The Seminoles lack big-name players and experience but haven't lost their swagger
By B.J. Schecter
So does coach Bobby Bowden, although he acknowledges that this team is far from ready-made. "The last couple of years the puzzle was pretty much complete before the season started," says Bowden, 71, who with 315 major-college wins trails only Joe Paterno (322), Bear Bryant (323) and Pop Warner (319). "Coming into this season we don't have but three or four pieces [in place]. I know the other pieces are out there. We just have to find them and put them in the right places."
The most important piece is the replacement for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke. The battle for the job between redshirt freshman Chris Rix and converted junior receiver Anquan Boldin (664 receiving yards, six touchdowns in 2000) was so close in spring practice that Bowden says he may play both. Rix has the stronger arm; Boldin is the bigger threat to scramble. Both have 4.4 speed, which will allow Bowden to mix in the option with his usual pro set. A trio of inexperienced backs -- senior Davy Ford, sophomore Greg Jones and junior Nick Maddox -- shares the bulk of the running load.
On defense Florida State packs plenty of firepower in sophomore tackle Darnell Dockett, senior free safety Chris Hope and senior linebacker Bradley Jennings. The 6'4", 260-pound Dockett, the national freshman of the year after leading the team in tackles for loss (18), has the strength (a 405-pound bench press) to bull-rush inside and the speed (4.6) to disrupt plays in the backfield.
"There's a whole lot of talent here that people don't know about yet," says Hope. "Guys are hungry and waiting to show we're not going to be down."
Issue date: August 13, 2001