Oct. 23, 1999
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – As if the Bowden vs. Bowden showdown needed more
A big one came Friday on the eve of the Florida State-Clemson game – star
receiver Peter Warrick struck a deal that allows him to avoid jail and resume
playing for the top-ranked Seminoles.
“It’s been a lot of distraction for all of us, a lot of sadness for my
and the other guys’ part,” said Bowden, who faces his son Tommy Bowden, the
Clemson coach, as he goes for the milestone victory. “I think the players
probably handle it better than I do.”
The Heisman Trophy contender pleaded guilty to misdemeanor petty theft
his role in a department store scam. University president Sandy D’Alemberte
said Warrick would have had to serve any jail time before he could return.
Warrick already has missed two games and his status created all sorts of
uncertainty leading to Saturday when the Seminoles (7-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast
Conference) face Clemson (3-3, 3-1).
Now, with Warrick back, quarterback Chris Weinke regains his favorite
“There’s obviously a lot of excitement, a lot of media hype following
game,” Weinke said. “But my job from a player’s perspective is to get the X’s
and O’s ready to go and get the other players ready to go.”
Bobby Bowden can become the sport’s fifth Division I-A coach to reach 300
Weinke, a 27-year-old junior, says the players haven’t worried about
“To be honest with you, when players are talking about this game, we’re
talking about a stepping stone to get to where we want to get to, and that’s,
of course, to the national championship,” he said. “Everyone else takes care
of the outside distraction.”
Bowden is glad to have his quarterback’s calm approach for a game such as
this. No one in major college football has ever coached against his son, let
alone before more than 87,000 fans and a milestone on the line.
“The thing he brings to the field is his maturity level,” Bowden said.
“If he makes a mistake, he doesn’t get rattled.”
Tommy Bowden has said all week the pressure was on his dad, and he and
Clemson could enjoy the historic moment.
He bounced through town Friday morning, waving to passing cars that
at him. He ran about 45 minutes and got a haircut.
“Now, I’m going to take my wife to lunch,” he said, looking as calm and
happy as he sounded.
There could be an additional 10,000 to 15,000 people on campus
don’t have tickets but want to listen outside the stadium.
Students painted College Avenue windows with scenes and slogans
commemorating the game.
One said, “This won’t be Father’s Day.” Another had a chunky looking
Warrick in his Florida State uniform behind bars with a department store
shopping bag at his feet.
“We haven’t had to play in that type of environment yet this year,”
said. “That’s something that we’re going to have to deal with.”
Weinke passed up a Florida State scholarship out of high school to
the Toronto Blue Jays, but returned as a 25-year-old freshman two years
a sophomore, he led the Seminoles to the national title game, but a broken
late in the season forced him to miss Florida State’s national championship
loss to Tennessee.
Weinke has come back strong this season. He set a career high with 354
passing in last week’s 33-10 victory over Wake Forest. Without Warrick and
dismissed receiver Laveranues Coles, Weinke still completed passes to 10
Clemson linebacker Chad Carson is amazed that Florida State can lose a
Heisman Trophy candidate like Warrick and not miss a throw.
“They can pull in second- and third-string guys and still perform at that
level,” he said.