Nov. 15, 2005
By Jeff Purinton, FSU Football Sports Information Director
The Florida State football program was recently featured on ESPN as they aired their specials called “The Season” which takes a behind the scenes look at teams across the country. Film crews were in Tallahassee for two weeks in October as the Seminoles prepared to face Wake Forest and Virginia. Not only did the team have a good time with the filming, but the producers walked away very much impressed with our players and program when the project was completed.
The first showing of the 30-minute special on FSU took place at 1:00 a.m. on ESPN2 on a Thursday night/Friday morning so many of you might not have had a chance to see the broadcast. The good thing about taking part in “The Season” is that the shows will air at various times on the ESPN networks through the year so make sure to check your TV listings.
One of the highlights for me and many of the guys on the team was a post-practice dance contest between wide receiver Rod “Old School” Owens and offensive lineman Jared “Full Pull” Martin. This is must see television for any Florida State fan. Rod probably got the best of Jared, but the 300-pounder gave him a run for his money. “Old School” picked up his nickname primarily for his dress and will do things like pull his socks over his sweatpants or tuck his jacket into sweats. His moves were “Old School” as well as he did some break dancing with a moonwalk and a back flip mixed in.
The film crew also went with the wide receivers to the bowling alley and as you can imagine that was quite entertaining. As good a wide receiver and athlete as De’Cody Fagg is, he could be the worst bowler under the age of 80 in Leon County. Chris Davis wasn’t much better. Greg Carr had the high score, probably due in part to the fact that the ball is already halfway down the lane when he releases it. I had to measure Greg’s wingspan for one of the sideline reporters the other day and it was 6’7″ from finger tip to finger tip. Combine that with his 6’6″ height (with no shoes on) and it’s not hard to understand why he has tied the ACC freshmen record for TD receptions with nine. Tight end Heath Miller had nine scores in his rookie year at Virginia.
The ESPN folks also put mics on some of the guys at practice, including both Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee. They went to the cafeteria with Drew and Xavier for dinner one night, walked to class with X one morning, and then filmed Drew doing his once a week session with the media. We are fortunate to have those two guys at quarterback and you can see that they are close friends on and off the field. I’ve seen past teams where players at the same position didn’t get along and it can cause huge problems across the board. Drew and Xavier are much like Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker in that they don’t let playing time or other football issues interfere with their friendship. Even as redshirt freshmen they have already earned the respect of their teammates.
As you could probably guess, both Leon and Lorenzo also played a big role in the show. Leon brought the cameras over to his house and cooked up some barbecue. He had a great line while he was cooking when he said “I don’t hide behind the sauce.” I haven’t tried any of his cooking, but it looked really good. Lorenzo took a hand held camera with him and brought it around the facilities and then on the team plane. Not to go out on a limb or anything here, but he will be in Hollywood when his football career wraps up. Just as a side note, Lorenzo was the only college athlete pictured in ESPN The Magazine’s coolest and hottest people in sport special about a month ago.
At the end of the taping, the producer had about 10 of the prominent guys do some one liners to go in and out of the commercial break with. The guys came up with them on their own and they were hilarious. Ernie Sims said “you are watching The Season on ESPN – I dare you to move.” Kamerion Wimbley out of nowhere went with “after these messages we’ll be right back” like the Saturday cartoons. Brodrick Bunkley tried his best to have that one removed but Wimbley stuck with it. The producers said our players were by far the most creative and most polished of any of the schools they had visited.
When we were approached about this project over the summer, Rob Wilson and I talked about the pros and cons of doing “The Season” again. Our first thought was that this might not be the best time to do it since we were going to have a new quarterback and a lot of young guys on this year’s team. I was surprised when I asked Coach Bowden what he thought and he said yes without any hesitation. Looking back, I’m glad he did and I know the players, our fans, and the people at ESPN are as well.