tends to knock ballcarriers backward. There are the kinds of hits that normal players have, the ones where they wrestle a ballcarrier to the ground. Then there are the ones with the quick, loud sound of a fender-bender where the play ends all at once....
Forgettable team here. Forgettable team there.
Hard-nosed coach from the Big East here. Hard-nosed coach from the Big East there.
Rookie quarterback leading the 29th-ranked passing attack in the league here. Rookie quarterback leading the 30th-ranked passing attack in the league there.
Egad. Talk about your broken mirrors. Just asking, but is this an NFL game or an intersquad scrimmage?...
Do you cheer?
Do you applaud?
After all, the case is closed, and Jameis Winston will not be charged with sexual assault. But how does a man get his reputation back? How do you undo all of the suspicion? If Winston plays for another 20 years, eyes will still roll whenever he is discussed. A lot of people will forever believe the worst of Winston.
Do you doubt?
Do you wonder?...
His voice was gentle. It came out of him softly, as smooth as a pond without ripples.
His eyes were kind. They had the kind of wisdom carried by a man who had seen a great deal of conflict, and yet, he could envision a much better day.
His hair was white. He had experienced so much over his years, and yet the hair gave him the presence of a grandfather.
This was Nelson Mandela at the 1992 Olympics....
You like the way the kid stands in the pocket, calm and strong. Even after nine games, he looks like he fits there. When he drops back to pass, you can imagine possibilities.
You like his efficiency. The ball seems safe under his guidance. He hits his receivers often, and he rarely throws it to the guys in the wrong-colored jerseys.
You like his attitude. He seems sincere when he talks about getting better at his job. He owns up to his mistakes which, for a quarterback, is a bigger deal than it sounds like....
Did you think they were cured?
Sometime during the first win of the season, or their second, or even their third, did you fool yourself into thinking the Bucs had ripened into a good football team? Did you think they had steadied the ship and from now on there was going to be nothing but clear sailing?
The mediocre Bucs, or maybe even something less than that, returned to the football field in Sunday's 27-6 loss to the Panthers. They sputtered, and they spewed, and they avoided the end zone with great stubbornness. In all, they reminded you a great deal of the team that started the season 0-8....
The voice of the accused is confident and strong. From time to time, it is playful. There is no quiver to it.
The eyes of the accused look you in the eye as he speaks. They are clear eyes. They do not dart around the room.
The hands of the accused chop the air as he talks, shaping football plays into the air. At a time like this, those plays seem very important to him....
In the last moment that Florida football mattered, Will Muschamp sat at a podium at a news conference, his face flushed with victory. He might as well have been sitting on top of the world.
It doesn't seem that long ago.
This was a fine moment for Muschamp, a conqueror's moment. His team had just played like a bunch of tough guys, grinding FSU's vaunted defense into dust with a 24-point fourth quarter for a 37-26 win last year. It was the kind of victory that suggests one program has all the momentum, all the muscle, in the state....
The running back is just off of the street. When the Bucs found Bobby Rainey there, he had his thumb in the air, looking for whatever ride he could find.
The wide receiver was weighed, measured and found lacking. It was only later that the Bucs reconsidered the wonder that is Tiquan Underwood.
The tight end used to be a wide receiver. The fullback used to be a defensive end. The right tackle used to be a basketball player....
And now we come to the latest question about Bucs coach Greg Schiano:
Where exactly do the Glazers keep their contract extensions?
When a team manages to turn its season around, sometimes the fortunes of the head coach turn right along with it. That seems to have happened with Schiano, who suddenly seems a lot smarter — and frankly, a little more charming — that he did a month ago....
The evolution of a rookie quarterback starts with the simplest of tasks. There are the scouting reports and the tips from veterans. There is the narrowing of options and the preparation. Most of all, there is the performance under pressure.
And that's how Mike Glennon wound up singing his version of Build Me Up, Buttercup to his teammates.
It's a funny little story, and it's one that tells you a great many things about Glennon, the best rookie quarterback in the NFL....
In the grand scheme, it is not the most important question. Not when you think about the ugliness of the allegation, not when you think about the suffering of a young woman, not when you think about the scrutiny of a young man who is innocent until proven guilty.
There are bigger questions at hand, such as the role of the police in this botched investigation, and the importance of the DNA evidence, and the impact of celebrity on a case....
What if Lavonte David had pulled up?
What if, during those frenzied final moments of the Jets' game, David had just escorted Geno Smith out of bounds? After all, David is a terrific player. What if he recognized that a quarterback going out of bounds was a hands-off play, and because if it, the Bucs hold off the Jets?
Would the Bucs be 3-7 today instead of 2-8?
What if Greg Schiano had trusted Josh Freeman?...
It was late in the day, long after the damage had been done, long after he had captured the hearts of the fans, that Bobby Rainey finally departed the field he had claimed as his own.
He had carried the ball 30 times, nine more than he had in his entire career, and he was not ready to turn loose of the afternoon. And so, seconds after the Bucs had completed their 41-28 victory over the Falcons, Rainey sprinted toward the stands, toward the fans who leaned over the rail....