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For one thing, though seven '78 seniors have departed, the entire offensive and defensive lines and the placekicker are back from a team that outscored opponents 270-155. And the schedule is easier. Washington should be 5-0 before facing Pittsburgh, UCLA, California, USC and Washington State, and though they are all tough, three of them will play the Huskies in Seattle, where Washington keeps its fans feeling mellow by seldom losing.
Once again the quarterbacking is in good hands, with Tom Porras, who rebounded from a jittery performance in the '78 opener against UCLA to finish with passing marks of 84 of 176 for 1,151 yards. Backup Tom Flick was 19 for 29 in relief. Both will still be able to throw to top Receiver Keith Richardson and hand off to Tyler and Joe Steele, who is fresh from gaining a Husky single-season record 1,111 yards. He needs only 103 more to eclipse Hugh McElhenny and become Washington's leading career rusher. Equally steely is Joe's substitute, Willis Ray Mackey, a freshman from Luling, Texas.
On defense, the Huskies figure to be a cut above last season, mainly because of more experience at linebacker and up front. The unit's most notable performer is Tackle Doug Martin, an NFL first-round prospect who led Washington in tackles for losses (16), batted down four passes and recovered a fumble. He will play alongside Antowaine Richardson. "Antowaine has the great RH factor," says Coach Don James. "He runs and he hits."
Add to all this Placekicker Mike Lansford, who has range (he has booted field goals from 49 yards out) and accuracy (33 of 33 PATs) and 27 1978 redshirts rejoining the team, and it is as clear as a high mountain morning that a lot of Husky fans will be abnormally unblasé.
15. Florida State
The beat of an Indian war drum throbs portentously. Forty thousand Seminole fans are on their feet and screaming in Florida State's Campbell Stadium. The visiting team is manfully trying to complete its pre-game workout in the midst of all this cacophony. Suddenly the drum grows even louder, the stadium lights go dim, and a blanketed horse appears under the Seminoles' goalpost. From out of the darkness beyond the end zone comes State's Seminole mascot, bounding toward the horse. He leaps atop the animal, which rears up, and thrusts a flaming spear triumphantly into the night sky. Then, with his mount at a gallop, he circles the visiting team's players, as the crowd roars. Finally, at midfield, he slams the spear deep into the turf and rides off to thunderous cheers. Welcome to Florida State.
After attending the Houston-FSU game in Tallahassee last fall, A.J. Yeoman, wife of Cougar Coach Bill Yeoman, complained that she feared for her safety. This year, five Seminole opponents must brave an evening in Tallahassee, and they should have concern for their well-being, too. Back from last year's 8-3 FSU team are 18 starters, including 10 from an offense that was among the national leaders in total yardage and passing. The drum beats on.
Once again the attack will be led by "Wally Jim Jordham," the two-headed quarterback who completed 206 passes for 2,749 yards and would have ranked third in the nation in yards gained through the air, except for one thing. Jordham is actually two marvelous passers, Jimmy Jordan and Wally Woodham, who, in the eyes of Coach Bobby Bowden, are perfectly interchangeable and are used that way. Jordan hit 54.3% of his attempts, gained 1,427 yards and passed for 14 TDs. He throws deep better than Wood-ham does, but not by much. Woodham, a 58% passer who threw for 1,322 yards and nine TDs, reads defenses better than Jordan does, but not by much. They and holdover receivers Jackie Flowers, Sam Piatt and Kurt Unglaub and Fullback Mark Lyles were mainly responsible for Florida State's scoring 38 points on four different occasions last season. "Our athletes aren't physical enough not to throw," says Bowden with a wink.
The coach's main concern is the Seminole defense, which last year made a habit of yielding points freely in the first half (137) and then knuckling down, as evidenced by the fact that FSU gave up zero points to seven opponents in the second half. One defender Bowden can count on for a full day's work is Nose Guard Ron Simmons, a weight-lifting junkie who has won the Defensive Player of the Game award all three times State has played on TV. The return of Ivory Joe Hunter, who started at cornerback until he was injured in the second game last year, also figures to help make the FSU defense stiffer than it was in '78.
On Sept. 15, Florida State meets Arizona State in Tampa, Fla. If the Seminoles can win that one and another game at LSU in October without benefit of their riled-up fans, they might win them all.