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College football

Athletic director puts Seminoles on notice to behave

By BRIAN LANDMAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 29, 2002

NEW ORLEANS -- In the wake of a string of embarrassing transgressions by members of the football team, Florida State athletic director Dave Hart had a stern message.

"What young people overlook or don't think about sometimes is that these errors in judgment have a negative impact on a lot of people beyond the individual who made a bad choice," he said.

Quarterback Adrian McPherson was dismissed for his role in the theft, forgery and cashing of a check from a Tallahassee business. Quarterback Chris Rix missed a final exam and was suspended for the Sugar Bowl. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett also was suspended for the game.

"I think it shows a general, and this is a personal opinion, disrespect for the coaches, teammates, the program and the university," Hart said. "Nobody keeps in check more than I that they're 17-22 years of age, but at some point you have to learn accountability and be more responsible for your actions and you have to look at the bigger picture of who they're impacting. If you care anything about Florida State, those decisions have made it a tough few weeks for a lot of people."

He made one final point to the players that underscored his exasperation: "If they even approached the gray area, I had identified where the bus station was. There'd be no meetings with coach (Bobby) Bowden, no meetings with me. They'd be on the way home."

GETTING IN SHAPE: Georgia linebacker Boss Bailey, who sprained his left ankle before Christmas, practiced Saturday and is expected to be 100 percent for the game on Wednesday.

HOT TICKET: FSU senior receiver Talman Gardner, who's from New Orleans, said he's scrounged up about a dozen tickets for the game. Not bad, except he could use 50-75 for his family and friends.

FACES IN THE CROWD: Former FSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke, in town with the Carolina Panthers for today's game against New Orleans, stopped by the Seminoles hotel to visit.

IMPACT COACH: No prep coach will have more of a contingent at the game than Dan Ragle. While at Americus (Ga.) High, he had FSU defensive end Alonzo Jackson and FSU quarterback Fabian Walker, and as the coach at Ware County (Ga.) High since 1999, he has helped groom Georgia receiver Fred Gibson, Georgia backup up defensive tackle Gerald Anderson and FSU backup defensive tackle Donnie Carter.

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