Sept. 5, 2001
There is some thought that this is a rebuilding year for Florida State.
Bobby Bowden no longer believes it, and neither does Alabama-Birmingham
coach Watson Brown.
The No. 6 Seminoles (1-0) play their home opener Saturday when they face UAB
(1-0) in a non-conference game.
With the graduation of Chris Weinke and the loss of many other key players
from a team that played for the national championship three straight
seasons, some thought this could be the year for an uncharacteristically
vulnerable team in Tallahassee.
That did not appear to the case in Florida State’s season-opening 55-13
victory over Duke. After a slow start, the Seminoles scored 31 points in the
second quarter, their highest-scoring quarter since 1994.
Redshirt freshman Chris Rix, Weinke’s replacement, threw two touchdown
passes, and the Seminoles rushed for 200 yards. Suddenly, Florida State
looks like it can be a top-five team again.
“We learned two things last night. No. 1, we can be very good,” Bowden said
on Sunday. “We could be even better than I thought we could. There is a lot
of talent out there. Our talent level is probably where Florida and Miami
is, but ours lacks maturity.”
Brown also was impressed by what he saw from the Seminoles and says he saw
no drop in talent.
“As soon as I put that tape on Sunday I said to myself ‘yeah, they’re really
down.’ They’re just as good as they’ve always been,” Brown said.
“They’ve got great players at every position. They still throw it deep and
go get it, they’re still hard to run the ball on. They had four big plays in
the kicking game. It’s Florida State all over again. I couldn’t tell a
difference in that one game than from all of last year.”
The Seminoles will look to extend their 35-game home winning streak, dating
to a 31-31 tie with Florida in 1994. Their unbeaten at Doak Campbell Stadium
is 52 games since a 1991 loss to Miami.
UAB opened its season with a 41-13 victory over I-AA Montana State on Aug.
30. Jegil Dugger ran for 122 yards on 25 carries for the Blazers, who rushed
for 267 yards and held the Bobcats to minus-1.
UAB was 7-4 last year, including a victory at LSU.
“They look like a more physical team than some we have played, especially on
the defensive front,” Bowden said. “They were a very good football team last
year and this will be a game they really want to win. They are very physical
with outstanding athletes.”
The teams are meeting for the first time.